Menu JTA Search

Official Attitude of U.S. Towards Palestine Defined by State Department Spokesman

The attitude of the United States Government towards the Palestine problem was defined by Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long during his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the question of the rescue of Jewish and other people in Nazi-occupied territory, it was learned here today when further portions of his testimony were made public.

“The American Government,” Mr. Long declared, “is not entirely obtuse about Palestine, or is not disinterested in the situation that is developing there. We have been interested and we will continue to be interested from the point of view of larger aspects of world security and of world peace, as well as the rights of humans and humanitarian sympathies and the religious sentiments involved.”

The Assistant Secretary of State also revealed that at one time the United States Government tried to get Jews out of Rumania to Palestine by railroad instead of by boat. “The Turkish Government,” Mr. Long disclosed, “took the position that these people could pass in transit through that small part of Turkey which lies between the Straits and Bulgaria. It would give them access to Istanbul, and that was the way we happened to get into this kind of transportation; but finally the German Government heard about it and interfered and prevented it.”

STATE DEPARTMENT WILL SUPPORT J.D.C. EFFORTS TO SENT FOOD TO TRANSNISTRIA

Mr. Long also emphasized that the American Government will support the Joint Distribution Committee in its efforts to send food from Turkey, through the International Red Cross, to Jews in Transnistria. “It is hard to get things,” he explained. “We have been trying to help the J.D.C. get food supplies, but the food supplies must be obtained within the blockade. The blockade military officers and the blockade authorities will not permit food to be shipped through the blockade to German-occupied territory, or to Germany. I think that, with every assurance of success, this arrangement will be concluded.”

The United States Government, Mr. Long further revealed, is continuing its efforts through a neutral government to get 20,000 Jewish children out of Germany and German-held territory. The neutral government concerned has asked the German Government to permit it to take these children out of the Reich to its own territory, and has suggested that these children be selected by some charitable or other appropriate organization in Germany. This neutral government, however, has not as yet received a reply from Berlin, Mr. Long said, but the proposal still stands although the German Government has not indicated that it will accept it.

U. S. SUPPORTS PLAN FOR REMOVING 100,000 CHILDREN FROM AXIS LANDS

The Assistant Secretary of State spoke of a plan now being supported by the United States Government “for removing children temporarily from Axis-held territory to neutral countries in varying numbers up to a maximum of 100,000 for rehabilitation in those countries where they could get food and where we could put the food where the children could be nourished and brought back to something like a normal state of physical well being.”

He also revealed that the United States Government offered to make a generous contribution to Sweden “in connection with her reception of Jews and other people from Denmark” but the Swedish Government said she did not think it was necessary.” She thought it was an obligation of the Swedish Government, and she did not even want contributions from the Danish Government-in-exile,” Mr. Long added.

BALKAN GOVERNMENTS WARNED AGAINST MISTREATMENT OF JEWS

Continuing his testimony on the activities of the United States in connection with rescuing Jews from Nazi territory, Assistant Secretary Long disclosed that the American and British have jointly, through the Swiss Government, warned Balkan governments against mistreatment of Jews. The warning, he added, was “the strongest document that the State Department ever sent.” At the same time, the United States Government offered to help Switzerland, “as far as our economy permits,” in caring for refugees escaping from Axis-held countries, he stated.

Mr. Long gave details of the unsuccessful British-American endeavor to evacuate refugees from the Balkan countries to Palestine through Turkey. He revealed that the United States Government allocated $300,000 for this transfer. “There was a proposal, he related, “that two ships would be chartered; they would leave a port on the Black Sea and go to Turkey, from where the refugees would go directly to Palestine. They would carry 5,000 Jewish children. When they called me one morning, we could not find money to underwrite this. It is an expensive proposition when it comes to moving a lot of people and paying for their transportation and their keep en route. The estimated cost was about a half million dollars for this one trip. In the course of the day I could not secure funds. I approached the White House and got an allocation of $300,000 or so much as might be necessary to defray the expenses on the part of the United States, which would be one-half.

“Unfortunately, although we had the money and were ready, the project could not be accomplished because the German Government, in the last analysis, got wind of it and stopped the movement of ships and told the Rumanian Government she was not to be a party to any such movement.”

RABBIS INTERNED BY JAPAN CANNOT TRAVEL ON EXCHANGE SHIP

The Assistant Secretary reported that he was visited recently by a group of rabbis who were interested in the faculty and student body of one of the rabbinical colleges which started at the outbreak of the war from northern Poland, travelled through Lithuania, all the way through Russia, and is today interned by the Japanese in Shanghai.

“There are 464 persons in this particular group,” he said. “The American rabbis want to bring them over here. They wanted to bring them on an exchange ship. I had to take the position that we could not accommodate them on an exchange ship, because that was for American citizens, and for every non-American who got on board, it would be necessary to leave an American citizen in a Japanese internment camp. I did not think we were justified in leaving Americans over there and bringing other persons out of there.”

NEXT STORY