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Sir Herbert Samuel Sheds New Light on Palestine Question

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Important historical facts shedding light on the policy Great Britain is pursuing with respect to establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine were disclosed for the first time tonight by Sir Herbert Samuel, first High Commissioner for Palestine, in the course of the Second Memorial Address before the Jewish Historical Society.

Discussing his own role in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which pledged the British Government to aid the founding of a Jewish national home in Palestine, Sir Herbert revealed that he had urged Sir Edward Grey as long ago as November, 1914, to restore the Jewish State in the Holy Land.

According to Samuel, Sir Edward was favorably disposed to the idea and promised that he would work for restoration. Asked whether Syria should be attached to Palestine, Samuel declared that he answered in the negative.

Sir Herbert also disclosed that he had discussed the Palestine question with David Lloyd George who was a keen advocate of the Jewish State idea. However, it soon became clear, Sir Herbert said, that this plan was impracticable.

Referring to the famous McMahon pledge, Samuel declared that it did not apply to Palestine but to Transjordan. For that reason, he said, the British Government was not encouraging immigration to that territory. (The McMahon pledge is the term given to correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon and Arab leaders during the World War in which the former stated that in certain areas, where they were free to act without detriment to the interest of France, Great Britain would recognize and support the independence of the Arabs. Alleged failure of the British to keep this promise has been one of the grievances held by the Arabs. At the time of the correspondence, Sir Henry was High Commissioner for Egypt.)

Sir Herbert emphasized that British interests were being served by Jewish enthusiasm for Palestine and that at the same time the Arab population also derives benefit from that enthusiasm.

(Lucien Wolf was for many years an outstanding leader of British Jewry, and was the first president of the Jewish Historical Society.)

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