Monday, February 15, 2021

  • Monday, February 15, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Jewish newspapers were aghast in March 1948 at the news that Harry Truman had reversed the US position on the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.

Truman's daughter later said that he really didn't reverse his position:

Margaret Truman, in Harry S. Truman (New York, William Morrow & Company, 1973) asserts that her father never formally committed himself to the trusteeship plan (page 387). She quotes on page 388 from her father’s calendar for March 19 to the effect that the Austin statement represented the State Department pulling the rug from under him, that the State Department had reversed his Palestine policy and that with the Secretary and Under Secretary away, the third and fourth levels of the Department had succeeded in cutting his throat. Miss Truman notes on page 389 that not even in his memoirs did the President feel free to tell the whole story, although he hinted at it.
In Truman's actual press conference when he made the announcement, he said that this was meant to be a delay in partition, not a reversal:
Q. You are still, sir, in favor of partition at some future date?

THE PRESIDENT. That is what I am trying to say here as plainly as I can.

Whatever his intention, the response was immediate and angry. 

A couple of weeks later a freshman congressman from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, denounced the new US policy to the local chapter of Jewish War Veterans.

Here are his notes for his speech:

One of the most discouraging aspects of recent American foreign policy is the unfortunate reversal of our policy commitment of our policy toward Palestine.
Since the end of first World War successive Presidents and Congress have 'reaffirmed' the solemn promise of the Balfour declaration.

The sudden reversal of our position in relation to the Partition of Palestine demands an explanation from the Administration.

There may be sufficient cause for the reversal in Palestine. If there is, we are entitled to know what it is.

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