JERUSALEM (Apr. 17)
The Jewish Agency for Palestine charged today that the British Government had violated the League of Nations mandate by introducing arbitrary restriction of Jewish immigration and demanded that the Immigration Ordinance be submitted to the Permanent Court for International Justice at The Hague for a ruling. The protest was made in a memorandum, signed by David Ben Gurion, chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Palestine Executive, submitted to High Commissioner Sir Harold A. MacMichael for transmission to the British Colonial Office.
Restriction of Jewish immigration is not only contrary to the letter and spirit of the mandate, but belies all the statements of successive Colonial Secretaries in Parliament and elsewhere, the memorandum said. Arbitrary restriction has repeatedly been declared to be only temporary, but under the amended Immigration Ordinance (announced on April 5), the political instead of the economic factor as a guiding principle becomes a permanent administrative practice, the statement asserted.
While the Government may intend to modify the mandate, for which, however, the League’s consent is necessary, it cannot apply provisions contrary to the mandate as long as the mandate exists unmodified, the protest continued.
The statement termed the restrictive policy “inhuman” at a time when Jews were in distress and asserted that the “authors of the terror” in Palestine must regard the policy as a reward for murder.
As precedent for submission of the question to The Hague, the Jewish Agency cited the suggestion made in 1930 by Sir John Simon and Viscount Hailsham that the Government’s White Paper of that year, envisaging restriction of Jewish immigration, be submitted to the court and that the policy not be enforced pending a ruling.
The section of the mandate which applies to the immigration question is Article VI, which states: “The administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions……”