New York (Aug. 26)
The American Zionist Emergency Council today issued a statement expressing doubts that the assertion by the secretary-general of the Arab League that the late President Roosevelt had promised Ibn Saud not to support Zionist claims was true and declaring that the league’s request that the Yugoslav Government withdraw its demand for prosecution of the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem is “to say the least, significant.”
“In a statement issued by Azzam Bey, secretary general of the new Arab League, a highly dramatic account is given of an alleged pledge by President Roosevelt to King Ibn Saud, According to which the late President placed his hand in the hand of Ibn Saud and swore that he would not support the claims of the Zionists, the Council said.
“President Roosevelt issued a widely-publicized statement on October 15, 1914, in which he referred to the plank in the Democratic Party platform favoring ‘the opening of Palestine to unrestricted Jewish immigration and colonization!. . . On March 16, 1945, after his return from Yalta and of course subsequent to his interview with Ibn Saud, President Roosevelt allowed it to be stated on his behalf in an initialed note to Dr. Stephen S. Wise that he had made clear his position on Zionism in the October 15th statement, that this position remained unchanged, and that he would ‘continue to seek to bring about its earliest realization.’
“In these circumstances, either the story put out by Azzam Bey is manufactured out of whole cloth or else the late President was guilty of a quite incredible piece of deceit. It will be recalled that when President Roosevelt’s statement of March 16, 1945, was issued, nothing was heard from Ibn Saud of any alleged promise to him. It is not until months after the President’s death that this unsupported story is suddenly produced,” the Council points out.