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December 16, 1977 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-12-16

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8 Friday, December 16, 1977 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS


Jacobson Role Influencing Truman Affirmed

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342•7800 399-8333 342-1221

"Conflict and Crisis - by
Robert J. Donovan (W.W.
Norton & Co.), which de-


Because He Gives

On Your Track


scribes "The Presidency of
Harry S. Truman, 1945-
1948," stirred a hornet's
nest with recollections of
Truman's anger over Jew-
ish pressures in behalf of
the Zionist cause.
Actually, they are repeti-
tious. It was known that
Truman was embittered
when the pressures became
too numerous and involved
mass action.
There have been dis-
crepancies in views regard-
ing the Truman attitude.
Clark Clifford, who was one
of the top Truman advisers
and an important figure in
his administration's han-
dling of the Palestine issue,
maintained, writing in
American Heritage last
April, • that support of the
Zionist cause became an
ideal for the President. He
was the first to recognize
the proclamation of the

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state of Israel because he
would not betray his trust to
his friends and especially
the assurances he had given
of his support for the cause
to Dr. Chaim Weizmann.
But Clark Clifford also
contended that Eddie Jacob-
son had not exerted any
influence upon Truman, and
this stirs up an interesting
controversy. (See The Jew-
ish News issues of May 13
and 20).
The controversy stems
from the Clifford statement
which negates Donovan's
views on the Jacobson role.
Donovan is emphatic in his
acceptance of the oft-re-
peated declarations that Ja-
cobson refused to meet with
Dr. Weizmann, who headed
the World Zionist Organiza-
tion and was soon to become
the first President of Israel.
In "Conflict and Crisis,"
Donovan wrote:
Entering the Oval Room,
the two men began their
talk, as customary, by ex-
changing news about their
families. Then Jacobson
mentioned Palestine to Tru-
"He immediately became
tense in appearance, abrupt
in speech, and very bitter in
the words he was throwing
my way," Jacobson re-
called in his account of the
episode. "In all the years of
our friendship he never
talked to me in this manner

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Truman told Jacobson he
did not want to discuss Pa-
lestine or the Jews or the
Arabs or the British:
Jacobson would not yield.
He reminded Truman of the
admiration the President
had expressed for Weiz-
mann. Jacobson said that
Weizmann was old and ill
and had made a long trip to
the United States to see the
President. Truman's in-
dignation had not subsided,
"He replied how dis-
respectful and how mean
certain Jewish leaders had
been to hirti," Jacobson re-
"I suddently found myself
thinking that my dear
friend, the President of the
United States, was at that
moment as close to being an
anti-Semite as a man could
possibly be and I • was
shocked that some of our
own Jewish leaders should
be responsible for Mr. Tru-
man's attitude."
In his despair he noticed,
as he had on previous occa-
sions, the model of an
equestrian statue of Andrew
Jackson on a table at the
west side of the room. Ja-
cobson suddenly found him-
self pointing to the statue
and telling Truman that just
as Truman had a hero in
Andrew Jackson so, too, did
Eddie Jacobson have a hero
in Chaim Weizmann.
"Now," he went on, "you
refuse to see him because
you were insulted by some
of our American Jewish
leaders, even though you
know that Weizmann had
absolutely nothing to do
with these-insults and would
be the last man to be a
party to them. It doesn't
sound likeyou, Harry, be-
came I thought you 'could
take this stuff they have
been handing out to you."
Jacobson noticed that
Truman had begun drumm-
ing on the desk. Truman
swung around in his swivel
chair and gazed out on the
Rose Garden. Suddenly, he
swirled back and looked Ja-
cobson in the eye.
"You win, you bald-head-
ed son of a bitch," he said.
"I will see him."
To the credit of the Bnai
Brith leadership, which
asked Jacobson to inter-
cede, it should be said that
it has consistently linked Ja-
cobson with Truman in the
audience the President had
given to Dr. Weizmann.
Some time before the pub-
lication of Donovan's book
and before the appearance
of the Clark Clifford article
in American Heritage, Sam-
uel Leib submitted the evi-
`dence to Jacobson's appeals
to Truman. In a statement
to this reviewer Leib wrote:
"It was a well-known fact
that Dr. Weizmann was in
Washington for three weeks
in March of 1948 trying to
see then-President Harry S.
Truman, using all his im-


portant Zionist connections,
but to no avail.
"Finally, he recalledthat
he had not seen Maurice
Bisgyer, then executive vice
president of Bnai Brith. He
went to the Bnai Brith office
and threw his arms around
Maurice Bisgyer, a man of
about 5 feet 4 inches tall,
cried and said, "Moshe, ich
bin ahf tsoures; I've been in
Washington for three weeks,
used all my Zionist con-
nections and could not get
an appointment to see the

Bisgyer then said, "Dr.
Weizmann, why didn't you
see me first? I can get you
in to see the President very
quickly." Dr. Weizmann
asked, - How?" The re-
sponse came, "through Ed-
die Jacobson, he's the clos-
est friend of President
Truman, and a devoted and
loyal member of Bnai Brith,
the only Jewish organization
to which he belongs."

Appended to Leib's state-
ment were excerpts from
Margaret Truman's biogra-
phy of her father sub-
stantiating the Jacobson sto-
This reviewer sent the
data to Clifford on Aug. 10.
There was no reply.

The evidence seems to be
effective in the statement
by Samuel Leib, who was a
national Bnai Brith leader
representing Detroit and
who became president of
District 6 of Bnai Brith; and
that of Donovan in "Conflict
and Crisis."

ADL Approves
3 Resolutions

NEW YORK — The na-
tional commission of the'
Anti-Defamation League - of
Bnai Brith has approved
three resolutions supporting
appropriate action against
teachers who teach or pro-
mote anti-Semitism or any
other form of bigotry..., op-
posing a proposed Con-
stitutional amendment to
abolish the Electoral Col-
lege in presidential elec-
tions, and a six-point ADL
action program to increase
the general public's aware-
ness of the various aspe-cts
of the world energy problem
and to help develop solu-
tions to achieve American
energy independence' and

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