867N.01/1120: Telegram

The Consul General at Jerusalem (Wadsworth) to the Secretary of State

Regarding dramatic weekend Palestine visit British Secretary of State for Foreign Colonies61 details of which and of communiqué issued yesterday afternoon have [apparent omission] cabled by news agencies, I perceive no reason for not accepting at their face value reasons for visit as given in communiqué.

Basing my opinion largely on long conversation last Thursday with General Haining62 I believe inquiry of Partition Commission which left Palestine August 3 led both to clearer understanding of facts of the Palestine problem and to crystallization in the minds of the High Commissioner and the General of the elements of the policy which Great Britain should follow both to meet immediate problem of reestablishing public security and to solve the larger problem of the country’s future status.

On the question of public security I shall probably telegraph tomorrow after hearing High Commissioner’s broadcast scheduled for this evening.

[Page 941]

As to the larger problem I gathered fairly clear impression that the General favors a scheme combining partition and cantonization, i. e.

Retention of three areas under direct British control; first, an enlarged Jerusalem corridor to include to the north of the area suggested by the Royal Commission a zone circling Ramallah and the Lydda aerodrome and to the south thereof a zone paralleling the Jerusalem–Lydda Railroad and including a considerable part of the detached portion of the suggested Jewish State south of Jaffa but leaving a coastal strip which would connect the Arab area with that part; second, all Galilee north of a line from Tiber to [Tiberias?] and including Haifa and its immediate Carmel hinterland as far as first pass from Esdraelon to Sharon; and third, the Negev.
Setting up an autonomous Jewish area to include Sharon and the foothills north of the corridor as far as the Carmel promontory, then cutting through the Carmel hinterland between first and second passes to Esdraelon and continuing through that plain probably as far as the Jordan.
Setting up an autonomous Arab area in the rest of the country.
Centralized British direction of the whole at least temporarily on a cantonization basis.

A scheme based on these elements would give strategic security to the Jerusalem corridor; afford Arab area free access to its natural seaport of Jaffa; avoid incongruity of a divided Jewish area; relieve the latter of the well nigh impossible task of administering disproportionately large Arab minority notably the greater part thereof which forms preponderant majority in Galilee; secure recognizedly important British strategic interests in Haifa and assure them British controlled hinterland; reserve decision as to disposition of the Negev pending determination of the water resources and settlement possibilities securing at the same time British strategic interests in that region notably at Akaba; and finally while paving the way towards partition which reported declared British policy leave open the door to possible Arab Jewish compromise.

  1. Malcolm MacDonald.
  2. Lt. Gen. Robert Hadden Haining, general officer commanding British forces in Palestine and Trans-Jordan.