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Memorandum for Field Marshal Sir John Dill
July 6, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
Saturday a Dr. Chaim Weizmann came to see me about the Jews in Palestine, specifically requesting that I use my influence to urge the British authorities to send Colonel Wingate from India to Palestine to rush the organization of Jewish manpower for such defensive work as they might be capable of.1 He told me he had seen you. The Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. [Henry] Morgenthau, sent him to me.
Other than the fact that this Wingate is apparently the nephew of Sir Reginald Wingate of Sudan fame I could have no opinion in the matter. Incidentally, I brought up the question of this relationship.2
Possibly these people might be used for guarding airports, pipelines, localities against parachute troops, etc. I suppose armament would be the first practical question.
Lieutenant General Frank Andrews is here from Panama and he tells me that he has serious doubts about the efficiency (privately, the reliability) of Governor Hunter of British Honduras.3 I would appreciate your allowing me to send General Andrews to talk to you personally though he probably would be much embarrassed in presenting a matter regarding which he has no concrete evidence.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. President of the World Zionist Organization, chairman of the executive committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and a research chemist working on producing synthetic rubber, Weizmann had arrived in the United States from Britain in mid-March on both scientific and Zionist missions. He and other Zionist leaders had been trying for several years to persuade the British to establish military units composed of exiled and Palestinian Jews, and they thought that Churchill had consented to this in September 1940, but the British were reluctant to cause trouble for themselves with the Arabs. Rommel’s drive toward the Nile boded ill for the Middle East’s Jews. Weizmann recalled his meeting with the chief of staff: “I explained what faced us if the needed munitions did not reach the British in time. General Marshall listened gravely and attentively, said very little, made notes of what I told him, and thanked me for the information.” (Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann [London: Harper and Brothers for East and West Library, 1950], pp. 520-30; quote on p. 530. The Jewish Brigade was not officially organized until September 1944.)
2. Colonel Orde C. Wingate’s father’s first cousin, Sir Reginald Wingate, had been British governor-general of the Sudan between 1899 and 1916. Colonel Wingate, Weizmann recalled, was “a fanatical Zionist” since his tour of duty in Palestine in the late 1930s when he helped to train and to lead certain Jewish military units. (Ibid., p. 489.) Wingate was in India at this time planning an expedition to carry out a long-range penetration into Japanese-occupied Burma.
3. Sir John Adams Hunter had been governor and commander in chief of British Honduras since 1940. He remained in this post until 1946.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 267-268.