“Jews” Tried to Kill Truman in 1947
The date is December 3, 1972, and it’s right there in a headline of the Tri-City Herald, the newspaper that serves Pasco-Kennewick-Richland in the state of Washington: “Jews sent President Truman letter bombs, book tells.” The newspaper picked up the article, we see, from the Associated Press (AP).
Not only does the article carry the authority of the AP, but the book in question bears the authority of none other than President Harry Truman’s own daughter, Margaret. It is her biography of her father, entitled simply Harry S. Truman, and at the time the article was written, the book had just been published. The passage in question—a long paragraph that begins on page 489 and ends on page 490 (pp. 533-534 of the paperback edition)—is in a section on threats and attempts on President Truman’s life. Note that she misidentifies Anthony Eden as Foreign Secretary, which he had not been since 1938. Later, of course, he would become Prime Minister. Ernest Bevin was Foreign Secretary in 1947, and he was the primary target to the assassination attempts:
In the summer of 1947, the so-called Stern Gang of Palestine terrorists tried to assassinate Dad by mail. A number of cream-colored envelopes about eight by six inches, arrived in the White House, addressed to the President and various members of the staff. Inside them was a smaller envelope marked “Private and Confidential.” Inside that second envelope was powdered gelignite, a pencil battery and a detonator rigged to explode the gelignite when the envelope was opened. Fortunately, the White House mail room was alert to the possibility that such letters might arrive. The previous June at least eight were sent to British government officials, including Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. The British police exploded one of these experimentally and said it could kill, or at the very least maim, anyone unlucky enough to open it. The mail room turned the letters over to the Secret Service and they were defused by their bomb experts. The Secret Service still screens all our mail.
The AP article also reminds us that the news of the aborted attack on Truman did not originate with Margaret Truman, some quarter century after the fact. It had been reported in far greater and more accurate detail by White House staff mail reader Ira R. T. Smith (with Joe Alex Morris) in his 1949 book, Dear Mr. President … The Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room. Fortunately, that entire book is now online here. This is from pp. 229-230:
On another occasion, in the summer of 1947 I was summoned back to Washington from my vacation because controversy over important issues, including the Palestine question, had greatly increased the volume of mail to the President. I was rather surprised that the volume should be more than could be handled routinely by the office but when I got back I found that not all the difficulty was due to volume. Some of the letters received had obviously been intended to kill.
There had been a flurry in England in June of that summer because eight or more government officials and political personages had received terrorist letters in which explosives were cleverly concealed. Among those who got such letters were Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones, President of the Board of Trade Sir Stafford Cripps, and former Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. Cripps’s secretary noticed that the letter he received was hot (police said later it was apparently about ready to explode) and he stuck it in water. Eden carried his letter unopened in his briefcase for twenty-four hours before a secretary, tipped off by police, found it. There were two envelopes, the outer one about eight by six inches and cream-colored. The inner envelope was marked “Private and Confidential,” presumably in an effort to see that it was opened by the man to whom it was addressed. Inside the second envelope was powdered gelignite, a pencil battery, and a detonator arranged to explode when the envelope was opened. Police exploded one experimentally and said that it was powerful enough to kill a man. The so-called Stern gang of Palestine terrorists later claimed responsibility for having sent the letters from its “branch in Europe.” The letters were postmarked from Italy.
The same kind of terrorist letters had been found in the White House mail, and as a result the staff had been handling all letters with great care, thus slowing up the routine. So far as I know none of those received in this country resulted in an explosion, which may have been due to the excellent system introduced for handling the White House mail during the war.
Upon reading these two accounts, two questions come immediately to mind: Why is this attempted assassination of the president of the United States not common knowledge and what is the larger political context? That is to say, why would the Stern Gang want to kill President Truman?
Why Kill Truman?
Addressing the second question first, the reader can’t help but note that the books use the identical vague term “Stern Gang of Palestine terrorists” to refer to the perpetrators. One might get the impression that they were Palestinian terrorists, except for the fact that the Stern Gang is well known as a Jewish extremist group with a long string of murderous outrages to its credit (or discredit, if you prefer). Both accounts at least tell us that the White House bombs were part of a pattern, that similar attempts had previously been made by the Stern Gang upon various British officials. But their common purpose in telling us this is to explain why the White House was on alert for such bombs and was successful in interdicting them. They don’t give us the slightest clue as to why the bombs might have been sent in the first place.
In 1946 the British were still in political control of Palestine, formerly ruled by the Ottomans, under an arrangement created in the wake of World War I and approved by the League of Nations in 1923. Prior to WW I, it should be pointed out, Palestine had been part of the Muslim Ottoman Syria since 1516, more than a century before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, and before that it had been part of the Muslim Mamluk Empire centered in Egypt. The Zionist movement, led primarily by Jews from Eastern Europe, was determined to drive the British out and terrorism of all sorts—assassinations, kidnappings, bombings, extortion, etc.—was at the very core of the effort.
The problem with the British was that they were carrying out their commitment under the Balfour Declaration far too conscientiously. As a means of gaining support from world Jewry, especially in the United States and Russia, against their enemies in World War I, which included the Ottoman Empire, the Balfour Declaration endorsed the idea of a Jewish home (not the Zionist objective of a “homeland” or “state”) in Palestine (still at that time under Ottoman control), “it being clearly understood that nothing [would be] done which [would] prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….”
The Zionists wanted massive Jewish immigration from Europe and total political control of Palestine, with the apparent eventual goal of supplanting the entire non-Jewish population from the area. Such policies would certainly have been—and have been—prejudicial in the extreme toward the rights of the locals, and the British refused to institute them, incurring the murderous wrath of the terrorist Stern Gang, which counted future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (born Icchak Jeziernicky) among its leaders and its brother in terror, Irgun, one of whose leaders was future Prime Minister Menachem Begin (born Mieczysław Biegun). Why British government officials, and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin in particular, would have been targeted for killing by the Zionist terrorists can be well appreciated by reference to Bevin’s Wikipedia page.
Although the attempted assassinations in Britain were unsuccessful, the terror campaign against the British worked. The British gave up their mandate and turned the whole question of Palestine’s future over to the United Nations to decide. Under heavy pressure from the United States, the majority of the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and non-Jewish sectors. This final arrangement, according to Bevin, was “…so manifestly unjust to the Arabs that it is difficult to see how we could reconcile it with our conscience.”
Terror had worked on the British, but why would anyone have thought it necessary against President Truman, of all people? With a village and an institute named for him there, he is regarded today as a hero in Israel for defying almost all his foreign policy advisers and recognizing the new Jewish state of Israel as soon as David Ben Gurion declared its existence in May of 1948. But in the summer of 1947 it was far from a foregone conclusion that Truman would come through for the Zionists. Some idea of his thinking on Palestine at the time can be gleaned from a letter he wrote to a friend, Edward W. Pauley, on October 22, 1946:
That situation is insoluble in my opinion. I have spent a year and a month trying to get some concrete action on it. Not only are the British highly successful in muddling the situation as completely as it could possibly be muddled, but the Jews themselves are making it almost impossible to do anything for them. They seem to have the same attitude toward the “underdog” when they are on top as they have been treated as “underdogs” themselves. I suppose that is human frailty. –Robert H. Ferrell, Harry S. Truman, A Life (1994), p. 307.
Some more evidence of his thinking in 1946 can be had from Truman’s memoirs:
My efforts to persuade the British to relax immigration restrictions in Palestine might have fallen on more receptive ears if it had not been for the increasing acts of terrorism that were being committed in Palestine. There were armed groups of extremists who were guilty of numerous outrages. On June 16 eight bridges were blown up near the Trans-Jordan border, and two other explosions were set off in Haifa. The following day there was a pitched battle between Jews and British troops in Haifa, other explosions had started a fire and caused great damage in the rail yards there. British officers were kidnapped. Others were shot at from passing automobiles. Explosions took place in ever-increasing numbers, and the British uncovered a plot by one extremist group to kidnap the British commander in chief in Palestine. –Memoirs of Harry S. Truman, Vol. 2, Years of Hope (1956). pp. 150-151
Many of the signals being picked up by the Jewish leadership in the United States, as Truman expressed his exasperation over their heavy pressure campaign, could easily have made their way to the Stern Gang, persuading them that in this Missouri Baptist from a relatively humble background they had an American Bevin on their hands:
In June of 1946 he at first refused to see a delegation of all the New York Congressmen, and finally received them only with obvious impatience. He was no better when the two Senators from the state, [Robert] Wagner and [James] Mead, brought a former member of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry (into Palestine) to see him. “I am not a New Yorker,” Truman is alleged to have told them. “All these people are pleading for a special interest. I am an American.” – Roy Jenkins, Truman (1986), p. 117
Particularly offensive to Truman was the attitude of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, who, with Stephen Wise, was co-chairman of the American Zionist Emergency Council. A Republican and close ally of Senator Taft, Rabbi Silver had helped write a pro-Zionist plank in the 1944 Republican platform. At one point during a meeting in Truman’s office, Silver had hammered on Truman’s desk and shouted at him. “Terror and Silver are the causes of some, if not all, of our troubles,” Truman later said, and at one Cabinet meeting he reportedly grew so furious over the subject of the Jews that he snapped, “Jesus Christ couldn’t please them when he was on earth, so how could anyone expect that I would have any luck.” --David McCullough, Truman (1992), p. 599
Why Don’t We Know?
In 2006 The Times of London had what appeared to be a blockbuster revelation: “Jewish terrorists plotted to assassinate Ernest Bevin, the foreign secretary, in 1946, as part of their campaign to establish the state of Israel, newly declassified intelligence files have shown.” Five terrorist cells from the Stern Gang and Irgun were planning to descend upon London with bombings and assassinations, the MI5 files are said to have shown, but, in the end, only some 20 letter bombs were sent, with Bevin and his Tory predecessor Anthony Eden mentioned as among the recipients.
The interesting thing here is that these are treated as brand new revelations, available only because some secret files have finally been declassified. But as we have seen, the essential facts about the letter bombs in Britain had been published—with even more detail given—in a book in the United States in 1949 and then repeated in outline form in a book by none other than the daughter of the American president. Another interesting fact is that the 2006 story in The Times was not picked up by a single mainstream news organ in the United States and was even taken down from The Times’ web site within a couple of weeks. The only reason we still have the full story up on the Internet is that it was picked up by the alternative news organ Information Clearing House (“news you won’t find on CNN,” indeed).
The Wikipedia page on the letter bomb is doubly revealing. First, for anyone entertaining the fantasy that a mere bomb small enough to be contained in a mail envelope is too trivial a thing to be treated as an assassination attempt, the list of historical examples given is instructive. The Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, killed three people and wounded 27 others with his mailed bombs, and the list is full of other instances of people killed or seriously maimed by them.
Perhaps even more interesting is that as of the date of the publication of this article, eighteen examples of the use of letter bombs are given, but the attacks on such important figures as Truman, Bevin and Eden are not mentioned. The list even includes an attack on a U.S. vice president in 1915. Since anyone can put information on Wikipedia as long as it meets that page’s requirements for credibility—which the foregoing revelations certainly do—what we must conclude is that even with the 2006 report by The Times and the 1972 book by Margaret Truman, the fact of Zionist terrorist letter-bomb attacks on major political leaders in Great Britain and the United States is still hardly known by anyone.
We have noted how the U.S. press suppressed the relatively recent news of the attempts on Bevin and Eden. Writers of history (or is it their publishers?), at least in the United States, are at least as guilty of withholding this information. Perhaps I did not search diligently enough, but the only Truman biography that I could find that mentioned the letter bomb attack on Truman was that of his daughter. All those biographies that I consulted were written after hers, and, for some reason, they apparently found this attempted assassination unworthy of mention. *
Even someone as generally well informed about high level skulduggery as this writer had his scholarship diminished by his ignorance of the revelations in the Margaret Truman and Ira R. T. Smith books. When I learned of the Zionist attacks on Bevin et al., I wrote Part 4 of “Who Killed James Forrestal?” subtitled “Britain’s Forrestal,” and included a section that reflected my ignorance entitled “Who Knew?” It is worth repeating in its entirety here:
Although it is apparent that those signers of the warning letter to The New York Times had no knowledge of the previous attempt on the life of Ernest Bevin, one must wonder who, outside the ranks of British intelligence, did know about it. In particular, we have to wonder if one so connected to the higher reaches of power in the world as Bernard Baruch, when he warned his friend Forrestal in February of 1949 that he had already become too identified with opposition to Israel for his own good, knew more than he was telling about the danger that Forrestal faced. And when Forrestal complained about being followed and bugged, did he know that the Irgun crowd had come pretty close to snuffing out the life of his British counterpart? Could such knowledge have been behind his resistance to commitment to Bethesda Naval Hospital and his reported claim that he would never leave the hospital alive when he attempted to get out of the car taking him there? Might that have been the revelation from Secretary of the Air Force Symington on the day of Forrestal’s departure from office that drove him into his sudden funk?
And after Forrestal’s death, could there have been any doubt in the minds of those aware of the attempt on Bevin who had ultimately been behind the later crime? Might these have included those powerful friends such as Ferdinand Eberstadt and Robert Lovett, who had failed to visit him in the hospital and then, when the results of the investigation of his death were never made public, failed to register any public complaint? At the very least, those in the know included the contemporary and future leaders of Great Britain, and the knowledge that the leaders of the United States government had conspired with Zionist thugs in the assassination of the one courageous voice of reason in their midst would very likely have animated their own future Middle East policy.
Now we can see that those questions almost certainly answer themselves. Not only would such connected, well-informed people as Baruch, Forrestal, Eberstadt, and Lovett, have known about the Zionists’ attempts to kill Bevin, they would in all likelihood have known about the attempts on Eden and Truman as well. But thanks to the controllers of information and molders of opinion in our society, most of the rest of us did not know.
Not only was my scholarship undermined by the general blackout of the news of the attempted Truman hit, but so, too, was that of Alison Weir, as reflected in her January article, “Bush & Obama? Assassination and U.S. Presidents.” Her article is about the public suggestion of a Jewish leader in Atlanta that Israel might consider assassinating a U.S. president deemed “unfriendly to Israel.” She observes that such a thing might not be all that farfetched by citing a 1992 article by former Representative Paul Findley of Illinois in which he alleges that Israel, in fact, had pretty advanced plans in 1991 to assassinate President George H.W. Bush and blame it on Saddam Hussein. She notes, as well, that former Stern Gang leader Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister of Israel at the time. How much stronger would her case have been had she known about the attempt on Truman!
Even David Duke, in his video, “Israeli Deception against America,” as he details Israel’s terrorist attacks against the United States, seems to be unaware of the attempt on the life of our president, unless his failure to mention it rests on the technicality that in 1947 the state of Israel was still a year away from its creation.
Reflecting on these matters, we are more and more convinced of the truth of the quote by Abraham Lincoln, with which we lead off “America’s Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster,” “In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who moulds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.” And molding public sentiment begins with controlling public information. On no subject is information more controlled and public sentiment more manipulated than the subject of Israel and Palestine. Why don’t we know about the attempt by the Stern Gang on the life of Harry Truman? That’s why.
Coercion and Bribery
Information control might take care of the general public, but that is hardly sufficient for our elected representatives. On Palestine, as we learn from his memoirs, Truman was amply informed by his foreign policy advisers and by Arab leaders. For our politicians, Anthony Lawson has charged, the Zionists mainly use coercion and bribery. Few things are more coercive than assassination, or even an assassination attempt, and if Gore Vidal and John F. Kennedy are to be believed, Truman was strongly influenced by that other measure as well.
*The situation is just as bad when it comes to Bevin. The most balanced book we were able to find at our local library on the Israel-Palestine question has this slanderous speculation about Bevin’s motives, “…he may have shared many of the vulgar anti-Jewish prejudices of his working-class background, a background he had not forgotten.” -- Ian J. Bickerton and Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 4th ed. (2002), p. 79. But on the subject of attempts on his life, which are not matters of speculation, the book is silent.
May 10, 2012, with reader-prompted change on May 12 of “homeland” to “home” in the British Balfour Declaration promise.
We have discovered further evidence of how little known is this 1947 assassination attempt on President Truman. There is a Wikipedia page entitled “List of United States presidential assassination attempts and plots.” Many, if not most of those listed could hardly be regarded as serious assassination attempts. Nevertheless, as of the date of this writing, it has no mention of the Stern Gang’s attempt on Truman.
The Stern Gang was also treated with unusual deference within certain quarters in the U.S. body politic for a group that had attempted to kill the national leader. The following passage is from an undated article in the Jewish Post entitled “The Last Campaign How Truman Won in 1948”:
[Henry] Wallace attracted many Jews: around 30% of his followers were Jews. Among them his fund-raiser, William Gailmore, was an ex-rabbi. He controlled the Bronx thanks to Leo Isaacson who was elected to the congress as a member of the progressive party. Many communists and Jewish communists supported Wallace who always was blamed as a front for Moscow. But Wallace did something else, he never forgot to declare his support of Zionism and a Jewish state. On Dec. 1947, he visited Palestine as a guest of the Labor movement. Wallace also believed in the Judeo-Christian idea and a project to develop the Middle-East for Jews and Arabs alike. Furthermore, he helped the 'Friends of Lehi in the U.S." (the so-called 'Stern Gang.') And Karabell wrote that on July 23, 1948 the Progressive Party's convention hosted "the Stern Gang, the Israeli underground paramilitary organization that had blown up buildings and assassinated British officials in Palestine..." He wrote that the Lehi (Freedom Fighters of Israel) were close to the Irgun's Menachem Begin, but Yitzhak Shamir was the Lehi's commander together with Natan Yellin-Mor and Israel Eldad. Truman was pushed by his pro-Zionist advisors (Mark Cliford) [sic] to support Israel in 1948 in order to attract the Jewish vote away from Wallace's camp. Also, Dewey was pro-Zionist.
It is certainly outrageous that there should even have been an open organization in the United States that would call itself “Friends of Lehi,” a gang that openly admitted to such crimes as the assassinations of lead UN mediator for Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden, and British Minister of state in the Middle East, Lord Moyne. That they would be “helped” and their support would be openly welcomed by a candidate for president of the United States is even more outrageous, though from what we know of Wallace, it is quite believable. However, it is not believable that he would have been so close to them had their 1947 letter bomb attempt upon the life of the president been reported.
May 17, 2012