NEW YORK (Sep. 28)
Funeral services will be held here tomorrow for James G. McDonald, first United States envoy to Israel and the world’s first non-Jewish statesman to warn against Hitler’s plans to annihilate the Jews, who died here this weekend. He was 77.
Mr. McDonald spoke out publicly on behalf of Zionism and the use of Palestine as “a great place of refuge” after he visited Palestine in 1933, while holding the post of League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in 1933. After two years in that position he resigned in 1935 with a blast at Hitler, whom he accused of a planned policy of race extermination, and a sharp criticism of the democratic nations for failing to face that fact.
During World War II, he held, among other positions, the post of chairman of President Roosevelt’s Committee on Political Refugees. In 1944 and 1945, he urged repeatedly that Palestine be opened to Jewish immigration. After President Truman gave de facto recognition to the new State of Israel, in 1948, Mr. McDonald was appointed the first head of America’s diplomatic mission to Israel. Later, when the United States gave Israel full, de jure recognition, he became Washington’s first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Israel.
Meanwhile, he had served, under an appointment by Truman, on the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine. After his resignation from the Ambassadorship, he continued speaking and writing on behalf of Israel at every opportunity. In 1951, when the first Israel bond campaign was launched, Mr. McDonald was one of the most forceful proponents of that phase of large-scale investment in Israel.
A statement issued today by the Jewish Agency for Israel, on behalf of the Agency and the World Zionist Organization, expressed profound regret over his passing. The statement hailed him as “a humanitarian of unsurpassed dedication, a statesman of great wisdom and foresight, a sincere and ardent worker in the cause of world peace and cooperation, ” and as “the first to recognize that Hitler’s policy against the Jews was the first skirmish against Christianity.” The statement was signed by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization; Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Agency executive; and Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, chairman of the Agency’s American section.