LONDON (Oct. 6)
The Palestine problem drew attention in Parliament and press today as Britain’s high commissioner in the holy land arrived in London to confer with Government leaders on future policy and Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald saw Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency, regarding the Palestine situation.
Sir Harold A. MacMichael arrived at Croydon Airport at 4:25 p.m. It was understood he was summoned from jerusalem to discuss the whole pales tine situation in view of the forthcoming publication of the Woodhead commission’s report.
Government circles were understood to be gravely concerned over the admitted "serious deterioration" in the situation, which is resulting in paralysis of the pales tine civil administration. the cabinet seems determined to end the present deadlock as soon as possible in view of the effect of the arab rebellion on british prestige, not only in the near east, but in Europe. chancellor Adolf Hitler’s contemptuous reference, in his Berlin speech of Sept. 26, to the state of chaos existing in "the Jewish State in Palestine" is still borne in mind.
The Government is rushing plans for publication of the commission’s report and a statement of policy. steps will be taken speedily to implement the report, both through Parliament and through the League of Nations.
Assurance that Parliament would not be presented with a fait accompli was given in Commons today by Mr. MacDonald. Laborite H.L. Nathan asked assurances that no steps be taken altering Palestine’s political and international status until parliament had been given an opportunity of expressing its opinion. he asked that commons not be put in a position of being forced to confirm or reject a decision already taken and put into operation. He insisted that the House be given an opportunity to consider the policy before its adoption by the government.
The Colonial Secretary replied that the House must confirm any arrangement as to future policy and that the government would not commit commons until it had an opportunity to pass judgment. he said he did not anticipate a government decision before the house re-assembled in November.
The Government is meanwhile carrying on consultations with Foreign Minister Tewfik Suwaidi of Iraq, who is understood to be proposing a cantonization scheme with the approval of King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. Suwaidi has already discussed the plan with Lord Halifax, British Foreign Secretary, and was scheduled to see the Colonial Secretary today. He was also reported to be conferring with dr. Weizmann.
The Jewish Agency was prompted to issue a statement which said: "We state unequivocally that the Jewish people reject any solution condemning them to a minority status in Palestine." The statement added that the Jews remained ready to cooperate with the Arabs for the general welfare of the country.
According to newspaper accounts, the Iraq plan provides for conversion of the country into an independent state allied by treaty to Britain and governed under a constitution to be drawn up by a constituent assembly which would guarantee full civil and religious rights to all communities. local autonomy would be granted to arab and Jewish towns on educational and municipal affairs. No further Jewish immigration would be permitted, and rights of the separate arab and Jewish communities would be guaranteed by Britain for the duration of the Anglo-Palestine treaty.
Iraq, and also Egypt, came up in Parliament yesterday in connection with Palestine. Geoffrey Mander, Liberal, demanded that the Government make representations to Baghdad and Cairo to end what he called intrigues against the Palestine administration. Foreign Undersecretary Richard A. Butler said the Government was satisfied that the attitudes of the Iraqi and Egyptian Governments were entirely correct.
Newspapers, meanwhile, devoted considerable space to editorial comment on the pales tine situation, all of them stressing its seriousness and the importance of clearing it up with all dispatch.
The Times asserted that the Arab revolt had passed the brigandage stage and was assuming the aspect of a rebellion by a united arab people. declaring the rebel "government" was completely in control of all pales tine except Samaria and large sections of the Galilee, the editorial said the rebels were winning increasing support from the effendis (landowners) and townspeople, while the mandatory power was handicapped by its sense of fairness, its belief in democratic rule and its promises to ensure the welfare of the governed.
Only the promises to the Jews and the pathetic urgency of the Jewish plight, The Times said, have persuaded Britain to attempt what under other circumstances would be regarded by British public opinion as an unjust attempt to make a people accept a state of affairs which they believed inimical to their national interests. the Jews cannot be left in the lurch, the editorial concluded, but unless the Jews are prepared to ride roughshod over Palestine’s majority, then some other way must be found to solve the Jewish problem and the Palestine problem other than by beating a people into submission.
Both the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail urged strong and immediate measures to counteract the threatened concerted arab uprising. the telegraph said the position was not one where action could await the findings of a commission. the mail declared that once the Government reached a solution which was fair and final and announced that it meant to impose it "without nonsense from anybody," the pales tine terrorism would fade.