Terming the declaration which has been issued by the British government with regard to its policy on Palestine as a cruel and unfair betrayal, Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, has announced his resignation as chairman of the Committee in a statement issued through the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in which he charges Lord Passfield, British Colonial Secretary, with having made misstatements to him by which the Jewish people were misled and which make further relations such as the chairmanship of the Committee entails no longer possible.
The statement reads as follows:
“By the Palestine Mandate, Great Britain was charged by the League of Nations with a trusteeship for the establishment of a National Home for the Jewish people, which Great Britain itself eagerly sought during the War by the Balfour Declaration. The Passfield Declaration, just issued by the Colonial Office, is a cruel and unfair betrayal by the British Government of its trusteeship.
“Ever since Great Britain assumed its responsibility in Palestine, we in America have done all in our power to help Great Britain in its task. The Mandate itself provides that a Jewish Agency be established as a public body, for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish National Home. That looked toward the policy of progressive development of Jewish life in Palestine. The Mandatory Power was expressly warned by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations at its last session against ‘crystallizing the development of the Jewish National Home at its present stage of development.’ The Mandate required the Zionist Organization to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of a Jewish National Home. After arduous efforts and thanks to the inspiring leadership of the late Louis Marshall, non-Zionists joined Zionists the world over in assuming the responsibilities of the Jewish Agency; and the enlarged
Jewish Agency was established last year.
HAD COMPLETE CONFIDENCE
“So complete was our confidence and faith in the British Government that millions of Pounds were poured into Palestine, as well as unstinted labor and devotion, for the improvement of health and sanitation, for the building of Jewish colonies, the promotion of agriculture and industry and the advancement of education, culminating in the Hebrew University. If today malaria is being stamped out, sanitary and living conditions improved, roads built, agricultural cultivation placed on a scientific plane, waste spaces drained and bleak hillsides reafforestated; if industry has been brought into the country with small factories and workshops, electrical power developed and the natural resources of the Dead Sea are tapped,â€”all these civilizing influences have come almost entirely either out of moneys contributed by Jewish enthusiasm, devotion and sacrifices, or from taxes paid largely by Palestinian Jewry. And all of this has inured greatly to the benefit of the Arab population. We have rejoiced that this should be so, for we recognize that no country could prosper if only a part of its population fared well.
“But it is the simple truth that the whole level of Arab life has been greatly lifted since the upbuilding of the National Home was undertaken. In the entire cost of colonization, improvement of the soil, afforestation and irrigation, no burden whatever has been cast upon Great Britain. Not one penny of the cost has fallen upon a single British taxpayer. Great Britain has merely administered the country as a mandated territory and the High Commissioners who have held office thus far have so excessively avoided the charge that they favored the Jews, that they have bent backward against them. They gave to the Arabs available public lands, without turning over to the Jews a single dunam.
JEWS AIDED RIOT VICTIMS
“Even after the murderous outrages of last year, it was left to Jewish charity to assist the innocent victims of the population, and up to the present time a pitifully inadequate sum has been allotted by the Government for relief.
“The Prime Minister announced to the whole world from the tribune of the League of Nations that Great Britain would not be deterred by murder and violence from discharging its responsibility in Palestine. It despatched the Shaw Commission to inquire into the causes of the outrages. That Commission rendered a Report which was criticized by the Prime Minister in a discussion with me and which was drastically criticized by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations for making recommendations beyond its powers without adequate evidence and sufficient investigation and without those necessary safeguards for eliciting the truth which are the commonplaces of Anglo-American tribunals.
“The natural disappointment which the Shaw Report aroused was sought to be softened by the British Government through further investigation of land and economic problems in Palestine. Thereupon Sir John Hope Simpson, a former Indian official, was sent to Palestine to make this investigation. I was assured by the Prime Minister that Sir John was peculiarly well qualified for the task. We hoped for the best, with all the natural misgivings that were aroused by the placing of the responsibility for evolving the economic and social policies of Palestine, upon which depended the future welfare of the Jewish National Home, upon the investigation of a single individual.
“It was not easy to hold back the protests and expressions of impatience and disappointment at the inaction and delays of the Colonial Office. But throughout this time we were given repeated assurances of the Government’s intention to carry out the Mandate. Our confidence in the Government was thereafter severely shaken when immigration certificates for Jews, previously authorized by the Palestine Government, were suspended by the Colonial Office. Again we were given assurances and again we had confidence in the plighted world of the British Government.
ASSURANCES NOT GENERAL
“These assurances were not merely general and at large: they were made to me in my capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency. For, the Jewish Agency, by the very terms of the Mandate, was established in order to advise and cooperate with the Mandatory’s Administration of Palestine, to assist and take part in the development of the country. In providing for a Jewish Agency, the purpose and intent of the Mandate clearly was to afford consultation with the Government on matters of importance. The Jewish Agency was the responsible and authorized corporate expression of Jewish life in all dealings with the Mandatory in respect to Palestine. This duty and function of the Agency, the British Government itself insisted upon heretofore in its representation to the Government of the United States. Nevertheless, the Agency found itself consistently ignored and constantly confronted with faits accomplis.
“In disregard of this constitutional relation of the Jewish Agency to the British Government in Palestine we were denied opportunity to see the recommendations by Sir John Hope Simpson now promulgated, as well as the statement embodying the radical reversal in Government policy, announced by Lord Passfield.
‘The assurances which Lord Passfield
gave me as to the forthcoming recommendations, are at variance with what he has now publicly announced.
“At Lord Passfield’s personal invitation, I went to London on August 22nd. During a two hours’ talk, he authorized me to make certain statements to the Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency at its fourthcoming executive meeting in Berlin a few days later. In the light of the documents just issued by Lord Passfield, I am compelled, however regretfully, to say that I was misled. Lord Passfield’s representations to me made me the innocent vehicle of misstatements to my colleagues of the Jewish Agency.
PROPOSALS FOR GOVERNMENT
“I told my associates that the proposals for the Government would include the issuing of bonds or guarantees of the British Government for the agricultural development of Palestine, for Arabs and Jews, under a Commission of Three, with a British chairman, and with an Arab and a Jewish member. But today I learn that the suggestion is that the financing of the agricultural program is to be for the Arab population largely, to be refunded by taxes on Palestine which, naturally, will have to be paid in the main by the Jews of Palestine who carry a disproportionate share of the burden of taxation.
“We now learn that Jewish immigration is to be totally restricted for the present, and the purchase of land to be surrounded with difficulties, so that even if funds are furnished to pay, however dearly, for the land, the transactions will still be rendered almost impossible.
“Those of us who tried to support a conservative approach in respect to the future and the upbuilding of Palestine; who assured the Arabs at every session of the Agency that we had no ambition to rule over them or to be ruled, but to live and let live; cannot but feel bitterly disappointed this day.
ASKED FOR TRUST IN BRITAIN
“I have asked people to believe in the intentions of the British Government. I have helped to bring about the Agency. I have invested more than one million dollars in Palestine, hoping that others would do likewise. I have persuaded the finest men and women to follow and join in these unselfish efforts. Such men as Mr. Justice Brandeis and his associates have pledged themselves to help untiringly.
“We did our best. But after these experiences, Dr. Weizmann, who showed his unselfish British patriotism for years, is broken in health and courage, and has resigned as the president of the Jewish Agency.
“With deep regret I must resign as Chairman of the Administrative Committee. I had a right to place complete reliance upon the statements made by Lord Passfield on behalf of his Government and through me the Jewish people were misled. Further relations such as the Chairmanship of the Administrative Committee entails, are no longer possible.
“In resigning, I shall request that the necessary steps be taken for the creation of an interim emergency committee to carry on the affairs of the Jewish Agency.
“My devotion to the Jewish cause and to Palestine is unabated. I shall continue to lend my best efforts to support our work which challenges our deepest interest. To develop Palestine, Zionists and non-Zionists came together in a period of hope and enthusiasm. They will unite even more closely in the face of tragic disappointment.
“We rely on the inherent fairness of the British people and enlightened public opinion throughout the world, to enable us to overcome the obstacles which now confront us.”