Cape Town (Jan. 13)
1930 was a year wild with alarm and serious danger to Zionism, says a letter from General Smuts, the South African ex-Premier, who was a member of the British War Cabinet which issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and who was one of the signatories with the late Lord Balfour and Mr. Lloyd George, the head of the War Cabinet, of the letter issued in December 1929, urging on the Government the appointment of an authoritative Commission to investigate the whole working of the Palestine Mandate to fulfil it in the letter and the spirit, and again last October, immediately after the publication of the Passfield White Paper, cabled at great length to the Prime Minister denouncing it as a retreat from the Balfour Declaration, which “was a definite promise to the Jewish world and cannot now be varied by the British Government”, which he has sent to the Conference of the South African Zionist Organisation, opened here to-night.
The inherent strength of Zionism, however, and the surprising reinforcements which it could mobilise at a moment’s notice, General Smuts proceeds, were an object lesson to the world and a grave warning to all opponents of the cause. The forces of Zionism were rallied as never before.
The danger has not yet passed, General Smuts says, but my impression is that the real crisis is over, and the policy of the Jewish National Home is now more firmly established than it has been for years. It will not lightly be tampered with again. I hope, he concludes, that this Conference will consolidate the position in South Africa and will greatly encourage and strengthen the hands of Dr. Weizmann and your other trusted leaders abroad.
The Mayor of Cape Town extended a civic welcome to the delegates assembled from ill parts of the South African Union. An announcement was made or a contribution of Â£5,000 by Mr. M. Hasked of Johannesburg, towards the Binyan, the South African organisation which engages in the granting of building loans in Palestine.
The immediate transfer of the administration of Palestine from the Colonial Office to the Foreign Office was demanded in an address delivered to the opening session by Advocate Alexander, a leading South African Zionist.
Palestine was under the administration of the Foreign Office in the first period of British rule, fron the conquest in 1917, until the establishment of the Civil Government with the appointment of Sir Herbert Samuel as High Commissioner. At first it was under the administration of the late Lord Balfour, who, as Foreign Secretary, issued the Balfour Declaration, and then under the late Lord Curzon, who succeeded Lord Balfour as Foreign Minister and took an early opportunity as the Minister responsible to send a message to a Jewish demonstration held to celebrate the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration associating himself with its terms, the message being read out to the meeting by Sir Herbert Samuel.
Commander Kenworthy, speaking in his constituency in Hull recently, urged that Palestine should again be placed under the administration of the Foreign Office.