LONDON (Feb. 27)
The Anglo-Jewish discussions on Palestine’s future broke down today after a declaration by the Jews that the British proposals for establishment of an independent state in which the Jews would be a minority were completely unacceptable as a basis for further discussion. An “informal” meeting between the Government representatives and the Jewish leaders, however, will be held tomorrow at which the question of arranging further meetings will be discussed.
It is understood that Dr. Stephen S. Wise, principal American Jewish delegate, will not take part in further talks with the British. He will confer tomorrow with American Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy — who today cautioned Britain of reaction in the United States to any restriction of immigration — and will sail for New York on the Queen Mary this weekend. The position of the other American delegates, Robert Szold and Louis lipsky, is still undecided.
In accordance with the Jewish Agency Executive’s decision, unanimously ratified this morning by the all-party Jewish conference committee, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Agency, read to the British representatives at this afternoon’s session in St. James Palace a statement of rejection which had been drafted by a committee composed of Lord Reading, Mr. Szold, Harry Sacher, Leonard Stein and Prof. L.B. Namier.
The statement declared that the British proposals did not take into account the Balfour Declaration, the “solemn international pledges” to the Jewish people and the historical association and rights of the Jews in Palestine. It asserted that the proposals contained no safeguards for continued Jewish immigration, that it omitted reference to the Jewish national home and that it would have the effect of reducing the Jews to a minority under the domination of the Arabs.
In the ensuing discussion, Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald was understood to have declared that the proposals were not rigid and were subject to some modification in subsequent discussions. He also gave additional details of the plan and asserted that there might be other points to add to the proposal which might change the picture. This reference was taken to refer presumably to immigration and land questions.
The Jewish delegates, however, made it clear that they could not participate in further discussions on proposals based on the principles underlying the British plan, and consequently only personal and informal Anglo-Jewish contacts would be maintained for the time being.
BRANDEIS, ADLER SUPPORT AGENCY STAND
Drastic limitation of Jewish immigration into-Palestine would have a most unfavorable effect upon public opinion in the United States, Ambassador Kennedy was understood to have informed Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax today.
Evidence of American concern over the British proposal to drop the mandate and establish an independent Arab State with the Jews reduced to minority status came today in the form of a cable from Jewish leaders in the United States to the American delegates urging them to stand firm against the plan and refuse to participate in its execution. Signers of the cable included former Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis; Federal Circuit Court Judge Julian W. Mack, Dr. Solomon Goldman, president of the Zionist Organization of America; Bernard Flexner, president of the Palestine Economic Corporation; Mrs. Moses P. Epstein, president of Hadassah; Leon Gellman, president of Mizrachi, and David Wertheim, secretary of the Poale Zion-Zeire Zion.
(In Philadelphia, Dr. Cyrus Adler disclosed that he had sent the following cable to the American Jewish delegation in London: “As a non-Zionist member of the Administrative Committee and the Council of the Jewish Agency for Palestine I unreservedly agree with the cable sent you by leading American Zionists.” In New York, the American Jewish Congress issued a statement associating itself with the Jewish Agency in rejecting the British proposal and calling upon the American Government to take the leadership among nations in preventing what it termed “this new great betrayal of the Jews.” Rabbi Morris M. Rose, president of the New Zionist Organization of America issued a statement urging the Jews to fight the British plan “with all the means at their disposal.”)
WITHHOLD JUDGMENT, MACDONALD ASKS
Mr. MacDonald, who first revealed the outlines of the plan on Friday, sought today to allay the cry of protest by telling the House of Commons that newspaper reports of the proposals were misleading, the plan was still subject to discussion and the public should withhold judgment pending an authoritative statement.
“The British delegation to the Palestine conference have laid before the Arab and Jewish delegations separately a series of suggestions for solution of the Palestine problem,” Mr. MacDonald said. “These are still subject to discussion in both conferences, and at the present stage I am not in a position to make any public announcements regarding them.
“Unfortunately, incomplete, and in some important respects misleading, press reports purporting to give substance to these suggestions have been published and gone to Palestine, where they have been the cause of serious incidents. I would appeal to the House and to the wider public here and in Palestine to withhold judgment on the lines of the solution now being considered by the conference until an authoritative statement regarding them has been made. This will be done at the appropriate time, when negotiations which are proceeding both with the Arab delegations and the Jewish delegation have advanced further.”
Later, at a press conference, Mr. MacDonald appealed for restraint. In connection with the bomb outrages in Palestine he said that “we are discussing a problem which is dynamite in more sense than one.” He added that press reports were throwing fuel on the fire.
Incensed at the British plan, the Jewish delegation was reported to have refused an invitation to attend a Palestine luncheon arranged by the Government at the Hotel Carlton. The Government hospitality committee was said to have tried to induce the Jews to participate in the luncheon, which was attended by former Colonial Secretaries, former High Commissioners for Palestine and members of Palestine inquiry commissions. A Zionist spokesman was quoted as explaining the boycott by referring to the “very great dismay and alarm throughout the Jewish world”at the British proposals.