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House of Lords Debates Palestine Issue; Opening of Trans Jordan to Jews is Urged

December 11, 1945
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A full-dress debate on the Palestine issue took place in the House of Lords today following the announcement of the composition of the Anglo-American inquiry commission by Foreign Secretary Bevin, in Commons.

Lord Antringham, who – as Sir Edward Grigg – was British Minister of State in the Middle East, opened the debate with an attack on the Jews of Palestine, charging them with “unscrupulous abuse” of the British police and military services in Palestine. He said that the charges against the British being voiced by the Jewish underground radio “Voice of Israel” are “a disgrace to Israel.”

Viscount Samuel, who was the first Palestine High Commissioner and under whose administration Transjordan was separated from Palestine, told the House of Lords that Transjordan should be opened to Jewish immigration. He denounced the White Paper and the men-hunt for refugees. The White Paper, he said, was a contradiction of the Balfour Declaration and was condemned in advance by the Peel Commission.

At the same time, Lord Samuel emphasized that he considers it a “false step” on the part of the Zionists to ask for a Jewish State. The Balfour Declaration, he argued, did not promise a Jewish State, but an opportunity to create conditions under which in the course of time it might be possible to establish a Jewish State. He denied that Palestine could not absorb more immigrants, declaring that its population could be troubled or trebled. He emphasized that 100,000 Jews went to their death in gas chambers in Europe, who could have been saved if admitted to Palestine.


The partnership of the United States in settling the Palestine problem is innitable, Viscount Samuel said. He opposed independence for Palestine and suggested instead a temporary trusteeship, with Moslem, Jewish and Christian communities taking charge of their own educational and religious affairs.

The Archbishop of York, who is a member of the House of Lords, warned against the “un-Christian, irrational anti-Semitism which is noticeable even in England,” and appealed to Jewish leaders to curb anti-British attacks by speakers and writers, which might lead to a dangerous reaction in this country. Britain, he added, sympathizes with the Jews, and wishes them to get a home where they can develop their culture and live free of persecution.

Lord Cranborne, former Colonial Minister, appealed to the Zionist leaders to that violence in Palestine. He said that he found no trace of anti-Jewish bias among officials of the Colonial Office during his administration, and expressed the belief that the anti-British feelings “are not representative of the vast majority of Jews.”

Lord Strabolgi appealed to the British Government to take steps to halt the violent anti-Semitism in Poland which is now forcing Jews to flee to Germany. He said that the Palestine problem would be solved only when Palestine is given a dominion states. He suggested that Britain and the United States invite Russia to participate in the Anglo-American inquiry commission on Palestine.

Lord Chancellor, replying for the Government, said that it would not be decented by threats and violence from carrying out its duty of maintaining law and order in Palestine.

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