Washington (Oct. 28)
President Truman in a 1,500-word message to King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia today restated this government’s hope for entry into Palestine “of considerable numbers of displaced Jews in Europe.” At the same time, he reiterated his intention of asking Congress for special legislation to admit “additional numbers” of displaced Jews to the United States “over and above the immigration quotas fixed by our laws.”
The President’s message was in reply to a letter of Oct. 15, from Ibn Saud protesting Mr. Truman’s statement of Oct. 4 as “inconsistent” with previous pledges by this government.
Declaring that the United States Government and people have supported the concept of a Jewish National Home in Palestine since the end of World War I, President Truman stated that the United States still believes “that a national home for the Jewish people should be established in Palestine.”
He pointed out that most of the peoples of the Near East liberated after the first World War “are now citizens of independent countries” but “the Jewish National Home, however, has not as yet been fully developed.
“It is only natural, therefore, that this government should favor at this time the entry into Palestine of considerable numbers of displaced Jews in Europe, not only that they may find shelter there, but also that they may contribute their talents and energies to the upbuilding of the Jewish National Home,” he declared.
SAYS ADMISSION OF JEWS TO U.S. AND OTHER COUNTRIES WILL BE SOUGHT
The President’s efforts, as initiated in his correspondence with Prime Minister Attlee over a year ago, to expedite solution of “the urgent problem” of surviving Jewish displaced persons, he wrote, were in line with “traditional policies” of this government. “It was my belief, to which I still adhere,” said Mr. Truman, “and which is widely shared by the people of this country, that nothing would contribute more effectively to the alleviation of the plight of these Jewish survivors than the authorization of the immediate entry of at least 100,000 of them to Palestine.” The President expressed himself as “still hopeful” that an affirmative decision may still be reached.
“At the same time,” he continued, “there should, of course, be a concerted effort to open the gates of other lands, including the United States, to those unfortunate persons, who are now entering upon their second winter of homelessness subsequent to the termination of hostilities. I, for my part, have made it known that I am prepared to ask the Congress of the United States, whose cooperation must be enlisted under our Constitution, for special legislation admitting to this country additional numbers of these persons, over and above the immigration quotas fixed by our laws. This government, moreover, has been actively exploring, in conjunction with other govern- ments, possibilities of settlement in different countries outside Europe for those displaced persons who are obliged to emigrate from that continent.”
SAYS JEWISH LEADERS PLAN NO “AGGRESSION” AGAINST ARAB STATES
Answering Ibn Saud’s fear of “force and violence” by Jews “in aggressive schemes against the neighboring Arab states,” President Truman expressed the opposition of this government “to aggression of any kind or to the employment of terrorism for political purposes. “I may add, moreover, that I am convinced that responsible Jewish leaders do not contemplate a policy of aggression against the Arab countries adjacent to Palestine.”
The President found himself “at a loss” to understand Ibn Saud’s feeling that the presidential statement of Oct. 4 urging immediate entry of the 100,000 displaced Jews contradicted previous United States promises or statements.
“I do not consider that my urging of the admittance of a considerable number of displaced Jews into Palestine, or my statements with regard to the solution of the problem of Palestine, in any sense represent an action hostile to the Arab people,” he said. “My feelings with regard to the Arabs when I made these statements were, and are at the present time, of the most friendly character. I deplore any kind of conflict between Arabs and Jews, and am convinced that if both peoples approach the problems before them in a spirit of conciliation and moderation these problems can be solved to the lasting benefit of all concerned.”
REGRETS LONDON PARLEY ADJOURNED WITHOUT “FAIR SOLUTION”
President Truman likewise rejected Ibn Saud’s contention that the Oct. 4 statement was “inconsistent” with the President’s statement of Aug. 16. This expressed the hope that the proposed conversations between the British Government and Jewish and Arab representatives could lead to “a fair solution” of the Palestine problem and to taking of “immediate steps” to alleviate the condition of displaced Jews in Europe.
“Unfortunately, these hopes have not been realized,” the President declared, pointing to the postponement to December of the conversations “without a solution having been found… In this situation it seemed incumbent upon me to state as frankly as possible the urgency of the matter and my views both as to the direction in which a solution based on reason and good will might be reached and the immediate steps which should be taken. This I did in my statement of Oct. 4.”
Referring to the consultations with both Arabs and Jews during the current year, the President said he does not feel “that my statements in any way represent a failure on the part of this government to live up to its assurance that in its view there should be no decision with respect to the basic situation in Palestine without consultation with both Arabs and Jews.”
The President appealed to Ibn Saud with “the earnest hope” that he use his “great influence” in the Arab world to help “in the immediate future” to find “a just and lasting solution. I am anxious to do all that I can to aid in the matter and I can assure Your Majesty that the government and people of the United Stares are continuing to be solicitous of the interests and welfare of the Arabs upon whose historic friendship they place great value.”
Emphasizing the “worldwide” problem of the Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution, President Truman said: “Many of these persons look to Palestine as a haven where they hope among people of their own faith to find refuge, to begin to lead peaceful and useful lives, and to assist in the further development of the Jewish National Home.”
RECALLS U.S. ROLE IN SECURING INDEPENDENCE FOR ARABS IN NEAR EAST
Mr. Truman reminded Ibn Saud of the United States’ contributions to the winning of World War I, the subsequent freeing of a large area of the Near East and creation of a number of independent states now members of the United nations. “The United States, which contributed its blood and resources to the winning of that war,” he stated, “could not divest itself of a certain responsibility for the manner in which the freed territories were disposed of, or for the fate of the peoples liberated at that time.
“It took the position, to which it still adheres, that these peoples should be prepared for self-government and also that a national home for the Jewish people should be established in Palestine. I am happy to note that most of the liberated peoples are now citizens of independent countries. The Jewish National Home, however, has not as yet been fully developed.”