WASHINGTON (Jun. 28)
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, speaking before more than 1, 000 members of the press corps here, went out of his way to register strong support of Israel and called Americans to “help forward the legitimate Zionist aspirations. ” He emphasized that he considers himself a Zionist.
The British Prime Minister made his statement in reply to a question put to him by Milton Friedman, Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent. This was one of about six written questions on vital world problems which he chose to answer from a great number of other questions submitted to him on many issues.
Sir Winston inferentially refuted recent anti-Israel expressions by Henry A. Byroade, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Mr. Byroade expressed concern over alleged Arab “fears” of over-population of Israel, but Sir Winston said that the population in Palestine was far greater 2, 000 years ago than it is today. He also expressed optimism on eventual Arab-Israel peace.
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles listened intently at the head table as Sir Winston spoke before television cameras and a world radio hook-up. Sir Churchill appeared in response to a luncheon invitation extended to him and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden by a joint committee of press,* radio and TV correspondents.
SAYS ESTABLISHMENT OF ISRAEL “MOST WONDERFUL THING”
“I am a Zionist, ” the British Prime Minister said, “let me make that clear. I was one of the original ones after the Balfour Declaration, and I have worked faithfully for it. I think it is a most wonderful thing that this community should have established itself, so effectively turning the desert into fertile gardens and thriving townships, and should have afforded a refuge to the millions of their co-religionists who had suffered so fearfully under the Hitler, and not only under the Hitler, persecution. I think it is a wonderful thing.
“I also have a great liking for the Arabs. I was the man who appointed Abdullah to be King of Trans-Jordania; I presented to the cabinet that idea, and they put it into force, Alas, he had been murdered, but I have the the greatest regard for the Arabs, too. Really, I think we ought to be able, somehow or other, to use our influence from every quarter to make them work out a plan together.
“It is so easy to reduce what little there is of that part of the world to the desert, to the level of the desert, and that is all that can be done by their quarrels; whereas, by agreements, and so forth, we may be able to greatly increase the population who can live in that area. There were far more 2, 000 years ago than there are now in Palestine; and we not only can greatly increase the population in the area, but we can bring a harmony there which will be a security and not an element of anxiety in the Middle East. Let us be tolerant and let us be friendly, and let us support Arab rights and help forward the legitimate Zionist aspirations. “