The British Embassy to the Department of State


Dr. Weizmann, accompanied by Mr. Shertok, came to see Mr. Bevin on November 2nd. Mr. Bevin asked them whether the outrages committed [Page 813]in Palestine on the previous day were to be taken as an indication that the Jews intended to settle the question by force, and whether we were to regard the effort that we have been making for conciliation as at an end. Dr. Weizmann said that he deprecated these outrages, and quoted a published resolution of the Jewish Agency, repudiating recourse to violence but adding that it found “its capacity to impose restraint severely tried by the maintenance of a policy which Jews regard as fatal to their future”. Mr. Bevin pointed out that these last words were in effect a condonation of violence. He could not accept the implication that there had been a spontaneous outbreak resulting from Jewish exasperation. All the evidence showed that the attacks had been carefully planned and Synchronised in advance. It appeared to Mr. Bevin that all the aggressive organisations in Palestine, and not merely the Stern Group, had been involved. Mr. Bevin therefore asked Dr. Weizmann to issue a categorical denunciation of violence as a means to settling this problem, and he said that he would do this.

He has in fact addressed a message to the Jewish community in Palestine, the relevant passage of which reads as follows:

“Nobody understands better than I the state of mind out of which recent events have come. Nevertheless I deplore and disapprove of them, and urge for the sake of our cause that they should not recur.”

It is clear to Mr. Bevin that the Jewish Agency can no longer be regarded as an innocent party in relation to these outbreaks in Palestine. Not only are they largely responsible for creating the state of mind to which Dr. Weizmann refers, but there is also no doubt that machinery under their control was directly implicated in the latest outrages. Mr. Bevin made it clear to Dr. Weizmann that His Majesty’s Government should have to re-examine their position in the light of these, and that our future course would be determined to a very large extent by whether this kind of action was not only denounced but stopped.

Estimates of the strength of Jewish paramilitary formations in Palestine vary somewhat, but the following figures seem to be reasonably accurate (1) Hagana, the body controlled by the Jewish Agency itself, 60,000–80,000 (including the Palmach or Commando Units, which amount to about 6,000), (2) the more extreme Irgun Zvai Levmi, 6,000–7,000, (3) the terroristic Stern Group, some hundreds.

Dr. Weizmann has left this country for the United States. I should like Mr. Byrnes to be informed before Dr. N. Weizmann’s arrival, of the substance of the above.