Harry Truman Administration: Statement on Israel
(October 24, 1948)
THE REPUBLICAN candidate for President has seen fit to release a statement with reference to Palestine. This statement is in the form of a letter dated October 22, 1948, 10 days before the election.
I had hoped our foreign affairs could continue to be handled on a non-partisan basis without being injected into the presidential campaign. The Republican candidate's statement, however, makes it necessary for me to reiterate my own position with respect to Palestine.
I stand squarely on the provisions covering Israel in the Democratic platform.
I approved the provisions on Israel at the time they were written. I reaffirm that approval now.
So that everyone may be familiar with my position, I set out here the Democratic platform on Israel:
"President Truman, by granting immediate recognition to Israel, led the world in extending friendship and welcome to a people who have long sought and justly deserve freedom and independence.
"We pledge full recognition to the State of Israel. We affirm our pride that the United States, under the leadership of President Truman, played a leading role in the adoption of the resolution of November 29, 1947, by the United Nations General Assembly for the creation of a Jewish state.
"We approve the claims of the State of Israel to the boundaries set forth in the United Nations' resolution of November 29 and consider that modifications thereof should be made only if fully acceptable to the State of Israel.
"We look forward to the admission of the State of Israel to the United Nations and its full participation in the international community of nations. We pledge appropriate aid to the State of Israel in developing its economy and resources.
"We favor the revision of the arms embargo to accord to the State of Israel the right of self-defense. We pledge ourselves to work for the modification of any resolution of the United Nations to the extent that it may prevent any such revision.
"We continue to support, within the framework of the United Nations, the internationalization of Jerusalem and the protection of the holy places in Palestine."
I wish to amplify the three portions of the platform about which there have been considerable discussion.
On May 14, 1948, this country recognized the existence of the independent State of Israel. I was informed by the Honorable Eliahu Epstein that a Provisional Government had been established in Israel. This country recognized the Provisional Government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel. When a permanent government is elected in Israel it will promptly be given de jure recognition.
The Democratic platform states that we approve the claims of Israel to the boundaries set forth in the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, and consider that modification thereof should be made only if fully acceptable to the State of Israel.
This has been and is now my position.
Proceedings are now taking place in the United Nations looking toward an amicable settlement of the conflicting positions of the parties in Palestine. In the interests of peace this work must go forward.
A plan has been submitted which provides a basis for a renewed effort to bring about a peaceful adjustment of differences. It is hoped that by using this plan as a basis of negotiation, the conflicting claims of the parties can be settled.
With reference to the granting of a loan or loans to the State of Israel, I have directed the departments and agencies of the executive branch of our Government to work together in expediting the consideration of any applications for loans which may be submitted by the State of Israel.
It is my hope that such financial aid will soon be granted and that it will contribute substantially to the long-term development and stability of the Near East.
NOTE: On October 22 Thomas E. Dewey, Republican candidate for President, reaffirmed his position that the Jewish people were entitled to a homeland in Palestine. His views were expressed in a letter to Dean Alfange, chairman of the American Christian Palestine Committee of New York.
For the President's statement announcing de facto recognition of the State of Israel, see Item 100. On January 25, 1949, a permanent government was elected in Israel, and on January 31 the White House announced that the United States had extended de jure recognition to the Government of Israel.
A summary of the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, providing for the partition of Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish states, is printed in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 17, P. 1163).
Sources: Public Papers of the President