Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)

Dr. Aaron Ben. Elias, who is associated with the Pro-Palestine Federation of America, called me by long distance telephone from New York on August 9th in connection with the case of Mordecai Schwartz, of non-American nationality, who, so Dr. Elias said, has been sentenced to be hanged in Palestine on August 16th.

Dr. Elias stated that the above-mentioned organization proposes to send a telegram to the British authorities in Palestine urging clemency for the condemned man, and he wanted to know whether the Department could take any action and, if not, whether he could quote the Department as approving the proposed action of his organization. In that connection he said that he had been in telegraphic contact with Bishop Freeman,63 who is associated with the organization, and who is now on vacation some place in New England. Bishop Freeman had apparently withheld his approval of the contemplated action pending an assurance from Dr. Elias that the Department of State approved thereof.

I informed Dr. Elias that in view of the fact that Mordecai Schwartz is not an American citizen this Government could obviously not intervene in his behalf with the authorities in Palestine; that the Department, furthermore, could not undertake to comment on the proposed action of the Pro-Palestine Federation of America and that, finally, it would not be appropriate for us to reply through a third party to any inquiry which Bishop Freeman might have made in the matter. I added that if the Bishop desired to consult the Department direct with regard to any phase of the question his inquiry would of course receive due attention.

[Page 943]

Dr. Elias seemed satisfied with the explanation given him, and I got the impression that the telegram of his organization would probably go forward.

Wallace Murray
  1. Rt. Rev. James E. Freeman, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Washington.