British Policy on Palestine Attacked in Senate; Truman Urged to Press for Action
Menu JTA Search

British Policy on Palestine Attacked in Senate; Truman Urged to Press for Action

Download PDF for this date

Democratic and Republican Senators today attacked the British Labor Government’s restrictive policy toward immigration of Jewish refugees into Palestine and urged President Truman to continue exercising this Government’s influence for abrogation of the White Paper.

In the first of a series of speeches on the Senate floor, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio expressed strong approval of the President’s action in trying to secure 100,000 immigration certificates for displaced Jews now in Germany and Austria. He added that this request, even if acted upon by the British remains “a belated emergency measure,” and the fundamental problem continues unsolved. “We should continue to exercise our influence, as President Truman began to do, toward securing from Great Britain a pledge to carry out the Balfour Declaration, ” Taft declared.


Agreement with Taft’s views was expressed by Senators Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, Ralph Brewster of Maine, Homer Ferguson of Michigan and H. Alexander Smith of New Jersey. Senator Joseph Guffey of Pennsylvania, recalling that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had withheld action on a Palestine resolution last year at the request of the State Department, expressed the opinion that the committee should now consider such a resolution.

Lauding the President for “the greatest single act of humanitarianism,” since the outbreak of the war, Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut charged the Labor Government with not only “ignoring its pledges, but seeking to black President Truman’s efforts” to aid 100,000 displaced Jews. He called the British action “a horrible commentary” which is bound to lessen British prestige in this country. The White Paper, he asserted, was part of the Chamberlain Government’s appeasement policy. He said the Arab peasants welcomed the Jews who brought improved living conditions to Palestine, but that the Arab politicians inspired by the British “were following sheep-like behind Hitler’s leadership.”

Senator Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado denounced the White Paper as responsible for the lives of five million Jews. He expressed his horror at what, he said, was the Labor Government’s rejection of the Truman proposal for immigration of the Jewish refugees to Palestine. He said the American people ” are in no mood to have President Truman’s recommendation vetced by the British” and declared that “the time is at hand to put an end to the centuries of suffering” of the Jews.

Johnson declared that Earl G. Harrison’s report “so shocked the President,” that he sent a letter through secretary of State Byrnes to Prime Minister Attlee. He further stated that the President, taking for granted Attlee’s agreement on this “humanitarian gesture,” instructed General Eisenhower to make prompt arrangements for the transportation of-the refugees.

Senator James E. Murray of Montana said that British rule in Palestine is a “black chapter full of evasion and duplicity.” He expressed his regret that the executive agencies of this Government are seemingly failing to support the expressed American policy of a Jewish Commonwealth, and urged the American and British Governments not to “shirk the long overdue responsibility of redeeming a sacred obligation.”

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