Editorial Note

Undated notes on the White House meeting of May 12 by Mr. Elsey state that it was held at 4 p.m. Attached to the notes is a statement prepared for the May 12 meeting drafted by Max Lowenthal, an unofficial White House consultant, with changes by Elsey. Also attached is a revised statement by Elsey, printed infra.

Elsey’s notes indicate that this statement was read to the group, presumably by Mr. Clifford, and received a “violent reaction from Marshall: This is just straight politics. ‘You wouldn’t get my OK.’ CMC was enraged—& Marshall glared at CMC. State had no policy except to ‘wait’.”

Page 2 of Mr. Elsey’s notes presents “CMC’s position, as worked out with GME on 12 May & as expounded by him at 12 May meeting [:]

  • “1. Recognition is consistent with U.S. policy from the beginning.
  • “2. A separate Jewish State is inevitable. It will be set up in a few days.
  • “3. Other nations will recognize it. We shall have to, also, in a few months.
  • “4. It is better to recognize now—steal a march on U.S.S.R.
  • “5. The proposed State Dept action would accomplish nothing at all (i.e. memo of 11 May)”. (Elsey Papers)

The “memo of May 11” is Mr. Gross’ memorandum to Mr. Lovett, page 959.

These five numbered points bear a marked resemblance to those in the editorial note on page 906.

John Snetsinger, Truman, the Jewish Vote, and the Creation of Israel, presents on pages 107–109 an account of the May 12 meeting based on the author’s interviews in 1968 with Messrs. McClintock and Henderson and with Carlton Savage, who in 1948 was Executive Secretary of the Policy Planning Staff.

Various details of the meeting are also presented in Kurzman, Genesis, 1948, page 215, and in Jonathan Daniels, The Man of Independence (Philadelphia and New York, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1950), page 319. Kurzman’s account states erroneously that the meeting took place on May 11.

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For the discussion by Messrs. Lovett and Clifford on May 14 concerning the question of the recognition of the State of Israel, see Mr. Lovett’s memorandum of conversation dated May 17, page 1005.