LONDON (May. 15)
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain informed the House of Commons today that the White Paper containing a new policy on Palestine will be published on Wednesday at 7 P.M. (2 P.M. New York Time) and arrangements have been made for a Parliamentary debate before the Whitsuntide recess.
Asked by Major Clement Attlee and Sir Archibald Sinclair, leaders of the Labor and Liberal oppositions respectively, to arrange a two-day debate on the Palestine question, the Prime Minister cited pressure of business and promised to discuss what could be done.
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, attended a meeting of the Agency Executive today. It is understood he will confer tomorrow with United States Ambassador Joseph P. kennedy, who has in the past conveyed to the British Government the United States Government’s interest in the Palestine Jewish homeland.
The Jewish Agency’s reply to the White Paper — which is believed to provide for establishment of an independent Palestine state with the Jews as a one-third minority — will be made by Dr. Weizmann on Thursday addressing a special session of the current British Zionist Federation’s 39th annual conference. The special session was originally scheduled to be held Wednesday evening.
A resolution protesting the Government’s proposals for solution of the Palestine conflict was adopted by the conference yesterday. It points out that the Royal Commission which investigated the 1936 disorders declared that establishment of a Jewish national home was the primary purpose of the mandate. “Therefore,” the resolution asserts, “no policy involving a change in the Palestine regime can be accepted unless it secures promotion and continued growth of the Jewish national home and no independent state can be set up in Palestine without the consent of the Jews and the Arabs.”
The resolution charges that the proposals ignore the historic Jewish connection with Palestine, aim to put a Jewish minority under Arab rule and cannot ensure peace. It also asserts that the absorptive capacity principle must be the only criterion of Jewish immigration and that land purchase restriction represents racial discrimination. Urging the Government to avert the catastrophe involved in its proposals, the resolution concludes: “This conference, meeting in a dark hour of the history of the Jewish people, declares the right of Jewish entry to Palestine admits of no compromise.”
Addressing last night’s session, Moshe Shertok, head of the Jewish Agency’s political department, declared the Balfour Declaration “cannot die — it is an act of history and as such will live forever.”
“I am confident,” he added, “that the time will come when British statesmanship will rise to new heights to restore its powers of vision and imagination. In the meantime, the task for the present and future is to do everything possible to make retreat from the Balfour Declaration as difficult as possible. This can be achieved only by a hard struggle. Your task is not to let British conscience rest.”
Asserting that a great deal depended upon the forthcoming Palestine debate in Parliament, Mr. Shertok declared: “We must act without delay. We must and shall go on. We should and may have to go on without British help, even despite obstructions by the British Government.”