HERZL, Theodor (1860-1904). Important autograph letter signed to Joseph Cowen, Vienna, 14 November 1900, asking him to arrange a meeting between Herzl and Lord Rothschild, as a preliminary to bringing up the question of Zionism in the British Parliament, suggesting that Zionism would be compatible with British patriotism and self-interest, 3 pages, small 4°, autograph envelope marked 'private'. Marking the letter at the head 'strictly confidential', he tells Cowen that recent news received from Constantinople make a meeting with Lord Rothschild imperative; as however 'Lord R.' seems unwilling and too arrogant to meet him, Cowen is to pretend to be the instigator of such a conference. He believes that Zionism will shortly be discussed in the British Parliament, which will be arranged with the assistance of one of the members under obligation to him. It is essential that Lord R. should be involved before the event. This will ultimately change Zionist policies, transferring the centre of action to England, which would both promote Jewish and British patriotism and would be in the British self-interest, 'Man müsste Lord R. in geeigneter Weise davon verständigen, dass wir demnächst im englischen Parlament ... den Zionismus zur Sprache bringen lassen wollen. Es wäre nun für ihn gewiss nicht ohne Interesse mit mir vorher darüber zu reden, weil es der point de départ einer neuen umfassenden Action des Zionismus sein wird. Der Zionismus könnte mehr und mehr in das englische Fahrwasser geleitet werden, was nicht nur eine eminent jüdische sondern auch englische hochpatriotische Sache wäre ...'. At the time, Herzl was trying to win British support to influence Sultan Abdul Hamid in Constantinople to facilitate Jewish immigration into Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. This would certainly have advanced British political interests in Turkey. At the same time Herzl had conceived the idea of buying up the Turkish Public Debt (or at least the part of it carried by the Ottoman Bank), to influence the Sultan in granting concessions and a Charter for Jewish immigration. This was presumably the most urgent reason for the meeting with Nathaniel Mayer, Lord Rothschild, who as a banker and a member of the House of Lords, as well as a member of the Commission for Jewish Immigration carried tremendous influence. Rothschild himself was an opponent of anything that might endanger the emancipation of Jews in England, which may have been one reason for not wishing to meet Herzl. Published in Theodor Herzl, Briefe und Tagebücher vol.VI (1993) pp 94-95.