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Harry Truman Administration: Speech for the Conference of the National Jewish Welfare Board

(October 17, 1952)

Excerpt from Speech:

"Let's review some history. When our Armed forces marched into defeated Nazi Germany, revelations were made that shocked the whole civilized world. The full scope of the Nazi tyranny revealed that not less than 6 million Jews had been killed by the Nazi warlords. We soon discovered that occupants of the displaced persons camps did not wish to move out into the life of the country, although living conditions in the camps were poor.

I sent Earl G. Harrison, former Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, to look over the camps and give me a report. He told me that the vast majority of the Jewish displaced persons felt their future would be secure only in Palestine. On Mr. Harrison's recommendation, I asked the Government of Great Britain to make available immediately 100,000 entry permits into Palestine. In order to relate the proposed permits to the larger problem of Jewish resettlement, the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was formed. This Committee again repeated the recommendation that 100,000 entry permits be issued. You know the rest of the story as well as I do. The Jewish Agency for Palestine went ahead with plans to partition Palestine and to 'proclaim the State of Israel.

I am proud of my part in the creation of this new state. Our Government was the first to recognize the State of Israel. Dr. Chaim Weizmann is an old and dear friend of mine. It was a great pleasure for me to have him stay overnight in the Blair House. I could not help but notice the many thousands of people who passed by Blair House to see the flags of the United States and the new country of Israel flying side by side.

I admire the courage with which the State of Israel has approached difficult problems. Since its creation, it has admitted not 100,000 but 700,000 refugees. This has not been easy. The United States has lent great support and assistance in both public and private funds.

I hope that whoever follows me in the Presidency will continue to give our country's fullest support to our technical assistance program not only in Israel but throughout the entire Near East. Peace between Israel and the Arab States has been an important objective of our Near Eastern policy. I hope that we shall soon see the day when Israel and her neighbors will sit down at the peace table and will reach a full settlement of all their differences so that our friends in the Near East, Arabs and Israelis alike, may enter together upon a new partnership for the mutual advantage of all their peoples.

The American people understand the problem of Israel. Part of our sympathetic interest in the future of Israel stems from the fact that we, too, once 'proclaimed our own independence in a ringing declaration which is still an inspiration to freedomloving peoples throughout the world. We, too, are people of diverse origins who have gathered strength from many cultures. For over three centuries, the best fighters for freedom all over the world have migrated to our shores and have added their talents and their strength to make our country great."

Sources: Public Papers of the President