The Consul General at Geneva ( Tittmann ) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 19.]
Sir: I have the honor to submit a report, as a matter of record, on the Twenty-first Zionist Congress which opened in Geneva on August 16 and, although originally the date set for closing was August 28, closed on August 24 due to the threatening international situation. The Congress, attended by over five hundred delegates, was opened by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization and of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
The principal topic of discussion in the plenary sessions of the Congress was the British White Paper in regard to the Palestine mandate. Although there were various shades of opinion with regard to methods to oppose the policy laid down in the White Paper, the delegates were unanimous in their opposition to the Paper.
The Political Commission of the Congress reached certain broad decisions with regard to the attitude to be adopted by the Zionists of the Congress and the Jewish Agency for Palestine to meet the policy suggested in the White Paper. With respect to immigration the general conclusion was reached that various controls and quotas now operative and contemplated within the White Paper should be so far as possible ignored and that “illegal” immigration should not be discouraged. With respect to the acquisition of land it was decided to continue endeavors to settle Jews on the land irrespective of White Paper restrictions, in the expectation that, as in the past, the authorities would acquiesce in such settlement. With respect to the constitutional solution (future independence for Palestine), as suggested in the White Paper, the attitude was one of firm opposition. It will [Page 798] be recalled that the three foregoing issues (immigration, land, and the eventual formation of an independent state) were the principal subjects of discussion in the White Paper, The attitude outlined above appears to have met with some opposition on the part of a small group of moderates, including several American Zionist leaders, as being too radical, but the large majority of the delegates favored a “militant” policy.
The Jewish Agency for Palestine was authorized by the Congress to exert all of its energy toward preventing approval at the forthcoming session of the League Council of the British White Paper. Dr. N. Goldman, representative at the League of Nations of the Jewish Agency, has informed a member of my staff that the Agency has been authorized to propose and to support a plan for a federal state in Palestine as preferable to the solution suggested in the White Paper. It is understood that such a state would be composed of Jewish and Arab provinces having a large degree of autonomy with regard to immigration and international affairs, and would have a federal government in which the Jews and Arabs would have equal representation. It is envisaged that a modified form of mandate would continue for the purpose of mediation when Jewish and Arab views were irreconcilable or that a neutral commissioner or commissioners would be selected to perform that function.
There were supporters in the Congress of a scheme for the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, but such a scheme was not popular on grounds that partition would result in the formation of small states unsound economically and would place irrevocable limits upon Jewish expansion in Palestine. According to Dr. Goldman the plan for a federal state would leave open an opportunity for greater Jewish expansion in Palestine and for working out some form of cooperation with the Arabs.
If the international situation permits of consideration by the League Council of the British White Paper, Dr. Goldman expects that the British Government will be prepared to modify the position set forth in the Paper. If the Government is not inclined to do so, it is anticipated that the Council will find some means of avoiding meeting the issue inasmuch as it will wish neither to take action which flies in the face of the majority opinion of the Mandates Commission nor to take a position which will antagonize the British Government.
At the closing session of the Congress, Dr. Weizmann declared that, although they had many claims against England, he would advise them to remember that they and Great Britain had common interests and that Britain’s struggle was also the struggle of the Zionists.[Page 799]
Dr. Weizmann was reelected President of the Jewish Agency. The budget for the coming year was fixed at 720,000 pounds sterling, of which 100,000 pounds is allocated for the settlement of refugees and 80,000 pounds for the Jewish security service (defense).