Balfour Declaration, 1917
Overview
 
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild
Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild
Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, Baron de Rothschild FRS , a scion of the Rothschild family, was a British banker, politician, and zoologist.-Biography:...

 (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland
Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland
The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, also known as the British Zionist Federation or simply the Zionist Federation , was established in 1899 to campaign for a permanent homeland for the Jewish people...

.
The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

 and Nahum Sokolow
Nahum Sokolow
Nahum Sokolow was a Zionist leader, author, translator, and a pioneer of Hebrew journalism....

, the principal Zionist leaders based in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

; as they had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as "the" Jewish national home, the declaration fell short of Zionist expectations.

The "Balfour Declaration" was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty
Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy...

 with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and the Mandate for Palestine.
Encyclopedia
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild
Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild
Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, Baron de Rothschild FRS , a scion of the Rothschild family, was a British banker, politician, and zoologist.-Biography:...

 (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland
Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland
The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, also known as the British Zionist Federation or simply the Zionist Federation , was established in 1899 to campaign for a permanent homeland for the Jewish people...

.
The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

 and Nahum Sokolow
Nahum Sokolow
Nahum Sokolow was a Zionist leader, author, translator, and a pioneer of Hebrew journalism....

, the principal Zionist leaders based in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

; as they had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as "the" Jewish national home, the declaration fell short of Zionist expectations.

The "Balfour Declaration" was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty
Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy...

 with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and the Mandate for Palestine. The original document is kept at the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

.

Text of the declaration

The declaration, a typed letter signed in ink by Balfour, reads as follows:

Background

In 1896, Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl , born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl was an Ashkenazi Jew Austro-Hungarian journalist and the father of modern political Zionism and in effect the State of Israel.-Early life:...

, a Jewish journalist living in Austria-Hungary, published Der Judenstaat ("The Jewish State"), in which he asserted that the only solution to the "Jewish Question
Jewish Question
The Jewish question encompasses the issues and resolutions surrounding the historically unequal civil, legal and national statuses between minority Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jews, particularly in Europe. The first issues discussed and debated by societies, politicians and writers in western and...

" in Europe, including growing antisemitism, was through the establishment of a Jewish State. Political Zionism had just been born. A year later, Herzl founded the Zionist Organization
World Zionist Organization
The World Zionist Organization , or WZO, was founded as the Zionist Organization , or ZO, in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, held from August 29 to August 31 in Basel, Switzerland...

 (ZO), which at its first congress
First Zionist Congress
The First Zionist Congress was the inaugural congress of the Zionist Organization held in Basel , Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897. It was convened and chaired by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionism movement...

, "called for the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 secured under public law". Serviceable means to attain that goal included the promotion of Jewish settlement there, the organization of Jews in the diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

, the strengthening of Jewish feeling and consciousness, and preparatory steps to attain those necessary governmental grants.

In 1914, war broke out in Europe between Britain with allies against Germany, Austria-Hungary and later that year, the Ottoman Empire. The war on the Western Front
Western Front
Western Front was a term used during the First and Second World Wars to describe the contested armed frontier between lands controlled by Germany to the east and the Allies to the west...

 developed into a stalemate. Jonathan Shneer writes:
Thus the view from Whitehall early in 1916: If defeat was not imminent, neither was victory; and the outcome of the war of attrition on the Western Front could not be predicted. The colossal forces in a death-grip across Europe and in Eurasia appeared to have canceled each other out. Only the addition of significant new forces on one side or the other seemed likely to tip the scale. Britain's willingness, beginning early in 1916, to explore seriously some kind of arrangement with "world Jewry" or "Great Jewry" must be understood in this context.

Text development and differing views

In 1919 the General Secretary (and future President) of the Zionist Organization, Nahum Sokolow, published a History of Zionism (1600-1918). Sokolow represented the Zionist Organization at the Paris Peace Conference. He explained:
The object of Zionism is to establish for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law." ... ...It has been said and is still being obstinately repeated by anti-Zionists again and again, that Zionism aims at the creation of an independent "Jewish State" But this is wholly fallacious. The "Jewish State" was never part of the Zionist programme. The Jewish State was the title of Herzl's first pamphlet, which had the supreme merit of forcing people to think. This pamphlet was followed by the first Zionist Congress, which accepted the Basle programme - the only programme in existence.


The records of discussions that led up to the final text of the Balfour Declaration clarifies some details of its wording. The phrase "national home" was intentionally used instead of "state" because of opposition to the Zionist program within the British Cabinet. Both the Zionist Organization and the British government devoted efforts over the following decades, including Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

's 1922 White Paper
Churchill White Paper, 1922
The Churchill White Paper of 3 June 1922 clarified how Britain viewed the Balfour Declaration, 1917...

, to denying that a state was the intention. However, in private, many British officials agreed with the interpretation of the Zionists that a state would be established when a Jewish majority was achieved.

The initial draft of the declaration, contained in a letter sent by Rothschild to Balfour, referred to the principle "that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the Jewish people." In the final text, the word that was replaced with in to avoid committing the entirety of Palestine to this purpose. Similarly, an early draft did not include the commitment that nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of the non-Jewish communities. These changes came about partly as the result of the urgings of Edwin Samuel Montagu
Edwin Samuel Montagu
Edwin Samuel Montagu PC was a British Liberal politician. He notably served as Secretary of State for India between 1917 and 1922.-Background and education:...

, an influential anti-Zionist Jew and secretary of state for India
Secretary of State for India
The Secretary of State for India, or India Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister responsible for the government of India and the political head of the India Office...

, who was concerned that the declaration without those changes could result in increased anti-Semitic persecution. The draft was circulated and during October the government received replies from various representatives of the Jewish community. Lord Rothschild took exception to the new proviso on the basis that it presupposed the possibility of a danger to non-Zionists, which he denied.

At that time the British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 were busy making promises. At a War Cabinet meeting, held on 31 October 1917, Balfour suggested that a declaration favorable to Zionist aspirations would allow Great Britain "to carry on extremely useful propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 both in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

"


Immediately following the publication of the declaration Germany entered negotiations with Turkey to put forward counter proposals. A German-Jewish Society was formed Vereinigung Judicher Organisationen Deutschlands zur Wahrung der Rchte des Osten (V.J.O.D.) and in January 1918 the Turkish Grand Vizier, Talaat, issued a statement which promised legislation by which "all justifiable wishes of the Jews in Palestine would be able to find their fulfilment".

The McMahon–Hussein Correspondence

Henry McMahon had exchanged letters with Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca
Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca
Sayyid Hussein bin Ali, GCB was the Sharif of Mecca, and Emir of Mecca from 1908 until 1917, when he proclaimed himself King of Hejaz, which received international recognition. He initiated the Arab Revolt in 1916 against the increasingly nationalistic Ottoman Empire during the course of the...

 in 1915, in which he had promised Hussein control of Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 lands with the exception of "portions of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

"
lying to the west of "the districts of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, Homs
Homs
Homs , previously known as Emesa , is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is above sea level and is located north of Damascus...

, Hama
Hama
Hama is a city on the banks of the Orontes River in west-central Syria north of Damascus. It is the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate. Hama is the fourth-largest city in Syria—behind Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs—with a population of 696,863...

 and Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

"
. Palestine lies to the south of these areas and wasn't explicitly mentioned. That modern-day Lebanese region of the Mediterranean coast was set aside as part of a future French Mandate. After the war the extent of the coastal exclusion was hotly disputed. Hussein had protested that the Arabs of Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 would greatly oppose isolation from the Arab state or states, but did not bring up the matter of Jerusalem or Palestine. Dr. Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

 wrote in his autobiography Trial and Error that Palestine had been excluded from the areas that should have been Arab and independent. This interpretation was supported explicitly by the British government in the 1922 White Paper.

On the basis of McMahon's assurances the Arab Revolt began on 5 June 1916. However, the British and French also secretly concluded the Sykes–Picot Agreement on 16 May 1916. This agreement divided many Arab territories into British- and French-administered areas and allowed for the internationalisation of Palestine. Hussein learned of the agreement when it was leaked by the new Russian government in December 1917, but was satisfied by two disingenuous telegrams from Sir Reginald Wingate, High Commissioner of Egypt, assuring him that the British government's commitments to the Arabs were still valid and that the Sykes-Picot Agreement was not a formal treaty.

According to Isaiah Friedman, Hussein was not perturbed by the Balfour Declaration and on March 23, 1918, in Al Qibla, the daily newspaper of Mecca, with Hussein writing:
He called on the Arab population in Palestine to welcome the Jews as brethren and cooperate with them for the common welfare. Following the publication of the Declaration the British had dispatched Commander David George Hogarth
David George Hogarth
David George Hogarth was a British archaeologist and scholar associated with T. E. Lawrence and Arthur Evans.-Archaeological career:...

 to see Hussein in January 1918 bearing the message that the "political and economic freedom" of the Palestinian population was not in question. Hogarth reported that Hussein "would not accept an independent Jewish State in Palestine, nor was I instructed to warn him that such a state was contemplated by Great Britain". Continuing Arab disquiet over Allied intentions also led during 1918 to the British Declaration to the Seven
Declaration to the Seven
The Declaration to the Seven was a document written by Sir Henry McMahon and released by the British Government in response to a memorandum issued anonymously by seven Syrian notables in Cairo who were members of the newly formed Party of Syrian Unity, which had been established in the wake of the...

 and the Anglo-French Declaration
Anglo-French Declaration
The Anglo-French Declaration was signed between France and Great Britain on November 7, 1918 agreeing to implement a "complete and final liberation" of countries that had been part of the Ottoman Empire including the establishment of democratic governments in Syria and Mesopotamia...

, the latter promising "the complete and final liberation of the peoples who have for so long been oppressed by the Turks, and the setting up of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the free exercise of the initiative and choice of the indigenous populations."

Lord Grey had been the foreign secretary during the McMahon-Hussein negotiations. Speaking in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 on the 27th March 1923, he made it clear that he entertained serious doubts as to the validity of the British government's interpretation of the pledges which he, as foreign secretary, had caused to be given to Hussein in 1915. He called for all of the secret engagements regarding Palestine to be made public. Many of the relevant documents in the National Archives were later declassified and published. Among them were the minutes of a Cabinet Eastern Committee meeting, chaired by Lord Curzon,which was held on 5 December 1918. Balfour was in attendance. The minutes revealed that in laying out the government's position Curzon had explained that: "Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future".

Negotiation

One of the main proponents of a Jewish homeland in Palestine was Weizmann, the leading spokesperson for organized Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 in Britain. Weizmann was a chemist who had developed a process to synthesize acetone
Acetone
Acetone is the organic compound with the formula 2CO, a colorless, mobile, flammable liquid, the simplest example of the ketones.Acetone is miscible with water and serves as an important solvent in its own right, typically as the solvent of choice for cleaning purposes in the laboratory...

 via fermentation
Fermentation (biochemistry)
Fermentation is the process of extracting energy from the oxidation of organic compounds, such as carbohydrates, using an endogenous electron acceptor, which is usually an organic compound. In contrast, respiration is where electrons are donated to an exogenous electron acceptor, such as oxygen,...

. Acetone is required for the production of cordite
Cordite
Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance...

, a powerful propellant
Propellant
A propellant is a material that produces pressurized gas that:* can be directed through a nozzle, thereby producing thrust ;...

 explosive needed to fire ammunition without generating tell-tale smoke. Germany had cornered supplies of calcium acetate
Calcium acetate
The chemical compound calcium acetate is the calcium salt of acetic acid. It has the formula Ca2. Its standard name is calcium acetate, while calcium ethanoate is the systematic IUPAC name. An older name is acetate of lime...

, a major source of acetone. Other pre-war processes in Britain were inadequate to meet the increased demand in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and a shortage of cordite would have severely hampered Britain's war effort. Lloyd-George, then minister for munitions, was grateful to Weizmann and so supported his Zionist aspirations. In his War Memoirs, Lloyd-George wrote of meeting Weizmann in 1916 that Weizmann
... explained his aspirations as to the repatriation of the Jews to the sacred land they had made famous. That was the fount and origin of the famous declaration about the National Home for the Jews in Palestine .... As soon as I became Prime Minister I talked the whole matter over with Mr Balfour, who was then Foreign Secretary.


However, this version of the story of the declaration's origins has been described as "fanciful", a fair assessment considering that discussions between Weizmann and Balfour had begun at least a decade earlier. In late 1905 Balfour had requested of Charles Dreyfus, his Jewish constituency representative, that he arrange a meeting with Weizman, during which Weizman asked for official British support for Zionism; they were to meet again on this issue in 1914.

During the first meeting between Weizmann and Balfour in 1906, Balfour asked what Weizmann's objections were to the idea of a Jewish homeland in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, (the Uganda Protectorate in East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 in the British Uganda Programme), rather than in Palestine. According to Weizmann's memoir, the conversation went as follows:
"Mr. Balfour, supposing I was to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?" He sat up, looked at me, and answered: "But Dr. Weizmann, we have London." "That is true," I said, "but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh." He ... said two things which I remember vividly. The first was: "Are there many Jews who think like you?" I answered: "I believe I speak the mind of millions of Jews whom you will never see and who cannot speak for themselves." ... To this he said: "If that is so you will one day be a force."


James Gelvin
James L. Gelvin
James L. Gelvin is an American scholar of Middle Eastern history. He has been a faculty member in the department of history at the University of California, Los Angeles since 1995 and has written extensively on the history of the modern Middle East, with particular emphasis on nationalism and the...

, a Middle East history professor, cites at least three other reasons for why the British government chose to support Zionist aspirations. Issuing the Balfour Declaration would appeal to Woodrow Wilson’s two closest advisors, who were avid Zionists.


"The British did not know quite what to make of President Woodrow Wilson and his conviction (before America's entrance into the war) that the way to end hostilities was for both sides to accept "peace without victory." Two of Wilson's closest advisors, Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, were avid Zionists. How better to shore up an uncertain ally than by endorsing Zionist aims? The British adopted similar thinking when it came to the Russians, who were in the midst of their revolution. Several of the most prominent revolutionaries, including Leon Trotsky, were of Jewish descent. Why not see if they could be persuaded to keep Russia in the way by appealing to their latent Jewishness and giving them another reason to continue the fight?" ... These include not only those already mentioned but also Britain's desire to attract Jewish financial resources.

Conflicts and broken treaty commitments (contradictory assurances)

The Anglo-French Declaration of November 1918 pledged that Great Britain and France would "assist in the establishment of indigenous governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia by "setting up of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the free exercise of the initiative and choice of the indigenous populations".

Balfour resigned as foreign secretary following the Versailles Conference in 1919, but continued in the Cabinet as lord president of the council
Lord President of the Council
The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

. In a memorandum addressed to new Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon, he stated that the Balfour Declaration contradicted the letters of the covenant (referring to the League Covenant
Covenant of the League of Nations
-Creation:Early drafts for a possible League of Nations began even before the end of the First World War. A London-based study group led by James Bryce and G. Lowes Dickinson made proposals adopted by the British League of Nations Society, founded in 1915. Another group in the United States—which...

) the Anglo-French Declaration, and the instructions to the King-Crane Commission
King-Crane Commission
The King-Crane Commission was an official investigation by the United States government during the summer of 1919 concerning the disposition of non-Turkish areas within the former Ottoman Empire...

. All of the other engagements contained pledges that the Arab populations could establish national governments of their own choosing according to the principle of self-determination.

Balfour explained:
"The contradiction between the letters of the Covenant [of the League of Nations] and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the ‘independent nation’ of Palestine than in that of the ‘independent nation‘ of Syria. For in Palestine we do not propose to even go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country though the American [King-Crane] Commission is going through the form of asking what they are.


The Four Great Powers [Britain, France, Italy and the United States] are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, and future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land. In my opinion that is right.


What I have never been able to understand is how it can be harmonized with the [Anglo-French] declaration, the Covenant, or the instruction to the [King-Crane] Commission of Enquiry.


I do not think that Zionism will hurt the Arabs, but they will never say they want it. Whatever be the future of Palestine it is not now an ‘independent nation’, nor is it yet on the way to become one. Whatever deference should be paid to the views of those living there, the Powers in their selection of a mandatory do not propose, as I understand the matter, to consult them. In short, so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.


If Zionism is to influence the Jewish problem throughout the world Palestine must be made available for the largest number of Jewish immigrants. It is therefore eminently desirable that it should obtain the command of the water-power
which naturally belongs to it whether by extending its borders to the north, or by treaty with the mandatory of Syria, to whom the southward flowing waters of Hamon could not in any event be of much value.


For the same reason Palestine should be extended into the lands lying east of the Jordan. It should not, however, be allowed to include the Hedjaz Railway, which is too distinctly bound up with exclusively Arab Interests..."

Controversy behind declaration

British public and government opinion became increasingly less favorable to the commitment that had been made to Zionist policy. In February 1922, Winston Churchill telegraphed Herbert Samuel asking for cuts in expenditure and noting:
In both Houses of Parliament there is growing movement of hostility, against Zionist policy in Palestine, which will be stimulated by recent Northcliffe
Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe
Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe rose from childhood poverty to become a powerful British newspaper and publishing magnate, famed for buying stolid, unprofitable newspapers and transforming them to make them lively and entertaining for the mass market.His company...

 articles. I do not attach undue importance to this movement, but it is increasingly difficult to meet the argument that it is unfair to ask the British taxpayer, already overwhelmed with taxation, to bear the cost of imposing on Palestine an unpopular policy.


Sir John Evelyn Shuckburgh of the new Middle East department of the Foreign Office discovered that the correspondence prior to the declaration was not available in the Colonial Office, 'although Foreign Office papers were understood to have been lengthy and to have covered a considerable period'." The 'most comprehensive explanation' of the origin of the Balfour Declaration the Foreign Office was able to provide was contained in a small 'unofficial' note of Jan 1923 affirming that:
little is known of how the policy represented by the Declaration was first given form. Four, or perhaps five men were chiefly concerned in the labour-the Earl of Balfour, the late Sir Mark Sykes, and Messrs. Weizmann and Sokolow, with perhaps Lord Rothschild as a figure in the background. Negotiations seem to have been mainly oral and by means of private notes and memoranda of which only the scantiest records seem to be available.


In his posthumously published 1981 book The Anglo-American Establishment, Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

 history professor Carroll Quigley
Carroll Quigley
Carroll Quigley was an American historian and theorist of the evolution of civilizations. He is noted for his teaching work as a professor at Georgetown University, for his academic publications, and for his research on secret societies.- Biography :Quigley was born in Boston, and attended...

 explained that the Balfour Declaration was actually drafted by Lord Alfred Milner. Quigley wrote:


This declaration, which is always known as the Balfour Declaration, should rather be called "the Milner Declaration," since Milner was the actual draftsman and was, apparently, its chief supporter in the War Cabinet. This fact was not made public until 21 July 1937. At that time Ormsby-Gore, speaking for the government in Commons, said, "The draft as originally put up by Lord Balfour was not the final draft approved by the War Cabinet. The particular draft assented to by the War Cabinet and afterwards by the Allied Governments and by the United States...and finally embodied in the Mandate, happens to have been drafted by Lord Milner. The actual final draft had to be issued in the name of the Foreign Secretary, but the actual draftsman was Lord Milner."


More recently, William D. Rubinstein, Professor of Modern History at Aberystwyth University, Wales, wrote that Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 politician and pro-Zionist Leo Amery, as Assistant Secretary
Assistant Secretary
Assistant Secretary is a grade in the British Civil Service, now more commonly styled Divisional Manager or Deputy Director. In the grading scheme they are denoted Grade 5....

 to the British war cabinet in 1917, was the main author of the Balfour Declaration.

Arab opposition

The Arabs expressed disapproval in November 1918 at the parade marking the first anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The Muslim-Christian Association protested the carrying of new "white and blue banners with two inverted triangles in the middle". They drew the attention of the authorities to the serious consequences of any political implications in raising the banners.

Later that month, on the first anniversary of the occupation of Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 by the British, the Muslim-Christian Association sent a lengthy memorandum and petition to the military governor protesting once more any formation of a Jewish state.

See also

  • Napoleon and the Jews
    Napoleon and the Jews
    The ascendancy of Napoleon Bonaparte proved to be an important event in European Jewish emancipation from old laws restricting them to ghettos, as well as the many laws that limited Jews' rights to property, worship, and careers.- Napoleon's Law and the Jews :...

  • Faisal-Weizmann Agreement
    Faisal-Weizmann Agreement
    The Faisal–Weizmann Agreement was signed on January 3, 1919, by Emir Feisal , who was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from August 1921 to 1933, and Chaim Weizmann as part of the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 settling...

  • British Mandate of Palestine
  • Gathering of Israel
    Gathering of Israel
    The Gathering of Israel is the promise given by Moses, in the Hebrew Bible, to the People of Israel before his death, prior to their entrance to Eretz Israel...

  • 1947 UN Partition Plan
    1947 UN Partition Plan
    The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was created by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United...

  • Declaration of Independence (Israel), 14 May 1948
  • Madagascar Plan
    Madagascar Plan
    The Madagascar Plan was a suggested policy of the Nazi government of Germany to relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar.-Origins:The evacuation of European Jews to the island of Madagascar was not a new concept...

  • British Uganda Program
    British Uganda Program
    The British Uganda Programme was a plan to give a portion of British East Africa to the Jewish people as a homeland.-History:The offer was first made by British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain to Theodore Herzl's Zionist group in 1903. He offered of the Mau Plateau in what is today Kenya...

  • Benjamin Freedman

Further reading

  • Schneer, Jonathan. The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Random House, 2010) 464pp; ISBN 978-1-4000-6532-5

External links

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