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Harry Truman Administration: News Conference on Palestine

(May 6, 1948)

Excerpt from the News Conference:

Q. Mr. President, there is a report out today, from both Washington and London, that you made an effort to bring an end to the fighting in Palestine and to get the British to stay there beyond May 15, but that the effort has failed in the last 24 hours?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think the effort has failed. The effort is still being made. We are doing everything we possibly can to prevent bloodshed, and are trying to get the Palestine matter settled on a peaceable basis. That has always been our objective from the very beginning. In 1946, when the argument first started--our endeavor has ways been to get a peaceable settlement without people getting killed and the holy places being disturbed.

Q. This report said that you had offered an airplane to send Arabs, Jews, and other representatives--

THE PRESIDENT. I would have given them one, if anybody wanted to go to the Holy Land and really negotiate in dead earnest. I would be glad to do anything that would help the matter along.

Q. Mr. President, does your answer apply to the part of the question which stated that you had asked the British to remain in Palestine after May 15?

THE PRESIDENT. I have been in no communication with the British on the subject at all, except through the United Nations.

Q. The United States Government has asked them to remain?

THE PRESIDENT. The United States Government is putting forth every effort, through the United Nations, to get this thing settled. I don't know what the United Nations have asked the British to do.

Sources: Public Papers of the President