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The London Conference and the White Paper of 1939


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The London Conference, St. James's Palace, February 1939: a meeting between the British and Arab delegates. The Palestinian delegates are seated in the foreground; from left to right: Fuad Saba (see 242, 268 - 269, 344), Ya'qub al-Ghusayn (see 242, 268), Musa al-Alami (see 67, 343), Amin Tamimi, Jamal al-Husseini (see 242), Awni Abd al-Hadi (see 100, 196), George Antonius (see 364), and Alfred Roch (see 100, 200, 242).

On either side of the Palestinian delegation are the other Arab delegations. Facing the Palestinians are the British, with Sir Neville Chamberlain, prime minister, presiding. To his right is Lord Halifax, secretary of state for foreign affairs, and to his left, Malcolm MacDonald, secretary of state for the colonies.

After the London Conference, the British government issued a White Paper (statement of policy) in which it promised to protect Palestinian land rights in considerable areas of the country against Zionist land acquisition, and to solicit Palestinian "acquiescence" to Zionist mass immigration, but only after the admission of 75,000 more Jews during a five-year period. The White Paper also dangled the conditional prospect of an independent unitary state of Palestine, but only after a ten-year transitional period.