Senate Hears Pleas for Action to Keep Palestine Open to Jews
Menu JTA Search

Senate Hears Pleas for Action to Keep Palestine Open to Jews

Download PDF for this date

Three Senators – Edwin c. Johnson of Colorado, Bennet Champ Clark of Missouri and Styles Bridges of New Hampshire – today protested from the floor of the Senate against the British White Paper, which goes into effect at the end of this week, and demanded its immediate abrogation.

"Next Sunday," Senator Edwin C. Johnson declared "will become one of the black days in the history of England unless in the remaining few days of this week the British Government rescinds its iniquitous White paper which halts Jewish immigration into Palestine. In the past five years Hitler and his henchmen have been exterminating Jews in Germany, in Poland and in the occupied countries at an estimated rate of more than 10,000 per day. Hitler has killed more Jews a day–every day–than Britain has permitted to find refuge in Palestine in a year. Now Hitler and Himmler the hangman have moved into Hungary and Rumania, and once more Jewish slaughter stands first on the agenda of hate in those unhappy lands.

"Just two weeks ago," Johnson continued, "President Roosevelt asserted that the American Government has never given its approval to the White Paper. Of course, it has not, but neither has it voiced its disapproval. So in the absence of a protest by the United States, the British Government has continued its unlawful policy for five years.’ The overwhelming majority of American citizens, are appalled at the premeditated extermination of the Jewish people. They want justice accorded the Jew. They know that a just settlement of this problem is a Christian problem."

Johnson asked that the Senate face realities and do all in its power to keep the gates of Palestine open to the end that "it shall become a free and democratic Jewish Commonwealth."


Denouncing the British Government for making the Mandate for Palestine "a scrap of paper," Senator Bennet Champ Clark charged that the United States Government is equally a party to this nullification. "By our silence of nearly five years," he said," we have to ell practical purposes given our consent to this tragic violation of the pledged word of 51 nations." If the white Paper is put into operation, Clark declared, the tragedy of the Jew is our time will be infinitely worse than the tragedy of the Jew throughout the ages.

Pointing out that the "only word of protest uttered by a responsible official of the American Government was spoken a few days ago in the White House by the President," Clark said, "I do not believe a great humanitarian like Mr. Roosevelt will be content merely with an indirect statement to the effect that the ‘United States Government has never given its approval to the White Paper of 1939.’ The time has passed when mere words will halt this tragedy. Action is needed." Clark, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that as far as he knew there was little opposition to the Wagner-Taft resolution on Palestine in the Committee.

Senator Styles Bridges, said: "It would be a major tragedy if, literally on the eve of our winning World War II, fought in the interest of the freedom of all peoples and nations, that tens of thousands of additional Jews should perish because of Hitler’s fury on one hand and the inability to find a place to go on the other, If Palestine were open, there would be a place for them to go. The need for a free Palestine is great today but the need will be infinitely greater when the task of rehabilitation begins in the post-war era," he concluded.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund