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Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration: Letter to Senator Tydings on the Palestine Situation

(October 19, 1938)

My Dear Senator Tydings:

I fully appreciate the concern expressed by you in your letter of October 14, 1938, regarding the Palestine situation. I have on numerous occasions, as you know, expressed my sympathy in the establishment of a National Home for the Jews in Palestine and, despite the set-backs caused by the disorders there during the last few years, I have been heartened by the progress which has been made and by the remarkable accomplishments of the Jewish settlers in that country.

As I have had occasion to inform a number of Members of Congress within the past few days, we have kept constantly before the British Government, through our Ambassador in London, the interest which the American people have in Palestine and I have every reason to believe that that Government is fully cognizant of public opinion on the matter in this country. We were assured, in the discussions which took place in London a little more than a year ago, that the British Government would keep us fully informed of any proposals which it might make to the Council of the League of Nations for the modification of the Palestine Mandate. We expect, therefore, to have the opportunity afforded us of communicating to the British Government our views with respect to any changes in the Mandate which may be proposed as a result of the forthcoming report of the Palestine Partition Commission. I understand, however, that under the terms of our convention with Great Britain regarding the Palestine Mandate we are unable to prevent modifications in the Mandate. The most we can do is to decline to accept as applicable to American interest any modifications affecting such interests unless we have given our assent to them.

You may be sure that we shall continue to follow the situation with the closest attention.

Sincerely yours,

Sources: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States