J.w.v. 51st Annual Convention Opens; Truman, Other National Leaders Hail Jews War Role

Messages from the nation’s civil and military leaders headed by President Truman hailing the role of the Jews in America’s military history were read today at the opening of the 51st annual encampment of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S. Over 5,000 Jewish veterans from 520 posts throughout the country are attending the four-day convention.

In a message addressed to Maxwell Cohen, national commander, President Truman paid tribute to the 600,000 Jewish veterans of World War II for their “heroic devotion to country in time of war.” Asking for “a continuation of your unselfish service in time of peace,” the President congratulated the “Jewish War Veterans of the United States as good citizens and good Americans.”

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower recalled that Jewish soldiers received 50,000 awards for valor during the war while “more than 10,000 men of Jewish faith died in defense of our country.” Gen. Jonathan M. Wainright, the hero of Corregidor, declared that “Bataan, Corregidor and the infamous Death March, as I know them to have been, were not without your courageous and valiant sons.” Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz declared that “the Navy owes a debt of gratitude to the myriads of Americans of Jewish faith” who served in World War II.

Secretary of State James F. Byrnes declared that “the task of building a lasting peace presents a new challenge to all war veterans,” and called on the J.W.V. to take “an active part in securing the peace you fought to attain” by “spreading good will, fighting intolerance and promoting causes which will make the world a better place in which to live.” Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal both made pleas for a strong national defense. Congressman Joseph W. Martin of Massachusetts, Fleet Admiral William J. Halsey and Basil O’Connor, chairman of the American Red Cross, also sent messages.

At a meeting yesterday the J.W.V. executive committee adopted recommendations urging liberalization of the U.S. immigration policy, legislation denying Federal funds to educational institutions practicing discrimination against veterans on the basis of race, color or creed and advocating better housing for veterans. The recommendations will be submitted as resolutions for adoption by the convention.

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