LONDON (Feb. 5)
Pessimism was prevalent and an impasse in negotiations was predicted today by both Arab and Jewish leaders as the delegations to the parallel conferences opening Tuesday under the aegis of the British Government met separately to map plans for the battle over Palestine.
The Jewish delegation heard Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency, at a closed meeting describe the prospects for the parleys. He declared that the Government’s policy was not known and said that the Jews would insist on unrestricted immigration to Palestine. He outlined the nature of the opening statement he will make Wednesday. He emphasized that the participants were pledged to secrecy during the entire negotiations.
Leaders of the Jewish delegation were doubtful that the conferences would bring long-sought Arab-Jewish amity, pointing out that the Arab delegation had refused at the outset to sit with the Jewish representatives. Arab leaders continued to insist on annulment of the Palestine mandate and Balfour Declaration and the reduction of the Palestine Jews to the status of a minority within an Arab state and suspension of Jewish immigration.
“The formal opening of the discussions will be in the picture gallery of the St. James Palace at 10 o’clock Tuesday morning, when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain greets the Arab delegates. At noon, he will address the Jewish delegates and receive a reply from Dr. Weizmann. Neither press nor public will be admitted. Actual discussions will begin Tuesday afternoon when the Arabs make a declaration of their case to the British officials and submit their proposals for solution of the Palestine question. The Jews will make their declaration to the British negotiators on Wednesday.
The British negotiators will be headed by Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald and Foreign Undersecretary Richard A. Butler, who will attend all sessions, while Mr. Chamberlain and Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax will be available for consultation and for participation in the discussions when desired. Efforts will be made to keep the parallel discussions with Arabs and Jews abreast of each other in examination of the problem. Several technical questions, such as the extent to which each delegation is to be informed of the other’s views, are still to be worked out.
The Jewish delegation has declined to be lodged in hotels at the Government’s expense, which the Arabs are doing.
U.S. ZIONISTS WARN OF WALK-OUT IF MANDATE CHANGE ASKED
American Zionist representatives stated today that the Jewish delegation would walk out of the parleys if a proposal was voiced for modification of the mandate. Dr. Stephen S. Wise, who arrived here yesterday with Robert Szold, told the J.T.A. that the chief task of the American delegation was to inform the British Government fully on the state of American public opinion regarding Palestine.
Two considerations must be borne in mind, Dr. Wise said: (1) “The unwisdom of permitting anything to happen in the course of the discussions that might strain the relations that today happily obtain between Britain and our own country” and (2) “Let a hundred places be explored in the hope of finding a foothold for refugees, but while British Guiana, which is the last hopeless offer as a possibility for future residence for refugees is being investigated, Palestine, the result of 60 years of colonial settlement, is prepared to give shelter to a large number of refugees than any country in the world.”
Dr. Wise, it was learned, will be a member of the negotiating committee, together with the five members of the Jewish Agency executive’s political department. Dr. Wise, in his capacity as member of President Roosevelt’s Advisory Committee on Refugees, was also expected to meet Myron C. Taylor, American vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Refugee Committee, and George S. Rublee, director of the Refugee Bureau. Dr. Wise and Mr. Szold lunched today with Dr. Weizmann. They were met at Paddington Station on their arrival yesterday by Mr. MacDonald, David Ben Gurion and Mrs. Rose Jacobs, of the Jewish Agency Executive, and others.