The Pledge

Title:                      The Pledge

Author:                 Leonard Slater

Slater, Leonard (1970). The Pledge. New York: Simon and Schuster

LCCN:    79101883

DS126.4 .S59 1970


Date Updated:  May 4, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

In anticipation of the British withdrawal from Palestine after World War II and of a war that would determine whether a Jewish state would be created, a large underground organization was created in the United States and elsewhere to procure arms and ship them to the Jews in Palestine. This is the story of that network, mainly in the United States and composed mostly of Jews, by a U.S journalist who spent three years of investigative reporting on the subject. It also tells of the volunteers who went to fight in Palestine. Slater bases his account primarily on interviews with those involved in the smuggling of arms in violation of U.S. embargo laws; those interviewed, including the future mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek. who played a key role in the United States, are named. The Pledge is an eye opener on a subject not often revealed—the formation and the work in one country of a well-financed, dedicated organization ultimately under the direction of foreign nationals supporting the national aspirations of these foreign people in technical violation of their own country’s laws. The well-documented account of the underground exploits of this organized effort must be read, according to Leon Uris, to understand later Israeli feats such as the dash of the French gunboats from Cherbourg to Israel. Slater does not delve deeply into the questions of official U.S. knowledge of all this at the time and policy toward it. There may be a hint in the short episode of J. Edgar Hoover’s being informed by the organization itself of the violation of U.S. embargo laws. Slater’s work has opened up a subject for further research. A rare reference to specific U.S. intelligence reporting of illegal shipments of arms from U.S. bases to Palestine is contained in Thorpe’s East Wind Rain.[2]

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[3]

A remarkable account of a crash program to arm and equip an army to defend Israel after the British pull-out in May 1948. Coordinated by the Israeli Haganah, the arms procurement and smuggling involved many Americans. The author relied primarily on first-hand interviews and correspondence, which he documents.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, p. 414

[2] Thorpe, Elliott R. (1969). East Wind, Rain: The Intimate Account of An Intelligence Officer in The Pacific, 1939-49. Boston, MA: Gambit. [LCCN: 69012586]

[3] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.


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One Response to The Pledge

  1. Pingback: Scientific and Technical Intelligence, Chapter 10 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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