501.BB Palestine/1–1448

Memorandum by Mr. Robert M. McClintock 1 to the Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs (Rusk)


Subject: The Problem of Enforcing Partition in Palestine.

The United States will presently be faced with a choice between two courses of policy consequent upon its decision to favor the partition of Palestine. One course is to support enforcement measures by the Security Council of the United Nations; the other is to support exclusive reliance on the Jewish and Arab militia which are to be established under the terms of the Assembly’s resolution on Palestine adopted November 29, 1947.

The adoption of either of these alternative policies will involve injury to the interests of the United States in greater or lesser degree and to the United Nations in greater or lesser degree. It is a question then of sober judgment on balance which policy will most greatly injure the interests of the United States. In an endeavor to analyze this problem I have worked out the following rough outline and have come forth with a suggested line of policy which falls far short of being satisfactory by any other standard than the fact that no line of policy applied to the present Palestine problem can prove satisfactory.

Two Courses

[Here follows outline of two courses.]

III—Possible US policy.

Refusal to agree to SC enforcement measures.
Stress GA recommendation that Jewish and Arab militia provide security forces in Palestine.
Inform Arabs that unless they cease hostilities we shall end arms embargo and permit recruitment, by Jewish militia only.
Inform Arabs that if they keep the peace we shall not, as a Government, provide Jewish State with more than strictly limited financial assistance.
Inform Jews that unless they keep the peace we shall deny them all hope of relaxing arms embargo and of economic or financial aid.
Seek creation by foregoing measures of an uneasy but actual local balance of power which will give the Palestine partition experiment a fair chance of being tried.
[Page 542]

News Conference of President Truman on January 15, 1948 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Q. Mr. President, do you think, in view of the Palestine situation, that American troops might be sent to Palestine?

The President. I do not. I have no further comment to make on that. Probably in the long run we will have an international police force with the United Nations plan, to which all of us are working.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Q. Mr. President, could we go back to the question of Palestine? Do you mean in the long run there would be an international police force in Palestine?

The President. Not necessarily. Wherever it is necessary for the United Nations to use it and enforce its mandates.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[Page 543]
  1. Special Assistant to Mr. Rusk.
  2. Reprinted from Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1948 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1964), p. 101.