Basle (Aug. 30)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
The Fifteenth Zionist Congress, the legislative body of the International Zionist movement, went into session at 8.30 last night at the Messe Hall, in the presence of 280 delegates, representing Zionist societies from all parts of the world.
A large number of guests, including many from the United States and Canada, came to attend the sessions of the Congress, which marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of political Zionism. Thirty years ago today, in this city, the Zionist World Organization was created at the first Contress, convoked by and presided over by Dr. Theodore Herzl. founder of modern Zionism.
The large Messe Hall was crowded with delegates and guests when Nahum Sokolow, Chairman of the World Zionist Executive, opened the session. By a unanimous vote, Mr. Sokolow, one of the oldest living Hebrew writers and leaders, was elected President of the Congress.
Eleven vice-presidents, representing the various countries and groups with delegates at the Congress, were elected. Dr. Leo Motzkin of Palestine was elected as first Vice-President. Other vice-presidents are: Deputy H. Farbstein, Dr. Leo Reich, Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum of Poland, Mr. Feinmann, Mr. Kaplan and M. M. Ussischkin of Palestine, Rabbi Meyer Berlin of New York, Rabbi Max Heller of New Orleans, Dr. Schalit, Miss Henrietta Szold and Dr. Stephen S. Wise of New York.
The session, held in a solemn atmosphere, was devoted to the opening addresses of Dr. Weizmann and Mr. Sokolow. Both began their addresses in Hebrew. Messages from leading Jews all over the world were read.
Following the opening addresses of the heads of the Zionist Executive, the delegates listened to addresses by Dr. Martin Buber, well-known German Jewish writer and by Mr. Sokolow, eulogizing Achad Ha’am, the late Hebrew writer and philosopher, who was the founder of the school of spiritual Zionism.
After the close of the session, the Permanenzausschuss, the Committee on Committees, went into session, to consider the various issues which are to be brought up before the Congress.
As the Congress went into session, there were no clear indications as to the probable course the various groups would follow in the decisions on the pending questions. The announcement of the creation of a joint committee of the general Zionists which, it is believed, would uphold the Weizmann administration, was met by the announcement of the labor groups that they have undertaken negotiations with a view of creating a bloc of the labor groups.
The strength of the delegation of American Zionists, who were to hold the balance of power at the Congress, was diminished by a decision of the Congress Court, acting upon the protest of the opposition leaders, that the credentials of the American delegates are not valid in view of the fact that no elections took place. The Court, which has the function of the Credentials Committee decided that only 40 of the American delegates are to be admitted, unseating nine.
It was also learned that the American delegation has decided to press the demand for a smaller Executive in Jerusalem. It was stated that the Americans will favor an Executive consisting of Col. Frederick H. Kish as the political representative, Van Friesland and Harry Sacher, Jerusalem lawyer.
The General Council has appointed a committee of twelve to work out a report on the question of the anti-Zionist persecutions in Russia and on the relief question.