Jerusalem (Apr. 24)
High Commissioner Sir Alan G. Cunningham paid a flying visit to British Middle East military headquarters in Cairo today where he held a several-hour conference on the military situation in Palestine and the measures to be taken to crush terrorism.
During his absence Chief Secretary Sir Henry L. Gurney met at his request with Goldie Meirson, chairman of the political department of the Jewish Agency. Sir Henry voiced disappointment at the deterioration of relations between the Agency and the Palestine Government. He asked Mrs. Meirson “how do you expect the government to understand you and your demands when no contact exists?” He touched generally on the security situation here and the recent hangings.
The Meirson-Gurney conference follows a meeting yesterday between the High Commissioner and David Ben Gurion, Agency chairman, which was devoted mainly to the present tense situation. Immediately following the meeting, which was the first time that top British and Zionist leaders had met for several months, a special session of the Jewish Agency executive was held. No announcement was made concerning its deliberations.
At a press conference here today, an Agency spokesman ridiculed statements in the House of Lords yesterday that $30,000,000 had been collected in the United States to buy ships for illegal immigration and guns for terrorists. He also challenged an allegation that thousands of Jews might have drowned if not for British warships, declaring that the reverse was true: were it not for the British Navy, many Jews now dead might be alive.
Finally, he took up the assertion that Britain had enabled the immigration of 450,000 Jews into Palestine, stating that the whole issue between the Jews and Britain revolved around whether the policy which had permitted the arrival of 450,000 would continue or was to be abandoned. The demand for a Jewish state flows from the abandonment by the British of this policy, he continued.
(A similar statement was issued this afternoon in New York by the American branch of the Agency. The statement suggested that if the British were really concerned about the conditions under which Jews travel to Palestine, they should accept the offer of the American Government to transport 100,000 DP’s from German camps to Palestine on U.S. vessels.)
GOVERNMENT PROTESTS BOYCOTT OF “ZIONIST GOODS” IN ARAB COUNTRIES
The official conferences and statements came on the heels of a warning by the Irgun radio last night that in the future British troops and police caught carrying arms would be tried by “field court-martials” from which there would be no appeal. They would be tried as members of an illegal organization in the Jewish homeland or as “looters or oppressors of the Masses,” the broadcast said. Those convicted will be executed on the spot.
The government announced tonight that it has made representations concerning the Arab boycott of “Zionist goods,” pointing out that such action was inconsistent with the draft charter of the International Trade Organization now meeting in Geneva, with the provisions of the U.N. Charter and with the general principles of trade. Observers here said that the announcement serves merely to place the government on record as opposing the boycott, but does not indicate that it plans to do anything about it.