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Statement of the Syrian Delegation to the Peace Conference, Feb. 13, 1919.

Peace Treaty SigningOn Thursday, February 13th, 1919 at 3 p.m. there was a meeting of the Supreme Council, at which Mr. A. J. Balfour and Viscount Milner represented the British Empire; President Wilson and Mr. R. Lansing the United States of America; Monsieur Clemen¬ceau and Monsieur Pichon, France; Signor Orlando and Baron Sonnino, Italy; and M. Matsui, Japan. There were also present Major the Hon. W. Ormsby Gore and Mr. A. J. Toynbee.

This meeting received the members of the Syrian Commission, consisting of the following-

M. Chekri Ganem The Chief Representative of the Central Syrian Committee.

M. Anis Schehade Orthodox Greek.

Jamil Mardam Bey Moslem.

Dr. Georges Samne Greek Melchite.

Nejil Bey MaikarzeI Maronite.

Dr. Tewfik Farhi ……. Hebrew.

M. Chekri Ganem read a long statement occupying 16 pages of the Diary, in which he pleaded for the constitution of Syria, within its natural frontiers, into a democratic State distinct from the other Arabic-speaking countries. He argued against the annexation of Syria to Arabia on political, geographical and moral grounds (describing the Syrians as an educated people and the population of the Hejaz as a “race less advanced”), and repudiated the right of Emir Feisal to exercise any authority in Syria.

In the concluding part of his statement M. Chekri Ganem said- “May we say one word as regards Palestine- although the subject is said to be a thorny one?

“Palestine is incontestably the Southern portion of our country. The Zionists claim it. We have suffered too much from sufferings resembling theirs, not to throw open wide to them the doors of Palestine. All those among them who are oppressed in certain retrograde countries are welcome. Let them settle in Palestine, but in an autonomous Palestine, connected with Syria by the sole bond of federation. Will not a Palestine enjoying wide internal autonomy be for them a sufficient guarantee?
“If they form the majority there, they will be the rulers. If they are in the minority, they will be represented in the Government in proportion to their numbers.

“Is it necessary, in order to establish them, to dismember Syria, to take from it its means of access and its historic safeguard against any invasion (which always took that route), and to constitute a State in the midst of a country which, as a consequence, would be hostile to them.”

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