A photostatic copy of a written pledge by the late Lord Balfour to King Hussein, former ruler of the Hedjaz, confirming the promises of independence made to the Arabs by Sir Henry MacMahon has been received by the League of Nations as a part of a petition from the Syrian-Palestine Congress dated July 11, according to a Geneva dispatch to the “New York World.”
It seems that after the Balfour Declaration was promulgated a counter agitation was started among the Arabs by the Turks, the latter pointing out to the present ruler of Iraq, King Feisal, that the Allies were planning to partition the Arab territory among themselves. King Hussein informed the British of these Turkish activities and the document now submitted to the League of Nations is said to be Lord Balfour’s reply to Hussein, according to the “World’s” cable.
DATED AFTER BALFOUR DECLARATION
The “World” says that the document is dated February 8, 1918, three months after the Balfour Declaration was given to the Jews, and the original of Lord Balfour’s letter is in possession of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who obtained it from King Hussein last March before the Arab delegation went to London where its contents were made known to Premier MacDonald and Lord Passfield.
The petition to which the letter is attached asks the general secretary of the League of Nations to transmit it to the Council of the League of Nations and the Assembly of the League. In a letter accompanying the petition the Syrian-Palestine Congress points out “that since the Palestine Mandate is based largely upon the execution of the Balfour pledge and was conferred by the Allied Supreme Council, which no longer exists, the League, which is composed of these powers, is the only logical agency through which abrogation or revision can be effected.”
The photostatic copy of Lord Balfour’s letter is in Arabic and is signed by Colonel Pabst, British representative in Jeddah, according to the “World,” which says that in conveying the note Pabst explains that he was instructed by the British foreign secretary to deliver the letter to King Hussein.
GIST OF BALFOUR LETTER
The “World’s” cable says that the letter after expressing Great Britain’s appreciation of the Arab chieftain’s continued loyalty says:
“It is certain that the politics pursued by the Turks seeks to arouse suspicions and doubts between the Allied Powers and the Arabs, who, under the high command of Your Majesty, are making admirable efforts to recover their ancient liberty. The Turks will not cease efforts to sow these doubts or suggest to the Arabs that the Allied Powers are casting greedy eyes upon their territories. His Britannic Majesty’s Government, in full accord with their allies, persists in its attitude of favoring all movements having for their aim the liberation of oppressed peoples.
“It is determined to support the Arab people in their fight to reestablish an Arab Empire where Mussulman legislation (la loi et le Cherif) will dominate in the place of Turkish injustice and where artificial discord amongst the Arabs fostered by the Turkish authorities, will disappear.
“His Majesty’s Britannic Government reiterates its previous pledges concerning the liberation of the Arab peoples. Having pledged itself to a policy of liberation, it is determined to preserve this course with honesty and with a determination to prevent the Arabs already liberated from again falling under the Turkish yoke and freeing those thus far not liberated.”