867N.01/1472: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State

453. Personal for the President. Chaim Weizmann, leader of the Zionists, came to Paris from London this afternoon and asked to see me urgently. He said to me that the zero hour for the Jews of Palestine had now arrived. The British Government desired to set up next week an independent state in which the majority would be Arab, and to withdraw from the Mandate. He had used every argument he could in London without avail and had come to see me because he felt that nothing could save the Jews of Palestine or keep open the door for Jewish refugees except a quiet word from you to the British authorities.

He did not ask that you should make any suggestions as to settlement; but that you might suggest to the British Government that the following line of thought seemed true:

The British were arguing that they must give up the Palestine Mandate and do everything possible to placate the Arabs because war might break out this spring and an Italian attack against Egypt and the Suez Canal might be supported by the Arabs. At the same time Ayers and Halifax were assuring their intimates that they believed Italian demands would be moderate and that there was small danger of war. The British Government therefore was about to impose a long-term settlement filled with tragic consequences for the Jews because of a temporary emergency which might and probably would have disappeared within a few weeks. Under the circumstances fair [Page 732] play demanded that no definite decision of a long-term nature should be made at the present moment.

Weizmann said that he asked for nothing but delay and stated that Chamberlain had said to him recently that within 6 months the world situation might have changed to such an extent that the whole problem could be reconsidered. He himself believed, however, that the settlement now proposed by the British would never be reconsidered once it had been announced.