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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1942. The Near East and Africa

Palestine,   pp. 538-558 PDF (7.6 MB)

Page 539

particular reference to their future. It is therefore desirable to make
known this Government's attitude, which is as follows:
  The war objectives of this Government as stated in the Atlantic
Charter include the "desire to see no territorial changes that do not
accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned", and
respect for "the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government
under which they will live".
  This Government is of course dedicated to the application of these
principles in the Near East as elsewhere. In Palestine, despite past
difficulties, it is highly desirable that a political solution be reached
through agreement between the Arab and Jewish communities, and this
Government earnestly hopes that outstanding problems will be settled
on that basis.
  The record shows that the Axis powers have repeatedly and cynically
dishonored their promises and engagements. Therefore it is incon-
ceivable that any Near Eastern peoples place either faith or credence
in them. The Axis aggressors threaten the extension and maintenance
of freedom in the Near East; consequently, increased participation in
the war effort by all Near Eastern peoples would be in their own
interest and naturally would be welcomed by the United States
  The participation of the peoples of Palestine in the war effort
obviously presents a difficult problem. The British Government as
the Mandatory is responsible for the defense of Palestine. It is un-
derstood that the British Army is open to able-bodied Palestinians,
and that numbers of them have already enlisted. However, if it
should be deemed preferable to form separate Arab and Jewish mili-
tary units, and if the necessary equipment can be made available,
such an arrangement would be agreeable to the Government of the
United States. In the same way that United States forces are used
wherever danger threatens, these units would be utilized, under
United Nations command, wherever their services are required.
                           [Enclosure 2]
              Draft Letter to President Roosevelt
  MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: The agitation for the formation of a
Jewish army in Palestine is having such alarming effects in the Near
and Middle East that I am impelled to draw your attention to the
matter. From the reports of our military and political observers,
it is clear that the British and ourselves cannot use these territories
as bases of operations against Germany, Italy and Japan and as
routes of access to the combat areas in Libya, Russia and China, if, in
addition to combatting the Axis forces, we have to; defend ourselves
against the local populations.

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