501.BB Palestine/9–1847

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)1

Ambassador Wadsworth, who recently arrived from Baghdad in the United States, is now in New York as one of the political advisers to the American Representative at the UN. Following the Secretary’s address before the General Assembly of the UN on September 17 Ambassador Wadsworth ascertained the reaction of the various Arab delegations to be substantially as follows:

The delegates from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia were unanimous in interpreting the Secretary’s words as an all-out declaration of American support of the Majority Plan in the UNSCOP report, and consider it as being a forthright commitment that the United States would make every effort and wield its influence in favor of a Zionist solution for the Palestine problem.

Members of the Syrian and Lebanese Delegations consider Secretary Marshall’s statement that the United States gives “great weight” to the Majority Plan in the UNSCOP report as meaning full U.S. support for that plan. These members also observed that the U.S. Government, with the exception of the White House, had been neutral until today but that even the State Department was now following a pro-Zionist policy. It was added that even though the Secretary did not commit the U.S. to final support of the Majority Plan, he could not later go back on his remarks favoring the Majority report.

Ambassador Wadsworth added that Prince Faisal, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had two principal points: (1) No useful purpose would be served in discussing the terms of procedure in the UN with Ambassador Wadsworth, as Secretary Marshall had already made the American commitment; (2) There was no aspect on the Palestine question on which further Arab-American cooperation was possible. Prince Faisal observed that the decision indicated by the Secretary’s remarks on Palestine was the most dangerous step which the United States had ever taken on the Near Eastern political scene, that it was dangerous not only for the United States and for the Arab States, but for world peace, and that “it just can’t be made out as you wish”.

Faris el-Khouri, of the Syrian Delegation, was in hearty agreement with the Secretary’s address, with the exception of the passage on Palestine. Faris el-Khouri was adamantly opposed to our Palestine [Page 1153] policy, and said that the issue would hamper Arab-American cooperation on other problems.

Ambassador Wadsworth reports that Jamali, Iraqi Foreign Minister, and Malik, Lebanese Minister in the U.S., were more pessimistic than Faris el-Khouri. Malik said, “We are younger—to us Palestine is the issue.” Jamali said that the U.S. has embarked on a policy leading to tragedy, that U.S. troops would probably be sent to Palestine, that Jewish aggression would continue, but that means would be found to oppose such aggression, “even by force of arms”. Jamali added that both the Arabs and Great Britain could have agreed on Palestine if it had not been for Zionist pressure on the U.S. Government which had forced the U.S. to intervene. Jamali accordingly considered the U.S. as primarily responsible for present and future developments in Palestine.2

L[oy] W. H[enderson]
  1. Marginal notations indicate that the Secretary of State as well as the Under Secretary of State saw this memorandum.
  2. In a memorandum of September 19, summarizing his conversation of the previous night with Paul Gore-Booth of the United Kingdom Delegation to the United Nations, G. Hayden Raynor, Adviser to the United States Delegation, stated: “Mr. Gore-Booth tried to draw me out as to the exact implication of the section of the Secretary’s speech on Palestine. I did not discuss this point. I did, however, gain the impression that the British were not entirely pleased with this part of the speech.” (IO files, US/A/405, September 21, 1947)