367N.1115/218: Telegram

The Consul at Jerusalem (Steger) to the Secretary of State

63. Recent war developments have resulted in considerable uneasiness, though not panic, among Americans, particularly Jews, who fear that in the event of German occupation those of their race would not only receive especially harsh treatment from the Germans but might also be menaced by a recrudescence of Arab terrorism.

British officials while somewhat perturbed profess confidence that Palestine is not immediately menaced. Chief Secretary in conversation with me yesterday declared British have no thought of evacuating Palestine. When I mentioned tentative plans made in compliance with Department’s instruction of August 31, 193612 for protection of Americans in case of emergency he stated that no such plans, even tentative, had been prepared with respect to British civilians. He then added in reply to my question that should an emergency arise making advisable such evacuation the Government would be pleased to lend the Consulate General such assistance as might be possible in evacuating Americans.

In view of numerous recent inquiries I should appreciate receiving as soon as it may be available to the Department information as to passenger facilities on American vessels which, it is understood, may shortly be reaching Egypt via the Red Sea.

Since drafting above I have been informed by Military Intelligence officer that persistent rumors yesterday and today report landing of air-borne German troops in Syria.13 These reports are not from British agents, are unconfirmed, and the officer in question does not credit them, although he said that London considers it not impossible that such an attempt may be made.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 686 ff.