Roosevelt Assails Persecution of Minorities

President Roosevelt’s implied slap at persecution of Jews in Germany and other countries coupled with the promise that the Government of the United States would give “watchful care to the minorities within its borders” was received with approbation today in Jewish circles.

His statement was made through Secretary of Interior Harold L. Ickes to 700 Jewish and communal leaders at a banquet marking the halfway point in the United Palestine Appeal drive for $3,500,000, although it marked the raising of one one-third — $1,208,145.66 — of the quota.

At the conclusion of a half-hour address broadcast over an NBC network in which he lauded the “new deal” the Jews were bringing to Palestine, Secretary Ickes said:

“It is my privilege to bring to you tonight a greeting from the President of the United States, expressing his interest in what you are trying to do. He has charged me to say to you who are an integral and valued element in the nation, that he is distressed and disturbed by the reversion in certain parts of the world to days and deeds of an era which all enlightened people had long hoped would never return. It is his conviction that so long as minorities of the nations of the world are deprived of liberty of thought and religion, and the right to lead a normal, civilized life there can be no true and permanent understanding between nations.

“The President expresses through me to you, the representatives of a great and virile race, the hope that calmer and more dispassionate judgments will prevail and asserts the belief that the Government of the United States, in carrying out the will of the people, will ever give watchful care to the minorities within its borders, and will maintain inviolate those vital rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution even to the most humble of our citizens.”

Among other speakers were Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, chairman of the appeal; Morris Rothenberg, president of the Zionist Organization of America; Nathan Straus and Dr. Israel Goldstein. Messages were read from Governor Herbert H. Lehman and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization.

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