Geneva (Jul. 24)
Jewish leaders are in no wise opposed to the publication of the complete text of the famous correspondence between Sir Henry MacMahon and King Hussein, former ruler of the Hedjaz, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns. Successive British governments have resisted Parliamentary urgings that the correspondence be published. The present government, in view of the Palestine situation, has been repeatedly asked to make public the letters exchanged between Sir Henry and King Hussein.
DOESN’T CONTRADICT BALFOUR DECLARATION
The correspondence, in which Sir Henry is alleged to have promised independence to the Arabs, a promise the Arab nationalists are now interpreting as vitiating the Balfour Declaration because it came later, contains nothing contradicting the Balfour Declaration. It is learned from one who has seen the MacMahon-Hussein correspondence that not a single letter exists which includes Palestine in the British promises to Arabs.
As a matter of fact one of Sir Henry’s letters dated October 24, 1915, specifically made reservations regarding the districts “lying West of Damascus” and also a more general reservation regarding such districts where French interests are affected. The fact that the last letter of Sir Henry MacMahon in January, 1916, and the Sykes-Pico agreement, which was concluded a few months afterward, definitely suggest the internationalization of Palestine is definite proof that Palestine was not included in the promises to the Arabs.
In connection with the discussion on the MacMahon-Hussein correspondence, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has obtained hitherto overlooked information to the effect that King Feisal, then Emir Feisal, when addressing the Peace Conference on the independence of the Arab countries in 1919 on behalf of his father, King Hussein, declared that he excluded Palestine because of its universal character.
The official minutes of the Peace Conference quote King Feisal as saying, “Palestine, for its universal character, is left aside for the mutual consideration of all parties interested.” With this exception he asked for the independence of the Arabic areas enumerated in his memorandum for an Arabic confederation with the Hedjaz having some kind of preeminence.