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Anglo-american Inquiry Committee Hears Palestine Government Spokesman, Church Leaders

March 25, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

John V.W. Shaw, Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government, and ranking British administrative official after High Commissioner Sir Alen Cunningham, appeared before the full Anglo-American inquiry committee yesterday. It is presumed that Secretary Shaw presented the official Government position, but no definite information is available at present because his testimony was given at a closed session.

In a statement to the press, the inquiry committee replied to the American Zionist Emergency Council’s charges that the official transcript of the committee’s sessions had deliberately omitted those sections of the testimony of Jamal el Husseini and Auni Bey Abdul Hadi, Arab Higher Committee spokesmen, which admitted the association between the Nazis and the ex-Mufi. The committee replied that the Arabs had spoken in English with an accent which was not familiar to the American court reporter and that he had, therefore, missed parts of the witnesses’ statements.

The committee, however, insisted that its members were well aware of the Arab testimony and that efforts were being made to correct the official transcript. The press statement also said that the committee regretted that the American Zionists had released their accusation to the press before asking the inquiry body for its explanation.

Yesterday’s morning session was devoted largely to religious spokesmen, with representatives of the Anglican Church, the American Episcopal Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, and various other Eastern Christian Churches, all of Palestine, appearing. The representative of the Maronite Church, who’s Beirut Archbishop, Monsignor Ignatz Mourbarak, last week called for a Jewish state in Palestine, did not appear for “reasons of health.”


The Right Reverend Dr. Weston H. Stewart, Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, expressed opposition to the proposed Jordan Valley Authority for the harnessing of the Jordan’s waters for irrigation and electric power, “because Christian sentiment would be profoundly shocked if the holy places were sacrificed to any nationalist or imperialist scheme of industry or commerce.” He said that if Palestine is partitioned, neither Bethlehem nor Galilee should be included in the Jewish or Arab sections.

He also deplored the “regrettable extent to which politics was allowed to permeate the education of the young,” pointing out that the Jewish community conducted its own schools and that the Palestine Administration supervised Arab schools. The director of the Government’s education department, W.J. Farrel, testifying earlier, asserted that Arab schools were superior to the Jewish.

Greek Orthodox Bishop George Hakim of Galilee, speaking for the assembled representatives of various Eastern Christian Churches, opposed Zionism, stating that Palestine was an Arab land and should be kept that way. He further stated that Christian Arabs and Moslem Arabs live together on the best of terms.

Henry Cattan, an Arab lawyer appearing for the Arab Higher Committee, charged that the “Arabs of Palestine have been crucified and bleeding for the last 25 years.” He presented a series of legal arguments asserting Arab claims to Palestine and denying Britain’s right to dispose of the country. During cross-examination by American committee member Frank Aydelotte, Cattan denied that the influx of Jews of Palestine had increased the Arab standard of living, either by improving cultivation of the lend or raising wages to a higher level than that existing in other Arab countries. Dr. Aydelotte remarked “how interesting, we heard contradictory opinions in neighboring countries.”

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