Byrnes Announces U.S. Policy on Palestine; Says Jews and Arabs Will Be Consulted

Secretary of State James F. Byrnes announced tonight that the United States Government "would not support a final decision which in its opinion would affect the basic situation in Palestine without full consultation with both Jews and Arabs." The Secretary said that this Government intends to contime exploring "every possible means of relieving the situation of the displaced Jews of Europe."

The text of Mr. Byrne’s announcement follows:

"On several occasions this matter (Palestine) has been the subject of oral and written discussions with various Jewish and Arab leaders. The substance of this Government’s position has been that this Government would not support a final decision which in its opinion would affect the basic situation in Palestine without full consultation with both Jews and Arabs.

"At a press conference today President Truman referred to his exploration with Prime Minister Attlee of ways and means of alloviating the situation of the displaced Jews in Europe, including consideration of Palestine as a possible haven for some of these homeless Jews. There is general agreement that it is our duty to take energetic reasures to assist these unfortunate victims of Nazi persecution. As the President pointed out today, this matter is still under consideration. We shall continue to explore every possible means of relieving the situation of the displaced Jews of Europe.

"Should any proposals emerge which in our opinion would change the basic situation in Palestine, it would be the policy of this Government not to reach final conclusions without full consultation with Jewish and Arab leaders. This policy was stated, for instance, in a letter which President Roosevelt addressed to King Ibn Saud on April 5, 1945, the text of which I have been authorized to make available."

ROOSEVALT’S LETTER TO KING IBN SAUD ON PALESTINE ISSUE

The letter which the late President Roosevelt sent to king Ibn Saud, dated April 5, 1945, refers to "the memorable conversation" which he had with the ruler of Saudi Arabia, and reads as follows:

"Your Majesty will recall that on previous occasions I communicated to you the attitude of the American Government toward Palestine and made clear our desire that no decision be taken with respect to the basic situation in that country without full consultation with both Arabs and Jews. Your Majesty will also doubtless recall that during our recent conversation I assured you that I would take no action, in my capacity as chief of the executive branch of this Government, which might prove hostile to the Arab people.

"It gives me pleasure to renew to Your Majesty the assurances which you have previously received regarding the attitude of my Government and my own, as chief executive, with regard to the question of Palestine and to inform you that the policy of this Government in this respect is unchanged."

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