ottobre 20, 2012

La Questione sionista e il Vicino Oriente. Fonti archivistiche: National Archiv UK: Anno 1921.

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Anno inizio spoglio: 1921
Sommario: 1921: 1) 12-30 marzo: Conferenza del Cairo e di Gerusalemme sul Medio Oriente. –

Cap. 1

Top supra ↑ 12-30.3.1921 ↓ infra ⇒

Report on Middle East Conference
held in
Cairo and Jerusalem
March 12th to 30th 1921
With Appendix

National Archiv UK,
Catalogue Reference:
 - pp. 121-122 (7-9)
12-30 marzo 1921

1. The Palestine Mission under Sir Herbert Samuel arrived in Cairo on the 16th March and left on the 23rd for Jerusalem with the Secretary of State.

The outstanding question to be discussed was the policy to be adopted with regard to Trans-Jordania, and its effect upon the strength of tho Imperial garrison in Palestine. A combined political and military committee under the Secretary of State considered this question (Appendix 17), and arrived at provisional conclusions, which were then referred to a military committee (Appendix 18). The Conference recommended that Trans-Jordania should be constituted an Arab province of Palestine under an Arab governor, responsible to the High Commissioner. On this assumption they recommended the immediate military occupation of Trans-Jordania, without which they understood that it would be impossible to secure a settled government thero or to stop anti-French action initiated in the British zone. These recommendations were, however, dependent upon the attitude adopted by the Emir Abdullah, and wore subsequently modified as a result of interviews between the Sooretary of State and the Emir which were held in Jerusalem on the 28th, 29th and 30th March (Appendix 19). In the course of these conversations it became quite clear, not only that the Emir was
unwilling to become governor of Trans-Jordania himself under the High Commissioner, but also that he was not prepared to recommend a candidate for this appointment. He had himself announced his intention of taking a leading part in anti-French action, and the people of the district were expecting him to persist in this policy. When the policy recommended by the Conference for Mesopotamia, and for Arabia genem!ly (section V, paragraph 2) was explained to him, he realised that for him to persist in active measures against the French would conflict with the interests of the Sherifian family and permanently alienate them from His Majesty’s Government. His own suggestion was that all Arab Emir should be appointed for Palestine and Trans-Jordania, who should be in the same relations with the High Commissioner for Palestine as the futtll'e Emir of Mesopotamia with the High Commissioner for that country. It was explained to him that His Majesty’s Government were already too far committed to a different system in Palestine for  them to be able to adopt this proposal. He reluctantly accepted this, but proceeded to suggest that Trans-Jordanis should be incorporated with Mesopotamia. He was told that this was also impossible. He then agreed to do his best to keep Trans-Jordania quiet during the month which must elapse before his father and brother could be consulted about the original proposal that it should be constituted an Arab province of Palestine. It was realised that be was being asked to undertake a very difficult task, and it was eventually suggested to him that he should make himself responsible for Trans·Jordania for the period of six months, during which time he would be assisted financially by His Majesty’s Government, who would also help him to organise local forees under British officers. It was pointed out to him that if he succeeded in checking anti-French action for six months he would not only convince the French Government that, so far from being actively hostile to them, the Sherifian  family was prepared loyally to co-operate with His Majesty’s Government in protecting them from external aggression, and would thus reduce their opposition to his brother’s candidature for Mesopotamia, but he would also greatly improve his own chances of a personal reconoiliation with the French, which might even lead to his being instated by them as Emiro of Syria in Damascus. It was made perfectly clear to him that while they would do everything they could to assist towards the attainment of this object, His Majesty’s Governnent could to in any way garanty that it would be achieved. After full consideretion he agreed to undertake responsibility for Trans-Jordania for six months. He preferred that military assistance should be given him in the form of aerial support, and assistance in the organisation of local levies under British officers, and said that he did not with troops to be sent to Amman. As an alternative to the procedure recommended by the Conference this solution appeared preferable to the Secretary of State, both on financial and military grounds, and he accordingly recommended its adoption to the Cabinet on his return to London.

Z. 'fhe question of t,he composition and recruitment of the Palestine Defellce
Force was discllssed by a committee at Cairo (Appendix 20).
The recommondations made by this committee were reviewed in thc light of
the political decisions taken later at Je!"Usalcm, where further oomrniMees were
called to discuss this subject (Appendix 21). The original proposal of the High
CoUlmissioner fot" Palcstine had been to raise a Defence l!'oroe on the militia
system. lIe considered that the duties that would fall to It Palestino Defence
Foroo wem not such as to render iIldispensable the tmining of tho men lip to ~ho
standard of European armies, howe\'er desirable that might be in itself. He had
suggested that a tr(l.inin~ of six montlls, followed by six months' service in their
stations, aud then periOdS of three months in each of the three fo!lowing years,
should suffice to provide n militia effective enough for its purpose, a.nd numerous
in proportion to its cost. Two objections were offered to these pl'Oposals. Ft'om
the military point of view it was urged that a training on the militia basis would
not provide a force which would be capable of taking the place of Impel'ial troops.
From the political point of view it wa.s pointed out that the terms of service
would llot appeal to the Amb in the samc way that ~hey did to the Jew, and
it was fenred that the result would be that no Arabs would entel· the force.
The alternatil'e of enrolling the two elements of the force under different
oonditions- the Jews on a militia basis and the Arabs on a long-service
basis- was considered and rejected, It was finally decided that the same terms
of set'vice should be offered to all - namely, short service of two 01' three years,
with the option of extension to long servico at the end of that period. As a
result of the decision to regard TraIls-Jorda.nians an Arab Province of Palestine, it
Wa.B decided tlmt the forces raised locally in Trans·Jordania should form part of the
Palestine Defence ~'ol'ee. It was suggested that the Circassian elelnellt in 'fmnsJordallia
might also be made use of for the forma.tion of mounted troops. The
High Commissioner pointed out that the effect of these decisions would be to
make the Palestine Defence Force more expensive and to preclude the possibility
of its being paid for entirely from Palestine revenues as he had originally
suggested. There were two possible altcmatives for dealing with the finaueial
aspect of the force. It might either be regarded as a purely Palestine force paid
for from Palestinian revenues, with the assistanee of a grant in aid from lm perial
funds; or it might be treated on the alltllogy of thc British officered levies
in Mesopotamia and regarded as an Imperial force to the expenses of which
Palestine revenues would provide an increasing contribution. No final dflcision
was taken 011 these two alternatives and the Secretary of State desired the High
Commissioner to preprn·e a complete scheme and submit it to him for approval.
lIe undertook that the cost of the units of the force which were raised in TmnsJordunia
would in any case be regarded as Itn Imperial commitment for the
3. The question of the composition of the Commission ' on the Holy Places
referred to in Article 95 of the Treaty of &wres Md Article 14 of the draft
mandate for Palestine was considered by a Committee under the presidency of
Sir H. Samuel (Appendix 22), which recommendod that the post of Chai rman
would be most suitably filled by a.n Englislnulln of judicial experience and, so far
as possible, world-wide reputation. They considered that, provided the members·
were not Iooal people and were chosen as much on account of their impartiality as
of their re.ligious views, the best composition for the Commission, under a British

IJho.inlllUl, us suggested above, would he two Christians (one CI~tholio nnd ono
Orthodox), two Moslems (both Sunnis) and two Jews (ono Zionist aml one
Orthodox). Seotariall views would be laid before the ' Commission by panels
specially seleoted by the. respeotive communities, hut forming no part of the
Commission. The COInmittee agreed that tho Administmtion should be
represented On the Commission, ana considered that the best way to secure this
would be by the appointment of a secretary, who would fWt in It dual capacity as
member of the Commission and mprescntntivc of I;ho Administration. With
regard to the payment of mombem, they recommended that tbis sllOuld he undertaken
by the League of Nations or, failing this, by His Majesty's Government.
They did not regard the functions which the Commission would perform as a.
Palestinian interest, and considered that no payment should be madc wwards it
from the revenues of Palestine. '
4. 'fhe Sooretary of State received iniluenti!~ l Moslem and Jewish deputations
(Appendix 23), and assured them both that there would be no change in the
declared polioy of His Majesty's Government. The Balfour declaration contained
two distinct promises, one to the Jews and one to the Arabs; both would bo
fulfilled. He was convinced that the Zionist cause would bring good to the whole
world and welfare and advanoement to the Arabs of Palestinc. Ho appealed to
thcJews to dispel the exaggerated fears of the Arabs by a good and friendly attitude
and by the exeroise of due restmint as well as of enthusiasm. He advised tho
Arabs, on the other hand, to give help and enoonragerneat to the Jews, whose
success would bring geneml prosperity and wealth to all Palestinians.

Cap. 2

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