Rapporteur’s Conclusions and Resolution Upholding Mandates Commission’s Palestine Report Unanimously
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Rapporteur’s Conclusions and Resolution Upholding Mandates Commission’s Palestine Report Unanimously

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Supporting the report of the Permanent Mandates Commission on the Palestine outbreaks of 1929 to the fullest extent, Hjalmar Procope, rapporteur for the Council of the League of Nations on mandates, presented his observations on the Mandates Commission’s report to the opening session of the Council this morning. His observations and report were unanimously adopted by the Council after a brief declaration by Arthur Henderson, British foreign secretary and by the representatives of Jugo-Slavia and Persia.

The first question on the Agenda was M. Procope’s report which was divided into three parts, first a brief review of the work of the Mandates Commission, second a reply to the British government’s remarks on the Mandates Commission’s report, and third, Procope’s conclusions and resolution which was unanimously adopted.

Expressing the hope that the various considerations which he had set forth would be sufficient to appease the certain anxiety which is apparent in the comments of the mandatory power, M. Procope proposed to the Council the following resolution:


“The Council of the League of Nations, having considered the report of the Mandates Commission and the observations of the British government, decided to instruct the secretary-general to forward to the British government the report of the Mandates Commission, the report of the rapporteur as well as the minutes of the present meeting and also to request the British government to adopt such measures as it thinks fit to effect the recommendations and conclusions contained therein and to take the action suggested by the Mandates Commission’s observations on the Palestine government’s annual report for 1929. The Council approves the conclusions of the Mandates Commission regarding the petitions examined by it and instructs the secretary-general to bring them in each case to the notice of the Mandatory Power and of the petitioner concerned.”

Capitulation before the Mandates Commission’s report was evident in Mr. Henderson’s declaration in reply to M. Procope. Mr. Henderson openly recognized the Mandates Commission’s duty to criticize the mandatory power, thus changing the tone in which the British observations had been couched regarding the Mandates Commission’s report. Mr. Henderson placed Great Britain on record as associating itself with the terms of the resolution with which M. Procope’s report concludes.


Regarding the future British policy in Palestine, Mr. Henderson said, that Sir John Simpson’s report will decide further action on the question of immigration and development. He expressed the hope that the British government would be able to present in the not distant future to the Council a full statement of the British government’s intentions as to its future policy in Palestine. He assured the Council that the announcement would provide for good-will between the Jews and the Arabs.

M. Procope began his review of the work of the Mandates Commission by relating that the Commission during its discussions had paid particular attention to the memorandum it had received from the Jewish Agency and to certain Arab petitions which were sent to the League of Nations. He explained that the last extraordinary session of the Mandates Commission, which dealt with the Palestine events, was most difficult because it involved the interests of two elements which differ in race, creed and religion, and which “represent forces of considerable importance in international life.”

He added that Great Britain’s task in Palestine is difficult because “on the one hand it has undertaken to establish the Jewish National Home as indicated by the actual terms of the Mandate, and in Premier MacDonald’s own recent statement in the House of Commons, while on the other hand it is committed to the establishment of self-governing institutions for a population the majority of which is Arab.”


Regarding the establishment of a Jewish National Home, M. Procope continued, the Mandates Commission emphasized that Jewish immigration must be kept proportionate to the country’s capacity for economic absorption and took notice of Great Britain’s recent explanation that the suspension of Jewish immigration was strictly temporary. “I concur with the Mandates Commission’s opinion that this explanation should allay any anxiety that the Jewish communities have felt regarding Great Britain’s obligations to facilitate Jewish immigration,” M. Procope declared, in concluding his review of the Mandates Commission’s report.

Passing to a reply to the British government’s comments on the Mandates Commission’s report, M. Procope, in referring to the apprehension which the Mandates Commission’s criticism had caused Great Britain declared that the Mandates Commission believed that the time has come to give a definition to the obligations that the Mandate imposed on Great Britain.

He then quoted that part of the Mandate Commission’s report which says that the object of the Mandate is to establish the Jewish National Home and also self-governing institutions, while the immediate obligation of Great Britain is to place Palestine under such conditions which will secure the establishment of a Jewish National Home and also the development of self-governing institutions.


“This passage,” M. Procope said, “expresses clearly and definitely the policy of the Mandates Commission which I believe will be appreciated fully by the Council of the League of Nations.” The Council’s rapporteur concluded by expressing the hope that his observations would appease Great Britain’s anxiety which had been displayed in the British comments to the Mandates Commission’s report.

Turning to Great Britain’s dissatisfactory comments on the Mandates Commission’s report, M. Procope declared he had no intention of giving a detailed summary of the report but he termed it an extremely able and judicious piece of work and expressed the belief that every member of the Council would give it all the consideration it deserves. He then emphasized that the Mandates Commission’s report and investigation is within the bounds prescribed by the Covenant of the League of Nations adding that “although this report indeed contains some remarks on the proper policy to be followed in the future in Palestine, this must not be looked upon as an attempt on the part of the Mandates Commission to supplant Great Britain in exercising its duties as the Mandatory Power.”

The Mandates Commission, he explained, merely touched upon this point in order to bring out the slight differences which it thinks exists between the administrative program it would have liked to see in operation and that which the Mandatory Power “actually followed before the disturbances. Obviously acting on these lines the Mandates Commission has been guided entirely by the letter and spirit of the Mandate.”


M. Procope emphasized that while the Mandates Commission was bound to note that among the causes of the disturbances were some for which the Mandatory Power must be held responsible, it once more laid stress upon the great difficulties in the solution of the Palestine problem. These difficulties, the rapporteur declared, aggravated by the entirely novel character of the task to be performed, “were bound to embarrass even a power with the widest experience in governing peoples with diverse characteristics. The Mandates Commission was right in saying that Great Britain’s policy would not be fairly open to criticism unless it aimed at crystallizing the Jewish National Home at its present stage of development, or rigidly stabilizing public institutions in Palestine in their present form, but judged by its actions and results already achieved, that policy does not deserve such reproach.”


The antagonism between the Mandates Commission and Great Britain regarding the British government’s comments on the Mandates Commission’s Palestine report found expression in the address of M. D. van Rees, vice-chairman of the Mandates Commission. Speaking in the name of the Mandates Commission, M. van Rees declared that he did not expect the Mandates Commission’s report would be so received by Great Britain. Pointing out that he is not authorized by the Mandates Commission to take any stand towards the British observations, he stated that this may be done by the Mandates Commission itself if it so decided.

This, however, may be done by the Mandates Commission itself, if it so decides, he said, adding that he was “happy to say that the declaration of Arthur Henderson discloses that the acceptance of the Mandates Commission’s report by Great Britain carries no such disagreeable character as could be attributed. The Mandates Commission will take today’s declaration of Mr. Henderson with great satisfaction. I hope, if I am not mistaken in my present interpretation of Mr. Henderson’s declaration, that the Council and also Great Britain will recognize the spirit of justice and absolute impartiality that govern the Mandates Commission’s investigations and report.”

Kahn Ala, the Persian member of the Council, voiced his regret that the Mandates Commission had not sufficiently emphasized the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Dr. Voyislav Marinkovitch, the foreign minister of Jugo-Slavia, said that he spoke for a country a tenth of whose population was Moslem, and where Islam is a state religion. He, therefore, believed that England in safeguarding the rights of the Arabs would not also forget the second part of the Mandate dealing with the Jews “which is a debt of humanity towards one of the greatest historical nations.”

M. Procope, in a last word, expressed satisfaction that a spirit of unity had been reached and again praised the report of the Mandates Commission. The chairman then declared that M. Procope’s resolution was unanimously adopted.


In replying to M. Procope, Mr. Henderson emphasized that Jewish immigration had not been suspended, it being merely a temporary suspension of certificates under the labor schedule. The British spokesman said, “the British Government notes with apprecia-

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