New Book on President Truman Throws Light on U.S. Policy Shifts on Palestine Issue

A new book on President Truman published today and considered a “semi-authorized biography” throws new light on the U.S. Government’s shifts in Palestine policy prior to the establishment of Israel. The book, “The Man of Independence,” by Jonathan Daniels, puts the onus for the Palestine policy shifts on subordinate officials in the State Department. The volume notes, for example, that suspension of the U.N. partition plan was proposed on March 19, 1948, when the then Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, was in California and Undersecretary Robert A. Lovett was in Florida.

Mr. Daniels says that President Truman was steadfast in his resolve to see Israel established and implies that the President was “imposed upon” by those who were “manipulating” policy in the State Department. The author says that Dr. Chaim Weizmann–who was in Washington during this period–had full faith in Mr. Truman but believed that the President “did not know on Thursday what was going to happen on Friday.”

Discussing the issue of recognition of Israel, the book says that Clark M. Clifford, then the President’s special counsel, argued at a conference called to discuss the issue for immediate recognition of the new state. Gen. Marshall retorted that “this was no matter to be decided on a political basis.” Mr. Truman, for the moment, accepted. Gen. Marshall’s advice and recognition of Israel was put off.

However, later that day, Undersecretary Lovett–who had been asked by Gen. Marshall to state the case against immediate recognition of Israel–contacted Mr. Clifford and told him about his uneasiness over the decision to put off recognition. Mr. Lovett said the issue would be reviewed. The next day, the book notes, Mr. Truman announced U.S. recognition of Israel.

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