British Government Releases Exchange of Correspondence with Jewish Agency

The British Government tonight released the correspondence between Colonial Secretary George Hall and Dr. Chaim Weizmann on the negotiations concerning the Jewish Agency’s participation in the London Conference on Palestine.

The documents included Dr. Weizmann’s letter of Aug. 16 pointing out that the Jewish Agency was prepared to attend if the “establishment of a Jewish state in an adequate area of Palestine” was the purpose of the discussions. The letter also demanded that the Agency have the right to name its own representatives including the Jewish leaders detained in Palestine, and the right to invite all members of the Jewish delegation including those from groups outside the Agency.

A letter from Hall on Aug. 26 insisted that the first subject on the agenda would be the government’s “federalization” proposal, but that each delegation would have the right to put forward its own plan. He also asked that the proposed list of Agency representatives be forwarded in advance of the conference so that it could be discussed and agreed upon before the parley opened.

In reply, Dr. Weizmann’s letter of Sept. 4 stressed that the present difficulties in Palestine were caused by the White Paper of 1939. In view of the desperate plight of the Jews, he asserted that the Agency executive decided to make a final sacrifice to facilitate a lasting settlement based on the establishment of a Jewish state in an adequate area, and for this reason was prepared to discuss the further sacrifice of territory beyond that lost by the separation of Transjordan from Palestine in 1922.

“Beyond the scheme proposed by us,” Weizmann declared, “no Jewish representatives could go without being repudiated by the Jewish people.” He said that the “federalization plan,” which deprives the Jews of 85 percent of western Palestine, does not provide for genuine self-government and does not assure freedom of immigration and settlement. The letter did not refer to the possibility of the Agency joining the London conference at a later stage.

Hall’s final answer today expressed regret at the Agency’s decision not to participate in the discussions and declared: “In spite of the plight of the Jews of Europe, the attitude of the Agency executive amounts to a refusal to attend the conference except to discuss its own proposal. His Majesty’s Government in convening the conference of both Arabs and Jews on a subject vital to both peoples cannot possibly allow one party alone to lay down the agenda for the proceedings.”

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