San Francisco (Apr. 25)
The United Nations Security Conference which opened today at the opera house here will go down in Jewish history as having taken the first step towards an eventual international decision on the fate of Palestine by appointing a special body, to be known as “Committee Number Four,” to deal with the question of international trusteeships for mandated areas including Palestine.
The appointment of such a body will in no way contradict the announcement made yesterday by British Deputy Prime Minister Clement R. Attlee, that no specific reference to Palestine will be made at the conference even in connection with the international trusteeship plan.
While it can be expected that neither the British delegation, nor the American, will mention Palestine during the discussions on international trustoeship, the fact remains that “Committee Number Four,” which the general assembly of the conference will establish, will definitely have Palestine in mind when preparing recommendations for the machinery to deal with the practical details of international trusteeships.
It is difficult to prodict whether Zionist observers or pro-Zionist consultants of American Jewish bodies will have an opportunity to influence the decisions of “Committee Number Four.” The general belief prevailing here is that Dr. Chaim Weizmann is the only person whose presence would contribute much to the prostige of the Zionist cause since he, and he alone, is accepted by many members of the delegations of various nations as the person able to counteract any move which may be made by the Arab delegations, including a possible effort to have an Arab representative an the body which will be set up by the conference to deal with the international trusteeship plan.
AMERICAN JEWISH CONFERENCE PLANS VIGOROUS CAMPAIGN ON PALESTINE
Leaders of the American Jewish Conference here intend to tackle the problem by organizing a Pro-Palestine campaign jointly with the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish Agency and representatives of the Board of Deputies of British Jews who are expected to arrive this week as private observers. This campaign will begin with a press conference arranged by the four groups, jointly, for representatives of the American press and radio, to whom the arguments for establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth will be presented. This will be followed by contacting of diplomats from various nations who may have a voice in the choice of members for “Committee Number Four.”
Some observers here think that such an open press campaign may backfire, resulting in strong anti-Zionist statements from the Arab delegations who are attracting great attention in the press because of their colorful appearance, but who have, so far, abstained from making any statements regarding Palestine. Such a possibility should not be lost sight of especially because of the powerful American oil groups which are doing their best to cultivate friend ship with the Saudi Arabian delegation and are putting experienced American public relations men at its disposal as guides and advisers.
It is known that the Arab delegations here were much impressed by Attlee’s annauncement that the British delegation came to San Francisco with no recammendations whatsoever regarding the future of Palestine. They were even more impressed by the fact that Attlee declared that the question of whether Palestine should be placed under international trusteeship “should be put up to the Palestinians.” This is being interpreted as an indication that the British government may demand that some form of plobiscite be held in Palestine before any decision is taken by the United Nations with regard to a change in the status of the Palestine mandate.
ATTLEE ‘S STATEMENT CAME AS SURPRISE TO ZIONIST LEADERS
Zionist leaders who are here in connection with the conference were taken by surprise when they learned of Attlee’s statement to the press. None of them, as yet, have had a chance to see any of the members of the British delegation. The surprise was all the greater since it was expected that Dr. Weizmann might be received by Prime Minister Chur chill in London prior to the British delegation’s leaving London for San Francisco. If Attlee’s statement is the final word on the attitude of the British Government towards the Palestine question, it can only mean that Britain is determined to keep Palestine for itself under sole British trusteeship instead of under international trusteeship and, perhaps, may permit the United States to have a share in Palestine to the same extent as under the present mandate.
The key to the situation, therefore, remains in the hands of the projected “Committee Number Four.” Will this committee be dominated by Britain with regard to the Palestine question, or will it make its own decisions – that is the question which is being asked here on the opening day of the Security Conference. Future sessions may contain a clue to the answer.