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July 22, 1943 The Palestine Deception of Great Britain

Roosevelt“Aware that Treasury’s interest in the Jewish situation went beyond the Riegner license and could lead to a serious American rescue drive, the British Foreign Office had stepped in. THE RESULTING MESSAGE, DESCRIBED BY SECRETARY OF THE U.S. TREASURY ROBERT MORGENTHAU AS ‘A SATANIC COMBINATION OF BRITISH CHILL AND DIPLOMATIC DOUBLE-TALK, COULD AND CORRECT AND ADDING UP TO A SENTENCE OF DEATH,’ REVEALED THE REAL BRITISH OBJECTION TO THE RIEGNER PLAN. (e.g. to rescue 70,0000 Rumanians Jews) It brought into sharp focus the underlying fear that had determined the entire British policy toward rescue—a fear that had similarly shaped the State Department’s response to the Holocaust. The core of the message follows:

“The Foreign Office are concerned with the difficulties of disposing of any considerable number of Jews should they be rescued from enemy occupied territory… [Such operations would be] greatly hampered by the difficulties of transportation, particularly shipping, and of finding accommodations in the countries of the Near East for any but a very small number of Jewish refugees whose rescue is envisaged by the Riegner plan. For this reason they are reluctant to agree to any approval being expressed even of the preliminarily financial arrangements.”

U.S.A. Treasury officials were shocked. The four men closest to the license battle—all of them non-Jews and thought minded lawyers accustomed to Washington’s bruising administrative politics—reacted with pain and anger:

Josiah E. Dubois, Jr.:

The British say condemn them to death and we say they should get out… Their position is, ‘what could we do with them if we got them out?’ Amazing, most amazing position…”

Randolph Paul:

I don’t know how we can blame the Germans for killing them when we are doing this. The law calls [it] para-delicto, of equal guilt…”

John Pele:

The British are saying, in effect, that they don’t propose to take any Jews out of these areas… Now, that is the general, broad, enormous issue that has been, to some extent, flushed out…”

Ansel Luxford [referring to the State Department]:

That is a stock reply when you hit the Jewish problem… You can find a million reasons why you can’t get them out of Europe, but if somebody put their mind to getting them out, you can then spend the next ten years on what you are going to do with them.”

The British message dissolved the smoke screen of excuses that the State Department and the Foreign Office had used throughout the preceding year to conceal their actual opposition to rescue action. Now that the real issue was out in the open, Morgentau’s staff began to press him to urge Roosevelt to remove the rescue question from the State Department. The President, they argued, had to be persuaded to form a special agency to try to save European Jews.

Source: Wyman, David. The Abandonment of the Jews. P 182.

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