New York Post


Home of the Brave

America’s Sorry Record in Failing to Protect
Flag or Citizen Abroad Since Nov.


On Nov. 30, the day after the United Nations Assembly voted the partition of Palestine, the United Press correspondent wired from Damascus, Syria, that the Arabs there had stoned the building of the American Legation and hauled down the flag flying in front of the United Stated building.

It was said later in the bazaars of Damascus that strips of the flag were used to wipe out the filthy public latrines of the city, and hoodlums dishonored the Stars and Stripes in an indescribable manner.

Syrian government officials did not come to the Legation to present their apologies; instead they waited until the United States Chargé d’Affaires visited the Syrian President and Premier “to discuss the attack on the Legation and the affront to its flag.” Both official expressed regret in behalf of their Government.

Lowell C. Pinkerton, American Minister to neighboring Lebanon, cabled a report to Washington on the attack and said “he would await a reply before filing any formal protest with the Syrian Government,” runs a dispatch in the New York Times of Dec. 1. As far as can be gathered from the press, a formal protest was never lodged. The United States Government did not even ask for the punishment of the offenders who tore the flag before the eyes of the Syrian police.

* * *

A month ago the S.S. Marine Carp sailed from New York bound for Beirut, Lebanon, Haifa, Palestine and Alexandria, Egypt. This ship is operated by the American Export Line for the State Dept.; in other words, it is a government ship. On May 20, in Beirut the Lebanese military boarded the ship, ordered the passengers going to Palestine to leave the ship, and removed 69 pasengers by force, 41 of whom were American citizens. The luggage of the passengers were split open with hatchets. The protest of the Captain was of no avail. The passengers were put in prison camps.

The American government meekly protested, received an arrogant reply, protested still more meekly, and was told to mind its won business. The Lebanese government refused to allow the 41 Americans to proceed to the country of their destination. The American government expended not a single word on behalf of the 28 passengers, not American citizens who had entrusted themselves to a ship flying the American flag and had paid the State Department for their transportation.

Did the American government at least cancel future calls of the S.S. Marine Carp at Beirut? No, indeed. It canceled future calls at Haifa, Israel. But it will visit Beirut regularly.

* * *

In May, the American Consul at Jerusalem, Thomas C. Wasson, was fatally shot by an Arab assassin. From the capital of Abdullah came the “information” that Israelis had killed him. But before this information became “an established fact,” —Mr. Wasson on his death bed stated that Arabs had shot him.

The American government made no representations to Abdullah, Commander-in-Chief of the Arabs, or to the Secretary General of the Arab League, or to the Arab Higher Committee, the quasi-representatives of the Arab of Palestine at Lake Success. Instead, the American government issued a document in which it stated that the nurses at the bedside of the dying Consul to whom he addressed his last words, were Jewish, and satisfied itself with this statement.

On Nov. 29 the General Assembly of the United Nations voted to make Jerusalem an international city. Hundreds of American citizens live in Jerusalem, both Jew and Gentile. The city was shelled by the Arab Legion, commanded by the British officers; the American-owned Hadassah hospital was a target for weeks. For three months the food supplies were cut off, though in the city there live Americans as well as citizens of many other nationalities. The New York Post repeatedly drew the attention of the United States government to the necessity of sending American military forces to protest American citizens and their property in a city that had no governmental authority and that had to be internationalized. No action was taken. Mr. Wasson is one of the victims of this inaction.

* * *

The Egyptian government declared a blockade of the Palestinian coast. In the Suez Canal, an area covered by international agreement, it stopped ships sailing to Palestine, searched them and confiscated their cargo, though they included no war material. It declared its determination to do the same thing wherever it would find ships in the Mediterranean sailing to or from Palestine. The State Dept. weakly protested.

. . . effect, as follows: First find the shreds of the American flag torn in Damascus and have the offenders punished. Then go to Jerusalem, and make at least a protest about your murdered Consul and shelled hospital and the Americans kept in siege. Then go to Beirut and liberate the passengers taken off the American ship. Before you do all this, don’t waste your breath talking to us.

When the Germans in World War I blockaded the North Atlantic approaches to Europe, President Wilson vigorously asserted the rights of American ships to sail the sea lanes. The Germans defied Wilson’s warning and as a consequence the United States declared war on April 6, 1917. The fleet of Wilhelm II had greater striking power than the fleet of King Farouk has—a fleet that has already been routed by a single Israeli corvette and a few planes.

* * *

At no time in its history, from the days when America was young until it grew into a union of 48 states, would it have acquiesced in the dishonoring of its flag; in the forcible removal of its citizens from United States ships; in the murder of its Consul; in the interruption of its trade lines.

American might is no longer used to defend the American flag or the life and liberties of American citizens. Does the American flag fly over “the home of the brave?”