The how and why of the discussion at the sessions in the just concluded meeting of the Zionist General Council on a draft constitution for the extended Jewish Agency, when formed, were explained by Felix Rosenblueth, member of the Zionist Executive in London, who represented Dr. Chaim Weizmann in presenting the draft to the Zionist body here.
In an interview with the Berlin correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Mr. Rosenblueth authorized the correspondent to declare that all texts and summaries of the draft constitution published hitherto in the press were unauthorized and inaccurate. The Zionist Executive is very much gratified with the result of the proceedings of the General Council when it had the opportunity to discuss with leaders of all Zionist groups the outline of the proposed constitution and to give them an insight into the negotiations concerning the matter which are still pending. The draft, when finally agreed upon by the Zionists, he stated, will have to be submitted to the non-Zionist partners in the extended Jewish Agency for approval. The full text of the draft cannot therefore at this moment be published.
It is clear, he said, that after the Zionist Organization had reached an agreement with the Marshall group concerning the principles of the future Palestine upbuilding work under the Agency, the task of formulating a document which is to serve as the basis for the entire future work of the Agency still remains. It is for this constitution that the Actions Committee at its Berlin session adopted a draft which was prepared by the Zionist Executive in London following several months of intense work. The negotiations with the American, English and other important groups of non-Zionists showed a far-reaching agreement concerning the principles but little of the details were discussed.
The main features of the draft constitution, contrary to the versions published, are the provisions which expressly base the document on the Balfour Declaration, emphasizing the historic connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and on the Palestine Mandate, with its provisions contained in Article 4 for the setting up of the Jewish Agency. The main principles for the Jewish reconstruction work in Palestine, as formulated by the Zionist Congresses and as agreed to by the non-Zionists, namely Jewish immigration, Jewish labor, the Hebrew language, national land possession, the right of the settlers to determine the form of settlement within the limits of economic feasibility, are all incorporated in the draft. The document further contains an outline of the or- (Continued on Page 2)
In accordance with the resolution adopted by the Zionist Congress, Mr. Rosenblueth continued, the president of the Zionist Organization is to be the president of the Jewish Agency. However, the Council of the Jewish Agency by a three-fourths majority may decide otherwise. The Keren Hayesod, the Palestine Foundation Fund, is to be recognized as the instrument of the Jewish Agency to raise the annual budget for the Palestine work. Thus it is expressed that the Zionists and the non-Zionists are to bear jointly the responsibility for raising the budget. On the other hand the status of the Keren Kayemath, the Jewish National Fund, remains unchanged.
The question of vote by proxy is regulated in the constitution draft in the following manner: The American members as well as other members of the Agency who come from overseas countries have the right to accept the proxy of those American and other overseas Council members who cannot be present when the Council meets in Europe. Likewise European members of the Jewish Agency Council have a right to delegate their vote to other Council members when the Agency Council meets in America. Other votes by proxy are not admissible.
Unanimity prevails concerning the possibility of the dissolution of the extended Jewish Agency. In such case the Zionist Organization is to take the place of the Agency and the status quo ante is to prevail in accordance with the sense of the Mandate. Negotiations are still pending concerning the manner of dissolution as well as regarding certain questions in connection with the composition of the Executive, Mr. Rosenblueth stated.
When the non-Zionists will have approved the constitution it will of course be subject to the ratification of the Zionist Congress. However, the Zionist Executive felt the necessity of asking the General Council for an authorization to convene the Agency Council in August since otherwise the constitution meeting could not be held this year. The Executive emphatically rejects the contention of the radical Zionists that the decision to convene the Agency Council is illegal. The contrary is true, the Executive is not only entitled but is obliged to take all steps necessary for the convening of the meeting immediately after the ratification by the Congress since all factions in the General Council have given their consent with the exception of the Radical Zionists and the Zionist Revisionists, he concluded.
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