London (Jul. 23)
The British Government “will not be diverted by acts of violence in the search for a just and final solution of the Palestine problem,” Prime Minister Clement Attlee stated today in Parliament, reporting on the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem where the secretariat of the Palestine Government and the British military headquarters were housed.
He said that 93 persons have been killed or are still listed as missing in the ruins of the hotel wing. The latest figures of casualties, he declared, are 41 known to be dead, 52 missing, and 53 injured.
“Of the outrages in Palestine — and they have been many and horrible during the last months — this is the worst,” the Prime Minister told the House of Commons. He announced that Sir Alan Cunningham, High Commissioner for Palestine, who yesterday conferred twice with the British Cabinet on measures to combat terrorism in Palestine, left for Jerusalem.
Outlining the immediate British policy with regard to Palestine. Prime Minister Attlee said: “As the House knows, His Majesty’s Government is momentarily in consultation with the government of the United States with a view of arriving at proposals for a just settlement of the Palestine problem. These proposals will be placed before the representatives of both the Arabs and the Jews.”
Anthony Eden asked the Prime Minister for an assurance that the government will take every measure possible to suppress terrorism in Palestine and will provide local authorities with any sanction needed to prevent the recurrence of terrorist acts. Attlee replied: “Certainly. You realize that I am awaiting a full report from the High Commissioner.”
The Prime Minister also told Parliament that he would consider calling upon Jewish leaders in Britain, including Zionist leaders, to condemn publicly the outrages in Palestine and to pledge loyal support of government steps to prevent repetition of such acts.
Samuel S. Silverman, Laborite, pointed out that the continued detention of Jewish leaders inevitably leaves the field free for others in Palestine. Attlee replied: “Mr. Silverman does injustice to the members of the Jewish Agency by suggesting that the arrests included the whole responsible leadership today. This is quite untrue.”
Later Attlee’s statement was read in the House of Lords where Lord Cranborne, speaking for the Conservatives, and Lord Perth, for the Liberals, expressed their parties’ sympathy for the relatives of the victims. Lord Reading strongly condemned the outrage but warned the British people to pause and reflect before they indulged in universal condemnation of the Jews.