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Morrison Warns Legislative Council May Break Homeland Pledge

April 29, 1936
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Herbert Morrison, British labor leader, member of Parliament and leader of the London County Council, warned today that under the legislative council as proposed for Palestine, promises to establish a Jewish homeland might, in effect, be broken and present difficulties accentuated.

Asserting that ordinary laws of democracy were not applicable to present conditions, he told 100 Zionist leaders at a luncheon meeting of the United Palestine Appeal in the Hotel Astor that if Britain wished to experiment in democracy, there was “a better and safer field in the domain of local self-government.”

Explaining that as a British politician he could not speak as freely as he wished, Mr. Morrison expressed regret at recent disorders in Palestine and voiced hope that the British Government would live up to its responsibility as the Mandatory Power. He said he hoped the High Commissioner would be “firm and decisive in the maintenance of public order.”

Mr. Morrison, who visited Palestine in the Summer of 1935, said there were difficulties in local government. In Tel Aviv, he declared, roads were too narrow and there was too little provision for development. The speed of development, he asserted, was too marked. He observed that in one year municipal estimates of expenditures were not approved by the Government until the fiscal year had practically expired and the funds were already expended.

Mr. Morrison lauded the development of Palestine by the Jews and the development of the Jews by Palestine, expressing himself as impressed by the fact they were doing “every conceivable class of work” and that they had lost the memory of past persecution and the expectation of future persecution that characterized the Jews in other countries.

Paying tribute to the “high morale ” of the Jews in the Jews in the agricultural colonies he stated that their willingness to work without wages and in cooperation was a demonstration of the “moral enthusiasm I hope to see in the Socialist commonwealth.” He referred to the Histadruth, Jewish general federation of labor, as the most efficient trade union organization he had seen.

Mr. Morrison expressed himself as worried about Arab-Jewish antagonism, saying Arab leaders had told him they could not understand why the British Government and the great powers had decided to establish a Jewish homeland there. When he pointed to Palestine as the Jews ancestral home, he said, an Arab leader replied by asking how he would like it if the people who occupied Britain 2,000 years ago returned to take part in the Government.

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