November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
Secret McMahon/Sharif Hussein Agreement, which contradicted the Balfour Declaration. During the debate, several members said the Balfour Declaration was a clear contradition of promises made to the Arabs. Lord Grey, who was Prime Minister when the McMahon/Hussein agreements were pledged, stated:
`I think the most honorable thing would be to look at them fairly, see what inconsistencies between them and having regard to the nature of each pledge and the date at which it was given, with all the facts before us, consider what is the fair thing to be done.'
Responded Lord Buchmasters:
`They show unmistakably that there has not been, as noble Viscount Lord Grey suggested, something in the nature of a casual inconsistency between different announcements at different times, but that a deliberate pledge
1918, 6 months after the Balfour Declaration was signed:
`The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or political relationship, rests upon the basis of free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of so the wishes of Palestine's population are to be decisive as to what is to be done in Palestine, then it is to be remembered that the non Jewish population of Palestine nearly 9/10ths of the whole are emphatically against the entire ZIonist program. The tables show that there was no one thing upon which the population of Palestine were more agreed upon than this. To subject a people so minded to unlimited Jewish immigration, and to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle just quoted, and of the People's right, though it is kept within the forms of the law.'
Ernest Bevin, then British Foreign Secretary, wrote on Feb. 25, 1947, 30 years later,
`There is no denying the fact the Mandate contained contradictory promises. In the first place, it promised the Jews a National Home and in the second place, it declared the rights and the positions of the Arabs must be protected. Therefore, it provided what was virtually an invasion of the country by thousands of immigrants and, at the same time, said that this was not to disturb the people in possession.'