Roosevelt’s Views on Palestine Banned by British Censors in Palestine
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Roosevelt’s Views on Palestine Banned by British Censors in Palestine

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British censorship in Palestine has held up publication in the local press of last week’s statement by President Roosevelt to Zionist leaders, authorizing them to quote him as declaring that the United States Government has never given its approval to the White Paper and that “full justice will be done to those who seek a Jewish National Home.” At the same time, the censors have permitted the Arab press to publish protests against the President’s statement.

Jews in Palestine are considerably cheered by the news of Roosevelt’s statement which has been spread here by word of mouth. This news has offset the gloom among Jews which resulted from the shelving of the Palestine resolution by the foreign committees of the House and the Senate in Washington.

Nevertheless, the average newspaper reader here is hardly in a position to formulate in hismind any idea of what is going on in London and Washington with regard to Palestine because of the censorship. Several Hebrew newspapers during the week-end published attacks against the censorship and demanded greater freedom with regard to news not of a military nature. They revealed that the censor went so far as to delete passages from a speech by Churchill in which the British Prime Minister praised the contribution of Palestine Jews to the war effort.


The Arab News Agency today reported that “highly important contacts are now taking place between Arab kings, princes and heads of states in connection with the Palestine question and the recent developments in the United States.” The report adds that this exchange of views is proceeding with the object of securing joint Arab action.

It was learned here today that Nahas Pashs, Prime Minister of Egypt, expressed doubt as to whether President Roosevelt really authorized Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver to state in his name that the American Government has not approved the White Paper and will see to it that justice is done to those Jews who seek a Jewish National Home. The Egyptian Prime Minister, it was disclosed, instructed his Minister in Washington to make the necessary inquiries with regard to the authenticity of this statement.

(A public reply to the Egyptian Prime Minister was given by Rabbi Wise last night at a dinner tendered to him at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York by the Jewish Institute of Religion on the occasion of his 70th birthday this week. Rabbi Wise said, “I should like to coney to Nahas Pasha, Prime Minister of Egypt, whom I view with most vehement, but far from unique, detestation that I venture to say nothing by way of answer, except that all of my statement was on the authority of the President of the United States; and was fully written out in advance – even including punctuation – and not by Malcolm MacDonald, author of the White Paper of 1939. I also find savage glee in observing that Nahas Pasha has at long last emerged from the torpor of his neutrality with regard to the Axis-United Nations conflict, to comment on the conference with the President.)


A threatening protest was sent today to President Roosevelt by Fund Abara Pusha, president of the Arab Union in Cairo. Denouncing the statement which the President authorized Rabbi Wise and Rabbi Silver to issue, the message said, “Such repeated statements might give rise to tragedies by no means advantageous to the Allied nations.”

Although Arab politicians and the Arab press are seeking to prevent any modification of the White Paper policy, especially with regard to Jewish immigration, the Arab masses in Palestine display no interest whatsoever in the problem. Nevertheless, political tension is steadily mounting here as March 31 approaches, the date when Jewish immigration becomes – under the terms of the White Paper – conditional on Arab consent, with the exception of 30,000 Jewish refugees who will be permitted to enter the country after that date.

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