The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Johnson ) to the Secretary of State

No. 2079

Sir: Referring to my telegram No. 196 of February 9, 7:00 p.m.28 reporting that the Nashashibi and Husseini groups had reached agreement with respect to a united Palestine Arab delegation for the London discussions on Palestine and that Regheb Bey Nashashibi and Yakub Effendi Farraj would be the National Defence Party representatives, I have the honor to report that with the solution of this factional controversy it has become possible for the London Conference on Palestine to proceed to the consideration of the essential problem.

The Jewish delegation held its first business meeting with the British representatives (Lord Halifax, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald and Mr. R. A. Butler29) on February 8 and at that time Dr. Weizmann presented a statement of the Jewish position on Palestine. The details of his presentation of the Jewish case are not yet available but are to be published within the next couple of days.

The initial business meeting between the Arab delegation and the British representatives was held in the afternoon of February 9. The Defence Party, however, was not represented since Ragheb Bey Nashashibi was said to be ill and Yakub Effendi Farraj had not yet reached London. At this meeting Jamal Effendi Husseini presented the Arab case. The Arab position and proposals are summarized in the enclosed communiqué.28

The Arab delegation puts forward four principal demands, namely:

Recognition of the Arabs’ right to complete independence in their country.
Abandonment of the attempt to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine.
Abrogation of the mandate and its replacement by a treaty similar to that concluded between Britain and Iraq, creating in Palestine a sovereign Arab State.
Immediate cessation of all Jewish immigration and of sales of land to Jews.

It advances a reasoned explanation in support of its claims and states that the Arabs are prepared to negotiate, in a conciliatory spirit, the conditions under which reasonable British interests shall be safeguarded; to approve the necessary guarantee for the right of access to [Page 707] all holy places, and for the protection of all legitimate rights of the Jewish and other minorities in Palestine.

Now that the Jewish and Arab delegations have presented their respective points of view, the British representatives will carry the Conference a step further by entering upon a series of separate and alternate discussions with each delegation in an effort to reconcile their views and, if possible, to bring the two delegations together for joint discussions.

Respectfully yours,

Herschel V. Johnson
  1. Not printed.
  2. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Secretary of State for Colonies, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, respectively.
  3. Not printed.