PRESIDENT TRUMAN had had advance word of what the Zionists were going to do, but only by a matter of a few hours. On the morning of May 14, Chaim Weizmann's secretary appeared at the White House bearing a letter to the President from Weizmann. It thanked Truman for his "very great contributions . . . toward a definitive and just settlement of the long and troublesome Palestine situation," declaring that "the leadership which the American Government took under your inspiration made possible the establishment of a Jewish State." That state, said Weizmann, was due to begin its existence immediately upon termination of the mandate, and the Zionist leader expressed the hope "that the United States . . . will promptly recognize the Provisional Government of the New Jewish State. The world, I think, will regard it as especially appropriate that the greatest living democracy should be the first to welcome the newest into the family of nations."
In the early afternoon, Truman summoned Secretary of State Marshall, Undersecretary Lovett, and two members of the White House staff, Clark Clifford and David Niles, to discuss an appropriate response. Tel Aviv lies seven time zones east of Washington. Ben-Gurion had already read his proclamation, and the mandate's last night had begun. The President said that he intended to recognize the Jewish nation. Marshall thought it would be inadvisable to do so. Clifford pointed out that Truman was already on record in favor of an independent Jewish state, and that it would be unrealistic to withhold recognition now. Marshall took this to mean that Clifford, the politically sophisticated presidential ad-