A Mystery Man Impersonated Truman To Make Israel A Country
In 1947, the United Nations voted on how to partition Palestine, ultimately creating Israel. They needed two-thirds of voting members to support the resolution, and in the end, the resolution passed with a margin of error of three votes. Getting those final votes was a scramble. One delegate from South America, for example, almost missed the vote because he was in a toilet stall, till the Israeli delegate went in the restroom and convinced him to come out.
More seriously, various countries claimed to have been pressured into voting, pressure that included death threats. One of the strangest votes came from Haiti. Publicly, Israel sent a Protestant minister to lobby Haiti. Possibly, a $5 million loan also helped sealed the deal. Privately, Haitian president Dumarsais Estimé received a phone call, ostensibly from the American president, Harry Truman.
“We want you to vote for the Zionist program,” said the man, and in the end, Haiti did. The caller was not actually Truman, however. And when he learned of the phone call, Truman ordered an investigation to find who it was, an investigation that never found the answer.
People had their suspicions. According to one State Department official who looked into it, it was Robert Nathan, an economist who directed America’s Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion after World War II. Nathan would routinely call contacts in other countries and extort them into voting America’s way, by saying the US would otherwise withhold construction projects from the area.
That’s the official story: Truman realized that US lobbyists and lower politicians were influencing UN votes, and he wanted to put an end to it, particularly angry that someone had impersonated him. One theory, however, claims there was another conspiracy under this confirmed conspiracy. Maybe the mystery man was Truman himself, pretending to be a Truman impersonator so he could later distance himself from the call.
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