New York (Mar. 11)
I wish to reassure my American friends that there is not the slightest basis for believing that this proposal has received the consideration of the Jewish Agency or the Zionist Organisation, Mr. Nahum Sokolov, the President of the Jewish Agency and the Zionist World Organisation, declares in a statement which he has just issued here on the subject of the recent reports concerning alleged plans for an Arab-Jewish Round Table Conference, said to have been sponsored by the Egyptian ex-Khedive.
The only bodies that have power to deal with the question, Mr. Sokolov said, are the Zionist Actions Committee or the Executive Committee or Administrative Committee of the Jewish Agency. No authoritative body has considered the matter.
Nor is there any reason to believe that it will be considered, he proceeded. On the very face of it, it is absurd to countenance any plan that aims to divide small Palestine into even smaller units. The integral development of Palestine is dependent upon the co-operation of all elements in the land working toward a common purpose.
I do not wish to impugn the motives of those who are said to have offered the plan or of those who have already discussed it, but I do wish to say most emphatically that the documents which purport to reveal the plan of Arab leaders to support the establishment of cantons have been shown to be a fake, contrived by some unknown adventurers. They have no authenticity and no support.
It has been suggested that the Zionist denial of negotiations in regard to the cantons is a purely diplomatic gesture. Such assertions are not prompted by truth. The Zionist movement indulges in no secret diplomacy. Its policies are openly determined by authoritative bodies. We cannot forbid private individuals to publish views of which we do not approve. But it should be distinctly understood that no one of the responsible Zionist or Jewish leadership has made any advances for the discussion of the canton plan.
The Jewish people welcome all efforts to advance the upbuilding of Palestine. They have the determination and they are carrying out a programme to co-operative in every respect with the Arab population of Palestine. Thus far, however, no authoritative Arab body has made the offer to participate in a round table discussion with the Jewish representatives in order to solve problems that are of common interest.
The Jewish Agency has a definite programme with regard to the Arabs of Palestine, Mr. Sokolov concluded. It is to promote harmony and mutual understanding. But the basis of such harmony must be the recognition by the Arabs of the Palestine Mandate and its provisions for the Jewish National Pome, which is the cornerstone of the Mandate. We are prepared to negotiate at any time with the Arabs about certain details in the interpretation of clauses, but there can be no equivocation about the Jewish National Home itself. The way is open for co-operation with the Arabs in the economic, industrial and agricultural development of the country by which the Arab population should be benefited in the greatest possible measure, as it has already benefited.