A deputation of the Jewish Agency for Palestine was received by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald of Great Britain on Friday morning at the Hotel Weylin. The delegation of the Jewish Agency, which represents all of American Jewry, included Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency, Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America, Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Bernard Flexner, president of the Palestine Economic Corporation, Dr. Lee K. Frankel, vice-president of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Judge William M. Lewis, national chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, Morris Rothenberg, vice-president of the Zionist Organization, and Dr. Stephen S. Wise, rabbi of the Free Synagogue.
During the course of the discussion of the recent events in Palestine, Premier MacDonald described the steps that had been taken by His Majesty’s Government to bring order to Palestine and pointed out that the Commission of Inquiry would be thoroughly impartial in its investigation of the recent disturbances, inasmuch as three parties would have counsel during the course of the inquiry. These parties are the Jews, the Arabs and the Palestine administration. Mr. MacDonald gave assurances that the British Government is making a careful survey of the land and immigration problems but that these would have to wait for solution until the administrative and political problems had been settled. He did, however, take occasion to praise “the extraordinary devotion” with which the Jews of the world, and particularly those of America, had pursued in their work in rebuilding Palestine.
In a prepared statement read to Premier MacDonald by Mr. Warburg, head of the Jewish Agency delegation, it was pointed out that in the past ten years more than $25,000,000 had been sent to Palestine by the Jews of America and that “implicit confidence and trust in the assurances of the Mandatory Government induced American Jews to take the leadership in the support of the plan to enlarge the Jewish Agency and to enlist the cooperation of groups not heretofore interested in the efforts in behalf of Palestine.” Mr. Warburg declared that many new enterprises were being planned for Palestine by the Jews of America but that “the execution of such a program must depend in large measure, on the practical steps that will be taken by the Mandatory Government to restore confidence in the safety of life and property in Palestine.”
The memorandum presented to the Prime Minister expressed full confidence in the Commission of Inquiry and detailed the steps that have been taken by the Jews both of Palestine and of America to establish friendly relations with the Arabs. One of the suggestions made by Mr. Warburg for the future was the establishment of (Continued on Page 2)
“an impartial broadcasting station, under Government control, administered by a joint committee of Moslems, Christians and Jews, to be devoted to the dissemination of higher ideals of living and good citizenship. There is no doubt in our mind,” Mr. Warburg continued, “that in spite of the recent outbreaks, it will be possible for us to build up in Palestine a mutually advantageous economic, social and civic life for both Jews and Arabs, so as to make impossible recurrence of the recent disorders that have afflicted Palestine.
After outlining the progress that has been made by the Jews in rebuilding Palestine, along economic, industrial, educational and similar lines, Mr. Warburg concluded: “We submit, however, that to achieve these and other parts of a comprehensive program of the Jewish Agency, appropriate provision must be made by the Government that the terms of the Mandate shall be sympathetically carried out; and that in the development of a friendly understanding with the other peoples of Palestine, the Jewish population may count on the active cooperation of the Government.”
STATEMENT REPRESENTING VIEWS OF PREMIER
The following statement was issued at the conclusion of the meeting, as representing the views of the Prime Minister:
“The Prime Minister began by saying that he had personal experience from his journeys in Palestine of the practical problems involved and that he had himself visited most of the Jewish settlements there, and appreciated the efforts that had been and are being made for the development of the country.
“A Memorandum was left with the Prime Minister which he said he would refer to the Colonial Office for examination. He added that the Delegation might rest assured that His Majesty’s Government fully intended to carry out its already declared policy and its duties in regard to the Mandate, and to see that law and order were impartially maintained.
“He further said that His Majesty’s Government recognizes that Jewish immigration into Palestine is essential to the establishment of a Jewish National Home under the conditions laid down in the Mandate. But immigration must depend upon the economic capacity of the country to absorb new immigrants. He added that he was well aware of the difficulties existing as regards State lands.
“For the rest, he concluded by stating that the findings of the Commission of Inquiry must be awaited and nothing said that could be held to prejudge those findings. After the receipt of the report the situation would be examined in the light of the ascertained facts. He concluded by urging the importance of collaboration and understanding between the Jewish and Arab populations of Palestine.”
ADDRESS PRESENTED TO MACDONALD
The address presented to Premier MacDonald on behalf of the American deputation of the Jewish Agency for Palestine read:
“On behalf of this deputation of American members of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, which speaks for the larger part of American Jewry with its four and a half million people -I desire to express, first, our best wishes for the success of the high mission which has brought you to America as its distinguished and honored guest, and which has our deepest sympathy as American citinzens; and, second, our heartfelt appreciation of the opportunity you have given us, in spite of the heavy pressure on your time, to consider with you the present state of affairs in Palestine.
“It is a matter of record that since the issuing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, and more especially since the endorsement of the aim of the Declaration by the Congress of the United States of America in 1922, the Jews of America have contributed the larger share of financial support to the upbuilding of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. You will be interested to know that during this period over $25,000,000, collected from the Jewish public, was sent to Palestine from America, which was used to enlarge the Jewish settlements, establish new colonies, create industries and stimulate commerce, maintain hospitals and clinics, and support kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools, and establish the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus.
“The capital investment in Palestine of corporate bodies and groups organized in America, engaged in specific economic endeavors, also represents a considerable interest. The Palestine Economic Corporation is responsible for the maintenance of a number of credit institutions in Palestine, and for the establishment of cooperative and agricultural associations and together with individual American Jews has a share in the development of the Dead Sea Concession.
“Implicit confidence and trust in the assurances of the Mandatory Government induced American Jews to take the leadership in the support of the plan to enlarge the Jewish Agency and to enlist the cooperation of groups not heretofore interested in the efforts in behalf of Palestine. At Zurich in August 1929, the enlarged Jewish Agency was established, and comprehensive plans were adopted which would lead, it was hoped, to the strengthening of the Jewish positions already established, and to a larger Jewish immigration, with industrial and commercial developments of far-reaching significance.
“It will trespass too much on your time to go into the details of these (Continued on Page 3)
plans. In general, they involve the extension of activities through a Corporation or Corporations with considerable capital that will provide additional funds for colonization, the purchase of tracts of land contiguous to the present Jewish settlements, the stimulation of industrial undertaking, the construction of workers’ houses on a large scale, and so forth. With the creation of a united front in Jewish life with regard to Palestine, it was anticipated that there would be an increase in the contribution of American Jewry to the funds that are being used for public purposes in Palestine, and that there would also be substantial increases in the financial support of these projects in other countries as well.
“But the execution of such a program must depend, in large measure, on the practical steps that will be taken by the Mandatory Government to restore confidence in the safety of life and property in Palestine.
“We have confidence in the impartiality of the Commission of Inquiry which his Majesty’s Government has set up to investigate the causes of the disorders that have disturbed the peaceful development of Palestine. The Commission may be relied upon to ascertain the truth as to the nature of the causes of the recent lawlessness.
“It has been our constant endeavor to create better understanding between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. Our hospitals and clinics are open to all the inhabitants of the land. Trade between Arabs and Jews has been sedulously cultivated. Cooperation has been established between Arabs and Jews in the orange industry. In the cities, there is a large measure of mutual understanding and economic inter-dependence between Jews and Arabs. Among the plans considered by the Jewish Agency are many interesting extensions of these peaceful activities. It is hoped to render further service in the fight against malaria, and other diseases. With the cooperation of the Rockefeller Institute efforts will be made to combat trachoma: our work will be continued in the reduction of infant mortality, in hospitalization and sanitation and we are prepared to consider sympathetically a suggestion of the Palestine Government that we advise and aid in administering such funds as may be furnished by the Government for the purpose of developing and extending the cooperative movement among Arabs and Jews. As an incident, it may be worth mentioning that we stand ready, if you approve such enterprise, to obtain contributions from American Jewry, to defray the cost of establishing an impartial broadcasting station, under Government control, administered by a joint committee of Moslems, Christians, and Jews, to be devoted to the dissemination of higher ideals of living and good citizenship. There is no doubt in our mind that in (Continued on Page 4)
spite of the recent outbreaks, it will be possible for us to build up in Palestine a mutually advantageous economic, social and civic life for both Jews and Arabs so as to make impossible a recurrence of the recent disorders that have afflicted Palestine.
“We submit, however, that to achieve these and other parts of a comprehensive program of the Jewish Agency, appropriate provision must be made by the Government that the terms of the Mandate shall be sympathetically carried out; and that in the development of a friendly understanding with the other peoples of Palestine, the Jewish population may count on the active cooperation of the Government.
“This deputation gives its fullest support to the representations made to you and to the Colonial Office by Dr. Weizmann as president of the Jewish Agency. We regard it of the utmost importance that the Mandatory Government clearly indicate its intention to maintain liberal principles of immigration: to encourage the ‘close settlement of Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes’; to give the Jews equitable participation in all governmental positions for which they show their fitness: to give adequate employment to Jewish labor in governmental and municipal public works: to grant a fair measure of assistance from public funds also for Jewish education and for their public health service: and to take steps to establish an organized home defense under the direction of British officers, with adequate participation of properly qualified Jews. For the purposes of effective cooperation, the status of the Jewish Agency should be definitely fixed.
“Any declaration on the part of the Mandatory Government to the above effect, will, however, have no practical significance, unless applied in a willing and cooperative manner by sympathetic administrative officials in Palestine. It is generally felt, and we believe with justice, that a number of the leading officials of the Palestine Administration, who are responsible for the more important work of the Government, have not merely in their public expressions but also in their conduct, given ground and justification for the charge that they were out of sympathy with the announced intention of the Government to facilitate the establishment of a Homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. We hope that the Government will give us definite assurance that we shall have the sympathetic cooperation of the Mandatory Power and the Palestine Government in carrying forward the work.
“We are vitally concerned in the development of Palestine along orderly and peaceful lines. We are animated by a spirit of good will, and we are helping, we think, to build up a land in which the interests of all classes and peoples are to be protrited social and national injustice is to be eradicated. With a sympathetic attitude on the part of the Mandatory Government, and through such active cooperation of the Palestine Administration as the Mandatory may be trusted to assure, we may proceed with the execution of our larger program, without prejudice to the rights of other peoples, and with the firm conviction that what we shall achieve in Palestine will redound not only to the benefit of all of its inhabitants, but also to the benefit of the civilized world.”
The address was signed by the members of the deputation: Felix M. Warburg, Chairman, Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine; Cyrus Adler, Bernard Flexner. Lee K. Frankel, Louis Lipsky, William M. Lewis, Morris Rothenberg, Stephen S. Wise, and dated October 11, 1929.