Palestine Govt. Defends Assauit on Visaless Jews; Agency Says Immigration Will Go on

Stung by criticism of its rough handling of the Exodus refugees and their subsequent deportation, the Palestine Government today lashed out at the organizers of illegal immigration.

In a letter to the Jewish Agency, Chief Secretary Sir Henry L. Gurney described the Agency’s charge that the government had displayed an “utter disregard for human life and freedom” as “untrue and tendentious.” He praised the conduct of the Royal Navy men and said that responsibility for the violence lay with those who “incited” the refugees to resistance.

However, rumors emanating from high government circles tonight said that High Commissioner Sir Alan Cunningham had been opposed to returning the Exodus passengers to France, which was ordered by Foreign Minister Bevin. He is reported to feel so strongly on the issue that he is contemplating resigning.

In a statement issued tonight the Agency said that efforts of Jews to reach Palestine will continue. “No amount of repression can stifle the urge of Jews to freedom in their own country,” it added. The statement called on “liberty-loving Frenchmen and Englishmen” to protest the “transport of these helpless people thousands of miles from Palestine.”

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