501.BB Palestine/4–1048: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Consulate General at Jerusalem

secret   us urgent

258. For Wasson1 from Henderson. Unless you perceive some reason for not so doing it is suggested that you make arrangements at once to see Magnes and give him orally following confidential message from me:

“Gravest danger exists that unless success is achieved in UN efforts to bring about truce and an arrangement whereby interim governmental machinery will be provided for Palestine after May 15 chaotic conditions involving great loss of life and property will prevail in Palestine. At no time has there been a greater need for courageously conciliatory attitude such as yours on part of both Arabs and Jews. If such attitude is to prevail cooperation on part of moderate and conciliatory Arabs and Jews is essential. It is therefore hoped that you either alone or accompanied by such other Jewish leaders as you may consider appropriate will come to US at earliest possible moment.”2

  1. Consul at Jerusalem.
  2. Henderson’s message was delivered to Magnes on April 12. Jerusalem advised that Magnes had “indicated great interest in proceeding to US but in view precarious health must consult his doctors who heretofore have prevented his travelling. He also seemed concerned re auspices under which he would travel. He felt that his hand would be strengthened if he could say he had been invited by Senator Austin or by Dept of State to assist in bringing about peace in Palestine. Failing this he mentioned possible creation ad hoc committee his friends and supporters in United States who would invite him.” (Telegram 425, April 13, from Jerusalem, 501.BB Palestine/4–1348)

    Henderson sent a further message to Magnes on April 15 which read in part as follows:

    “I made my suggestion because of my belief that your presence in the U.S. during the discussions of the Palestine matter might have a helpful moderating influence on both Jews and Arabs. We feel that if a truce and an interim government are to be arranged for with a minimum amount of bloodshed the advice and assistance of outstanding Jewish leaders would be helpful. In my opinion your ability to aid might be adversely affected if the erroneous impression should be created that there was any especial relationship between you and the U.S. Government. If you should come we would like to have you do so only because you personally feel that you may be helpful and not because of any suggestion which I have made. It is also essential that everyone understand that you have a free hand.” (Telegram 269, April 15, to Jerusalem, 501.BB Palestine/4–1348)

    Jerusalem advised on April 17 that Magnes agreed with Henderson’s “view concerning relationship US Government” and that Magnes expected to arrive in New York on April 21. (Telegram 451, April 17, from Jerusalem, 501.BB Palestine/4–1748)