To a deputation from the Board of Jewish Deputies that came to appeal to His Majesty’s Government to release the recently suspended immigration certificates and demonstrate its intention to administer Palestine in the spirit of the Mandate, Lord Passfield, British Colonial Secretary, stated that there has been no change in the British government’s policy in Palestine, no uncertainty in its execution of the Mandate and the protests of the Jews appear to be based upon a misunderstanding.
Lord Passfield’s statement was issued in the form of an official communique last night by the Colonial Office. The delegation that called on the Colonial Secretary consisted of d’Avigdor Goldsmid, president of the Board of Jewish Deputies; Lord Rothschild, vice-president; Jacob M. Rich, secretary and Bertram Stuart Straus, treasurer.
ONLY JEWISH HOME ENVISAGED
The Mandate did not envisage the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine but only a Jewish national home consistent with the maintenance of the position and rights of the Arab population, Lord Passfield informed the deputation.
Pointing out that while there has been no stoppage of immigration there must be a limit to Jewish immigration determined by the absorptive capacity of the country, Lord Passfield said that 950 certificates on the labor immigration schedule for the present half year have been sanctioned in advance and have not been suspended.
The Colonial Secretary stated that the Shaw Commission had reported that a certain number of Arabs had been economically prejudiced as a result of Jewish land purchases, and although it was recognized that the Jewish Agency paid liberal monetary compensation to the Arabs on the land, the government had considered it necessary to inquire into the truth of the allegations and with this object had secured the best possible expert to make inquiries. These inquiries, Lord Passfield stated, have been pursued without delay but he could not promise the date when a decision would be given.
The officials of the Board of Jewish Deputies pointed out to Lord Passfield that the Board, with the assent of the Colonial Office, had taken the initiative in the enlarged Jewish Agency and the Board was therefore keenly interested in the administration of the Mandate. The delegation pointed out that the Board was compelled to believe that the immigration certificates had been suspended on political grounds since the economic factors had been thoroughly examined by the Palestine administration before issuing the certificates.
SAYS AGENCY’S WORK HINDERED
The delegation also informed Lord Passfield that the government’s decision had prejudiced the work of the Jewish Agency and it seemed to indicate that the government had made up its mind that Jewish immigration must be stopped. Explaining that the Jewish Agency depended entirely upon voluntary contributions and that as a result of the suspension of the immigration certificates the Agency’s income had been seriously affected, the deputation said that the government’s policy had not created a loyal and contented population in Palestine.
ASKS RELEASE OF CERTIFICATES
Pointing out that the Jews for centuries had suffered injustice at the hands of others and that they would be the last to wish to see injustice inflicted on the Arabs, the deputation begged His Majesty’s Government to release the immigration certificates and demonstrate its intention to administer Palestine in the spirit of the Mandate.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.