London (Sep. 11)
Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin today told the delegates of the Arab states attending the conference on Palestine that they must take the “broadest view” of the Palestine problem since its repercussions are being felt far beyond the limits of Palestine.
Bevin spoke at a closed session of the conference at which Colonial Secretary George Hall explained the British federalization plan which is now known as the “plan for provincial autonomy.” Bevin and Hall spoke following a statement made in behalf of all the delegations of the Arab states by Faris Bey El Khoury of Syria, who emphasized that the Arab countries do not want “any part of Palestine cut off.” He presented the views of the Arab participants at the conference as follows:
1. No part of Palestine should be cut off to make a home for immigrants of a different nationality.
2. Intensification of disorders in Palestine will lead to “defensive Arab measures” and to civil war in the country.
3. The Jewish problem is a world problem and demands world solution. Palestine has nothing to do with this problem, nor can its solution be found in Palestine.
4. Economic cooperation between the Arab states and Britain will be menaced “if any recognition of an independent political status is accorded to the Jews in Palestine.”
5. No artificial solution of the Palestine problem will be accepted by the Arabs. The only “national solution” acceptable is the application of the principle that the Palestine people determine their own fate.
“Only on this basis and within these limits do we come for an exchange of opinion,” Faris Bey said, He claimed that the Palestine Arabs as well as the Arabs of Syria, Lebanon and Transjordan rose against the Turks during World War I. “If we regard the political success achieved by other Arab countries, we experience the deepest sorrow for the burdens lying heavily upon our sister country Palestine.
“Palestine,” he continued, “has long been required as an instrument in the realization of the dreams and ambitions of political Zionists. Thus a heavy burden has been laid on her shoulders, and a policy has been imposed upon her which seems to decree that her people should be forcibly uprooted from their own land in order that another people may take their place.” He concluded with a warning that if “terrorism practiced by gangs of political Zionists” continues in Palestine, the Arabs will take measures which they consider fit “to defend themselves.
After the address, Prime Minister Attlee left the conference and the delegates went into secret session with Bevin and Hall.