Czech Foreign Minister in Closed Door Conference with Leaders of Zionism

Eduard Benes, Czechoslovakian Minister for Foreign Affairs, today received in private conference Nahum Sokolow, representing the Jewish Agency for Palestine; Dr. Leo Motzkin, representing the Eighteenth World Zionist Congress, now in session here; Professor Selig Brodetzky, of England, representing the executive of the World Zionist Organization, and Angelo Goldstein, spokesman for the Zionists of Czechoslovakia.

The conversations, it was learned, were of most important political significance, and were not merely in the nature of a courtesy visit. No communique was issued by the ministry following the meeting.

Strong opposition to any attempts to modify the structure of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the body representing Jewry in all conversations with the League of Nations and Great Britain on Palestine questions, was seen here today as the council of the Agency opened its third ordinary meeting.

Sentiment at the Zionist congress is strongly in favor of a reduction in the number of non-Zionist members of the Agency from the present proportion of one half. Representatives of the Zionist organization constitute the other half. Non-Zionist members of the Agency are unanimously opposed to any reduction of representation. If the congress insists on reduction, it would mean the beginning of the end of the Agency, it is felt.

A special committee, composed of five Zionists and five non-Zionists, was appointed to consider the issue. The committee made it clear it would not accede to any alteration in the present Agency compositions.

It is felt that if the Zionists wished to do so, they could have communicated with the non-Zionist Agency members before this time. As it is, the non-Zionists feel that their mandates entitle them to cooperate only within the existing constitution of the Agency. Any alteration would lead to a possible discontinuation of non-Zionist cooperation although not a single non-Zionist Agency member here is unprepared to make his contribution to the work in Palestine.

The Agency session was opened with Professor Herbert Speyer of Belgium presiding in the absence of D’Avigdor Goldsmid, of England. Maurice Hexter, American member of the Agency, delivered the first report of the session on Palestine colonization and settlement.

Neville Laski, non-Zionist member of the Agency from England, also spoke.

A tribute to Professor Theoder Lessing, slain last night at his villa in Marienbad by assassins, was paid by Nahum Sokolow, president of the World Zionist Organization, in an address to the Council of the Jewish Agency.

Mr. Sokolow deplored the death of Professor Lessing, a man who had only recently turned towards Zionism. In referring to the German-Jewish situation, Dr. Sokolow energetically called for unity among all Jews, Zionists and non-Zionists, in the battle against German persecution. He pointed out that in connection with Germany “all differences existing between the Zionists and non-Zionists disappear.”

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