Press Release Issued by the Department of State, October 30, 1942

Statement by the Secretary of State

In commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the Balfour Declaration by the British Government on November 2, 1917,20 a memorandum was presented to the Secretary of State by a group of Rabbis. Secretary Hull observed that the Balfour Declaration had aroused wide attention in the United States, and that this country had followed with interest and sympathy the work which had been done under it, in which American citizens have played a useful part. He added:

“This country was shocked and outraged, when tyranny and barbarity again commenced their march, at the brutality which was inflicted on certain races, and particularly on the Jewish populations of Europe. Apparently no form of abuse has been too great, and no form of torture or oppression too vile, to be meted out to these populations by the Nazi despots. And, in taking this attitude towards the Jewish race, they have made it plain by concrete acts that a like attitude would be taken towards any other race against whom they might invent a grievance.

“The Jews have long sought a refuge. I believe that we must have an even wider objective; we must have a world in which Jews, like every other race, are free to abide in peace and in honor.

“We meet today when the battle for freedom is being carried on in the East and in the West and our every effort is concentrated on a successful issue. We can with confidence look forward to the victory when liberty shall lift the scourge of persecution and the might of the United Nations free mankind from the threat of oppression.

“Of all the inhuman and tyrannical acts of Hitler and his Nazi lieutenants, their systematic persecution of the Jewish people—men, women and children—is the most debased. The fate of these unhappy people must be ever before us in the efforts we are making today for the final victory; at the moment of triumph under the terms of the Atlantic Charter the United Nations will be prepared not only to redeem their hopes of a future world based upon freedom, equality and justice but to create a world in which such a tragedy will not again occur.”

  1. Declaration contained in a letter of November 2, 1917, from the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Balfour, to Lord Rothschild conveying the following statement, approved by the Cabinet: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”