Boston (May. 19)
A warning against “the impracticability of trying to disarm either the Jews or the Arabs at this time” was voiced here by Frank W. Buxton, a member of the Anglo-American Inquiry Committee on Palestine, speaking at a private dinner. He expressed confidence in the ability of the rank and file Jews and Arabs to dwell together in Palestine in peace.
Mr. Buxton, editor of the Boston Herald, said that the presence of well-armed semi-military groups in both camps was a deterrent, rather than an invitation to open conflict in Palestine, and that killings of Jews and Arabs in the past have bean due to the fact that the Arabs were armed while the Jews were defenseless.
“From personal interviews with many scores of persons intimately associated with the scenes of strife,” he said, “I feel sure of the ability of the great bulk of Arabs and Jews to live in harmony. I actually saw instances of Jews and Arabs living side by side in many parts of that restless land, while treating each other with neighborly respect.”
Asked if he thought the Committee’s recommendations against establishment of either a Jewish or Arab state in Palestine and its proposal for an international government of some form offered a solution to conflicts in that land, Mr. Buxton replied: “It would be presumptuous of anyone to answer that question in the affirmative. All I can say is that the Committee debated the long-term problem in Palestine for days, and concluded that the best interests of all concerned would be served by international controls.” He said the Committee entered into its discussions fully cognizant of the traditional problems involved in its investigations.
PREDICTS NO ONE WOULD SURRENDER ARMS; FORECASTS GREAT IMPROVEMENTS
Returning to his original warning against the disarmament of the semi-military groups, Mr, Buxton stated that enforcement of disarmament was “virtually impossible, anyway,” and chance, not worth incurring the ill feelings “that certainly would follow the attempt at such enforcement.” The Jews and Arabs are both well armed, he said. He estimated that there were probably 50,000 to 60,000 well armed Jews in Palestine.
“These arms would disappear like magic,” he pointed out, “if the owners were called upon to surrender their equipment. Blood-hounds could not find them. An arms prohibition at this time would be futile, and an encouragement to the outbreaks of violence.
“Under United Nations rule, and with the bulk of Arabs and Jews willing, I believe, to live in peace,” Mr. Buxton continued, “I predict great improvements in Palestine during the next decade. Under progressive supervision, its people can be better educated, its resources tapped, and its historic shrines can become the mecca for thousands of world tourists.”
As for Russian influence in Palestine, the Committee member saw none during his intensive research. “There is considerable talk,” he said, “about the Russians doing this, or that, and of Jews smuggling in arms from the north, presumably from Russia. But I firmly believe there is no basis to these rumors, and I certainly could detect no signs of Russian influence, one way or another, during the scores of interviews held by the Committee.”