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3 December 2010
CHURCHILL, Winston S. Typed letter signed ("Winston S. Churchill"), to Maj. Sir Hubert Winthrop Young (1885-1950), Chartwell, 10 September 1937. 1 page, 4to, Chartwell stationery.
"I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS PARTITION SCHEME FOR PALESTINE WILL WORK"
A STRONG STATEMENT ON PALESTINE to a former Colonial Office colleague: "I always look back with great pleasure to the days when we worked together," Churchill tells Young, "and I think accomplished some things that have lasted. I do not believe this partition scheme for Palestine will work. It would be much better to persevere along the old lines. However we are oppressed by so many larger burdens and dangers that I could wish we had only Palestine and its troubles on our hands." He also promises to consider a speaking engagement at Cambridge but given his literary and parliamentary commitments, he says "I have little liesure [sic] or urge to make speeches in the country."
Churchill is alluding to the Peel Commission report of 1937, which recommended the creation of a Jewish and an Arab state within Mandatory Palestine. The Jews would occupy a smaller portion of land, along the Mediterranean coast stretching north from Tel Aviv to the Syrian border, with the Arabs controlling the regions of Judea, Samaria, and the Negev. Population transfers were to make each zone homogenous. Churchill was right: it didn't work. The British government sent another commission to assess the practicality of the Peel plan, only to reject it as unworkable in 1938. Churchill, of course, wanted to see the government adhere to his own White Paper of 1922, which guaranteed the right of Jews to a homeland in Palestine but also assured Arabs that their rights would be respected. Young was assistant secretary for Middle Eastern affairs during Churchill's tenure at the Colonial Office. An Arabic speaker who won T. E. Lawrence's admiration, Young played a leading role in shaping British policy in the Middle East, especially in Iraq in the late 1920s.
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