LONDON (May. 12)
Jewish Agency President Chaim Weizmann’s last-minute plea to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to postpone announcement of the Government policy on Palestine, made at last night’s audience, failed to alter the Government’s decision to publish the White Paper next week, it was learned today in Zionist circles. It was learned at the same time that debate on the policy will be held in Parliament on May 23 and 24.
In the course of a brief interview in the Prime Minister’s room in the House of Commons, Dr. Weizmann stressed the Jews’ fears concerning the policy and pleaded that action be deferred. It is understood that Mr. Chamberlain heard the plea sympathetically and tried to reassure Dr. Weizmann that the fears on the policy’s consequences were exaggerated.
The conversation proceeded on the assumption that there were no fundamental changes in the new policy from the final proposals made to the recent London conference, which provided for ultimate establishment of an independent Arab-dominated Palestine state with the Jews fixed as a one-third minority. Dr. Weizmann, it was learned, was given no grounds to believe that there had been any basic changes from those proposals and Mr. Chamberlain apparently did not consider it necessary to outline the policy. It is understood that Dr. Weizmann will not see Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax but is now conferring with a number of outstanding Parliamentarians.
Debate on the policy will be on a motion of censure expected to be introduced by Laborites, rejecting the Government’s proposals as violating solemn pledges made to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the League of Nations Mandate.
A group of conservatives headed by Col. Leopold S. Amery, former Colonial Secretary, is expected to enter another motion condemning the White Paper. This group believes that it can secure 20 Conservative votes in support of the motion and that a large number of Conservatives will abstain from voting. A big Government majority, however, is believed assured.