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Balfour Declaration (Letter)

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will publish the complete letter from Lord Balfour to Mr. Rothschild embodying the Balfour Declaration.

The letter to which my hon. Friend refers received wide publicity shortly after i' was issued and is given in full in a number of standard works of reference on the Palestine question.

Can my right hon. Friend give the date of the letter? Is he aware that his reply will cause a great deal of satisfaction among those people who believe that the whole of this thing was bogus and formed part of a much more comprehensive letter from Mr. Balfour?

If the right hon. Gentleman is thinking of republishing the letter, will he also publish the correspondence, some of it confidential, between various high officials and the late King Hussein in order that the public may have an opportunity of understanding the unwisdom of the Government of the' time in giving two contradictory statements?

It is not the usual custom, of this House to print documents which are easily available, and interested people, I am certain, can find the letter in a number of publications. The one in which I saw it was the "Encyclopædia Britannica."

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that when this letter was published it stated clearly that it was a declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, submitted to and approved by the Cabinet, and will he be good enough to tell us, so that there may be no doubt in future, what were these documents and submissions?

While I cannot be drawn into a controversy by way of saying "Yes" or "No," the letter went on to discuss certain other interests which must be safeguarded.