LONDON (Feb. 5)
Leaders of the Jewish Agency may refuse to meet further with Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, it was learned here today. Bevin, who promised the Zionists a statement of the British Government’s position on Palestine today, has at the last minute changed his mind and refused to give them a statement in writing, but has made a new promise–that they will receive a statement at the next informal meeting which is to be held within a few days.
The demand that no further meetings be held with Bevin was voiced today at a meeting of the Jewish Agency executive by Emanuel Neumann, American member, and was supported by other members of the executive, which held an all-day session to discuss the attitude to be taken towards the ultimatum which the British Government presented to the major Jewish institutions in Palestine. It is believed in Jewish circles that Bevin’s statement will announce a modified “federalization plan” which is far from satisfactory to the Jews.
Various reports current here today, on the eve of the expected announcement tomorrow in Parliament on the government’s course of action on Palestine, indicated that Bevin insisted at a Cabinet meeting that a specific federalization plan be proffered, with local autonomy and with rights for the Jews to recommend immigration schedules. It was believed that although the Cabinet may not have approved federalization definitely, it had at least given Bevin the authority to present such a plan to the Jews and Arabs. However, it was pointed out that a policy statement of such importance would have to be announced first in the House of Commons.
TODAY’S STATEMENT IN COMMONS AWAITED;REPRESSION IN PALESTINE EXPECTED
The Jewish Agency leaders here, while awaiting tomorrow’s statement in Commons, have little doubt that the Bevin plan, whenever presented, will take some form of federalization. They received this impression during their informal talks with him. It appears quite certain that this plan will be rejected by both the Jews and Arabs.
The Jewish Agency here fears that the Jews in Palestine may be facing a period of unparalleled repression. Leaders of the Agency are not certain as to whether Bevin’s plan will be imposed or whether the British Government will wait for United Nations action. In the meantime, the executive of the Jewish Agency was today trying to formulate its attitude toward the British ultimatum. Although its decision has not yet been announced, it is believed to be a certainty that the Agency will reject the ultimatum.
A Parliamentary Labor Party meeting today decided to postpone a closed party debate on Palestine until next week in order not to embarrass the government at this time. A group of back benchers, led by Richard Crossman, former member of the Anglo-American Commission, attacked the government for delaying a solution of the Palestine problem and favored the principle of partition.