Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Acheson) to the Secretary of State

Subject: Palestine

After our talk this morning, I consulted Mr. Henderson. His attached memorandum is a suggestion for the first steps in the program you outlined.

The appointment with the Arab Ministers with you has been fixed for Friday. I suggest that tomorrow you may wish to discuss the attached memorandum with the President so that you will be free to take the position with them outlined in paragraph 4 of Mr. Henderson’s memorandum.

Both Mr. Henderson and I suggest that it may be unwise to start consultations with the Arabs and Jews in the next few weeks since that will both be before we have had an opportunity to reach agreement with the British upon a common plan and it will also start a good deal of public controversy. Under Mr. Henderson’s proposal we would not reach that stage for some little time.

I suggest that you might wish to discuss this with the President orally rather than send a memorandum to him since memoranda on this subject seem to have a way of getting out.

Dean Acheson

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson) to the Secretary of State

Subject: Suggested Immediate Program for Dealing with the Palestine Question

Mr. Secretary: (1) Both President Roosevelt and President Truman have given assurances to Arab and Jewish leaders that no decision should be taken affecting the basic situation in Palestine without full consultation with both Arabs and Jews. Because of recent statements appearing in the press regarding correspondence between President Truman and Mr. Attlee relating to the immigration of European Jews into Palestine, there is much concern in both Jewish and Arab circles lest basic decisions be made with regard to Palestine without consulation with them. The White House and the Department have received a number of inquiries, particularly from Governments of [Page 764] Arab States, regarding our present policy toward Palestine, and replies to these inquiries can not be much longer delayed.

(2) King Ibn Saud has asked the President for his approval to make public the contents of the memorandum of conversation between President Roosevelt and himself on February 14, 1945 and the correspondence exchanged between himself and President Roosevelt in the spring of this year on the subject of Palestine.

(3) In order to clarify the situation and at the same time to meet the proposals of Ibn Saud, we suggest that arrangements be made for a correspondent at a White House press conference in the near future to ask the President whether it is true that the American Government has at various times given assurances to Jewish and Arab leaders that they should be consulted before a decision is reached respecting the basic situation in Palestine and whether there has been any change in the policy of the American Government in this respect. We further suggest that the President make a reply to this inquiry along the lines of the suggested statement attached hereto as enclosure no. 1.64

(4) In our opinion we have no adequate basis for refusing King Ibn Saud’s request to publish President Roosevelt’s letter to him of April 5, 1945. However, the publication just now of the memorandum of the conversation between President Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud would have unfortunate consequences both in this country and abroad. We therefore suggest that a date for the President’s statement to the press and for the publication of the letter be decided upon and that a telegram along the lines of the attached be sent at once to our Legation at Jidda.

(5) It is our further recommendation that you receive as soon as possible the Ministers of the four Arab States which have diplomatic representatives in Washington and who are pressing for an appointment with you to discuss our present policy with regard to Palestine. During the course of this conversation, you may desire to make to them informally statements similar to those which we have suggested the President make at his press conference, omitting, of course, any reference to President Roosevelt’s letter to Ibn Saud.

(6) We also suggest that immediately following the issuance by the President of a statement to the press along the lines proposed, the Department send out appropriate replies to the inquires which we have received both from our missions abroad and from various Arab governments.

Loy W. Henderson
  1. Not found attached to file copy.