American Jewish Committee Delegation Sees Halifax; Asks Abrogation of White Paper
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American Jewish Committee Delegation Sees Halifax; Asks Abrogation of White Paper

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A delegation of the American Jewish Committee, supposed of Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president, and Jacob Blaustein, chairman of its general committee, today presented an 11-page memorandum to Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States, requesting the abrogation of the White Paper which closes the doors of Palestine to Jewish immigration after March 31 of this year.

The memorandum declares that Great Britain’s refusal to abolish the White Paper would constitute an act of “discrimination against the Jews.” While not urging “at this time determination of the final constitutional status of Palestine,” the American Jewish Committee asks for annulment of the 1939 White Paper which “violates the mandate for Palestine entrusted to Great Britain by the League of Nations in 1922.”

“The primary purpose of the Mandate,” the memorandum states, “was the establishment of a national home for the Jews with the understanding that nothing be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status of Jews in any other country. This promise of a homeland within Palestine was specific and admitted, the memorandum emphasizes, “and not controversial as is the question of the creation of a Commonwealth.”


Presenting the memorandum to the British Ambassador, Judge Proskauer said: “In Standing you this memorandum I wish, on behalf of the American Jewish Committee, to make it indubitably clear that we ask that nothing should be done that would, in any degree, interfere with the Allied prosecution of this war for freedom. I also ask you to note that this memorandum is wholly unrelated to any plan for the organization of a Palestinian state.

“We urge abrogation of the White Paper primarily on the ground that abolition of that prohibition against immigration and land purchase which is directed against Jews, as such, would be an act wholly consonant with the historic friendship of Great Britain, which has made its leaders pioneers in the establishment of equal rights for Jews within the confines of their own country and staunch spokesmen for justice when oppression and persecution brought misery in other lands.”


Lord Halifax thanked Mr. Proskauer for his memorandum and said he would send copies of it to London. On the subject of the White Paper, Lord Halifax could add nothing to previous statements by the British Government. He drew attention however, to the announcement recently made in the House of Commons by the Colonial Secretary upon the subject of Jewish immigration into Palestine, and pointed out that any statement to the effect of such immigration being stopped next March was totally without foundation.

“The memorandum refers to the historic friendship of the people of Great Britain and their successive governments for the Jews. This remains a fact. Along with her Allies, Great Britain is now devoting all her effort to the defeat of these, whose cruelties to the Jewish race have revolted the conscience of the world,” Lord Halifax said.


The American Jewish Committee in its memorandum, points specifically to the limitation of immigration and land purchases” as counter to the intent and purpose of a Mandate of Palestine. These limitations, the memorandum state are a direct violation of Article 15 of the Mandate which declares that “no discrimination of any kind will be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the ground of his religious belief.”

The American Jewish Committee charges that “by providing for the cessation of Jewish immigration and in barring the Jews from land purchases in large areas of Palestine, the White Paper is not only inconsistent with the Mandate’s terms but would make Palestine a country in which Jews are discriminated against on the basis of race and religion.”

The memorandum relates how the immigrants “utilizing their own enthusiasm and energies and drawing on the encouragement and support of Jews throughout the world, had brought Palestine to great heights of development. Arabs as well as Jew had benefited from the highways, modern housing, exemplary hygienic provisions and from the introduction of economic efficiency and modern agricultural methods.”


The American Jewish Committee quotes from the address Mr. Winston Churchill made in 1939 opposing approval by the House of Commons of the White Paper: “…the provision that Jewish immigration can be stopped in five years’ time by the decision of an Arab majority…is a plain breach of a solemn obligation…This pledge of a home was not made to the Jews in Palestine but to the Jews outside Palestine,” Mr. Churchill was quoted as saying. “Now there is a breach, there is the violation of the pledge, the abandonment of the Balfour Declaration.”

The events of the past four years, the memorandum continues, have served to emphasize Mr. Winston Churchill’s vision and wisdom in stating that the agitation against the Balfour Declaration “is fed with foreign money and ceaselessly inflamed by Nazi and by Fascist propaganda…”

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