867N.01/767a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham)

281. Please seek an interview with Mr. Eden10 at earliest possible moment and, after reading the following memorandum, leave a copy with him.

[Page 890]

“As His Majesty’s Government is aware, the American Government and large sections of the American public have for many years taken a close interest in the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. As early as August 1918, President Wilson expressed publicly11 his satisfaction at the progress which the Zionist movement had made in the United States and in the allied countries as a result of the declaration made on November 2, 1917, by Lord Balfour,12 on behalf of the British Government, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people. Each succeeding President has on one or more occasions expressed his own interest in the idea of a National Home and his pleasure at the progress made in its establishment. It will be remembered likewise that the American Congress adopted, and President Harding signed on September 21, 1922, a joint resolution13 favoring the establishment of the National Home. Numerous private organizations in the United States have from time to time expressed their sympathy for such a Homeland. It is perhaps pertinent to mention that the British Government itself has tended to encourage the interest which American nationals have taken in the Jewish National Home and in the general question of Palestine. As one example of this encouragement, reference is made to Lord Balfour’s letter of January 13, 1922,14 to the Secretary of State, a pertinent section of which reads as follows:

‘The task which the British Government have undertaken in Palestine is one of extreme difficulty and delicacy. At Paris I always warmly advocated that it should be undertaken, not by Britain, but by the United States of America; and though subsequent events have shown me that such a policy would never have commended itself to the American people I still think that, so far as the Middle East is concerned, it would have been the best. However this may be, the duty has devolved upon Great Britain; and I hope the American Government will do what they can to lighten the load.’

When to this general interest there is added the fact that several thousand American nationals have established themselves in Palestine and have made large investments there in agricultural, industrial and philanthropic enterprises, it is not surprising that our people should be deeply concerned with the future of the country.

It seems altogether fitting and proper again to bring this interest and concern to the attention of His Majesty’s Government at this time when it is considering what steps should be taken, consistent with its existing obligations, to establish and maintain peace in the Land which is Holy to three great faiths.”

  1. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. In a letter to Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, August 31, 1918; for text of letter, see R. S. Baker and W. E. Dodd (eds.), The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson, War and Peace, vol. i, p. 243.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1917, supp. 2, vol. i, p. 317, footnote 1.
  4. Congressional Record, vol. 62, pt. 10, p. 9799, or 42 Stat. 1012.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. ii, p. 268.