867N.01/1556½

Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State

I have read with interest and a good deal of dismay the decisions of the British Government regarding its Palestine policy.

I wish you would let me have a copy of the original Palestine Mandate. Frankly, I do not believe that the British are wholly correct in saying that the framers of the Palestine Mandate “could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish state against the will of the Arab population of the country”.

My recollection is that this way of putting it is deceptive for the reason that while the Palestine Mandate undoubtedly did not intend to take away the right of citizenship and of taking part in the Government on the part of the Arab population, it nevertheless did intend to convert Palestine into a Jewish Home which might very possibly become preponderantly Jewish within a comparatively short time. Certainly that was the impression that was given to the whole world at the time of the Mandate.

The statement on your Page #6, paragraph #2,67 quoting the White Paper of 1933 [1922], bears out my contention.

This new White Paper admits that the British Mandate is “to secure the development of self-governing institutions”. Frankly, I do not see how the British Government reads into the original Mandate or into the White Paper of 1922 any policy that would limit Jewish immigration.

My offhand thought is that while there are some good ideas in regard to actual administration of government in this new White Paper, it is something that we cannot give approval to by the United States.

My snap judgment is that the British plan for administration can well be the basis of an administration to be set up and to carry on during the next five years; that during the next five years the 75,000 additional Jews should be allowed to go into Palestine and settle; and at the end of five years the whole problem could be resurveyed and at that time either continued on a temporary basis for another five years or permanently settled if that is then possible. I believe that the Arabs could be brought to accept this because it seems clear that [Page 758]75,000 additional immigrants can be successfully settled on the land and because also the Arab immigration into Palestine since 1921 has vastly exceeded the total Jewish immigration during this whole period.

Before we do anything formal about this please talk with me.

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]
  1. See memorandum supra, paragraph beginning, “The proposed British White Paper …” p. 754.