By Robert John
To Benjamin H. Freedman, who committed himself to finding and telling the facts about Zionism and Communism. and encouraged others to do the same. The son of one of the founders of the American Jewish Committee, which for many years was anti-Zionist, Ben Freedman founded the League for Peace with Justice in Palestine in 1946. He gave me copies of materials on the Balfour Declaration which I might never have found on my own and encouraged my own research. (He died in April 1984.)
The Institute for Historical Review is providing means for the better understanding of the events of our time.
Attempts to review historical records impartially often reveal that blame, culpability, or dishonor are not to be attached wholly to one side in the conflicts of the last hundred years. To seek to untangle fact from propaganda is a worthy study, for it increases understanding of how we got where we are and it should help people resist exploitation by powerful and destructive interests in the present and future, by exposing their working in the past.
May I recommend to the Nobel Prize Committee that when the influence of this organization’s historical review and search for truth has prevailed the societies of its contributors — say about 5 years or less from now — that they consider the IHR for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Regrettably, some of the company in that award would be hard to bear!
The Balfour Declaration may be the most extraordinary document produced by any Government in world history. It took the form of a letter from the Government of His Britannic Majesty King George the Fifth, the Government of the largest empire the world has even known, on which — once upon a time — the sun never set; a letter to an international financier of the banking house of Rothschild who had been made a peer of the realm.
Arthur Koestler wrote that in the letter “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.” More than that, the country was still part of the Empire of a fourth, namely Turkey.
Foreign Office, November 2nd,1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this Declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour.
It was decided by Lord Allenby that the “Declaration” should not then be published in Palestine where his forces were still south of the Gaza-Beersheba line. This was not done until after the establishment of the Civil Administration in 1920.
Then why was the “Declaration” made a year before the end of what was called The Great War?
“The people” were told at the time that it was given as a return for a debt of gratitude which they were supposed to owe to the Zionist leader (and first President of Israel), Chaim Weizman, a Russian-born immigrant to Britain from Germany who was said to have invented a process of fermentation of horse chestnuts into scarce acetone for production of high explosives by the Ministry of Munitions.
This horse chestnut propaganda production was not dislodged from the mass mind by the short bursts of another story which was used officially between the World Wars.
So let us dig into the records and bury the chestnuts forever.
To know where to explore we must stand back from the event and look over some parts of the relevant historical background. The terrain is extensive and the mud deep, so I shall try to proceed by pointing out markers.
Herzl on the Jewish Problem
Support for a “national home” for the Jews in Palestine from the government of the greatest empire in the world was in part a fulfillment of the efforts and scheming of Theodore Herzl (1860-1904), descendant of Sephardim (on his rich father’s side) who had published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in Vienna in l896. It outlined the factors which he believed had created a universal Jewish problem, and offered a program to regulate it through the exodus of unhappy and unwanted Jews to an autonomous territory of their own in a national-socialist setting.
Herzl offered a focus for a Zionist movement founded in Odessa in 1881, which spread rapidly through the Jewish communities of Russia, and small branches which had sprung up in Germany, England and elsewhere. Though “Zion” referred to a geographical location, it functioned as a utopian conception in the myths of traditionalists, modernists and Zionists alike. It was the reverse of everything rejected in the actual Jewish situation in the “Dispersion,” whether oppression or assimilation.
In his diary Herzl describes submitting his draft proposals to the Rothschild Family Council, noting: “I bring to the Rothschilds and the big Jews their historical mission. I shall welcome all men of goodwill — we must be united — and crush all those of bad.” 
He read his manuscript “Addressed to the Rothschilds” to a friend, Meyer-Cohn, who said,
Up till now I have believed that we are not a nation — but more than a nation. I believed that we have the historic mission of being the exponents of universalism among the nations and therefore were more than a people identified with a specific land.
Nothing prevents us from being and remaining the exponents of a united humanity, when we have a country of our own. To fulfill this mission we do not have to remain literally planted among the nations who hate and despite us. If, in our present circumstances, we wanted to bring about the unity of mankind independent of national boundaries, we would have to combat the ideal of patriotism. The latter, however, will prove stronger than we for innumerable years to come.” [2a]
In this era, there were a number of Christians and Messianic groups who looked for a Jewish “return.” One of these was the Protestant chaplain at the British Embassy in Vienna, who had published a book in 1882: The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine According to the Prophets. Through him, Herzl obtained an audience of the Grand Duke of Baden, and as they waited for their appointment to go to the castle, Herzl said to Chaplain Hechler, ”When I go to Jerusalem I shall take you with me.”
The Duke gave Herzl’s proposal his consideration, and agreed to Herzl’s request that he might refer to it in his meetings outside of Baden. He then used this to open his way to higher levels of power.
Through intermediaries, he endeavoured to ingratiate himself with the Sultan of Turkey by activities designed to reduce the agitation by émigré Armenian committees in London and Brussels for Turkish reforms and cessation of oppression [A] and started a press campaign to calm public opinion in London on the Armenian question. But when offered money for Palestine, the Sultan replied that his people had won their Empire with blood, and owned it. ”The Jews may spend their millions. When my Empire is divided, perhaps they will get Palestine for nothing. But only our corpse can be divided. I will never consent to vivisection. ” [2b]
Herzl met the Papal Nuncio in Vienna and promised the exclusion of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth from the Jewish state. He started a Zionist newspaper, Die Welt, and was delighted to hear from the United States that a group of rabbis headed by Dr. Gustave Gottheil favored a Zionist movement. All this, and more, in a few months.
It was Herzl who created the first Zionist Congress at Basel, Switzerland, 29-31 August 1897, [B] There were 197 “delegates”; some were orthodox, some nationalist, liberal, atheist, culturalist, anarchist, socialist and some capitalist.
”We want to lay the foundation stone of the house which is to shelter the Jewish nation,” and ”Zionism seeks to obtain for the Jewish people a publicly recognized, legally secured homeland in Palestine.” declared Herzl. And his anti-assimilationist dictum that “Zionism is a return to the Jewish fold even before it is a return to the Jewish land,” was an expression of his own experience which was extended into the official platform of Zionisn as the aim of “strengthening the Jewish national sentiment and national consciousness.” 
Another leading figure who addressed the Congress was Max Nordau, a Hungarian Jewish physician and author, who delivered a polemic against assimilated Jews. “For the first time the Jewish problem was presented forcefully before a European forum,” wrote Weizmann. But the Russian Jews thought Herzl was patronizing them as Askenazim. They found his “western dignity did not sit well with our Russian-Jewish realism; and without wanting to, we could not help irritating him.” 
As a result of the Congress, the “Basic Protocol,” keystone of the world Zionist movement, was adopted as follows:
Zionism strives to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law. The Congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end:
1. The promotion on suitable lines of the colonization of Palestine by Jewish agricultural and industrial workers.
2. The organization and binding together of the whole of Jewry by means of appropriate institutions, local and international, in accordance with the laws of each country.
3. The strengthening and fostering of Jewish national sentiment and consciousness.
4. Preparatory steps towards obtaining Government consent where necessary to the attainment of the aim of Zionism.
The British Chovevei-Zion Association declined an invitation to be represented at the Congress, and the Executive Committee of the Association of Rabbis in Germany protested that:
1. The efforts of so-called Zionists to found a Jewish national state in Palestine contradict the messianic promise of Judaism as contained in the Holy Writ and in later religious sources.
2. Judaism obligates its adherents to serve with all devotion the Fatherland to which they belong, and to further its national interests with all their heart and with all their strength.
3. However, those noble aims directed toward the colonization of Palestine by Jewish peasants and farmers are not in contradiction to these obligations, because they have no relation whatsoever to the founding of a national state.
In conversation with a delegate at the First Congress, Litman Rosenthal, Herzl said,
It may be that Turkey will refuse or be unable to understand us. This will not discourage us. We will seek other means to accomplish our end. The Orient question is now the question of the day. Sooner or later it will bring about a conflict among the nations. A European war is imminent. . The great European War must come. With my watch in hand do I await this terrible moment. After the great European war is ended the Peace Conference will assemble. We must be ready for that time. We will assuredly be called to this great conference of the nations and we must prove to them the urgent importance of a Zionist solution to the Jewish Question. We must prove to them that the problem of the Orient and Palestine is one with the problem of the Jews — both must be solved together. We must prove to them that the Jewish problem is a world problem and that a world problem must be solved by the world. And the solution must be the return of Palestine to the Jewish people.[American Jewish News, 7 March 1919]
A few months later, in a message to a Jewish conference in London, Herzl wrote “the first moment I entered the Movement my eyes were directed towards England because I saw that by reason of the general situation of things there it was the Archimedean point where the lever could be applied.” Herzl showed his desire for some foothold in England, and also perhaps his respect for London as the world’s financial center, by causing the Jewish Colonial Trust, which was to be the main financial instrument of his Movement, to be incorporated in 1899 as an English company.
Herzl was indefatigable. He offered the Sultan of Turkey help in re-organizing his financial affairs in return for assistance in Jewish settlement in Palestine. To the Kaiser, who visited Palestine in 1888 and again in 1898, [C] he promised support for furthering German interests in the Near East; a similar offer was made to King Edward VII of England; and he personally promised the Pope to respect the holy places of Christendom in return for Vatican support.[D] But only from the Czar did he receive, through the Minister of the Interior, a pledge of “moral and material assistance with respect to the measures taken by the movement which would lead to a diminution of the Jewish population in Russia.” 
He reported his work to the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basle on 23 August 1903, but stated, “Zion is not and can never be. It is merely an expedient for colonization purposes, but, be it well understood, an expedient founded on a national and political basis.” 
When pressed for Jewish colonization in Palestine, the Turkish Sublime Porte offered a charter for any other Turkish territory [with acceptance by the settlers of Ottoman citizenship] which Herzl refused. The British Establishment, aware of Herzl’s activities through his appearance before the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration, [E] and powerful press organs such as the Daily Chronicle and Pall Mall Gazette which were demanding a conference of the Powers to consider the Zionist program,  somewhat characteristically, had shown a willingness to negotiate about a Jewish colony in the Egyptian territory of El-‘Arish on the Turco-Egyptian frontier in the Sinai Peninsula. But the Egyptian Government objected to making Nile water available for irrigation; the Turkish Government, through its Commissioner in Cairo, objected; and the British Agent in Cairo, Lord Cromer, finally advised the scheme’s rejection.
Meanwhile, returning from a visit to British East Africa in the Spring of 1903, Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain put to Herzl the idea of a Jewish settlement in what was soon to become the Colony of Kenya, but through a misunderstanding Herzl believed that Uganda was intended, and it was referred to as the “Uganda scheme.” Of the part of the conversation on the El-‘Arish proposal, Herzl wrote in his diary that he had told Chamberlain that eventually we shall gain our aims “not from the goodwill but from the jealously of the Powers.”  With the failure of the El-‘Arish proposal, Herzl authorized the preparation of a draft scheme for settlement in East Africa. This was prepared by the legal firm of Lloyd George, Roberts and Company, on the instructions of Herzl’s go-between with the British Government, Leopold Greenberg.
Herzl urged acceptance of the “Uganda scheme,” favoring it as a temporary refuge, but he was opposed from all sides, and died suddenly of heart failure on 3 July 1904. Herzl’s death rid the Zionists of an “alien,” and he was replaced by David Wolffsohn (the Litvak [F]).
The “Uganda proposal” split the Zionist movement. Some who favored it formed the Jewish Territorial Organization, under the leadership of Israel Zangwill (1864-1926). For these territorialists, the renunciation of “Zion” was not generally felt as an ideological sacrifice; instead they contended that not mystical claims to “historic attachment” but present conditions should determine the location of a Jewish national homeland.
In Turkey, the “Young Turk” (Committee of Union and Progress) revolution of 1908 was ostensibly a popular movement opposed to foreign influence. However, Jews and crypto-Jews known as Dunmeh had played a leading part in the Revolution.
The Zionists opened a branch of the Anglo-Palestine Bank in the Turkish capital, and the bank became the headquarters of their work in the Ottoman Empire. Victor Jacobson [G] was brought from Beirut, “ostensibly to represent the Anglo-Palestine Company, but really to make Zionist propaganda among the Turkish Jews.”  His contacts included both political parties, discussions with Arab members of Parliament from Syria and Palestine, and a general approach to young Ottoman intellectuals through a newspaper issued by the Zionist office. In Turkey, as in Germany, “Their own native Jews were resentful of the attempt to segregate them as Jews and were opposed to the intrusion of Jewish nationalism in their domestic affairs.” Though several periodicals in French “were subvened” by the Zionist-front office under Dr. Victor Jacobson,  (the first Zionist who aspired to be not a Zionist leader but a “career” diplomat,) and although he built up good political connections through social contacts, “always avoiding the sharpness of a direct issue, and waiting in patient oriental fashion for the insidious seed of propaganda to fructify,”  yet some of those engaged in the work, notably Vladimir (Zev) Jabotinsky (1880-1940), came to despair of success so long as the Ottoman Empire controlled Palestine. They henceforth pinned their hopes on its collapse.
At the Tenth Zionist Congress in 1911, David Wolffsohn, who had succeeded Herzl, said in his presidential address that what the Zionists wanted was not a Jewish state but a homeland,  while Max Nordau denounced the “infamous traducers,” who alleged that “the Zionists … wanted to worm their way into Turkey in order to seize Palestine . It is our duty to convince (the Turks) that … they possess in the whole world no more generous and self-sacrificing friends than the Zionists.” [H]
The mild sympathy which the Young Turks had shown for Zionism was replaced by suspicion as growing national unrest threatened the Ottoman Empire, especially in the Balkans. Zionist policy then shifted to the Arabs, so that they might think of Zionism as a possible make-weight against the Turks. But Zionists soon observed that their reception by Arab leaders grew warmer as the Arabs were disappointed in their hopes of gaining concessions from the Turks, but cooled swiftly when these hopes revived. The more than 60 Arab parliamentary delegates in Constantinople and the newly active Arabic press kept up “a drumfire of complaints” against Jewish immigration, land purchase and settlement in Palestine.
“After many years of striving, the conviction was forced upon us that we stood before a blank wall, which it was impossible for us to surmount by ordinary political means,” said Weizmann of the last pre-war Zionist Congress. But the strength of the national will forged for itself two main roads towards its goal — the gradual extension and strengthening of our Yishuv (Hebrew: literally, “settlement,” a collective name for the Jewish settlers) in Palestine and the spreading of the Zionist idea throughout the length and breadth of Jewry.
The Turks were doing all they could to keep Jews out of Palestine. But this barrier was covertly surmounted, partly due to the venality of Turkish officials,  (as delicately put in a Zionist report — “it was always possible to get round the individual official with a little artifice”);  and partly to the diligence of the Russian consuls in Palestine in protecting Russian Jews and saving them from expulsion.
But if Zionism were to succeed in its ambitions, Ottoman rule of Palestine must end. Arab independence could be prevented by the intervention of England and France, Germany or Russia. The Eastern Jews hated Czarist Russia. With the entente cordiale in existence, it was to be Germany or England, with the odds slightly in Britain’s favor in potential support of the Zionist aim in Palestine, as well as in military power.[I] On the other hand, Zionism was attracting some German and Austrian Jews with important financial interests and had to take into account strong Jewish anti-Zionist opinion in England.
But before Zionism had finally reckoned it could gain no special consideration in Palestine from Turkey, the correspondent of The Times was able to report in a message published 14 April 1911, of the Zionist organ Jeune Turc’s [J] “violent hostility to England” and “its germanophile enthusiasm,” and to the propaganda carried on among Turkish Jews by “German Zionist agents.” When the policy line altered, this impression in England had to be erased. The concern of the majority of rich English Jews was not allayed by articles in the Jewish Chronicle, edited by Leopold Greenberg, pointing out that in the Basle program there was “not a word of any autonomous Jewish state,”  and in Die Welt, the official organ of the Movement, the article by Nahum Sokolow, then the General Secretary of the Zionist Organization, in which he protested that there was no truth in the allegation that Zionism aimed at the establishment of an independent Jewish State. Even at the 11th Congress in 1913, Otto Warburg, speaking as chairman of the Zionist Executive, gave assurances of loyalty to Turkey, adding that in colonizing Palestine and developing its resources, Zionists would be making a valuable contribution to the progress of the Turkish Empire.
[A] A letter entered in Herzl’s diary on 15 May 1896 states that the head of the Armenian movement in London is Avetis Nazarhek, “and he directs the paper Huntchak (The Bell). He will be spoken to.”
[B] On either side of the main doorway of the hall hung white banners with two blue stripes, and over the doorway was placed a six-pointed “Shield of David.” It was the invention of David Wolffsohn, who employed the colors of the traditional Jewish prayer shawl. Fifty years later, the combined emblems became the flag of the Zionist state. The “Shield of David” is of Assyrian origin: previously a decorative motif or magical emblem. It appeared on the heraldic flag of the Jews in Prague in 1527.
[C] On the latter trip he was accompanied by his Empress. Their yacht, the Hohenzollern, put in at Haifa, and they were escorted to Jerusalem by 2,000 Turkish soldiers.
[D] Pope Pius X told him that the Church could not support the return of “infidel Jews” to the Holy Land.
[E] In 1880, there were about 60,000 Jews in England. Between 1881 and 1905, there was an immigration of some 100,000 Eastern Jews. Though cut by the Aliens Bill of the Balfour Government, which became law in the summer of 1905, immigration continued so that by 1914 there was a Jewish population in England of some 300,000. A leader of the fight against the Aliens Bill and against tightening up naturalization regulations in 1903-1904 was Winston S. Churchill.
[F] The Eastern Jews referred to each other as “Litvaks” (Lithuania), “Galizianers” (Galicia), “Polaks,” “Hungarians,” and geographical regions of their ancestral origin, e.g., “Pinskers”; never by the term Jew.
[G] (1869 — 1935). Born in the Crimea, and nurtured in the atmosphere of assimilation and revolutionary agitation in Russia, Jacobson had organized clubs and written about Zionism in Russian Jewish newspapers. After the First World War, the era of the direct and indirect bribe and the contact man gave way to one in which the interests of nationalities, represented by diplomat-attorneys, had to be met, wrote Lipsky: “In this new world into which Jacobson was thrown, he laboured with the delicacy and concentration of an artist . . working persistently and with vision to build up an interest in the cause. He had to win sympathy as well as conviction.” 
[H] In the Zionist Congress of 1911, (22 years before Hitler came to power, and three years before World War I), Nordau said, “How dare the smooth talkers, the clever official blabbers, open their mouths and boast of progress … Here they hold jubilant peace conferences in which they talk against war… But the same righteous governments, who are so nobly, industriously active to establish the eternal peace, are preparing, by their own confession, complete annihilation for six million people, and there is nobody, except the doomed themselves, to raise his voice in protest although this is a worse crime than any war … ” 
[I] Approximate annual expenditure for military purposes by the European Powers in the first years of the century were: France — £38,400,000; Germany — £38,000,000; Italy — £15,000,000; Russia — £43,000,000; United States — £38,300,000; Great Britain — £69,000,000 at pre-1914 values of sterling.
[J] Its business manager was a German Jew, Sam Hochberg. Among invited contributors was the immensely wealthy Russian Jew Alexander Helphand who, as “Parvus,” was later to suggest to the German left-wing parties that Lenin and his associates be sent to Russia in 1917 to demoralize still further the beaten Russian armies.
The Great War
Until mid-1914, the surface of European diplomatic relations was placid, reflecting successfully negotiated settlements of colonial and other questions. But certain British journalists were charged by their contemporaries “that they deliberately set out to poison Anglo-German relations and to create by their scaremongering such a climate of public opinion that war between the two Great Powers became inevitable.” (The Scaremongers: The Advocacy of War and Rearmament 1896-1914, A. J. A. Morris, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984)
Were they paid or pure? Every anti-German diatribe in British newspapers added to German government concern as to whether it was part of a policy instigated or condoned by Downing Street. Further, there were groups in every major European country which could see only in war the possible means to further their interests or to thwart the ambitions of their rivals. This is why the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir-apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, on 28 June in Sarajevo, soon set Europe crackling with fire, a fire which naturally spread through the lines of communications to colonial territories as far away as China.
On 28 July, Austria declared war on Serbia. Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia threatening hostilities if orders for total mobilization of the Russian army and navy were not countermanded.
A telegram dated 29 July 1914 from the Czar Nicholas to the Emperor Wilhelm, proposing that the Austro-Serbian dispute should be referred to the Hague Tribunal, remained unanswered. At the same time Germany sent a message to France asking if she would remain neutral; but France, which had absorbed issue after issue of Russian railroad bonds in addition to other problems, was unequivocal in supporting Russia. Amid mounting tension and frontier violations, Germany declared war on Russia and France.
The French Chief-of-Staff, General Joseph Joffre, was prepared to march into Belgium if the Germans first violated its neutrality  which had been guaranteed by Britain, France, Prussia, Austria and Russia. German troops crossed the Belgian frontier (on 4 August at 8 a.m.) and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany.
Lord Kitchener, who had left London at 11:30 on the morning of 3 August to return to Egypt after leave, was stopped at Dover and put in charge of the War Office. At the first meeting of the War Council he warned his colleagues of a long struggle which would be won not at sea but on land, for which Britain would have to raise an army of millions of men and maintain them in the field for several years. When the defense of Egypt was discussed at the meeting, Winston Churchill suggested that the ideal method of defending Egypt was to attack the Gallipoli Peninsula which, if successful, would give Britain control of the Dardenelles. But this operation was very difficult, and required a large force. He preferred the alternative of a feint at Gallipoli, and a landing at Haifa or some other point on the Syrian coast.
In Turkey, the Sultan had taken the title of Khalif-al-IsIam, or supreme religious leader of Moslems everywhere, and emissaries were dispatched to Arab chiefs with instructions that in the event of Turkey being involved in the European hostilities, they were to declare a jihad, or Moslem holy war. A psychological and physical force which Kitchener of Khartoum, the avenger of General Gordon’s death, understood very well.
Kitchener planned to draw the sting of the jihad, which could affect British-Indian forces and rule in the East, by promoting an Arab revolt to be led by Hussein, who had been allowed by the Turks to assume his hereditary dignity as Sherif of Mecca and titular ruler of the Hejaz. Kitchener cabled on 13 October 1914 to his son, Abdullah, in Mecca, saying that if the Arab nation assisted England in this war, England would guarantee that no internal intervention took place in Arabia, and would give the Arabs every assistance against external aggression.
A series of letters passed between Sherif Hussein and the British Government through Sir Henry McMahon, High Commissioner for Egypt, designed to secure Arab support for the British in the Great War. One dated 24 October 1915 committed HMG to the inclusion of Palestine within the boundaries of Arab independence after the war, but excluded the area now known as Lebanon. This is clearly recognized in a secret “Memorandum on British Commitments to King Hussein” prepared for the inner group at the Peace Conference in 1919. (See Appendix) I found a copy in 1964 among the papers of the late Professor Wm. Westermann, who had been adviser on Turkish affairs to the American Delegation to the Peace Conference.
The Second Pledge
As the major ally, France’s claim to preference in parts of Syria could not be ignored. The British Foreign Minister, Sir Edward Grey, told the French Ambassador in London, Mr. Paul Gambon, on 21 October 1915, of the exchanges of correspondence with Sherif Hussein, and suggested that the two governments arrive at an understanding with their Russian ally on their future interests in the Ottoman Empire.
M. Picot was appointed French representative with Sir Mark Sykes, now Secretary of the British War Cabinet, to define the interests of their countries and to go to Russia to include that country’s views in their agreement.
In the subsequent secret discussions with Foreign Secretary Sazonov, Russia was accorded the occupation of Constantinople, both shores of the Bosporus and some parts of “Turkish” Armenia.[K] France claimed Lebanon and Syria eastwards to Mosul. Palestine did in fact have inhabitants and shrines of the Greek and Russian Orthodox and Armenian churches, and Russia at first claimed a right to the area as their protector. This was countered by Sykes-Picot and the claim was withdrawn to the extent that Russia, in consultation with the other Allies, would only participate in deciding a form of international administration for Palestine.
The Sykes-Picot Agreement was incompatible with the pledges made to the Arabs. When the Turks gave Hussein details of the Agreement after the Russian revolution, he confined his action to a formal repudiation.
Like the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, the Tripartite Agreement made no mention of concessions to Zionism in the future disposition of Palestine, or even mention of the word “Jew.” However it is now known that before the departure of Sykes [L] for Petrograd on 27 February 1916 for discussions with Sazonov, he was approached with a plan by Herbert Samuel, who had a seat in the Cabinet as President of the Local Government Board and was strongly sympathetic to Herzl’s Zionism.
The plan put forward by Samuel was in the form of a memorandum which Sykes thought prudent to commit to memory and destroy, Commenting on it, Sykes wrote to Samuel suggesting that if Belgium should assume the administration of Palestine it might be more acceptable to France as an alternative to the international administration which she wanted and the Zionists did not. Of boundaries marked on a map attached to the memorandum he wrote, “By excluding Hebron and the East of the Jordan there is less to discuss with the Moslems, as the Mosque of Omar then becomes the only matter of vital importance to discuss with them and further does away with any contact with the bedouins, who never cross the river except on business. I imagine that the principal object of Zionism is the realization of the ideal of an existing center of nationality rather than boundaries or extent of territory. The moment I return I will let you know how things stand at Pd.” 
However, in conversations both with Sykes and the French ambassador, Sazonov was careful not to commit himself as to the extent of the Russian interest in Palestine, but made it clear that Russia would have to insist that not only the holy places, but all towns and localities in which there were religious establishments belonging to the Orthodox Church, should be placed under international administration, with a guarantee for free access to the Mediterranean.
Czarist Russia would not agree to a Zionist formula for Palestine; but its days were numbered.
The Third Pledge
In 1914, the central office of the Zionist Organization and the seat of its directorate, the Zionist Executive, were in Berlin. It already had adherents in most Eastern Jewish communities, including all the countries at war, though its main strength was in Russia and Austria-Hungary. Some important institutions, namely, the Jewish Colonial Trust, the Anglo-Palestine Company and the Jewish National Fund, were incorporated in England. Of the Executive, two members (Otto Warburg [M] and Arthur Hantke) were German citizens, three (Yechiel Tschlenow, Nahum Sokolow and Victor Jacobson) were Russians and one (Shmarya Levin) had recently exchanged his Russian for Austro-Hungarian nationality. The 25 members of the General Council included 12 from Germany and Austria-Hungary, 7 from Russia…Chaim Weizmann and Leopold Kessler) from England, and one each from Belgium, France, Holland and Rumania.
Some prominent German Zionists associated themselves with a newly founded organization known as the Komitee fur den Osten, whose aims were: “To place at the disposal of the German Government the special knowledge of the founders and their relations with the Jews in Eastern Europe and in America, so as to contribute to the overthrow of Czarist Russia and to secure the national autonomy of the Jews.” 
Influential Zionists outside the Central Powers were disturbed by the activities of the K.f.d.O. and anxious for the Zionist movement not to be compromised. Weizmann’s advice was that the central office be moved from Berlin and that the conduct of Zionist affairs during the war should he entrusted to a provisional executive committee for general Zionist affairs in the United States.
At a conference in New York on 30 August 1914, this committee was set up under the chairmanship of Louis D. Brandeis, with the British-born Dr. Richard Gottheil and Jacob de Haas, Rabbi Stephen Wise and Felix Frankfurter, among his principal lieutenants. For Shmarya Levin, the representative of the Zionist Executive in the United States, and Dr. Judah Magnes, to whom the alliance of England and France with Russia seemed “unholy,” Russian czarism was the enemy against which their force should be pitted. But on 1 October 1914 Gottheil, first President of the Zionist Organization of America, wrote from the Department of Semitic Languages, Columbia University, to Brandeis in Boston enclosing a memorandum on what the organization planned to seek from the belligerents, with respect to the Russian Jews:
We have got to be prepared to work under the Government of any one of the Powers … shall be glad to have any suggestion from you in regard to this memorandum, and shall be glad to know if it meets with your approval. I recognize that I ought not to have put it out without first consulting you; but the exigencies of the situation demanded immediate action. We ought to be fully prepared to take advantage of any occasion that offers itself.
In a speech on 9 November, four days after Britain’s declaration of war on Turkey, Prime Minister Asquith said that the traditional eastern policy had been abandoned and the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire had become a war aim. “It is the Ottoman Government,” he declared, “and not we who have rung the death knell of Ottoman dominion not only in Europe but in Asia.”  The statement followed a discussion of the subject at a Cabinet meeting earlier that day, at which we know, from Herbert Samuel’s memoirs, that Lloyd George, who had been retained as legal counsel by the Zionists some years before,  “referred to the ultimate destiny of Palestine.” In a talk with Samuel after the meeting, Lloyd George assured him that “he was very keen to see a Jewish state established in Palestine.”
On the same day, Samuel developed the Zionist position more fully in a conversation with the Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey. He spoke of Zionist aspirations for the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish state, and of the importance of its geographical position to the British Empire. Such a state, he said, ”could not be large enough to defend itself.” and it would therefore be essential that it should be by constitution, neutral. Grey asked whether Syria as a whole must necessarily go with Palestine, and Samuel replied that this was not only unnecessary but inadvisable, since it would bring in a large and unassimilable Arab population. ”It would,” he said be a great advantage if the remainder of Syria were annexed by France, as it would be far better for the state to have a European Power as a neighbor than the Turk. ” 
In January 1915 Samuel produced a Zionist memorandum on Palestine after discussions with Weizmann and Lloyd George. It contained arguments in favor of combining British annexation of Palestine with British support for Zionist aspirations, and ended with objections to any other solution. Samuel circulated it to his colleagues in the Cabinet. Lloyd George was already a Zionist ”partisan”; Lord Haldane, to whom Weizmann had had access, wrote expressing a friendly interest;  though privately expressing Zionist sympathies, the Marquess of Crewe presumably did not express any views in the Cabinet on the memorandum;  Zionism had a strong sentimental attraction for Grey but his colleagues, including his cousin Edwin Montagu, did not give him much encouragement. Prime Minister Asquith wrote: “I confess that I am not attracted by the proposed addition to our responsibilities, but it is a curious illustration of Dissy’s favorite maxim that race is everything to find this almost lyrical outburst proceeding from the well-ordered and methodical brain of H.S.” 
After further conversations with Lloyd George and Grey. Samuel circulated a revised text to the Cabinet in the middle of March 1915.
It is not known if the memorandum was formally considered by the Cabinet, but Asquith wrote in his diary on 13 March 1915 of Samuel’s “dithyrambic memorandum” of which Lloyd George was ”the only other partisan. ”  Certainly, at this time, Zionist claims and aspirations were secondary to British policy towards Russia and the Arabs.
Britain, France and Germany attached considerable importance to the attitudes of Jewry towards them because money and credit were needed for the war. The international banking houses of Lazard Frères, Eugene Mayer, J. & W. Seligman, Speyer Brothers and M.M. Warburg, were all conducting major operations in the United States, as were the Rothschilds through the New York banking house of Kuhn, Loeb & Co.[N] Apart from their goodwill. the votes of America’s Jewish community of 3,000,000 were important to the issue of that country’s intervention or non-intervention in the war, and the provision of military supplies. The great majority represented the one-third of the Jews of Eastern Europe. including Russia, who had left their homelands and come to America between 1880 and 1914. Many detested Czarist Russia and wished to see it destroyed. Of these Jews, not more than 12,000 were enrolled members of the Zionist Organization.
The goodwill of Jewry, and especially America’s Jews, was assessed by both sides in the war as being very important. The once-poor Eastern European Jews had achieved a dominant position in New York’s garment industry. and had become a significant political force. In 1914 they sent a Russian-born socialist to the Congress of the United States. They produced dozens of Yiddish periodicals; they patronized numerous Yiddish theatres and music halls; their sons and daughters were filling the metropolitan colleges and universities.
From the beginning of the war, the German Ambassador in Washington. Count Bernstorff, was provided. by the Komitee fuer den Osten, with an adviser on Jewish Affairs (Isaac Straus); and when the head of the Zionist Agency in Constantinople appealed, in the winter of 1914, to the German Embassy to do what it could to relieve the pressure on the Jews in Palestine, it was reinforced by a similar appeal to Berlin from Bernstorff. In November 1914, therefore, the German Embassy in Constantinople received instructions to recommend that the Turks sanction the re-opening of the Anglo-Palestine Company’s Bank — a key Zionist institution. In December the Embassy made representations which prevented a projected mass deportation of Jews of Russian nationality. In February 1915 German influence helped to save a number of Jews in Palestine from imprisonment or expulsion, and “a dozen or twenty times” the Germans intervened with the Turks at the request of the Zionist office in Turkey, “thus saving and protecting the Yishuv.”  The German representations reinforced those of the American Ambassador in Turkey (Henry Morgenthau).[O] Moreover, both the German consulates in Palestine and the head of the German military mission there frequently exerted their influence on behalf of the Jews.
German respect for Jewish goodwill enabled the Constantinople Zionist Agency from December 1914 to use the German diplomatic courier service and telegraphic code for communicating with Berlin and Palestine. On 5 June 1915 Victor Jacobson was received at the German Foreign Office by the Under-Secretary of State (von Zimmerman) and regular contact commenced between the Berlin Zionist Executive (Warburg, Hantke and Jacobson) and the German Foreign Office.
Zionist propagandists in Germany elaborated and publicized the idea that Turkey could become a German satellite and its Empire in Asia made wide open to German enterprise; support for “a revival of Jewish life in Palestine” would form a bastion of German influence in that part of the world. This was followed by solicitation of the German Foreign Office to notify the German consuls in Palestine of the German Government’s friendly interest in Zionism. Such a course was favored by von Neurath [P] when asked by Berlin for his views in October, and in November of 1915, the text for such a document was agreed upon and circulated after the approval of the German Chancellor (Bethmann-Hollweg). It was cautiously and vaguely worded so as not to upset Turkish susceptibilities, stating to the Palestine consuls that the German Government looked favorably on “Jewish activities designed to promote the economic and cultural progress of the Jews in Turkey, and also on the immigration and settlement of Jews from other countries.” 
The Zionists felt that an important advance toward a firm German commitment to their aims had been made, but when the Berlin Zionist Executive pressed for a public assurance of sympathy and support, the Government told them to wait until the end of the war, when a victorious Germany would demonstrate its goodwill.
When Zionist leaders in Germany met Jemal Pasha, by arrangement with the Foreign Office, during his visit to Berlin in the summer of 1917, they were told that the existing Jewish population would be treated fairly but that no further Jewish immigrants would he allowed. Jews could settle anywhere else but not in Palestine. The Turkish Government, Jemal Pasha declared, wanted no new nationality problems, nor was it prepared to antagonize the Palestinian Arabs, “who formed the majority of the population and were to a man opposed to Zionism.” 
A few weeks after the interview, the Berlin Zionists’ pressure was further weakened by the uncovering by Turkish Intelligence of a Zionist spy ring working for General Allenby’s Intelligence section under an Aaron Aaronssohn. “It is no wonder that the Germans, tempted as they may have been by its advantages, shrank from committing themselves to a pro-Zionist declaration.” 
It was fortunate for Zionism that the American Jews as a whole showed no enthusiasm for the Allied cause, wrote Stein, political secretary of the Zionist Organization from 1920 to 1929, “If they had all along been reliable friends, there would have been no need to pay them any special attention.” 
In 1914 the French Government had sponsored a visit to the United States by Professor Sylvain Levy and the Grand Rabbi of France with the object of influencing Jewish opinion in their favor, but without success. A year later, it tried to reply to disturbing reports from its embassy in Washington about the sympathies of American Jews  by sending a Jew of Hungarian origin (Professor Victor Basch) to the United States in November 1915.
Ostensibly he represented the Ministry of Public Instruction, but his real mission was to influence American Jews through contact with their leaders. Though armed with a message to American Jewry from Prime Minister Briand, he encountered an insuperable obstacle — the Russian alliance. “For Russia there is universal hatred and distrust … We are reproached with one thing only, the persecution of the Russian Jews, which we tolerate — a toleration which makes us accomplices … It is certain that any measures in favor of Jewish emancipation would be equivalent to a great battle lost by Germany.”  Basch had to report to French President Poincare the failure of his mission.
At the same time that Basch had been dispatched to the United States, the French Government approved the setting up of a “Comité de propagande Francais aupres des Juifs neutres,” and Jacques Bigart, the Secretary of the Alliance Israelite, accepted a secretaryship of the Comité. Bigart suggested to Lucien Wolf, of the Jewish Conjoint Foreign Committee in London, that a similar committee be set up there. Wolf consulted the Foreign Office and was invited by Lord Robert Cecil to provide a full statement of his views.
In December 1915 Wolf submitted a memorandum in which he analyzed the characteristics of the Jewish population of the United States and reached the conclusion that “the situation, though unsatisfactory, is far from unpromising.” Though disclaiming Zionism, be wrote that “In America, the Zionist organizations have lately captured Jewish opinion.” If a statement of sympathy with their aspirations were made, “I am confident they would sweep the whole of American Jewry into enthusiastic allegiance to their cause.” 
Early in 1916 a further memorandum was submitted to the British Foreign Office as a formal communication from the Jewish Conjoint Foreign Committee. This stated that “the London (Conjoint) and Paris Committees formed to influence Jewish opinion in neutral countries in a sense favorable to the Allies” had agreed to make representations to their respective Governments. First, the Russian Government should be urged to ease the position of their Jews by immediate concessions for national-cultural autonomy secondly, “in view of the great organized strength of the Zionists in the United States,” (in fact out of the three million Jews in the U.S. less than 12,000 had enrolled as Zionists in 1913),  the Allied Powers should give assurances to the Jews of facilities in Palestine for immigration and colonization, liberal local self-government for Jewish colonists, the establishment of a Jewish university, and for the recognition of Hebrew as one of the vernaculars of the land — in the event of their victory.
On 9 March 1916 the Zionists were informed by the Foreign Office that “your suggested formula is receiving (Sir Edward Grey’s) careful and sympathetic attention, but it is necessary for H.M.G. to consult their Allies on the subject.”  A confidential memorandum was accordingly addressed to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Petrograd, to ascertain his views, though its paternity, seeing that Asquith was still Prime Minister, “remains to be discovered.”  No direct reply was received, but in a note addressed to the British and French ambassadors four days later, Sazonov obliquely assented, subject to guarantees for the Orthodox Church and its establishments, to raise no objection to the settlement of Jewish colonists in Palestine.
Nothing came of these proposals. On 4 July the Foreign Office informed the Conjoint Committee that an official announcement of support was inopportune. They must be considered alongside the Sykes-Picot Agreement being negotiated at this time, and the virtual completion of the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence by 10 March 1916, with the hope that an Arab revolt and other measures would bring victory near.
But 1916 was a disastrous year for the Allies. “In the story of the war” wrote Lloyd George,
the end of 1916 found the fortunes of the Allies at their lowest ebb. In the offensives on the western front we had lost three men for every two of the Germans we had put out of action. Over 300,000 British troops were being immobilized for lack of initiative or equipment or both by the Turks in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and for the same reason nearly 400,000 Allied soldiers were for all purposes interned in the malarial plains around Salonika.
The voluntary system of enlistment was abolished, and a mass conscript army of continental pattern was adopted, something which had never before occurred in British history.[Q] German submarine activity in the Atlantic was formidable; nearly 11/2 million tons of merchant shipping had been sunk in 1916 alone. As for paying for the war, the Allies at first had used the huge American debts in Europe to pay for war supplies, but by 1916 the resources of J.P. Morgan and Company, the Allies’ financial and purchasing agents in the United States, were said to be nearly exhausted by increased Allied demands for American credit. There was rebellion in Ireland. Lord Robert Cecil stated to the British Cabinet: “France is within measurable distance of exhaustion. The political outlook of Italy is menacing. Her finance is tottering. In Russia, there is great discouragement. She has long been on the verge of revolution. Even her man-power seems coming near its limits. ” 
Secretary of State Kitchener was gone — drowned when the cruiser Hampshire sank on 5 June 1916 off the Orkneys when he was on his way to Archangel and Petrograd to nip the revolution in the bud. He had a better knowledge of the Middle East than anyone else in the Cabinet. The circumstances suggest espionage and treachery. Walter Page, the U.S. Ambassador in London, entered in his diary: “There was a hope and feeling that he (Lord Kitchener) might not come back… as I make out.”
There was a stalemate on all fronts. In Britain, France and Germany, hardly a family numbered all its sons among the living. But the British public — and the French, and the German — were not allowed to know the numbers of the dead and wounded. By restricting war correspondents, the American people were not allowed to know the truth either.
The figures that are known are a recital of horrors.[R]
In these circumstances, a European tradition of negotiated peace in scores of wars, might have led to peace at the end of 1916 or early 1917.
Into this gloomy winter of 1916 walked a new figure. He was James Malcolm, [S] an Oxford educated Armenian [T] who, at the beginning of 1916, with the sanction of the British and Russian Governments, had been appointed by the Armenian Patriarch a member of the Armenian National Delegation to take charge of Armenian interests during and after the war. In this official capacity, and as adviser to the British Government on Eastern affairs,  he had frequent contacts with the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Office, the War Office and the French and other Allied embassies in London, and made visits to Paris for consultations with his colleagues and leading French officials. He was passionately devoted to an Allied victory which he hoped would guarantee the national freedom of the Armenians then under Turkish and Russian rule.
Sir Mark Sykes, with whom he was on terms of family friendship, told him that the Cabinet was looking anxiously for United States intervention in the war on the side of the Allies, but when asked what progress was being made in that direction, Sykes shook his head glumly, “Precious little,” he replied.
James Malcolm now suggested to Mark Sykes that the reason why previous overtures to American Jewry to support the Allies had received no attention was because the approach had been made to the wrong people. It was to the Zionist Jews that the British and French Governments should address their parleys.
“You are going the wrong way about it,” said Mr. Malcolm. “You can win the sympathy of certain politically-minded Jews everywhere, and especially in the United States, in one way only, and that is, by offering to try and secure Palestine for them.” 
What really weighed most heavily now with Sykes were the terms of the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement. He told Malcolm that to offer to secure Palestine for the Jews was impossible. “Malcolm insisted that there was no other way and urged a Cabinet discussion. A day or two later, Sykes told him that the matter had been mentioned to Lord Milner who had asked for further information. Malcolm pointed out the influence of Judge Brandeis of the American Supreme Court, and his strong Zionist sympathies.” 
In the United States, the President’s adviser, Louis D. Brandeis, a leading advocate of Zionism, had been inducted as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on 5 June 1916. That Wilson was vulnerable was evident, in that as early as 1911, he had made known his profound interest in the Zionist idea and in Jewry.
Malcolm described Wilson as being “attached to Brandeis by ties of peculiar hardness,” a cryptic reference to the story that Wilson had been blackmailed for $40,000 for some hot love letters he had written to his neighbor’s wife when he was President of Princeton. He did not have the money, and the go-between, Samuel Untermeyer, of the law firm of Guggenheim, Untermeyer & Marshall, said he would provide it if Wilson would appoint to the next vacancy on the Supreme Court a nominee selected by Mr. Untermeyer. The money was paid, the letters returned, and Brandeis had been the nominee.
Wilson had written to the Senate, where opposition to the nominee was strong: “I have known him. I have tested him by seeking his advice upon some of the most difficult and perplexing public questions about which it was necessary for me to form a judgment When Brandeis had been approved by the Senate, Wilson wrote to Henry Morgenthau: “I never signed any commission with such satisfaction.” “Relief” might have been a more appropriate word.
The fact that endorsement of Wilson’s nominee by the Senate Judiciary Committee had only been made “after hearings of unprecedented length”  was not important. Brandeis had the President’s ear; he was “formally concerned with the Department of State.”  This was the significant development, said Malcolm, which compelled a new approach to the Zionists by offering them the key to Palestine.
The British Ambassador to the United States (Sir Cecil Spring-Rice) had written from Washington in January 1914 that “a deputation came down from New York and in two days ‘fixed’ the two Houses so that the President had to renounce the idea of making a new treaty with Russia.”  In November 1914 he had written to the British Foreign Secretary of the German Jewish bankers who were extending credits to the German Government and were getting hold of the principal New York papers” thereby “bringing them over as much as they dare to the German side and “toiling in a solid phalanx to compass our destruction.” 
This anti-Russian sentiment was part of a deep concern for the well-being of Russian and Polish Jews. Brandeis wrote to his brother from Washington on 8 December 1914: “… You cannot possibly conceive the horrible sufferings of the Jews in Poland and adjacent countries. These changes of control from German to Russian and Polish anti-semitism are bringing miseries as great as the Jews ever suffered in all their exiles.” [U]
In a speech to the Russian Duma on 9 February (27 January Gregorian) 1915, Foreign Minister Sazonov denied the calumnious stories which, he said, were circulated by Germany, of accounts of alleged pogroms against the Jews and of wholesale murders of Jews by the Russian armies. “If the Jewish Population suffered in the war zone, that circumstance unfortunately was inevitably associated with war, and the same conditions applied in equal measure to all people living within the region of military activity.” He added to the rebuttal with accounts of hardship in areas of German military action in Poland, Belgium and Serbia.
It is noteworthy that the chairman of the non-Zionist American Jewish Committee responded to an appeal by the Brandeis group that all American Jews should organize to emphasize Zionist aims in Palestine before the Great Powers in any negotiations during or at the end of the war, by dissociating his community from the suggestion that Jews of other nationalities were to be accorded special status. He said that “the very thought of the mass of the Jews of America having a voice in the matter of deciding the welfare of the Jews in the world made him shrink in horror.”
The new approach to the Zionist movement by Mark Sykes with James Malcolm as preliminary interlocutor took the form of a series of meetings at Chaim Weizmann’s London house, with the knowledge and approval of the Secretary of the War Cabinet, Sir Maurice Hankey.
A Programme for a New Administration of Palestine in Accordance with the Aspirations of the Zionist Movement was issued by the English Political Committee of the Zionist Organization in October 1916, and submitted to the British Foreign Office as a basis for discussion in order to give an official character to the informal house-talks. It included the following:
(1) The Jewish Chartered Company is to have power to exercise the right of pre-emption over Crown and other lands and to acquire for its own use all or any concessions which may at any time be granted by the suzerain government or governments.
(2) The present population, being too small, too poor and too little trained to make rapid progress, requires the introduction of a new and progressive element in the population. (But the rights of minority nationalities were to be protected).
Other Points were, (3) recognition of separate Jewish nationality in Palestine; participation of the Palestine Jewish population in local self-government; (5) Jewish autonomy in purely Jewish affairs; (6) official recognition and legalization of existing Jewish institutions for colonization in Palestine.
This Programme does not appear to have reached Cabinet level at the time it was issued, probably because of Asquith’s known lack of sympathy, but as recorded by Samuel Landman, the Zionist Organization was given official British facilities for its international correspondence.
Lloyd George, an earnest and powerful demagogue, was now prepared to oust Asquith, his chief, by a coup de main. With the death of Kitchener in the summer of 1916, he had passed from Munitions to the War Office and he saw the top of the parliamentary tree within his grasp. In this maneuver he was powerfully aided by the newspaper proprietor Northcliffe, [V] who turned all his publications from The Times downwards to depreciate Asquith, and by the newspaper-owing M.P., Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook).
With public sympathy well prepared, Lloyd George demanded virtual control of war policy. It was intended that Asquith should refuse. He did. Lloyd George resigned. Asquith also resigned to facilitate the reconstruction of the Government. The King then sent for the Conservative leader, Bonar Law, who, as prearranged, advised him to offer the premiership to Lloyd George.
Asquith and Grey were out; Lloyd George and Balfour were in. With Lloyd George as Prime Minister from December 1916, Zionist relations with the British Government developed fast. Lloyd George had been legal counsel for the Zionists, and while Minister of Munitions, had had assistance from the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann; the new Foreign Minister, Arthur Balfour, was already known for his Zionist sympathies.
The Zionists were undermining the wall between them and their Palestine objective which they had found impossible “to surmount by ordinary political means” prior to the war. Herzl’s suggestion that they would get Palestine “not from the goodwill but from the jealousy of the Powers,”  was being made to come true.
The Zionists moved resolutely to exploit the new situation now that the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary were their firm supporters.
Landman, in his Secret History of the Balfour Declaration, wrote:
Through General McDonogh, Director of Military Operations, who was won over by Fitzmaurice (formerly Dragoman of the British Embassy in Constantinople and a friend of James Malcolm), Dr. Weizmann was able, about this time, to secure from the Government the services of half a dozen younger Zionists for active work on behalf of Zionism. At the time, conscription was in force, and only those who were engaged on work of national importance could be released from active service at the Front. I remember Dr. Weizmann writing a letter to General McDonogh and invoking his assistance in obtaining the exemption from active service of Leon Simon, (who later rose to high rank in the Civil Service as Sir Leon Simon, C.B.), Harry Sacher, (on the editorial staff of the Manchester Guardian), Simon Marks, [W] Yamson Tolkowsky and myself. At Dr. Weizmann’s request I was transferred from the War Office (M.I.9), where I was then working, to the Ministry of Propaganda, which was under Lord Northcliffe, and later to the Zionist office, where I commenced work about December 1916. Simon Marks actually arrived at the Office in khaki, and immediately set about the task of organizing the office which, as will be easily understood, had to maintain constant communications with Zionists in most countries.
From that time onwards for several years, Zionism was considered an ally of the British Government, and every help and assistance was forthcoming from each government department. Passport or travel difficulties did not exist when a man was recommended by our office. For instance. a certificate signed by me was accepted by the Home Office at that time as evidence that an Ottoman Jew was to be treated as a friendly alien and not as an enemy, which was the case with the Turkish subjects.
[K] This new offer to Russia of a direct outlet into the Mediterranean is a measure of the great importance attached by Britain and France to continued and wholehearted Russian participation in the war. British policy from the end of the Napoleonic wars had been directed against Russia’s efforts to extend its conquests to the Golden Horn and the Mediterranean (threatening Egypt and the way to India). For this reason, Britain and France had formed an alliance and fought the Crimean War (1854-56), which ended in the Black Sea being declared neutral; no warships could enter it nor could arsenals be built on its shores.
But Russian concern for the capture of Constantinople was more than economic and strategic. It was not unusual for priests to declare that the Russian people had a sacred duty to drive out the “infidel” Turk and raise the orthodox cross on the dome of Santa Sophia.
In 1877, the Russian armies again moved towards Constantinople with the excuse of avenging cruelties practiced on Christians. Again England frustrated these designs and the aggression ended with the Congress of Berlin, and British occupation of Cyprus.
[L] Sir Mark Sykes, Secretary of the British War Cabinet, sent to Russia to negotiate the Tripartite (Sykes-Picot) Agreement for the Partition of the Ottoman Empire. M. Picot was the French representative in the negotiations. Neither Hussein nor Sir Henry McMahon were made aware of these secret discussions. Among other things, the agreement called for parts of Palestine to be placed under “an international administration.”
[M] Of the Warburg international banking family. Although ostensibly a second Secretary in the Wilhelmstrasse, Warburg has been reported as having the same postition in German counterintelligence as Adrmiral Canaris in World War II.
[N] Jacob Schiff, German-born senior partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and “the most influential figure of his day in American Jewish life,” wrote in The Menorah Journal of April 1915: “It is well known that I am a German sympathizer … England has been contaminated by her alliance with Russia … am quite convinced that in Germany anti-Semitism is a thing of the past. The Jewish Encyclopedia for 1906 states that “Schiff’s firm subscribed for and floated the large Japanese war loan in 1904-05” (for the Russo-Japanese war). “in recognition of which the Mikado conferred on Schiff the second order of the Sacred Treasure of Japan.” Partners with Schiff were Felix M. Warburg and his brother Paul who had come to New York in 1902 from Hamburg, and organized the Federal Reserve System.
[O] An award for Morgenthau’s heavy financial support for Wilson’s presidential campaign.
[P] Later, Foreign Minister (1932-38) and Protector of Bohemia (1939-43).
[Q] Russian nationals resident in the United Kingdom (nearly all of them Jews), not having become British subjects, some 25,000 of military age, still escaped military service. This prompted Jabotinsky and Weizmann to urge the formation of a special brigade for Russian Jews, but the idea not favorably received by the Government, and the Zionists joined non-Zionists in an effort to persuade Russian Jews of military age to volunteer as individuals for service in the British army. The response was negligible, and in July 1917 the Military Service (Conventions with Allies) Act was given Royal assent. Men of military age were invited to serve in the British army or risk deportation to Russia. However, the Russian revolution prevented its unhindered application.
[R] Half a million Frenchmen were lost in the first four months of war, 1 million lost by the end of 1915, and 5 million by 1918. Who can imagine that the Allies lost 600,000 men in one battle, the Somme, and the British more officers in the first few months than all wars of the previous hundred years put together?
At Stalingrad, in the Second World War, the Wehrmacht had 230,000 men in the field. The German losses at Verdun alone were 325,000 killed or wounded.
By this time a soldier in one of the better divisions could count on a maximum of three months’ service without being killed or wounded, and the life expectancy for an officer at the front was down to five months in an ordinary regiment and six weeks in a crack one.
[S] See his Origins of the Balfour Declaration: Dr. Weizmann’s Contribution .
[T] Born in Persia, where his family had settled before Elizabethan days. He was sent to school in England in 1881, being placed in the care of a friend and agent of his family, Sir Albert (Abdullah) Sassoon. Early in 1915, he founded the Russia Society in London among the British public as a means of improving relations between the two countries. Unlike the Zionists, he had no animus towards Czarist Russia.
[U] A reference to the 1914 invasion of Austria and East Prussia by the Russians with such vigor that many people believed that the “Russian steamroller” would soon reach Berlin and end the war. Only the diversion of whole army divisions from the Western to the Eastern Front under the command of General von Hindenburg saved Berlin, and in turn saved Paris.
There was a direct effort by certain groups to support anti-Imperial activities in Russia from the United States,  but Brandeis was apparently not implicated.
[V] Northcliffe was small-minded enough to have Lloyd George called to the telephone, in front of friends, to demonstrate the politician’s need of the Press.
[W] Associated with Israel M. Sieff, another of Weizmann’s inner circle, in the business which later became Marks & Spencer, Ltd. Sieff was appointed an economic consultant to the U.S. Administration (OPA) in March 1924. As subsequent supporters, with Lord Melchett, of “Political and Economic Planning” (PEP), they exercised considerable influence on British inter-war policy.
The Declaration, 1917
The informal committee of Zionists and Mark Sykes as representative of the British Government, met on 7 February 1917 at the house of Moses Gaster, [X] the Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic (Spanish and Portuguese) congregations in England. Gaster opened the meeting with a statement that stressed Zionist support for British strategic interests in Palestine which were to be an integral part of any agreement between them. As these interests might be considered paramount to British statesmen, support for Zionist aims there, Caster said, was fully justified. Zionism was irrevocably opposed to any internationalization proposals, even an Anglo-French condominium.
Herbert Samuel followed with an expression of the hope that Jews in Palestine would receive full national status, which would be shared by Jews in the Diaspora. The question of conflict of nationality was not mentioned and a succeeding speaker, Harry Sacher, suggested that the sharing should not involve the political implications of citizenship. Weizmann spoke of the necessity for unrestricted immigration. It is clear that the content of each speech was thoroughly prepared before the meeting.
Sykes outlined the obstacles: the inevitable Russian objections, the opposition of the Arabs, and strongly pressed French claims to all Syria, including Palestine. James de Rothschild and Nahum Sokolow, the international Zionist leader, also spoke. The meeting ended with a summary of Zionist objectives:
1. International recognition of Jewish right to Palestine;
2. Juridical nationhood for the Jewish community in Palestine;
3. The creation of a Jewish chartered company in Palestine with rights to acquire land;
4. Union and one administration for Palestine; and
5. Extra-territorial status for the holy places.
The first three points are Zionist, the last two were designed to placate England and Russia, respectively  and probably Italy and the Vatican. Sokolow was chosen to act as Zionist representative, to negotiate with Sir Mark Sykes.
The Zionists were, of course, coordinating their activities internationally. On the same day as the meeting in London, Rabbi Stephen Wise in the United States wrote to Brandeis: “I sent the memorandum to Colonel House covering our question, and he writes: ‘I hope the dream you have may soon become a reality.” [118a]
The reports reaching England of impending dissolution of the Russian state practically removed the need for Russian endorsement of Zionist aims, but made French and Italian acceptance even more urgent. This at any rate was the belief of Sykes, Balfour, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, who, as claimed in their subsequent statements, were convinced that proclaimed Allied support for Zionist aims would especially influence the United States. Events in Russia made the cooperation of Jewish groups with the Allies much easier. At a mass meeting in March 1917 to celebrate the revolution which had then taken place, Rabbi Stephen Wise, who had succeeded Brandeis as chairman of the American Provisional Zionist Committee after Brandeis’s appointment to the Supreme Court, said: “I believe that of all the achievements of my people, none has been nobler than the part the sons and daughters of Israel have taken in the great movement which has culminated in free Russia.” 
Negotiations for a series of loans totalling $190,000,000 by the United States to the Provisional Government in Russia of Alexander Kerensky were begun on the advice of the U.S. ambassador to Russia, David R. Francis, who noted in his telegram to Secretary of State Lansing, “financial aid now from America would be a master-stroke. Confidential. Immeasurably important to the Jews that revolution succeed… ” 
On 22 March 1917 Jacob H. Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., wrote to Mortimer Schiff, “We should be somewhat careful not to appear as overzealous but you might cable Cassel because of recent action of Germany (the declaration of unlimited U-boat warfare) and developments in Russia we shall no longer abstain from Allied Governments financing when opportunity offers.”
He also sent a congratulatory cable to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first Provisional Government, referring to the previous government as “the merciless persecutors of my co-religionists.”
In the same month, Leiber Davidovich Bronstein, alias Leon Trotsky, a Russian-born U.S. immigrant, had left the Bronx, New York, for Russia, with a contingent of followers, while V.I. Ulyanov (Lenin) and a party of about thirty were moving across Germany from Switzerland, through Scandinavia to Russia. Some evidence exists that Schiff and other sponsors like Helphand financed these revolutionaries.
In March 1917, President Wilson denounced as “a little group of willful men,” the non-interventionists who filibustered an Administration-sponsored bill that would have empowered Wilson to wage an undeclared naval war against Germany. The opposition to Wilson was led by Senators La Follette and Norris.
On 5 April, the day before the United States Congress adopted a resolution of war, Schiff had been informed by Baron Gunzburg of the actual signing of the decrees removing all restrictions on the Jews in Russia.
At a special session of Congress on 2 April 1917, President Wilson referred to American merchant ships taking supplies to the Allies which had been sunk during the previous month by German submarines (operating a counter-blockade; the British and French fleets having blockaded the Central Powers from the beginning of the war); and then told Congress that “wonderful and heartening things have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia.”
He asked for a declaration of war with a mission:
for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.
To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace that she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other. (emphasis supplied)
That night crowds filled the streets, marching, shouting, singing Dixie” or “The Star Spangled Banner.” Wilson turned to his secretary, Tumulty: “Think what that means, the applause. My message tonight was a message of death, How strange to applaud that!”
So, within six months of Malcolm’s specific suggestion to Sykes, the United States of America, guided by Woodrow Wilson, was on the side of the Allies in the Great War.
Was Wilson guided by Brandeis away from neutrality — to war?
In London, the War Cabinet led by Lloyd George lost no time committing British forces first to the capture of Jerusalem, and then to the total expulsion of the Turks from Palestine. The attack on Egypt, launched on 26 March 1917, attempting to take Gaza, ended in failure. By the end of April a second attack on Gaza had been driven back and it had become clear that there was no prospect of a quick success on this Front.
From Cairo, where he had gone hoping to follow the Army into Jerusalem with Weizmann, Sykes telegraphed to the Foreign Office that, if the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was not reinforced then it would be necessary “to drop all Zionist projects … Zionists in London and U.S.A. should be warned of this through M. Sokolow… ” [120a]
Three weeks later, Sykes was told that reinforcements were coming from Salonika. The War Cabinet also decided to replace the Force’s commander with General Allenby.
Sykes was the official negotiator for the whole project of assisting the Zionists. He acted immediately after the meeting at Gaster’s house by asking his friend M. Picot to meet Nahum Sokolow at the French Embassy in London in an attempt to induce the French to give way on the question of British suzerainty in Palestine. James Malcolm was then asked to go alone to Paris to arrange an interview for Sokolow directly with the French Foreign Minister. Sokolow had been previously unsuccessful in obtaining the support of French Jewry for a meeting with the Minister; since the richest and most influential Jews in the United States and England, with the notable exception of the Rothschilds, who could have arranged such a meeting, were opposed to the political implications of Zionism. In Paris, the powerful Alliance Israélite Universelle had made every effort to dissuade him from his mission. Not that the Zionists had no supporters in France other than Edmond de Rothschild, [Y]but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no reason to entangle itself with them. Now James Malcolm opened the door directly to them as he had done in London.
Sykes joined Malcolm and Sokolow in Paris. Sykes and Malcolm, apart from the consideration of Zionism and future American support for the war, were concerned with the possibility of an Arab-Jewish-Armenian entente which, through amity between Islamic, Jewish and Christian peoples, would bring peace, stability and a bright new future for the inhabitants of this area where Europe, Asia Minor and Africa meet. Sokolow went along for the diplomatic ride, but in a letter to Weizmann (20 April 1917) he wrote: “I regard the idea as quite fantastic. It is difficult to reach an understanding with the Arabs, but we will have to try. There are no conflicts between Jews and Armenians because there are no common interests whatever.” [Z]
Several conversations were held with Picot, including one on 9 April when other officials included Jules Cambon, the Secretary-General of the Foreign Ministry, and the Minister’s Chef de Cabinet, Exactly what assurances were given to Sokolow is uncertain, but he wrote to Weizmann “that they accept in principle the recognition of Jewish nationality in terms of a national home, local autonomy, etc.”  And to Brandeis and Tschlenow, he telegraphed through French official channels: “… Have full confidence Allied victory will realise our Palestine Zionist aspirations.” 
Sokolow set off for Rome and the Vatican. “There, thanks to the introductions of Fitzmaurice on the one hand and the help of Baron Sidney Sonnino [AA] on the other,” a Papal audience and interviews with the leading Foreign Office officials were quickly arranged.
When Sokolow returned to Paris, he requested and received a letter from the Foreign Minister dated 4 June 1917, supporting the Zionist cause in general terms. He hastily wrote two telegrams which he gave to M. Picot for dispatch by official diplomatic channels. One was addressed to Louis D. Brandeis in the United States. It read: “Now you can move. We have the formal assurance of the French Government.” [BB]
“After many years, ‘ wrote M. Picot, “I am still moved by the thanks he poured out to me as he gave me the two telegrams … do not say that it was the cause of the great upsurge of enthusiasm which occurred in the United States, but I say that Judge Brandeis, to whom this telegram was addressed, was certainly one of the elements determining the decision of President Wilson.” 
But Wilson had declared war one month before!
It is natural that M. Picot should want to believe that he had played a significant part in bringing America into the war and therefore helping his country’s victory. The evidence certainly supports his having a part in helping a Zionist victory.
Their objective was in sight, but had still to be taken and held.
Although the United States was now a belligerent, no declaration of support had been made for the Zionist program for Palestine, either by Britain or the United States, and some of the richest and most powerful Jews in both countries were opposed to it.
The exception among these Jewish merchant princes was, of course, the House of Rothschild. From London on 25 April 1917, James de Rothschild cabled to Brandeis that Balfour was coming to the United States, and urged American Jewry to support “a Jewish Palestine under British Protection,,, as well as to press their government to do so. He advised Brandeis to meet Balfour. The meeting took place at a White House luncheon, “You are one of the Americans I wanted to meet,” said the British Foreign Secretary. Brandeis cabled Louis de Rothschild: “Have had a satisfactory talk with Mr. Balfour, also with Our President. This is not for Publication. ” 
On the other hand, a letter dated 17 May 1917 appeared in The Times (London) signed by the President of the Jewish Board of Deputies and the President of the Anglo-Jewish Association (Alexander and Montefiore, both men of wealth and eminence) stating their approval of Jewish settlement in Palestine as a source of inspiration for all Jews, but adding that they could not favor the Zionist’s political scheme. Jews, they believed, were a religious community and they opposed the creation of “a secular Jewish nationality recruited on some loose and obscure principle of race and ethnological peculiarity.” They particularly took exception to Zionist Pressure for a Jewish chartered company invested with political and economic privileges in which Jews alone would participate, Since this was incompatible with the desires of world Jewry for equal rights wherever they lived.
A controversy then ensued in the British press, in Jewish associations and in the corridors of government, between the Zionist and non-Zionist Jews. In this, Weizmann really had less weight, but he mobilized the more forceful team. The Chief Rabbi dissociated himself from the non-Zionist statement and charged that the Alexander-Montefiore letter did not represent the views of their organizations. Lord Rothschild wrote: “We Zionists cannot see how the establishment of an autonomous Jewish State under the aegis of one of the Allied Powers could be subversive to the loyalty of Jews to countries of which they were citizens. In the letter you have published, the question is also raised of a chartered company.” He continued: “We Zionists have always felt that if Palestine is to be colonized by the Jews, some machinery must be set up to receive the immigrants, settle them on the land and develop the land, and to be generally a directing agency. I can only again emphasize that we Zionists have no wish for privileges at the expense of other nationalities, but only desire to be allowed to work out our destinies side by side with other nationalities in an autonomous state under the suzerainty of one of the Allied Powers.”  This letter stressed the colonialist aspect of Zionism, but detracted from the strong statist declaration of Weizmann. The Zionist body in Palestine was to be of a more organizational character for the Jewish community.
Perhaps feeling that his statement had been a little too strong for liberal acceptance, Weizmann also joined this correspondence in the Times. Writing as President of the English Zionist Federation, he first claimed that,
it is strictly a question of fact that the Jews are a nationality. An overwhelming majority of them had always had the conviction that they were a nationality, which has been shared by non-Jews in all countries.”
The letter continued:
The Zionists are not demanding in Palestine monopolies or exclusive privileges, nor are they asking that any part of Palestine should he administered by a chartered company to the detriment of others. It always was and remains a cardinal principle of Zionism as a democratic movement that all races and sects in Palestine should enjoy full justice and liberty, and Zionists are confident that the new suzerain whom they hope Palestine will acquire as a result of the war will, in its administration of the country, be guided by the same principle. (emphasis supplied)
The competition for the attention of the British public and British Jewry by the Zionists and their Jewish opponents continued in the press and in their various special meetings. A manifesto of solidarity with the opinions of Alexander and Montefiore was sent to The Times on 1 June 1917; and in the same month at Buffalo, N.Y., the President of the Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis added his weight against Jewish nationalism: “I am not here to quarrel with Zionism. Mine is only the intention to declare that we, as rabbis, who are consecrated to the service of the Lord … have no place in a movement in which Jews band together on racial or national grounds, and for a political State or even for a legally-assured Home.” 
But while the controversy continued, the Zionists worked hard to produce a draft document which could form a declaration acceptable to the Allies, particularly Britain and the United States, and which would be in the nature of a charter of international status for their aims in Palestine. This was treated as a matter of urgency, as Weizmann believed it would remove the support from non-Zionist Jews  and ensure against the uncertainties inseparable from the war.
On 13 June 1917 Weizmann wrote Sir Ronald Graham at the Foreign Office that “it appears desirable from every point of view that the British Government should give expression to its sympathy and support of the Zionist claims on Palestine. In fact, it need only confirm the view which eminent and representative members of the Government have many times expressed to us … ”  This was timed to coincide with a minute of the same date of one of Balfour’s advisers in which it was suggested that the time had arrived “when we might meet the wishes of the Zionists and give them an assurance that H.M.G. are in general sympathy with their aspirations. ”  To which Balfour remarked, “Personally, I should still prefer to associate the U.S.A. in the Protectorate, should we succeed in securing it.” 
The Zionists also had to counter tentative British and American plans to seek a separate peace with Turkey. When Weizmann, for the Zionists, together with Malcolm, for the Armenians, went on 10 June to the Foreign Office to protest such a plan, Weizmann broadly suggested that the Zionist leaders in Germany were being courted by the German Government, and he mentioned, to improve credibility, that approaches were made to them through the medium of a Dr. Lepsius.
The truth, probably, is that the Berlin Zionist Executive was initiating renewed contact with the German Government so as to give weight to the pleading of their counterparts in London that the risk of German competition could not be left out of account. Lepsius was actually a leading Evangelical divine, well known for his championship of the Armenians, who were then being massacred in Turkey. When Leonard Stein examined the papers of the Berlin Executive after the war, his name was not to be found, and Mr. Lichtheim of the Executive had no recollection of any overtures by Lepsius.
In the U.S., in July 1917, a special mission consisting of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., and Justice Brandeis’s nephew, Felix Frankfurter, was charged by President Wilson to proceed to Turkey, against which the United States did not declare war, to sound out the possibility of peace negotiations between Turkey and the Allies. In this, Wilson may have been particularly motivated by his passion to stop the massacres of Armenian and Greek Christians which were then taking place in Turkey and for whom he expressed immense solicitude On many occasions. Weizmann, however, accompanied by the French Zionist M. Weyl, forewarned, proceeded to intercept them at Gibraltar and persuaded them to return home. During 1917 and 1918 more Christians were massacred in Turkey. Had Morgenthau and Frankfurter carried out their mission successfully, maybe this would have been avoided.
This account appears in William Yale’s book The Near East: A Modern History. He was a Special Agent of the State Department in the Near East during the First World War. When I had dinner with him on 12 May 1970 at the Biltmore Hotel in New York, I asked him if Weizmann had told him how the special mission had been aborted. He replied that Weizmann said that the Governor of Gibraltar had held a special banquet in their honor, but at the end all the British officials withdrew discretely, leaving the four Jews alone. “Then,” said Weizmann, “we fixed it.”
The same evening, he told me something which he said he had never told anyone else, and which was in his secret papers which were only to be opened after his death. He later wrote to me, after he had read The Palestine Diary, saying that he would like me to deal with those papers.
One of Yale’s assignments was to follow Wilson’s preference for having private talks with key personalities capable of influencing the course of events. He did this with Lloyd George, General Allenby and Col. T.E. Lawrence, for example. Yale said he had a talk with Weizmann “somewhere in the Mediterranean in 1919,” and asked him what might happen if the British did not support a national home for the Jews in Palestine. Weizmann thumped his fist on the table and the teacups jumped, “If they don’t,” he said, “we’ll smash the British Empire as we smashed the Russian Empire.”
Brandeis was in Washington during the summer of 1917 and conferred with Secretary of State Robert S. Lansing from time to time on Turkish-American relations and the treatment of Jews in Palestine. He busied himself in particular with drafts of what later became the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate for Palestine, and in obtaining American approval for them. A considerable number of drafts were made in London and transmitted to the United States, through War Office channels, for the use of the American Zionist Political Committee. Some were detailed, but the British Government did not want to commit itself to more than a general statement of principles.
On 18 July, such a statement, approved in the United States, was forwarded by Lord Rothschild to Lord Balfour. It read as follows:
His Majesty’s Government, after considering the aims of the Zionist Organization, accepts the principle of recognizing Palestine as the National Home [CC] of the Jewish people and the right of the Jewish people to build up its national life in Palestine under a protectorate to be established at the conclusion of peace following the successful issue of war.
His Majesty’s Government regards as essential for the realization of this principle the grant of internal autonomy to the Jewish nationality in Palestine, freedom of immigration for Jews, and the establishment of a Jewish national colonization corporation for the resettlement and economic development of the country.
The conditions and forms of the internal autonomy and a charter for the Jewish national colonizing corporation should, in the view of His Majesty’s Government, be elaborated in detail, and determined with the representatives of the Zionist Organization.
It seems possible that Balfour would have issued this declaration but strong representatives against it were made directly to the Cabinet by Lucien Wolf, Claude Montefiore Sir Mathew Nathan, Secretary of State for India Edwin Montagu, [DD] and other non-Zionist Jews. It was significant they believed that “anti-semites are always very sympathetic to Zionism,” and though they would welcome the establishment in Palestine of a center of Jewish culture, some — like Philip Magnes — feared that a political declaration would antagonize other sections of the population in Palestine, and might result in the Turks dealing with the Jews as they had dealt with the Armenians. The Jewish opposition was too important to ignore, and the preparation of a new draft was commenced. At about this time, Northcliffe and Reading [EE] visited Washington and had a discussion with Brandeis at which they undoubtedly discussed Zionism.
Multiple pressures at key points led Lord Robert Cecil to telegraph to Col. E.M. House on 3 September 1917: “We are being pressed here for a declaration of sympathy with the Zionist movement and I should be very grateful if you felt able to ascertain unofficially if the President favours such a declaration. ”  House, who had performed services relating to Federal Reserve and currency legislation for Jacob W. Schiff and Paul Warburg,  and was Wilson’s closest adviser, relayed the message, but a week later Cecil was still without a reply.
On 11 September the Foreign Office had ready for dispatch the following message for Sir William Wiseman, [FF] head of the British Military Intelligence Service in the United States: “Has Colonel House been able to ascertain whether the President favours sympathy with Zionist aspirations as asked in my telegram of September 3rd? We should be most grateful for an early reply as September 17th is the Jewish New Year and announcement of sympathy by or on that date would have excellent effect.” But before it was sent, a telegram from Colonel House dated 11 September reached the Foreign Office.
Wilson had been approached as requested and had expressed the opinion that “the time was not opportune for any definite statement further, perhaps, than one of sympathy, provided it can be made without conveying any real commitment.” Presumably, a formal declaration would presuppose the expulsion of the Turks from Palestine, but the United States was not at war with Turkey, and a declaration implying annexation would exclude an early and separate peace with that country.
In a widely publicized speech in Cincinnati on 21 May 1916, after temporarily relinquishing his appointment as Ambassador to Turkey in favor of a Jewish colleague, Henry Morgenthau had announced that he had recently suggested to the Turkish Government that Turkey should sell Palestine to the Zionists after the war. The proposal, he said, had been well received, but its publication caused anger in Turkey.
Weizmann was “greatly astonished” at this news, especially as he had “wired to Brandeis requesting him to use his influence in our favour … But up to now I have heard nothing from Brandeis.” 
On 19 September Weizmann cabled to Brandeis:
Following text declaration has been approved by Foreign Office and Prime Minister and submitted to War Cabinet:
1. H.M. Government accepts the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people.
2. H.M. Government will use its best endeavours to secure the achievement of the object and will discuss the necessary methods and means with the Zionist Organization.
Weizmann suggested that non-Zionist opposition should be forestalled, and in this it would “greatly help if President Wilson and yourself support the text. Matter most urgent.”  He followed this up with a telegram to two leading New York Zionists, asking them to “see Brandeis and Frankfurter to immediately discuss my last two telegrams with them,” adding that it might be necessary for him to come to the United States himself.
Brandeis saw House on 23 September and drafted a message, sent the following day through the British War Office. It advised that presidential support would be facilitated if the French and Italians made inquiry about the White House attitude, but he followed this the same day with another cable stating that from previous talks with the President and in the opinion of his close advisers, he could safely say that Wilson would be in complete sympathy.
Thus Brandeis had either persuaded Wilson that there was nothing in the draft (Rothschild) declaration of 19 September which could be interpreted as “conveying any real commitment,” which is difficult to believe, or he had induced the President to change his mind about the kind of declaration he could approve or was sure he and House could do so.
On 7 February 1917, Stephen Wise had written to Brandeis: “I sent the memorandum to Colonel House covering our question, and he writes, ‘I hope the dream you have may soon become a reality.”  In October, after seeing House together with Wise, de Haas reported to Brandeis: ”He has told us that he was as interested in our success as ourselves.” To Wilson, House stated that “The Jews from every tribe descended in force, and they seem determined to break in with a jimmy, if they are not let in.”  A new draft declaration had been prepared; Wilson had to support it.
On 9 October 1917, Weizmann cabled again to Brandeis from London of difficulties from the “assimilants” Opposition: “They have found an excellent champion … in Mr. Edwin Montagu who is a member of the Government and has certainly made use of his position to injure the Zionist cause. ” 
Weizmann also telegraphed to Brandeis a new (Milner-Amery) formula. The same draft was cabled by Balfour to House in Washington on 14 October:
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish race and will use its best endeavours to facilitate achievement of this object; it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed in any other country by such Jews who are fully contented with their existing nationality and citizenship.
It was reinforced by a telegram from the U.S. Embassy in London direct to President Wilson (by-passing the State Department), stating that the “question of a message of sympathy with the (Zionist) movement” was being reconsidered by the British Cabinet “in view of reports that (the) German Government are making great efforts to capture (the) Zionist movement.” 
Brandeis and his associates found the draft unsatisfactory in two particulars. They disliked that part of the draft’s second safeguard clause which read, “by such Jews who are fully contented with their existing nationality and citizenship,” and substituted “the rights and civil political status enjoyed by Jews in any country. In addition, Brandeis apparently proposed the change of “Jewish race” to “Jewish people.”  Jacob de Haas, then Executive Secretary of the Provisional Zionist Committee, has written that the pressure to issue the declaration was coming from the English Zionist leaders: “they apparently needed it to stabilize their position against local anti-Zionism. If American Zionists were anxious about it, Washington would act.” De Haas continues:
Then one morning Baron Furness, one of England’s unostentatious representatives, brought to 44 East 23rd Street, at that time headquarters of the Zionist Organization, the final draft ready for issue. The language of the declaration accepted by the English Zionists based as it was on the theory of discontent was unacceptable to me. I informed Justice Brandeis of my views, called in Dr. Schmarya Levin and proceeded to change the text. Then with Dr. Wise, I hurried to Colonel House. By this time he had come to speak of Zionism as “our cause.” Quietly he perused my proposed change, discussed its wisdom and promised to call President Wilson on his private wire and urge the change. He cabled to the British Cabinet. Next day he informed me that the President had approved. I had business that week-end in Boston and it was over the long distance wire that my secretary in New York read to me the final form as repeated by cable from London. It was the text as I had altered it.
“It seems clear,” wrote Stein, “that it was not without some prompting by House that Wilson eventually authorized a favourable reply to the British enquiry.” Sir William Wiseman, “who was persona grata both with the President and with House, was relied upon by the Foreign Office for dealing with the declaration at the American end. Sir William’s recollection is that Colonel House was influential in bringing the matter to the President’s attention and persuading him to approve the formula.” 
On 16 October 1917, after a conference with House, Wiseman telegraphed to Balfour’s private secretary: ”Colonel House put the formula before the President who approves of it but asks that no mention of his approval shall be made when His Majesty’s Government makes formula public, as he had arranged the American Jews shall then ask him for approval, which he will publicly give here.”
The Balfour Declaration, as stated, was issued on 2 November 1917. Its text, seemingly so simple, had been prepared by some the craftiest of the craft of legal drafting. Leaflets containing its message were dropped by air on Germany and Austria and on the Jewish belt from Poland to the Baltic Sea.
Seven months had passed since America entered the war. It was an epochal triumph for Zionism, and some believe, for the Jews.
On the other hand, two months before the declaration, Sokolow had written of a marked falling off in “le philo-sémitisme d’autrefois,” ascribed by some to the impression that the Russian Jews were the mainspring of Bolshevism; and on the day it was issued, The Jewish Chronicle complained of “the antisemitic campaign which a section of the press in this country, indifferent to the national interests, is sedulously conducting.”  There only remained certain courtesies to be effected. On November 1917, Weizmann wrote a letter of thanks to Brandeis:
“… I need hardly say how we all rejoice in this great event and how grateful we all feel to you for the valuable and efficient help which you have lent to the cause in the critical hour … Once more, dear Mr. Brandeis, I beg to tender to you our heartiest congratulations not only on my own behalf but also on behalf of our friends here — and may this epoch-making be a beginning of great work for our sorely tried people and also of mankind.” 
The other principal Allied governments were approached with requests for similar pronouncements. The French simply supported the British Government in a short paragraph on 9 February 1918. Italian support was contained in a note dated 9 May 1918 to Mr. Sokolow by their ambassador in London in which he stressed the religious divisions of communities, grouping “a Jewish national centre” with existing religious communities.”
On 31 August 1918, President Wilson wrote to Rabbi Wise “to express the satisfaction I have felt in the progress of the Zionist movement . . since … Great Britain’s approval of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Brandeis joined in Zionist delight at the President’s endorsement and wrote: “Since the President’s letter, anti-Zionism is pretty near disloyalty and non-Zionism is slackening.”  Non-Zionist Jews now had a hard time if they wanted to disseminate their views; if they could not support Zionism they were asked at least to remain silent.
On 30 June 1922, the following resolution was adopted by the United States Congress:
Favouring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people;
Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favours the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christians and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.[GG]
All people tend to see the world and its events in terms of their own experience, ideas and prejudices. This is natural. It is a fact used by master politicians and manipulators of opinion who form their appeals accordingly. The case of the Balfour Declaration is a fascinating example of a scheme presenting a multiplicity of images according to the facet of mind on which it reflected.
There were critics of the Balfour Declaration, although among the cacophony of many events competing for attention, few but its beneficiaries concentrated on the significance of what was being offered. One was the Jewish leader and statesman Mr. Edwin Montagu, who had no desire that Jews should be regarded as a separate race and a distinct nationality. The other was Lord Curzon, who became Foreign Secretary at the end of October 1918. He prepared a memorandum dated 26 October 1917, on the penultimate and final drafts of the Balfour Declaration and related documents, and circulated it in the Cabinet. It was titled “The Future of Palestine.” Here are some extracts:
I am not concerned to discuss the question in dispute between the Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews . I am only concerned in the more immediately practical questions:
(a) What is the meaning of the phrase “a national home for the Jewish race in Palestine,” and what is the nature of the obligation that we shall assume if we accept this as a principle of British policy?
(b) If such a policy be pursued what are the chances of its successful realisation?
If I seek guidance from the latest collection of circulated papers (The Zionist Movement, G.-164) I find a fundamental disagreement among the authorities quoted there as to the scope and nature of their aim.
A “national home for the Jewish race or people” would seem, if the words are to bear their ordinary meaning, to imply a place where the Jews can be reassembled as a nation, and where they will enjoy the privileges of an independent national existence. Such is clearly the conception of those who, like Sir Alfred Mond, speak of the creation in Palestine of “an autonomous Jewish State,” words which appear to contemplate a State, i.e., a political entity, composed of Jews, governed by Jews, and administered mainly in the interests of Jews…
The same conception appears to underlie several other of the phrases employed in these papers, e.g., when we are told that Palestine is to become “a home for the Jewish nation,” “a national home for the Jewish race,” “a Jewish Palestine,” and when we read of “the resettlement of Palestine as a national centre,” and “the restoration of Palestine to the Jewish people,” all these phrases are variants of the same idea, viz., the re-creation of Palestine as it was before the days of the dispersion.
On the other hand, Lord Rothschild, when he speaks of Palestine as “a home where the Jews could speak their own language, have their own education, their own civilization, and religious institutions under the protection of Allied governments,” seems to postulate a much less definite form of political existence, one, indeed, which is quite compatible with the existence of an alien (so long as it is not Turkish) government…
Now what is the capacity as regards population of Palestine within any reasonable period of time? Under the Turks there is no such place or country as Palestine, because it is divided up between the sanjak of Jerusalem and the vilayets of Syria and Beirut. But let us assume that in speaking of Palestine in the present context we mean the old scriptural Palestine, extending from Dan to Beersheba, i.e., from Banias to Bir es-Sabi… . an area of less than 10,000 square miles. What is to become of the people of this country, assuming the Turk to be expelled, and the inhabitants not to have been exterminated by the war? There are over a half a million of these, Syrian Arabs — a mixed community with Arab, Hebrew, Canaanite, Greek, Egyptian, and possibly Crusaders’ blood. They and their forefathers have occupied the country for the best part of 1,500 years. They own the soil, which belongs either to individual landowners or to village communities. They profess the Mohammadan faith. They will not be content either to be expropriated for Jewish immigrants, or to act merely as hewers of wood and drawers of water to the latter.