London Conference on Palestine Suddenly Adjourns Until After U.N. General Assembly
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London Conference on Palestine Suddenly Adjourns Until After U.N. General Assembly

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The conference on Palestine, which opened on September 10, was suddenly adjourned today until after the meeting of the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York on Oct. 23. The conference will not be resumed before December 16, it was announced this morning after a session lasting an hour and a half.

Jewish Agency leaders, who yesterday conferred with Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and Colonial Secretary George Hall were taken by surprise by the announcement of the postponement. They were unaware that an adjournment was contemplated and intended to submit to the Government a memorandum pointing out that the conference should not have opened before preliminary discussions between the British and the Arabs.

In addition to Eliezer Kaplan, who left yesterday for Paris to report to David Ben Gurion, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, on the talks which took place earlier between the two members of the British Cabinet and the leaders of the Jewish Agency with regard to Jewish participation in the conference, three other Agency leaders were to leave today for Paris for consultations. The three – Rabbi J.L. Fishman, Berl Locker and Dr. Nahum Goldmann – were under the impression that it might be possible for them to continue informal talks with Bevin in Paris.


The adjournment of the conference until Dec. 16 will make it impossible to raise the Palestine issue at the General Assembly. Both the British Government and the Arab League have been anxious to avoid bringing the issue before the United Nations. Only the Palestine Arabs have been pressing for submission of the case to the Assembly.

When the representatives of the British Government and the Arab states resumed the meeting this morning, a report was submitted by the joint committee which studied the Arab proposals. The British delegates then indicated that the government desired more time for full consideration of these proposals.

A suggestion was then made by the British delegation that the parley be recessed. It was emphasized that the Government would like the adjournment to be short in view of the urgency of reaching a settlement. However, it was also pointed out that many delegates will have to leave for New York to attend the Assembly, after which Foreign Minister Bevin will be occupied with the meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers. Under these circumstances, it was agreed that Dec. 16 was the earliest practicable date for resuming the conference.


Jewish circles here did not hide their disappointment over the adjournment. Spokesmen stressed the vital need for some decision on Palestine, in view of the mounting tide of extremism. They also emphasized that it is high time that the question of admitting 100,000 displaced Jews to Palestine was settled.

The Manchester Guardian today reported that at the talks yesterday between the members of the Cabinet and the leaders of the Agency, the former did not give any definite assurances that the detained members of the Agency’s executive would be released, as requested by the Zionist Actions Committee. The paper also states that while the British “federalization plan” has been relegated to the background, there is no indication that the government intends to abandon the plan.

The London Times says today that the London parley reached “a crucial state” after it became known that the Arab delegates were insisting on the establishment of Palestine as an-independent state with the Jews as a permanent minority. The publication of the Arab plan in Palestine before it was submitted today to the conference came as a surprise in London where only the broad outlines of the plan were known.

A Jewish Agency spokesman, commenting on the plan, said that there was not the slightest chance that the Jews would accept it, or even discuss it. “The scheme is completely fanciful and unreal,” he stated, adding that “while it may be a dream for the Arabs, it would be a nightmare for the Jews.”

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