New York (Nov. 12)
The belief that the British and American governments would not attempt to impose the Zionist program for a Jewish state in Palestine upon the Arabs was expressed here today by the Saudi-Arabian Minister to Britain, Sheikh Hafiz Wahba, upon the conclusion of a tour through the United States in the company of Emir Feisal, the son of King Ibn Saud.
“They would not try to force the Arabs to accept the Zionist idea,” he said, emphasizing that his opinions were his own and were not to be taken as those of Emir Feisal who is also the Saudi-Arabian Foreign Minister. He conceded that the Zionist movement was considerable in the United States, but added that “whatever its power, the Arabs will never yield.”
Despite Arab opposition to Jewish aspirations in Palestine, Sheikh Hafiz Wahba represented the Arab position as one of “keeping quiet” during the war. “We don’t want to cause any trouble for the Allies,” he explained. After the war, he said, the Palestine question would be settled. The British government, which rules Palestine under a mandate, was too preoccupied now with a “war for its life and death” to work out a settlement in Palestine, he declared.
Of efforts centering in Cairo for the creation of a pan-Arab federation, the Saudi Arabian Minister said, “I believe every Arab would like to see all Arabia united. But a united Arabia as a political reality will require time. Meanwhile, they can make many agreements regarding customs, currency, passports, education and other things. He could see no place within an Arab federation for a Jewish state.
Reminded of the Balfour Declaration of the last war, which promised the Jews a national homeland in Palestine, Sheikh Hafiz Wahba said: “Why should the promise of the Balfour Declaration be carried out? How many promises have not been fulfilled And the Arabs never accepted the Balfour Declaration.”