In August, Truman had received a report from Earl Harrison that sharply criticized the U.S. Army for its harsh treatment of Jewish survivors. Harrison, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, found that Jews were being kept under armed guard in former concentration camps. His report prompted the War Department to order Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to improve conditions in the displayed persons’ camps.
In April 1946, the joint committee of inquiry recommended that 100,000 Jewish refugees be permitted to immigrate to Palestine. Truman wrote to British Prime Minister Clement Attlee — Britain still controlled Palestine under a post-World War I mandate — asking for help in moving the repatriation process forward.
The president’s military advisers, however, warned against going forward, arguing that communists, as many Zionists were believed to be, in a new Jewish state could jeopardize the West’s access to Middle Eastern oil. For a time, the advisers’ views prevailed with the president.