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No Policy Change Seen in Macdonald’s Appointment

May 19, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The shift of Malcolm MacDonald from Secretary of State for Dominions to Secretary of State for Colonies, in which position he administers the Palestine mandate, has been welcomed in responsible Jewish Agency circles, it was learned today.

Agency circles stressed his intimate knowledge of the Palestine situation gained by close association with his father, the late former Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, when the “MacDonald letter” on Palestine was published in 1931, and also his brief term as Colonial Secretary in 1935.

It was believed that Mr. MacDonald’s appointment would not lead to any immediate modification in the British Government’s policy on Palestine, since he, having considerable knowledge of Palestine affairs, already has influenced the Cabinet’s policy.

In view of Mr. MacDonald’s striking success in the dominions, his energy and ability in handling the negotiations for the treaty with Ireland, it was generally believed he would exercise a firm hand on Palestine and would unhesitatingly take any action recommended by Britain’s Palestine Partition Commission.

This view was shared by official and diplomatic circles acquainted with the Palestine situation, which felt that former Colonial Secretary William G.A. Ormsby-Gore felt handicapped by his Zionist sympathies and was unable to take the line he preferred, leaning over backward in order to be impartial. Mr. MacDonald, though likewise friendly to Zionism, was not believed to feel constraint in shaping his actions according to his own judgment.

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