Zionist Leaders Submit Memorandum to Byrnes; Demand Clarification of U.S. Policy
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Zionist Leaders Submit Memorandum to Byrnes; Demand Clarification of U.S. Policy

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Dr. Abba Hillel Silver and Dr. Stephen S. Wise, co-chairman of the American Zionist Emergency Council, today submitted a memorandum to Secretary of State James F. Byrnes demanding “immediate clarification” of the issues raised by the exchange of correspondence between King Ibn Saud and the late President Reesevelt with regard to Palestine, and expressing the hope that the U.S. Government will continue to press for the immediate admission to Palestine of 100,000 Jews from Europe.

The two leaders of the Zionist Emergency Council spent forty minutes concessing with Secretary Byrnes. They later stated that they had a “throrough discussion” with the Secretary on the entire subject of Palestine, and that the discussion was “entirely satisfactory.”

Addressing a press conference later in the afternoon, Dr. Silver emphasized that it is important that the American Government should indicate to the Arab states “that it does not intend to be intimidated or blackmailed in the carrying out of its policies” with regard to Palestine. He characterized as “infamous lies” the statements made by Ibn Saud in his letter, and declared that far from suffering from the admission of Jews to Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs had had their living standards improved with every influx of Jewish settlers. He asserted that there was room in Palestine for “at least another 3,000,000 people.”


The memorandum submitted to Byrnes cities the declaration in March 1919, by President Wilson “who was directly associated with the issuance of the Balfour Declaration” that “the Allied nations, with the fullest concurrence of our Government and people, are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonvealth.”

It points out that every President since Wilson has endorsed the Jewish National Home objective, and that in 1941 and 1945 a majority of both houses of Congress joined in a declaration favoring the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonvealth, also that a similar declaration was made July 4, 1945 by the governors of 40 states. It adds that legislatures of 33 states containing 85 percent of the United States population have gone on record in favor of the Zionist objective.

The memorandum complains that neither Roosevelt’s letter nor Byrnes’ statement “take any cognizance whatever” of the clear policy to which the United States Government and people are committed. It emphasizes that the nature of the assurances given to Ibn Saud, referred to in Roosevelt’s letter, is not disclosed, but that if inconsistant with the publicly stated objective of American policy or the terms of the Palestime mandate, those assurances would not be valid.

Deep regret is expressed in the memorandum that Roosevelt’s letter failed to point out that the Jewish National Home Policy, envisaging as it does free Jewish immi- gration into Palestine am the ultimate establishment there of a democratic Commonvealth under the auspices of a Jewish majority, could not be conceived as hostile to the Arab people.

“The desire of the Jews to live in friendship and good neighborliness with the Arab countries and with the Arab inhabitants of Palestine is well known, and neither Jewish aspirations in Palestine nor the declared policy of this country in support thereof, nor yet the conduct of the Jewish people in Palestine, resulting in great good to the Arabs, can be construed as hostile to them,” the memorandum says.


The memorandum deplores Roosevelt’s failure to repudiate Ibn Saud’s “baseless attacks” and vilification of the Jewish people and “calumnies” to the effect that the Arabs have reason to fear massacres at the hands of Zionists. The Arabs have neither legal nor moral title to sovereignty over Palestine, the memorandum continues, asserting the Jews have done much to repair the destructive results of Arab domination, by conquering swamps and deserts, reviving agriculture and industry and establishing in Palestine a “sturdy self-reliant community.”

The pan-Arab claim to Palestine is a manifestation of the “expansionist appetite recently shown in demands by Arabs for Eritrea, the Sudan and Cyrenaica,” the memorandum continues. “If Palestine exists as a separate concept,” it asserts,” it is because of its immemorial association with the Jews and Jewish history. At no time was there a Palestine Arab state. It was the Jewish people which produced in Palestine the civilization and religious culture which along with that of Greece molded the civilization and the spiritual life of the whole western world.”


The memorandum protests against according rights to Arab states to be consulted with regard to Palestine. It affirms the right of the United States Government as one of the Allied powers in World War I, and in virtue of the USA-British convention, to participate in the future disposition of Palestine. It adds:

“The right of the Jewish people to be consulted is likewise clear and undaniable and is legally confirmed by the League of Nations mandate which, in recognizing the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute their national home in Palestine, authorized also the recognition of the Jewish Agency for Palestine as representing the interest of all Jews in the establishment of the National Home. The Arab states are in this matter without legal standing of any kind and we submit that their attitude in recent years is certainly far from giving them a moral voice in the issue.”

The Zionist Emergency Council charges in its memorandum that the executive branch of the U.S. Government and the State Department have not translated into action the policy they have voiced with regard to Palestine. On the contrary, the memorandum says, numerous acts and omissions have emboldened the Arab leaders to allege that the American Government was in fact withholding its support from the Zionist cause and that the pronouncements made here were meant for “home consumption.”


The memorandum charges that the Government took no action to protect the interests of the Jewish National Home at the time the White Paper was issued in 1939, or to redress the wrong in the years following. Nor did the Government energetically in-

The U. S. Government is further charged with failing to advise its representatives in the Near East that it was committed to the Jewish National Home policy and to instruct them to be guided accordingly. The State Department is accused of appointing to “positions of importance in the Near East persons known as avowed opponents of this policy and has had to rely upon reports and advices emanating from them.”

The executive branch is charged with having on two occasions exerted its influence to prevent Congress from adopting a resolution reaffirming the traditional American policy on this subject. On the other hand, the memorandum says this country has given “generous support to Arab aspirations,” being the first to recognize the independence of Lebanon and Syria, encouraging Arab states to make last minute declarations of war against Germany on the eve of the San Francisco Conference, thus assuring them of places among the United Nations regardless of their war records, Moreover, the (##)ment failed to withhold its support from the Arab League despite the League’s declarations of opposition to Jewish aspirations and its proclamation of liquidation of the Jewish National Home as a major objective, the memorandum stressed.

President Truman’s request of Prime Minister Attlee for admission of one hundred thousand Jews is hailed as “the one gratifying positive act in relation to Palestine” whose outcome is still uncertain. The memorandum expresses hope that the Government will continue to press for the immediate admission of the one hundred thousand.

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