Suggest British White Paper Be Submitted to Hague Court for Opinion on Moot Points
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Suggest British White Paper Be Submitted to Hague Court for Opinion on Moot Points

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John Simon and Viscount Hailsham, a former Lord Chancellor, follows:

“The correspondence which recently appeared in your columns regarding the Palestine statement led us to compare the recent White Paper with the terms of the Mandate. We are not at present concerned with the expediency of the Government’s policy but the Mandate constitutes for the people of this country a legal as well as a moral duty and a breach of its terms by any British Government would lay this country open to a grave charge of breach of faith and disregard of its international obligations.

“The Mandate by its preamble defines its purpose to be the putting into effect of the Balfour Declaration ‘in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish People, it being clearly understood that nothing be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.’

“This purpose is further elaborated in article 2 which makes the Mandatory Power responsible for securing the establishment of the Jewish National Home as laid down in the preamble and for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all inhabitants of Palestine. Article 6 runs as follows: ‘The administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4 close settlement by Jews on the land including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.’

“In apparent conflict with these provisions the White Paper lays down firstly in Paragraph 15 that even in cases where state lands are unoccupied it is not possible to make these areas available for Jewish settlement in view of the importance of making available additional lands on which to place Arab cultivators who are now landless; secondly, paragraphs 19 to 23 lay down that the existing practice of the Jewish Agency of employing Jewish labor on its undertakings and of stipulating in its leases that only Jewish labor shall be employed, must be brought to an end apparently on the ground that it contravenes the provisions of Article 6 of the Mandate.

“Thirdly, Paragraph 28 lays down that no further immigration of Jews is to be permitted so long as it might prevent any Arab from obtaining employment. We note that what is here referred to is not the eviction of Arabs from positions they now hold or the depriving of any section of the population of its employment, but the possibility that the presence of the Jewish immigrant might prevent some unemployed Arab from obtaining employment, which in the Jew’s absence he might be able to obtain.

“This clearly involves the prohibition, or as the White Paper calls it, the suspension of all that Jewish immigration and settlement which Article 6 of the Mandate expressly directs the Mandatory Power to facilitate and encourage. In all these respects the White Paper appears to us to involve a departure from the obligations of the Mandate.

“This country cannot afford to allow any suspicion to rest on its good faith or on its determination to carry out to the full its international obligations. If, therefore, the terms of the White Paper are a deliberate and considered announcement of the Government policy we would suggest that immediate steps be taken to induce the Council of the League of Nations to obtain from The Hague Court an advisory opinion on the questions involved, and that the British Government should not enforce those paragraphs which are challenged unless, and until, that Court has pronounced in their favor.”

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