Memorandum by the British Delegation1


It is not apparent why the United States Government should think that the situation in Palestine is less inflammable.2 An American-Jewish congress is to held at the end of this month which may well put forward the most uncompromising demands. Much publicity has recently been given to talks between the Prime Ministers of Iraq and Egypt on Arab federation which, though innocuous in themselves, might lead to agitation in the Arab world about Palestine. A further incident which might set a match to the flames is the recent discovery of large-scale thefts of arms by Jews in Palestine. Investigations have disclosed the existence of a highly-organised racket, and these investigations may well lead direct to the Jewish Agency. Courts-martial have been held on some British soldiers, who have been condemned to terms of penal servitude, and the trial is now proceeding of two Jews. The High Commisioner reports that if these Jews are convicted, a violent outbreak is possible. It is clear, therefore, that both in America and in the Middle East, the need for some sedative joint statement is as urgent as ever. Such a statement would not of course be directed solely against the Jews, but applies equally to agitation from Arab or any other quarter. It is not easy to understand the Zionists’ opposition to it, except on the assumption that they wish to bring the Palestine question to a head at a moment inconvenient to us from the point of view of the war. If a statement is to be issued, the sooner it appears the better.

  1. Handed to Hull by Eden on August 21, 1943. See ante, p. 919.
  2. Hull bad informed the American Embassy at London on August 7, 1943, that the War Department had concluded that the security situation in Palestine was not so serious as to require any action at that time, and Hull had instructed the Embassy to inform the British Foreign Office that “it has been decided not to issue the proposed joint statement regarding Palestine”. See Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, p. 803. For background on the statement referred to, see ante, pp. 674 ff.