Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

Participants: Dr. Stephen S. Wise27
Dr. Nahum Goldman
Mr. [Herman] Schulman
Dr. Grynberg [Hayim Greenberg]
Acting Secretary, Mr. Grew

Dr. Stephen S. Wise, accompanied by three of his associates, came to see me this morning and we talked for approximately forty minutes. Rabbi Wise opened the conversation with the statement, “The doors of Palestine must be opened to the Jews”.28 He then explained in detail the present situation in which only six thousand certificates are still available for Jewish immigration into Palestine, and that at the rate of 1,500 a month the supply of certificates will be exhausted within the next few months. He painted in vivid colors the serious conditions in which the Jews in Europe, especially in Rumania, are living today and said that when these Jews learned of the mere trickle that would be allowed to enter Palestine, there was universal mourning among the Jews in Rumania. Dr. Wise is aware that the President has taken his memorandum29 on this subject to his forthcoming meeting with Churchill, who Dr. Wise characterized as being thoroughly sympathetic towards this whole problem. He said that he merely wished to establish contact with me so that I might fully understand the situation, but he asked for no action on my part.

I told Dr. Wise that I was already familiar with the problem which he had presented, and that in fact I knew a good deal about it. I said that he could assume my own complete sympathy with the plight of the Jews in Europe, and that few situations had distressed me more than the appalling conditions in Rumania and elsewhere, which he had presented.

Each of the other gentlemen talked on one phase or another of the problem.

The subject then turned to the appointment of Wallace Murray30 as Ambassador to Iran and the hope was expressed that in filling his position in the State Department or in filling possibly new positions someone might be considered who understood the whole broad [Page 689]problem of the Jews and of Palestine, the implication being that the Near Eastern office naturally deals with many countries and many different problems, but that it would be helpful to have an officer in the Department who might specialize exclusively on Jewish interests abroad. I immediately replied that since coming to my present desk I had been deeply impressed by the thorough grasp of the Jewish and the Palestine problem by officers now in the Department, and that I had been convinced by the information and statistics furnished me that these officers understood the subject in a thoroughly expert way. I said, however, that the suggestion of Dr. Wise and his associates would be given full consideration.

Joseph C. Grew

[For memorandum of conversation between President Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud, February 14, 1945, aboard the U.S.S. Quincy, on Great Bitter Lake, Egypt, see page 1.]

  1. Chairman of the American Zionist Emergency Council. The other participants were Zionist leaders.
  2. A memorandum, not printed, by Mr. Philip W. Ireland, Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs, dated February 10, 1945, reported statements made at the First Annual Conference of the American Council for Judaism, held January 13 and 14, 1945, at Philadelphia, strongly dissenting from the Zionist point of view (867N.01/2–1045).
  3. Not found in Department files.
  4. Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs.