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Edwin M. Wright Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
Edwin M. Wright

 
General staff G-2 Middle East specialist, Washington, 1945-46; Bureau Near East-South Asian-African Affairs Department of State, since 1946, country specialist 1946-47, advisor U.N. affairs, 1947-50, advisor on intelligence 1950-55.
Wooster, Ohio
July 26, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

 


Notice
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened August 1977
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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Oral History Interview with
Edwin M. Wright

 

Wooster, Ohio
July 26, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie

[i]

PREAMBLE

 

Mr. Wright has asked that this letter be included as a preamble to his interview.

445 Bloomington Ave.
Wooster, Ohio 44691
April 3, 1977

Mr. James R. Fuchs
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, MO 64050

Dear Mr. Fuchs:

Your letter of March 23, 1977 and the draft transcription of the interview that I gave to Professor McKinzie arrived last week.

I have gone over the latter and made a few corrections of a minor nature and am returning it under separate cover.

 

I took the liberty of adding a number of footnotes. The material I gave Professor McKinzie was of a very controversial nature--one almost taboo in U.S. circles, inasmuch as I accused the Zionists of using political pressures and even deceit in order to get the U.S. involved in a policy of supporting a Zionist theocratic, ethnically exclusive and ambitious Jewish State. I, and my associates in the State Department, felt this was contrary to U.S. interests and we were overruled

[ii]

by President Truman. At the time I gave the interview, I had to relate many personal incidents for which, at the time, there was no evidence. In the past 30 months, a great deal of relevant material has been published which corroborates my story. Especially useful has been the publication of Foreign Relations of the United States 1948 Vol. V on the Near East, Part 2 by the Department of State which gives the original documents from which I quoted from memory. So I have added footnotes where verification is now available.

In addition, Zionists and Christian Fundamentalists have frequently used the Hebrew Bible as an authority for justifying a Jewish State. As late as summer 1976, Candidate Jimmie Carter stated,

"I am pro-Israeli, not because of political expediency, but because I believe Israel is the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy."

So the Bible--and belief that it is God's Holy Word and infallible, became a useful tool in Zionist propaganda. I take the point of view that the Bible

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is a mixture of Hebrew legends and myths and cannot be used as an element in U.S. foreign policy. Two recent books by well-known and competent scholars support my view. They are,

John Van Seter, Abraham in Legend and History. Yale 1975..

Frank M. Cross, Caananite Myth and Hebrew Epic. Harvard 1973.

The Zionists were very successful in using religion for political purposes. This is prohibited by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states the Government should recognize no "religous establishment." In the case of Zionism and Israel, the U.S. has recognized and supported a religious establishment--viz: the State of Israel which in turn discriminates against all non-Jewish religions. Two texts are available

Sabri Jiryis, The Arabs in Israel. Beirut 1968.

Israel Shahak, The Non-Jew in the Jewish State. Jerusalem 1975.

Dr. Shahak, Professor of chemistry in Hebrew University introduces his topic, "This collection of documents is

[iv]

intended to show that it (Israel) is, at least in one of its most important characteristics, a State about which the greatest amount of misinformation, double talk and straight lies, is being published abroad" (Preface, first paragraph).

U.S. citizens, quite ignorant of Biblical critical studies and equally ignorant of Zionist dogmas and claims, were easy victims to clever Zionist manipulation of their gullibility. When I mailed to Professor McKinzie a typewritten statement to explain some of the documents I gave him, a group of my friends urged me to expand the material and publish it as an independent document. So I completely rewrote the material and published it as The Great Zionist Cover-Up. It is a much fuller statement of how the Zionists operate. I enclose a copy with the transcript. It also includes many references to books where a fuller treatment of the material may be obtained.

Finally, my opposition to Zionism was on purely pragmatic grounds. I was convinced the Arabs would fight a Zionist Exclusive Expansionist Jewish State--because

[v]

they saw it in operation during the period of the British mandate. So did I. I felt it was folly for the United States to support a State composed of such neurotic groups as I witnessed in Palestine (1942-46). The Orthodox Rabbis wanted to turn the clock back to 1200 B.C. Theocracy--and were really fanatic. They have produced such irrational and Expansionist groups as the Gush Emunim group, who openly defy the Israeli government and cannot be disciplined because they are so "Holy." A description of this "Much Holier than Thou" movement is found in The New Outlook (Tel Aviv) monthly for November 1976, "Chauvinistic Politics and Political Religion: Danger in Hebron." It was the Zealots who in the time of Christ as provoked the Roman authorities that they brought on Roman retaliation and the destruction of the Jewish State in 70 A.D. The Gush Emunim have learned nothing from history and will repeat history. The Israeli government is impotent in the face of the defiance of this Zealot group. Other Israelis are equally blind to realities and so dogmatic and fragmented that no party

[vi]

can ever get a majority. The in-fighting between these parties is causing rapid decay in Israeli domestic political life. The only force which unites them is fear of the Arabs. Remove that, and Israeli political unity will disintegrate. George Ball in Foreign Affairs, April 1977 has the opening article, "How to Save Israel from Herself." He calls the Israeli government "impotent" and "immobile" (pp. 456-57) and on p. 467 refers to Israel's "paranoia." Because the USA is waking up (for the wrong reason--need of Arab oil) to the potential disasters facing us in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the USA is preparing to undo--what it did in 1947-48. Norman Pod Loretz, the Zionist Editor of Commentary has a recent article, "The Abandonment of Israel." He now accuses the USA of perfidy because he sees US support for Israel ebbing. "America's policy toward Israel suggests the Vietnamization of Israel--it is felt that America, in order to avoid confrontation with the Soviet Union and to protect its oil supplies, will gradually withdraw

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from a total support of Israel and if necessary, negotiate over the survival of Israel."

Zionists, since Truman's decision in 1947-48, have lived in a Fool's Paradise. They assumed their control of the US government, press and public was permanent and based an "moral" values--therefore, the US at all times would give Israel total support. Zionists seem to live in a dream world of their own creation and think the rest of the world should accept their dream. They seem quite incapable of facing reality. George Ball is making an effort to break through to some of the realities involved in our foolish adventure into theocratic politics. It will generate a bitter and possibly violent emotional reaction on the part of US Zionists who will accuse the USA generally of "anti-Semitism." (p. 454) I have been accused of this since 1944--now it is probable that President Jimmie Carter will share the title. Returning Israel to its pre-1967 boundaries, as he has stated, is--to the Zionist--a death sentence. Their 30 year

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dream of "Eretz Gadohl 1' Am Gadhol"--(a great land for a great people) will be shattered. I doubt if Israel can long survive such a blow. Jews will no longer emigrate to such a small non-viable state. Israelis will leave in increasing numbers. In 1947-48 when President Truman declared for a Jewish State, there was an outburst of Jewish Messianic hysteria (Bernard Pashol and Henry Levy, The Hills Shout for Joy: The day Israel was born (New York 1973). As Cyrus was declared "The Messiah of the Lord" in Isaiah 44 :28, so Truman was a "Messiah" to serve Eternal Divine Israel in 1948. Jews of a Zionist persuasion cannot separate the Transcendental from the Mundane. In antiquity, within a half a century, the Jews turned against Persia and in the Book of Esther (Hadarsal) King Artaxerxes is painted as a drunken and lecherous fool. He ruled from 485 B.C.-465 B.C. I fear President Carter may prove to be the Zionist model for the Treacherous Fool who "abandoned" Israel. Zionists seem to deal in superlatives--no relative

[ix]

values. They cannot see that President Truman was a US politician, needing Jewish votes and money to win an election. To the Zionists Truman was a Messianic Savior chosen by Destiny. Nor can they see President Carter is beset by global problems and it is necessary to curb Israel's excesses and mistreatment of the Palestinians lest it bring on a global disorder. George Ball's article is the rarest and best statement made in 29 years. I'm not sure the Esther model is the one to hope for. Esther got her Gentile King drunk, then wheedled his signet ring and sent out an order to the Jews--so they slew 75,000 innocent Persians (Esther 9:16). The Book of Esther is not history. It is parody. The Ahasuerus of Esther is probably the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (165 B.C.) and Mordechai is probably a symbol for Judas Maccabeus. Esther represents the beautiful dream of a Messianic Jewish State. There is a lesson nevertheless in this immoral and violent story. A political marriage of any political power with Messianic

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Zionism is certain to produce disaster.

I would appreciate it, if you make this letter a part of my "Oral" transcript by attaching it as a "Preamble." The Ecstasy of Zionism by capturing President Truman in 1947-48 is turning into the Agony of President Carter in 1977. George Ball has started the Ball rolling; how far dare we let it (Israel's paranoia) determine American policy? (p. 467) Time is vindicating the point of view of those State Department specialists whom Truman said he could not trust because they were "anti-Semitic." His barb hurt and has left scars.

Thank you for your patience and trouble.

Sincerely,

Edwin M. Wright

 


ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW

 

[1]

MCKINZIE: Mr. Wright, perhaps you could start by telling how you got into Government work and your personal background before you went into the Government.

WRIGHT: My background is a rather unusual one because my father went out to the Middle East in 1878 and I was born in Iran. As such I have dual citizenship. I've never used my Iranian citizenship, it's conferred upon me by birth. I grew up in Iran and learned to speak Armenian and Turkish. I was born in Tabriz, which is in

[2]

the northwestern part and a Turkish speaking area.

When I came back to America I went to Wooster College and graduated in 1918. Then I took three years of theological work. My father was a missionary and I thought I would need some theological background for work in the field. I went to McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and then back to Iran. I spent 16 years in educational work there, being the principal of several high schools in Tabriz, in Rasht, and in Hamadans (1921-1937).

I came back here after the Iranian Government had nationalized all the schools and there was no purpose in staying in Iran. I decided to take a course in ancient history at Columbia University. I thought I would get my doctorate in ancient history and for the next four years, 1937 through 1941, I was working on

[3]

a doctorate.

This has a great deal to do with my working in the Government, because I had lived in the Middle East. I was interested in it, especially the religious background. I have studied Islam a great deal, I have studied Arabic, and I wanted to get the whole Jewish point of vi