1939 ST. JAMES CONFERENCE

Migdal (tower going up)

The British called a conference for the Jews and Arabs of Palestine. The conference accomplished nothing.

After the British government rejected the Peel Commission plan for the creation of a Jewish and Arab State in Palestine, the British government decided to hold a conference between the Arabs and the Jews to determine the future of the region. The Jewish delegation was led by Chaim Weizmann, and the Arab delegation by followers of the Mufti of Jerusalem, as well as more moderate leaders from the Arab National Defense Party of the Nashshibis. The Arabs refused to meet together with the Jews, claiming that they did not recognize the Jewish Agency. Thus the British were forced to meet separately with the two delegations. The British proposed, as a basis for negotiation, the establishment of an independent Arab State after the admittance of an additional 75,000 Jews. The Jewish delegation rejected the proposal, as a negation of Balfour Declaration. The Arab delegation also rejected the proposal. The conference, which had lasted from February 7 to March 17, broke up after making no headway. The British announced that if they could not get the opposing sides to agree, they would unilaterally impose their own ideas. They did so with the subsequent White Paper.