The Edwin M Wright Interview

Oral History Interview with

Edwin M. Wright

Wooster, Ohio


by Richard D. McKinzie


Mr. Wright has asked that this letter be included as a preamble to his interview.

445 Bloomington Ave.
Wooster, Ohio 44691
April 3, 1977

Mr. James R. Fuchs
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, MO 64050

Dear Mr. Fuchs:

Your letter of March 23, 1977 and the draft transcription of the interview that I gave to Professor McKinzie arrived last week. I have gone over the latter and made a few corrections of a minor nature and am returning it under separate cover. I took the liberty of adding a number of footnotes. The material I gave Professor McKinzie was of a very controversial nature–one almost taboo in U.S. circles, inasmuch as I accused the Zionists of using political pressures and even deceit in order to get the U.S. involved in a policy of supporting a Zionist theocratic, ethnically exclusive and ambitious Jewish State. I, and my associates in the State Department, felt this was contrary to U.S. interests and we were overruled by President Truman. At the time I gave the interview, I had to relate many personal incidents for which, at the time, there was no evidence. In the past 30 months, a great deal of relevant material has been published which corroborates my story. Especially useful has been the publication of Foreign Relations of the United States 1948 Vol. V on the Near East, Part 2 by the Department of State which gives the original documents from which I quoted from memory. So I have added footnotes where verification is now available.

In addition, Zionists and Christian Fundamentalists have frequently used the Hebrew Bible as an authority for justifying a Jewish State. As late as summer 1976, Candidate Jimmie Carter stated, I am pro-Israeli, not because of political expediency, but because I believe Israel is the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. So the Bible–and belief that it is God’s Holy Word and infallible, became a useful tool in Zionist propaganda. I take the point of view that the Bible is a mixture of Hebrew legends and myths and cannot be used as an element in U.S. foreign policy. Two recent books by well-known and competent scholars support my view. They are, John Van Seter, Abraham in Legend and History. Yale 1975.. Frank M. Cross, Caananite Myth and Hebrew Epic. Harvard 1973.

The Zionists were very successful in using religion for political purposes. This is prohibited by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states the Government should recognize no “religous establishment.” In the case of Zionism and Israel, the U.S. has recognized and supported a religious establishment–viz: the State of Israel which in turn discriminates against all non-Jewish religions. Two texts are available

– Sabri Jiryis, The Arabs in Israel. Beirut 1968.
– Israel Shahak, The Non-Jew in the Jewish State. Jerusalem 1975.

Dr. Shahak, Professor of chemistry in Hebrew University introduces his topic, “This collection of documents is intended to show that it (Israel) is, at least in one of its most important characteristics, a State about which the greatest amount of misinformation, double talk and straight lies, is being published abroad” (Preface, first paragraph).

U.S. citizens, quite ignorant of Biblical critical studies and equally ignorant of Zionist dogmas and claims, were easy victims to clever Zionist manipulation of their gullibility. When I mailed to Professor McKinzie a typewritten statement to explain some of the documents I gave him, a group of my friends urged me to expand the material and publish it as an independent document. So I completely rewrote the material and published it as The Great Zionist Cover-Up. It is a much fuller statement of how the Zionists operate. I enclose a copy with the transcript. It also includes many references to books where a fuller treatment of the material may be obtained.

Finally, my opposition to Zionism was on purely pragmatic grounds. I was convinced the Arabs would fight a Zionist Exclusive Expansionist Jewish State–because they saw it in operation during the period of the British mandate. So did I. I felt it was folly for the United States to support a State composed of such neurotic groups as I witnessed in Palestine (1942-46). The Orthodox Rabbis wanted to turn the clock back to 1200 B.C. Theocracy–and were really fanatic. They have produced such irrational and Expansionist groups as the Gush Emunim group, who openly defy the Israeli government and cannot be disciplined because they are so “Holy.” A description of this “Much Holier than Thou” movement is found in The New Outlook (Tel Aviv) monthly for November 1976, “Chauvinistic Politics and Political Religion: Danger in Hebron.” It was the Zealots who in the time of Christ as provoked the Roman authorities that they brought on Roman retaliation and the destruction of the Jewish State in 70 A.D. The Gush Emunim have learned nothing from history and will repeat history. The Israeli government is impotent in the face of the defiance of this Zealot group. Other Israelis are equally blind to realities and so dogmatic and fragmented that no party can ever get a majority. The in-fighting between these parties is causing rapid decay in Israeli domestic political life. The only force which unites them is fear of the Arabs. Remove that, and Israeli political unity will disintegrate. George Ball in Foreign Affairs, April 1977 has the opening article, “How to Save Israel from Herself.” He calls the Israeli government “impotent” and “immobile” (pp. 456-57) and on p. 467 refers to Israel’s “paranoia.” Because the USA is waking up (for the wrong reason–need of Arab oil) to the potential disasters facing us in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the USA is preparing to undo–what it did in 1947-48. Norman Pod Loretz, the Zionist Editor of Commentary has a recent article, “The Abandonment of Israel.” He now accuses the USA of perfidy because he sees US support for Israel ebbing. “America’s policy toward Israel suggests the Vietnamization of Israel–it is felt that America, in order to avoid confrontation with the Soviet Union and to protect its oil supplies, will gradually withdraw from a total support of Israel and if necessary, negotiate over the survival of Israel.”

Zionists, since Truman’s decision in 1947-48, have lived in a Fool’s Paradise. They assumed their control of the US government, press and public was permanent and based an “moral” values–therefore, the US at all times would give Israel total support. Zionists seem to live in a dream world of their own creation and think the rest of the world should accept their dream. They seem quite incapable of facing reality. George Ball is making an effort to break through to some of the realities involved in our foolish adventure into theocratic politics. It will generate a bitter and possibly violent emotional reaction on the part of US Zionists who will accuse the USA generally of “anti-Semitism.” (p. 454) I have been accused of this since 1944–now it is probable that President Jimmie Carter will share the title. Returning Israel to its pre-1967 boundaries, as he has stated, is–to the Zionist–a death sentence. Their 30 year dream of “Eretz Gadohl 1′ Am Gadhol”–(a great land for a great people) will be shattered. I doubt if Israel can long survive such a blow. Jews will no longer emigrate to such a small non-viable state. Israelis will leave in increasing numbers. In 1947-48 when President Truman declared for a Jewish State, there was an outburst of Jewish Messianic hysteria (Bernard Pashol and Henry Levy, The Hills Shout for Joy: The day Israel was born (New York 1973). As Cyrus was declared “The Messiah of the Lord” in Isaiah 44 :28, so Truman was a “Messiah” to serve Eternal Divine Israel in 1948. Jews of a Zionist persuasion cannot separate the Transcendental from the Mundane. In antiquity, within a half a century, the Jews turned against Persia and in the Book of Esther (Hadarsal) King Artaxerxes is painted as a drunken and lecherous fool. He ruled from 485 B.C.-465 B.C. I fear President Carter may prove to be the Zionist model for the Treacherous Fool who “abandoned” Israel. Zionists seem to deal in superlatives–no relative values. They cannot see that President Truman was a US politician, needing Jewish votes and money to win an election. To the Zionists Truman was a Messianic Savior chosen by Destiny. Nor can they see President Carter is beset by global problems and it is necessary to curb Israel’s excesses and mistreatment of the Palestinians lest it bring on a global disorder. George Ball’s article is the rarest and best statement made in 29 years. I’m not sure the Esther model is the one to hope for. Esther got her Gentile King drunk, then wheedled his signet ring and sent out an order to the Jews–so they slew 75,000 innocent Persians (Esther 9:16). The Book of Esther is not history. It is parody. The Ahasuerus of Esther is probably the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (165 B.C.) and Mordechai is probably a symbol for Judas Maccabeus. Esther represents the beautiful dream of a Messianic Jewish State. There is a lesson nevertheless in this immoral and violent story. A political marriage of any political power with Messianic Zionism is certain to produce disaster.

I would appreciate it, if you make this letter a part of my “Oral” transcript by attaching it as a “Preamble.” The Ecstasy of Zionism by capturing President Truman in 1947-48 is turning into the Agony of President Carter in 1977. George Ball has started the Ball rolling; how far dare we let it (Israel’s paranoia) determine American policy? (p. 467) Time is vindicating the point of view of those State Department specialists whom Truman said he could not trust because they were “anti-Semitic.” His barb hurt and has left scars.

Thank you for your patience and trouble.


Edwin M. Wright

Edwin M. Wright was an American foreign policy specialist. Employed by the U.S. State Department from 1945 to 1955 in a number of capacities, he was especially involved in the events leading up to and surrounding the establishment of Israel. In particular, he served as a Middle East specialist from 1945 to 1946; on the Bureau for Near East, South Asian, and African Affairs from 1946 to 1947; as an advisor on United Nations affairs from 1947 to 1950, and as an advisor on intelligence from 1950 to 1955.”–Wikipedia
March 29, 1977

MCKINZIE: Mr. Wright, perhaps you could start by telling how you got into Government work and your personal background before you went into the Government.

My background is a rather unusual one because my father went out to the Middle East in 1878 and I was born in Iran. As such I have dual citizenship. I’ve never used my Iranian citizenship, it’s conferred upon me by birth. I grew up in Iran and learned to speak Armenian and Turkish. I was born in Tabriz, which is in the northwestern part and a Turkish speaking area.

When I came back to America I went to Wooster College and graduated in 1918. Then I took three years of theological work. My father was a missionary and I thought I would need some theological background for work in the field. I went to McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and then back to Iran. I spent 16 years in educational work there, being the principal of several high schools in Tabriz, in Rasht, and in Hamadans (1921-1937).

I came back here after the Iranian Government had nationalized all the schools and there was no purpose in staying in Iran. I decided to take a course in ancient history at Columbia University. I thought I would get my doctorate in ancient history and for the next four years, 1937 through 1941, I was working on a doctorate.

This has a great deal to do with my working in the Government, because I had lived in the Middle East. I was interested in it, especially the religious background. I have studied Islam a great deal, I have studied Arabic, and I wanted to get the whole Jewish point of view. I took three courses under Dr. Salo Baron, who is perhaps the outstanding Jewish scholar in America. He is the author of a seven-volume history of the Jews.

What I wanted to do was get this religious background. I’m convinced that religion underlies much of our language, though we don’t recognize it.

In other words, the themes and dogmas of religion underlie the way we see the world. If you would understand especially the Middle East, which never had a renaissance, you simply have to know this religious background. I majored in the religions, culture, and history of the Middle East.

When the war came on, the OSS put out a general request to find people who knew the Middle East. As I recall, there were only six people in America at that time (of American parentage), who could read or write Persian. I was one of them. Practically all of us got dragged into the Government. We had no political background in the Middle East and practically no interest in politics there. There was no great dirth of what you might call specialists or experts in the Middle East. There were a few from archaeology, a few missionaries’ children, and a few from business. Many of us were dragged into the research branch of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), to prepare materials for the U.S. Government in case the United States became involved in that area.

Eventually, Mr. [Winston] Churchill called up President [Franklin] Roosevelt and said that they did not have the facilities to handle supplies for Russia across Iran. [For details: George Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran, 1918-1948, Cornell U. Press, pp. 273-275.] Immediately the OSS asked me to prepare a study on the railways and transportation systems of Iran. I wrote a very complete one because I found in the Library of Congress all the sources, in Persian, of the railway maps and whatnot that had been sent in earlier. I was able therefore to prepare a full study on the Iranian railway system. This got into the Department of Defense and Mr. Roosevelt said, “Well, we’ll take over the Iranian railways and operate it under the Persian taskforce.”

They found my name on this study and immediately offered me a captaincy in Intelligence. They assigned me to go to the Middle East and work in the Intelligence side of the operations .

I was sent, in 1942, to Iran. I might mention the Russians protested my being there, because they knew I spoke all the languages. They reported that I was an American spy and a dangerous character, and that I would be shot immediately because I was so hated by the Russians–a bluff which had its effect.

The result was that the Defense Department moved me out of Iran and sent me to Cairo. I spent the rest of the war in Cairo in Intelligence and handled the Iranian situation from Cairo. This is the way we had to do it, but I made frequent trips thereAlso there opened up a position in Palestine. We had had a man there but he was transferred and Palestine had no Intelligence officer. For a year I worked in Tel Litvinski, which is just outside Tel Aviv, the U.S. Army headquarters.

This period is very important for what I have to say about serving under President Truman, because while I was there I realized that there was going to be a war between Jews and Arabs; that was just certain. This was because of the concepts of the two societies. One has to get into the attitude of mind and the philosophy of these two societies to understand this problem.

I made a special study of Zionism, and I talked with as many people as I could find who were the leaders of the Zionist community. I interviewed Golda Meir at that time; she was then labor secretary. I had conversations with Reuven Zaslani, who later was called Shiloah (all these people changed their names later on); Dov Joseph, who became the mayor of Jerusalem during the war; and Teddy Kolleck. I made a special effort to meet them, talk with them, and find out what Zionism is; what it stands for. I also found that there was a school in Tel Aviv, known as the Gymnasia Herzliya. It was the training school in which most of the modern leaders of Israel had gone; Moshe Dyan and others. I talked with a number of the teachers and professors there. I felt that this was a school dedicated to inculcating and indoctrinating [Theodor] Herzl’s ideas into the minds of the young Jews in Palestine. [See: Moshe Menuhin, The Decadence of Judaism in our Times, Exposition Banner Book, 1965. He was a graduate of this school.]

At that time many of Herzl’s writings were not yet translated into English. In fact, they were not translated until 1952, so no one had really any easy access to this material unless he knew German or Hebrew. I don’t know either one of these very well. I studied some Germany and some Hebrew, but I talked with the people who were the professors there and also got to know Edwin Samuel, the son of Lord Samuel who was the first High Commissioner of Palestine.

With Edwin Samuel, I made trips all through the kubbutzim. We spent several days at Ein Geb, Mishmar Ha-Emek, and at various other of the kubbutzim. During this period I became convinced that Americans didn’t know what Zionism was at all.

The material was not in English. There was very little of it known to America, and I came to the conclusion that it was a very dangerous type of philosophy of living.

What I found out was that Herzl had taught that all the Jews of the world should go to Israel. This was the idea that dominated the Yishuv (the Yishuv means the Jewish community of Palestine) and even Ben Gurion, who was at that time Secretary of the Jewish Agency.

The Jewish Agency was a shadow government. It already was a government of Israel; simply waiting for the veil to be pulled and it would emerge. It had all the functions of government. I found their ideas were that all Jews should leave the Gentile world. This is in Herzl: “Gentiles hate Jews, they are going to destroy the Jewish world.” It’s a paranoic view of things. The only way Judaism can be saved is for the Jews to leave the Gentile world completely; to go to a Jewish state, as Herzl put it in his book. There they would rule themselves and be able to get away from the hatred of the Gentile world. The Gentiles are out to destroy Judaism. [See: Theodore Herzl, The Jewish State, N.Y., 1943.Diaries in II Volumes]

I did not believe this. I think it’s a false concept of society, and especially false of American society. Nevertheless, this is the foundation of Zionist thinking.

The second step was that this Jewish state must be in Palestine. This is the sacred home of the people; its literature was developed there, and their attitude was that Judaism cannot survive in any other place except Palestine itself. That’s where it grew and germinated, and it’s got to get back there in order to save itself. Otherwise, Jews are going to assimilate in other countries. Herzl himself made the statement that, when the Jewish state is set up, if a Jew does not go to live in it he is anti-Semitic because he chooses to live with Gentiles rather than live with Jews which are his real community.

I got all these ideas through talking with people who were Zionists. The third step in Zionism was that they must have large enough a state in order to keep the whole Jewish population there. At that time there were about fourteen million Jews, and now that meant owning a very large territory. It is not brought out in Zionist propaganda in America, but what they claim is all the territory from the Suez Canal clear north to the mountains of Cappadocia, in southern Turkey. [Statement by Herzl. Also see Numbers 34; Genesis 15:18, Joshua 13, II Samuel 8:5-6.} It includes all of Lebanon, much of Syria, Jordan, and Sinai. This is the territory they call “Eretz Israel,” the land of Israel, which is mentioned in the Bible.

Furthermore, in the Bible you will find the boundaries of “Eretz Israel” as given by God. There are several places these are found, Numbers, the 34th Chapter and so forth.

One of the men whom I discussed this with was Rabbi Meyer Berlin, the Chief Rabbi in the Mizrachi group. These are the ultra-orthodox group, who accept the Old Testament literally. Everything that it says is exactly just as it’s described.

I might mention my concept of the Bible is that it is largely mythology; Jewish legend; distorted history. [See: John Van Seter, Abraham in Legend and History, Yale, 1975. Frank M. Cross, Caananite Myth and Hebrew Epic, Harvard, 1973.] There are a lot of poems and other sorts of things like this. There are a number of moral teachings in it, but they are

the minimum part of it. Large parts of it are just ritualistic and have no meaning in the modern world at all, but if you want to understand Jewish legend, that’s the book to go to.

When I talked to these people I saw that they took it literally. Furthermore, in one of my conversations with Mr. Ben Gurion he made the remark that, “the Bible is our charter.” I began to realize that Zionism is a thinly veiled theocracy. The Bible was in their minds when they were talking, but they used modern nationalistic language in order to hide the fact that this was theocratic in nature. They realized that a theocratic society would not appeal to America. I might mention here that I have found Zionism very deceitful. There is a double meaning in all the words Zionists use, and [Chaim] Weizmann himself said one time, “Let the British or anyone else talk about Zionism and they can use our terminology, but we know what the meaning of it is. It has one meaning to us, one meaning to the Gentiles.” They’ve always had this double-entendre in everything that they have done. Whenever they use words you have to try to find out what is the context in which they are using these words.

This threw me back to studying the Bible again to see what they are talking about; what is “Eretz Israel,” which includes this tremendous territory? Furthermore, in the covenants which God gave to the Jewish people, he said, “You are to be a pure and holy people and not to be contaminated by contact with Gentiles. Therefore, you should cast out all the inhabitants that are there and make it a Jewish state.” [See Deuteronomy 7:1=6. Joshua 6:17; 8:21; 10:33. I Samuel 15:18, etc.] I found the same thing in Herzl: You must remove the Arabs and Palestinians in order to have an exclusivistic Jewish people.

I found Herzl’s writings were really all ideas taken from the Old Testament, but dressed up in modern language, and that Zionism meant the incorporation of the whole Jewish community in Palestine. A large territory that was to be exclusively theirs, and the Arabs would be expelled.

I, at that time didn’t have access to all the writings of Herzl, because they were in a language I couldn’t use for research, but I got a lot through discussing this with various Jewish leaders. These are what I saw as their plans for the future. [I also met some anti-Zionists such as Rabbi Judah Magnus who was President of Hebrew University.]

When I was there I also made a point of discussing the Middle East with as many authorities as I could. There were a number of Americans who were in the American University of Cairo; I found the professors at Beirut extremely helpful; and Alfred Carleton, the president of Aleppo College. I made a point of contacting as many Americans who lived in the area, who knew Arabic, and Arabic history. I myself knew a great deal of it because I had lived in Iran much of my life, and I also had a professor at El-Azhar University, which is the great theological school of the Muslim community in Cairo. I hired him to teach me Arabic so I could study the Quran and the background of Islamic history as well.

In other words, I went to the sources. I found that the area had not yet emancipated itself from the theocratic point of view of the world. Such ideas as we had in the West had never penetrated the Middle East. They are just beginning to penetrate now; technology and the objective and secular point of view. These people are introspective, they live in a world of imagination and mythology which they interpret as reality. This is true of Golda Meir, Ben Gurion and all the rest of them. They live in a world of half myth and half reality. The result has been tremendous blunders that they have made in international relations.

One of the men whom I met when I was there was Loy Henderson. He was at that time our minister in Bagdad. I reported to him, and got to know him fairly well. I also knew George Wadsworth, our minister in Lebanon. I got to know some of these men very well and found them very well-versed in Middle Eastern history and the mood of the societies at that particular time.

I reported all of this to the Department of Defense and copies of my reports were sent to the Department of State. When I was demobilized and brought back from the Middle East in November of 1945, the Department of Defense immediately put me on what they called the “specialist corps.” There were about 20 officers who were specialists in different parts of the world; who had studied Chinese or Hindu or something else. I was put on that specialist corps to cover the Middle East. For the next six months I briefed General [George C.] Marshall about twice a week on the Middle East. Of course, this was a period when the Middle East was beginning to become important.

I should here make another statement: In 1944 Secretary Ickes made a statement that “the United States cannot oil the war much longer. We are running out of resources; we’ve got to open up oil resources in other parts of the world in order to fuel the war.” The result was that in ’43 the Department of Interior released very high-priority materials to go to Aramco in Saudi Arabia and technical personnel to develop those oil fields.

The Pacific fleet was partially operating on oil from Iran, but Iran was not able to rapidly develop its sources and Aramco was given the green light: “Build, get anything you need to, and the United States Government will support you.”

When these orders went out to allow Aramco to develop, the Defense Department sent off what we call a signal. It said, “Immediately prepare for us a special report on oil. We want to know what the oil situation in the Middle East is.” Now, I’m not an oil man; I’m not an economist. I’m a historian and a researcher, but the Army sends you to all kinds of odd jobs, especially if you’re in Intelligence.

I was called in by General [Barney M.] Giles who said, “We want you to prepare this report.”

Fortunately I had met in my contacts, many of the oil men, and I went to representatives of Caltex. I said, “Could I travel around with some of your men in the field and get the necessary technical language and some material?”

They were very anxious to cooperate with us.

The result was I made several trips into Arab territories along with the drillers and the field men. I talked with them trying to get the whole geological structure of the oil of the Middle East. I became, by osmosis, somewhat of an oil expert. I think of myself as sort of a person who explains things to other people in ordinary English. This is what I try to do, and I take no pride in the fact that I’m an oil specialist, I can take facts and put them in English, and that’s been my value. What I did was prepare for the Defense Department a study on the oil resources of the Middle East.

As I look back on this, thirty years later on, it was an infantile effort. Oil was just being discovered and very little was known about it at that time, and what has happened since then has been phenomenal. My report anyhow was sent in and copies of it went to the State Department. It was one of the first official documents on this. Up until this time we had a petroleum advisor in the State Department, but he did not produce this type of popular work; that anyone can read and get the picture.

What I found out was that the average well in the Persian Gulf area produces from 500 to 1000 times as much as the average well in the United States, and costs only six to ten cents a barrel to produce.

These facts at that time were completely unknown, and they still are unknown to the average person in America. Americans are as ignorant of where their oil comes from as if it rained from heaven. So when there is an Arab oil embargo nobody knows who to blame for a shortage of oil. The confusion in America in 1973 over where our oil comes from is an indication of the stupidity and the ignorance

of the American people on the facts of life. I learned these facts of life back in this period, because I had to study it and report on it.

When I came back to Washington, the Defense Department had me prepare a special discussion with maps and visual aids. At one of these discussions they invited in the State Department people. The Defense Department felt they had something of value. They invited in [Dean] Acheson, Loy Henderson, Spruille Braden, and a whole group of the creme de la creme in the State Department, including Harold Minor.

I gave this talk on oil and Loy Henderson was there. He had heard me also in Bagdad, and afterwards he came up to me and said, “What are you going to do when you are discharged from the Army?”

I said, “I don’t know. I think I’ll go into teaching, because that’s the field that I’m especially interested in.”

He said, “Well, don’t you think about teaching; we want you to come into the State Department.”

As a result he sent Harold Minor, his assistant on Middle Eastern affairs, and they got me to apply for a position in the State Department. That’s how I got in.

When I reported in February of 1946, he said to me, “I don’t want you to get tied down with any one kind of job. You’re not so highly specialized, but I’m going to make you a special assistant and you will just simply handle everything that I assign to you.”

In other words, there was no job description for me. It was because I knew the languages, the history, and the background so he wanted to use me just as a generalist; a sharpshooter on anything that happened. As such, I was his special assistant and I sat in the office right outside Loy Henderson’s office. I found him a remarkable person. He was honest, I could talk frankly to him. Although we had different backgrounds, but we had a lot in common. Immediately the Iranian issue came to the fore, the question of Azerbaijan. [See Lenczowski, pp. 284-303] He said, “You work with the Iranian desk on this.”

I did a great deal of the work on briefing and writing of memos and going up to the United Nations at the time that this Azerbaijan issue came up. I might mention, in connection with leaks, that an official Government policy is to leak non-sensitive stuff. Mr. Henderson told me, “You know, the public doesn’t know anything about this. You give as much information as you can, without compromising the State Department, to the various agencies around here.”

I got to know Stuart Alsop, I gave him a lot of information. I got to know other men who were working in other areas and I was able, through the press, to put out a lot of information on Iran. It was not confidential stuff, but I became known as the source of material for the Azerbaijan and Iranian issue. They found out that I was sort of an instant authority, that they could ask questions and I could give them information very quickly. So I got into contact with the press. It gave me an outlet and helped the American public to see some of the issues that were going on.

I don’t consider this a violation of any oaths because I was not giving secret material. They wanted background material on the issues, and I was able to help them. It was not leaking secret material, it was simply using the information that we had in the personnel of the Department.

One day Ted Winetal of Newsweek came in to see me and asked me some questions about Iran. I told him, “Well, you know, there’s a lot I can’t tell you.” He looked at my safe containing all my material there and said, “You’ve got more material in that safe than we could collect for ten thousand dollars in two years.”

I said, “Well, that’s true, but it’s just not material I can give out.”

Many people in the State Department do have this material available. The problem is how do you get it out to the public, because you can do it from an illegal way, or you can try to help out the press. I was very fortunate in my relationships with these newspapermen; not one of them ever betrayed me. They did not quote my name and they didn’t give away secret material, but we were able to use the information the State Department had to get across to the public what I looked upon as an educational program. It’s essential because we did not have very many people in the Middle East and the American public knew very little about it. Suddenly the United States was projected into Middle Eastern affairs.

In April 1945, I happened to be going from Bagdad to Teheran on a British army truck, on a morning in April when they turned on the radio and they announced the death of President Roosevelt. They said President Truman had taken over, and I knew nothing about this man. What is his background? He was almost an unknown to the average American and we wondered, “Is he going to be able to handle the type of problems that are coming in the postwar period?”

Up until the war we had not been interested in much of the world. During the war our attention was largely on Europe and Japan, and people had forgotten the Middle East or never had even heard of it. I wondered, “How is he going to handle the kind of problems that are going to arise in this area in the postwar period?”

Well, I was very pleased with Mr. Truman in almost everything that he did. I thought he was extremely creative in connection with Europe and NATO, but this was because America had a great fund of European specialists, and many of us had European backgrounds. We had endless numbers of schools where we had European studies. Our European policy was very constructive, very creative, and very useful. It turned us away from isolationism into a sort of integration with the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, when it came to Asia we had no specialists, and there arose in America; domestic issues which attacked those who were specialists. Domestic issues are not based on intelligence, but on self interest of a smaller group, and I think in this connection I think I should mention specifically two. One was what we called the China Lobby, a very odd and indiscriminate group of people who never were

really organized, but had a tremendous influence upon government. They eventually were captured by Senator [Joseph R.] McCarthy

The other were the Zionists, who were more organized. They had been working for a long time to capture the U.S. Government; to use it for purposes of developing a Jewish state. In other words, we had two lobby groups in America who knew little about the area at all, who had certain ideological concepts of society and America. When the people from the fields reported what was unpopular to these groups, they were fired.

It’s too well-known what happened to the people that McCarthy attacked. The best specialists we had on China were all fired or declared Communists. We purged them, and that led us into the debacle of supporting Chiang Kai-shek.

The same thing happened in the Middle East.

The Zionists well knew that these specialists in the State Department were people opposed to Zionism; that we were dangerous people from the point of view of Zionism. They were already attacking me when I was in Cairo. They found out that I was reporting things they didn’t like, and they had people also in Washington who picked up my reports.

The result was I was put on a dangerous list. When they found me as assistant to Loy Henderson, who was advising against their Zionist state, they felt that this was a conspiracy of certain groups of people that must be purged from Government.

Whatever contribution I had to make on President Truman’s attitude had to do with his decision on this question of Zionism. Up until 1946 no head of State had ever used the phrase “Jewish state.” The British had used the phrase “Jewish national home.” The result was that the concept of a Jewish state had not been accepted by any outside power. It was the drive of the Zionists to get the United States to recognize such a thing as a Jewish state, but nobody in America knew what a Jewish state was. I’m convinced that Mr. Truman never knew what it involved, yet he used the phrase “Jewish state.”

No one has ever been able to define what a Jew is; what is the adjective “Jewish?” I’m convinced there is no agreed definition; it cannot be defined. Israel has in 26 years tried to define the term “Jew,” and it’s run across endless contradictions. Every time that a court in Israel defines the term Jew, half of the Jews protest against it and say, “That’s not what we mean by Judaism.” In other words, Judaism or Jew means so much to so many people that there is no possible definition of it. The Zionists have a specific meaning of Judaism that is racist; it has to do with a theory of birth.

You are born a Jew, you have to have a Jewish mother, and every Jew has a DNA particle that is identified as Jewish. This is a sort of a chain to connections back to Abraham. This is pure mythology, [See John Van Seder, op. cit.] and yet this is the idea on which the State of Israel is being built.

Furthermore, Mr. Truman knew nothing about their concept of Zionism. In his book he refers to the fact that the extreme Zionists, as he said, threatened him. Those are not the extreme Zionists at all, these were the regular Zionists. He didn’t know the difference between a leftist and a rightist Zionist. All he knew was that the Zionists put tremendous pressure upon him in order to accept the concept of a Jewish state in Palestine.

There’s a little booklet here that has to be read in connection with my statements. It’s called Pentagon Papers, 1947, and I’ll give you a copy of it and it should be used by anybody who uses this text. It was put out by Elmer Berger and myself last fall, before the October war of 1973. [I enclose a copy of my latest pamphlet The Great Zionist Cover-up which gives further details.]

In Mr. Truman’s book you will find that he describes the pressures that were brought to bear upon him at this particular time. He said it was like nothing that he ever saw again in the Presidency. He makes the strange remark, “I could not trust my advisers in the State Department because they were anti-Semitic.”

It’s perfectly obvious he was smearing Mr. Henderson, who was the adviser and the director at that time of the Near Eastern areas. The Zionists went to various people like Drew Pearson and Walter Winchell and said, “Smear this fellow. Destroy his character and get him out of Government.”

The result was Mr. Henderson became the target of Zionist attacks. All kinds of false stories were told about him in these columns by Walter Winchell and others. I was at that time Mr. Henderson’s assistant and I answered many of the letters, because he didn’t have time to do it himself. I was his sort of alter ego in handling much of this correspondence, and I saw the kind of letters that he got. They were vituperative. Walter Winchell accused him of crucifying the Jews the way that the Jews had been crucified earlier, and so forth, and so on.[See: George Ball “How to Save Isreal From Herself,” Foreign Affairs, April, 1977 pp.454. He points out how Zionists attack anyone who criticises Isreal “ad hominen”–by character assasination, calling them “anti-semitic.”]

Mr. Henderson in a letter to me only recently makes the statement that, “These people tried so hard to destroy me some 25 years ago. I see now they are also trying to destroy you.”

Anyone who comes out and says, “The concept of a Zionist Jewish state is going to bring on trouble,” is immediately attacked. The orders are, “Get him out of Government,” just the way Mr. Nixon tried to get some people out of Government. Some of these people are protected because they happen to be doing a good job.

What Mr. Truman did was not project his people, but smear them. In his own book he declared that his advisers in the State Department were anti-Semitic and he couldn’t trust them.

On the other hand, he got his advice from people like Eddie Jacobson, who was his haberdasher partner; Rabbi Steven Wise; Robert Nathan; and other people who were all Zionists; crypto-Zionists very often [Clark Clifford, Political Affairs officer in the White House staff must be included. A New York lawyer and politician, he was in close contact with the Zionists and represented their views to the President. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, (hereafter cited F.R.U.S.) Vol. V, pp. 973-976. For Clifford’s view, p. 755. Recognizing that the State Department was skeptical of the “peaceful” outcome of establishing an exclusivist Zionist state on Arab territory, the Zionists and the Jewish Agency (later the Government of Israel) established outlets for propaganda and pressure on the U.S. public. The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was placed in Washington to influence Congress, public officials and the press. It was well funded and published in the Near East Report and was recognized as “the Israeli Lobby.” A psuedo–“American Christian Committee for Palestine” was funded by the Israeli Government and U.S. Zionists. It published a news sheet, organized tours to Israel and worked especially on clergy and churches. For the press, the Jewish Telegraph Agency pretended to be a U.S. installation. The Fulbright investigation of 1962 exposed the latter two–the American,Christian Committee and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Israeli Government organizations. As a result of the exposure the American Christian Committee lost all its utility and disbanded. The press card of Milton Friedman of the JTA to the Department of State was cancelled. These many Israeli Government propaganda organizations did all they could to discredit those men in the State Department, whom they identified as “pro-Arab.” For further details: Alan R. Taylor Prelude to Israel (Philosophical Library, 1959), especially the Chapter VIII, “The Zionist Search for American Support,” pp. 77-113.] They kept whispering in his ear, “Don’t trust the State Department.” The result was he did not trust the State Department, the people who knew what was going on.

David Niles was another one. He was the protocol officer in the White House, and saw to it that the State Department influence was negated while the Zionist view was presented. You get this from Mr. Truman’s book, but also there are many stories that are not known.

One of them was that when the election was coming up in 1946 in New York, the group of New York Jews called upon Mr. Truman. [Alan Taylor, op. cit. p.93] Emmanuel Cellar was the head of this committee. Rabbi Steven Wise and several others were in it. They called upon Mr. Truman and said, “We have just been talking with Mr. [Tom] Thomas Dewey. He is willing to come out and declare for a Jewish state, and we are going to turn our money and urge the Jews to vote for him unless you beat him to it.” Then Emmanuel Cellar pounded upon Mr. Truman’s desk and said, “And if you don’t come out for a Jewish state we’ll run you out of town.”

This, I’m sure, is the threat that Mr. Truman refers to in his book, saying, “The extreme Zionists threatened me.” They were Emmanuel Cellar, Rabbi Steven Wise, etc. These are not the extreme Zionists, these are just the run of the mill Zionists. What Mr. Truman did was to cave in to these threats that they would support Mr. Dewey. In that way he got the Jewish money and the Jewish vote. His decision was not made from the point of view of what was going to result in the Middle East, but what was going on in the United States.

Foreign policy cannot be operated intelligently if it’s to be the football of domestic lobbies, and this was Mr. Truman’s great mistake. In this issue he gave way to a domestic lobby. What did Emmanuel Cellar know about the Middle East? The answer is nothing. What did these other men, David Niles or Eddie Jacobson know about the Middle East? Zero. The result was he listened to a group of propagandists who gave him the wrong ideas and he came across with this fatal decision that we would support a Jewish state in the area.

From that time on, the fat was in the fire. A chief of State had come out supporting the idea of a Jewish state. Now the Zionists were simply able to take over and operate without reference to America anymore. They began smuggling out arms and money. Mr. Ben Gurion had been in the U.S.A. at the Biltmore Convention in May 1942 and had gotten organizations to support the development of a war in the Middle East. They knew war was coming.

In one of my reports I found out that Mr. Ben Gurion had made a statement at Tel Hai, which is one of the group meetings in Palestine. “As soon as the war in Europe is over, the war in the Middle East will begin.” The Zionists had no question but that they were going to fight and drive out the Arabs. This has been written in many of their documents, and Mr. Truman didn’t know this. [John Davis The Evasive Peace, Chapter 5, “The Palestine Refugee Problem,” Cleveland, 1976.]

They told him, “Zionism is but a humanitarian move. It’s liberal, it’s progressive, it’s going to bring prosperity in the Middle East.” Mr. Truman made that one statement; that the reason he supported the idea of a Jewish state was because it was bringing prosperity to the Middle East.

It was obvious he was deceived, but I think he was easily deceived because it brought money into the campaign and he needed it badly for his whistlestops. In fact, I’m convinced that the American Government is largely corrupt because of the way that our campaigns are run. This has been brought out, of course, very clearly in the last few months in connection with Watergate, but it’s not new. The business of buying Government opinion and Government judgment is very old in America and it’s one of the things that is going to destroy democracy unless it is somehow or another corrected.

In this particular case, Mr. Truman not only supported the Zionists but he also did a very dirty trick. He smeared his specialists and made it difficult for them to operate any longer in Government.

Mr. Henderson was, therefore, told, “You’ve got to leave the State Department or the Zionists are going to keep after us.”

The State Department suggested he be sent as an ambassador to Turkey. The Zionists had a clearance process going and they said, “No, that’s too near the Middle East, we want to get him completely away from the Middle East.” The result was that they sent him as ambassador to India to get him out of the area completely.

What Mr. Truman then did was to turn over the Middle Eastern policymaking and the fate of State Department personnel to the Zionists; who were not in Government at all. He turned it away from his trained diplomats and over to irresponsible and fanatic people who simply purged the State Department. [F.R.U.S., 1948, Vol. V, The Near East. President Truman referred to “the fanaticism of our New York Jews,” p. 593. There are dozens of references to domestic pressures,]

I happen to know this from personal experience because I became the brunt, the target of Zionist attacks. They found out, with Mr. Henderson being sent away, that the Department was still anti-Zionist, and they tried to find out who was there in the woodwork bringing out this anti-Zionism. They found me in there, and they turned the character assassin loose on me. His name was Milton Friedman. He was at that time under a camouflage; he operated in the Jewish Telegraph Agency. They sicked him onto me and he wrote a whole series of articles about how I was getting paid for my point of view, that I was a dangerous character, and that the Government ought to investigate me for anti-Semitism. They did investigate me.

This came out in connection with the McCarthy scandal: not only were there Communists supposedly in the State Department but there were also anti-Semites. You can see how domestic passions and domestic irresponsibility simply shreds the usefulness of the Department of State. That’s what occurred both in China and in the Middle East. It was so destroyed that nobody dared say anything publicly for fear it would be reported.

One day I was sitting next to Mr. Henderson, he had his notes out and was dictating to me some letters when the telephone rang. It was Mr. Niles of the White House, and Mr. Niles told him (I got the story later on) that the night before some member of the State Department had been at a dinner party and had criticized President Truman’s statement on a Jewish state. Mr. Niles said, “We are not going to tolerate any criticism of the President on this issue, and you let your staff know that if this happens again they must be disciplined.”

Mr. Henderson called a meeting of the staff and told them of the message of Mr. Niles. He said, “None of you people are to speak in public about this issue, because if you do we’ll have to send you off to some Siberia if any of you, publicly express your private opinions, even to private groups, and it gets to the White House, you will be purged.”

There were a number of these people that were purged. I can mention them, Stuart Rockwell, Robert Munn. They tried to purge me in every way.

I can’t understand why I survived, and this is one of the strange things in my history, for they had me on their list as an anti-Semitic force operating in the State Department. The American Zionist, which is the paper of the American Zionist organization, came out with a full page attacking me, claiming that I was the source of anti-Semitism. I was called in frequently and told I must not speak on this subject because it was so controversial and I was too indiscrete.

One day George McGhee, who later on was Assistant Secretary of State, called me in. Jacob Blanstein, president of AMOCO had just come in to see him, and somehow or another had picked up the story I was anti-Semitic. He told George McGhee, “Why do you keep this fellow here?”

There were influences to get rid of anyone who was called “pro-Arab.” They were not pro-Arab, I must insist upon this, they were acting in accordance with America’s larger interests in the Middle East. The Zionists gave them the title “pro-Arab” and that was enough to destroy them. You had to be pro-Zionist or keep quiet in order to stay in the State Department, and the net result was a whole generation of officers who are simply “Uncle Toms.” They don’t dare to speak or publish things. They are afraid that they will be sent off to Africa, or who knows to some other part of the world, and will stay there the rest of their lives.

One of these men was Henry Byroade. Henry Byroade made a talk in Philadelphia in April 1954. Before he made this talk he had two men work with him on it. One was Parker T. “Pete” Hart, who was the head of the NE, the Near Eastern Section, and the other was myself. We went over to his house and worked out his talk. In it he made this statement: “I have some advice for both Arabs and for Jews. Israel should think of itself as a state living in the Middle East and that it must live with its Arab neighbors. The Arabs must cease to think of themselves as wanting to destroy Israel and should come to terms with Israel itself.” [Fred J. Khouri The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, Syracuse Press, 1968, p. 300 adds that even the Israeli Government protested this statement]

The next morning Henry Byroade got a call from Nathan Goldman, who was in California. [Nathan Goldman was president of the World Jewish Congress and many years president of the World Zionist Organization. He acted as though he were president of a World Jewish State and had a bitter fight with Ben Gurion after 1948.] He used his first name and said, “Hank, did you make that speech in Philadelphia that was reported in the papers today?”

Byroade said, “Yes, I made that speech.”

He said, “We will see to it that you’ll never hold another good position.”

That was the control, from California, that Nathan Goldman held over the State Department. All they had to do was go to the President or to Congress, and the demand would come for this fellow to be sent off and put in some obscure area, where he no longer would influence the situation. This has been going on for 26 years in the Department of State as the result of Mr. Truman’s first decision to purge Loy Henderson.

It destroyed the efficacy of the Department of State in that particular area. The Zionists consider that they have control of the Department of State, can dictate who is going to be in it and who is going to say what policy should be. It’s sort of silent terrorism that they have applied and kept up ever since.

There is an article in the New York Times by Joseph Kraft, called “Those Arabists in the State Department.” He points out how this terror muzzled the “Arabists” so that it has destroyed the capability of the State Department to advise the President. Not only has it destroyed their capability, but the Presidents from that time on would become “mercenaries for Zionism.” They find so much money coming in from Zionist groups that they don’t dare go against Zionism. As a result you’ll find that there’s practically no criticism whatsoever of Israel from the Presidency or the Congress; all kinds of criticisms of the Arabs. Here’s another little story that I can tell, for many of these anecdotes are illustrative of what happened. Vice President [Alben] Barkley used to go out and make speeches for the Zionists, and while the President cannot take money from other sources, the Vice President can, evidently. The Zionists got him on the circuit and paid him a thousand dollars a lecture.

A thousand dollars then was a lot more than now, and they had him simply go all over the country stumping for Zionism. The favorite phrase he used was, “Israel is an oasis of democracy in a desert of tyranny.” The Arab states came to the State Department and protested. They said, “Here’s the Vice President insulting us, and we wish to protest this.”

One of the officers in the State Department wrote a memo, for Mr. McGhee’s signature, to Mr. Truman. “The Arab states are protesting the Vice President constantly insulting them at a time that we are supposed to be friends of theirs. We feel that the members of the Cabinet and the Vice President should be a little more discrete in what they say in public.”

This memo went to Mr. Truman; I understand he read it to his Cabinet. It didn’t influence Barkley one bit, he went right ahead talking about an “oasis of democracy in a desert of tyranny,” but the officer who drafted that was removed. He was sent off to the Defense Department and I don’t want to give you his name, because he’s now an ambassador in one of the states in that area. I don’t want to embarrass him. This is what happened. Even if you suggested what is good policy you got punished for it, and the result was that nobody dared even write memos or sign their initials to anything. If the Zionists got hold of it, this person was purged and sent off to some obscure area for a number of years.

As you can see, that’s why the United States has made blunder after blunder in the Middle Eastern area. It has been controlled by Zionist groups, through money to Congressmen and Senators who get large fees. For instance, Mr. Hubert Humphrey gets as much money from the Zionists and the Jews as he does from the U.S.

Government. Mr. [Edwin] Muskie received 80 thousand dollars two years ago for speaking for Jewish groups and gets only 42 thousand dollars a year as a salary. These men just said whatever they were told to say because it satisfies their personal finances and also satisfies the votes in their area. This has corrupted American policy completely towards the Middle East and it has led to four wars.

When I briefed the Defense Department and the State Department on oil, my presentation was a very infantile study because I only had a few weeks to do it. Yet the raw materials were there, and I point out in process of time that the United States would need Arab oil. It was essential, therefore, if we were to have good relationship with the Arab world and get their oil, that we do not support a state that is attacking the Arabs all the time.

The Zionist attitude is, “Keep on expanding, get more and more territory.” I could quote endless numbers of passages here from Moshe Dayan and Yigal Allon. Moshe Dayan actually two years ago made the remark: “This next generation of Israelies must occupy everything up to central Syria. ” [His statement: The first generation of Israelis founded the State. The second generation expanded it in 1967.]

This idea that they must occupy all that area, drive the Arabs out, Dayan first learned in the Gymnasia Herzliya where he went to school. It’s Herzl’s ideas, Weizmann’s ideas, Ben Gurion’s ideas. They kept repeating, “Drive the Arabs out, get more territory,” and the United States pays for it. We have kept paying Israel more and more money each year. The more expansive it’s become, the more it mistreats the Arabs. The result has been an alienation of America from the Arab world.

This was predicted by Mr. Henderson. He said, “If we support a Jewish state, a Zionist state, a racist state in a territory that’s dominantly Arab, it will alienate us from the Arab world. It will make possible the development of Russian interests, who will support the Arabs against us. Eventually we will need Arab oil and it may be refused.”

All of this is in the documents of 1947, [F.R.U.S., 1947 The Near East and Africa, Vol. V, pp. 1281-82.] but the Zionists took a completely different attitude: “Mr. Henderson’s anti-Semitic; pay no attention to him.” The result was that we embarked upon the development of a Jewish, Zionist, expanding colonial empire, and have supported it with billions of dollars. This is what brought on the war of October 1973, in which we found that the Russians were threatening to send troops into Egypt to support the Arabs, the Arabs who are our bewildered friends. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia cut off oil to the U.S.A. and Mr. Henderson’s prophesies all came true.

The man who foresaw what was going on was punished and the people who deceived the Presidency and the Congress have been rewarded for 26 years.

This is the sad history of the mistake that was made by Mr. Truman to open the door to Zionist control of the U.S. Government in the Middle East. It has continued until recently, but Mr. [Henry] Kissinger is making an effort to reverse the trend. [Edward R. F. Sheehan, “Step by Step in the Middle East,” Foreign Policy, Number 22, Spring, 1976.]

In 1956 Governor [Nelson] Rockefeller asked Mr. Kissinger to prepare a book, which he was going to use in connection with his campaigns. The book would anticipate the world as it would be for the next ten years. In other words, an anticipation of America’s problems from 1960 to 1970. The Rockefeller brothers’ funds financed the thing. Mr. Kissinger was then a professor at Harvard and he went to some of his friends and said, “I’d like to have working papers on all parts of the world.”

The result was he got a whole lot of these working papers. He and a small committee published the book called Prospects for America. It came out in 1958. When he wanted a study of the Middle East he realized this was a highly controversial area, and he went to two men whom he knew very well, Joe Johnson, of the Carnegie Peace Foundation, and William Yandell Elliot, his professor at Yale.

I happened to know both of these men very well. Joe Johnson had been sent out on a mission to the Middle East. I had briefed him and I had worked with him. I knew William Yandell Elliot because he was a civilian advisor to the State Department on International Affairs. I was often called in to that committee to give them information on the Middle East. Both of these men recommended me to write this study and I produced a study for Mr. Kissinger.

In that study written in 1958, I pointed out all the things I had been saying here, that Zionism intended to have a large state, drive the Arabs out, dominate the Middle East, have the United States pay the bill.

I felt this was destructive of the American interests. Mr. Acheson knew the same thing because in his book Present at the Creation, he makes the statement, “The only thing on which I disagreed with the President was his policy towards the Arab-Israeli issue. I found here was an emotional, fanatical group; you cannot discuss these issues with them. I couldn’t discuss it with Justice [Louis] Brandeis or with Felix Frankfurter because our friendship would not have been able to tolerate the differences of opinion we had on it. My advice to the President was that to support such a state would undermine America’s larger interests in the area.”

This is exactly what Mr. Henderson and his staff had been saying, and it came true finally in October 1973. Our larger interests were threatened, Russia was going to send troops in there. The Arabs, who were our friends, embargoed oil and suddenly Mr. Kissinger had to go and try to save the day.

The result is that after 26 years, we’ve got a reverse of what Mr. Truman did. We’ve go to get the Zionists out of control of the Middle Eastern area, to restore some confidence with the Arab world. Otherwise, the United States is a paper tiger; it cannot operate without Arab oil and cooperation of the Arab people.

Now, Mr. [Richard Milhouse] Nixon, having finally learned something about the Middle East, is trying to reverse it and restore confidence of the Arab world. It’s going to mean an attack by the Zionists against both Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kissinger, and that’s already begun. “Get these fellows out as well, through the impeachment process or something else.” [For Kissinger’s problems with the Zionists: Edward Sheehan op. cit., pp. 56-58. On p. 39,;”Kissinger encountered some of the Golan settlers outside his hotel, screaming, ‘Jew boy go home.'”] They want a President who is amenable to Zionist pressures and dictations. [See George Ball, op. cit. Foreign Affairs (April 1977) p. 454.]

They’ve hunted for 26 years and I think they’re going to be terribly shocked when they find out they no longer have that control. The situation that existed in 1947 is not going to be repeated in 1974.

In ’47 America was naive, the Zionists had an organization and were able to use the treatment of Jews in Germany as a great emotional appeal. They persuaded the public that there were no people in Palestine. It was empty country and they were just coming home; all this type of specious argument simply went over because the Americans didn’t know the situation. It no longer exists. It’s not enough that the Jews were being persecuted in Europe, but it’s the Arabs who are now being persecuted in Israel and the neighboring territories. The whole picture is being changed, therefore. America now knows it cannot operate without Middle Eastern oil, at least for the next 10 years. We simply would have a collapse in America unless we get Middle Eastern oil. [Dankwart A. Rustow, “U.S.-Saudi Relations and the Oil Crisis of the 1980s,” Foreign Affairs, April, 1977.]

MCKINZIE: Mr. Wright, did you talk about the oil problem with the Secretary of Defense? He said that if there were another war the United States could not fight the war longer than three years without Arab oil.

No, but I instructed General Marshall on that. I produced this study and I gave it to him verbally as well as with maps. I have a copy of the report that I gave at that time. I don’t know whether I influenced General Marshall or not, but I also gave the same talk to General Eisenhower when he became Chief of Staff (I never met the Secretary of Defense, that was one step beyond me). That’s one reason why General Eisenhower, in 1956, ordered the Israelies back out of Arab territories when they conquered the Sinai. That’s what Lyndon B. Johnson should have done in 1967. Instead of that we supported Israel to develop that Arab territory and put Jewish communities in there; to drive the Arabs out. We made inevitable the war of 1973. The mistakes that were made by Truman lasted for 26 years and have brought us to near disaster in the Middle East. [Foreign Policy, op. cit., p. 37. “Kissinger has described the Golan settlements as the worst mistake the Jews have made in 2500 years.'”]

I might here briefly diverge to show the types of tactics that the Zionists used; not only to change the opinion of Mr. Truman, but the pressure brought to bear upon people in the State Department. This set a certain tone that anyone in the State Department who was out of line with what the Zionists wanted was to be attacked, defamed and gotten out of the Government.

I happened to give a talk to the Presbyterian Church in Washington when I returned from the Middle East in 1956. There were many questions asked about what was going on; about Zionism and so forth.

The Suez crisis had just taken place. This was November 14, and that took place the last week of October. It was a very sensitive moment, and people were trying to find out what happened in the Middle East. I was unusually frank in telling them what I thought was the source of the trouble: Israel, Britain, and France had conspired to attack Egypt and take over the Suez Canal. President Eisenhower shortly after this said that they should get out of that area, and ordered them out immediately or he would no longer give them any support. I tried to explain what this war was and why it had come about. I made the statement that so much that is found in modern Zionism is really a rewording of Old Testament themes, about the “Land belonging to the Jews,” “God’s covenant,” and the fact that they must have a purely Jewish society and get rid of the foreigners. All of these were themes in modern Zionism.

On the 14th of November a letter came to me from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, from 305 Broadway, New York. It was signed by Dr. Sampson R. Weiss, who was the executive vice-president. This speech of mine had been reported in the Indianapolis Jewish News, and I began to get threats in the mail. “You shouldn’t be in Government; you ought to be fired; you’re anti-Semitic.”

Now, this particular letter says, “In the National Jewish Post of Friday, November 9, there appeared, on the front page, an article concerning an address delivered by you at the National Presbyterian Church. In this article you are quoted as saying, ‘Zionists ideology comes out of Deuteronomy.'” Well, it does. I think it can be very well proven to be a rehashing of Old Testament themes, and I had made that statement. “The article goes on to state that you accuse Jews of dual loyalty.”

What I did was to quote Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, who said that Jews should have dual loyalty. That was not my idea, but it was the idea of the president of the World Zionist Organization. [The Supreme Court in the Rusk vs Afroyim case gave Afroyim the right to dual citizenship.]

“You depicted the Jewish religion as a faith which does not allow people to think.” What I pointed out was that Orthodox Judaism is an indoctrination system; you must believe that God dictated all of these things to Moses and that they were infallible and, therefore, anyone who tends to be questioning this is likely to find himself outside the Orthodox group. What I did was to parallel it with what happened in Christianity at the time of Luther when he began to doubt many of the church doctrines. I said, “All these great religions undergo this process of self-criticism when a new phase or a new attitude of mind comes in. Judaism is now in that process.” I did not separate it out as different than others, but simply as the changing from a traditional type of approach to a more modern one. Many of these things were what I quoted from others, but they were written in such a way that they attribute to me all of these bad characteristics. What I was trying to do was explain the nature of change taking place in society.

Rabbi Weiss goes on, “Understandably, we are very much astonished at the tenor and contents of the remarks alleged to you, which are in such glaring contradiction to the facts.” They are not glaring contradictions, they are quotations of facts from which I can get the sources. “The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, servicing about 3,000 Jewish congregations and over 3,000,000 citizens, is hereby inquiring whether or not the above statements are a correct report of your remarks at the National Presbyterian Church of Washington.” I’m sure Rabbi Weiss never showed this to any of his 3 thousand congregations or 3 million people; he just sat down, wrote it, and said, “I represent 3 million people.”

This type of propaganda is what the Zionists use. Any Zionist can sit down and say, “We Jews believe,” but he never consults with anyone; simply sends it in. When it gets to the White House or the State Department they say, “Here are 3 million people being stirred up by what Mr. Wright has said.”

Immediately I got a letter from the Personnel Department. “What did you say these things for? Why aren’t you more discrete about it?” This is a type of pressure under which you live. Every public statement you make, however much you quote the original source, is distorted as though these ideas are your own. Then you’re attacked for them.

For instance, this character named Milton Friedman of the Jewish Telegraph Agency charged me as being pro-Arab and wrote an article about it in the California Jewish Voice of May 7, 1954. I don’t know whether he was even in the audience, but he picked up some statements and immediately demanded that there should be an investigation to find out whether I was fit to be a Government servant. The moment that this appeared, a whole lot of letters also began to come in. Here, for instance, is one addressed to the Republican National Committee. They wrote to the Committee asking who I was and what view I was representing in making the various statements that I made. They approached not only the Government, the Secretary of State, but they went to the Republican National Committee and the White House. It’s just like a shotgun blast; they cover every area where they can bring pressure to muzzle you and to keep you from expressing your ideas.

The Republican National Committee has to get a letter in reply to these letters that come in. They don’t know who I am or anything about me, but they immediately write to the State Department and the State Department calls me on the mat. “What did you say this for? You mustn’t say these things.”

In this particular connection I’m going to read another letter. I was indiscrete, I don’t doubt it, but I also was convinced I was accurate, because I quote my sources. This is what I’ve learned as a historian: you must quote your sources, so that other people can look them up and see whether you are quoting accurately. This is what I’ve always done, but in this particular case there was a letter writing campaign and committees coming to the State Department; saying I should be removed from office because I was anti-Semitic.

So, I received a letter from the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration. This happened to be my former boss Loy Henderson whom I greatly admire, one of the greatest men I’ve ever worked for. Loy was under pressure and he had to answer these letters in such a way that he didn’t hurt my feelings but still could answer the letters satisfactorily.

He was then caught in the crossfire between myself and the Zionists. What he wanted to do was write me a letter to sort of warn me and at the same time send a reply back to the Zionists who were writing to these various committees. This is the letter, and it reads as follows: “Dear Ed:” (We’ve always gone on a first name basis because I respected and I worked very closely with him for a long time.) “I would very much appreciate your comments on the attached letter from Rabbi Israel Klavan to Mr. Maxwell Rabb at the White House.” (In this case they went to the White House against me.) “It is inconceivable that the remarks attributed to you in the enclosure to the Rabbi’s letter are accurate.” (He knows that I don’t just talk out of free will, but that I do quote my sources. This is sort of a clue to me, saying, “Please excuse me for writing this, but I’ve got to do it.”)”I’m requesting your comments in order to make an appropriate reply to Mr. Rabb.”

“In any event, because of the extremely delicate international situation and as public comments on current sensitive events should only be made by the appropriate officers in the Department, I would like to ask that in the future you not discuss in public meetings substantive matters relating to the international situation or other substantive political matters. Exception would, of course, be made in cases where speeches are written and cleared by the relevant geographic bureau in advance.”

This sort of played both sides. It tells me “Please be cautious and don’t get into trouble, we know that you’re accurate, but it is a sensitive situation and we have to explain it whenever these letter writing campaigns begin.” This is the type of problems you deal with; irresponsible journalists like Milton Friedman can write anything they want. Immediately a thousand letters come into the Department. You’re called on the mat; “What did you say this for?” You have to explain it in written letters because it’s got to go back to the sources of the letters. At one time I was called in by the Assistant Secretary, who said, “You know, you’re causing us more problems than the Arabs-Israelies themselves, because you keep raising these questions all the time. We have to spend our time answering letters about you rather than handling the problem of the Middle East.”

You can see why they were hot and bothered. They are trying to solve terribly difficult problems and somehow or another I seem to throw the issues out into the open. It made them spend time trying to answer attacks upon me because they found me useful and wanted me to stay in the Department.

It’s the type of issue that very few people understand. The Zionists are organized in 17 (now 31) different committees and groups in America. They are all inter-related by what’s called the Association of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. These are the presidents of the 31 Zionist organizations. All they have to do is to send in a letter to any one of them and these 31 will reproduce it in mimeograph and send it out to all their organizations. As a result of one letter you’ll get hundreds of replies coming in attacking me. This is the type of constant fear that a Government official lives under because of the mimeograph machine and the xerox machine. These organizations can immediately make it sound like a thunder clap. Some unimportant little thing is picked up and individuals are put on the grill; almost punished for being accurate. It’s obvious from this thing that they knew that I was accurate and that I was reporting things correctly.

MCKINZIE: Would you call a letter like the one from Mr. Henderson equivalent to a muzzle?

Yes, because it says, “Don’t discuss it unless cleared by the appropriate officer.” In this case the appropriate officer was the Israeli desk officer who was just running scared. He wasn’t going to let anything through to get him into trouble. What they do is really make a sort of what I call “intellectual eunuchs.” You don’t dare think or sign your name or your initial to anything that’s going to get you into trouble. You’ll never get a promotion. That’s the kind of pressure under which these officers operate.

I could multiply this a hundred fold. I have a file here of just case after case of things like this. Each one takes a long explanation of what you said, how the Zionist organization got its wolves out after you, and then how the State Department either sacrifices you like Truman did Mr. Loy Henderson, or muzzle you like they did me.

Once I left State Department I became very vocal on this because I realized then there was no more running back to the State Department. I was no longer impeding their work by coming out openly. I published a whole series of pamphlets on the Arab-Israeli issue using the information I developed in the field and during my period in the State Department. Thus, the unmuzzling took place only by leaving the Government.

MCKINZIE: We’ll add these documents to the transcript. [See Appendix]

Very good, yes.

During the war I had traveled very freely around the Middle East because that was my job, and I talked with people of all kinds. Just as I tried to find out what the Zionists were thinking, I also talked with Arab leaders. The interesting thing about talking with Arabs was that when the United Nations were organized in San Francisco the largest alumni group from any school in the world represented at San Francisco was the American University in Beirut, representing them.

If you look at the personnel of that first meeting of the United Nations you’ll find the University of Beirut supplied more people than Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, or any other school.

The impact of the University of Beirut upon the Arab world had made the Arabs extremely favorable towards the United States. They believed the United States were just interested; would not try to play a deceitful type of a game and take advantage of them. They had a picture of Americans as honest, good natured people who were out to help the world. It was a false picture but it was nevertheless the picture they had.

In the case of three states in the Middle East, Mr. Truman had to make very quick decisions as to what to do. This was Greece, Turkey and Iran. In all these cases the Soviet Union was trying to penetrate. In Greece they had this movement of Zakhariadis and what not, a military movement up in the north being supplied through Bulgaria. In Turkey they tried to pick up some small individuals and groups who were leftists, revolutionaries, in order to overthrow the government of [General Ismet] Inonu. In Iran they had well organized movements like the Tudeh party and others to try to overthrow the Iranian government and bring the area under Soviet control. What they wanted to do is extend that circle of satellite states, which they could control.

Because of the fact that I had lived in the Middle East most of my life, Mr. Henderson called me in and said, “I want you to make a special study on the way the Soviets operate. You can be a sort of a detector of the kinds of phrases they use, the types of propaganda they use, and follow this through.” I became an Intelligence agent for the State Department on Soviet plans and tactics in the Middle East. It was under this situation that it became apparent that we needed to help Greece, Turkey and Iran. They were on the borders of Russia and they were the only places at that time where the Russians came in direct contact with free countries. Otherwise they established these satellite states, like Bulgaria, Rumania and East Germany.

Here then the free world came into direct contact with the Soviet Union. It was suggested that Mr. Truman should come out with an aid program for these countries and he came out very courageously on an aid program for Greece, Turkey and Iran. This was a departure in American history, and it was a courageous one. We didn’t know too much about these countries as a whole, but we did have a feeling that this is such a vital part of the world that we have got to help these governments survive the attempt of the Soviet Union to undermine them.

As such I worked on all of these problems; I was a generalist rather than attached to any one desk. When finally Mr. Acheson asked Mr. Truman to support it, he went before the public and made a speech on why we should support Greece, Turkey and Iran. (Iran was outside of the immediate Greek-Turkish bill; it was a separate bill. As a result, it was first called the aid program to Greece and Turkey, and Iran wrote a separate treaty. Later on they were all united.)

For this reason the State Department organized what was called the Greek-Turkish-Iranian desk (GTI). Their problems are all of the problems of Russian sabotage and efforts to take over. GTI, as we called it, became then a functioning section, and there never had been such a grouping before. Greece was always a part of Europe previous to this, but now it became a part of the Middle East. Mr. Truman’s decisions on this were not only bold but extremely courageous. We went all out to support Iran.

There’s one statement that Mr. Truman makes in his Memoirs that I can find no proof for whatsoever. It will be recalled that at the U.N. the Soviet Union refused to answer any questions and Mr. Gromyko left the meeting. {Lenczowski, op. cit. pp. 292-300 describes the Azerbaijan crisis.} Meanwhile, they kept their troops in Northern Iran. I happened to be working on the Iranian desk on this issue and handled the communications coming and going. We eventually sent a special statement up to be read by Senator [Warren] Austin on the American position. Our statement was approved by Mr. Brynes and Mr. Truman. It was pretty strong on the whole. It said that we had planned to reconstruct the world on the basis of cooperation with Russia and if the Soviet Union was going to undermine this joint effort it would be a dangerous precedent and would have very sad results in the future.

That was the theme of the note. There were no threats in it; it simply said, “We are planning on Soviet-American cooperation and if we do not cooperate there is going to be a lot of trouble in this region.”

Mr. Truman, in his Memoirs, says that he sent Stalin an ultimatum. When these memoirs appeared I was called into the historical division, because I had been working on this problem at the time, and they said, “What is this ultimatum that Mr. Truman refers to?”

I spent several days going through the White House documents, but never found any reference to such an ultimatum. [Franklin was then in charge of the State Department archives and I wrote a memo for the files.] If Mr. Truman did write a letter to Stalin, what he did was just simply write it in longhand in his office and take it down and mail it in the local post box on Pennsylvania Avenue. Nobody ever saw this note or produced any proof of it. I do not believe such a letter was ever written. I think Mr. Truman, looking back upon it later on, embellished and exaggerated it somewhat. He says he told Stalin that unless he pulled out of Northern Iran or Azerbaijan that we would send the American fleet into the Persian Gulf.

That was quite an impossibility. At that particular moment the American fleet was in complete disarray. We were bringing troops home from everywhere, and we didn’t have enough ships to even get to the Persian Gulf at that time. All of our ships were busy carrying soldiers back from Europe and Japan and there would have been no possibility of getting the fleet in there. Furthermore, we had no business in the Persian Gulf, which was British territory. They had handled treaty relationships with Iran for a hundred years, and if we had done anything we would have done it through British action. The British were the actors in the Middle East until we came out for a Jewish state. [F.R.U.S., 1948 , Vol. V, contains many references to the legal position of the U.K. in the Middle East. Truman found himself caught between the U.K. position and supporting the Zionists who wanted to end the British legal position. pp. 593, 906, etc. are examples.] Our whole attitude was to let the British handle the Middle Eastern effort; we’ll be trying to support their position there.

In the documents of the State Department that Mr. Henderson sent out to Acheson and further up, he makes the remark that if we attack the British in Palestine it will make their position in the Middle East untenable. We should not attack the British Government in Palestine, because then the British would have to get out of the Middle East, and that would leave it on our doorstep. This advice is in the document that Mr. Henderson sent, “Do not attack the British on this thing, we are expecting them to keep the security of that area, and if we undermine their security, they will pull out.” Mr. Truman paid no attention to these warnings and yet they are in the documents.

Mr. Henderson was working closely with the British Embassy and we knew what the attitude was: the British would not stay if we were attacking them. But Mr. Truman continued to attack the British and the British pulled out. It opened up Pandora’s box and there have been four wars since.

MCKINZIE: Did the United States expect Iran to be a kind of model in the Middle East? There is some reference that Franklin Roosevelt expected Iran to be a test case to determine whether or not the Soviet Union would live up to the pledges made in the Atlantic Charter.

There is some truth in that. In October, 1942, the Soviet Union and Britain moved into Iran. They immediately took over the railway system to supply Russia, and then we urged upon them to come up with some sort of a treaty in order that the occupation of Iran wouldn’t be purely military. After some months of negotiation they came up with a treaty between Iran, the Soviet Union and Great Britain.

They stated that they were only there as guests, and that within 90 days of the conclusion of the war in Europe, they would withdraw their forces from Iran.

When we operated in Iran, we did not operate as an independent state but as mercenaries of the British. This is not understood. We had no treaty with Iran to go in there, and therefore, we had no right to have a single uniformed man in Iran. We went in under the British treaty and had to handle these affairs through the British ambassador. [Lenczowski op. cit., pp. 173-175.]

Actually this was a theory; the practice was quite different. Our Ambassador, Mr. [Louis Goethe, Jr.] Dreyfus, knew the Shah, the public officials, and we acted in one way as though we were there by rights. Legally we were only British agents.

We withdrew immediately from Iran when the war was over in Europe and Japan. The British withdrew also, but the Russians stayed on. The date was March of 1946, and that’s what brought up the case in the United Nations. Our attitude was that this was a test of Soviet sincerity. They had signed a treaty that they would leave within 90 days, and then they didn’t leave. Here I can tell another story.

Jimmy Byrnes was Secretary of State at this time. Loy Henderson had very close contact with Jimmy Byrnes and we got some dispatches from Mr. Dreyfus and a young officer by the name of Robert Rostow, describing the way the Russian troops were acting in Iran. [Lenczowski, op. cit., p. 298 credits the information to Major Carl Garver at Karej. Actually U.S. Consul Robert Rostow and Major Gagarine in Tabriz very courageously got close enough to some Soviet tanks to get the identification marks. The Russian military then arrested the U.S. Consul and held him several hours in detention the following day.] They were acting as if they owned the place. It was coming March; they were out planting gardens and everything was evident that they were going to stay there for quite a long time.

Mr. Henderson told me to collect the documents on what was going on in Iran. One afternoon he called up Mr. Byrnes (this must have been about March 12th or so of 1946), and said, “You know, we have a whole series of dispatches from Iran. The Russian troops, instead of staying within Azerbaijan, are fanning out and going to other parts of Iran. I would like to come and show you this map and these documents if I could.”

Mr. Byrnes said, “I’m awfully busy, but at 6 o’clock I’m free. I have no more appointments.”

Mr. Henderson and I stayed until 6 o’clock, then went up to the office. Mr. Henderson said to Secretary Brynes, “This is our specialist on Iran. He’s got all the documents and can explain everything to you. You ask him any questions you want.”

Mr. Henderson, having introduced me, left. I put the map down on the desk in front of Mr. Brynes and said, “From the dispatches we’re getting, and here they are, tab A, B, C, D; the Russians are moving in the direction of Qazvin, down towards Kurdistan, and expanding outside of the area where they were when the British were there. As soon as the British leave, the Russians are moving in. “If you notice this particular spearhead, it’s approaching the oil fields of Kirkuk. I think they will move into Iraq and try to take over those oil fields; negate them from the British who were operating there. This other move is going down towards the south and is headed towards the Persian Gulf oil field. The third one is headed directly for Teheran.” I had a map that I had drawn myself with arrows pointing out where these troops were.

Mr. Byrnes said, “What do you think their intentions are?”

I said, “There can be no doubt. They want to get control of those oil areas as quickly as possible; to deny them to the Western World.

They went to capture the capital of Iran and control this as a satellite state.”

Mr. Byrnes stood up and clapped one hand into the other. He said, “All right. I’ll call Loy and tell him to give it to them with both barrels.”

Mr. Byrnes took the attitude that we should now come out strongly against the Russians and tell them we know what their intentions are. This note that Mr. Truman refers to as an ultimatum was really not an ultimatum; it was calling to the attention of the Soviet Union, “We know what you’re doing, and if you continue this is going to create real problems for the Middle East.”

It was, therefore, more of a warning and simply letting them know, “You’re not fooling us.” That was the purpose of this note which I think was written about March the 10th or 11th. It has been published in the documents of the State Department.

Now later on when Mr. Truman’s book came out, the historical division asked me to write up what I have said here. It’s all written up and in the archives in the historical division, but of course, these are open only to specific scholars, they are not open to the public. I do not believe that that ultimatum was ever sent. I think it was much more as I tried to tell it here, it was a warning to the Soviet Union, “You’re not fooling us, this is a test case of how far we can trust you in the future.” Unfortunately, the answer was we couldn’t trust them very far. And of course, that suspicion still lasts today. How far can we trust the Soviet Union. It’s a debate right now in Washington.

MCKINZIE: President Truman frequently said that poverty and want were the greatest factors in generating communism. The U.S. response was to think in terms of eliminating those two causes. Did that philosophy work well in the Middle East?

This theory, that poverty and want create communism, I do not subscribe to. The Communists use poverty and want as a tool of overthrowing government and getting into it, but communism develops among people who are not poor. Marx was not a poor man; he belonged to the middle class. Communism is the result of an intellectual effort to interpret the rules of Newton’s laws of motion and thermodynamics to society. Marx himself said, “I shall do for society what Newton did for the laws of thermodynamics.” It was an effort to take a mechanical point of view of history and interpret it in terms of pure mechanics. Man is simply not mechanical. He is such a mixture of so many drives and so many problems that he is far beyond a mechanical person. Communism’s always an appeal to middle class people who are trying to get into government and find themselves frustrated by some upper elite. Very often it’s the rich who are the Communists in the society, people with a sense of guilt because they are living on the edge of wealth when a lot of people are suffering. It’s basically humanitarian, but it’s also a desire to get into government, like the Bolshevik party of Russia. When they get in, they slightly eliminate the excess between wealth and poverty, but the cause of communism is not basically wealth and poverty. In fact, many societies that are anti-Communist are the poorest in the world, like India (and it may go Communist I don’t know). This is not essentially the cause of revolution. If people are so poor that they can’t think, that they are just trampled down, they won’t become Communists because they become totally fatalists.

Another form of an emergence of this is Fascism. Poverty, then, can be used for several purposes, either fatalism, fascism, or communism. I don’t think that this theory is necessarily the only theory to explain communism.

In a world like the Middle East in the postwar period, some of us recognized that there were revolutionary forces. They were strongest in Iran, they were strong in Greece, but these again were intellectual movements or labor movements of people who were better off than the peasants. Communism never spreads in a peasant society. The Communists may make it look as if the peasants participated, but they liquidated the upper peasant class in Russia in order to bring them all within the control of a Politburo. My own feeling is that while this is an explanation, it’s not the only explanation of communism.

MCKINZIE: Did poverty produce fatalism among the masses of people in the Middle East?

It did for a thousand years. The people of the Middle East are terribly fatalistic: they call this takdir, “this is what God wills,” Inshallah “God does it.” This theory that God does everything for you is pure fatalism and it’s caused by a hopeless feeling of poverty that you cannot overcome. So much of what we call faith is really just a hopeless fatalism. There’s no use struggling; let’s just simply get along and survive as best we can. That was the mood in the Middle East.

The Arab world on the whole still remains strongly anti-Communist. Egypt we used to call Communist a short time ago, because that’s the title the Zionists put on it. They never were Communist or interested in communism. They didn’t like the Russians. [Anwar] Sadat did everything he could to get rid of the Russians and finally he got rid of them in July of 1972. He sent his special emmisary to see Mr. Nixon and say, “We want to get rid of the Russians. We want to work with the Americans.”

Mr. Nixon’s answer was, “I’ll send 48 more new phantom jets to Israel.” This is what made the war inevitable. [There are increasing numbers of Israelis who are now (in 1977) very critical of Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, etc. for failing to offer peace to the Arabs and withdrawal from Arab territory in 1967 when Israel was victorious. The Israeli hawks however won the day and began placing Jewish settlements on Arab territory–now declared illegal by the U. S. State Department.] The Arabs wanted to work with us, they were anti-Communist. We kept rebuffing them and insulting them all the time until finally they said, “Well, we’re going to earn American respect by a war.”

They went to war in October and they earned American and Israeli respect because of the fact that they proved themselves more capable than we thought. [In December , 1973, Foreign Minister Yigal Allon was asked why Israel was taken by surprise on October 6, 1973. He replied, “It was because of our excessive self-esteem and our contemptuous scorn for the Arabs.”] But it is not basically poverty that brings on a Communistic government, it may bring on all forms of dictatorship. These will have socialistic tendencies in an effort to try to close the gap between the rich and the poor. These societies, unfortunately, have a terrible gap between the rich and the poor, but what’s going on in many of these societies today is a closing of that gap through education and various other things.

We did play a small role in getting things started in the Middle East, but we soon dropped any help to the Arabs. This was because of the Zionist influence. The illustration is the Aswan Dam. Mr. Dulles offered this to Egypt and then he got a flood of letters from two groups of people: the Zionists and the Southern cotton farmers. “No help to Egypt.” The Zionists wanted no help to Egypt because they wanted to monopolize all help to Israel. The cotton farmers didn’t want help to Egypt because they’ve got a better cotton there than we have in the South; therefore, keep Egypt poor. This served the purpose of the cotton farmers, the Zionists, so that we withdrew from that plan. Revolution didn’t come to Egypt in spite of all of its poverty, and today they’re so anxious to work with the Americans that it’s pathetic.

MCKINZIE: There was in the postwar period the idea of peace through integrating world economies. Nations were going to be economically integrated and as a result there was going to e a kind of peace, because each nation would be dependent one upon the other. Was the Middle East supposed to be a part of this?

Yes, we went through this period. It attained a higher degree of activity under [John F.] Kennedy when the Alliance of Progress was developed. That was a legal phase of it in connection with Latin America. Of course, in Europe this was the Marshall plan, NATO and so forth, the O.E.E.C. In the Middle East there were also efforts on the part of Mr. Dulles to get what he called the “Northern Tier” operating; Greece, Turkey, and Iran, and Pakistan. Let’s get them communicating and develop their railways and infrastructure.

So there was organized a Central Treaty Organization. This is still functioning. It’s never been very important, but psychologically it’s important and I think politically it’s important. It has helped these states to communicate with one another, to have constant meetings on what their common problems are. I don’t think it’s had any very large economic effect, but it has created intercommunications which have never existed before.

We were hoping that this would spread into still larger fields, but we did exactly the opposite in Israel. What we did was take an Arab state and break it up into a little Zionist militant state that was going to try to occupy Arab territory and had nothing to do with the Arabs. We put all of our eggs in the Israeli basket.

In other words, if we had any such plans, we very thoroughly sabotaged them ourselves by splitting up what was a growing entity. The Arab League and all of these things were efforts to get the Arabs together. But putting Israel in the middle and blocking communications between one Arab world and another, and then creating a picture of an expanding Israel, we simply destroyed any influence we had in the Arab world and any possibility of economic cooperation.

This is now coming about. Saudi Arabia is now going to finance the large Euphrates Dam and has helped to pay off the Russian military debt to Egypt. These states now with their wealth are thinking in terms of using that wealth for regional developments. They are paying also a good deal of money to help Jordan and the refugees in Lebanon. It’s coming slowly but very painfully, but there is going to be more cooperation in the future. They are establishing now large banks, in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, to loan money for various purposes and investment.

With the accumulation of capital in that region, it’s going to come from a different source than we thought. It’s the tremendous vast quantities of capital that are going to pour into the Persian Gulf states, that’s going to force a certain amount of world cooperation. There’s nowhere that these people can spend that money in their own country. [Foreign Affairs, April, 1977, has an article by Dankworth Rustow on “The U.S.A. and Saudi Arabia: Oil Crises of the 1980s” that gives recent data on this subject.]

MCKINZIE: What about plans for regional development, such as the Jordan River project, that were talked about in early postwar years, but really never quite got off the ground. Edwin Locke, as special ambassador, argued very strongly for developmental programs; industrial, and particularly water.

Yes, this got through to President Eisenhower. Locke suggested at one time developing atomic energy for desalinization. His theory was to install these large plants, one at the Gulf of Aqaba. This would help end the rivalry between Jordan and Israel, because that’s one of the driest parts of the world. The story I tell about it is that there are only two lizzards per ten square miles in that area, because unless there were two there wouldn’t be any. It is one of the driest parts of the world, but fertile land that just waits for water.

This idea was that we put in a large energy plant at the head of the Gulf, and get the Israelies and the Arabs to develop agricultural supplies in there. This would help take care of some of the Palestinian refugees. The other plan would be large scale planting on the Suez Canal itself.

On the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal, that is the southern bank, there is water because there is what’s called the sweet water canal. Across on the north bank you enter a howling desert, such as you’ve never seen anywhere else. Not a blade of grass grows in a hundred square miles. This area he thought could be put into irrigation also by atomic energy.

We drew up papers on this and wrote studies after Edwin Locke came up with the idea. They all fell flat because we could get no cooperation between these states at that time. Nothing ever happened at all.

There was a slight effort on the Jordan River Valley. Joe Johnson was sent out, and came back with a scheme on how to develop it, and we sent out and came back with a scheme on how to develop it, and we sent out Lilienthal. I believe it was a U.N. team. We supported it and were anxious to put money into such a scheme. This all fell foul because the Israelies had plans to occupy all that region.

[102] They did not want vested interest to divert some of the water to Jordan. They wanted to lift that water out of the Jordan Valley and bring it down into the Plains of Esdraelon, and then the Plains of Sharon. The United States Government did not favor this, because we seemed to have a policy that water should be used in its natural bed.

None of these plans came to anything, but we did put in one small section. The Yarmuk River runs right into the Jordan, just below the Sea of Galilee. The Yarmuk does not have very much water, and I think people who think of these schemes like the Jordan River have an exaggerated idea of what the Jordan is. In this particular connection I have often wondered, did Jesus baptize by just dipping some water and putting it on people’s heads, or did he immerse them?

I thought he might have immersed them until I saw the Jordan River. You can’t immerse a person being immersed in the Jordan River, it’s too shallow. It only comes up to your ankles practically. There’s a very small flow of water, it’s a real limited source. People have these exaggerated ideas that the Jordan River is some great Mississippi.

What we did then was to tap the Yarmuk above where it flows to Israel as a boundary between Israel and Jordan, and develop a scheme in Jordan which I think absorbed eventually about 80 thousand people, called the East Ghor Canal scheme. It was supposed to grow vegetables and things like that because you can grow three crops a year in that hot climate. It would thereby supply the fresh vegetable market of Amman and even Israel and other places. Unfortunately, in the fighting that took place, some of the Palestinian guerrillas lived in that area. Israel took the attitude, “We’ve got to make it a scorched earth. Anywhere that there is a guerrilla, we’re going to destroy the civilian population so it cannot support the guerrillas.

This is their attitude towards Lebanon and Syria. “If one guerrilla gets in there, we’ll destroy the whole village and then they cannot support the guerrillas.”

So, the Israelies shelled the area, destroyed the canal and everything else that we had financed. Today it’s again desert. We put, I suppose, 30 or 40 million dollars in that scheme, but this reaction between guerrillas, using it as a hideout area and Israelies using it as a scorched earth area has completely destroyed that scheme.

MCKINZIE: Where can a historian go to get hard evidence that Israel opposed the development of any of its Arab neighbors?

Of course, this will not come out from Government sources, because the Zionists don’t want this to be known. All you have to do is to simply see the facts: why do we offer the Aswan Dam and then withdraw it? It’s because of the pressure I mentioned in connection with the Zionists and the others. Here you have to go into motivation. You’ll find that almost every effort we made to work with the Arabs was opposed by the same Congressman who votes for everything for Israel. This is more than coincidence. They block what the Zionists tell them to block and vote for what the Zionists tell them to vote for. [George Ball, Foreign Affairs, op. cit., p.471 gives two illustrations of Israeli control over 71 and later 76 Senators. These Senators act as though Israel was “The Master’s Voice” to be obeyed.] You cannot get any definite proof, and you’d have to have bugs in the rooms of every Congressman to find out who they talked to before they voted one way or another. Why is it they opposed help to Egypt and favor it for Israel? This is the type of thing that you simply have to see; the straws in the wind. There are so many straws in the wind that the Israelies did not want the Arabs to develop, because of the fact that they were afraid. A developed Arab society is a dangerous Arab society. Let the Arabs be strong and then they’re going to put pressure upon Israel and Israel knows it. Israel has no resources of any importance whatsoever, either minerals, oil or water. It cannot even feed its own population. They must keep the Arabs divided and weak. “Keep the Arabs divided up and fighting one another, and Israel will survive. Let them get together and you’ve got trouble. [One of the main purposes of Kissinger’s “Shuttle Diplomacy” in 1974-75 was to split Egypt away from Syria. It worked and caused much ill will between Syria and Egypt.]

They got together in 1973 and there was trouble.

MCKINZIE: One of the other questions that inevitably comes up and is not very well understood, is the movement of 100,000 refugees from Germany to Palestine in 1945 and 1946.

When Mr. [Ernest] Bevin suggested that the U.K. cannot handle the Middle East problem there was appointed a special committee made up of twelve people. Six were British and six were Americans.

One or two of these Americans were already Zionists. Bartley Crum was one. This committee of twelve went out there and the Arabs simply said, “We won’t talk to them. We are not going to talk to anybody who is going to divide up our land. We have a right to it and we don’t see why we should discuss the division of the land.” The Committee did not interview any Arabs therefore, which is a sort of a negative Arab approach: “This is a subject beyond discussion, especially by Europeans, British and Americans. They have nothing to do with our future, we are going to make our own future.”

Nevertheless, this commission went out. It talked to no Arabs, but they did meet a group of Arabs in Beirut on their way back, and also talked to some Arabs in New York. They finally came up with this strange plan. [Fred J. Khouri, “The Arab-Israeli Dilemma,” pp. 34-36.]

Here again I played a small part. As their report came in I was assigned to collect it and put it together, get it into printable form and published. It came out as a document, “The Anglo-American Committee Inquiry.” They came up with a plan that had six different points in it. What they pointed out was this must be a package; you cannot select one and ignore the others, because they are tied together. No one of these points was valid unless the other five went along with it.

Amongst these six recommendations, the first one was that a Palestinian state should be established in which neither Jew would dominate Arab, or Arab dominate Jew. This is point one and the most important one. About the third or fourth was that 100 thousand visas should be given for the refugees, who were in Germany at the time, to go to Palestine. Then there were some others.

At the moment this came in I collected the original documents on this and I took them to the Assistant Secretary of State and we had the m typed up and printed. My job was a mechanical one, get the information all together and get it ready for printing.

The next thing we heard was that Mr. Truman came out with a statement that he was not in favor of the plan, but he was in favor of the 100 thousand. He did exactly what they said not to do. “Do not tear it apart and accept one and refuse the other, because one is only valid if they are all valid.” He simply repudiated his own people and came up with a personal decision. I’m sure that what he did was to immediately turn over copies of the plan to the Zionists. They said, “Well, we don’t want it.” I can’t prove that except that it was his own commission and he immediately violated the very initial preamble of it.”

This was, as I recall, just before another election in New York.. Elections in New York or what not are terrible things from the point of view of foreign policy, because you can’t do certain things and must do certain things to satisfy New York elections. It’s tragic that this is the way the American Government operates, but it is. Very often we never even knew what went on in the White House. That comes out time after time in this little pamphlet, The Pentagon Papers, 1947. In one of Mr. Henderson’s memos to the Secretary he said, “We don’t know who’s influencing these decisions. We send you information and the next day we read something that’s set up in New York by a Representative we never heard of before. Who is making these decisions?” [F.R.U.S. , 1947, Vol. V, pp. 1121-1122; 1215; 1239; 1281-82, etc.]

In other words, the State Department didn’t even know who was making the decisions. Mr. Truman himself has the most remarkable of all statements in there, a memo that’s quoted, in which he says, “Something’s going on and I don’t know what it is. Somebody called up the President of Haiti and he said that it was I. [F.R.U.S., 1947 , Vol. V, p. 1309.] He said, ‘We want you to vote for the Zionist program.’ As a result the President of Haiti changed his vote to satisfy what he thought was me. I don’t know who this fellow was that called him up.”

In other words, somebody impersonated President Truman and threatened the President of Haiti. There were people who used President Truman’s voice and name and he didn’t know who they were. The State Department never found out who they were, but this is the way decisions are made in Washington. I think I know who that fellow was. It was Robert Nathan, because I met Robert Nathan frequently at the U.N. I had met him out in the Middle East, and he was the one who was running to the telephone booth and calling up the President of Liberia, calling up Costa Rica, telling them, “Unless you will vote for our program, we will see to it that the American interhighway system is not built through your country.” These people assumed that Nathan and Co. were acting for America and nobody had consulted them at all. This kind of thing went on at the U.N. and in Washington and if you want the documentary proof of it, it’s in Mr. Truman’s statement.

Before I read this statement of Mr. Truman’s I’ll have to explain what the situation was. There was tremendous pressure upon the governments of other countries to vote for the partition program, which the Zionists had accepted. I was at the U.N. and was Mr. Henderson’s assistant and was there when he read some of these memos. I was reporting back to the State Department what was happening at the U.N.

There were a number of Jewish Zionists at the U.N., like Robert Nathan, Bernard Baruch, and various other people, who were calling up the chiefs of other states and saying, “Unless you vote for this partition program, the United States will not build a road in your country; will not help you in aid or will not do something else.” They were pretending they had the authority of the President of the United States to determine policy, when they were just one individual operating on their own. They had no authority, no official position, but they were using the importance of the United States as a threat against these countries.

Mr. Romulo, who was the Ambassador from the Philippines, had initially stood against this program; did not want the Zionist state. They have a lot of Moslems in the Philippines and they were afraid that this would create trouble.

Romulo left Washington and flew to the Philippines. When he got there, the Philippine President called him in saying, “You know, I have information from Washington that if we vote the way you have stated, we’re not going to get any American aid. We’re going to change our vote.”

Our ambassador also reported that the President had said that he had gotten this threat and was changing his vote.

Upon this we immediately notified Mr. Truman and sent these documents right to him. “This is what is happening. These various Jewish representatives are simply using the authority of the United States, without any responsibility, in order to threaten people to vote for that program.”

On December the 11th, Mr. Truman wrote this letter to Secretary of State Acheson:

I read with a lot of interest your memorandum on the 10th in regards to the Philippine situation. [That’s the one I’ve just described.] It seems to me that if our delegation to the United Nations is to be interfered with by members of the United States Senate and by pressure groups in this country, we will be helping the United Nations down the road to failure. The conversation between the President of the Philippines and our Ambassador is most interesting. I have a report from Haiti in which it is stated that our consul in Haiti approached the President of that country and suggested to him that for his own good, he should order the vote of his country changed, claiming that he had instructions from me to make such a statement to the President of Haiti. As you very well know, I refused to make statements to any country on the subject of his vote in the United Nations. It is perfectly apparent that pressure groups will succeed in putting the United Nations out of business if this sort of thing is continued and I am very anxious that it be stopped. Harry S. Truman

That’s an official document. Somebody represented himself as the President of the United States to some foreign countries. This was the kind of threat that the Zionists used to change votes at that last session when finally it was voted by a small majority of two or three.

These are documents you can quote and find in the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947, Vol. V.

So, that’s how foreign policy is made on the Middle East.

MCKINZIE: Could you discuss the events between the time when the British announced their withdrawal and the Government of Israel declared its independence?

Yes. One of the most perhaps amusing, and yet, also frustrating, problems was the fact that the State Department lost all contact with the White House over this question of Israel. Mr. Truman discussed this with the Jewish Agency, rather than with the State Department.

At this time, George Marshall was Secretary of State and he was up at the U.N. a good deal of the time. When the British had finally announced they were going to pull out by May the 15th (which was May 14th our time, because of the difference in time), the question arose about recognition of the state.

The State Department wrote a memo which drew upon traditions of how to recognize a country. It’s very rare that a country of which no boundaries are known is recognized. There are also other questions: When you recognize a state do you recognize its claims to people outside the state? The Zionists have always claimed that the Jewish nation is wherever a Jew is, anywhere in the world. Every Jew, therefore, is part of this Jewish nation. Golda Meir repeated this when they asked her what the boundaries of Israel are. She said, “Wherever there’s a Jew, there is Israel. It’s not a line on a map.”

Does a government recognize that kind of a concept? The answer is no. We always have to recognize a state on the basis of control of territory, and a specified territory. The State Department sent in, through its legal representatives, a memo, pointing out that there were no real grounds at that time for recognizing a Jewish state. We didn’t know what the term “Jewish” meant, we didn’t know its boundaries, there was fighting going on. They recommended that there be a little time (which is often what the State Department does) to let the dust settle. Then would recognize it.

The Zionists didn’t want anything like that and so they sent Eliahu Elath, who at that time was the representative of the Jewish Agency in Washington. He is now president of the Hebrew University and one of the men with whom I traveled a great deal when I was in the Middle East. He is a graduate of the American University of Beirut and a very capable Arabist.

What happened was that Clark Clifford went to Mr. Truman, evidently upon the request of Weizmann, who was also hanging around Washington. Washington was loaded with Zionists at that time, they were all hanging around there talking to their Congressmen, getting Eddie Jacobson on the job and others. They were pulling all the strings. It’s very difficult for the person outside to know just what did go on, because this has not yet been published. We’ll have to find, if David Niles ever publishes any documents, as to what part he played in it. I don’t know that his book has come out yet.

Anyhow, through David Niles, they had a meeting of Clark Clifford, political adviser to the President; Elath, at that time still called himself Epstein; and the President. On the morning of the 13th of May, Epstein argued, “Please recognize Israel immediately, because we need that recognition for legitimacy.” They had quite a discussion, but Mr. Marshall was never called in or asked about this at all. [F.R.U.S. 1948, Vol. V, pp. 974-77, Secretary of State’s memo of May 12, 1948 describes the acrimonious debate between Clark Clifford and Secretary Marshall.]

On the morning of May the 14th the U. N. was in session and was discussing a return to the trusteeship. Mr. [Henry H.] Jessup, who was representing the United States mission there, was up making a speech about returning that area to British trusteeships, because of the fact that war was about to break out. While he was giving his talk, somebody got up and said, “Well, doesn’t Mr. Jessup know what’s going on? The United States has already recognized Israel.” [This story is now verified by F.R.U.S., 1948, Vol. V, p. 993, Editor’s Note: The U. S. mission to the U. N. considered resigning en masse because of the Truman had doublecrossed them and destroyed their credibility.]

We have to reconstruct the story by circumstantial evidence. They had decided on the day before to recognize Israel and not let the State Department know it. If the State Department had known it they could have probably gotten to the White House and tried to persuade them not to recognize Israel that quickly. It was known that the State Department did not favor that kind of quick recognition, so what they did was not tell the State Department. On the morning of the 14th Secretary Marshall was telephoned and told at 10 o’clock that the President was going to announce the recognition of Israel, but not to let his commission or anyone else know about it. He was so angered that he didn’t even go to the U.N. meeting and he was in his hotel room at the time. Our representative was still following out the rules of the 13th and discussing the possibility of a trusteeship when some other delegate got up and said, “Doesn’t the American know what’s going on?”

Mr. Jessup called in a secretary and said, “Well, I’ll try to find out.” She ran out to the ticker room and there she found a whole group of people tearing the ticker tapes off, but she got one copy which stated that President Truman at 6:10 p.m. o’clock had recognized Israel. She tore these off and took them back to Mr. Jessup. Mr. Jessup read them and he said, “Well, under these circumstances I have nothing more to say.”

That’s how diplomacy was handled in the Middle East. The Jewish Agency knew what was going on, but the State Department and the U. N. didn’t until after the announcement came out. The reason was that Mr. Truman wanted sole credit for the recognition of Israel. He did not want it to go to anyone else, because he was anxious for the Jewish vote and Jewish money.

At least that’s the best way I can interpret a strange type of diplomacy such as this, for Secretary Marshall was a very responsible person and not even he was told what was going on. Jerusalem knew about it, Ben Gurion did, but the Secretary of State didn’t. This often is what happens in the State Department. We find out things by going to Jerusalem, conversations that take place, people that run back and forth.

It’s not a very pretty picture of how to operate an intelligent or a responsible organization, and it’s made the State Department neither intelligent nor efficient. [George Ball, Foreign Affairs, April, 1977, p. 467 asks, “How far dare we let it (Israel’s paranoia) determine U. S. policy?”]

MCKINZIE: Were there other instances in which the White House, to your knowledge, took direct action?

Yes, I would say they took direct action all the time. You’ll have to get this in Mr. Acheson’s book, Present at the Creation. He tells the story of the type of problems that followed, and it’s just an endless series of hopeless problems. We were committed to certain things and we didn’t know what we were committed to. As these situations unfolded, and the Secretary of State made no decisions, I can assure you of this: They were all made in the White House. Mr. David Niles knew what was going on, Emmanuel Cellar knew what was going on, but the State Department often just had these announcements coming out and they’d find out afterwards what’d been decided.

MCKINZIE: What did this do to morale?

It made it plummet, of course. It’s remained low in the Middle Eastern section, it’s always been low in the Arab-Israeli issue. [Reference F.R.U.S. , 1948, Vol. V, p. 993 where the whole U. S./U. N. mission considered resignation en masse. Other Middle East officers asked to be transferred to some other area where they might prove more useful.] It has not been on the Greek-Turkish or other issues, like India; these have all been areas where we felt we were doing something. I felt I was really getting somewhere on those issues because I did see the Secretary of State. I was able to talk to him. I was able to show the documents. On the Arab-Israeli issue I was absolutely cut out. “Keep out of this issue;” I was told, “this is being made in the White House.” The result was this absolute gap between the White House and the State Department.

MCKINZIE: Did you do studies, after 1949 when NATO was created, about military assistance and that kind of thing?

I often sat in on committees. We operated by committees there, and whenever a request came in the Treasury and the Defense would have a committee that tried to coordinate points of view. I was very often what they called a resource official in those committees. There I had my say; I could say what I wanted to.

When it came to the technicalities I had very little to contribute. I don’t know enough about military hardware or strategy. When it came to trying to explain the political situation, what the ramifications of such a particular act were, I played quite a part on everything having to do with the Middle East except the Arab-Israeli issue. On that issue I never had anything to say. They didn’t want me to say anything, because I was convinced Zionist myopia was going to “undermine America’s larger interest,” the very phrase that Mr. Acheson used.

MCKINZIE: At what point was it apparent to you that you weren’t supposed to say anything?

The day that Mr. Henderson told us what Mr. Niles’ instructions were: “Discipline these fellows if they disagree with the President.” From then on we knew that we played no part in what was going on.

I met the Israeli desk officer, Will Porter, a few days later in the hallway and I said, “Well, what’s doing?”

He said, “If I showed you this telegram, you’d never go back to the Middle East again.” He said, “From now on no American’s life is going to be safe out there.” It was a statement we had just gotten from the White House on something about support for Israel, and he knew immediately this is going to undermine our relationship with the Arab world. He said that we’ll never want to go back there again.

Well, I’ve been back there many a time since then and I found a very interesting thing. I was always very highly welcomed in the Arab world, although I was in the State Department. They had known me beforehand, they always separate me as an individual from me as a representative of the State Department. The Arabs never attacked me or anything. They’d say, “Well, we know you are a friend of ours, but why does the Government do this?”

It was almost impossible to explain to them why the Government behaves this way. They’d say, “Don’t you have any influence in the State Department?”

I’d say, “No. I’m in it, but I have no influence whatsoever. I’m just a spear carrier.”

This same kind of a thing appears in a recent document that has just come out. Senator [William] Fulbright’s committee sent a member of the staff, in November and December of 1973, to talk with all the various people in the Middle East. It is a very interesting document, “The Middle East Between War and Peace, November-December 1973: a staff report prepared for the use of the Subcommittee on Near Eastern Affairs of the Committee of Foreign Relations, United States Senate.” It was published March the 5th, 1974.

The man who went out there was a young staff officer who specialized in Middle Eastern affairs. He’s a very capable person and he was in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon. Here we get a firsthand report of the reaction between an American official and the Arabs and he says, “Constantly they kept asking me, ‘Why does the United States behave this way?’ I couldn’t explain it to them.”

Nobody can explain it, because you’ve got to know how they buy congressional and senatorial votes through speeches; how they control the five electoral states, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, etc. You have to understand the weighting of the Jewish vote in America and the contribution to the party systems. By the time we explained that to Arabs they’d say, “But aren’t you corrupt?”

The answer is, “Yes, we’re corrupt.”

Try to explain to Arabs why it is that we have this strange phenomenon in American life. We ignore our basic interests in the area and support something for which we get no returns whatsoever. What do we get out of supporting Israel? Nothing but problems, bills, debts, and embarrassment. Natural friends from the point of view of strategy, anti-communism, and oil, are all allied to the Arab world. They keep saying, “Why don’t you understand this?” And you have to say, “You don’t understand the American system.”

This staff reporter constantly says, “I couldn’t explain to them why we behave the way we do, because by the time you explain it they have lost their respect for American institutions and American Government.” This is just a fact, and I have lost my respect for it as it deals in the Middle East. In other areas I don’t know that we have such control as we have in that Arab-Israeli issue, but anyone who goes out there and talks to the Arabs will be asked, “Well, you’re a decent fellow; you’re intelligent. Why is it that you insult us all the time and support these people occupying our territory?” [This indicates a great deal of cynicism on my part but the Senate Ethics Code of April 1, 1977 indicates how cynical the U.S. public has become because of the many ways Congressmen get funds–and sell their votes. See Milton Goldin, “Why they Give–American Jews and Their Charities” which illustrates the power of wealthy Jews.]

MCKINZIE: At the time that Auschwitz and Buchenwald and all those places were being revealed to people, there was a massive sentiment in favor of moving Jewish refugees out of Germany to some place. Did you have any ideas for a viable alternative to the creation of Israel?

Yes, this was in 1945. I briefed Chief of Staff Eisenhower one day on the situation in the Middle East and pointed out all of these things.

He interrupted me in the middle of the talk. (Eisenhower was, by the way a very vocal person. Marshall sat there looking like a great big bear and never said anything. You could talk for an hour and you hadn’t the least idea whether it was registering or not. Eisenhower is very different. He’d interrupt you, he would tell stories, very much the social character.) I was telling this story about how they were using this problem of the hundred thousand refugees in order to get them into Palestine. This was being used as an effort to help build up a Jewish community to sufficient size in order to justify a Jewish state. He suddenly interrupted me. He said, “You know, I walked through all those camps in Germany. I looked upon those bodies and those people heaped up there and skeletons. I do not believe that these people who went through that experience could ever become human beings again.” In other words, they’d been so nervously upset they would be neurotic. He said, “I’m not in favor of bringing them to the United States because this whole generation of Jews from Europe will have to undergo a long process of getting away from the fears of what’s happened there.”

This is just his remark and he threw his heart in this talk. I said to President Eisenhower, “You know, if we move these 100 thousand we will create this kind of problem in the Middle East. Instead we should bring them here; it is our culture that created this problem. It was the Europeans who destroyed the Jewish community; hated them and punished them. It’s up to us to try to rectify ourselves.” So at that time the Stratton bill was up.

It was to bring, I think, 200 thousand of these Jewish refugees to America. I was in favor of that. “Let’s bring them to America. Here’s where they’ll find a home and a much more normal life. While there’s some anti-Jewishness in America it’s very light, it’s nothing important. Jews have risen to high positions in America, and if there’s anywhere in the world that they have a chance, it’s here. If they go to a Jewish state, this concept of paranoia, ‘the world hates us, we’ve got to establish a state, completely independent and exclusively ours,’ it will transfer the problem from Europe to the Middle East.” That was my argument.

So often when I was discussing this with people in the State Department or other places I’ve said, “We ought to support the Stratton bill.”

The strange thing was, it was the Zionists who torpedoed the Stratton bill. They did not want Jews to come to America. Their purpose was to build up a Jewish state, and if these Jews came to America they would not have enough people in Palestine to do so. What they did was to torpedo it and to see that it never even got a hearing. The Stratton bill was, I think the healthiest thing to do for the Jews and for ourselves. We would have paid the price of European cruelty. As it was we shipped these people off to Israel where they’ve developed what was called the Masada complex, “The world’s against us. We’ve got to destroy the Arabs, expand our kingdom and defend ourselves even to the last Jew.” Golda Meir has it and all the rest of them have it. The concept of persecution was moved from Europe down to the Middle East where they saw the Arabs as their enemies. It was really the Arabs who have always helped the Jews throughout history, they never persecuted the Jews the way the Christians have done. What the U.S. did was to save ourselves by shifting this problem over to the Middle East. We did not solve the problem at all.

I might mention right now that many of those same Jews want to come to America. One of the fascinating things emerged only recently; of these Jews going from Russia to Israel, 13 percent have already left Israel to come to other parts of the world. In other words, Israel is a staging area to get out of Russia. Then they want to go somewhere else, like Latin-America or the United States. [New York Times magazine, January 16, 1977. Article by Feron “Israelies in New York” states 335,000 Israelies have migrated to the U.S. and Canada. Jews leaving Russia do not want to go to Israel. In 1976 out of 12,000 Jews who left Russia, only 5,000 went to Israel. The U.S.A. finally issued 7,000 special visas to clear them out of “refugee” camps in Europe.] This is like Pavel Litvinov. He applied to go to Israel, but the moment he got to Austria he used his influence on American Jews to come here to teach.

Some of them never even go to Israel, some go to Israel and immediately leave. Israel is not turning out to be their haven; the United States is. This is what we should have done back in 1945-46. We should have paid the price of our own guilt and our own cruelty rather than ask the Arabs to handle this problem.

MCKINZIE: I am interested in the reluctance of the American Jewish community to support the Stratton bill in the desire not to have a large influx of Jews, particularly Eastern European Jews.

Well, there were no other Jews wanted to come here. The Jews in the Arab world had no idea about what America was. The European Jew, who had relatives here and knew about America, looked upon it as a land of hope. I’m sure right now if we said, “We’ll take 3 million Jews from Israel,” they’d line up in front of our consulates.

A recent survey in Israel about two months ago was made, one of these Harris poll types of things. It pointed out that over 10 percent of all of the Israelies who were interviewed, out of a thousand five hundred, indicated a desire to come to America. Twenty and a half percent of those between the ages of 19 and 29 wanted to come to America.

In other words, this is where they want to get rid of the problems of the world in which they are living. They are becoming too burdensome to bear. This is what we wanted to avoid in the Middle East, and what President Truman created. [For the disintegration of Israeli morale since 1973, read Terrence Smith in Saturday Review, February 5, 1977 “Report from a troubled people.” Also George Ball, op. cit., pp. 464-65. Time is running out for Israel. Beleaguered Israel is no longer the bright promise it was a few years ago.”]

MCKINZIE: To what extent were any State Department actions in the Middle East influenced by American business interests; either during the war, or in the Truman years?

You’re thinking in terms of so-called imperialism?

MCKINZIE: I’m thinking in terms of economic opportunity and the imperatives of having raw materials and markets.

There are really two points of view here. One is that a nation creates its own morality by serving itself. I mean the ultimate morality is the survival and the enrichment of the nation. Whether you like it or not, this is a rule that’s been existing for 300 years in Europe and we have taken it over. What is moral is what is good for your nation, and whether it’s good for some other nation makes no difference at all. I’ve often protested American policies in the outside world because they are good for America, but they are bad for someone else. This question of morality is a very tough one to answer, because the national interest is in getting as much wealth as possible or using it for a higher standard of living. It’s not a bad goal, but the trouble is that we are doing this at the expense of others. We are now using up the world’s iron resources, the world’s cooper resources, and the world’s oil resources. Thirty-five percent of all the oil produced in the world is used in America. This is fantastic. It is of national interest to keep up this kind of wasteful use of oil? The average American would say yes.

This influence is dominating American policy and has been for a long time, because oil is the symbol of automobiles. Automobiles are a symbol of a standard of living. All of these interactions of oil and automobiles will be threatened if we do not have access to Middle East oil.

So, when it comes to national interests, you get into a terrible hassle. What are national interests, and are they moral or not? I think they’re immoral myself, because they are selfish. They look at only a small part of the world’s population and ignore the rest. I’m not sure but what we axe heading into one of the worst periods in human history. We will be the richest people and will have exploited the wealth of most other people. It’s going to create a hatred of America as time goes on. I look forward to when oil ends in the Middle East, what will be left? The answer is not very much. During this period we are simply exploiting the world’s resources for a higher standard of living; while the world is going to face, within the next 10 or 15 years, starvation. What’s going to happen?

Whether they’ll turn Communist or not I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s going to be a tremendous amount of anti-Americanism. We are sitting on the top of a period of wealth and privilege, and it’s coming at the expense of other people.

This is my attitude: it’s a world view, rather than just a national view. I think that as a nation we ought to be aware of what we are doing to other people. “If it’s good for us, to hell with everybody else,” is the general attitude. “Let’s get the iron and everything we need, and use it here in America. The devil will take the hindermost.” The devil is going to take the hindermost unless we learn some discipline.

To me this question of national interest has always been a very troublesome one. Often I’ve been asked to write papers. What is our national interest in Greece? What is it in Turkey? What in Iran? What in the Arab-Israeli issue? We used to have what we used to call position papers, and I was the custodian of the position papers as Mr. Henderson’s assistant. I had a little file with all of these. “What is our interest here, there?” As I read through these things they were always, “What can we get out of it?” A very selfish point of view; we ought to be friendly with these people because we can get something from them.

I always felt that there’s an end to this somewhere. National interest cannot be interpreted in terms of material goods alone. Unfortunately, this is the American story.

If we want land, we’ll just take it from the Indians. They don’t use it well, so send them off to reservations. Then if we find oil or coal on them, take the reservations. Our whole attitude is that the Indian is an un-people; they don’t belong in the world. Yet, at the same time, we’re somewhat troubled in spirit when we read about Wounded Knee. Why do we treat the Indians that way? The devil is within us, he’s not somebody outside with horns. He is us.

I see myself caught in a dilemma. National interests do mean the welfare of the United States, but do they not also mean conserving other people’s resources and helping them conserve them? This would mean developing technical interests and developments in other countries, but not bringing that stuff here.

This is not going to happen simply because of American tradition and what we call national interests.

I’ve always seen national interests as destructive, ultimately. They help temporarily. They hold a people together, give them a cohesiveness and a harmonious feeling of belonging to one another. In the long run I think it’s going to destroy the possibility of a world order. Then we’ll have to pay a high price for what I think is a highly immoral, limited concept of national interest.

Perhaps this is because I was born abroad and lived in other countries. I’ve had to answer these questions, “Why do you behave the way you do?” I’ve spent more than half of my life in the Middle East and I’ve had to face these all the time. I’ve become a little bit apologetic about the way Americans behave and what we think of as our national interests.

MCKINZIE: Other than Aramco was there a powerful American business community in the Middle East during this period?

There was no powerful influence. There are many small ones, a few banks and missionary enterprises, but these were not political. Their whole attitude was, “We’re out here to do whatever our function is.” I was a missionary and always took the attitude, “I’m not representing the United States here. I am a U.S. citizen, but I’m out here representing an educational experience.” I always saw myself in connection with helping to collect information and passing it on to other people.

This had nothing to do with oil or anything else, the result being that educational and religious people did not think in political terms. We thought in terms of a function of society and played no part in politics. I did to a degree; a few of us broke away and got into Government. I never intended to go into Government, this is the last thing that I’d have ever said if somebody said, “What do you want to do?” It is my background that dragged me into it. I really feel it was useful in many ways, perhaps I use my experience better in Government than in an educational institution. But national interests are awfully dangerous if they’re thought of purely in narrow terms. This is one of the tragedies of Israel; it sees its national interest as only having to do with Jews, and ignores completely the problem of the Arab. Now they’ve got to face the problem.

They are living in the midst of an Arab world, and it’s going to be one of the great shocks. They’ve got to change from their picture of themselves as a separate chosen people to being a people living in a society they consider enemies. There’s no solution for Israel other than to integrate itself into the Arab world. [It was folly to establish a theoretic, ethnically exclusive, ambitious Zionist Jewish state in the heart of the Arab world. To impose its will upon the Arabs, Israel has to resort to the sword. All the assumptions of Herzl’s Zionism turned out to be false. Most Jews do not want to live in a theoretic Jewish state. Israeli Jews have proven incapable of granting non-Jews equality. Israel survives only because of large transfers of arms and money from the U.S.A.–a very un-healthy situation for all involved. March 29, 1977 Edwin M. Wright]

MCKINZIE: Mr. Wright, thank you very much.

The Edwin M Wright Interview

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