King-Crane Commission

   At the time of World War I, perhaps the most significant American concern and its first political involvement in the Middle East was the formation of an investigating commission that was sent to the region and offered suggestions concerning its future. At a meeting of the Big Four in March 1919, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson proposed that a commission visit Syria to elucidate the state of opinion in the region and report on its findings to the Versailles peace conference. The United States sent two representatives, Henry C. King, president of Oberlin College, and Charles R. Crane, a manufacturer, to the area, but neither the British nor the French joined the commission. The King-Crane Commission was the first significant American involvement in the political affairs of the area, although, in the final analysis, the inquiry had no real impact. Neither the Allies nor the United States gave it serious consideration. King and Crane arrived in Palestine in June 1919, conducted interviews, and studied reports and documents. In August, the commission submitted its report to the American delegation for use at the peace conference. Generally, it argued against the Zionist objectives and sought to include Palestine within a larger Syrian mandate that would include Lebanon and Palestine.
   See also Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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