On May 12, Truman held an Oval Office meeting. Supposedly it was to resolve things. Marshall, Lovett, and others made the case for delaying recognition. By "delay," they meant "deny."
Truman asked Clark Clifford to be present. At the time, he was a young aide. He argued for recognition. Marshall was furious. When Clifford finished, he said:
"I don't even know why (he's) here. He is a domestic adviser, and this is a foreign policy matter. The only reason (he's) here is that he is pressing a political consideration."
Truman was up for reelection in November. Polls showed Republican Thomas Dewey ahead. Winning the Jewish vote was important.
After the meeting, said Holbrooke, Marshall wrote "an unusual top-secret memorandum".for the historical files." He wanted his view on the record, saying:
"I said bluntly that if the President were to follow Mr. Clifford's advice and if in the elections I were to vote, I would vote against the President."
His comment was stunning. Marshall was a consummate diplomat. He was Truman's Secretary of State and Defense Secretary. Forrestal reflected his view and other recognition opponents, saying:
At issue is oil, numbers and history. "There are thirty million Arabs on one side and about 600,000 Jews on the other." He told Clifford: "Why don't you face up to the realities?"
It didn't matter. It was a done deal. Truman decided earlier. On March 25, 1948, he met secretly with Chaim Weizmann (Israel's first president). He pledged support for the future Jewish state. Minutes after midnight on May 15, 1948, America was the first country to extend recognition.
Holbrooke said many believe Marshall, Forrestal, Lovett, and others were right. "Israel, they argue(d), has been nothing but trouble for the United States."
Holbrooke tried having it both ways. He said it didn't matter whether Washington extended recognition then or not. With or without it, Israel was created right or wrong.
Failure to offer support might have jeopardized its survival. "Truman's decision, although opposed by almost the entire foreign policy establishment, was the right one".despite complicated consequences that continue to this day"."
Rethink time is long overdue. Perhaps it's happening behind the scenes. In April 2010, The New York Times headlined "Obama Speech Signals a US Shift on Middle East," saying:
He said resolving the longstanding Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a "vital national security interest of the United States." At issue was balancing support for Israel with other regional interests.
At the same time, General David Petraeus told Congress that lack of progress created a hostile environment "within which we operate."
At the same time, administration officials then and now insist US support for Israel is unwavering. Close cooperation is policy. Perhaps what goes on secretly is less rock solid than earlier.