The Voice of Coloured Labour. George Padmore (editor) 1945

6. Declaration on the Attitude to the Peace Settlement.

Mr. A. Gazier (Reporter, Peace Settlement Committee) (Translation): The Committee on the question of the Trade Union Attitude to the Peace Settlement was set up by this Conference. At its opening meeting the Committee unanimously elected Mr. Carey as Chairman and myself as Reporter. The Committee decided, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Conference, to admit an additional co-opted member, namely, Mr. Hill as representing British West Africa, the West Indies and British Guiana. The Committee held five meetings. The text which is now submitted to you was adopted unanimously by the Committee with the exception of one sentence in paragraph 26.

The Committee wishes me to say that its work was greatly facilitated by the fact that three great Statesmen were holding a meeting in the Crimea at the same time and that their Declaration from the Yalta Conference dealt with many of the points with which the Committee were closely concerned. We have endeavoured in our report to deal with those points in which we consider that Trade Union organisations are particularly interested.

The Committee discussed one question in particular, namely, whether Japan should be dealt with in the same report as Germany, or whether there should be a separate resolution placed before the Conference on the subject of Japan. The solution adopted was that a single text should be placed before the Conference. You will see, however, from the careful wording of paragraph 33 – the last paragraph in the report – that the paragraph commits only the representatives of those members of the United Nations which are at war with Japan.

The text of the declaration reads:

  1. The millions of working people represented at this Conference by accredited delegations from 40 national Trade Union organisations in the United Nations, and 15 international Trade Union bodies, have maintained a steadfast purpose through the long struggle now drawing to its close.
  2. In furtherance of that unfaltering purpose, this World Conference has considered the tasks still waiting to be done by the armed forces and the working people of the United Nations to accomplish the complete destruction of German militarism and Fascist tyranny, and also the measures to be taken for the establishment of a just and lasting peace.
  3. This World Conference, having given consideration to the social and economic problems of the peace, deems it essential that responsible and qualified representatives of the Trade Union Movement shall be associated with the peace settlement in all its phases.
  4. By a. continuation of the close collaboration and decisive action of Governments and peoples which have brought the United Nations in sight of victory, this World Conference believes that the aims which the working people have held steadily in view will be achieved.
  5. The people of the United Nations will not relax their efforts in this final stage of the fight against aggression. They will shrink from no sacrifice that is necessary to bring about the unconditional surrender and capitulation of the common enemy, realising that any form of appeasement or compromise will be injurious to the cause of the freedom-loving nations by lulling them into a sense of false security and lessening their vigilance against the danger that aggression will be renewed.
  6. In the confident hope that victory will bring permanent peace, this World Conference pays homage to all who have fought and suffered in the fight for freedom. The Trade Union Movement will hold in everlasting honour those who have fallen in battle, by land and sea and in the air, and those who have suffered martyrdom at the hands of a cruel enemy. The Conference pays its heartfelt tribute also to all who have served in the armed forces of the United Nations, in the Mercantile Marine, in the Resistance Movements in occupied countries, in the Civil Defence organisation, in productive industry, and in the transport and distributive services. By their valour and endurance, on the battlefields and in every form of war service, and by their heroic sacrifices, men and women alike have won the right to demand that the victory of the United Nations shall lead to the creation of a world organisation capable of ensuring a stable and enduring peace. The war has been fought by the working people, and peace cannot be organised without their co-operation and effective participation in the counsels of die peace-making Governments.
  7. This World Conference therefore welcomes the historic Declaration made by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the President of the United States, and the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, following their Conference in the Crimea. In that Declaration this World Conference finds the assurance that the sacrifices and sufferings of the working people will not have been made in vain.
  8. In full agreement with the inflexible determination expressed by the heads of the three Allied Powers at the Crimea Conference to destroy German militarism and Nazism, we do not doubt that the Occupying Authorities will take all necessary measures to disarm Germany and disband all her armed forces; break up for all time the German General Staff; remove or destroy all German military equipment; and eliminate or bring under Allied control all German industry that can be used for war purposes. But vital Trade Union interests are involved in the process of disarming and demilitarising Germany.
  9. We direct attention specifically to the fact that measures must be taken –

(i) to bring to justice all war criminals;

(ii) to liquidate the whole Nazi system and to dissolve all Nazi organisations with the complete confiscation of their funds and property;

(iii) to place under the control of the United Nations not only German heavy industry but the German transport system, the banking system, and land and property owned by German trusts and cartels, and by financial magnates and Junkers;

(iv) for the utilisation within the limits imposed by effective demilitarisation of German industrial and all other resources for the rehabilitation of all countries the Germans have devastated and plundered; and

(v) for the setting up of machinery to secure the full compensation from Germany for the damage it has caused to the Allied countries, with priority to those that have suffered most.

In the Allied occupation and control of Germany, the countries that have been directly injured by German invasion and occupation, and have effectively opposed the occupation should have representation.

  1. On all these matters we consider it essential that the voice of the Trade Unions shall be heard and heeded by the Occupying Authorities.
  2. Further, we consider that the Trade Union Movement should be consulted about the arrangements to be made to secure, by the use of German materials and German manpower, the restoration by Germany of all that has been destroyed in countries against which she has waged war. In the view of this World Conference the employment of German labour if used in restoration work must be placed under international supervision, with Trade Union participation in the determination of labour standards in a way that will not reduce the standards of other workers. Such labour must not be allowed to degenerate into slave labour.
  3. Connected with such necessary organisation of the German workers is the task of liquidating completely and irrevocably the German “Labour Front” and establishing under international Trade Union supervision a democratic Trade Union Movement in Germany as speedily as possible during the period of occupation.
  4. This World Conference insists that Trade Union funds and property taken from the workers by the Nazis must be recovered and placed at the disposal of the international Trade Union Movement as custodians, to be used in rebuilding free and democratic Trade Union organisations.
  5. Concerned with the stem punishment of all war criminals, high and low, this World Conference believes that Trade Union help and counsel will be necessary to ensure, without the spirit of vengeance, that none of the guilty shall escape due punishment. No right of asylum shall be invoked for the protection of war criminals.
  6. Moreover, this World Conference is convinced that the Trade Union Movement can render indispensable assistance in the reconstruction of the whole system of education in Germany, whereby the young generation of Germans will be purged of the infection of militarism and Nazism, and a radically different educational programme, with revised text books, can be brought into operation, and all teachers and lecturers who have supported Nazism shall be expelled from German schools and universities.
  7. The Trade Union Movement likewise seeks the opportunity to assist in the organisation and conduct of anti-Fascist propaganda, in the cleansing of Fascism from German literature, and the arts, and in the use of German theatres, cinemas, radio and press, for the inculcation of democratic ideals and of racial and religious equality which have been derided and set at naught in the Fascist ideology.
  8. From the Crimea Conference have come binding guarantees that the Allied Governments will forthwith enter upon the task of establishing a general international organisation to maintain peace and security.
  9. This World Conference rejoices in the declared purpose of the Allied Governments to give effect to the principles of the Atlantic Charter, by recognising and defending the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live, lie resolve of the Allied Governments to secure the restoration of sovereign rights and self-government to the peoples who have seen their democratic institutions ruthlessly uprooted, and jointly to assist the people in every liberated country to create the conditions in which stable and representative Governments, resting upon the free consent of the people, can come into existence, will have the support of the Trade Union Movement.
  10. This World Conference unanimously acclaims the decision of the three Allied Governments to summon a Conference of United Nations at San Francisco to prepare the Charter of an international organisation in accordance with the general principles formulated at Dumbarton Oaks. We fully endorse their decision to bring the Government of China and the Provisional Government of France into association with them in this great enterprise.
  11. The Trade Union Movement will look to the San Francisco Conference to set the seal of final agreement upon the policy which the leaders of the three Great Powers have consistently pursued since they framed the Atlantic Charter, and reaffirmed and amplified at the Moscow and Teheran Conferences, in which their unity of purpose was strengthened. In those historic meetings, the desire of the peoples of all countries, great or small, for collaboration and active participation on the part of their Governments in the sacred task of ridding the world of tyranny, slavery, oppression, and racial and religious intolerance, found expression; and this World Conference is profoundly convinced that with the coming of Peace the freedom-loving peoples over all the earth will give their support and countenance only to those Governments that will co-operate in framing and maintaining the Charter.
  12. This World Conference, indeed, considers it to be the duty of the Governments of the United Nations to deny recognition to States whose political and economic systems are opposed to the principles embodied in the Declarations made at the Atlantic meeting and the Conferences of Moscow and Teheran. The struggle for the uprooting of militarism and. Fascism, which has involved the working people in uncountable sacrifices, is an integral part of their struggle for a stable and lasting peace, and of their fight to remove the last vestiges of militarism and Fascism, and to exterminate all covert and overt “fifth column” influences in all countries.
  13. This World Conference urges most strongly the speedy establishment of the Dumbarton Oaks plan for the constitution of a general Assembly of all peace-loving nations, with equal rights. Only when such an Assembly is in being can such questions as general disarmament, regulation of armaments,’ and other essentials of security be adequately dealt with.
  14. Among these essentials this World Conference attaches supreme importance to removal of the economic causes of war. The Trade Union Movement cannot forget that one of the basic causes of war is the scramble for markets by monopolising interests.
  15. This World Conference, therefore, considers it to be one of the earliest obligations of the Assembly presently to be established to investigate and put a term to the activities of international cartels and monopolies which militate against the public interest under whatever guise they may function.
  16. In the view of this World Conference, it is likewise necessary to bring to an end the system of colonies, dependencies and subject countries as spheres of economic exploitation, and to facilitate immediately the development of free Trade Unions in those countries. In the coming Peace, the foundations must be laid with all possible speed, and in accordance with Article 3 of the Atlantic Charter, of a world order in which non-self-governing communities and nations can attain the status of free nations that will enable them to govern themselves and to develop their own institutions of free citizenship.
  17. This World Conference is of opinion too that after the war, thoroughgoing remedies must be found, through international action, for the wrongs inflicted on the Jewish people. Their protection against oppression, discrimination and spoliation in any country must be the responsibility of the new International Authority. The Jewish people must be enabled to continue the rebuilding of Palestine as their National Home, so successfully begun by immigration, agricultural resettlement and industrial development.
  18. This World Conference has taken note of the fact that the plan of world organisation outlined at Dumbarton Oaks includes the setting up of a Security Council vested with power to maintain peace; that it is proposed to appoint permanent representatives of ministerial status and experience at the headquarters of the International Organisation; and that a Military Staff Committee is also to be established composed of the Chiefs of Staff of the States with permanent members, to advise and assist the Security Council on all questions relating to its military requirements and for the strategic direction of armed forces placed at its disposal. This World Conference welcomes this as evidence of the determination of the three Allied Governments to enforce peace and maintain security.
  19. This World Conference is especially hopeful that the proposal in the Dumbarton Oaks plan to set up an Economic add Social Council to make recommendations on international economic, social and other humanitarian problems, will be implemented as speedily as possible. The Trade Union Movement has a particular obligation to assist the development of this organ of the new international body, and demands representation in all its stages.
  20. This World Conference urges the use of this instrument for the initiation of great schemes of international economic reconstruction, embodying the principles of public control and administration, and applying them particularly to the great river systems, in which the interests of many nations are inextricably involved.
  21. Finally, this World Conference, having regard to the constitution, aims and functions of the new World Organisation, considers it to be of vital importance that the Trade Union Movement shall be closely and continuously connected with its activities, and especially with the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. On behalf of the Trade Union Movement, this World Conference therefore urges that provision shall be made for adequate Trade Union representation in the Assembly of the International Organisation, and that qualified and responsible representatives of the Trade Union Movement shall be associated with both the Security Council and the Social and Economic Council.
  22. This World Conference, in furtherance of this objective, resolves to seek from the three Allied Governments an undertaking that accredited representatives of the Trade Union Movement will be received into their councils at the forthcoming San Francisco Conference, in an advisory and consultative capacity.
  23. This World Conference recalls the Declaration made by the Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain, in his address to the delegations here assembled, that the great machinery of consultation built up by the Trade Unions through many years has been a factor of vital importance in the winning of the war. This World Conference feels that such recognition of the assistance and advice made available by the Trade Union Movement in every phase of war activity, confirmed by similar statements from other Allied statesmen, warrants the expectation that this collaboration will continue as the United Nations turn to the task of carrying through the great change-over from war to peace, and set their hands to the rebuilding of a world in ruins, and the renovation and renewal of the life of all mankind in freedom and security.
  24. It is the view of the Trade Union Movements of those members of the United Nations which are at war with Japan that the principles outlined above, as applying to the peace settlement to be imposed on Germany, are equally applicable to Japan, and, in particular, that the Mikado shall not be allowed to escape his responsibility for the acts of Japanese militarism, that the Japanese Empire shall be replaced by a democratic republic, and that the terms of the Cairo-Declaration shall be rigidly applied in regard to those territories which Japan has seized in the course of her campaigns of aggression.

The text is now before the Conference for discussion and, we trust, for its approval

Discussion on Declaration

The President: The Conference has now before it the report of the Committee. Are there any questions on the report?

Mr. John Asfour (Arab Workers’ Society, Palestine): As the Conference is aware, the paragraph in the report which is the reason for my intervention is number 26. Before I come to that paragraph I want you to read with me certain previous paragraphs and to see how much or how little a compromise is possible between these paragraphs which occur in the same report. Everyone knows that Palestine is an Arab country, and as such, paragraphs 18, 20 and 25 refer to it just as fully and forcibly as to any other country. Paragraph 18 reads: “This World Conference rejoices in the declared purpose of the Allied Governments to give effect to the principles of the Atlantic Charter, by recognising and defending the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live.” Again, towards the middle of paragraph 20 we have the following: “In those historic meetings (the meetings of the leaders of the three great powers) the desire of the people of all countries, great or small, for collaboration and active participation on the part of their Governments in the sacred task of ridding the world of tyranny, slavery, oppression and racial and religious intolerance found expression; and this World Conference is profoundly convinced that with the coming of Peace, the freedom-loving peoples over all the earth will give their support and countenance only to those Governments that will co-operate in framing and maintaining the Charter.”

Again in paragraph 25 the following will be found: “In the coming Peace, the foundations must be laid with all possible speed, and in accordance with Article 3 of the Atlantic Charter, of a world order in which non-self-governing communities and nations can attain the status of free nations that will enable them to govern themselves and to develop their own institutions of free citizenship.” I have read these passages to the Conference in order that they may see to what extent we can make any compromise at all between them and more particularly the last part of paragraph 26 which reads: “The Jewish people must be enabled to continue the rebuilding of Palestine as their National Home, so successfully begun by immigration, agricultural resettlement and industrial development.”

It was not our intention to involve in controversy this very important and historic Conference, dealing with the major topic before it, concerning the suffering of the whole world, but I must ask you to think for a moment about Palestine and its problem. It is in my view absolutely unfair, to say the least of it, that a decision of such far-reaching effect should be taken by a Conference convened for the one single purpose of combating Fascism and all that it stands for. What is the effect of this? In my address earlier to the Conference I said that the Arabs were not the last in giving expression concerning the persecution of the Jews in Europe, but I also asked the Conference quite sincerely to resolve that we should not at this stage try to kindle fires which were not extinguished, but dormant.

We are out as workers to see that peace is established in Europe and is maintained; we are out not only to speak about it, but to establish peace in all the world. I will not say that the first part of paragraph 26 is unnecessary or redundant. If we are going to get rid of tyranny, despotism, and Fascism which has created this racial discrimination and persecution, and Europe is to be freed – and freed it will be – from all such persecution, then the Conference can adopt only the first part of paragraph 26. There is here something very important, something that taxes the conscience of every one of us. But it will be very dangerous for you to involve yourselves in decisions on matters of which you have heard nothing, of which you have not been given full and accurate details. If we are going to adopt the first part of this paragraph, which reads: “This World Conference is of opinion too that after the war thorough-going remedies must be found, through international action, for the wrongs inflicted on the Jewish people” – all well and good. There is nothing wrong with that. It is the expression of the Committee concerning a certain state of affairs that has obtained. But what is their remedy? “Their protection against oppression, discrimination and spoliation in any country must be the responsibility of the new International Authority.” They ask this Conference to declare that there has been oppression, discrimination and spoliation of Jewish people in Europe, that very thorough means must be adopted to remove such wrongs, and that this must be the responsibility of the new International Authority. In my submission to you I would say this, that the question of the oppression of the Jews in Europe and the question of establishing a Zionist State in Palestine are two different subjects, two points embodying a different and controversial idea. The Jews who have been persecuted in Europe must be helped, and the first aid that should be given them is the suppression of tyranny and despotism and the creation of a new world order, with an international authority to decide on that.

I ask the Conference to remove from this report paragraph 26, which is incompatible with the ideas of the whole of the working-class and also irreconcilable with several previous paragraphs in the report.

Mr. A. Carrillo (Latin American Confederation of Labour): Mr. President and comrades: I wish to refer to paragraph 26 of the Report. In the last sentence it reads as follows: “The Jewish people must be enabled to continue the rebuilding of Palestine as their National Home so successfully begun by immigration, agricultural resettlement and industrial development.” First of all, I believe that it is just that the delegations here should rejoice in the fact that an absolute majority of the members of the Committee passed this report in the affirmative sense in which it is now presented to us. The Jewish problem is undoubtedly not a local problem dealing with a specific territory or even a regional problem – I am speaking of Europe where this is very well known – it has become a world problem of the most dramatic nature. As a result of that, we in Latin America, far away from Europe, far away from the suffering and the sacrifices of the Jewish people, at our last Latin American Congress of Labour, passed a unanimous resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish Home in Palestine, without interfering, of course, with the national rights of other groups. For that reason we come here to support this decision which has been taken also by most of the important Labour organisations of the whole world.

Anti-semitism is a problem that does not concern only the Arabs and the Jews, or any other single nationality. Anti-semitism is a problem that concerns all the freedom-loving peoples of the world because it breeds Fascism, and by the breeding of Fascism not only the Arabs, not only the Jews and not only certain specific national groups are menaced, but, to a great extent, the whole world is menaced. Consequently we have come here to suggest that this proposition should be accepted because it offers a very fine way in which we can help to solve the Jewish problem and thereby avoid the possibility of racial doctrine and anti-semitism becoming a breeder of Fascism in the future. The Jewish people are a people without a state, and we cannot possibly see why the Atlantic Charter should make an exception about them. The Atlantic Charter calls for all peoples to organise themselves politically as they think fit, and in their own interest. Are we not going to let the Jewish people organise themselves politically and have their own State? Will they be the only people in the world who will not be given the opportunity to organise themselves politically? I say that no Labour Movement anywhere in the world would be willing to answer this question in a negative sense. Our comrades representing the Arab Labour Movement cannot tell us that this is a problem in which we cannot very well take a decision. They have several States already organised. If the Arab world had no political rights and had no States which were organised, we from Latin America would come here to fight for the political rights and for the possibility of Arab States existing in the world. But there are Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Lebanon, and many other States in which the Arab world has had a chance of organising itself politically.

We are in favour of this resolution, but if there are any doubts about the good faith of the Labour Movement of the world represented here as to what we wish, I would suggest that we add to this report the following words. Where it says “National Home so successfully begun by immigration, agricultural resettlement and industrial development” we should add, “respecting the legitimate interests of other national groups and giving equality of rights and opportunities to all its inhabitants.” In that way we would be undoubtedly safeguarding the genuine and legitimate rights of all the peoples who live in Palestine. Now the nations in Europe that have suffered material losses in this way have been asking for reparations. I have not heard a single voice in this Conference raised against the legitimate desire of the European peoples to make the Nazis and their satellites pay for their war crimes. The Jewish people in Europe were 6,000,000 in number before the World War II. There are now only 2,000,000 people of that race in Europe. They have been undoubtedly the race, as a race, that has suffered most. If we are not going to ask for reparations for the Jewish people- and they certainly have the right to them – then let us at least ask for justice, and one of the ways in which we can do justice to the Jewish people is by letting them have a National Home in Palestine so as to avoid anti-semitism and to free the world from the Fascist danger of tomorrow.

The President: We must keep ourselves on straight lines. We do not want to wander all over the document, so from now onwards, until we settle this question, we shall deal only with paragraph number 26 – the Palestine question. Let us deal with that first, clear that out of the way, and then deal with the other sections afterwards.

Mr. Reid Robinson (Congress of Industrial Organisations, America): Mr. President and comrades: I wish to state that the Congress of Industrial Organisations of the United States of America cannot agree to the amendment that was called for by the delegation representing the Arabs in regard to this Palestine question on paragraph 26. The C.I.O. is on record unequivocably in support of a National Home in Palestine for the Jewish people. We support that for many reasons. We have learned that anti-semitism is the incubator of Fascism and that there has to be positive treatment given to the Jewish people throughout the world, or else anti-semitism will be used again to create the basis for a Fascist Movement in any section of the world where a demagogue may again raise it, as Hitler raised it in Germany and as it has spread throughout the earth at the present time. Certainly we are not going to have this World Conference go on record as denying any relief or any refuge to a people who have suffered as the Jewish people have suffered. Certainly one of the worst things that this Conference could do would be to delete from this very adequate report dealing with this specific subject one of the most important clauses, stating very emphatically that we the Labour Movement of the world, are going to give relief to a people who have suffered perhaps more than any other people as the result of the spread of Fascism throughout the world. Therefore we must include that clause. We of the C.I.O. – and I am sure that I speak for everyone here – do not want to create in the minds of any people that because we are going to come to the aid and assistance of one group of people, in so doing we are going to discriminate against another people. We want to have free and equal treatment for all the people throughout the world, because only in that way can we have a real democracy, a democracy that will carry with it the fundamentals for an enduring peace. Therefore we of the United States agree with the amendment that has been suggested by Mr. Carrillo of the Latin-American C.O.L. wherein we maintain within this report all of paragraph 26 and especially the last sentence, with the amendment that it means discrimination towards none. We therefore urge the support of the amendment by Mr. Carrillo.

Mr. J. McGuire (Canadian Congress of Labour): Mr. President and fellow delegates: I speak in support of the Committee’s report and of the amendment suggested by Mr. Carrillo to paragraph 26. I do so because it is the policy of the organisation I represent. At its last Convention, held in the City of Quebec, our Congress went on record as supporting the movement for the establishment and maintenance of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. We in the Dominion of Canada have two races; we have English and we have French. There are 3,500,000 French Canadian people residing in the Dominion of Canada. The English and the French have resided side by side in the Dominion of Canada for nearly 200 years without any friction of this kind. We feel that there is plenty of room for the Jewish people and for the Arab people in the Middle East. The small section of the Middle East which has been set aside and is now known as Palestine can very readily accommodate about 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 people. What did we find at the time when it was decided to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine? We found that Palestine itself had been allowed virtually to become desert again, and we have watched the development of that country since the Jewish people have been allowed to return to it. We have found cities established, industries brought into the country, orange groves and other fruit groves planted. We have found the Jewish people engaging in agriculture, and we have found a remarkable cultural development in Palestine, all of which was conspicuous largely by its absence up to that time. If there is a return of the Jewish people to Palestine – and I do not say that they are all going to return by any means, but I do say that a large number of them will undoubtedly return – they should be permitted to return to Palestine as a homeland, and not be a nation without a country.

Since 1920 the Jewish population of Palestine has increased from 65,000 until to-day it numbers a little over 500,000. It is returning to a land which, as I said before, could accommodate between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 people. You will readily see that approximately only 10 per cent have been accommodated so far. During the same period, the General Federation of Jewish Labour in Palestine has increased from 4,433 to 140,500. That is a remarkable development in the Labour Movement in that country in the short space of twenty-five years, and it has taken place notwithstanding all the obstacles that were placed in their way. We feel, in supporting the amendment offered by Brother Carrillo, that, like ourselves, these two races of people can live side by side in peace and harmony and can develop that part of the Middle East if they have the will to do so. In that connection I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the representatives from the Jewish Federation here for their remarkable achievements, established during the past fifteen years, in organising the workers in Palestine and improving their conditions of employment to a far greater extent than had ever been the case in Palestine previous to that development, and also for the remarkable amount of work which they did during the years of business depression when Labour was adversely affected all aver the world, during which time they not only looked after the members of their Movement who were out of employment but saw to it that they received proper medical care and hospitalisation. Therefore, Mr. President, I have pleasure in supporting the amendment proposed by Brother Carrillo, and I do that in all due deference to the interests of the members of the Labour Movement who are represented by our Arab confreres at this Conference.

The President: There is only one other speaker on the list for paragraph 26, and I suggest we close the debate on that. The one speaker is Mr. Pillai of India.

Mr. A. K. Pillai (Indian Federation of Labour): Mr. President and fellow delegates: The Jews are a most ancient people with a rich heritage of civilisation. They have also been the most unhappy victims of tremendous oppression, and that aspect of their history has been accentuated in recent years. Therefore all our sympathy is with them. I have among them several personal friends, but that would not prevent my taking a view on this issue, influenced entirely by the merits of the case. The comrades from Canada, Latin-America and the U.S.A. have had the advantage of discussing this question in their own national organisations. I come from an organisation in India, and we have had no opportunity of discussing the merits of this question. All our sympathy in this matter should not be allowed to stampede us into taking a decision when the facts have not been investigated by us as a body and when we have not sufficient data on which to decide, one way or the other. Therefore it is my submission that the last clause, which definitely commits this Conference to the advocacy of Palestine as a National Home for the Jews, must be deleted. By so doing we are not opposing a National Home being so established but we are not supporting it; we are only saying we have not sufficient data before us.

Yesterday, when Mr. Dange from India suggested an amendment in respect of India, it was quite rightly pointed out that it was not within the terms of reference, although the Chairman of the Committee concerned sympathised with the view. We may leave the matter in the hands of those who are concerned with this question. There have been a series of declarations from the Balfour Declaration onwards. It is said that this Committee has come to a decision by a majority and therefore we must pass it. But after all, we are the Conference; we are here to adopt or not to adopt the report, and the fact that the Committee came to a decision by a majority, or even unanimously, would not preclude us from taking a different view. Even a majority on a Committee can go wrong. In this matter it is not a question of going wrong or going right, but of taking a decision without facts. They have had no facts before them and they have not heard the populations concerned. If it were merely a matter of colonising vacant land it would be different, but it is not so. Palestine is already inhabited, and the Arabs claim that they represent two-thirds of the population and that the Jews, with all the immigrants, are only one-third. If Palestine is to become the National Home of the Jews, what about the other population? Are they going to be transplanted or exterminated? We do not know. Let us not be stampeded into a decision for which we have not sufficient facts; and in our anxiety to show sympathy with the Jewish people let us not do something which, after all, will not turn out to be a Peace Settlement but perhaps may be the beginning of a new war. This war was not started on the Palestine issue, although in the war the Jews have been largely the sufferers and the victims of Hitlerite Germany. But Palestine is in British hands and they can deal with it. So far as British statesmen are concerned, they have always shown a great deal of sympathy towards this question and, therefore, there is no reason why we should think they would not do justice. By deleting this sentence we are not deciding against a National Home for the Jews in Palestine but suspending our judgment, not because we have not sympathy with the Jews hut because we have not the data before us on which to decide this particular question.

The President: As there is no other speaker, I will now proceed to take a vote on the matter.

Mr. John Asfour (Arab Workers’ Society, Palestine): On a point of order. I opened this debate on the amendment. The Conference has heard several speakers, and I think under the Standing Orders I am entitled to reply.

The President: The Standing Orders say that a delegate shall speak only once upon any one subject except with the express permission of the Conference.

Mr. Asfour; I am appealing to you and all the Conference that I should be given an opportunity to reply.

The President: You have no right to a reply. You are moving an amendment. However, if this Conference agrees to give you permission to speak a second time you may do so, but you cannot claim a reply.

Mr. Asfour: That is my point.

The President: Then leave it at that. The delegate is asking special permission to speak a second time on this issue. I would like to obtain the view of the Conference, and to know if there is an agreement to our colleague speaking a second time. (Agreed.) Very good. Now Mr. Asfour you have the opportunity.

Mr. Asfour: Mr. President and Comrades: I thought I told you at the outset that this subject, which has not been discussed in full Conference and taken as a special subject on the agenda, was going to involve you in endless debate. I thought that would be the result, and here we are. First of all, I want to make it very clear to all the comrades here that when you speak about anti-semitism you mean persecution of the Jews and Arabs alike, because we are Semites just as much. Therefore, if you want to relieve the world from anti-semitism which has grown up and flourished, not in Arab countries if you please, but in Europe, you are not really going to solve the problem or to change the attitude by bringing Jews who have been persecuted because of anti-semitism to Palestine. It is most astounding, if I may say so – and I say it with the utmost respect – that you should have bodies so internationally known and with such responsibilities upon their shoulders as the C.I.O. and the Canadian Congress of Labour, adopting a resolution, if you please, and urging that it should be carried at this Conference, without previous notice, and saying that they are in favour and support with their utmost vigour, the establishment of a National Home in Palestine for the Jews. Now I ask those gentlemen, really and honestly, had you heard the Arab side before you adopted that resolution? Have you set yourselves in judgment merely upon representations made by one party, without either hearing or bothering yourselves to inquire about the story from the other side? Can we, as real Socialists, as people who are trying with this progressive movement of ours to establish order and peace, forget this most elementary principle of passing resolutions and making judgment? Can you, from the point of view of world order, give any decision against anyone without first, not only hearing the other side, but demanding evidence of such fantastic claims as that Palestine would contain 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 more people ? Have you got the evidence and have you heard the other side? Why, in the name of everybody on earth, do you put yourselves in judgment? I do not appreciate it; I am sorry, but I cannot understand why some other national group should constitute themselves in judgment and power over another national group. It is something which is entirely unknown in any movement in the world.

Now I wish to deal with the flowery words with which Comrade Carrillo tried to influence support for his amendment by getting certain things inserted respecting the preservation of the legitimate and national claims of other groups. This might be a new thing to you, but we have been suffering from exactly identical terms to those contained in the amendment to my amendment. It was contained in the Balfour Declaration itself. By the way, the Balfour Declaration does not say “the people of Palestine and their National Home,” the Balfour Declaration said: “to establish in Palestine a National Home for the Jews” – not making of Palestine their National Home. But that is only a side-show. In that Declaration itself, however, there was this identical, what is termed in political language, reservation. We have suffered from that reservation. I will give you just one or two instances, because they will enlighten you as to how much effect reservations have on the minds of the people. First of all, the Arabs who have lived in the .country do not require any such reservation. They live there as a matter of right and are going to continue to live there. But in Haifa, which is the Port of Palestine, there was always an Arab Mayor – always. After the Jewish immigration into Palestine the Jews demanded and succeeded in getting a Jewish Mayor in Haifa – and I must tell you that the Mayor is appointed by the Government. There is no question of a difference between the Arab and the Jew, but I want to tell you what the idea of reservation of the rights of other groups meant. The same trouble is going on now in Jerusalem and it has not yet been solved. There can be no doubt at all that by your committing yourselves to such a resolution as this, which has never been put before Conference, and on which you have had no evidence or data, neither as to the area of the land nor as to the reports previously made by commissions appointed, not by the Arabs but by the British Imperial Government, nor as to the capacity of the land, nor as to the troubles which have obtained ever since the inception of the Balfour Declaration up to 1939 – you are without all those – that you should come and commit yourselves to such a resolution would be a cause of serious criticism not only by other groups of Labour but by the whole world. You would be giving yourselves exactly the same power as the C.I.O. and the Canadian Congress of Labour have done, namely, of giving judgment on a certain case without ever hearing the other side in evidence.

As regards the matter of accommodation for 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 people, I can quote to you one point which will interest you very much. In the years 1931 and 1932, this claim that Palestine has a capacity to take many millions of the persecuted Jews was made, and the British Government sent someone to Palestine to inquire into the matter of land and land settlement. He has it in his report – it is a public report here, that of Sir John Hope Simpson – that in 1931 the land which was then left to the Arabs was not sufficient for the existing population, without having regard to any natural increase in that population. Gentlemen, I appeal to you not to commit yourselves on this amendment at all, and by so doing I am not afraid of facing an international organisation which you yourselves have recommended. You have recommended that this matter be solved by an international authority in order to settle what appears to be a very important question. Finally, I repeat that the last sentence of paragraph 26 should be in toto repealed, without the amendment suggested by Mr. Carrillo.

The President: Now we have to get a decision on this matter, and in view of the time and the other work we have before us I hope we can proceed without having to go through the long and wearisome method of a roll call vote. This is a proposal to reject a part of the report, and the Standing Orders provide that no proposition shall be rejected unless the dissentients represent at least one-third of the national delegations and comprise at least one-third of the total membership of the national organisations represented. Therefore I ask those national delegations who support the rejection of this part of the report to indicate to that effect. I hope that is clear. Those national delegations who support the proposal to delete that sentence of the report will please show. One vote for each national delegation. There are Palestine Arab, the Indian Federation of Labour, the All-India Trade Union Congress, South Africa, Nigeria, and Gambia – six national delegations support the rejection of the paragraph. There is no need to take a vote against the rejection because the movers have not secured the one-third vote which is required. Therefore that sentence remains in. Mr. Carillo has moved to add the words “respecting the legitimate interest of other national groups and giving equality of rights and opportunities to all its inhabitants.”

Mr. B. Farah (Arab Federation of Trade Unions, Palestine): We can preserve ourselves without the rights suggested by Mr. Carrillo.

Mr. Bankole: Mr. Chairman, I wish to move an amendment to paragraph 31: That the word “representatives” in the third line be altered to “delegates,” and after the word “movement,” in the same line, the words “with full powers” be added.

The President: That is the same motion as the one Conference has just decided against but put in a different place. It is out of order. No other amendments have been handed in, but Mr. Bankole has sent up a note to say that he wishes to speak on paragraph 25. We have passed that paragraph, but I suggest that he should be given the opportunity to address us on it. Does the Conference agree? (Agreed.)

Mr. Bankole: Mr. President, I am going to be very brief. Paragraph 25 has largely to do with the question of the Colonies, and in order to make that clearer I want to refer to paragraph 23, which says: “Among these essentials, this World Conference attaches supreme importance to the removal of the economic causes of war.” I think those causes will be found to be implied mainly in the question of the Colonies. That is why I feel that paragraph should be amended, and I have used paragraph 23 to explain my point. I am actually concerned with paragraph 25, and I am asking that an addition should be made to it. At the end of the last line, after the word “citizenship,” I am suggesting that we add the following words: “With this end in view, this World Conference advocates the setting by Colonial Powers of a definite time limit within which the Colonies will attain nationhood.” My reason is quite clear. Unless we dispose of the question of the Colonies, I am sure another war will come.

The query which primarily may be raised is whether the people of the Colonies are ripe to govern themselves. I wish to answer that question by explaining that the form of Government that at present obtains in the Colonies is such as to prove that the people are ripe to govern themselves. We have in Nigeria, for instance, the form of Government known as “Indirect rule,” in which case natives have the power to control administration and to rule their territories, only subject to advice by British officers. That system has been working well and has proved that natives have been doing good work in that respect. That being so, I do not see the reason for raising objection to the Colonial peoples taking their proper place in the Commonwealth of Nations and that is the background of my amendment.

The President: Is the amendment clear to delegations, and is there any discussion upon it? To be quite clear, it means setting up a time limit in which each Colonial nation is to attain nationhood- I will take the vote. Those in favour of that addition to the Report? Five. There not being a majority, the motion is not carried.