EPISODE 5 - THE SAN REMO RESOLUTION
"It was in San Remo that the leaders with the power to make binding dispositions with the respect to the Ottoman territories deliberated and made the decision, having heard claims from the Zionist Organisation in Paris in 1919 during the Paris Peace Conference and having heard submissions from the Arab delegation in respect to what they wanted in the Ottoman territories. Having heard these submissions, a group of them gathered here and made final binding decisions in International Law as to who would get what.
It was the Jewish people who were chosen to be the beneficiaries of a Trust – a Mandate – under the care of the British government in respect to Palestine. It was the Arab inhabitants of the territories of Mesopotamia – Iraq now – Syria and Lebanon that were chosen to be the beneficiaries of a trust, or a mandate. Part of it under the trusteeship of, or mandate of the French – Syria and Lebanon, part of it under British supervision – Mesopotamia." Dr Jacques Gauthier, International Human Rights Lawyer
"San Remo. The Villa Devachan. This is the place where legal rights were granted. This is the place where legal rights were given to both the Jewish people and the Arab people at the San Remo Conference in April 1920. " Dr Jacques Gauthier
Delegates at the San Remo Conference
The Supreme Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers that met at the Villa Devachan in April 1920 was made up of five nations: Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the United States, which as an Associated Power was present as an observer. The British delegation was led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George.
"San Remo, from the legal point of view, is a major link with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which was a promise, but not a legal commitment. It wasn’t a legal document. It was a vital historic document, but San Remo turned it into an international commitment." Dr Alan Baker, International Lawyer
Map of Zionist proposal for a state, Paris Peace Conference 1919
"The difference is that these powers now can give rights to others. They do have the Power of Disposition. They receive it in treaties – such as the Treaty of Sèvres of August 1920 and later the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 . This Power of Disposition is obtained by these Five Powers and then conveyed subsequently to the Jewish people and the Arabs." Jacque Gauthier
"During the San Remo Conference the question is asked: ‘What should Palestine be?’ Lloyd George refers to a specific map from a famous geographer, an expert in the Middle East and Palestine, George Adam Smith which depicts the kingdoms of David and Solomon – areas on the west side of the Jordan River and east side of the Jordan River. He then explains that we must give the territories from Dan to Beersheba to the Jewish people if we are going to recognise properly their claim to the historical connection with the Jewish people. Also you find a multitude of communities, of villages, of cities in the area we would describe today as ‘the West Bank’ or the ‘Disputed Territories’. The recognition was given that there was a connection between the Jews and these communities. It’s also very interesting to note, that if we look at the map, of course at the centre of it is Jerusalem." Jacques Gauthier
The San Remo Resolution of April 1920 was later unanimously endorsed by all 51 countries of the League of Nations. It was a watershed moment in the history of the Jewish people who had been exiled from their national home for almost 2,000 years. Referring to the San Remo Resolution, Chaim Weizmann, who would later become the first President of Israel, told the Zionist annual conference in July 1920: “That recognition of our rights in Palestine is embodied in the treaty with Turkey, and has become part of international law. This is the most momentous political event in the whole history of our movement and it is perhaps no exaggeration to say in the whole history of our people since the exile.” The Zionist Organisation of America had a similar reaction.
"Some contend that the intent of the Balfour Declaration, the intent of the decisions of the Allies in San Remo, and then as reflected in the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine, merely meant that ‘a National Home’ would be established in a small component of what was Palestine. This makes no sense. When you look at the discussions between Lloyd George and the other representatives of France and Italy on April 25 – and I have the Minutes to support this – it’s clear that the intent is to give what was on the map discussed during the meeting to the Jewish people for their National Home." Dr Jacques Gauthier:
Minute 12 of the War Cabinet meeting of 31st October 1917 records Lord Balfour’s intentions as follows. “As to the meaning of the words ‘National Home,’ to which the Zionists attach so much importance, he understood it to mean some sort of British, American, or other protectorate, under which full facilities would be given to the Jews ‘to work out their own salvation’ and to build up, by means of education, agriculture and industry a real centre of national culture and focus of national life. It did not necessarily involve the early establishment of an independent Jewish state, which was a matter of gradual development in accordance with the ordinary laws of political evolution.”
Avraham Aveinu Synagogue, Hebron 1925
There was no doubt that when the Balfour Declaration was issued it meant ‘a Jewish State’. However, the possibility of the ‘Jewish National Home’ becoming a Jewish state was later denied by the British Government.