London (Jul. 31)
Acting Prime Minister Herbert Morrison, speaking for the British Government in the absence of Prime Minister Attlee, told the House of Commons today that Britain desired to divide Palestine into four sections, two of which would be semi-autonomous Jewish and Arab provinces. He outlined the details of the plan, which have been known unofficially for several days.
A virtually identical statement was read simultaneously in the House of Lords by Dominions Secretary Lord Addison, leader of the House.
Former Colonial Minister Col. Oliver Stanley, who was the chief Conservative spokesman today, disclosed that the same proposal suggested by the Anglo-American experts was drawn up and in the hands of the Colonial Office nine or ten months ago, before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine made its investigations and report. Stanley declared that the inquiry committee’s report had been “buried with the highest honors.”
Morrison expressed regret that President Truman had not decided to accept the plan before commons today began a two-day debate on the Palestine issue. “We hoped for President Truman’s acceptance before the debate, but we understand that he has decided to discuss the matter in detail with American experts who are returning to Washington,” Morrison said. Meanwhile, he added, the plan will be discussed with the Arabs and the Jews.
Morrison asserted that the government has evidence that several leaders of the Jewish Agency were directly implicated in the terrorist campaign in Palestine. Only part of the evidence was published in last week’s White Paper, he said.
If and when the “federalization plan” is accepted — and only then — the British Government will issue Palestine immigration certificates to Jews in Europe as rapidly as possible, the Labor Government spokesman said. Every effort will be made, he continued, to complete the immigration of the 100,000 Jews recommended by the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine within twelve months.
The immigrants will be selected primarily from Austria, Germany and Italy, under the plan, and priority will be given to agriculturists and craftsman, children, the infirm and the aged. The only certificates that will be allotted to Jews in Eastern Europe will go to orphans.
U.S. ASKED TO TRANSPORT 100,000 AND FEED THEM FOR TWO MONTHS AFTER ARRIVAL
Morrison revealed that the United States would be asked to undertake the responsibility of transporting the 100,000 Jews to Palestine and providing them with food for the first two months after their arrival. Some of the money for transferring and settling the immigrants could be secured from German reparations, contributions by Jews and loans, he said. A substantial grant will also be asked from the United States for development of Arab projects in Palestine.
Declaring that the present military operations in Tel Aviv were aimed at apprehending the perpetrators of the King David outrage, who are believed to be hiding there, Morrison said that “the curse of Hitler has not been wholly removed from some of his victims. Fleeing from Europe, they have carried the germs of the very plagues from which they sought protection.” He urged Zionists to take care that “their faith” should not be perverted, bringing ruin to them.
He stated that the refusal of the Jewish population of Palestine to cooperate with the forces of law had been the greatest obstacle to the success of operations aimed at eradicating the terrorists, but disassociated the government from the letter issued a few days ago by Lieut. Con. Sir Evelyn Barker, British commander in Palestine.
While approving, “under the circumstances, ” Barker’s instruction to his troops not to fraternize with Jews, and “while making allowances for the provocation to which the forces were exposed, and recognizing that they letter was written shortly after the outrage, the government feels that they must disassociate themselves from the actual terms in which the letter was couched,” Morrison said.
BRITAIN AND U.S. URGED TO FIND NEW HOMES FOR JEWS IN EUROPE
The government spokesman said that the Anglo-American experts recognized that Palestine cannot absorb all the Jewish refugees and, therefore, recommended that the United States and Britain find new homes for many and also seek conditions in Europe that will enable the resettlement of a substantial number there. The two countries are also urged to appeal to the member nations of the United Nations Assembly to receive displaced persons, including Jews, in their territory.
Pending establishment of the new International Refugee Organization to be set up by the U.N., England and America will, according to the plan of the experts, continue to promote resettlement of refugees through the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees, with emphasis on South American countries, particularly Brazil.
Morrison then outlined in detail the “federalization” plan, explaining the authority which will be given the Jewish and Arab states and the rights to be reserved by the central government, which will be controlled by the British. He added that provincial autonomy would greatly simplify the administration of Jewish immigration, but emphasized that final control of immigration would rest with the central government. The experts suggested that it might be possible to accept the recommendation for the immediate admission of the 100,000 Jews continuing immigration thereafter. But, he said, the transfer of the 100,000 Jews could only take place if the entire scheme were put in operation.
Boundaries between the various sections would not be changed except through agreement between the provinces. The provincial governments would be required to guarantee the rights and equality of all citizens, and freedom of commerce among all sections of Palestine. All bills passed by the provincial legislatures will require the consent of the High Commissioner, who, Morrison declared, would not veto them unless they are inconsistent with the central government’s safeguarding of peace and minority rights.
SAYS WORLD WEARY OF ARAB-JEWISH STRIFE, SICKENED BY TERRORISM
Terming the plan a “fair and reasonable” compromise, Morrison appealed for the cooperation of the Palestine population in the campaign to suppress terrorism. He said that the world was “weary” of the “ceaseless” Arab-Jewish strife and “sickened by barbarous incidents” and called on the Jews and the Arabs to end a “sordid” chapter in history and join the “civilized nations in building the foundations of a nobler happier world.”
Col. Stanley appealed to the Jews to cooperate in the attempts to crush terrorism, thus proving that they reject the crimes committed in Palestine. Action against the terrorists, he added, might have been more effective if undertaken in October and November of last year.
Richard Grossman, Labor, who was a member of the Anglo-American inquiry committee on Palestine, pointed out that the Haganah had in the past helped the government frustrate several attempts to blow up its offices in the King David Hotel. He said that in one instance the Haganah had kidnapped a member of the Irgun Zvai Lemi and discovered that the extremists had planted two rocket explosives in a field near the hotel. This information had been communicated to the government in time to save the building, he stated, adding that responsibility must be borne partly by those who left the hotel “apparently unguarded.”
He urged the release of the arrested members of the Jewish Agency executive, declaring that if the government did not wish to arrest and try the Mufti for fear of making a martyr of him, then it should apply the same principle to the Jews who throughout the war actively “stood by us.”
CHARGES GOVERNMENT HAMSTRUNG BY ANTI-SEMITES IN KEY POSITIONS
Rev. Gordon Lang, Labor, said that the government was being hamstrung by anti-Semitic reactionaries in key positions. He attacked Gen. Barker’s letter as “vulgar anti-Semitism,” and said that there would be no everlasting peace in the world until the Jews were returned to their own land as ordained in the Scriptures.
Following the presentation of the plan by Lord Addison in the House of Lords, Viscount Cranborne, a former Colonial Minister, said the recommendations of the Palestine inquiry committee were idealistic rather than realistic. If Palestine were a larger country, he declared, partition would be feasible, but under the cir- cumstances the federalization plan was a genuine attempt to harmonize the aspirations of both the Arabs and the Jews.
It is a bitter pill for the Jews to give up their hopes for a Jewish state and for the Arabs to accept the entry of 100,000 Jews, he said, but this is the only alternative to a bloody civil war which would weaken both peoples. He expressed the hope that the arrested Jewish leaders would not remain imprisoned indefinitely without a trial.
The Archbishop of York advocated safeguards for the Holy Places and condemned the “unscrupulous venomous propaganda against Britain.” Lord Rothschild stressed the absolute desperation of the Jews after the extermination of 6,000,000 in Europe and the post-war pogroms. Lord Morrison deplored President Truman’s attitude, and said he feared that any solution short of a Jewish state would be denounced in America. Lord Reading said he hoped both the Jews and the Arabs would give their serious consideration to the plan.
The Foreign Office announced today that the government of Saudi Arabia has accepted an invitation to attend the round-table discussions of the British plan.
(Dr. Hussein Khalidi, secretary of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee, said in Jerusalem tonight that “Arabs in Palestine and abroad reject partition in whatever form it is presented.” Commenting on the Anglo-American experts plan, Khalidi added that the Higher Committee had not yet received any invitation to attend the proposed London “round-table” talks on Palestine.)