Felix M. Warburg and Lord Melchett Contribute Half Million Dollars Each for Palestine Work
Menu JTA Search

Felix M. Warburg and Lord Melchett Contribute Half Million Dollars Each for Palestine Work

Download PDF for this date

An amount of $1,000.000 toward the Palestine reconstruction work, under the provisions of the Palestine Mandate for the establishment of a Jewish National Home there, was placed at the disposal of the newly created Council of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, at its second session here. which was opened this morning.

Felix M. Warburg of New York, and Lord Melchett of London, subscribed $500,000 each towards a Palestine finance corporation, through which the Jewish Agency is to carry on its upbuilding work. Announcement of these subscriptions was made this morning by Dr. Lee K. Frankel, vice-President of the Merropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York, who is one of the 44 American non-Zionist delegates attending the session. Dr. Frankel stated in his report that the finance corporation would require an amount exceeding $15,000,000 to place the Palestine work on a purely business basis, instead of the philanthropic character it had until now. Dr. Frankel urged the acquisition of a great land reserve and an intensive industrial development, especially in the fields of the textile and orange industries.

The Zionist and non-Zionist delegates enthusiastically welcomed the announcement of Mr. Warburg’s and Lord Melchett’s subscriptions, which came as a surprise to the assembly.

At the first business session of the Jewish Agency Council this morning, Louis Marshall, leader of the American delegation, was unanimously chosen president of the session, at the suggestion of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization. Lord Melchett was chosen vice president. Twelve other members of the praesidium were elected. representing the various groups composing the conference.

Upon assuming the gavel, Mr. Marshall gave the floor to Dr. Weizmann to present a report on the Jewish Agency’s program of work for the next five years.


The immigration and settlement on land and in the cities of 100,000 Jewish immigrants during the next five years, at the rate of 20,000 per year. was the task outlined to the Council of the Jewish Agency by Dr. Weizmann. One thousand families are to be settled on the land and 2,000 helped to absorption in the industries and in other branches of work annually. “Were this goal achieved by the Jewish Agency, all Jews and myself would regard it as a great achievement. The next five years ought to bring at least similar results.” Dr. Weizmann said.


The president of the Zionist Organization stated that he fully shares the views expressed at the opening session by Lord Melchett in regard to the attitude of the British government. “We are entitled to much more than we received. I will propose to the Council at the close of the session a number of demands with which the extended Jewish Agency ought to come to the Mandatory Power. These will include a demand concerning the state lands of Beisan, and I am confident that a firmer attitude of the Jewish Agency toward the Mandatory will bring more concrete results.” he said.

Basing the program on the recommendation of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission, Dr. Weizmann pointed out five lines along which the Jewish Agency is to carry on its work. The first is to secure a more full cooperation on the part of the Mandatory Power; the second, to secure a speedy completion of the land survey now being carried on by the Palestine government, so that the Jews may receive the state lands to which they are entitled; third, the creation through purchase of an extensive land reserve; fourth, compact Jewish settlement on the land through a comprehensive colonization system; fifth, the adoption of a colonization program for the next five years.

Dr. Weizmann emphasized that in (Continued on page 6)

Dr.Weizmann offered an apology for tackling a subject which belongs to an expert, declaring that “Tzores (troubles) will teach you many things.” The spirit displayed at the first session of the Council augurs well for the future unity and will become a source of joy and pride in Jewish life everywhere, he said.


Dr. Frankel, in outlining the program of the contemplated finance corporation for Palestine laid emphasis on the need of Palestine to emerge from the state of philanthropy. “We need a financial corporation capitalized in the amount of $15,000,000 or more which is to conduct its affairs on pure business principles,” he said, announcing the subscriptions of Mr. Warburg and Lord Melchett. “Failing that, the Palestine work would be doomed to a continuation of an opportunist policy. Heretofore an opportunist program was at work. The Zionist Organization depended on the extent of its money raising each year. Such a program does not permit any thinking ahead. It compels the spending of money when it is obtained or running into debt. The Jewish Agency must think ahead, perhaps for a period of ten years. The Zionist Congress adopted a £1,000,000 budget. The Jewish Agency must think along these terms.” he said, receiving the applause of Zionists and non-Zionists alike.

“I take idealism for granted,” he continued. “None of us would be here were it not for idealism,” he said. “Zionist and non-Zionist efforts must be combined towards creating in Palestine democracy, equality and opportunity towards developing better social conditions and finer industrial relations as the ideals for which Eretz Israel must stand.” The speaker enumerated the acquisition of a land reserve, an intensive industrial development, the exploitation of the Dead Sea and exploration for other minerals, and the development of tourist traffic as the immediate tasks of the Jewish Agency.


“We wish to work as much as possible and criticize as little as possible.” declared Felix M. Warburg in his address at the Monday morning session of the Jewish Agency Council. The finding of a middle road is necessary, he said. “The Palestine finance corporation which is contemplated must be conducted along the lines of other business enterprises, by a board which tries its best for the shareholders, without a large apparatus. The business must be conducted calmly without hysterics or indiscretion. We want to employ as many workmen as possible in agriculture and industry and acquire as much land as possible,” Mr. Warburg said.

“The workmen must have an opportunity to acquire land. I am in agreement with Dr. Weizmann’s proposal that the older colonies be surrounded with Jewish workmen’s settlements, giving them a chance to acquire the land. On land which I should own I would wish to have as many Jewish partners as possible,” he said.

Speaking on the extent of the Palestine budget which the Jewish Agency is to adopt, Mr. Warburg stated that its extent depends on whether the Palestine government will take over partly such obligations as are the government’s. “The government should contribute a certain minimum towards the education and health work, equally distributed among all the Jewish, Arab and Christian institutions in Palestine. Our task would be to supply the additional funds and to improve the standards of our institutions, adapting them to our requirements. The funds which will thus become available, because of the government’s contributions to health and educational work, we will be able to use for the development of the Technicum and other institutions.”


Col. Frederick H. Kisch described the vastly improved conditions of security in Palestine owing to measures of the British authorities. A great deal of the work done by the Zionist Executive until now will pass into the hands of the Executive of the enlarged Jewish Agency. He expressed his agreement with the opinion of Lord Melchett. “We are entitled to say to the Mandatory that it takes two to cooperate, one to advise and one to give a willing ear to the advice,” he said.

The speaker said he was not afraid that because of the new partnership the social service work in Palestine will suffer. “I know that the so-called non-Zionists share this view. We have not ignored nor neglected private initiative, but the enlarged Agency will have a greater scope. Every Zionist understands that side by side with public development, there must be a maximum of private initiative,” he said.


Messages of greetings from Jewish communities in many parts of the world continued to pour in, particularly the messages from Kehillahs in Polish towns. Rabbi Emanuel Loew of Hungary. Member of the Hungarian Senate. welcomed the Jewish Agency Council on behalf of Hungarian Jewry. Hungarian Jews will cooperate with the Agency Council as they see no conflict between their Hungarian patriotism and their obligations rising out of their Judaism, he said.

The morning session was adjourned to be re-opened at 3.30 in the afternoon.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund