Palestine Mandate (July 1919 draft)

Draft of the Mandate for Palestine as prepared by the Political Section of the Foreign Office July 1919  (1919) 

Final draft, of 1922, at Palestine Mandate
Source: Great Britain Foreign Office; Woodward, Ernest Llewellyn (1952). Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939, Volume IV. H.M. Stationery Office. p. 429-439. 

Draft Mandate for Palestine, July 1919Edit

The High Contracting Parties:

Recognising the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the claim which this gives them to find a national home in that country;

Associating themselves accordingly with the declaration originally made by the British Government, and assented to by the other Allied and Associated Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly under­ stood 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;

Considering that this object can best be secured by the administration, for as long as may be necessary, of Palestine by a State member of the League of Nations;

Have agreed upon the following pro­visions:


(The boundaries of Palestine are defined in Annex i 8 to this chapter. A Commission representing the Govern­ments of. . . shall be appointed at once to trace these boundaries on the spot.)


The High Contracting Parties, recognising that it would be in accord­ance with the wishes of the peoples con­cerned that . . . should be the Power selected to conduct the administration of Palestine and to secure the obser­vance of the provisions of this Treaty, hereby confer upon . . .9a mandate to that end, including the right to exercise as such mandatory all the powers in­herent in the Government of a sovereign State, in so far as such powers shall be consistent with the control of the League ofNations and save as they shall be limited by the terms of this chapter. . . . hereby accepts the mandate thus conferred upon it.


. . . .will be responsible for placing Palestine under such political, admini­strative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment there of the Jewish national home; but 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. The administration of the country shall be conducted with the aim of the ultimate creation in Palestine of a self- governing commonwealth.


. . . will encourage the widest measure of self-government for localities consistent with the local conditions.


The Mandatory will promote the establishment of a Provisional Council representing Jewish opinion both in Palestine and in the world generally. The Mandatory will have the right to nominate a percentage of the members of the Council. The Provisional Council shall have its headquarters in . . . Its functions will be to advise the Government on such administrative, educational and economic questions as effect the interests of the Jewish population, and, subject always to the control of the Government, to assist and take part in the development of the country. The Government may grant to the Provisional Council, or to bodies organised or approved by the Provisional Council, concessions for public works or similar undertakings, provided that any divi­dends distributed by the Provisional Council or such bodies shall not exceed a reasonable rate of interest on the capital employed, and any further profits shall be utilised under trust for the benefit of the country. In the grant of such concessions preferential consideration shall be given to the Provisional Council or to the bodies organised or approved by it. The Provisional Council will enter upon its functions as soon as the Govern­ment of Palestine is constituted. It will eventually be superseded by, and its functions transferred to, a permanent Council, of which the Mandatory shall retain the right to nominate a percent­ age of the members.


The control and administration of Moslem Wakf property in Palestine shall be undertaken by the Govern­ ment, who will respect Moslem law and the wishes of the founders.


The Mandatory will take steps to promote Jewish immigration and settle­ment on the land, the established rights of the present non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded; provided, however, that no person shall be ex­cluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious beliefs.


Jews who within two years from the coming into force of the present Treaty take up their permanent abode in Palestine will lose their existing nationality and become citizens of Palestine. The Government of Palestine will also enact a nationality law so framed as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who may take up their permanent abode in Palestine after the expiry of the said period of two years.


The immunities and privileges of foreigners, as well as the rights of con­sular jurisdiction and protection formerly established in the Ottoman dominions by the Capitulations and by usage, are abolished in Palestine. In all cases touching the person, status, or property of a subject or citizen of one of the States members of the League of Nations (other than cases which under Article 10 fall within the competence of a special religious court) the judge, or a majority of the judges if more than one, shall be persons with a Western legal training nominated by the Govern­ment to hear such cases.


All matters relating to Moslem Wakf, and all such matters relating to personal status as exclusively concern Moslems and fall within the jurisdiction of existing Moslem courts, shall be dealt with by exclusively Moslem courts. All matters relating to personal status or inheritance shall, in so far as they exclusively concern the members of non- Moslem communities invested with a recognised jurisdiction on such matters, be dealt with exclusively by the juris­ dictional authorities of such communi­ties. All other matters shall be dealt with by courts and under codes of universal jurisdiction.


The Government of Palestine shall have full power to reserve the development of the country for local interests, including the Councils referred to in Article 5 and such other Jewish bodies as may be organised to facilitate the development of the Jewish national home and are officially recognised by the Government. It will be the duty of the Government to introduce a land system appropriate to the needs of the country, which shall provide, in order to avoid the evils of land specula­tion, that no person except a citizen of Palestine, and no company or other corporation except Jewish organisa­tions officially recognised by the Govern­ ment, shall own Or occupy more than twenty dunam of land without the special permission of the Government in each case.


The foreign relations of Palestine will be conducted by . . .9 and citizens of Palestine will be entitled to the protection of . . . when outside the limits of Palestine. All States members of the League of Nations will have the right to station consular officers in Palestine.


All responsibility in connection with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites of Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights there­ in, of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship therein, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by . . . who will be responsible solely to the League of Nations in all matters connected therewith.


The Mandatory will be respon­sible for providing that certain Holy Places, religious buildings or sites re­garded with special veneration by the adherents of one particular religion, are transferred to the permanent possession and control of suitable bodies selected or appointed by it and representing the adherents of the religion concerned. The selection of the Holy Places, reli­gious buildings or sites to be so trans­ferred will be made by the Mandatory. The Mandatory will also be respon­sible for deciding, after investigation by a Commission appointed by it and containing representatives of the denomi­nations concerned, questions arising in connection with any Holy Places, religious buildings or sites which, in the opinion of the Mandatory, should be dealt with under this Article, but whose ownership or control may be disputed by two or more denominations. In all cases of transference, however, the right and duty of the British Govern­ment to maintain order and decorum in the places transferred shall not be affected, and the buildings and sites will be subject to the provisions of such laws relating to public monuments as may be enacted by the Government of Palestine. The rights of possession and control conferred under this Article are guaran­teed by the League ofNations, and shall never be subject to any diminution or modification whatsoever, unless by the consent of a majority of the Council of the League of Nations.


The responsibility for the pro­tection of all religious interests being thus exercised on behalf of the League of Nations by . . .all such protectorates previously exercised by any foreign States will cease to operate in Palestine.


Without prejudice to the provi­sions of Articles 13 and 14, religious organisations shall enjoy with regard to their property the same rights, privileges and immunities as shall be ac­corded to citizens of Palestine.


Freedom of conscience and reli­gious toleration shall be allowed to all inhabitants of Palestine, including the exercise of all forms of worship, and no discrimination of any kind shall be made between any citizens of Palestine on the grounds of race or religion. No civil or political right of any citizen of Palestine shall be conditional upon, nor shall its exercise be affected by any con­sideration of race or faith or a change of faith, provided that this shall not pre­ vent the selection of official representa­tives of races or faiths, or forbid the definition of the franchise for their selection on the basis of race or faith. No hindrance shall be offered in spiritual matters either to the organisation of the different communities or to their rela­ tions with their spiritual chiefs. The right of each community to maintain its own schools for the education of its own members in its own language (while conforming to such educational require­ments as the Government may impose) will not be denied or impaired.


The organisation of religious communities as millets, where it exists already, shall be maintained by the Government of Palestine as long as the Government considers it desirable. The administration of all schools provided or maintained by the Jewish agency referred to in Article V , or by subsidising bodies approved by it, shall, subject to compliance with such requirements of a general nature as the Government of Palestine may impose, be vested in the said agency or such bodies controlled by it as it may designate for the purpose.


Missionaries of all denominations shall be allowed freely to prosecute their calling and to maintain their schools, subject only to the requirements of public order and there shall be no dis­ crimination against such schools and institutions as compared with other establishments providing similar stan­dards of education. Missionary bodies will be allowed, on a footing of equality with citizens of Palestine and subject to local laws, to acquire and hold property of every description and to erect build­ings for missionary purposes; but so long as the maintenance of public order renders such a measure necessary, mis­sionaries who are subjects or citizens of any Power which at any time since the 1st August, 1914, has been at war with . . . may be excluded from Palestine un­ less they have applied for and obtained a permit from the Governor.


The Government of Palestine may organise a local gendarmerie for the preservation of peace and order, but with this exception, no military, naval or air forces shall be raised or main­tained by Palestine, nor shall any forti­fications be erected or bases established therein. Such forces as shall be raised shall be on a voluntary basis. Such forces of the Mandatory as may be stationed in Palestine shall be confined to such numbers as may be necessary for the maintenance of internal order and the protection of the frontiers against raids. No Palestinian territory shall be ceded, leased, or in any way placed under the control of any foreign Power for the establishment of a naval, military, or aerial base.


Subject to the provisions of Articles 5 and 11, the commerce and navigation of all States members of the League of Nations while engaged in lawful enterprises will enjoy equal treatment in Palestine. No attempt will be made by the Mandatory to obtain in Palestine for the commerce or navigation of its own subjects treatment more favourable than that which is accorded to the commerce and navigation of other nations.


The Mandatory will secure the observance, so far as local conditions permit, of all international conventions dealing with matters referred to in Article 23 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.


English, Hebrew and Arabic shall be the official languages of Pales­ tine, and shall be employed on the stamps and coinage of Palestine.


(Whatever clause regarding annual report is agreed upon by Man­datory Commission for ‘A’ mandates.)


The Government of Palestine will co-operate, so far as religious and other local conditions permit, in the execution of any common policy adopted by the League of Nations for prevent­ ing and combating disease, including diseases of animals and plants.


The Government of Palestine will take steps within twelve months from the exchange of ratifications of this Treaty to enact and thereafter to execute a Law of Antiquities based on the instructions contained in Annex II8 to this Treaty which shall replace the former Ottoman Law of Antiquities. No attempt will be made by the Man­datory to obtain for the archaeological research of its own citizens treatment more favourable than that which is accorded to the archaeological re­ search of other nations.


The Mandatory Power recog­nises the obligations accepted by it under this Convention to be matters of international concern of which the League of Nations has jurisdiction.


Changes in the present Conven­tion may be made with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, and it shall be the duty of the Council to advise the reconsideration of the present Convention should the terms in its opinion have become inapplicable to existing conditions.


If any dispute whatever should arise between the members of the League of Nations relating to the inter­pretation or the application of the present Convention which cannot be settled by friendly negotiations, this dispute shall be submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice to be established by the League of Nations.