Roosevelt Receives Zionist Leaders; Says U.S. Never Approved White Paper
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Roosevelt Receives Zionist Leaders; Says U.S. Never Approved White Paper

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President Roosevelt today received Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, the co-chairmen of the American Zionist Emergency Council, and told them that the Government of the United States have never approved the White Paper.

The two Zionist leaders were received by the President while an all-day conference of Christian leaders was taking place at the Statler Hotel here, called by the American Palestine Committee for the purpose of “mobilizing American Christian sentiment in favor of free entry of Jews into Palestine and the reconstruction of that country as a free and democratic commonwealth.” Following their meeting with the President, the two Zionist leaders issued the following statement:

“The President authorized us to say that the American Government has never given its approval to the White Paper of 1939. The President is happy that the doors of Palestine are today open to Jewish refugees, and that when future decisions are reached, full justice will be done to those who seek a Jewish National Home for which our government and the American people have always had the deepest sympathy, and today more than ever in view of the tragic plight of hundreds of Jewish refugees.”


Leaders in the field of government, education, labor, industry and religion who came from all over the country to attend the conference of the American Palestine Committee, were told by Dr. Henry A. Atkinson, who presided, that “we are not going beyond our rights in stating to our government our conviction that the White Paper conflicts with American sentiment and American interests.”

Emphasizing that as chairman of the Christian Council for Palestine, he represented “the nature judgement of more than 1,000 clergymen,” Dr. Atkinson continued: “We are here to urge the passage of the bills now before Congress, which in effect call for the withdrawal of the White Paper and the complete fulfilment of the original intent and purpose of the Balfour Declaration. We are thoroughly appreciative of the responsibility of the military and navel authorities in efforts to win the war, but we are equally determined not to lose the peace after we win the war.”


After hearing several speakers, including Assistant Attorney General Norman N. Little, Dr. Walter C. Lowdermilk, Assistant Chief of the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Dr. William F. Albright, president of Johns Hopkins University, the conference adopted the following resolution:

“We reaffirm our faith in the spirit as well as the letter of the Balfour Declaration and ask for a maximum Jewish immigration into Palestine and full opportunity for colonization and economic development.

“We reaffirm the traditional policy of our government and ask for all effective measures to the and that Palestine may be reconstituted by the Jewish people is a free and democratic Jewish Commonwealth.

“We urge passage at the earliest opportunity by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Wagner-Taft-Wright-Comptan “resolution new under discussion in committee so that these objectives may be the more speedily realized.”


Dr. Lowdermilk, demonstrated with colored slides the progress made by Jewish settlers in Palestine. “Palestine,” he said, “may serve as a demonstration for the whole Near” East how land may become restored.” He outlined a project for developing the was Jewish Valley which, if carried cut, would enable the absorption by Palestine of four million people.

Assistant Attorney General Littal appealed to Americans for “candid, realize the recognition” of the fact that Jews face persecution.” Americans must fight Jewish persecution at home the way Americans traditionally fight everything-with a head-on attack. We’ve got to stop this thing in its tracks,” he said.

Dr. Albright told the conference that he regards the continued development and expansion of the Zionist program for Palestine as by far the most promising factor in the future economic and cultural development of the Arab world as a whole.” Planted in the midst of the Arab world, Jewish Palestine cannot fail to be a most potent source benefit to all surrounding lands,” he said.


Speaking at a dinner which climaxed the conference, and which was attended by many members of the House and the Senate, Dr. Abba Hillel Silver assailed the protests by Arab countries against the Palestine resolution. He expressed the hope that U.S. military authorities ” will soon find it possible, consistent with the realities of the situation, to withdraw their objections to the resolution, so that the Congress of the United States may be given the opportunity to speak its mind on this tremendously important question.”

“To those who say that the Jewish people should wait for the end of the war before they raise the question of the abrogation of the White Paper, the answer must be given that vital political decisions affecting many countries are even now being made, and Palestine and the Near East are quite definitely today within the field where political activities looking towards ultimate arrangements are being vigorously prosecuted.” Dr. Silver continued. He charged that the “White Paper is not a product of the war and the return of pease will not automatically abrogate it, It is clear that unless there is a revision of attitude and change of heart, the Colonial Office of Great British will be able to discover after the was as many insurmountable difficulties in the way of fulfilling the clear intent and purpose of the mandate as they discovered before the war.”

Senator Robert Negner, speaking at the dinner, asserted that there was a greatest need for Congressional action now than in 1922. The Jewish people have long been denied their rights, he said, adding that “Europe today is a vast graveyard for their dead. They have a right to ask us that they be counted in the ranks of tomorrows society of free nations.”

(Vice-President Henry A. Wallace was scheduled to deliver a brief extemporaneous address at the dinner late in the evening, as were Senator Robert F. Faft, of Chic, co-sponsor of the Palestine resolution, and Paul V. MoMitt, chairman of the War Manpower Commission.)

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