Berlin (Aug. 29)
A detailed review of the plans of the Jewish Agency regarding Palestine was outlined here this morning by Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency, at the opening session of the Committee’s meeting under his chairmanship. The session was attended not only by the members of the Administrative Committee from all parts of the world, but also by most of the members of the Zionist Actions Committee.
Among the guests present were Max Warburg, noted German banker and brother of Felix M. Warburg; Judge Julian W. Mack, representing the Zionist Organization of America; Chaim Bialik, famous Hebrew poet; Dr. Bernard Kahn, European director of the Joint Distribution Committee; Dr. Joseph Rosen, director of the agricultural activities of the Agro-Joint in Russia, and Professor Herman Struck, distinguished Jewish artist.
After greeting the distinguished gathering of Jews, Mr. Warburg kept his audience’s close attention as he told his impressions of his recent conversation with Lord Passfield, British Colonial Secretary, and also of his outlook for forthcoming events in Palestine.
That Great Britain may assign special funds to purchase land for the development of Jewish close settlement in Palestine and that the British government will encourage railway building by private groups, thus giving employment to many, was revealed by Felix M. Warburg.
In opening what is considered one of the most important sessions of the Administrative Committee, Mr. Warburg, the chairman of the Committee, pointed out that he did so not without a sense of disappointment, for “when we adjourned our sessions in London last March we parted with certain hopes founded upon cordial assurances by the British government that the terms of the Mandate and the Balfour Declaration would be maintained.
“Unfortunately, these hopes have not materialized. The sudden and unexplained act of the government in suspending immigration startled and shocked us. Notwithstanding these severe shocks, the Keren Hayesod and the various fund-raising committees have exerted themselves to collect the quotas respectively allotted to their countries.”
DEPRESSION TO AFFECT BUDGET
Emphasizing that in the presence of the world-wide depression it is quite impossible to establish a budget to provide for all desirable expenditures in Palestine, Mr. Warburg pointed out that at the present moment the Administrative Committee is able only to make a budget for the absolutely irreducible minimum which will not include colonization and other desirable economic enterprises.
Mr. Warburg explained that, “it is clear that many factors will affect the collection of funds, especially the attitude of the British government, the action taken by the Mandates Commission and the report of Sir John Simpson as well as his conclusions. Without the good will, confidence and assurance of security and a definite feeling that the peoples of Palestine can live together in an atmosphere of peace and harmony, little can be accomplished in getting increased support for our cause.”
Relating that aside from the troubles of these questions of major policy the Jewish Agency was carrying a heavy burden of indebtedness and obligation, Mr. Warburg declared, “it has been suggested that some men to whom Palestine is especially near might form a group obligating themselves to amortize the indebtedness and obligations of the Jewish Agency. Naturally this proposal deserves much consideration, because it can do much to relieve the Jewish Agency and to enable it to discharge its current obligations and to meet its budgetary requirements annually.”
Expressing grateful appreciation to Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who together with his followers recently resumed an active interest in the work of the Zionist Organization of America, and to Lord Reading for helping him (Mr. Warburg) and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency, with constructive suggestions in the solution of many problems which the Jewish Agency faced in these last trying months, Mr. Warburg stressed his admiration for the Palestine Economic Corporation, saying that this organization had remained strong during storms and uprisings.
PRAISES WORK OF RUTENBERG
He praised Pinchas Rutenberg and his hydroelectric project, saying that Rutenberg’s extraordinary personality, energy and resourcefulness made the Jewish Agency happy to follow the Rutenberg project and added that, “an increasing measure of responsibility for the activities in Palestine will have to be placed on Rutenberg’s shoulders and I shall have full confidence if it rests there.”
Touching upon a discussion of the problem of Jewish and Arab relations, Mr. Warburg said whether one agrees with the viewpoint of those who demand a clear cut statement by the government regarding the terms of the Mandate before discussing Arab-Jewish problems, or whether one agrees with the profound conviction of many of the American group to take affirmative steps for a more harmonious relationship, a declaration of honest opinion must not and should not be taken to indicate a lack of devotion to the ideals of the Jewish Agency.
“The suspension of the immigration certificates,” Mr. Warburg continued, “and its shock upon the Jewish world constitutes the low water mark of the status of Jewish affairs in Palestine. Today we have a right to look into the future more confidently because the last few months have brought sober thoughts into the minds of the Palestinian people.”
REPORTS ON PASSFIELD INTERVIEW
Referring to a recent visit of Jewish Agency leaders with Lord Passfield, British Colonial Secretary, Mr. Warburg said, “we were invited without any suggestion on our part. Lord Passfield gave us two hours and promised to carry out the Mandate. He indicated that funds would be necessary for purchasing land to develop close settlement of the Jews and that the government may find these funds through a guarantee of the British treasury.
“Lord Passfield also spoke hopefully regarding major extensions of the railroad which the government will encourage when built from private funds. Lord Passfield told me that there are sufficient troops to guarantee the safety of all in Palestine and also that the government is preparing to take steps to bring about better feeling among all the Palestinian people.
“Lord Passfield had not seen his way clear to release further immigration certificates until he had read Sir John Simpson’s report. He explained, however, that this does not prevent earnest consideration for a new schedule giving preference to rural rather than urban settlers. We therefore feel that the painstaking efforts of Dr. Weizmann and others have borne fruit and that our ship is once more afloat and steering for safer ports.”
Concluding his report, Mr. Warburg announced that the Jewish Agency had received an official communication from the British government formally recognizing the enlarged Jewish Agency. The Jewish people still cling to the confident hope that the trusteeship of the Mandate will be in British hands, he said. “We have confidence that the British people and public opinion throughout the world will recognize the justice of our position,” Mr. Warburg concluded.
WEIZMANN DELIVERS PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE
Following Mr. Warburg’s address, Dr. Weizmann, preident of the Jewish Agency, delivered his presidential message. He said that Lord Passfield’s declaration to Mr. Warburg “compels us to assume a fighting attitude towards Great Britain which is contrary to our desire. Our sincere wish remains, however, to cooperate with Great Britain on the basis of the Mandate.”
Pointing out that he should not like to consider the conclusions of the Mandates Commission as “a victory for us,” he added that they are “satisfaction for our cause.” Informing the Administrative Committee that the British government is now preparing a constructive program for Palestine, Dr. Weizmann emphasized that the details of the program are still unknown and therefore the Jewish Agency cannot take any stand on it.
Referring to relations with the Arabs, the Jewish Agency’s president reaffirmed the Jewish desire for peace with them, saying however, that if the Arabs desire self-governing institutions, they must first recognize the other part of the Mandate regarding the establishment of the Jewish National Home, because it is inseparable from that referring to the creation of self-governing institutions.
“Give us the possibility of actual economic achievement in Palestine,” Dr. Weizmann said, “and our political activities boh in London and in Geneva will become more impressive and productive of greater results.” When Dr. Weizmann had concluded, Dr. Arthur Ruppin, colonization expert, addressed the Administrative Committee on colonization problems in Palestine.