Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel
To reconcile their differences, Truman and Attlee set up yet another bilateral group, the Morrison-Grady team. It allowed entry of , refugees.
Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel - Michael T. Benson - Google Книги
Zionists did not accept the federalization scheme or the small amount of land allotted to them. Truman was for endorsing the Morrison-Grady Plan, which he thought fair. Forrestal noted that war clouds were gathering, and that if another war came, the United States would need oil from Saudi Arabia. Truman said, " I will handle this problem not in the light of oil, but in the light of justice. However, Zionists had launched an intense campaign against Morrison-Grady.
Commerce Secretary Henry Wallace warned Truman that Morrison-Grady was "loaded with political dynamite" and asked him to examine it more fully before endorsing it. According to Wallace, Truman brought to the meeting "a sheaf of telegrams about four inches thick from various Jewish people. According to Henry Wallace, Truman said, "Jesus Christ couldn't please them when he was here on earth, so how can anyone expect that I would have any luck? Acheson later told British ambassador Lord Inverchapel that Truman could not endorse it because "intense Jewish hostility" made it a political liability.
In fact however, both the Jews and the Arabs had rejected the Morrison-Grady Plan, which called for minuscule Jewish cantons in a federated state. He again asked for the , Palestine certificates, and said the U.
The speech was probably timed to ensure that it would be mentioned by Rabbis in their Yom Kippur sermons. This was a break with the policy of former President Roosevelt. The State Department and Defense Department were working hard to dissuade Truman from the partition plan. Loy Henderson warned in October of that the immigration of Jewish communists into Palestine will increase Soviet influence there, and Marshall later cited evidence presented by the British that Zionists in the Balkans included many communists.
British FM Bevin had written to Marshall on February 9, that partition could be imposed only by bayonets, and that " the British troops who fought for freedom in the late war shall not now be used to enforce a policy by force in Palestine". At the time he said it, British soldiers were turning Jewish immigrant ships back and forcing passengers to disembark in Cyprus and hanging Jewish underground members.
Truman regarded Bevin's speech as a personal, undiplomatic and "almost hostile" affront to himself, and was probably influenced in favor of partition by this speech. The USSR was surprisingly no longer opposed to partition. Following a night-long hand to hand battle, immigrants rescued from concentration camps languished on the hot filthy decks in Haifa as newsreel cameras whirred away. When the passengers were ultimately returned to Hamburg Germany, the cameras and reporters were there again.
A vast wave of public sentiment for partition and a Jewish state was generated. Despite the 'heartwarming' stories about Harry Truman and his Jewish World War I buddy and business partner Eddie Jacobson, it is evident that Truman had no special love for the Jewish people. One letter from a Jewish citizen accused Truman of preferring Fascist and Arab elements to the democracy-loving Jewish people of Palestine. He was sore and referred the letter to his Jewish, and pro-Zionist assistant David Niles, saying "It is drivels [ sic ] as this that makes anti-Semites.
I though maybe you had best answer it because I might tell him what's good for him. He wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt on August 23, , apparently in the wake of one or another Jewish terrorist atrocity: When they get on top they are just as intolerant and cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath. I regret this situation very much because my sympathy has always been on their side.
Despite Truman's record on Israel, and likewise his courageous desegregation of the US Armed forces in , his utterances about Jews were not always politically correct. Judged by standards of the twenty-first century, they might be considered racist, but Truman was a mid-twentieth century Missouri politician who carried the weight of his cultural heritage, as well as a sharp and dry sense of humor. For better or worse, Truman was given to frank self-expression at all times, so these beliefs found their way into the historical record as well.
His diary entry for July 21, , written on three loose pages interleaved in the diary book, is revealing, both concerning his attitude toward Jews, and concerning the attitude of Americans toward settling DPs in the United States. The entry repeats the earlier theme about underdogs: Monday July 21, Had ten minutes conversation with Henry Morgenthau about Jewish ship in Palistine [sic]. Told him I would talk to Gen[eral] Marshall about it.
He'd no business, whatever to call me. The Jews have no sense of proportion nor do they have any judgement on world affairs. Henry brought a thousand Jews to New York on a supposedly temporary basis and they stayed. When the country went backward-and Republican in the election of , this incident loomed large on the D[isplaced] P[ersons] program.
The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog. Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire.
I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes. Look at the Congress[ional] attitude on D[isplaced] P[ersons]-and they all come from D[isplaced] P[erson]s. The last lines are revealing. At least in this case, Truman was expressing a philosophy about underdogs rather than venting against the Jews in particular.
He was also frustrated by the opposition to allowing admittance of Jews to the United States. The , displaced persons were a problem he had to solve somehow, yet all rational solutions seemed to be blocked. Special Adviser Clark Clifford had warned Truman that the Soviets would use Palestine as a lever to gain influence to the Middle East, on the one hand supporting Jewish immigration, and on the other inflaming the Arabs against the US.
However, as the Soviet Union had now come out in favor of partition, Truman, having previously supported it, could certainly do no less. Truman's support for a Jewish state remained cautious and conditional. He was especially irritated by the torrent of support for a Jewish state from Zionists, and became more so as time went on. I put it all in a pile and struck a match to it -- I never looked at a single one of the letters because I felt the United Nations Committee was acting in a judicial capacity and should not be interfered with.
Nobody else recalls any such documents being burned however. Truman was apparently persuaded by Chaim Weizmann, brought to the White House in November by the indefatigable Eddie Jacobson, to support keeping the Negev, about half the area of Israel, in the Jewish state. The vote was postponed from Wednesday, giving the lobbyists Thursday, the Thanksgiving holiday, to change votes. The Arab countries exerted pressure against partition. Pressure from Zionists, US officials and former officials was brought to bear on countries that were intending to vote against partition.
Greece was threatened with loss of foreign aid. Apparently on the prompting of former Secretary of State Stettinus, tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone threatened Liberia with a rubber embargo. Though newspapers accused State Department officials of acting against partition, at least some State department officials were directly involved in lobbying for it. Greece voted against partition anyway, but other countries changed their vote. The partition resolution was duly passed.
As soon as the resolution passed however, the State Department went to work systematically to undo it. The Palestine problem was dwarfed by the problems arising in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, where country after country was falling under Soviet influence.
The US was demobilizing rapidly and had to decide whether to maintain a military footing to counter the USSR, and to face the possibility of another war, that would increase US dependence on Arab oil. The Presidential staff in those days was tiny, and Truman had to read each and every one of these documents. Palestine was a side show, so the State Department could act more or less independently in many ways, and despite official support for partition, most State Department officials remained opposed.
On December 5, the US declared an arms embargo in the Middle East, which prevented the Jews from getting arms, but did not affect contracts of the Arab states with Great Britain. The stand of President Truman on this embargo is unclear. Having withdrawn the means of defense, the State Department then tried to prove that the Jews would not be able to defend themselves in case of Arab attack. A secret memo on December 17 called for the US to renounce partition as impractical and asked that the US should convene a special session of the UN General Assembly to work out a "middle of the road" solution that would win support from Jews and Arabs.
If this would be impossible, the US should favor a trusteeship plan, an idea that was favored by Loy Henderson, and that had been incubated for several months in the State Department. Another secret report, at the end of from the American Consul General in Jerusalem, Robert Macatee, warned that " if the UN expects to be able to partition Palestine without forces to help maintain order and to enforce partition, its thinking is most unrealistic and its efforts will be in vain. A position paper issued January 19, claimed that whereas the US had voted for partition believing that the Arabs would cooperate, and that this was doubtful now.
On January 15, the Arab League had again announced their intention to prevent partition by force. The paper recommended returning the question for discussion in the UN. The notion that the US had voted for partition believing that the Arabs would cooperate is difficult to believe. Truman was certainly aware of Arab opposition. The Arab League and the Arab Higher Committee had made clear their opposition to partition both before and after the partition vote, in quite unequivocal terms, and had graphically described exactly what they planned to do to the Jews of Palestine.
However, the State Department wanted to defuse the Palestine issue to leave it free to deal with Europe, and the notion of committing US troops to Palestine in the face of possible obligations in Greece and Czechoslovakia was unpalatable.
A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel
During this period, George Marshall said that in Europe, the United States was playing with fire without having anything to put it out. Truman's response was not satisfactory, and the visitors became adamant. If anyone is going to do any shouting or pounding in here, it will be me. Truman had them ushered out of the Oval Office, and said to his staff.
Don't ever admit them again, and what's more, I also never want to hear the word Palestine mentioned again. As the day of British withdrawal drew nearer, the State Department and Department of Defense did not despair of blocking partition. Instead, they wanted the US to replace the partition plan with a Trusteeship plan. Truman had apparently in fact approved a draft of this plan in February , and UN delegates understood from a speech made by UN delegate Warren Austin, on February 24, that the US might be abandoning partition and seeking a trusteeship solution. Truman at first refused.
He wrote on February 27 to Jacobson that he would not learn anything new from Weizmann, and added: The British have, of course, been exceedingly uncooperative. The Zionists, of course, have expected a big stick approach on our part, and naturally have been disappointed when we can't do that. However, Jacobson met Truman on March 13, Truman was furious over the pressure tactics applied by Zionist leaders. Jacobson said later, " I suddenly found myself thinking, that my dear friend, the President of the United States, was at that moment as close to being an anti-Semite as a man could possibly be, and I was shocked that some of our own Jewish leaders should be responsible for Mr.
Nonetheless, after considerable persuasion, Truman said, " You win, you baldheaded son-of-a-bitch. I will see him. On March 18, , Truman met Weizmann and reassured him of US support for a Jewish state, promising to recognize the state whether or not it was declared under UN auspices. However, the State Department was still working at cross purposes to the White house. This was contrary to a specific request made by Truman in February, in which he also instructed Marshall that the statement to be made by Austin should be cleared with Truman.
On March 19, , Warren Austin, U. According to Clifford, Truman said, "I assured Chaim Weizmann that we were for partition and would stick to it. He must think I am a plain liar. He wrote in his diary: I didn't expect that would happen.
Comment on this item
In Key-West or en route there from St. Croix I approved the speech and statement of policy by Sen. This morning I find that the State Department has reversed my Palestine policy. The first I know about it is what I see in the papers! Now, I am placed in a position of a liar and double-crosser. There are people on the third and fourth levels of the State Dept. They've succeeded in doing so. Marshall's in California and Lovett's in Florida What is not generally understood is that the Zionists are not the only ones to be considered in the Palestine question.
There are other interests that come into play, each with its own agenda. These advisers argued that however humanitarian a Jewish homeland might seem, such a proposition posed a real risk to American interests in the Near East and to United States national security in the late s. Despite their continued opposition, Truman stood his ground and maintained that he would decide the entire issue based on what he thought was right. Of interest to historians, and students of Israel and of the U.
Benson has done very thorough research, and he does indeed prove Truman's lifelong dedication to the Bible, as well as his morality What is most notable about this book is its total pro-Israel orientation. Benson has blended the best of political and historical research skills in this work A worthwhile and interesting book which makes a strong case for Harry S. Truman's moral considerations in deciding to recognize Israel. Benson's research and writing are exemplary. Michael Benson shows the relevance of religion and moral principle to the shaping of an American foreign policy.