London (Sep. 12)
No spectacular developments are expected within the next few days at the conference on Palestine. Today’s session was devoted entirely to statements made by all Arab delegations regarding the “plan for provincial autonomy” for Palestine offered by the British Government. It is understood that they all rejected the plan.
Jewish groups in Britain which are not affiliated with the Jewish Agency were to meet today and discuss the question of their joining the conference under certain conditions. The meeting was arranged by Acting Chief Rabbi Harris Lazarus of the British Empire, but was postponed at the last minute at the request of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
The Anglo-Jewish Association at a meeting tonight appointed Leonard Stein and Neville Laski as its representatives to the conference. However, they will not participate in the parley “pending clarification of the attitude of the Jewish Agency.” This is interpreted to mean that the Anglo-Jewish Association has no intention of joining the conference without the Agency, although this possibility is not entirely excluded. The resolution of the Association expressed the hope that the Agency will yet participate in the conference.
Some of the non-Agency groups in London are disappointed at the fact that the Jewish Agency has not yet taken advantage of the renewed offer made by Colonial Secretary George Hall to the leaders of the Agudas Israel, suggesting that Jewish Agency leaders continue informal talks either with him alone, or with him and Foreign Minister Bevin.
At the same time, the non-Agency groups reiterate that it would serve no useful purpose for them to attend the conference without the Jewish Agency. Nevertheless, it was stated today by H.H. Goodman, Agudah leader, that “there is a growing feeling that the present negative attitude is not fully justifiable.”
A suggestion that the non-Agency groups should participate in the conference for a single day in order to demonstrate the Jewish willingness to cooperate has met with little response.
ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY REGRETS ABSENCE OF “JEWISH COUSINS” AT CONFERENCE
Regret that “our cousins, the Jews,” were absent from the conference on Palestine was expressed today by Abdul Rahman Azzam Bey, secretary-general of the Arab League, at a press conference here. He said that the Jews might have been impressed “by the clear Arab statements” made at today’s private session of the conference.
“We came to London to rid the world of one of its most difficult problems which had to be faced,” he said. “We never felt enmity or hatred towards the Jews. We do not want to increase anti-Semitism which we detest. We have always been friends of the Jews with whom we lived for centuries. But unfortunately new problems of political Zionism have upset the relations. Nevertheless, there is no real enmity.”
Declaring that all Arab states are of one opinion regarding Palestine, Azzam Bey expressed the hope that after the conference is over an Arab-British block will be formed. He said that it is still possible that the Palestine Arabs may come either as delegates or as observers to the conference. He evaded a question as to whether the Arabs will sit at the same table with the Jews, and indicated that the Arab states will bring the Palestine question before the General Assembly of the United Nations if no agreement is reached at the present parley.
A message requesting that the Palestine question be submitted to the Security Council of the United Nations was received from Bagdad today by the conference. The message, sent by the three major left-wing political parties in Iraq said: “We condemn the present negotiations on Palestine. No solution will satisfy the Arab world, except the realization of an independent democratic Arab state in Palestine.”