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6-299 Memorandum of Conversation with US Jewish War Veterans, September 8, 1948

   
Date: September 8, 1948



MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH THE JEWISH WAR VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES
September 8, 1948
Washington, DC
Confidential

This afternoon, shortly after 3:00 p.m., I received a delegation of seventeen representatives of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, headed by Mr. Julius Klein, their national commander.1

Klein informed me that the group had met with the President earlier in the day. He then made a statement to me of the views of the Jewish War Veterans regarding Palestine which was generally more moderate in tone than other statements I have received from similar groups. (At the close of the interview Mr. Klein presented me with a copy of the formal statement of the views of his organization on this topic).

In my remarks I replied generally to Klein’s statement and said that I approved the emphasis which had been given to the national interest in Klein’s statement.

I emphasized that as Secretary of State it was my duty to approach the problem of Palestine on a realistic basis, as free as possible from the emotionalism which surrounds the issue. My duty, I pointed out, was to seek calmly a wise long-range solution which would adequately serve the interests of the United States.

I mentioned that, to some extent at least, the emotionalism of the issue had caught up the Arab peoples to such an extent that Arab leaders are not able to make concessions which otherwise they might be willing to make. I remarked, off-the-record, that in the very polite talks with diplomatic representatives of Arab nations there had been recurring reference to the use of Arab military force and that this tactic had been both unwise and ineffective. Likewise there was the suggestion of political reprisals by Jewish groups in the United States.

I also indicated that the expansionist tendencies of the U.S.S.R. in this area further complicated the already complex situation.
I discussed the terrible condition of the Arab refugees and emphasized that, regardless of where the fault lay for their plight, immediate assistance was required for the people involved and that the United States Government was helping to provide needed assistance. This problem I described as a sore in the midst of an area which we are trying to heal.

Klein said that the President had indicated that the activities of extreme Zionist groups had greatly complicated the problem of dealing with the Palestine issue, and asked if I wished to comment on this. I indicated that I had no comment to make.

I stated that the present situation in Palestine gave more promise of a satisfactory solution than at any time since the problem had arisen, and that the prospect[s] for such a solution were good. I warned that an effective solution would probably please neither the Arab nor Israel governments.

NA/RG 59 (Central Decimal File, 867N.01/9–848)

1. Julius Klein, a former military officer and journalist, was an active lobbyist for Israel and Jewish issues. He had previously written an article about Marshall during the latter’s stint with the Illinois National Guard. (See Papers of GCM, 2: 16.)