Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State
[Washington,] January 30, 1945.
Palestine: Land Transfers
- The repeated and insistent demand of the Jews for the unrestricted right to buy land in Palestine, the opposition of the Arabs to Jewish purchase of land, the menace to the Arab peasantry of further alienation of agricultural land, and the uncertainty of the future policy of the British Government indicate the necessity for the formulation of a policy with respect to land transfers which will be in conformity with the proposed form of government.
- It is recommended that in those areas over which the Arab and Jewish Communal Governments, respectively, have jurisdiction, they shall have the authority to regulate, control, restrict and prohibit by legislative action land transfers; that the Trustee Government shall have the authority to regulate, control, restrict and prohibit land transfers in Haifa, Jerusalem, Safad, and Tiberias and also have the power to regulate, control, restrict and prohibit land transfers in the Jordan Valley and the Negeb and to make provision for land transfers in these two latter areas in accordance with the terms of the Charter after large-scale developments have made land available for settlements.
- This recommendation is made:
- because the transfer of land should be under the control of the communities, Arab and Jewish, whose members inhabit the lands;
- because the free transfer of land would lead to the dispossession of the Arab peasantry and create economic and political conditions which would lead to a renewal of the conflict between Arabs and Jews;
- because the present policy of the British Government invites continued agitation for changes in land regulations and fosters uncertainty and stimulates Arab-Jewish controversy.