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The British Colonial Office and Foreign Office prepared this statement for public information. Written at the end of thirty years of British rule in Palestine, it contains a brief review of the history of that period and of the policy pursued by the British Government.


The Origin and Nature of the British Mandate for Palestine, pp. 2-3

“The Mandate for Palestine was assigned to His Majesty by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers in 1922 and took effect in 1923, when the Treaty of Lausanne formally ended the war between the Allied powers and the Ottoman Empire…”

“With this mandate His Majesty’s Government accepted certain obligations which are set out in two documents- the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Mandate for Palestine.”

“On 16th September, 1922, the Council of the League agreed that those provisions of the Mandate relating to the establishment of a Jewish national home should not apply to Transjordan, which was thereafter separately administered until it became an independent state.”

The Development of Palestine, pp. 3-4

“When British rule began, Palestine was a primitive and undeveloped country. Agriculture was inefficient, industry almost non-existent and communications inadequate. Its population of some 750,000 were disease-ridden and poor. Lawlessness was rife inside Palestine and made worse by raiding nomads from the desert.”

The Jewish National Home, pp. 4-5

The progress made toward the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people has been remarkable. 400,000 Jewish immigrants have entered Palestine since 1920 and the total Jewish population has risen from 84,000 in 1922 to 640,000 today…The achievement of so much in so short a space of time is primarily due to the efforts, intelligence and devotion of the Jews themselves, and to the protection and assistance afforded them by the Government of Palestine.

Obstacles which Frustrated Efforts to Establish Self-Governing Institutions in Palestine, pp. 5-9

-Summary of Arab and Jewish disturbances and British Government’s attempts to reconcile the two parties

“The Government of Palestine were unable to make comparable progress towards…the preparation of the people for self-government, owing to the mutual hostility of Arabs and Jews. The existence of Arab opposition to the creation of a Jewish national home was apparent even before the Mandate began. The American King-Crane Commission sent out to the Middle East by President Wilson in 1919 had reported that-

‘The Peace Conference should not shut its eyes to the fact that the anti-Zionist feeling in Palestine and Syria is intense and not lightly to be flouted. No British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist programme could be carried out except by force of arms.’” p. 5

-Outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence by Arabs

-British attempts to mediate

-Increasing Jewish immigration 1930-36

-Peel Commission recommendations in 1937

-White Paper of 1939

-Jewish illegal immigration

-Jewish terrorist activity after 1942

-Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry – 1946

Problem Referred to United Nations, pp. 9-10

“After the failure of these discussions His Majesty’s Government decided that the only course now open to them was to submit the problem to the judgment of the United Nations, asking that body to recommend a solution…The question was accordingly placed on the agenda of the General Assembly of the United Nations, who…appointed on 15th May, 1947, a Special Committee to investigate the problem and recommend a solution.”

“The Special Committee presented their report on 31st August, 1947. A majority of the members recommended the partition of Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish states, with special provisions for the neutrality of Jerusalem and the preservation of Palestine’s economic unity. A minority recommended the creation of a federal State, in whose government both Arabs and Jews would share. Neither plan was acceptable to the Arabs, but the Jews were willing to agree to partition subject to certain detailed reservations. …the Assembly’s session…closed on 29th November, 1947, with the adoption, by 33 votes to 13 with 10 abstentions, of a modified scheme of partition to be implemented by a Commission of 5 members unsupported by any police or military forces. The plan was accepted in principle by the majority of the Jews, but the Arabs announced their intention of resisting it by every means within their power and were promised full support in their resistance by Egypt, Iraq, the Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan, and the Yemen. …His Majesty’s Government repeatedly emphasised that, in the absence of agreement by both Arabs and Jews, they would not themselves enforce it and announced their attention to withdraw all British forces from Palestine by 1st August, 1948.”

“His Majesty’s Government had now striven for twenty-seven years without success to reconcile Jews and Arabs and to prepare the people of Palestine for self-government. The policy adopted by the United Nations had aroused the determined resistance of the Arabs, while the States supporting this policy were themselves not prepared to enforce it.”

“In these circumstances His Majesty’s Government decided to bring to an end the Mandate…They accordingly announced…that the Mandate would end on 15th May, 1948…His Majesty’s Government’s decision to end the Mandate was welcomed by Arabs and Jews alike, as well as by the United Nations.” p. 10

The Last Months of the Mandate, pp. 10-11

“The Government of Palestine had now to hold apart two peoples bent on open war and to guard the coast and frontiers of Palestine against the arms and supporters which both Arabs and Jews attempted to introduce, while simultaneously winding up their administration, evacuating their officials, withdrawing their security forces and negotiating with the United Nations the transfer of their authority and functions. Inevitably not all of these tasks were fully accomplished.”

“Although the British responsibility for Palestine has ceased, it is the earnest hope of His Majesty’s Government that, as both sides come to realise the tragic consequences of attempting to conquer Palestine by force, some compromise may yet be possible, which will prevent the destruction of all that has been achieved during the last thirty years and which will enable the people of Palestine to live at peace and to govern themselves. To that end, His Majesty’s Government are still prepared to give every assistance possible, short of imposing by force a solution not acceptable to both peoples.” p. 11