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Now, Mr. Chairman, this as I said before is no new matter for the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In looking over my files last evening in preparing a speech to deliver in the Congress at some little length so I would not take up the committee's time unnecessarily, I found an original resolution back in 1939, signed by most of the members of the committee who are here, including the chairman, on this very question. This is the original with the signatures, and I think I can better read it in the corrected form.
We, the undersigned members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, desire to call to the attention of the House and the State Department a declaration of the British Government announced last Wednesday, May 17, which is a clear repudiation of the convention between the United States and Great Britain with respect to Palestine, dated December 3, 1924.
I hate to go all over this matter because I assume Mr. Celler and others have discussed it at some little length.
Article 7 of that treaty provides:
"Nothing contained in the present convention shall be affected by any modification which may be made in the terms of the mandate, as recited above, unless such modifications shall have been assented to by the United States.”
The convention contains as a part thereof the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations mandate. Both the Balfour Declaration and the mandate recite the solemn pledges of the British Government “to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine.”
In this connection we further call to your attention joint resolution of the Senate and the House, passed unanimously on June 30, 1922, known as the Lodge-Fish resolution, which recites: “That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people.”
Last Wednesday's declaration of the British Government is a repudiation o the Balfour Declaration, the mandate of the League of Nations, and of direct concern to us, a violation of article 7 of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain, in that the contemplated action of the British Government proposes to restrict further immigration of Jews into Palestine and to reduce the Jewish people in Palestine to a permanent minority status. On neither of these matters has our Government been consulted, as required by the treaty.
We desire to point out to the Members of the House and to call to the attention of the State Department that Americans have invested over $100,000,000 in Palestine, relying upon the treaty between Great Britain and our Government, and upon which treaty they had the right to rely. It is the duty of the American Government to protect these rights by proper protest and to see to it that the treaty is carried out in good faith.
As members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, we respectfully request the State Department to advise the British Government that the contemplated action, if carried out, will be regarded as a violation of the British-American convention and will be viewed with disfavor by the American people.
I happen to have written this statement. And I was a member of this committee and that is why I have the original in my files.
And it is signed by Sol Bloom of New York; Luther X. Johnson of Texas; John Kee of West Virginia; James P. Richards of South Carolina; James A. Shanley of Connecticut; Edward V. Izac of California; Robert G. Allen of Pennsylvania; W. 0. Burgin of North Carolina; Hamilton Fish of New York; George Holden Tinkham of Massachusetts; Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts; Bruce Barton of New York; Robert J. Corbitt of Pennsylvania; John M. Vorys of Ohio; and Andrew C. Shiffler of West Virginia, all of whom were members of this committee, and many of whom are still members of this committee, and this is exactly what you are discussing today.
This was the original white paper that we were protesting back in 1939. We saw the meaning of it at that time and we protested, and we are still protesting it because we know if that is carried out it
will be the end of immigration into Palestine and it is in defiance and repudiation of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate Convention between the United States and Great Britain and the end of the establishment of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine which Congress has gone on record unanimously for.
I am going to make a statement, and will hand it to the press if they want it because it is very short. I shall deliver a speech this afternoon in Congress on the whole subject and in some detail.
As the author of the Zionist resolution for a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, enacted into law on September 21, 1922, I urge that there be no retreat, surrender, or compromise with the British betrayal of the promises and pledges given in the Balfour resolution. There can be no compromise with such a perfidious proposal to repudiate her plighted word as set forth in the white paper to practically stop Jewish immigration into Palestine on March 31, 1944.
I hope that the Zionists all over the world will not yield to this proposed breach of trust in order to cajole the Arabs by doublecrossing the Jewish people in Palestine and elsewhere and selling them out for a mess of porridge.
I urge the President, the State Department, and the Congress to demand that there shall be no modification of our treaty rights in Palestine without our consent.
The proposed disgraceful and shocking repudiation of the Balfour pledges, under which vast sums of money have gone from America to Palestine to rebuild and establish it as a place of refuge for hundreds of thousands of Jewish people of central Europe, must be vigorously opposed. There never was a time when there was more need for such a homeland. There must be no compromise, otherwise all past efforts will have been in vain.
Now, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am going to ask your indulgence for a few minutes more to make a statement that I do not know whether I have ever made publicly or not until this day.
Chairman BLOOM. Proceed, Mr. Fish.
I agree with everything the gentleman from New York, Mr. Celler, had to say, except as to one thing, and possibly there my Zionist friends will not agree with me.
I have stated my views openly, clearly, and they have never been changed. I believe in keeping Palestine open for Jewish immigration in peace and war, and more today than ever before, but I do not go to the extent possibly referred to by the gentleman from New York, Mr. Celler, that there must be no other homelands, or, rather, places of refuge and haven, for Jewish persecuted people throughout the world. But he may have just carried that inference or I may have even misunderstood him.
However, I want to make a statement to the committee that I do not know whether I have ever made before.
In 1939 I was president of the congressional group, the Interparliamentary Union, composed of 24 Members of the House and 4 Members of the Senate. And one of my main purposes at that time of going abroad was to try to find if there was not some other place besides Palestine for a refugee haven, because eventually even if you put 1,000,000 or so in Palestine there might be a need for a place for more Jewish and those from Spain and elsewhere, and the aim was to see
if we could not find some healthy place that would be an additional home and refuge. And men of great wealth and philanthropies were behind this idea and urged me to take the lead in it, which I did not mind because I was sponsor of this resolution.
In my trips to Europe I spoke to Lord Halifax in London on August 4, 1939, and he was very receptive and cooperative even to the extent of having the land set up in the British Empire or sphere of influence or even on British territory. I then saw the French Prime Minister, Mr. Bonet. Then I also saw the French Colonial Minister-Monsieur Mandel—who himself was a Jewish victim, one of the victims of Hitlerism and I believe was killed. But I met him in Mr. Bullitt's office. I had to talk French to him, and it took me considerable time to persuade him it should be placed in the northern part of Africa and in the highlands so as to take in as many as 10,000,000 people. Finally I convinced him. He arranged for me to come back. I was to telegraph him in advance on September 1 which was the day on which war was declared. He was to call in by air the Governors of Equatorial, West, and North Africa, and the purpose was to find the proper place, and then to start immediately a colony to see how it worked out. The money was already available for that purpose. And he was cooperative, they were all cooperative, to that extent: And so it was decided that Palestine alone even if it took 1,000,000 refugees would not be large enough for this problem.
It has always been a deep regret to me this conference could not be held on account of the war and that it should not have been tried out in some healthy undeveloped part of Africa. I say that so that people might know the record.
I want to say the British were entirely cooperative and so were the French in every possible way, and I believe it would have gone through. I say that because there are Zionists who believe we should not permit the Jews to go anywhere but Palestine. I am liberal in my view because I believe in sending as many there as it will hold, but there is a limit to everything. This was not of course only for Jewish but for refugees from Spain and also any part of Europe.
Mr. Chairman, I am very glad to come here. I am sorry to take up so much of your time. I want to endorse the resolution. I think it is very proper that the Congress of the United States should take action. It is in accordance with action taken in the past. It is entirely up to the committee. But I do believe in the principles of the resolution; I do believe in a homeland for the Jews.
Of course, Mr. Chairman, we do not expect many Jews from America to go to Palestine. This is meant for the persecuted Jews of central and western Europe. There are more of them today than ever before. There is no place for them to go. Mr. Chairman, I believe we should pass a resolution without delaying too long. Every day we delay hundreds of Jews, maybe thousands of Jews, are finding no place to go, dying of starvation and persecution by Hitler and the Nazis.
The tragedy of this war, the greatest single tragedy of the war, is the beastly, inhuman, and barbaric treatment of the Jews in central Europe. There are more Jews who have died in this war than all the armies probably fighting together through sheer persecution, hunger, and famine.
It is little enough for us to do to simply express our desires to the British that they keep their plighted word.
Mr. Chairman, I am of British origin. I admire the British. Nobody admires Winston Churchill more than I do. I know him personally. He always put the interests of the British Empire first. I believe in that kind of philosophy. But I also admire him in view of the fact that he is for Zionism and for a homeland for the Jewish people. I see no reason why we should not help him. Whenever there is opposition in England, and there is a great deal of opposition in England, why should not we Americans help Winston Churchill? Why should we not pass a resolution so he can get up in Parliament and say, "Here is a resolution from our greatest friends and allies in favor of keeping immigration open to the Jews”? Because they know and we know if you shut the doors now it is the end of aspirations thousands of years old and a breach of faith by the British Government. We cannot in this war repudiate what we did in the last war and serve notice on the Jews of this war their aspirations are at an end and they can no longer hope for anything in the way of establishing a homeland in Palestine.
Therefore I just want to add my voice and to cooperate with you in any properly worded resolution in placing the Congress of the United States and the Government of the United States on record in favor of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and permitting Jews to continue to immigrate and thus establish this homeland.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. We have heard a great deal lately about standing up and being counted. Before these hearings are over do you not think the State Department ought to say whether it is for or against this resolution?
Mr. Fish. You and I know each other pretty well. I did not come here to give any views whatever to the committee on matters on which they are the sole judges.
As long as you put the matter up to me in that way I can say I should certainly ask and demand the State Department, which is your right as a member of this committee, to send a representative to this committee to state their views to you without evasion.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Or equivocation? Mr. Fish. That is all I can say at the moment. Mr. WRIGHT. Would the gentleman yield? Mr. Fish. I yield with pleasure. Mr. WRIGHT. I just want to remind the gentleman from New York, Mr. Celler did not say he wished to have immigration restricted to Palestine. He said he did not wish to have it interfered with.
Mr. Fish. I am glad to hear that.
Mr. CELLER. In other words, the resolution provides for havens, not one haven, but Palestine or elsewhere.
Chairman Bloom. Mr. Fish, did you look on page 5, and did you see your resolution that you spoke about of September 21, 1922, which
said was not in there? Mr. Fish. No; I thought I read it with great care, and I thought it was an excellent document, but I did not see my name anywhere. [Laughter.]
Chairman Bloom. Oh, I see.
Mr. Fish. I did not see my name there, Mr. Chairman, because in the first page of the resolution it refers to the Wright resolution. My resolution is incorporated in it. But I want to say I see the names
of at least 50 Britishers in your pamphlet and a great many Americans and others, but the author of the resolution was somewhat overlooked. Of course, I know you were not a member of the committee at the time and probably did not know it.
Chairman Bloom. Mr. Fish, the Chair would like to state, because I have been very, very careful to try to have this pamphlet correct, as you know when you report acts signed by the President the name of the sponsor of the resolution is never mentioned. Of course, we have your resolution right before us, Resolution 307, and your joint resolution. There are several. There is 322.
There is 322. Your resolution is here. But when it becomes an act I am sure you will remember that the name of the sponsor is not carried with it into the statute books. I am sorry that your name is not here, but it is absent simply because it is a literal and correct copy of the act as signed by President Warren G. Harding. I am sure you would not have wanted me to show it in its preliminary form as it was before it reviewed the favorable action of the Sixty-seventh Congress. This was copied completely from the records of the State Department where we got the reports from. I am very sorry that the official copy does not bear your name.
Mr. Fish. That is why I wanted to impress you about my having been the author of the original resolution 22 years ago on which the pending resolutions are both based.
Chairman Bloom. I am sure, Mr. Fish, we are going to have a reprint, and I will see that your name is in there.
Mr. Fish. I am very happy. It was worth while my coming here, if you will, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Bloom. The Chair will. And the Chair would like to state I tried to do the best I could with this pamphlet. It was difficult to get in things necessary to print for the information of those interested. I tried to get certain information from the libraries and I could not get it. We have in this pamphlet almost everything that has been called to our attention in the way of essential facts relating to the Jewish national home in Palestine.
I would like to state to the committee or to anyone listening that if there is anything wrong with this pamphlet or anything which should be inserted I would like to have the attention of the Chair called to it so we can correct.
Mr. Fish, you said there were 24 Members of the House and 4 Members of the Senate in the Interparliamentary Union.
Mr. Fish. They were delegates to the Interparliamentary Union in 1939.
Chairman BLOOM. You said "members." I think it should be corrected. The reporter will kindly correct it.
Mr. FISH. I meant to refer to the delegates.
Mr. Fish. I have waited a number of years to come back, but Iam very glad I came here today.
Chairman Bloom. I can assure you we appreciate your coming here.
Mr. Fish. On my name; yes. I would prefer the resolution, but I hope you will take care of my name also.