Thursday, November 19, 2020

July 5, 1922: The U.S. and a Jewish National Home in Palestine

What was the understanding of the United States in 1922 when discussing a treaty with Great Britain that would supervise the rights of American citizens in Palestine?

From a July 5, 1922 exchange of diplomatic consultations:


1 comment:

Joe in Australia said...

I'm not well read in this area, but after reading those documents here's what I understand:

The Ottoman Empire had acceded to treaties granting other nations' citizens a number of rights in its provinces. These treaties, called capitulations, provided inter alia that those foreign nationals could be tried only by their own nations' courts or those it approved, gave them religious freedom (including the right to dispatch missionaries) and so forth. The USA was working on the assumption that the proposed Mandate would not harm their nationals' interests, and that the capitulations would be revived after the Mandate's expiration:
The immunities and privileges of foreigners, including the benefits of consular jurisdiction and protection as formerly enjoyed by Capitulation or usage in the Ottoman Empire, are suspended in Palestine, but shall be revived immediately and completely upon the termination of the mandate régime.

On the one hand, it was interesting to see that they had clearly formed the view that there might be a Jewish state in then-Palestine, and that it would be the legal successor to the Ottoman government. On the other hand, their desire to preserve these capitulations demonstrates that what they envisaged would have been quite inconsistent with the powers of a state.

I'd be interested in hearing your own views.