Jerusalem (Dec. 20)
With all Palestine in a high state of excitement over the impending proclamation of a legislative council, Jewish leaders were preparing today to stage a last-ditch battle to dissuade the High Commissioner, Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, from his announced purpose.
Proclamation of the council will be made by the High Commissioner at two separate meetings, with Arab leaders tomorrow and with Jewish leaders Sunday.
An indication that the Jewish leaders, including Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, will flatly reject the council, is contained in an editorial today in Haaretz, influential leading Hebrew daily.
The editorial, charging that establishment of the council is the result of the High Commissioner’s promise to “Arab instigators who call themselves leaders,” declares that on Sunday Sir Arthur will hear the Jews reply firmly: “Non possumus!” which means literally, “We cannot.”
Meanwhile, it was learned from an authoritative source that the Arab leaders will withhold their reply to the High Commissioner’s proclamation until they learned how the Jewish leaders replied on Sunday.
New details as to the composition and functions of the council are published today in the Arab daily, Alliwa, which because of its close connection with the Grand Mufti, is considered to be the best informed on the subject.
According to Alliwa, the council will comprise twenty-eight members, sixteen of them appointive and twelve to be elected. Of
those to be appointed, the paper states, five will be Jews, five British officials, three Moslems, two Arab Christians and one a foreign Christian. Of the twelve elective posts, the paper reports that eight will be filled by Moslems, three by Jews and one by an Arab Christian.
By the above disposition of posts, the Arabs will number half of the council, Alliwa points out, adding that this is more favorable to the Arabs than the proposal offered by Sir Herbert Samuel, first Palestine High Commissioner, which was rejected by the Arab leaders.
According to Alliwa, the High Commissioner reserves complete veto power over all actions taken by the legislative council. Other powers reserved to the Government, the paper states, include promulgation of laws during periods the council is not in session, control of the budget, foreign international policy in relation to the Mandate and public security.
In a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today, a Government official, declaring that details published in the Arab press were evidently based on talks Arab leaders held with the High Commissioner before he left for London last Summer, refused either to deny or confirm their accuracy.