The British Embassy to the Department of State
His Majesty’s Embassy are instructed to communicate, for the confidential information of the State Department, the accompanying [Page 733] document giving the substance of the final British proposals regarding Palestine.
In doing so His Majesty’s Embassy are to explain in confidence that the constitutional changes proposed by His Majesty’s Government are designed to give effect to that part of Article 2 of the Palestine Mandate which refers to the necessity of securing the development of self-governing institutions. Hitherto, through no fault of His Majesty’s Government but solely on account of non-cooperation on the part of Arabs or Jews, it has not proved possible to make much progress in this direction.
The Palestinian Arabs, during the present conference, have demanded the establishment of an independent Arab state in Palestine. His Majesty’s Government have, of course, not been able to accept this demand nor have His Majesty’s Government finally committed themselves as regards the nature of the future independent Palestinian state. They have, however, maintained that a transitional period of indeterminate length will be necessary before Palestine can achieve her independence, and that full independence cannot be granted until there is a sufficient measure of cooperation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine to make good government possible. This means that the Arabs will not be able to obtain their share of independence until they have succeeded in winning the confidence and cooperation of the Jews and should give the Jews every opportunity of safeguarding their own interests.
As regards immigration the time has obviously now come for His Majesty’s Government to put an end to the state of uncertainty which has been the main cause of the present disturbed conditions in Palestine. His Majesty’s Government have already facilitated the arrival in Palestine of approximately 400,000 Jews in pursuance of their obligations as laid down in the Mandate to secure the establishment of a Jewish national home. It will be remembered that the Arabs were never consulted regarding the Mandate and have refused to agree to or recognise either the Mandate or the Balfour Declaration. The Arabs have hitherto had no assurance where this process of admitting Jews to Palestine without their consent will end; they are insisting that all further Jewish immigration should at once be stopped. His Majesty’s Government have not agreed to this but they have decided that it is reasonable that, after a period of five years during which immigration will on the average slightly exceed its present level, the Jews should have to obtain Arab consent to any further Jewish immigration.
If the Jews are required to obtain Arab consent to what they regard as the vital question of further immigration and the Arabs have to obtain Jewish consent before they can secure an independent Palestine, it would seem that the elements of a compromise are present. [Page 734] His Majesty’s Government feel that the most important consideration regarding Palestine is that Arabs and Jews should learn to work together and they think the present scheme offers the best prospect of favouring the growth of such cooperation.
It is unlikely that the present proposals, though they involve a change of policy, would require an amendment of the Mandate.