London (Aug. 26)
All of the London morning papers, in commenting on the Mandates Commission’s report on the 1929 Palestine disturbances, share the view as expressed in the editorial in the government organ, the “Daily Herald,” that it represents “Britain’s Clash with the League of Nations.” Independently of the views of the individual papers regarding the Jewish National Home, the entire local press is obviously dissatisfied with the tone and manner of the Mandates Commission’s conclusions.
The “Manchester Guardian,” on the other hand, feels that it is unfortunate that the British government allowed its resentment against the strictures passed on the Palestine administration to find expression in tartness of speech quite uncalled for by the Mandates Commission’s observations.
WISDOM AFTER EVENTS
In addition to devoting a full page to the text of the Mandates Commission’s report, the “London Times” published a lengthy editorial headed “Wisdom After Events.” It claims that the Mandates Commission made no serious or constructive criticism of past policy of the British government but delivered instead “a vague and rather pointless homily on what might have been or ought to have been.
“The conventions of diplomacy prevented the British government from exposing the Mandates Commission’s claims to a gift of prophecy with greater severity of language, and from expressing natural resentment at the academic, not to say pedagogic character of some of the criticism contained in the general report, but it has not altogether stifled an official protest, although unnecessarily muffled by diplomatic verbiage against the procedure of the Commission.”
The “Daily Herald’s” editorial makes the rather sensational suggestion that a resident League of Nations official be appointed in Jerusalem in order to enable the League itself to follow a more active policy. Saying that “the Palestine Mandate must be the most difficult in the world to administer,” the “Daily Herald” declared that “the British government may find it necessary to follow a more energetic line. The terms of the Mandate may have been unwise, but they have been accepted and must be fulfilled.”
The “Morning Post” takes the opportunity to attack the League of Nations generally, pointing out with considerable irony that “this pacificist organization demands more military protection for Palestine.” The “Post” defines the conclusions of the Mandates Commission as “a militarist document.”
Particular resentment is felt by all the papers at the fact that the Mandates Commission claims authority which it cannot exercise and is itself unwilling to undertake the work which it pretends to depute. The Geneva correspondent of the “Morning Post” states that the report has caused considerable of a stir in League circles, but that the reply of the British government regarding the police force is considered feeble and is hardly expected to find acceptance with impartial observers. The “Post’s” correspondent anticipates some lively interchanges of opinion when the Council of the League meets September 8.
COMMISSION TOOK TASK SERIOUSLY
The “Manchester Guardian” is of the opinion that the Mandates Commission took its task very seriously and that its conclusions cannot be dismissed as a lightly formed opinion. The editorial of the “Guardian” agrees that the Commission was entitled to regard the Shaw Commission’s report as merely a part of the evidence before it and not, as the British government seems to suggest, as a verdict to be accepted without criticism upon it.
The “Manchester Guardian” further takes the view of the Mandates Commission that there cannot be a massacre of Jews without a revolt against British authority since the Jews are in Palestine under the direct protection and encouragement of the British government. The “Guardian” finds that the distinction between the two drawn by Arab leaders “is quite unjustifiable” and that “statements such as that in the Shaw Commission’s report that the revolt was not directed against British authority are doing a very real disservice to the cause of Palestine.”
While admitting that the administration of Palestine is an extremely delicate and difficult task, the “Guardian’s” editorial points out that it is an obligation undertaken and not a privilege. The Geneva correspondent of the “Guardian” foretells that the question may be discussed not only at the meeting of the League’s Council but also at the Assembly of the League where any delegation has the authority to bring up the question of mandates as a whole or Palestine specifically if it desires.
In Geneva circles, it is believed, the correspondent adds, that the British government, instead of being really hurt by the criticism of the Mandates Commission merely gives the outward appearance of being extremely irritated.