Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/48

BC–41

Secretary’s Notes of a Conversation Held in M. Pichon’s Room at the Quai d’Orsay, Paris, on Thursday, 27th February, 1919, at 3 p.m.

Present Also Present
America, United States of present during question 2
Hon. R. Lansing. America, United States of
Hon. H. White. Mr. David Magie.
Secretaries British Empire
Mr. A. H. Frazier. Major Hon. W. Ormsby-Gore, M. P.
Mr. L. Harrison. Lt. Col. W. H. Gribbon, C. M. G.
British Empire Italy
The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, O.M., M.P. M. Galli.
The Rt. Hon. Viscount Milner, G. C. B., G. C. M. G. M. Piacentini.
Secretaries Zionist Mission
Lt. Col. Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K. C. B. Dr. C. Weizmann.
Sir P. Loraine, Bt. M. N. Sokolow.
France M. Sylvain Levi.
M. Pichon. M. Spire.
M. Tardieu. M. Ussischkins.
Secretaries
M. Dutasta.
M. Berthelot.
M. de Bearn.
Italy
H. E. Baron Sonnino.
H. E. Marquis Salvago Raggi.
Secretaries
Count Aldrovandi.
M. Bertele.
Japan
H. E. Baron Makino.
H. E. M. Matsui.

Joint Secretariat

America, United States of Colonel U. S. Grant.
British Empire Major A. M. Caccia, M. V. O.
France Captain Portier.
Italy Lieut. Zanchi.
Japan M. Saburi.
Interpreter:—Prof. P. J. Mantoux.
[Page 160]

1. M. Pichon, circulated a copy of the following Resolution, which had been received from Colonel House, for formal acceptance by the Conference, and said he understood an agreement had already been reached on the subject:— Draft Resolution in Regard to the Procedure for the Determination of Frontiers: (a) Colonel House’s Resolution

“It is agreed that:—

In order to expedite the work of the Conference in defining the approximate future frontiers of the enemy countries in the preliminary treaties of peace a Committee composed of one representative, each, of the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, be appointed with the following terms of reference:—

(a)
to draw up for the consideration of the Preliminary Peace Conference the frontiers based on the recommendations of the territorial Commissions which have been, or may be, appointed.
(b)
to make recommendations as to any part of the frontiers of enemy States which are not included in the scope of any Commission, excepting such frontier questions as any of the Powers concerned may reserve for discussion in the first instance at the Quai d’Orsay Council.”

(b) M. Sonnino’s Proposal Regarding: Number of Representatives M. Sonnino thought it would not be sufficient to have only one representative of each of the Great Powers on the Committee. It might not always be possible for the same representative to attend and, though he might be replaced by a substitute, the latter would find great difficulty in taking part in the deliberations, owing to his not having kept in touch with the previous proceedings. Colonel House had, he believed, originally proposed three representatives. He (M. Sonnino) had agreed that that number was probably excessive, but he thought that each Power should certainly have the right to appoint two representatives, in order to ensure the proper continuity of the work.

Mr. Lansing said that his own preference would be for a small Committee of five members, with the power of introducing as many experts as might be thought useful. Consequently, a representative could always be replaced by one of his experts, should the necessity arise.

M. Sonnino said that he would not press the matter, but he certainly thought one representative would be too few.

Mr. Balfour said that he would not, himself, fight one way or the other. He enquired, however, whether the difficulty could not be overcome by allowing one representative, with power of substitution.

(c) Proposed Appointment of Permanent Assistant Delegates M. Tardieu pointed out that the power of substitution already existed. He would suggest, therefore, that each representative should be permitted to have one permanent assistant delegate, who would have the advantage of following the discussions day by day.

M. Sonnino enquired whether the permanent assistant delegate would have the power of taking part in the discussions. [Page 161]He wished to point out that the proposed Committee would not merely be a co-ordinating Committee; it would also have the duty of taking the initiative on all questions which had not been referred to a Commission.

Mr. Lansing, intervening, said that his purpose in suggesting five representatives had been to avoid discussion by a large number of people.

(d) Division of Co-ordinating Committee To Be Submitted to Conference of Great Powers M. Sonnino, continuing, said that it was understood the decisions of the proposed Committee would come before the Conference of the Great Powers before being submitted to a plenary session of the Preliminary Peace Conference.

(It was agrees that:—

In order to expedite the work of the Conference in defining the approximate future frontiers of the enemy countries in the preliminary treaties of peace a Committee composed of one representative, each, of the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, be appointed with the following terms of reference:—

(a)
to draw up for the consideration of the Preliminary Peace Conference the frontiers based on the recommendations of the territorial Commissions which have been, or may be, appointed.
(b)
to make recommendations as to any part of the frontiers of enemy States which are not included in the scope of any Commission, excepting such frontiers questions as any of the Powers concerned may reserve for discussion in the first instance at the Quai d’Orsay Council.

It was also agreed that each of the five representatives of the Great Powers should have the right to bring an Assistant with him, in order to ensure continuity in the proceedings.)

(At this stage the Zionist Representatives and the technical experts in Zionism entered the Council Chamber.)

2. M. Pichon, having welcomed the Zionist Deputation, called upon M. Sokolow to address the meeting.

Statement by Zionist Representatives: (a) Statement by M. Sokolow, Member of Zionist organisation M. Sokolow introduced himself as representing the Zionist Organisation and the Jewish population of Palestine. He had prepared a printed “Statement of the Zionist Organisation regarding Palestine,”1 and he asked permission to distribute copies of the same to the members of the Conference.

[Page 162]

Continuing, M. Sokolow said that the Conference would understand his emotions, now that the solemn hour awaited during 18 centuries by the Jewish people had, at length, arrived. The Delegates had come to claim their historic rights to Palestine, the land of Israel, where, in ancient times, the Jewish people had created a civilisation which had since exercised an enormous influence on humanity. There they had lived happily until the country had been lost; since when a long continued martyrdom had been suffered. Now this people possessed no land and no national power. Undoubtedly, happy groups of Jews lived in the countries of Western Europe and in the United States of America; but those where, comparatively speaking, only small groups. The great majority of the Jewish [Page 163]people did not live in those countries and the problem of the masses remained to be solved. The Jews would never forget that France had been the first to recognise the rights of man and personal liberty, and it was under that influence that the Jews had obtained rights of citizenship in other countries. It was in Great Britain that the ancient traditions of Zionism first took root. It was in Great Britain, and especially in the British Colonies, that the Jews had been able to establish prosperous settlements. In Italy, the Jews had taken an important part in the wars of liberation: the Jewish people there were happy, well organised and able to take a part in the government of the country. In the United States of America, 3,000,000 Jews enjoyed the rights of citizenship. Mere rights of citizenship, however, were not sufficient to satisfy the ideals of the Jews, who craved for a national existence. Consequently, for the great suffering majority of the Jews, living in Eastern Europe, a place would have to be prepared where they would be at home and among their own kind. During the late terrible war the Allies had promised to help the Jews to found a Jewish national centre, where the real home of the Jewish people had always been. This was the only possible solution of the Jewish problem. Sustained by that promise, the Jews had been able to organise and to support the Great Powers loyally by creating an entente of all the Jewish parties within the Entente of the Great Powers. Now, a victory of great ideals and of justice having been gained, the hour of deliverance of his unhappy people had struck: and the old Jewish traditions could again be introduced in the land of their ancestors, combined with the ideals of New Europe, thus leading to a re-constitution of a people and the transformation of a country. The memoir which he had circulated merely gave the Zionist plans for the realisation of the hopes of the Jewish people, and, with the permission of the Conference, he would read the following extract:—

“The Zionist Organisation respectfully submits the following draft resolutions for the consideration of the Peace Conference:—

1.
The High Contracting Parties recognise the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.
2.
The boundaries of Palestine shall be as declared in the schedule annexed hereto.
3.
The sovereign possession of Palestine shall be vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to Great Britain as Mandatory of the League.
4.
(Provision to be inserted relating to the application in Palestine of such of the general conditions attached to mandates as are suitable to the case).
5.
The mandate shall be subject also to the following special conditions:— [Page 164]
(1)
Palestine shall be placed under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment there of the Jewish National Home and ultimately render possible the creation of an autonomous Commonwealth, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

In conclusion, he would be ready to answer any questions that might be put to him, but he would, in the first place, ask the Conference to hear his colleague, Dr. C. Weizmann, the President of the Enquiry Committee sent to Palestine on behalf of the Zionist Executive Committee, who would give practical information on the subject of the realisation of the Zionist programme.

(b) Statement by Dr. Weizmann, Member of the Zionist Organization Dr. Weizmann pointed out that the war had left the Jewish people weaker comparatively than any other people in the world. Before the war, six to seven million Jews in Russia had been systematically oppressed but that oppression had possessed the grandeur of a great tragedy, which had acted as a source of inspiration to all Jews. Now, even the grandeur had disappeared, and the community was being ground down by the political machinery which had been set up in Russia. It was impossible for him to make any forecasts, but even the most sanguine would agree that those parts could not settle down for many years to come. Meanwhile the Jews, as the most feeble element, would suffer most, and as a result Jewish emigration, which before the war had reached the figure of 250,000 a year, would increase enormously, whilst at the same time the power of absorption in the countries of Western Europe and of America would considerably decrease. The Great Powers would naturally scrutinise every alien who claimed to enter their countries, and the Jew would be regarded as a typical wandering alien. As a result the Jews would find themselves knocking around the world, seeking a refuge and unable to find one. The problem, therefore, was a very serious one, and no statesman could contemplate it without being impelled to find an equitable solution.

In his opinion, the solution proposed by the Zionist organisation was the only one which would in the long run bring peace, and at the same time transform Jewish energy into a constructive force, instead of its being dissipated into destructive tendencies or bitterness.

Palestine possessed great possibilities. The country was not very densely populated: There were some 600,000 to 700,000 people occupying 40,000 square kilometres, which gave a population of 10 to 15 per square kilometre. On the other hand, in Lebanon, which resembled it in many aspects, the density of the population was 160 [Page 165]per square kilometre. Consequently, in Palestine there was room for an increase of at least four to five million people, without encroaching on the legitimate interests of the people already there.

The Zionists wished to settle Jews in the empty spaces of Palestine, organising the settlements to be created by the expenditure of their own money and the exercise of their brains.

The Zionist Association demanded, in the name of the people who had suffered martyrdom for eighteen centuries that they should be able, immediately peace was signed, to tell their co-religionists in the Ukraine, in Poland, and in other parts of Eastern Europe, that they would be taken to Palestine, there to be put on the land. That was the essence of what the Zionists required, and with that object in view they had taken the liberty of drawing up the following resolution:—

“To this end the Mandatory Power shall inter alia:

(a)
Promote Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land, the established rights of the present non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded.
(b)
Accept the co-operation in such measures of a Council representative of the Jews of Palestine and of the world that may be established for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine and entrust the organisation of Jewish education to such Council.
(c)
On being satisfied that the constitution of such Council precludes the making of private profit, offer to the Council in priority any concession for the development of natural resources which it may be found desirable to grant.”

In conclusion, he would add that he spoke in the name of a million Jews who, staff in hand were waiting the signal to move. It would be the duty of the Zionist Association to organise immigration successfully, but the Jewish leaders would be faced with a far greater catastrophe if they found themselves unable to tell their people to wait until they received the signal. For the fulfillment of their plans the Jewish Associations required the support of the Great Powers, and in full hope they left their case in their hands.

(c) Statement by M. Ussischkins, Member of the Executive Committee of the Zionist Association and President of the South Russian Jewish National Assembly M. Ussischkins said that he appeared before the Conference in his capacity as a member of the Executive Committee of the Zionist Organisation, and also as President of the National Assembly representing 3,000,000 Jews of South Russia, an Assembly which, in the month of November last adopted a resolution proclaiming the historic rights of the Jewish people to Palestine. It was his earnest desire to support the claims submitted by the two previous speakers, the representatives of the Zionist Organisation.

[Page 166]

(d) Statement by M. Spire, on behalf of the French Zionist M. Spire said that he spoke in the name of the French Zionists, who were not in the majority amongst the Jews in France. He wished to associate himself entirely with the claims put forward by the Zionist Organisation. He felt certain that France, which had ever defended the rights of the oppressed, would support these claims. Furthermore, it was only natural for a French Jew to express those views. It was only on one point that the Zionist movement could disturb the French, namely, on the question of the ancient privileges which the French had always enjoyed in Palestine. In regard to that question, the French Zionists trusted to the justice of the Conference, feeling confident that the mandate would be granted to the country most competent to exercise the power, not only in its own interests, but in the interests of all nationalities.

(e) Statement by M. Sylvain Levi, Professor at the Collège de France, Paris M. Sylvain Levi said that his only claim to speak was that he had accompanied, on the invitation of the Zionist Association and at the request of the French Government, the Zionist Committee of Inquiry, sent from France to Palestine to report on the Zionist movement. He greatly appreciated the honour which had thereby been accorded to him, since he was not himself a Zionist, and only a Jew by origin, that is, Jewish in sentiment, but French above all.

He had devoted much time to the study of this question, and for that reason wished to present certain aspects of the case to the Conference. It would not be necessary for him to call the attention of the Conference to the situation of the Jews in Eastern and Central Europe. His colleagues had already drawn a picture of the indescribable misery which the Jewish people were there suffering. Millions of men who were not at home in the countries in which they lived, felt that they possessed no mother country, and that their national life was confined to intercourse amongst themselves. For these people Palestine was the “country of their ancestors”; the country of their dreams—a sort of terrestrial paradise; and it was there that they thought they would best be able to develop their national energies. That feeling was so strongly implanted in the minds of the Jewish people that it could never be uprooted. The only question was: how could those national ideals best be satisfied? The Zionist movement in Palestine did not propose to initiate an entirely new work; a beginning had already been made, and magnificent results had already been achieved. It would be unnecessary for him to point to the splendid Jewish colonies already established in Palestine under the auspices of Baron Rothschild: Colonies which formed veritable oases in the middle of the surrounding desert. Furthermore, the “Universal Jewish Alliance”, which had been in [Page 167]existence for over 50 years having been founded on the true principles of the French Revolution, had begun its work in Palestine by the establishment of an agricultural school in 1876. Subsequently, other schools had been opened in other localities, such as Jerusalem, Jaffa, etc. each of which had rendered the greatest service to the people. In the end, Zionism had arisen. To that movement he was legitimately entitled to pay a high tribute, as he did not himself belong to it. Its great merit lay in the fact that it had raised the Jewish moral[e] in those countries of Eastern Europe, where the moral[e] had been fast sinking, by supplying spiritual food and by engendering a true religious feeling. As a result of the feeling so engendered, the desire for Palestine was born. The special task which Zionism had set for itself was to direct a flow of Jewish immigration towards Palestine, especially from Eastern Europe. That was the problem for which a solution now had to be found. With the permission of the Conference he would talk with the frankness of a historian, who desired to face the problem honestly and squarely, without attempting to hide any of the difficulties.

The first difficulty lay in the great disproportion which existed between the area of Palestine and the millions of people who might want to go there from Eastern Europe. In the second place, the actual condition of the country, which was at present able to maintain only a small population owing to the climatic and other causes brought about by the action of men and the misgovernment of the authorities. At the present moment, some 600,000 or 700,000 Arabs only dwelt in that country, but it would be impossible for an equal number of Jews to adapt themselves to the same conditions of life, since they had in Europe, and especially in Western Europe, acquired certain methods of life which would not be satisfied by the conditions which were sufficient for the Arabs. In the third place, the masses of people who might wish to return to Palestine, would largely be drawn from those countries where they had been persecuted and ill-treated, and the mentality which such a regime was likely to engender could be easily realised. Those people would carry with them into Palestine highly explosive passions, conducive to very serious trouble in a country which might be likened to a concentration camp of Jewish refugees. The Conference that had created the League of Nations would easily understand that nations could not be created at will, and the realisation of a certain number of aspirations would not suffice to create a national entity. The problem was an extremely difficult one, especially as it would concern Jewish people drawn from so many countries such as Poland, the Caucasus, Balkans, Morocco, Spain, etc.; the fusion of all these people would take time, and the time required might be lengthy. This difficulty had been fully recognised by the Zionist Organisation, [Page 168]which had attempted to find a solution. A solution had been found and put forward consisting in the creation of an International Jewish Council, which by some means or other (about which he was not quite clear) would act both as the guardian and the political ruler of Palestine. The idea was an ingenious one, but, as a Frenchman of Jewish origin, he feared the results. It would be dangerous to create a precedent whereby certain people who already possessed the rights of citizenship in one country would be called upon to govern and to exercise other rights of citizenship in a new country. In other words, an attempt would be made to apply the principles of the law of Delbrück to the Jews, already sufficiently suspect; and it would in his opinion be a sad beginning to inherit anything of the kind from Germany. In this way people possessing dual rights of citizenship would have been created able to exercise their rights in the country of their residence and also in Palestine, in which they had no rights and which they did not inhabit.

The Zionist Organisation, however, placed their confidence in the mandatory system, provided the Jews who decided to settle in Palestine could little by little be granted the right of self-government. The Jewish groups already settled in Palestine clearly showed how quickly they could enter into municipal life, and solve the most difficult problems; some of the Jewish municipalities having even joined together to form, as it were, small autonomous republics, which had only been molested by the Turkish authorities. Having visited the country, he was able to realise that this municipal activity could become national, as soon as the country was occupied by a large Jewish majority.

He (Mr. Levi) had previously referred to the spirit of the French Revolution which had led to the creation of the Universal Jewish Alliance. To this spirit all its members adhered. For many years the Jews had, in the countries inhabited by them, claimed equality of rights, but those claims had not yet everywhere been admitted. Under the circumstances, it seemed to him shocking that the Jews, as soon as their rights of equality were about to be recognised in all countries of the world, should already seek to obtain exceptional privileges for themselves in Palestine. Privileges so obtained as a rule did not profit either the giver or the receiver. He had sufficient confidence in the activities and driving force of the ideals of the Jews of Eastern Europe to believe that they would never abandon the attainment of their goal, and even if their other aspirations were to weaken, the time would come when violent upheavals would again cause a flow of emigration towards Palestine, which must, sooner or later, become a purely Jewish territory. He was not in a position, neither was he entitled, to find a solution, but it appeared to him that it might be possible to create some large Jewish Committee by grouping [Page 169]together all the interested parties, whose function it would be to supervise emigration, to act as bankers, to buy and distribute land, to organise public works, to undertake sanitary measures and to take charge of education, etc., but without possessing any political rights.

In conclusion, he wished to place on record the great part played by France in the organisation of the Jews in Palestine. Whatever country might eventually be appointed the Mandatory in Palestine, he trusted France would be permitted to continue her beneficent educational work, by maintaining the schools which had been of such inestimable value to the peoples of Palestine. France and Palestine were both Mediterranean nations, and both, in their own time, had had a great influence on the development of civilisation throughout the world. Leaving out of consideration the political aspect of the case, he would remind the Conference that a very serious and important problem required solution. He neither over-estimated nor under-estimated the virtues of national groups. But it would be admitted that the Jewish race had, during the period of its martyrdom, displayed a magnificent resistance and proved its constant passion for civilisation, high culture and science. It was the Jews in Palestine who first proclaimed those ideals towards which the world was still endeavouring to advance. For those ideals Jews had suffered persecution and death, and they believed that on the shores of the Mediterranean they would find the realisation of their hopes. They believed that, if restored to the conditions which had enabled their ancestors to give rise to the great Hebrew movement, they would again be able to recover their past splendour and to contribute their share towards the regeneration of mankind.

Mr. Lansing asked Dr. Weizmann to clear up some confusion which existed in his mind as to the correct meaning of the words “Jewish National Home”. Did that mean an autonomous Jewish Government?

Dr. Weizmann replied in the negative. The Zionist organisation did not want an autonomous Jewish Government, but merely to establish in Palestine, under a mandatory Power, an administration, not necessarily Jewish, which would render it possible to send into Palestine 70 to 80,000 Jews annually. The Association would require to have permission at the same time to build Jewish schools, where Hebrew would be taught, and in that way to build up gradually a nationality which would be as Jewish as the French nation was French and the British nation British. Later on, when the Jews formed the large majority, they would be ripe to establish such a Government as would answer to the state of the development of the country and to their ideals.

The Zionist Association fully realised the great difficulty of the problem, and, in fact, had the problem been an easy one to solve, [Page 170]it would never have been submitted to the Conference of the Great Powers. On the other hand, the solution suggested would be easier than the solution of the difficulties which would arise if the Jews were left in Russia. The formation of a Jewish organisation had been proposed, embracing all elements that would co-operate in solving the problem to be faced. That Council would have no political rights. Consequently the fear that the Jews would be accused of double allegiance was groundless. On the other hand the Jews outside Palestine must supply the money and the men, and the Council would have to be organised for that purpose and for that purpose only. A similar Council had already existed in the creation of the Jewish Alliance, which had been an international organisation created for the express purpose of establishing schools in Palestine.

As a Russian Jew, he was entitled to say that the Jews in Russia lived in an atmosphere which was not conducive to quiet thinking. On the other hand the colonies in Palestine which had been described in such glowing terms by Professor Levi had been created by Russian Jews, and they had succeeded in transforming deserts into flourishing gardens, even under the Turkish yoke.

In conclusion, at the present moment Palestine could not hold a large number of people. The Conference had no doubt noticed the discrepancy between the figures which he had given as representing the possible population of Palestine and the number of emigrants, 50,000 to 60,000 per annum, which he had subsequently suggested. That was due to the present condition of the country. But the Association desired to transform the country, to make it capable of supporting a much larger number of inhabitants, just as had been done in California and in Tunisia. In the latter country in 1882 around Sfax only 45,000 olive trees were to be found, whereas in 1914, 8,000,000 olive trees had been planted. What had been done in Tunisia might be done even better in Palestine, since the climate and soil in the latter country were infinitely superior. With the help of Jewish funds an Association had been formed to carry out that programme, and it would undoubtedly achieve success. The difficulties to be met with in attempting to solve these problems were nothing if compared with the difficulties to be faced by the Jews living in Eastern Europe, who constituted 96% of the total number of Jews in Europe.

In making his statement he spoke for 96% of the Jews of the world, who shared the views which he had endeavoured to express that afternoon.

(The Zionist Mission and Experts in Zionism then withdrew)

3. M. Pichon suggested that the following questions should be [Page 171]considered at the next meeting to be held on Saturday next, March 1st:—

(1)
Report of the Financial Drafting Committee. Agenda for Next Meeting (a) Subject for Agenda, Paper Proposed by M. Pichon
(2)
Report of the Economic Drafting Committee.
(3)
Report on Morocco.
(4)
Statement by the representatives of the Island of Aaland.

(b) Morocco Mr. Balfour said that he had only received a copy of the resolutions concerning Morocco late the previous evening. The question was a very difficult and complicated one, and it would be necessary for him to obtain papers from London. Under these conditions he suggested that the discussion of that question should be adjourned until the following Monday.

(This was agreed to.)

(c) Aaland Island Mr. Balfour, continuing, said that in regard to the Aaland Islands he understood the people of Aaland wanted to be joined to Sweden. Technically, they were Finnish at the moment, though they had been Russian before Finland became a separate country. He wished to enquire whether it was a matter which the Conference had either the right or the competence to determine.

M. Sonnino said that Finland had not been recognised by Italy, so that from the Italian point of view the Islands were still Russian.

Mr. White reported that the representatives of the Island of Aaland had been to see him, and had stated that they wished to join Sweden, for the reason that modern guns would be able easily to reach Stockholm from the Aaland Islands.

But Mr. White had enquired from the representatives how they thought the Conference could deal with the question. They had replied that the Islands of Aaland now formed part of Finland, and Finland had previously belong[ed] to Russia.

M. Sonnino expressed the view that the Conference had agreed to reserve all questions appertaining to Russia, such as those relating to the Esthonians, Lithuanians, Lettians and Ukrainians, until the Russian question came under discussion. Only one exception was made, in the case of Poland, because Russia herself, when an Ally, had recognised the independence of that country.

Taking these facts into consideration, he thought it would be better to study the whole Russian question at one and the same time, especially as in the case of the Aaland Islands the Conference was being asked to take something from someone and give it to a third party.

As a matter of fact, he thought the question fell outside the competence of the Conference, though it might be taken up by the League of Nations.

[Page 172]

M. Pichon said that the representatives of the Aaland Islands had also been to see him, basing their request for annexation to Sweden on the ground of the right of peoples to self-determination as enunciated by President Wilson.

The representatives of the Aaland Islands had also submitted a memoire. The Swedish Government had also asked to send representatives to the Conference to discuss this same question. He thought the question of the Aaland Islands should be adjourned until a decision had been reached on the question of Russia.

(It was agreed to postpone consideration of the question relating to the Aaland Islands.)

It was agreed that the following questions should be discussed at the next meeting to be held on Saturday, March 1st, 1919 at 3 o’clock p.m.:—

(1)
Report of Committee of the Financial Drafting Committee. (d) Agenda for Meeting on 1st March
(2)
Report of the Economic Drafting Committee.

4. Mr. Balfour enquired what action had been taken on the resolution reached the previous day in regard to the creation of a neutral zone in Transylvania. Who would be responsible for carrying out the policy decided upon? Neutral Zone in Transylvania

M. Pichon replied that a despatch had already been sent by the French Government to General Franchet D’Esperey, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies of the Orient, calling on him to take the necessary action.

(The meeting then adjourned to Saturday, March 1st, 1919, at 3 p.m.)

Paris, 28th February, 1919.

  1. The “Brief Summary” of the minutes of this meeting (BC–41a) and the telegraphic report of the meeting by the American Mission to the Department of State give the text of this statement as follows:

    “1. The High Contracting Parties recognize the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.

    “2. The boundaries of Palestine shall follow the general lines set out below:—

    “Starting on the North at a point on the Mediterranean Sea in the vicinity

    South of Sidon and following the watersheds of the foothills of the Lebanon as far as Jisr el Karaon, thence to El Bire, following the dividing line between the two basins of the Wadi el Korn and the Wadi el Tiem, thence in a southerly direction following the dividing line between the Eastern and Western slopes of the Hermon, to the vicinity West of Beit Jenn, thence Eastward following the northern watersheds of the Nahr Mughaniye close to and west of the Hedjaz Railway.

    “In the East a line close to and West of the Hedjaz Railway terminating in the Gulf of Akaba.

    “In the South a frontier to be agreed upon with the Egyptian Government.

    “In the West the Mediterranean Sea.

    “The details of the delimitations, or any necessary adjustments of detail, shall be settled by a Special Commission on which there shall be Jewish representation.

    “3. The sovereign possession of Palestine shall be vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to Great Britain as Mandatary of the League.

    “4. (Provision to be inserted relating to the application in Palestine of such of the general conditions attached to mandates as are suitable to the case.)

    “5. The mandate shall be subject also to the following special conditions:

    • “(I) Palestine shall be placed under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment there of the Jewish National Home and ultimately render possible the creation of an autonomous Commonwealth, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
    • “(II) To this end the Mandatary Power shall inter alia:
      • “(a) Promote Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land, the established rights of the present non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded.
      • “(b) Accept the co-operation in such measures of a Council representative of the Jews of Palestine and of the world that may be established for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine and entrust the organization of Jewish education to such Council.
      • “(c) On being satisfied that the constitution of such Council precludes the making of private profit, offer to the Council in priority any concession for public works or for the development of natural resources which it may be found desirable to grant.
    • “(III) The Mandatary Power shall encourage the wisest measure of self-government for localities practicable in the conditions of the country.
    • “(IV) There shall be forever the fullest freedom of religious worship for all creeds in Palestine. There shall be no discrimination among the inhabitants with regard to citizenship and civil rights, on the grounds of religion, or of race.
    • “(V) (Provision to be inserted relating to the control of Holy Places.)”

    (Paris Peace Conf. 180.03101/48)