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National Home and Not Jewish State England’s Undertaking, Shiels Tells Mandates Body

Efforts must be made to see to it that the Jews throughout the world know that it is a Jewish National Home in Palestine and not a Jewish state that the Mandatory power undertook to advance, Dr. Drummond Shiels, British under-secretary for the colonies, told the Mandates Commission yesterday at the conclusion of its examination into the Palestine situation, in a statement on the policy pursued by Great Britain in Palestine.

Dr. Shiels declared that the ultimate success of the British policy in Palestine depended not on the machinery or attitude of the government but on the willingness of the two peoples to cooperate. Without that, he said, the Mandatory was constantly compelled to act as an umpire instead of as a coordinating agency.


In his statement, Dr. Shiels pointed out, that the British government stood now “as in the beginning of its task for the full Mandate. That policy is not to be changed but measures have been or are being taken with a view to the application of a policy more effective and utilizing the lessons of the past”.

As to the defence of Palestine, the British spokesman said that the police force now has a greater margin of safety. Press excesses and seditious propaganda, he declared, would be under greater control.

Dr. Shiels said that “it is sometimes said that the British obligation to the Jews is a positive one and the obligation to the Arabs negative.” He thought this a dangerous line of argument and believed that it was in the best and ultimate interests of the Jewish National Home that the non-Jewish part of the population should feel that the Mandatory was equally and actively solicitous for its welfare.


He also expressed the opinion that the priciples and policy normally applied in the British dependencies were peculiarly suitable to Palestine “where the progress of a unique enterprise could only be won by the adaptation of lessons constantly being learned. Success however ultimately depends not on the machinery or the attitude of the government but on the willingness of the two peoples to cooperate. Without that the Mandatory is constantly compelled to act as an umpire instead of as a coordinating agency. The Arab leaders must see that the scenes of last August are never repeated. The government is amenable to reason and argument but not to actions abhorrent to the spirit of civilization and progress.”

Dr. Shiels also suggested that while National independence was good, the power and willingness to cooperate with another people was better. The Jewish leaders, on the other hand, he stated, must see that more trust is shown in those who have undertaken solemn obligations. Persistent criticism of government officials, he stated, was unwise and often unfair.


On the whole he thought there was reason for great hope for the future. He thanked the Mandates Commission for the thoroughness and care with which it had investigated the problem and expressed the hope that the week’s proceedings would contribute to the welfare of all sections of the population of Palestine.

The annual report of the High Commissioner of Palestine will be discussed today and the extraordinary session of the Commission will be concluded by Thursday or Friday.