"The Balfour language of national home for Jews and civil rights for non-Jews, which had been adopted all along with the intention of maintaining a degree of ambiguity."
Jewish self-determination, ambiguous to who?
That the Declaration paved the way for a Jewish State seems to, judging from the press, to have been taken for granted. The headlines in the London newspapers – `A state for the Jews’ (Daily Express) – `Palestine for the Jews’ (The Times, Morning Post, Daily News). The Spectator wrote of `the proposal for the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine.’ The Manchester Guardian saw the Declaration as leading to `the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State.’ The Observer wrote: `It is no idle dream that by the close of another generation the new Zion may become a state.’ The Balfour Declaration, by Leonard Stein, at 562, 63.
What was Woodrow Wilson’s stand on the natural law concept of self-determination in Palestine at the time of the Paris Peace Talks in 1919?
“When Balfour met Brandeis in Paris in June 1919, he remarked . . . . that Palestine represented a unique situation. We are dealing not with the wishes of an existing community but are consciously seeking to re-constitute a new community and definitely building for a numerical majority in the future’ . He had, he went on, great difficulty in seeing how President Wilson could reconcile his adherence to Zionism with the doctrine of self-determination, to which Brandeis replied that `the whole conception of Zionism as a Jewish homeland was a definite building up for the future as the means of dealing with a world problem and not merely with the disposition of an existing community. `
Balfour gave the argument a slightly different turn at his interview with Meinertzhagen a few weeks later. ` [Meinertzhagen was also very pro-Zionist.] He agreed . . . in principle, Meinertzhagen wrote in his diary (30 July 1919), in the principle of self-determination, but it could not be indiscriminately applied to the whole world, and Palestine was a case in point . . . In any Palestinian plebiscite the Jews of the world must be consulted in which case he sincerely believed that an overwhelming majority would declare for Zionism under a British mandate.’ Leonard Stein at p. 649
Leopold Amery, one of the Secretaries to the British War Cabinet of 1917-1918 testified under oath to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in January, 1946 from his personal knowledge [Tr. 1/30/46, p 112] that:
1. He believed that the Jewish National Home was an experiment to determine whether there would eventually be a Jewish majority over the whole of Palestine.
2. He believed that the territory for which political rights were to be recognized was intended to include all of Palestine both east and west of the Jordan River.
3. He had always assumed that the particular reference to not infringing the civil or religious liberties of Arab population was not so much a safeguard against the British Government infringing those liberties . . ., but a Jewish state infringing those liberties. Therefore, at the time that possibility of a Jewish majority over the whole of the larger Palestine was, he thought envisaged.
4. The phrase “the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people” was intended and understood by all concerned to mean at the time of the Balfour Declaration that Palestine would ultimately become a “Jewish Commonwealth” or a “Jewish State”, if only Jews came and settled there in sufficient numbers.
5. Recalled that Lloyd-George had testified earlier [likely in 1939 at the time of the 1939 White Paper]:
“…There could be no doubt as to what the Cabinet then had in mind. It was not their idea that a Jewish State should be set up immediately by the Peace Treaty…. On the other hand, it was contemplated that when the time arrived for according representative institutions to Palestine, if the Jews had meanwhile responded to the opportunity afforded them … and had become a definite majority of the inhabitants, then Palestine would thus become a Jewish Commonwealth. The notion that the Jews should be a permanent minority never entered into the heads of anyone engaged in framing the policy. That would have been regarded as unjust, and as a fraud on the people to whom we were appealing.”