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340.1115A/651: Telegram

The Consul General at Jerusalem (Wadsworth) to the Secretary of State

30. Referring to Department’s telegram No. 37 of May 16, 6 p.m. repeated from Ankara.56 The Department of course is aware that the estimated 8,000-odd American citizens in Palestine present a very special problem.

Almost 90 percent are Jews, of whom at least two-thirds are naturalized citizens. They have been admitted to Palestine under immigration schedules on visas authorizing permanent residence. For the most part ardent Zionists, their dominant interest is Jewish settlement and realization of the National Home ideal. Their first and preeminent loyalty is to that ideal and its concomitant concept of Jewish statehood in their lifetime.

It follows that retention of American citizenship by these settlers is in many cases primarily a matter of not wanting to burn one’s bridges. Few only among them, I believe, will want to leave Palestine even in the event of Italy entering the war and consequent hostilities in the Mediterranean. To these relatively few, of whom I anticipate most will apply to me for advice, I propose to communicate the pertinent substance of the telegram under reference and to extend all possible assistance in obtaining transportation.

Other American residents include several hundred naturalized citizens of Palestine, Arab origin, against at least a majority of whom presumption of expatriation due to protracted residence abroad has arisen. They are for the most part safely situated in scattered inland villages. If desirous of returning at this time, they may be counted on to consult my office. Its advice and assistance will be freely given.

There remain the Kellogg Company’s 70-odd employees with 90-odd wives and children in Haifa and, including dependents, roughly 100 missionaries, consular staff, and others. The substance of the telegram under reference has been communicated privately, through heads of institutions to practically all of these.

In the circumstances set forth and because, in the light of Italy’s threatening attitude, Mediterranean travel appears to involve serious risk, I should prefer not to issue any public notice inviting American [Page 880]citizens to leave Palestine. A further consideration, with respect to which I am consulting with the Legation in Cairo, is the difficulty of obtaining passage even on Mediterranean sailings.

At the same time, and after consulting Magnes, Totah and Miller (respectively heads of the Hebrew University, Ramallah Friends’ Schools and the Y. M. C. A.), I have made tentative plans for the care of Americans, who, if Italy enters the war, may, from fear of bombing attacks, wish to leave Haifa or Tel Aviv. Kellogg Company families would be cared for at the Friends’ Boys’ School, Jews at the Hebrew University.

Also, and in line with the Department’s telegram No. 42 of May 13, noon, to Bern57 regarding which the Legation at Cairo consulted me, I have been assured of ample accommodation at the Y. M. C. A. and the School of Oriental Research for Legation and Consular families in Egypt who may wish to remove to the safety which no one doubts would be afforded by residence in the Holy City.

None of my American staff or members of their families desire to leave Jerusalem, although my wife hopes to depart on usual summer visit to the United States if and when safe means and route of travel are available.

Wadsworth