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New U.S. Palestine Policy Attacked in Congress; Recognition of Jewish State Urged

March 23, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A sharp debate broke out in both houses of Congress today as a number of Senators and Representatives attacked the American reversal on Palestine partition and espousal of a plan for a U.N. trusteeship for the mandate.

The high points of the debate came when Rep. Leo Isaacson, American Labor Party of New York, demanded that the United States recognize the de facto Jewish state in Palestine and Rep. Jacob K. Javits of New York introduced a bill to legalize the shipment of arms and munitions to Palestine despite the State Department embargo. Isaacson also urged that the Administration return to its former pro-partition stand.

In the Senate Irving M. Ives, Republican of New York, asserted that he knew that "this wobbly, catch-as-catch-can, will-o’-the-wisp policy does not represent the Character of the American people." He asked why the United States should decide to abandon the plan for partition on the basis that it is "hazardous and dangerous." The trusteeship plan, he insisted, appears to be "just as hazardous." Sen. Homer Capehart, Republican, of Indiana, concurred in Ives’ statements.

Rep. Helen Gahagan Douglas, California Democrat, said that the Administration had been "vacillating and dishonest" in handling the Palestine problem from the day the United Nations voted for partition." Chet Holifield, Republican Congressman from California, called the U.S. reversal "the last and culminating blunder of a weak and confused leadership," Rep. Emanuel Celler, of Hew York, also blasted the Administration

Rep. Vito Marcantonio, American Labor of Hew York, charged that the State Department’s present Palestine policy is an "integral part" of the European Recovery Program. He added that persons who supported E.R.P. and at the same time protested the latest American change regarding Palestine wore "talking out of both sides of their mouths."


In support of the Administration’s trusteeship proposal was Rep. John Rankin of Mississippi, who said that the President bought to be applauded" by members of both parties for his latest stand. The U.N. had no more right to set up a Jewish state in Palestine than they would have to set up a "Negro state in Harlem or a Mexican state in Texas," he said. He was joined by Rep. Ed Gossett, of Texas, who said that 90 percent of the Congress would support Truman.

Rep. Lawrence Smith, Wisconsin Republican, said the decision to partition Palestine had been a "tragic mistake" which was now being corrected. Rep. Clare Hoffman of Michigan said the .American people are "getting tired of going to war for minority groups."

Rep. Arthur G. Klein, Democrat of New York, announced today that he plans to introduce a bill tomorrow calling for an investigation of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs, which handles the Palestine problem.

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