Sen. Scott Lucas, Illinois Democrat, who represented the United States at the Bermuda Refugee Conference, defended its accomplishments today on the Senate floor and attacked an advertisement of the Committee for a Jewish Army that described the meeting as a “cruel mockery.”
Lucas branded “an untruth” the committee statement that the word “Jews” was “banished” from discussion at the conference. “Nothing was excluded from the conference,” he said. “Every possibility was carefully investigated and discussed.”
He read into the record a letter from Sen. Edwin C. Johnson, Colorado Democrat, who is chairman of the committee, telling Peter H. Bergson, its National Director, that “the committee and I must come to an agreement at once that greater care must be exercised.”
Lucas read out the names of 33 Senators, listed in the advertisement as supporting the committee’s principles. Five of these rose to repudiate any knowledge of the statement beside their names. They were Albert B. Chandler, Kentucky, Harry S. Truman, Missouri and Francis Maloney, Connecticut, Democrats; and Alexander Wiley, Wisconsin, and E.H. Moore, Oklahoma, Republicans. Lucas said he was “disturbed and amazed” to see Johnson’s name at the bottom of the advertisement, which appeared in the New York Times on May 6 and in other papers today. He told of talking to a number of Senators whose names appeared and finding that not one knew anything about the advertisement-not even Johnson. He deplored the effect that the advertisement might have on uninformed readers. It implied, according to Lucas, “that Democracy in this country is conniving in the slaughter of poor unfortunate people in Europe.”
Lucas told the Senate that some of his best friends in this country are of the Jewish faith, but expressed the opinion that Jews were “injuring their own case with an advertisement of this kind.” “This kind of an advertisement,” he said, “plays into the hands of Adolf Hitler.”
During the discussion, Senator Chandler urged that this country “keep the committments made to the Jewish people during the last war,” and Senator Wiley deplored the advertisement as damaging to the cause it sought to further.
A spokesman for the committee indicated satisfaction with the discussion on the floor as a step toward bringing the issue into the open.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.