LONDON (Jan. 30)
Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald made efforts today to settle differences among Arab leaders which are holding up the opening of the conferences on Palestine, as the Jewish Agency went ahead with the marshalling of its forces for the three-sided parleys on which the Holy Land’s fate hangs. Mr. MacDonald this morning visited the delegations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen at the hotel where they are quartered and also Premier Nuri Pasha es-Said of Iraq to discuss the procedure for the talks. This afternoon he visited the Palestine Arab delegation to discuss the same question.
The Colonial Secretary was understood to have discussed among other subjects the question of giving representation to the moderate Palestine Arabs, included in the Nashashibi Arab Defense Party. In the view of the British Government there is no question of considering the Palestine Arabs as fully represented until the Nashashibi group receives a voice. No date for the commencement of the negotiations will be fixed until there is agreement on this score among the Palestine Arabs themselves.
It is understood that the Jewish Agency will be represented in the discussions by a negotiating committee composed of five political experts of the Agency Executive and members who will be drawn from a larger conference advisory committee at various stages of the discussions when different subjects arise in which they are especially concerned.
The exact size of the negotiating committee has not been determined. The advisory committee may consist of as many as 40 members, including prominent Jews from many countries, representatives of Palestine Jewry and of Zionist organizations throughout the world and also from the Agudath Israel, religious and non-Zionist organization. The permanent nucleus of the negotiating committee will be composed of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency; David Ben Gurion, chairman of the Agency’s Palestine executive; Prof. Selig Brodetsky, head of the political department of the Agency’s London executive, and Dr. Nahum Goldmann, the Agency’s Geneva representative.
The All-India Moslem League has asked the British Government for representation at the forthcoming British-Arab-Jewish conferences. In cables to Government leaders, the League urged granting of the Palestine Arab demands, warning that failure of the conferences would have disastrous consequences throughout the Moslem world.
Meanwhile, the War Office was reported by the Evening Standard to have ordered an immediate investigation of atrocity charges against British troops in Palestine made by Sheikh Fahoum of Nazareth in addressing the Institute of Education of London University. Declaring that the Palestine High Commissioner had more absolute power than Hitler and Mussolini, Sheikh Fahoum told the story of a British officer who allegedly lined up 300 Arabs against a wall, asked every eighth man to step forward and ordered their execution. He added that soldiers also walked along the line firing into men’s skulls.