Statement of the Zionist Organization Regarding
February 3, 1919
Statement of the Zionist Organization regarding Palestine.
Third day of February Nineteen hundred and
Proposals to be presented to the Peace Conference.
The Zionist Organization respectfully submits the following draft resolutions for the consideration of the Peace Conference:
1. The High Contracting Parties recognise the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.
2. The boundaries of Palestine shall be as declared in the Schedule annexed hereto.
3. The sovereign possession of Palestine shall be vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to Great Britain as Mandatory of the League.
4. (Provision to be inserted relating to the application in Palestine of such of the general conditions attached to mandates as are suitable to the case. )
5. The mandate shall be subject also to the following special conditions:
I. Palestine shall be placed under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment there of the Jewish National Home and ultimately render possible the creation of an autonomous Commonwealth, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
II. To this end the Mandatory Power shall inter alia:
a. Promote Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land, the established rights of the present non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded.
b. Accept the cooperation in such measures of a Council representative of the Jews of Palestine and of the world that may be established for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine and entrust the organization of Jewish education to such Council
c. On being satisfied that the constitution of such Council precludes the making of private profit, offer to the Council in priority any concession for public works or for the development of natural resources which it may be found desirable to grant
I. The Mandatory Power shall encourage the widest measure of self-government for localities practicable in the conditions of the country
II. There shall be for ever the fullest freedom of religious worship for all creeds in Palestine There shall be no discrimination among the inhabitants with regard to citizenship and civil rights, on the grounds of religion, or of race
III. (Provision to be inserted relating to the control of the Holy Places)
The Boundaries of Palestine
The boundaries of Palestine shall follow the general lines set out below:
Starting on the North al a point on the Mediterranean Sea in the vicinity South of Sidon and following the watersheds of the foothills of the Lebanon as far as JISR EL KARAON, thence to EL BIRE following the dividing line between the two basins of tile WAD: EL Kook and the Wadi ET TEIM thence in a southerly direction following the dividing line between the Eastern and Western slopes of the HERMON, to the vicinity West of BEIT JENN, thence Eastward following the northern watersheds of the NAHR MUGHANIYE close to and west of the Hedjaz Railway
In the East a line close to and West of the Hedjaz Railway terminating in the Gulf of Akaba.
In the South a frontier to be agreed upon with the Egyptian Government.
In the West the Mediterranean Sea.
The details of the delimitations, or any necessary adjustments of detail, shall be settled by a Special Commission on which there shall be Jewish representation.
The historic title
The claims of the Jews with regard to Palestine rest upon the following main consideration:
1. The land is the historic home of the Jews; there they achieved their greatest development from that centre, through their agency, there emanated spiritual and moral influences of supreme value to mankind By violence they were driven from Palestine, and through the ages they have never ceased to cherish the longing and the hope of a return
2. In some parts of the world, and particularly in Eastern Europe, the conditions of life of millions of Jews are deplorable Forming often a congested population, denied the opportunities which would make a healthy development possible, the need of fresh outlets is urgent, both for their own sake and in the interest of the population of other races, among whom they dwell Palestine would offer one such outlet To the Jewish masses it is the country above all others in which they would most wish to cast their lot By the methods of economic development to which we shall refer later, Palestine can be made now as it was in ancient times, the home of a prosperous population many times as numerous as that which now inhabits it
3. Palestine is not large enough to contain more than a proportion of the Jews of the world I he greater part of the fourteen millions or more scattered through all countries must remain in their present localities, and it will doubtless be one of the cares of the Peace Conference to ensure for them, wherever they have been oppressed, as for all peoples equal rights and humane conditions A Jewish National Home in Palestine will, however, be of high value to them also Its influence will permeate the Jewries of the world, it will inspire these millions, hitherto often despairing, with a new hope it will hold out before their eyes a higher standard; it will help to make them even more useful citizens in the lands in which they dwell.
4. Such a Palestine would be of value also to the world at large, whose real wealth consists In the healthy diversities of its civilisations
5. Lastly the land itself needs redemption Much of it is left desolate Its present condition is a standing reproach. Two things are necessary for that redemption - a stable and enlightened government, and an addition to the present population which shall be energetic, intelligent, devoted to the country, and backed by the large financial resources that are indispensable for development Such a population the Jews alone can supply.
Inspired by these ideas, Jewish activities particularly during the last thirty years have been directed to Palestine within the measure that the Turkish administrative system allowed. Some millions of pounds sterling have been spent in the country particularly in the foundation of Jewish agricultural settlements. These settlements have been for the most part highly successful.
With enterprise and skill the Jews have adopted modern scientific methods and have shown themselves to be capable agriculturists. Hebrew has been revived as a living language: it is the medium of instruction in the schools and the tongue is in daily use among the rising generation. The foundations of a Jewish University have been laid at Jerusalem and considerable funds have been contributed for the creation of its building and for its endowment. Since the British occupation, the Zionist Organization has expended in Palestine approximately œ50,000 a month upon relief, education and sanitation. To promote the future development of the country great sums will be needed for drainage, irrigation, roads, railways, harbours and public works of all kinds, as well as for land settlement and house building. Assuming a political settlement under which the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine is assured the Jews of the world will make every effort to provide the vast sums of money that will be needed.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews pray for the opportunity speedily to begin life anew in Palestine Messengers have gone out from many places, and groups of young Jewish men proceeding on foot have already reached Trieste and Rome on their weary pilgrimage to Zion.
The historic title of the Jews to Palestine was recognised by the British Government in its Declaration of November 2nd 1917, addressed by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Lord Rothschild and reading as follows:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
The French Government gave its support to the British Declaration to M. Sokolow as follows:
Ministre des Affaires Etrangères de la
"Comme il avaité convenu au cours de notre entretien le samedi 9 de ce mods, le Gouvernement de la République, en vue de préciser son attitude vis-à-vis des aspirations sionistes, tendant a créer pour les juifs en Palestine un foyer national, a publié un communiqué dans la Presse.
"En vous communiquant ce texte, je saisis avec empressement l'occasion de vous féliciter du généreux dévouement avec lequel vous poursuivez la réalisalion des voeux de vos coreligionnaire et de vous remercier du zèle que vous apportez a leur faire connaître les sentiments de sympathie que leurs efforts éveillent dans les pays de l'Entente et notamment en France.
"Veuillez agréer, Monsieur, les assurances de ma considération très distinguée.
" (Sgd) S. PICHON. "
Paris, Le 9 Février 1918
Monsieur Sokolow représentant des organisations Sionistes, a été re‡u ce matin, au Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, par M. Stephen Pichon, qui a été heureux de lui confirmer que l'entente est complète entre les gouvernements français et britannique en ce qui concerne la question d'un établissement juif en Palestine.
The Italian Government has declared its approval on the same lines. The President of the United States has expressed his sympathy with the Zionist aspirations in the spirit of Mr. Balfour's declaration The Governments of Japan, Greece, Serbia, China and Siam, have added their approval to the declaration.
GREAT BRITAIN AS MANDATORY OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
We ask that Great Britain Shall act as Mandatory of the League of Nations for Palestine. The selection of Great Britain as Mandatory is urged on the ground that this is the wish of the Jews of the world and, the League of Nations in selecting a Mandatory will follow as far as possible, the popular wish of the people concerned.
The preference on the part of the Jews for a British Trusteeship is unquestionably the result of the peculiar relationship of England to he Jewish Palestinian problem. The return of the Jews to Zion has not only been a remarkable feature in English literature, but in the domain of statecraft it has played its part, beginning with the readmission of the Jews under Cromwell II manifested itself particularly in the 19th century in the instructions given to British Consular representatives in the Orient after the Damascus Incident; in the various Jewish Palestinian projects suggested by English non-Jews prior to 1881; in the letters of endorsement and support given by members of the Royal Family and Officers of the Government to Lawrence Oliphant; and finally, in the three consecutive acts which definitely associated Great Britain with Zionism in the minds of the Jews, viz - The El Arish offer in 1901; the East African offer in 1903, and lastly the British Declaration in favour of a Jewish National Home in Palestine in 1917. Moreover, the Jews who have gained political experience in many lands under a great variety of governmental systems, whole-heartedly appreciate the advanced and liberal policies adopted by Great Britain in her modern colonial administration.
It may be stated without doubt that all of these things account for the attitude taken by the Jews with reference to the Trusteeship, as evidenced by the following.
On December 16th 1918, the American Jewish Congress composed of delegates representing 3,000,000 American Jews adopted the following resolution:
"The American Jewish Congress instruct their delegation to Europe to co-operate with representatives of other Jewish Organizations and specifically with the world Zionist Organization, to the end that the Peace Conference may recognise the aspirations and historic claims of the Jewish people with regard to Palestine, and declare that, in accordance with the British Government's Declaration of November 2nd 1917 endorsed by the Allied Governments and the President of the United States, there shall be established such political administrative and economic conditions in Palestine, as will assure under the trusteeship of Great Britain, acting on behalf of such League of Nations as may be formed, the development of Palestine info a Jewish Commonwealth; it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which shall prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in other countries "
Similar action was taken in Jaffa in the month of December 1918 by a conference of representatives of the Jewish population in Palestine and on January 4th 1919 by Jewish Congresses representing about 2,000,000 Jews of the reconstituted States of Austria-Hungary and of Poland
The boundaries above outlined are what we consider essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country Palestine must have its natural outlets to the seas and the control of its rivers and their headwaters. The boundaries are sketched with the general economic needs and historic traditions of the country in mind, factors which necessarily must also be considered by the Special Commission in fixing the definite boundary lines. This Commission will bear in mind that it is highly desirable, in the interests of economic administration that the geographical area of Palestine should be as large as possible so that it may eventually contain a large and thriving population which could more easily bear the burdens of modern civilised government than a small country with a necessary limitation of inhabitants.
The economic life of Palestine, like that of every other semi-arid country depends on the available water supply It is therefore, of viral importance not only to secure all water resources already feeding the country, but also to be able to conserve and control hem al their sources
The Hermon is Palestine's real ''Father of Waters" and cannot be severed from it without striking al the very roof of its economic life The Hermon not only needs re-afforestation but also other works before it can again adequately serve as the water reservoir of the country It must therefore be wholly under the control of those who will most willingly as well as most adequately restore it to its maximum utility. Some international arrangement must be made whereby the riparian rights of the people dwelling south of the Litani River may be fully protected Properly cared /or these head waters can be made to serve in the development of the Lebanon as well as of Palestine
The fertile plains east of the Jordan, since the earliest Biblical limes, have been linked economically and politically with the land west of the Jordan The country which is now very sparsely populated, in Roman times supported a great population. It could now serve admirably for colonisation on a large scale A just regard for the Economic needs of Palestine and Arabia demands that free access to the Hedjaz Railway throughout its length be accorded both Governments.
An intensive development of the agriculture and other opportunities of Trans-Jordania make it imperative that Palestine shall have access m the Red Sea and an opportunity of developing good harbours on the Gulf of Akaba, it will be recalled, was the terminus of an important trade route of Palestine from the days of
Solomon onwards. The ports developed in the Gulf of Akaba should be free ports through which the commerce of the hinterland may pass on the same principle which guides us in suggesting that free access be given to the Hedjaz Railway
PROPOSALS TO THE MANDATORY POWER.
In connection with the Government to be set up by the Mandatory of the League of Nations until such time as the people of Palestine shall be prepared to undertake the establishment of representative and responsible Government, proposals will be made in due course to the Mandatory Power to the following effect:
1. In any instrument establishing the constitution of Palestine the Declarations of the Peace Conference shall be recited as forming an integral part of that constitution
2. The Jewish people shall be entitled to fair representation in the executive and legislative bodies and in the selection of public and civil servants In giving such representation the Mandatory Power shall consult the Jewish Council hereinafter mentioned.
Neither law nor custom shall preclude the appointment of a citizen of Palestine as chief of the executive.
3. That in encouraging the self-government of localities the Mandatory Power shall secure the maintenance by local communities of proper standards of administration in matters of education, communal, or regional activities. In granting or enlarging local autonomy regard shall be had to the readiness and ability of the community to attain such standards. Local autonomous communities shall be empowered and encouraged to combine and co-operate for common purposes
4. Education without distinction of race shall be assisted from public funds
5. Hebrew shall be one of the official languages of Palestine and shall be employed in all documents, decrees and announcements and on all stamps, coins and notes issued by the Government
6. The Jewish Sabbath and Holy Days shall be recognised as legal days of rest.
7. All inhabitants continuing to reside in Palestine who on the day of 19 , have their domicile in Palestine, except those who elect in writing within six months from such dale to retain their foreign citizenship, shall become citizens of Palestine, and they and all persons in Palestine or naturalized under the laws of Palestine after the day of, 19 shall be citizens thereof and entitled to the protection of the Mandatory Power on behalf of the Government of Palestine
Recognising that the general progress of Palestine must begin with the reform of the conditions governing land tenure and settlement the Mandatory Power shall appoint a Commission (upon which the Jewish Council shall have representation) with power:
a. To make a survey of the land and to schedule all lands that may be made available /or close settlement, intensive cultivation and public use.
b. To propose measures for determining and registering lilies of ownership of land
c. To propose measures for supervising transactions in land with a view of preventing land speculation.
d. To propose measures for the close settlement, intensive cultivation and public use of land, where necessary by compulsory purchase al a fair pre-war price and further by making available all waste lands unoccupied and inadequately cultivated lands or lands without legal owners and state lands.
e. To propose measures for the taxation and the tenure of land and in general any progressive measures in harmony with the policy of making the land available for close settlement and intensive cultivation.
f. To propose measures whereby the Jewish Council may lake over all lands available for close settlement and intensive cultivation.
g. In all such measures the established rights of the present population shall be equitably safeguarded
THE JEWISH COUNCIL FOR PALESTINE
1. A Jewish Council for Palestine shall be elected by a Jewish Congress representative of the Jews of Palestine and of the world, which shall be convoked in Jerusalem on or before the First day of January, 1920, or as soon thereafter as possible by the Provisional Jewish Council hereinafter mentioned.
The Jewish Congress shall determine its functions as well as the constitution and functions of the Jewish Council in conformity with the purpose and spirit of the Declarations of the Peace Conference and of the powers conferred by the Mandatory Power upon the Jewish Council.
2. The Jewish Council shall be recognised as a legal entity and shall have power:
a. To co-operate and consult with and to assist the Government of Palestine in any and all mailers affecting the Jewish people in Palestine and in all such cases to be and to act as the representative of the Jewish people.
b. To participate in the development and administration of immigration, close land settlement, credit facilities, public works, services and enterprises, and every other form of activity conducive to the development of the country. The organization of Jewish education to be entrusted to such Council
c. To acquire and hold real estate.
d. To acquire and exercise concessions for public works and the development of natural resources.
e. With the consent of the Jewish inhabitants concerned or their accredited representatives, to assess such inhabitants for the purpose of stimulating and maintaining education, communal, charitable and other public institutions (including the Jewish Council) and other activities primarily concerned with the welfare of the Jewish people in Palestine.
f. With the approval of the Mandatory Power and upon such terms and conditions as the Mandatory Power may prescribe to administer the immigration laws of Palestine in so far as they affect Jewish immigration
g. With the approval of the Mandatory Power, to issue bonds, debentures, or other obligations, the proceeds of any or all of which to be expended by the Jewish Council for the benefit of the Jewish people or for the development of Palestine.
h. The Jewish Council shall hold all of its properly and income in trust for the benefit of the Jewish people.
3. A Provisional Jewish Council of representatives of the Zionist Organization, of the Jewish population in Palestine, and of such other approved Jewish organisations as are willing to co-operate in the development of a Jewish Palestine shall be formed forthwith by the Zionist Organization. Such Provisional Jewish Council shall exercise all of the powers and perform all of the duties of the Jewish Council until such time as the Jewish Council shall be formally constituted by the Jewish Congress.
4. Finally when in the opinion of the Mandatory Power, the inhabitants of Palestine shall be able to undertake the establishment of representative and responsible government, such steps shall be taken as will permit the establishment of such government through the exercise of a democratic franchise without regard to race or faith: and the inhabitants of Palestine under such government, shall continue to enjoy equal civil and political rights as citizens irrespective of race or faith
THE ZIONIST ORGANIZATION
The foregoing proposals with reference to Palestine are submitted to the Peace Conference by the Zionist Organization. The Organization in the present form dates from the year 1897, when the first Zionist Congress was held al Basle, Switzerland, under the leadership of Theodor Herzl. This Organization absorbed al that time all Zionist Organizations which had been in existence previously. The Zionist Movement is supported by Jews in every country where there are Jewish Mass Settlements, i.e. in Eastern Europe, in the United States of America, in Western Europe, in all the British Colonies, in the Argentine, in Siberia, in Shanghai, in Morocco, and in Tunis. Zionist Federations actively engaged in furthering the principles for which the movement stands, are to be found in all these countries
The supreme body which controls the activities of the Organizations in the different countries consists of delegates elected by the various local Shekel payers (poll tax) by a democratic franchise, and this body meets biennially.
Through the several financial agencies which the Zionist Congress has created to enable it to carry forward its work in Palestine, the Organization and associated bodies have raised and have expended in Palestine since its inception, millions of pounds. Notwithstanding the fact that since 1913 no meetings of the Congress have been held, the Organization has greatly increased its enrolled membership, and has the support of hundreds of thousands of Jews who sympathise with the aims of the movement, and contribute to its funds. Since the war, the centres of political activity have been transferred to London and the United States of America.
In the Allied countries the conduct of the political activities of the Organization has been entrusted to Dr. Chaim Weizmann and M. Nahum Sokolow, members of the Executive. In the United States of America the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, created al the outbreak of the war, has been replaced by the Zionist Organization of America, the Honorary President of which is Louis D. Brandeis, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Zionists are to be found al the head of all the greater Jewish national institutions which depend upon mass opinion for moral and financial support; and in addition they take a prominent part in all the Jewish National Councils established in the new States in Eastern Europe.
In every part of the world on the Day of Atonement the Jews pray that "all nations may be united by a common bond, so that the will of God may reign supreme throughout the world". In the fulfilment of this prayer, the Jews hope that they will be able to take an honorable place in the new community of Nations. It is their purpose to establish in Palestine a government dedicated to social and national justice; a government, that shall be guided like the community of old by that justice and equality which is expressed in the great precept of our Lawgiver: "There shall be but one law for you and the stranger in the land".
ALL OF WHICH IS RESPECTFULLY
ON BEHALF OF THE ZIONIST ORGANIZATION.
ON BEHALF OF ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA.
Julian W. Mack.
ON BEHALF OF THE RUSSIAN ZIONIST ORGANIZATION.
ON BEHALF OF THE JEWISH POPULATION OF PALESTINE IN ACCORDANCE WITH MANDATE RECEIVED.
The White Paper of 1922
(the "Churchill White Paper")
British White Paper
The Secretary of State for the Colonies has given renewed consideration to the existing political situation in Palestine, with a very earnest desire to arrive at a settlement of the outstanding questions which have given rise to uncertainty and unrest among certain sections of the population. After consultation with the High Commissioner for Palestine [Sir Herbert Samuel] the following statement has been drawn up. It summarizes the essential parts of the correspondence that has already taken place between the Secretary of State and a delegation from the Moslem Christian Society of Palestine, which has been for some time in England, and it states the further conclusions which have since been reached.
The tension which has prevailed from time to time in Palestine is mainly due to apprehensions, which are entertained both by sections of the Arab and by sections of the Jewish population. These apprehensions, so far as the Arabs are concerned are partly based upon exaggerated interpretations of the meaning of the Balfour Declaration favouring the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, made on behalf of His Majesty's Government on 2nd November, 1917.
Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become "as Jewish as England is English." His Majesty's Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.' In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at a meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims "the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development."
It is also necessary to point out that the Zionist Commission in Palestine, now termed the Palestine Zionist Executive, has not desired to possess, and does not possess, any share in the general administration of the country. Nor does the special position assigned to the Zionist Organization in Article IV of the Draft Mandate for Palestine imply any such functions. That special position relates to the measures to be taken in Palestine affecting the Jewish population, and contemplates that the organization may assist in the general development of the country, but does not entitle it to share in any degree in its government.
Further, it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status. So far as the Jewish population of Palestine are concerned it appears that some among them are apprehensive that His Majesty's Government may depart from the policy embodied in the Declaration of 1917. It is necessary, therefore, once more to affirm that these fears are unfounded, and that that Declaration, re affirmed by the Conference of the Principle Allied Powers at San Remo and again in the Treaty of Sevres, is not susceptible of change.
During the last two or three generations the Jews have recreated in Palestine a community, now numbering 80,000, of whom about one fourth are farmers or workers upon the land. This community has its own political organs; an elected assembly for the direction of its domestic concerns; elected councils in the towns; and an organization for the control of its schools. It has its elected Chief Rabbinate and Rabbinical Council for the direction of its religious affairs. Its business is conducted in Hebrew as a vernacular language, and a Hebrew Press serves its needs. It has its distinctive intellectual life and displays considerable economic activity. This community, then, with its town and country population, its political, religious, and social organizations, its own language, its own customs, its own life, has in fact "national" characteristics. When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride. But in order that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on the sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection.
This, then, is the interpretation which His Majesty's Government place upon the Declaration of 1917, and, so understood, the Secretary of State is of opinion that it does not contain or imply anything which need cause either alarm to the Arab population of Palestine or disappointment to the Jews.
For the fulfilment of this policy it is necessary that the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration. This immigration cannot be so great in volume as to exceed whatever may be the economic capacity of the country at the time to absorb new arrivals. It is essential to ensure that the immigrants should not be a burden upon the people of Palestine as a whole, and that they should not deprive any section of the present population of their employment. Hitherto the immigration has fulfilled these conditions. The number of immigrants since the British occupation has been about 25,000.
It is necessary also to ensure that persons who are politically undesirable be excluded from Palestine, and every precaution has been and will be taken by the Administration to that end.
It is intended that a special committee should be established in Palestine, consisting entirely of members of the new Legislative Council elected by the people, to confer with the administration upon matters relating to the regulation of immigration. Should any difference of opinion arise between this committee and the Administration, the matter will be referred to His Majesty's Government, who will give it special consideration. In addition, under Article 81 of the draft Palestine Order in Council, any religious community or considerable section of the population of Palestine will have a general right to appeal, through the High Commissioner and the Secretary of State, to the League of Nations on any matter on which they may consider that the terms of the Mandate are not being fulfilled by the Government of Palestine.
With reference to the Constitution which it is now intended to establish in Palestine, the draft of which has already been published, it is desirable to make certain points clear. In the first place, it is not the case, as has been represented by the Arab Delegation, that during the war His Majesty's Government gave an undertaking that an independent national government should be at once established in Palestine. This representation mainly rests upon a letter dated the 24th October, 1915, from Sir Henry McMahon, then His Majesty's High Commissioner in Egypt, to the Sherif of Mecca, now King Hussein of the Kingdom of the Hejaz. That letter is quoted as conveying the promise to the Sherif of Mecca to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs within the territories proposed by him. But this promise was given subject to a reservation made in the same letter, which excluded from its scope, among other territories, the portions of Syria lying to the west of the District of Damascus. This reservation has always been regarded by His Majesty's Government as covering the vilayet of Beirut and the independent Sanjak of Jerusalem. The whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was thus excluded from Sir. Henry McMahon's pledge.
Nevertheless, it is the intention of His Majesty's government to foster the establishment of a full measure of self government in Palestine. But they are of the opinion that, in the special circumstances of that country, this should be accomplished by gradual stages and not suddenly. The first step was taken when, on the institution of a Civil Administration, the nominated Advisory Council, which now exists, was established. It was stated at the time by the High Commissioner that this was the first step in the development of self governing institutions, and it is now proposed to take a second step by the establishment of a Legislative Council containing a large proportion of members elected on a wide franchise. It was proposed in the published draft that three of the members of this Council should be non official persons nominated by the High Commissioner, but representations having been made in opposition to this provision, based on cogent considerations, the Secretary of State is prepared to omit it. The legislative Council would then consist of the High Commissioner as President and twelve elected and ten official members. The Secretary of State is of the opinion that before a further measure of self government is extended to Palestine and the Assembly placed in control over the Executive, it would be wise to allow some time to elapse. During this period the institutions of the country will have become well established; its financial credit will be based on firm foundations, and the Palestinian officials will have been enabled to gain experience of sound methods of government. After a few years the situation will be again reviewed, and if the experience of the working of the constitution now to be established so warranted, a larger share of authority would then be extended to the elected representatives of the people.
The Secretary of State would point out that already the present administration has transferred to a Supreme Council elected by the Moslem community of Palestine the entire control of Moslem Religious endowments (Waqfs), and of the Moslem religious Courts. To this Council the Administration has also voluntarily restored considerable revenues derived from ancient endowments which have been sequestrated by the Turkish Government. The Education Department is also advised by a committee representative of all sections of the population, and the Department of Commerce and Industry has the benefit of the co operation of the Chambers of Commerce which have been established in the principal centres. It is the intention of the Administration to associate in an increased degree similar representative committees with the various Departments of the Government.
The Secretary of State believes that a policy upon these lines, coupled with the maintenance of the fullest religious liberty in Palestine and with scrupulous regard for the rights of each community with reference to its Holy Places, cannot but commend itself to the various sections of the population, and that upon this basis may be built up that a spirit of cooperation upon which the future progress and prosperity of the Holy Land must largely depend.