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Memorandum for Mr. McCloy
February 23, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I appeared, apparently informally, before most of the members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate. No secretary was present, therefore no record was made.
I covered the subject offhand as nearly in conformity with your memorandum and that of General Bissell as I could.1
They asked very few questions. The principal one was voiced by Senator Vandenberg who asked whether this was an abstract proposition or concrete as to immediate possibility for reactions.2 My answer was that it was a concrete proposition with a serious probability. He said that was satisfactory to him. A number of other members expressed themselves accordingly, that they had heard enough and would vote against the resolution.
They were going to decide among themselves as to the form of the statement to be made. I told them that I could see no objection to saying that on advice of the State Department and military authorities, the committee was opposed to taking any such action as advocated in the Wagner-Taft resolution, the passage of which would be fraught with very serious possibilities regarding military operations; or something of that sort.
Senator Connally desired to talk this over because he did not want the statement to imply that they approved of the resolution even if it did not have any serious military consequences.3
Thanks for letting me have your statement so promptly.
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. The United States Congress passed a resolution on June 30, 1922, stating that the United States was in favor of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Senators Robert F. Wagner and Robert A. Taft introduced in early February 1944 Senate Resolution 247, which suggested that the current “ruthless persecution of the Jewish people in Europe” made the establishment of a Jewish homeland all the more imperative and that the United States, therefore, should support the “free entry of Jews” into Palestine and “ultimately reconstitute Palestine as a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth.” Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy prepared a memorandum for General Marshall on February 22, 1944, stating objections to the resolution from a military point of view. McCloy stated that the major difference between the 1922 congressional resolution and the Wagner-Taft Senate Resolution was that the latter called for the establishment of “a Jewish state as distinguished from a homeland.” The support of the United States for the creation of a Jewish political entity would, suggested McCloy, necessarily upset the various Arab peoples and states upon which the United States must rely for military and logistical support of operations in the Mediterranean theater. In addition, McCloy told Marshall that support on the part of the United States government for such a statement would necessitate retaining troops for garrison duty in areas likely to react negatively to an expression of support for the establishment of a Jewish state. These troops were needed elsewhere, and he informed Marshall that Major General Clayton L. Bissell was ready to explain the exact deployment of Allied forces in the area. McCloy pointed out that perhaps the safer course would be to postpone a statement of the United States government’s position on the establishment of a Jewish homeland or state until after the termination of the present war. General Marshall appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the morning of February 23 to express the War Department’s concerns, from a military perspective, over the possible passage of the Wagner-Taft Resolution. (McCloy Memorandum for General Marshall, February 22, 1944, and attached Senate Resolution 247, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg was a Republican from Michigan.
3. Senator Tom Connally, a Democrat from Texas, was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 315-316.