NEW YORK (Feb. 16)
The Jewish Agency executive, which is currently meeting in New York, tonight issued a statement announcing that Henry Morgenthau Jr., has teen invited to become the general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. It also said that “it is understood” Morgenthau will invite Henry Montor to conduct the 1949 U.J.A. campaign.
Also issued tonight ware statements by Berl Locker, chairman of the Agency executive in Jerusalem, explaining the action of the body, and a statement by Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, chairman of the American section of the executive, announcing his resignation from the executive, and that of Dr. Emanuel Neumann, Z.O.A. president. The statement of the Agency Executive follows:
“The Executive of the Jewish Agency has met in plenary session in New York to discuss the urgent problems of its work, especially immigration, colonization and fund-raising.
“The Executive, after having discussed the differences of opinion which arose in the United States with regard to the 1949 campaign of the United Jewish Appeal, has taken the following decisions which it is hoped will ensure unity of action and the successful conduct of the campaign.
“The Executive deplores the accusations which have been made in the course of the recent controversy with regard to fund-raising against responsible Zionist bodies, and especially against the United Palestine Appeal and the Zionist Organization of America and states that these accusations are unfounded and that the Integrity of these bodies and their leadership cannot be impugned.
“The Executive takes note of the arrangements agreed upon with regard to the Reorganization of the United Palestine Appeal and will take the necessary steps to ensure their implementation at the earliest possible date. The Executive also notes with satisfaction that the 1949 campaign of the United Jewish Appeal has been launched end that American Jewish communities have began their mobilization for this great effort.
“Meeting for the first time in the United States in plenary session the Executive takes this occasion to note with appreciation the steadfast loyalty of and the important contributions made by all sections of American Zionism and by the Jewish community of the United States in general over many years in all fields of activity for the Jewish Rational Home and Israel. We recall the roll played by the Keren Hayesod and the Keren Kayemeth in the United States and by the United Palestine Appeal in mobilizing financial support for this great effort.
“We also record the historic achievements of American Zionists in the great political struggle which culminated in the rise of the State of Israel. In the critical period which lies ahead we look to all sections of American Zionism and all American Jewry as a whole to cooperate wholeheartedly in a curtained effort to mobilize all its resources in coping with the met problem of nose immigration and colonization which confront us in Israel, It was also decided that:
“1. Mr. Henry Morgenthau, Jr. is to be invited to become the General Chairman if the United Jewish Appeal with the come authority he exercised in the previous campaigns as we find in the Minutes of the United Jewish Appeal administrative committee of December 13, 1946. That document is attached hereto;
“2. The Joint Distribution Committee and the United Palestine Appeal shall be entitled to name Executive Vice Chairman of equal rank. It is understood that Mr. Mergenthau will invite Mr. Henry Mentor to conduct the 1949 campaign;
“3. All Zionist staff members of the United Jewish Appeal shall refrain from my and all controversial Zionist political activity;
“4. The Committee of Contributors and Workers shall discontinue all activities and dissolve immediately;
“5. All Zionist groups will be advised by the Jewish Agency that they should in the future refrain from involving the United Palestine Appeal and the National funds in any controversial political discussions.
“A further statement on other items dealt with by the Executive will be issued after the conclusion of its plenary session.”
TEXT OF U.J.A. ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES ON FUNCTIONS OF CHAIRMAN
The following to an extract of the minutes of a meeting of the U.J.A. Administrative Committee of Dec. 13, 1946, explaining the functions of the general chairman of the organization;
“Consideration was given to the ratter of the appointment of a General Chairman. It was the sense of the Committee that the General Chairman should be vested with the fullest powers of function and responsible authority. To this end it was duly resolved that a General Chairman be designated to have responsible direction of all matters of policy connected with the campaign; to counsel and advice with the chairmen and Executive Vise-Chairmen and to initiate and to do whatever may be desirable or necessary to effectuate plans, purposes and policies; to serve ex-officio as a member of the Administrative Committee and of all Sub-Committees.
“To the attainment of these objects, the Administrative Committee pledges the fullest support and cooperation of the staff of the United Jewish Appeal, of its officers and the members of the administrative Committee.”
FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF HENRY MONTOR’S LETTER TO THE U.P.A.
“In recent weeks, in discussion of the launching of the United Jewish Appeal campaign, reference has been mode publicly and privately to the letter I wrote to the United Palestine Appeal on September 10 submitting my resignation. It is regrettable that note has not been taken of the fact that on October 21 I wrote to the United Palestine Appeal withdrawing the letter dated September 10.
“It is appropriate for me to point out at this tire that any circulation or publication of the letter of September 10 was not undertaken by me and was without is approval. I could regret nothing more than that it should in any way serve to lessen support of the genuine needs of Israel.
“As vice president of the Palestine Economic Corporation, I continue to have fall knowledge of the total needs of Israel and of the urgent necessity for maximum generosity by the Jews of America to the United Jewish Appeal. I shall be glad to render whatever service I can in my present capacity toward that end.
“Insofar as my letter of September 10th is concerned, in order to make my position quite clear, I hereby withdraw it and all the accusations contained therein and ask that it be expunged from the record. I offer my apologies to any person or organization offended at its contents, more particularly to the United Palestine Appeal and the Zionist Organization of America,”
TEXT OF STATEMENT ISSUED BY BERL LOCKER
The following is the text of the statement issued by Locker, at a press conference here:
“I want first of all cordially to thank the Jewish press for the cooperative spirit they have shown during the plenary session of the Jewish Agency Executive in New York. 1 know how difficult it is for the daily press to withhold from their readers news and comment on current affairs of common interest, but all of you understood the importance of keeping certain matters confidential and you cooperated excellently.
“The plenary session is not yet over and there are still a few quite important matters to be discussed and settled. However, I am in a position to give you today some general notion of the most important problems we are confronted with, and I am doing it gladly. You know from previous communications that during our session we have had reports of our Department for Immigration and Absorption of Immigrants, of the Finance Department, and also a general report on colonization. Some attention was given also to organizational matters. We are still to discuss reports of our department dealing with the Jewish situation in Arab and Moslem countries, and of the Special Department for the Development of Jerusalem. We also have on our agenda the problem of the Chalutzim movement in America and adequate provisions will have to be made for the establishment of an Agency Department for cultural and educational work in the Diaspora.
“The most important problem, which was the main reason for convening the plenary session in New York, was, as you know, the controversy which has arisen around the 1949 Campaign of the United Jewish Appeal. I would like to say at the outset, that all members participating in the meeting have approached this problem with good will and understanding, and have made serious efforts to reach an agreement satisfactory to all concerned. In fact, on most of the points, agreement has been reached, but unfortunately there remained one on which a minority held a view different from that of the majority. This was the question of the leadership of the 1949 campaign. The majority took the view that it is vital for the success of the 1949 campaign that Mr. Henry Morgenthau Jr. should be given the some rights as he had in the previous two campaigns and also that he should be able to invite Mr. Henry Montor to undertake the conduct of the campaign under Mr. Morgenthau’s leadership.
“The majority of the Executive so decided. Two members of the Executive, undoubtedly guided by most sincere conviction, did not share the view of the majority and voted against it, while four other members abstained from voting, declaring at the same time that they accept the decision of the majority as binding on the whole executive and are prepared to put themselves entirely at the disposal of the campaign. I regret to have to announce that Dr. Silver and Dr. Neumann did not confine themselves to voting against this decision, but also announced their resignation from the Executive. All other members of the Executive, while respecting the views of their two distinguished colleagues, consider their step unjustified. It was unanimously resolved ?ot to accept their resignation and to appeal to Dr. Silver and Dr. Neunann to accept be decision of the majority and not to withhold their services to the Executive and to the campaign. “These views still stand and I am expressing the hope of the whole Executive last the two colleagues mentioned will reconsider their decision. We expect them to continue their much needed work in full cooperation with their colleagues.
“One last word; You know that in the course of this controversy a letter written by Mr. Montor on the 10th of September became a subject of heated discussion. Mr. Montor has now withdrawn this letter and the accusations contained therein.”
HOUSING FOR IMMIGRANTS IS GREATEST PROBLEM FACING ISRAEL. LOCKER SAYS
Supplementing his prepared statement, Locker told a news conference that the greatest problem now facing the Jewish Agency is that of providing adequate housing for the newly-arriving immigrants. He said that the Jerusalem members of the executive were reluctant to come to the United States at this time because they did not wish to be absent from the opening session of the Israeli Constituent Assembly, but decided to hold the plenary session in Kew York immediately because they wished to help resolve the conflict within the U.J.A.
American Jewry, he said, must support the Agency’s program of housing the thousands of immigrants reaching Israel every week. He pointed out that the Jewish Agency is at present expending $30,000 daily to feed nearly 30,000 refugee immigrants in Agency reception centers in Israel. He also emphasized that Israel must provide for the swift resettlement of all sections of the country, including the Negev.
Touching on the question of land redemption in Israel, Locker emphasized that the Israeli Government–”not being a robber government “–would not confiscate Arab lands, but would pay fair prices to the former owners. He reiterated that although it is able to meet all of its requirements, the Jewish Agency must look abroad to Jewish communities throughout the world, but most especially to the American Jewish community, for the financial support needed to house new immigrants.
STATEMENT ISSUED BY DR. SILVER EXPLAINING RESIGNATIONS
The following statement was issued by Dr. Silver to explain his and Dr. Neumann’s resignations from the Agency executive:
“Yesterday I, as well as Dr. Emanuel Neumann, resigned from the Executive of to Jewish Agency.A brief explanation is called for.
“Our Movement is confronted with a task of staggering proportions: the transportation, absorption and resettlement in Israel of hundreds of thousands of Jews now stressing to its shores. How to mobilize the vast sums required for this purpose is the burning problem of the hour.
“In our view only through the wholehearted cooperation of all sections of American Jewry working for the United Jewish Appeal in an atmosphere of harmony and good-will can we hope to meet even the minimal needs. Without it the campaign would be gravely Jeopardized.
“Having gone to the greatest lengths to settle the recant controversy precipitated by Mr. Henry Montor by an agreement conclude in December, we were dismayed at the reopening of the controversy and the renewed insistence that the supreme direction of the campaign be turned over to the one most responsible for the internecine conflict–one who had become a most controversial figure symbolizing to many groups ##ed communities not harmony and good-will, but strife and bitter antagonism.
DR. SILVER SAYS HE MADE “EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT TO REACH COMPROMISE”
“On Monday, I was requested by the Executive to confer with Mr. Morgenthau in Florida. I agreed to make this final effort in order to persuade Mr. Morgenthau or to explore other possibilities for the sake of unity; but Mr. Morgenthau politely declined to meet.
“The plan now approved by the Executive under pressure, spells an overwhelming concentration of powers in Mr. Morgenthau and Mr. Montor — chiefly the latter, who is to be given even greater authority and a higher status than he ever had in the past. It is painful but necessary to point out that such concentration of power last year led to a most serious and flagrant abuse of that power with disastrous consequences. The wretched controversy from which we are still suffering was organized and directed by Mr. Montor while occupying key positions. No sense of responsibility or loyalty deterred him from attempting to launch a new rival fund, splitting the community and threatening the very organizations which employed him. He spread scandalous rumors and accusations which the Agency Executive has unanimously declared to be false and which Mr. Montor himself belatedly retracted. While Mr. Montor engaged in this incendiary business sewing dissension and distrust, Mr. Morgenthau as General Chairman did nothing to restrain him. On the contrary, he insisted that Mr. Montor retain his post until the end of the year, but he permitted him to use those months and the extensive facilities at his disposal to carry on his disruptive activities without let or hindrance. It is conceded that those activities have already been very costly to the United Jewish Appeal. The bill for Mr. Montor’s irresponsible conduct will be paid in the final analysis by thousands of homeless Jews in desperate need of all those things which the generosity of American Jews must provide.
“We regret to differ with other members of the Executive, particularly those resident in Jerusalem, on the proper course to follow in the best interest of the campaign in the United States. With all deference to the majority we cannot share the responsibility for what is now being done. Those who demand unlimited and arbitrary power and those who agree to confer it must also assume full responsibility for the chain of consequences which may follow. We can only hope that the results will be better than we have reason to fear. For ourselves we intend to continue to work in the future as in the past for the good of the Movement and the welfare of Israel.”