Statement by the Department of State Regarding American Rights Under the Convention of 1924 as to Modification of the Mandate for Palestine

The position of the United States with regard to the Jewish National Home was fully set forth in a statement issued by the Department of State on October 14th, 1938. The history of the Palestine Mandate, and the legal position of the United States with respect to it, is as follows.

The present mandate for Palestine was allotted to Great Britain by the principal Allied Powers and the terms of the mandate were confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

On September 21, 1922, a joint resolution of Congress set forth that the United States favored establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish People, without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of the Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine. In reporting the resolution, the House Committee and its sponsor insisted that the resolution did not imply “pledging our support”, or getting us into an entangling alliance or into a foreign obligation.

On December 23 [3], 1924, the United States concluded a treaty with Great Britain which, after reciting the mandate, provided: [Page 769]

That, subject to the provisions of the American-British Mandate Convention, the United States consented to the administration of Palestine by Great Britain pursuant to the mandate.
That the United States and its nationals should have the same benefits under the mandate as were enjoyed by the members of the League of Nations and their nationals.
Vested American property rights in the mandated territory were to be respected.
Copies of the Annual Reports made by the mandatory power were to be furnished to the United States.
Subject to local law, nationals of the United States were to be permitted to maintain educational, philanthropic and religious institutions.
Extradition treaties in force between the United States and Great Britain were to apply to Palestine.
No rights conferred by this treaty were to be affected by any change in the mandate, unless such change had been assented to by the United States.

The United States obtained no power to prevent change in the terms of the mandate; but under article VII stipulated only that no such change should affect the foregoing rights of American nationals unless the United States assented.

The United States has no greater rights with respect to Palestine than with respect to any of the other mandates confirmed by the League of Nations (in respect of which we have similar treaties). This Government has, however, continuously manifested its sympathy for the conception of the Jewish National Home.