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Churchill Says Britain Should Surrender Mandate if It Fails to Obtain U.S. Cooperation

August 2, 1946
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Conservative leader Winston Churchill declared today that if Britain failed to secure American cooperation in solving the Palestine problem, it should surrender the mandate and place the entire problem in the hands of the United Nations.

Participating in the second day of the Parliamentary debate on Palestine, which opened yesterday, Churchill expressed the hope that the reports of American rejection of the British “federalization” plan were not final. He said that the British Government should have made it clear to the United States as soon as the war ended, that unless the U.S. “came in and bore their share, we should lay the whole burden at the feet of the U.N.”

The former Prime Minister said that he stood by a policy of a national home for Jews in Palestine which he formulated 20 years ago, but added that he did not believe that all of Palestine should constitute that national home. “I am convinced.” he stated, “that from the moment we feel ourselves unable to carry out a Zionist policy, as we have defined and accepted it — and which was the condition on which we received the mandate for Palestine — it is our duty at any rate to lay down the mandate.”


Colonial Secretary George Hall, who followed Churchill, said that the “remarkable degree of agreement” manifested during the debate would encourage the government to go forward with its plan. He said that he was still hopeful that the government would receive American cooperation until the plan was put through.

He stressed that the “federalization” scheme was still tentative regarding the formation and composition of a central government and the fate of the Negev and emphasized that “eventually” the British would draft a trusteeship agreement for submission to the United Nations.

Hall said that the “Hayyim” who was referred to in one of the eight telegrams published in the British White Paper last week was Dr. Weizmann, but he was not involved in anything illegal or in anything leading to the opinion that he was “other than a great Zionist and a great friend of this country.”

Sir Stafford Cripps, who opened the debate today for the government, said that the plan recommended by the Anglo-American experts “depends on the cooperation of America,” and voiced the hope that such cooperation would be forthcoming.

A solution of the Palestine problem must be aimed at the final objective of self-government for the Jews and Arabs, Cripps stated. “The most we can do in fairness to Arabs and Jews alike,” he said, “is to try and provide a large measure of self- government within the limited territory as the size of that territory will allow.”

He declared the government was anxious to retain the friendship of both Jews and Arabs and, reviewing the Jews’ suffering during the war, added: “Nothing could resist the claims of the Jews, except the equal claim of the Arabs.”

President Truman’s request for the admission of 100,000 Jews needs considerable planning and financing, Sir Stafford asserted, and also some general scheme for reassuring the Arabs. The rescue of Jews in Europe should not be considered exclusively a Palestine problem, he emphasized.


In reply to a question by pro-Zionist Laborite Sidney Silverman, Cripps said that the government did not intend to cease working with the Jewish Agency and that he hoped to hold discussions with several members of the Agency tomorrow. There was no intention of inviting the ex-Mufti to participate in the Palestine talks, he continued.

Churchill praised the efficiency of the Jewish armed forces in Palestine, saying that their ability had been recognized by the highest British military authorities in 1942. The Zionists and the Jewish community of Palestine had been unreservedly on the side of the British during the war, he recalled. He condemned, however, violence by Jewish extremists, stating that “Jewish warfare against the British will automatically release us from our obligations.”

Silverman declared that 600,000 Palestine Jews — “who won Palestine back from the desert — were waiting to receive Jews who wanted to seek refuge in the Promised Land. For twelve solid months a Socialist government in this country has kept them out, preaching patience and restraint, preaching non-violence,” Silverman said.

“There they sit, in your concentration camps yet, still waiting for any word of hope from this country. Your enemies can take your life, your property, your house, your livelihood, everything from you — breath itself — but only your friends can inflict upon you the last refinement of cruelty of raising hopes every morning, turned to disappointment every night.”

Silverman said that among the defects of the partition plan was that it left control of immigration to the central government and made no provision to house the proposed 100,000 Jewish immigrants.

M.P. Price, Labor, said, “We must shame the Americans into making a contribution to the problem of absorbing the Jews and not to have them standing over there on the eve of a Congress election, lecturing us and then leaving us to face the situation such as we have in Palestine.”

Daniel L. Lipson, Independent, said he was no friend to Jews who tried in the slightest degree to justify or condone the action of the terrorists,” The fact that 6,000,000 Jews have been killed by the Nazis,” Lipson added, “is not the slightest justification for murderous and treacherous attacks on British soldiers who saved the remaining Jews from a similar fate. If it were not for Great Britain and her stand in 1940 what would there be of the Jewish race in Palestine There are many Jews in this country and other lands who are, and will ever remain, grateful to Great Britain for what she has done.”

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