Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Former Stern Group Leader Challenges Margaret Truman Daniel to Sue Him for Allegedly Sending Letter

December 18, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Natan Yalin-Mor, former head of the underground Stern Group in Palestine, challenged Margaret Truman Daniel today to sue him in any court for allegedly sending a letter bomb to her father, Harry S. Truman, when he was President in 1947.

Yalin-Mor, who after the Six-Day War was a founder of the Movement for a Federated Palestine, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Mrs. Daniel’s claim, in her recently published biography of her father, “Harry S. Truman,” that the Sternists attempted to assassinate Truman with a letter bomb was a falsehood. He said she could sue him for saying that as well.

In her book, Mrs. Daniel wrote that a number of cream-color envelopes arrived at the White House in 1947 addressed to the President and members of his staff. She said they were found to contain “powdered gelignite, a pencil battery and a detonator rigged to explode the gelignite” when the envelope was opened.


Mrs. Daniel attributed the letter bombs to the Sternists but did not indicate why the bombs were attributed to the Stern Group. A similar report was published in a 1949 book, “Dear Mr. President,” by Ira R.T. Smith and Joe Alex Morris. The book, recounting Smith’s experience as a White House staff mail reader for 50 years, contended that the Stern Group claimed responsibility for the letter bombs.

Yalin-Mor told the JTA that his group had no motive to assassinate Truman who it regarded as infinitely more sympathetic to the Zionist cause than his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He readily acknowledged that the Sternists resorted to letter bombs but insisted that they were sent only to British leaders during the waning years of the Palestine Mandate and not to any other nationals. He said there was nothing to be gained from driving other sympathetic nations into the arms of the British.

The terrorist activities of the Stern Group and its sister organization, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, during the years immediately preceding Israel’s independence in 1948 were publicly condemned by official Zionist leaders. But impartial observers here have tended to dismiss Mrs. Daniel’s attribution of the White House letter bombs to the Sternists as unrealistic and uncharacteristic of the Stern Group’s activities at the time.

Recommended from JTA