Ask Mandate Body to Define Terms, Morrison Urges
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Ask Mandate Body to Define Terms, Morrison Urges

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Isidore D. Morrison, deputy member of the Council of the Jewish Agency, addressed the following communication to Morris Rothenberg, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, with a reqest that the suggestion contained in this communication be presented to the Council at an early date.

“Recent events in Palestine seem to have clearly demonstrated that the High Commissioner, notwithstanding all his protestations to the contrary, has definitely allied himself with the Arab agitation for the curtailment of Jewish immigration. The transfer of Police Inspector Faraday, who was denounced by the Arabs for enforcing the law, and the permission for the recent demonstration against Jewish immigration and land purchases, point unmistakably in that direction. Under these circumstances, negotiations with the Colonial office in London appear to be futile, as it is most unlikely that the High Commissioner is actong without the authority of the Colonial Office.

“The right of Jews to enter freely into Palestine may be briefly traced through the following official documents, which constitute an international obligation on the part of Great Britain.

A The mandate over Palestine, granted to Great Britain by the League of Nations, which states that it shall be “the duty of the mandatory to facilitate close settlement of the Jews on the land.”

B.The so-called Churchill White Paper of 1922, which states that “Jews may enter Palestine as of right and not on sufferance.”

C. The Letter of Prime Minister MacDonald to Doctor Weizmann of February 1930, in which he promised that “Jews would be permitted to immigrate into Palestine in accordance with the ‘economic absorptive capacity’ of the country.”

“It would, therefore, seem that the rights of the Jews to enter Palestine and settle on the Iand is definitely fixed by international law, which cannot be altered by the whim of an administrator. It appears, however, that the High Commissioner construes the phrase ‘economic absorptive capacity of the country’, used in the MacDonald letter, as ambiguous and that, therefore, he is at liberty to grant or withold certificates of immigration at will. Under these circumstances it seems to me to be imperative that an interpretation of the phrase ‘economic capacity’, in the light of the other documents that preceded the MacDonald letter, be obtained from a competent international body. Such body is to be found in the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, which has jurisdiction in the premises. I would strongly urge upon the Council the submission of the League of Nations of a request to interpret and define the following:

1. What constitutes ‘economic absorptive capacity’?

2. Who is to determine what this ‘economic absorptive capacity’ is?

3. What are the facts necessary in order to determine the extent of ‘economic absorptive capacity’?

“I do not think that the English government could find any fault with us for asking the Mandates Commission for a definite interpretation of points, which the High Commissioner seems to think are ambiguous. Once such interpretation is secured, there ought to be no further difficulty with the Palestine authorities. Moreover, a clear cut pronouncement by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, defining the rights of the Jews and the duties of the Mandatory in respect to immigration and land purchases, will have the effect of curbing, and perhaps stopping entirely, the Arab agitation, which is so artificially promoted.

“I would strongly urge that an American attorney, preferably a non-Jew, be employed to present the matter to the Mandates Commission.”

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