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
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 dAffaires 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, dont 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 Wilsons
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 hasa 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?