Notes on the Diplomatic History of the Jewish Question
by Lucien Wolf
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("For. Relat. of the U.S.," 1881, pp. 1030 et seq.)

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Resolution of the House of Representatives, December 13, 1911.

Resolved, etc., That the people of the United States assert as a fundamental principle that the rights of its citizens shall not be impaired at home or abroad because of race or religion; that the Government of the United States concludes its treaties for the equal protection of all classes of its citizens, without regard to race or religion; that the Government of the United States will not be a party to any treaty which discriminates, or which by one of the parties thereto is so construed as to discriminate, between American citizens on the ground of race or religion; that the Government of Russia has violated the treaty between the United States and Russia, concluded at St. Petersburg, December 18, 1832, refusing to honor American passports duly issued to American citizens, on account of race and religion; that in the judgment of the Congress the said treaty, for the reasons aforesaid, ought to be terminated at the earliest possible time; that for the aforesaid reasons the said treaty is hereby declared to be terminated and of no further force and effect from the expiration of one year after the date of notification to the Government of Russia of the terms of this resolution, and that to this end the President is hereby charged with the duty of communicating such notice to the Government of Russia.

("Congressional Record," xlviii. 280, 304-305.)

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Resolution of the Senate, December 20, 1911.

Whereas the treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and Russia concluded on the 18th day of December, 1832, provides in Article XII thereof that it "shall continue in force until the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine, and if one year before that day one of the high contracting parties shall not have announced to the other by an official notification its intention to arrest the operation thereof this treaty shall remain obligatory one year beyond that day, and so on until the expiration of the year which shall commence after the date of a similar notification"; and

Whereas on the 17th day of December, 1911, the President caused to be delivered to the Imperial Russian Government by the American Ambassador at St. Petersburg an official notification on behalf of the Government of the United States announcing intention to terminate the operation of this treaty upon the expiration of the year commencing on the 1st day of January 1912; and

Whereas said treaty is no longer responsive in various respects to the political principles and commercial needs of the two countries; and

Whereas the constructions placed thereon by the respective contracting parties differ upon matters of fundamental importance and interest to each; Therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the notice thus given by the President of the United States to the Government of the Empire of Russia to terminate said treaty in accordance with the terms of the Treaty is hereby adopted and ratified.

(Ibid., pp. 493-522.)

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Article I. There shall be between all the dominions and possessions of the two High Contracting Parties, reciprocal freedom of commerce and navigation. The subjects of each of the two Contracting Parties, respectively, shall have liberty freely and securely to come, with their ships and cargoes, to all places, ports and rivers in the dominions and possessions of the other, to which other foreigners are or may be permitted to come; and shall, throughout the whole extent of the dominions and possessions of the other, enjoy the same rights, privileges, liberties, favours, immunities and exemptions in matters of commerce and navigation, which are or may be enjoyed by native subjects generally.

It is understood, however, that the preceding stipulations in no wise affect the laws, decrees, and special regulations regarding commerce, industry, and police, in vigour in each of the two countries, and generally applicable to all foreigners.

Article XI. The subjects of either of the two High Contracting Parties, conforming themselves to the laws of the country, shall have:—

1. Full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the dominions and possessions of the other Contracting Party.

2. They shall be permitted, in the towns and ports, to hire or possess the houses, warehouses, shops and premises, which may be necessary for them.

3. They may carry on their commerce, either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ.

4. They shall not be subject, in respect of their persons or property, or in respect of passports, licences for residence or establishment, nor in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, nor to imposts or obligations of any kind whatever, other or greater than those which are or may be imposed upon native subjects.

(Bernhardt: op. cit., pp. 721, 724-725.)

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Interpretation by Great Britain, 1862 and 1881. Despatch from Lord Granville to H.B.M. Ambassador at St. Petersburg.

Earl Granville to Sir E. Thornton.


December 28th, 1881.

SIR,—In my preceding despatch of to-day I have discussed the question whether Mr. Lewisohn, in the arbitrary expulsion from Russia to which he was subjected in September of last year, was treated in accordance with the Russian law as applied to foreign Jews. It now remains to be considered whether Her Majesty's Government are entitled to claim for a British subject of the Jewish faith immunity from the operation of these laws, under the Treaty between Great Britain and Russia of 1859.

It will be seen that Article I of that Treaty secures to foreigners the same rights as are enjoyed by native subjects generally, but the stipulations of that Article are not to affect the laws, decrees, and special regulations regarding commerce, industry and police in vigour in each of the two countries, and applicable to foreigners generally; and again, by Article XI, they are not to be subjected to imposts or obligations of any kind whatever other and greater than those which are or may be imposed on native subjects.

The Treaty is no doubt open to two possible constructions: the one, that it only assures to British subjects of any particular creed the same privileges as are enjoyed by Russian subjects of the same creed; the other that the privileges accorded to British subjects are accorded to all alike, without regard to the religious body to which they belong.

If the latter construction be adopted, British Jews in Russia would be entitled to be relieved from the disabilities to which native Jews are liable, but such a construction would also involve the supposition that Russia had agreed to create a state of things inconsistent with the traditions of her Government, which could not fail to be a source of embarrassment to her.

Upon an examination of the archives of this Department, it has been found that the position of the Jews in Russia formed the subject of a complaint from certain British subjects of that religion at Warsaw in 1862, and that Her Majesty's Government then came to the conclusion that they would not be justified in claiming exemption for British Jews in Russia from disabilities to which their Russian co-religionists were liable by law.

On that occasion Earl Russell informed Lord Napier, then Her Majesty's Ambassador at St. Petersburgh, that the effect of the 1st and 11th Articles of the Treaty was to place British subjects on the footing of Russian subjects before the law, each class being alike, and one not more than the other amenable to all general laws applicable in like cases; that as Russian subjects, being Jews, incurred certain disabilities, the equality intended and provided for by the Treaty was not infringed by British subjects who were Jews and resident in Russia sharing the same disabilities. The despatch went on to say that it would seem to be beyond the scope and general intent of a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation if it were to be held to repeal in the persons of foreigners the legal disabilities to which, for reasons of general State policy, particular classes of individual natives of the country had been subjected, and it was hardly to be supposed that such an interpretation would be accepted or adopted by an independent Government as against itself.

Her Majesty's Government feel that they cannot now insist upon a construction of the Treaty at variance with that which was placed upon it in 1862.

I am, &c.,


("Parl. Paper, Russia," No. 4 (1881), p. 21.)

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Interpretation by Great Britain, 1891. Letter from the Marquis of Salisbury to Sir Julian Goldsmid.


January 29th, 1891.

SIR,—With reference to the letter from this office of the 16th ultimo and to previous correspondence respecting the position of British Jews in Russia, I am directed by the Marquis of Salisbury to inform you that the question has been fully considered in communication with the Law Officers of the Crown.

Her Majesty's Government are advised that, so long as the disabilities to which British and Russian Jews are subjected are substantially the same, it is not open to Her Majesty's Government to depart from the interpretation of Treaties laid down in Lord Granville's despatch of December 28, 1881.

You will find a copy of this despatch on page 21 of the Parliamentary Paper "Russia No. 4, 1881."

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient, humble Servant,


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Interpretation by Great Britain, 1912. Letter from Sir Edward Grey to the Conjoint Committee.


October 1st, 1912.

GENTLEMEN,—Secretary Sir E. Grey has had under his careful consideration your Memorial of August 2nd last on the subject of the grievances caused by the restrictions imposed in Russia on British subjects of the Jewish faith in regard to the interpretation of Articles I and XI of the Treaty of Commerce between this country and Russia of January 12th, 1859.

I am to inform you that, inasmuch as the construction which should be placed on the Articles of the Treaty was carefully considered by His Majesty's Government in 1862, and again in 1881, His Majesty's Government would not now be able to reverse the decision then arrived at, and that an attempt to do so, or to interpret and utilise the Treaty in a sense contrary to the spirit of that decision, would only lead to its termination by formal notice as provided for by the Treaty at the end of twelve months. Such result would in no way advance the interests of those whom you represent, and would in other respects be disadvantageous to British interests. Sir E. Grey, therefore, regrets that he is unable to approach the Russian Government in the sense desired.

I am, Gentlemen,

Your most obedient humble Servant,




("Annual Report, Board of Deputies, 1912," pp. 81-82.)

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Article XIII. All British subjects, whether Mahometans, Jews, or Christians, shall alike enjoy all the rights and privileges granted by the present Treaty and the Convention of Commerce and Navigation which has also been concluded this day, or which shall at any time be granted to the most favoured nation.

(Bernhardt: op. cit., p. 561.)

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Besides natural born and naturalised Jewish subjects of intervening States, there is another class of Jews on whose behalf protective interventions have been exercised on grounds of right. These are native Jews who for one reason or another have acquired Consular Protection under the Capitulations and other exterritorial privileges enjoyed by foreign States in Oriental and semi-barbarous countries. The origin of this protection has already been briefly described.[94]

* * * * *

The exact national status of the persons on whom it is conferred is not easy to define, but in the Foreign Jurisdiction Orders in Council they are assimilated with "British subjects" so far as British exterritorial jurisdiction is concerned,[95] and this roughly has been the practice of all States exercising Consular Protection.

The system lent itself easily to abuse and fraud, chiefly because exterritoriality in the countries in which it was exercised generally carried with it immunity not only from arbitrary exactions but also from ordinary taxation. Moreover, in the case of native Jews who often suffered from Moslem fanaticism—chiefly in Morocco and Persia—Consular Protection was exercised from motives of humanity, and for that purpose more or less fictitious qualifications were found for them. We get a curious glimpse of the loose way in which Consular Protection was granted from the Anglo-Turkish Treaty of 1809. Under the Capitulations (Arts. LIX and LX) native interpreters and servants of the Embassy were free of taxes and indeed of Turkish jurisdiction generally. By the Treaty of 1809 (Art. IX) it was agreed that in future the berats of interpreters should not issue to "artizans, shopkeepers, bankers and other persons not acting as interpreters."[96] Owing to this stipulation and the sensitiveness of the Porte in regard to its jurisdiction over its own subjects, irregular Protections were discontinued in Turkey. This, however, was not a source of serious grievance to Jews, as on the whole they have been extremely well treated in the Ottoman Empire.

It is not generally known—and the fact may prove of peculiar importance at the present moment—that all Russian Jews settled in Palestine are, on certain conditions, entitled to claim British protection and so much of the status of British subjects as this privilege implies. In 1849, when there was a considerable influx of Russian Jews into Jerusalem, the Russian Government, having no Consul in the city and for other reasons, desired to get rid of the responsibility of protecting them. Accordingly an arrangement was arrived at between the British and Russian authorities permitting such Jews, on receiving papers of dismissal from their Russian allegiance from the Vice-Consul at Jaffa, to register at the British Consulate as British proteges. A large number availed themselves of the privilege. There is nothing to show that the Agreement of 1849 was ever cancelled.[97]

In Morocco the Consular Protection System affected Jews more closely than in Turkey. It was for many years their sole protection against the oppressions of the Bashaws and the cruel fanaticism of the people, and on this ground there was much to be said for its so-called abuses and irregularities. The right of protection seems to have been derived from a very loosely worded article of the Anglo-Moorish Treaty of 1728, granting immunity from taxation to all the native servants of British subjects, whether Moors or Jews.[98] This Treaty was abrogated by the general Treaty of 1856 (Article XXXVIII) and a more definite scope was given to British Consular jurisdiction (Article III), but in a Treaty of Commerce signed on the same day, it was expressly stipulated (Article IV) that native agents employed by British subjects "shall be treated and regarded as other subjects of the Moorish dominions."[99] Nevertheless, the old abuses continued in virtue of the "Most favoured nation" clause,[100] and a very large number of native Jews received protection at the hands of the Consuls of all the Powers, partly on account of their usefulness and partly on account of the insecurity of their lives and property under the Moorish authorities.

It was, however, difficult to restrain Moorish fanaticism, and the Consuls were frequently called upon to protect their Jewish proteges or to avenge outrages of which they became victims.[101]


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Earl Russell to the Jewish Board of Deputies.


February 1st, 1864.

SIR,—I am directed by Earl Russell to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters of the 29th of December and 22nd inst., in the former of which you enclose a Memorial to His Lordship from the Jews of Safed and Tiberias, praying that they may again be placed under British protection, of which they assert that they were deprived by Mr. Consul Finn under the circumstances stated by them.

I am now to state to you in reply for the information of the Memorialists that Her Majesty's Government have every disposition to give effect to the arrangements which were made with the Russian Consul General in 1849, namely to afford British protection to those Jews who, having declined to return to Russia, have divested themselves of their Russian Nationality, and so forfeited the protection to which prima facie they were entitled to look. But I am to add that it must be distinctly understood that this can only be done by the production on the part of the individual seeking British protection of the formal letter of Dismissal from the Russian Consulate, shewing that he has been cast off from Russian protection, and would thus be left otherwise unprotected. If he can produce no such letter, Her Majesty's Consular Officers will not be entitled to grant to such individual British protection.

Mr. Finn acted erroneously in originally supposing that British protection could be granted to Russian Jews without the production of formal letters of dismissal, and it was in consequence of instructions from Her Majesty's Government that he withdrew British Consular protection from those persons who could not produce such letters. Lord Russell, however, is of opinion that Mr. Finn has shewn satisfactorily that his good offices have nevertheless not unfrequently been extended to the Jewish Communities at Safed and Tiberias, and that they have no just reason to complain of him.

A delay has been occasioned in answering your first letter by the necessity of communicating with Mr. Finn and of making other inquiries with regard to the statements contained in the Memorial.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient humble Servant,




(Minute Books of Board of Deputies, 1864.)

ART. III. ANGLO-MOORISH TREATY of January 14, 1727-8.

III. That the Menial Servants of his Britannic Majesty's Subjects, the Natives of the Country, either Moors or Jews, be exempt from Taxes of all kinds.

("A General Collection of Treaties" (1732), iv. 458.)

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Article III....The British Charge d'Affaires shall be at liberty to choose his own interpreters and servants, either from the Mussulmans or others, and neither his interpreters nor servants shall be compelled to pay any capitation tax, forced contribution, or other similar or corresponding charge. With respect to the Consuls or Vice-Consuls who shall reside at the ports under the orders of the said Charge d'Affaires, they shall be at liberty to choose one interpreter, one guard, and two servants, either from the Mussulmans or others; and neither the interpreter, nor the guard, nor their servants, shall be compelled to pay any capitation tax, forced contribution, or other similar or corresponding charge. If the said Charge d'Affaires should appoint a subject of the Sultan of Morocco as Vice-Consul at a Moorish port, the said Vice-Consul, and those members of his family who may dwell within his house, shall be respected, and exempted from the payment of any capitation tax, or other similar or corresponding charge; but the said Vice-Consul shall not take under his protection any subject of the Sultan of Morocco except the members of his family dwelling under his roof.

(Bernhardt: op. cit., p. 556.)

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Article IV. The subjects of Her Britannic Majesty within the dominions of His Majesty the Sultan shall be free to manage their own affairs themselves, or to commit those affairs to the management of any persons whom they may appoint as their broker, factor or agent; nor shall such British subjects be restrained in their choice of persons to act in such capacities; nor shall they be called upon to pay any salary or remuneration to any person whom they shall not choose to employ; but those persons who shall be thus employed, and who are subjects of the Sultan of Morocco, shall be treated and regarded as other subjects of the Moorish dominions.

(Ibid. p. 573.)

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La protection est individuelle et temporaire.

Elle ne s'applique pas en general aux parents de l'individu protege.

Elle ne peut s'appliquer a sa famille, c'est-a-dire a la femme et aux enfants demeurant sous le meme toit.

Elle est tout au plus viagere, jamais hereditaire, sauf la seule exception admise en faveur de la famille Benchimol, qui, de pere en fils, a fourni et fournit des censaux interpretes au port de Tanger.

Les proteges se divisent en deux categories:

La premiere categorie comprend les indigenes employes par la Legation et par les differentes Autorites consulaires.

La seconde categorie se compose des facteurs, courtiers ou agents indigenes employes par les negociants francais pour leurs affaires de commerce....

Le nombre des courtiers indigenes jouissant de la protection francaise est limite a deux par maison de commerce. Par exception, les maisons de commerce qui ont des comptoirs dans differents ports pourront avoir des courtiers attaches a chacun de ces comptoirs et jouissant a ce titre de la protection francaise....

Il est entendu, que les cultivateurs, gardiens de troupeaux ou autres paysans indigenes au service des Francais ne pourront etre l'objet de poursuites judiciaires sans que l'Autorite consulaire competente en soit immediatement informee, afin que celle-ci puisse sauvegarder l'interet de ses nationaux....

(De Card: "Les Traites entre la France et le Maroc" (Paris, 1898), pp. 221-22.)

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Through the efforts of the British Minister at Tangier, Sir John Drummond Hay, who had negotiated the Treaties of 1856 and who was strongly opposed to the abuses of the Protection system, a Conference of the Powers and other interested States was held at Madrid in 1880 with the object of introducing reforms.[102] A new Convention, containing a few fresh restrictions, was agreed upon, but, as a matter of fact, the Conference was a failure, owing to the reluctance of France to abandon a system which gave her an advantage against Great Britain in promoting her influence in Morocco.[103] For obvious reasons, Jewish influence was also largely used to the same end. The Jewish factor of the problem came out very prominently in the debates of the Conference. All the proteges referred to by name were Jews, such as the families of Benchimol, Moses Nahon, David Buzaglo, and Isaac Toledano.[104] One of the few reforms carried out by the Conference was the abolition of hereditary protection. An exception was, however, made in the case of the Jewish family of Benchimol, whose rights in this respect had been guaranteed in the Convention of 1863 with France, and a special reservation to this effect was inserted in the new Treaty.[105]

The Conference also dealt with the general questions of Religious Liberty in Morocco and of the treatment of native Jews. In 1864 Sir Moses Montefiore, as President of the Jewish Board of Deputies and with the support of the British Government, had undertaken a mission to Morocco in order to secure an improvement in the treatment of the non-Mohammedan population, and more particularly the Jews. He succeeded in obtaining from the Sultan a remarkable Edict assuring to the Jews a perfect equality of treatment with all the other subjects of the Sultan.[106] This Edict had not been observed, and, at the instance of the Pope, the Madrid Conference adopted a Declaration calling upon the Shereefian Government to give effect to it and at the same time to assure Religious Liberty to all its subjects. The result was to extract from the Sultan a formal reaffirmation of the Montefiore Edict.[107]

A similar course was pursued by the Conference which met at Algeciras in 1906 to consider the Moorish question in its wider political aspects. The intervening quarter of a century had been as barren of reforms as the period which elapsed between the granting of the Edict of 1864 and the meeting of the Madrid Conference. The maltreatment of the Jews had continued, and had been the subject of frequent complaints by the Alliance Israelite, the Anglo-Jewish Association, and the American Jewish Committee, and of remonstrances by their respective Governments. Accordingly at the instance of the United States Government, the question was brought before the Algeciras Conference, and, at the sitting of that body on April 2, 1906, a resolution was adopted, again calling upon the Sultan of Morocco to see "that the Jews of his Empire and all his subjects, without distinction of faith, were treated with justice and equality."[108]

No steps, however, were taken to enforce this resolution, and it was not even made a treaty obligation. That, however, was of little consequence, for, very shortly after, the Moorish Empire virtually disappeared, and a French Protectorate was proclaimed. The Jews of Morocco are now in the same situation as their brethren in Algiers and Tunis, which, however, is not to say that it is entirely satisfactory.


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Protocole No. 3.—Seance du 20 Mai, 1880.

Sur la question de la protection hereditaire, le Plenipotentiaire de France rappelle que la Convention de 1863 accorde formellement cette protection a la famille Benchimol. Les raisons qui ont motive cette exception ont ete dument appreciees a cette epoque par le Gouvernement Marocain; elles ont conserve toute leur force, et il est impossible au Gouvernement Francais d'abandonner une famille qui jouit depuis 17 ans de la plus juste consideration. Il demande le maintien de cette exception si legitime.

Le Plenipotentiaire du Portugal, tout en maintenant dans toute son etendue le droit au traitement de la nation la plus favorisee, reconnu toujours au Portugal et recemment encore lors des Ambassades speciales envoyees par sa Majeste Cherifienne en 1875 et 1877, admet que la France puisse alleguer des motifs speciaux en faveur d'une exception qui, selon lui, n'invalide pas le principe. Il accepte donc sans reserve que la protection ne soit pas hereditaire, avec l'exception unique etabli nominativement dans la Convention de 1863. Seulement pour le cas ou le Gouvernement Marocain accorderait par la suite d'autres exceptions de cette nature, il reserverait le droit du Gouvernement Portugais de reclamer une exception analogue.

Pareille reserve est faite par les autres Plenipotentiaires.

"La protection n'est point hereditaire. Une seule exception est maintenue en faveur de la famille Benchimol, comme etant etablie dans la Convention de 1863; mais elle ne saurait creer un precedent. Cependant si le Souverain du Maroc accordait une autre exception, toutes les Puissances representees a la Conference auraient le droit de reclamer une exception pareille."

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Protocole No. 11.—Seance du 24 Juin, 1880.

Le Plenipotentiaire d'Italie demande la parole, et s'exprime en ces termes:—

"...L'Italie a toujours maintenu inalterable son droit consuetudinaire sans jamais en abuser. En effet, en examinant le chiffre de 108, auquel montent ses proteges, on trouvera que 11 seulement sont proteges en vertu du droit consuetudinaire.

"Six sont d'anciens Vice-Consuls et interpretes des Etats Italiens composant actuellement le Royaume d'Italie. Le nombre de ceux qui ont rendu ainsi des services a l'Italie est de six et non d'un seul (M. Moses Nahon), comme M. le Ministre des Affaires Etrangeres du Maroc avait cru pouvoir l'affirmer dans la seance du 19 Juillet, 1879, des Conferences de Tanger.

"La veuve David Buzaglo et ses deux fils composent la famille d'un Agent Diplomatique Italien, et jouisse a ce titre de la protection.

"La veuve Isaac Toldano et 8 autres personnes appartiennent a la famille de Joseph Toldano, Interprete de la Legation d'Italie, famille qui jusqu'a present a joui de la protection hereditaire comme la famille Benchimol, protegee par la France."

("Brit. and For. State Papers," lxxi. 825-826, 872, 873-874.)

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ART. VI. TREATY OF MADRID, July 6, 1880.[109]

VI. La protection s'etend sur la famille du protege. Sa demeure est respectee.

Il est entendu que la famille ne se compose que de la femme, des enfants, et des parents mineurs qui habitent sous le meme toit.

La protection n'est pas hereditaire. Une seule exception, deja etablie par la Convention de 1863, et qui ne saurait creer un precedent, est maintenue en faveur de la famille Benchimol.

Cependant, si le Sultan du Maroc accordait une autre exception, chacune des Puissances Contractantes aurait le droit de reclamer une concession semblable.

(Ibid., pp. 641-642.)

* * * * *


In the Name of God, the Merciful and Gracious. There is no power but in God, the High and Mighty.

Be it known by this our Royal Edict—may God exalt and bless its purport and elevate the same to the high heavens, as he does the sun and moon!—that it is our command, that all Jews residing within our dominions, be the condition in which the Almighty God has placed them whatever it may, shall be treated by our Governors, Administrators, and all other subjects, in manner conformable with the evenly balanced scales of Justice, and that in the administration of the Courts of Law they (the Jews) shall occupy a position of perfect equality with all other people; so that not even a fractional portion of the smallest imaginable particle of injustice shall reach any of them, nor shall they be subjected to anything of an objectionable nature. Neither they (the Authorities) nor any one else shall do them (the Jews) wrong, whether to their persons or to their property. Nor shall any tradesman among them, or artizan, be compelled to work against his will. The work of everyone shall be duly recompensed, for injustice here is injustice in Heaven, and we cannot countenance it in any matter affecting either their (the Jews') rights or the rights of others, our own dignity being itself opposed to such a course. All persons in our regard have an equal claim to justice; and if any person should wrong or injure one of them (the Jews), we will, with the help of God, punish him.

The commands hereinbefore set forth had been given and made known before now; but we repeat them, and add force to them, in order that they may be more clearly understood, and more strictly carried into effect, as well as serve for a warning to such as may be evilly disposed towards them (the Jews), and that the Jews shall thus enjoy for the future more security than heretofore, whilst the fear to injure them shall be greatly increased.

This Decree, blessed by God, is promulgated on the 26th of Shaban, 1280 (15 February 1864). Peace!

(Loewe, "Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore," vol. ii. p. 153.)

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Protocole No. 12.—Seance du 26 Juin, 1880.

Le President observe que la Conference, ayant accompli, et au dela, la tache qu'elle s'etait proposee, est a la veille de se dissoudre. Mais il doit porter a la connaissance de ses membres, avant qu'ils ne se separent, une communication importante qui a ete adressee par le Saint-Siege au Gouvernement de Sa Majeste Catholique.

M. Canovas del Castillo donne lecture de la production suivante d'une lettre, en date du 4 Mai, 1880, qu'il a recue de son Eminence le Cardinal Nina:

"EXCELLENCE,—Le Saint-Pere, obeissant au devoirs de sa mission apostolique, ne peut que mettre a profit toutes les occasions qui se presentent de veiller aux interets du Catholicisme, sur n'importe quel point du globe. Ayant appris que dans le courant de ce mois un Congres Diplomatique doit se reunir sous votre presidence pour s'occuper des affaires du Maroc, Sa Saintete, tout en reconnaissant que parmi les questions qui seront soumises a la deliberation de la Conference, celle qui se rapporte a la liberte religieuse dans l'Empire Marocain n'a pas ete particulierement designee, croit cependant que rien n'interdirait aux Plenipotentiaires reunis a Madrid de porter leur attention sur un sujet si important pour le bienetre des habitants du Maroc, quand meme il ne serait considere qu'au point de vue materiel.

"Il n'est point douteux que, de meme qu'au dernier Congres de Berlin les appels faits par mon illustre predecesseur, le Cardinal Franchi, aux Representants de la France et de l'Autriche, MM. Waddington et Andrassy, eurent pour resultat de faire accueillir et voter, avec l'approbation generale, les demandes de Sa Saintete relatives a la liberte de la religion Catholique pour les sujets de la Sublime Porte et des Etats qui l'avoisinent, de meme la proposition que je fais en ce moment trouvera un accueil non moins favorable de la part des dignes Representants a la veille de se reunir dans la capitale d'une nation si devouee au Saint-Siege, et liee par tant d'interets a l'Empire du Maroc. D'autre part, il n'est pas permis de presumer que le Gouvernement Marocain, uni par un lien si etroit au Representant supreme de l'Islamisme, puisse se refuser a suivre l'exemple qui lui a ete offert par l'adhesion de l'Empereur des Ottomans aux Articles stipules dans le Congres de Berlin, lorsque la Conference qui va se reunir lui proposera d'adopter une resolution analogue.

"Obeissant a ces considerations, le Saint-Pere m'a charge de m'adresser a votre Excellence, digne President de l'Assemblee, et de faire appel, en son nom Pontifical, a ses sentiments comme Catholique et comme Espagnol, afin quelle veuille bien se charger de proposer et de defendre au sein du Congres la proposition sus-indiquee, qui porte que les sujets du Sultan, ainsi que les etrangers, jouiront au Maroc du libre exercice du culte Catholique, sans que par ce motif ils aient a souffrir tort ou prejudice dans leurs droits civils ou politiques.

"Le Saint-Pere ne meconnait point les obstacles qu'oppose l'etat actuel du Maroc a la realisation de cette liberte; mais ces obstacles, loin de decourager, doivent stimuler les c[oe]urs genereux qui n'envisagent que la grandeur du but a atteindre.

"Du reste, une fois que le Gouvernement Marocain aura accepte le principe en question, et pris vis-a-vis des Puissances etrangeres l'engagement de s'y conformer, si ces Puissances, d'accord avec l'Espagne, dont les relations avec le Maroc presentent un caractere tout special, voulaient prendre une attitude semblable a celle qu'elles ont adoptee en Orient, on pourrait avec raison esperer que le progres de la civilisation ameneraient bientot, par des voies pacifiques, le libre exercice du culte Catholique dans ces regions Africaines.

"En me conformant aux ordres de l'auguste Pontife, je dois en meme temps vous faire savoir que le Saint-Pere est anime d'une conviction intime que vous repondrez a son appel paternel et que les Representants des autres Puissances seconderont vos efforts, en accueillant avec faveur une demande conforme aux principes aujourd'hui admis du droit public international.

"Le Saint-Pere croit egalement qu'en agissant ainsi, votre Excellence repondra aux sentiments bien connus de Sa Majeste le Roi, son auguste Souverain, en faveur de notre sainte religion.

Je saisis, &c.,


"A son Excellence M. CANOVAS DEL CASTILLO."

M. Canovas del Castillo a eu l'honneur de repondre a Mgr. le Nonce Apostolique a Madrid, avec lequel il s'est entretenu a ce sujet, que le Plenipotentiaire d'Espagne etait pret a presenter, et a appuyer au sein de la Conference, la proposition du Saint-Siege, aussitot qu'il serait avere que les Representants des autres Puissances pourraient consentir a traiter des questions en dehors de celles qui avaient motive leur reunion; il devrait, en particulier, consulter son collegue le Representant de la Grande-Bretagne, dont le Gouvernement a pris l'initiative de la convocation des Plenipotentiaires, sur l'opportunite qu'il y aurait a saisir la Conference de cette proposition. M. Canovas a ajoute que, si la Conference admettait en principe la possibilite de traiter des questions etrangeres au but determine qu'elle s'etait propose, le Plenipotentiaire d'Espagne tiendrait a honneur de remplir la mission que le Saint-Siege daignait lui confier, et qu'il etait persuade que la communication du Saint-Pere serait accueillie, en ce cas, avec toute la deference due a sa haute origine.

Il a rappele en meme temps que le Traite de 1861 assure la liberte religieuse aux Catholiques Espagnols au Maroc, et que d'autre part le Traite Anglais de 1856 stipulait egalement, pour les sujets Britanniques, le libre exercice de leur culte.

Ayant acquis posterieurement la conviction que les Plenipotentiaires sont disposes a examiner cette question, le President estime que la Conference devra faire une declaration erigeant en regle generale le principe que le Maroc a deja admis par des Traites.

Le Plenipotentiaire d'Autriche-Hongrie prend alors la parole, et dit que le Gouvernement de Sa Majeste Imperiale et Royale Apostolique, a la suite d'une demarche analogue du Saint-Siege, a pu s'assurer, de son cote que les autres Cabinets seraient, en effet, disposes a se joindre a un v[oe]u comme celui dont vient de prendre l'initiative le President de la Conference, pourvu que ce v[oe]u fut exprime en faveur de tous les habitants non-Musulmans du Maroc, et que la Conference recommandat en meme temps a la sagesse du Sultan du Maroc l'abolition des incapacites qui pesent encore sur certaines classes de ses sujets en raison de leurs croyances.

C'est dans ce sens, et pour donner une forme plus precise a ce v[oe]u, que M. le Comte Ludolf a ete charge de preparer le projet d'Adresse au Souverain du Maroc qu'il a l'honneur de soumettre a la Conference.

Le Plenipotentiaire d'Autriche-Hongrie donne lecture du document en ces termes:—

"La Conference, au moment de se dissoudre, informee par son President de la demande exprimee en faveur de l'Eglise Catholique par Sa Saintete le Souverain Pontife, dans le lettre dont lecture vient d'etre fait, demande de son cote que le libre exercice de tous les cultes soit reconnu au Maroc.

"La Conference, d'autant plus convaincu que ce v[oe]u trouvera un accueil favorable aupres de Sa Majeste Cherifienne que l'illustre Souverain du Maroc a deja donne une preuve manifeste de sa tolerance et de sa sollicitude pour le bien-etre de ses sujets non-Musulmans, en confirmant en 1874 le Decret accorde par Sa Majeste le Sultan Sidi Mohammed, sous le 26 Chaban de 1280 (Fevrier 1864) a Sir Moses Montefiore, Decret qui proclame que tous les sujets de l'Empire du Maroc doivent avoir le meme rang devant la loi: que par consequent les Juifs du Maroc doivent etre traites conformement a la justice et a l'equite, et qu'aucune violence ne doit etre exercee a l'egard de leurs personnes ni de leurs biens.

"A la suite de ce Decret, bien des lois humiliantes, edictees contre les non-Musulmans dans des temps anterieurs, ont ete mises hors de pratique, et le sort des races non-Musulmans au Maroc est devenu plus supportable.

"Toutefois, ces lois ne sont pas encore toutes formellement revoquees, et quelques-unes meme continuent a etre en vigueur dans plus d'un endroit de l'interieur de l'Empire. De meme, le libre exercice de leurs cultes n'est pas encore accorde d'une maniere legale aux sujets non-Musulmans de Sa Majeste Cherifienne, et beaucoup de restrictions existent encore pour ces derniers qui sont contraires a l'esprit du Decret du 26 Chaban, 1280, et a cette regle si elementaire et si universellement respectee, que les sujets d'un meme pays, de quelque race ou de quelque religion qu'ils soient, des qu'ils accomplissent fidelement leurs devoirs envers le Souverain, doivent jouir d'une parfaite identite de droits et d'une complete egalite devant la loi.

"Le Sultan Abdul Medjid, Empereur des Ottomans, a deja, en 1839, par le Hatti-Cherif de Gulhane, reconnu spontanement et inscrit dans la legislation de son pays ce meme principe, qui a ete developpe et consacre depuis par ses successeurs, en 1856 et dernierement encore en 1878, de facon qu'on ne saurait douter qu'il ne se laisse parfaitement concilier avec la loi Mahometane.

"Quoique persuadee que l'illustre Souverain du Maroc est anime, non moins que le Sultan de la Turquie, d'intentions bienveillantes envers ses sujets non-Musulmans, la Conference croirait manquer a un devoir si elle ne temoignait le vif et profond interet qu'elle prend a la prompte amelioration de leur sort. A cet effet, la Conference, au nom des Hautes Puissances representees dans son sein, fait appel a Sa Majeste Cherifienne afin que, fidele a ses sentiments de justice et de generosite, elle manifeste sa ferme volonte—

"1. De faire respecter dans ses Etats le principe que tous ceux qui y habitent et qui y habiteront a l'avenir pourront professer et exercer sans entraves leurs cultes;

"2. De prescrire a son Gouvernement, comme base immuable de la legislation du Maroc, la maxime, deja adoptee dans le Decret du 26 Chaban, 1280, et d'apres laquelle ni la religion ni la race ne pourront jamais etre un motif pour etablir une difference dans le traitement par et devant la loi entre ses sujets Musulmans et non-Musulmans, ni servir de pretexte pour imposer a ces derniers des humiliations, pour les priver d'un droit civil quelconque, ou pour les empecher d'exercer librement toutes les professions et industries qui sont permises aux sujets Musulmans de l'Empire.

"Une pareille manifestation non seulement honorerait le regne de Sa Majeste Cherifienne, mais inaugurerait aussi pour ses Etats une ere nouvelle de prosperite.

"Les Soussignes, en deposant le present acte entre les mains de son Excellence Cid Mohammed Vargas, prient M. le Plenipotentiaire du Maroc de le soumettre a Sa Majeste Cherifienne, qui ne lui refusera certes pas la serieuse attention que merite un v[oe]u exprime au nom des Puissances que les Soussignes ont l'honneur de representer.

"Madrid, le 26 Juin, 1880."

Ce texte est approuve par les Plenipotentiaires, a l'exception du Representant de Sa Majeste Cherifienne, qui ne peut que s'engager a porter a la connaissance de son Souverain les v[oe]ux que les Plenipotentiaires viennent d'exprimer au nom de leurs Gouvernements respectifs.

Cid Mohammed Vargas croit cependant devoir rappeler qu'au Maroc les Musulmans, les Chretiens, et les Juifs suivent leur religion, sans qu'il y soit mis d'empechement ni d'obstacle.

Le Plenipotentiaire du Maroc n'a pas d'instructions de son Souverain qui lui permettent de traiter cette question ou toute autre qui, comme elle, ne se rattacherait pas directement a l'objet de sa mission a Madrid. Neanmoins, en vue de l'Adresse que vient d'adopter la Conference, il croit devoir lui communiquer une lettre qu'il a recu de Sa Majeste le Sultan Muley-el-Hassan, et qui a trait aux Juifs ses sujets. Il en donne lecture en ces termes:—

"Louange a Dieu unique! Que la benediction de Dieu soit sur Mahomet, notre Seigneur et Maitre, sur sa famille, et ses compagnons!

"A notre estime serviteur, le Taleb Mohammed Vargas. Que Dieu te soit propice, et que la paix soit sur toi, ainsi que la benediction de Dieu Tres Haut et sa misericorde.

"Et puis:—

"Il est parvenu a notre connaissance que certains Juifs de nos sujets se sont plaints a plusieurs reprises a leurs freres residant en Europe et aux Representants etrangers a Tanger, de ce qu'ils ne parviennent pas a obtenir justice dans leurs reclamations relatives a meurtres, vols, &c. Ils pretendent que les Gouverneurs montrent de l'indifference a leur faire avoir satisfaction des personnes qui les attaquent, et que leurs demandes n'arrivent jamais a notre Majeste Cherifienne, si ce n'est par l'entremise de personnes (les Juifs residant en Europe et les Representants etrangers).

"Notre volonte Cherifienne est qu'ils obtiennent justice sans l'intervention des Puissances ni des Representants, parce qu'ils sont nos sujets et nos tributaires, ayant par la les memes droits que les Musulmans devant nous, et tous abus contre eux etant defendu par notre religion.

"C'est pourquoi nous t'ordonnons d'accepter la reclamation de tout Juif qui se plaindra de ne pas obtenir justice d'un Gouverneur, et de nous en donner connaissance lorsque tu ne trouveras pas le moyen d'y faire droit.

"Nous avons envoye des ordres en ce sens aux Gouverneurs des villes, des ports, et de la campagne, afin qu'ils en donnent connaissance aux Juifs, et en meme temps nous les avons prevenus que si quelqu'un d'eux s'oppose ou met des difficultes a ce que la plainte d'un Juif parvienne a toi, nous le punirons tres severement.

"Nous t'ordonnons de traiter leurs affaires avec toute justice et de ne rien nous cacher sur l'arbitraire des Gouverneurs a leur egard, car tous les hommes sont egaux pour nous en matiere de justice.

"Le 22 Joumadi premier, an 1297."

Le President donnant acte au Representant du Maroc de cette communication, constate, au nom de tous les Plenipotentiaires, la vive satisfaction avec laquelle la Conference accueille les declarations qui viennent de lui etre faites. Les Plenipotentiaires voient dans le principe, qu'elles etablissent, d'un appel au Ministre des Affaires Etrangeres, a la fois une preuve des sentiments de justice qui animent Sa Majeste Cherifienne a l'egard de ses sujets Israelites, et l'annonce du prompt accomplissement des v[oe]ux exprimes par la Conference.

("British and Foreign State Papers," vol. lxxi. pp. 881-887.)

* * * * *


No. 33. 2 Avril, 1906. Dix-septieme Seance.

S. Exc. M. White (Etats-Unis) prononce ensuite les paroles suivantes: "Le Gouvernement des Etats-Unis d'Amerique a toujours considere comme un devoir de s'associer a tout ce qui pourrait contribuer au progres des idees d'humanite et assurer le respect du a toutes les croyances religieuses. Anime par ces sentiments et par l'amitie qui a si longtemps subsiste entre lui et l'Empire marocain dont il suit le developpement avec un profond interet, mon Gouvernement m'a charge d'invoquer le concours de la Conference, au moment ou elle est sur le point de terminer ses travaux, en vue de l'emission d'un v[oe]u pour le bien-etre des israelites au Maroc. Je suis heureux de constater que la condition des sujets israelites de S.M. Cherifienne a ete de beaucoup amelioree pendant le regne de feu le Sultan Mouley-el-Hassan et que le Sultan actuel parait, autant qu'il lui a ete possible, les avoir traites avec equite et bienveillance. Mais les agents du Makhzen, dans les parties du pays eloignees du pouvoir central ne s'inspirent pas toujours suffisamment des sentiments de tolerance et de justice qui animent leur souverain. La Delegation americaine vient donc prier la Conference de vouloir bien emettre le v[oe]u que S.M. Cherifienne continue dans la bonne voie inauguree par son pere et maintenue par Sa Majeste elle-meme par rapport a ses sujets israelites et qu'elle vise a ce que son Gouvernement ne neglige aucune occasion de faire savoir a ses fonctionnaires que le Sultan tient a ce que les israelites de son Empire et tous ses sujets, sans distinction de croyance, soient traites avec justice et equite."

S. Exc. Sir Arthur Nicolson (Grande-Bretagne) declare que, conformement aux instructions de son Gouvernement, il est heureux de se rallier a la proposition du premier Delegue des Etats-Unis.

S. Exc. M. le Duc de Almodovar del Rio (Espagne) s'exprime en ces termes: "Je m'associe, au nom de S.M. Catholique, aux hauts sentiments de tolerance religieuse qui viennent d'etre exprimes par S. Exc. le premier Delegue des Etats-Unis; et je tiens d'autant plus a me rallier a sa proposition que le sort des populations israelites au Maroc, rattachees a l'Espagne par des liens de descendance et dont la langue habituelle continue a etre la langue castillane, qui fut naguere celle de leurs ancetres, est particulierement interessant aux yeux du peuple espagnol d'aujourd'hui."

LL. EE. MM. de Radowitz (Allemagne) et Revoil (France) se rallient egalement au v[oe]u de M. le premier Delegue des Etats-Unis.

S. Exc. M. le Marquis Visconti Venosta (Italie) declare qu'il adhere au v[oe]u dont S. Exc. le premier Delegue des Etats-Unis a pris l'initiative. Il reconnait que, dans ces derniers temps, les Souverains du Maroc ont donne de preuves de tolerance vis-a-vis de leurs sujets non-musulmans; mais il ne reste pas moins a desirer que les conditions des juifs dans l'interieur de l'Empire soient mises au meme niveau et entourees des memes garanties que dans les villes et ports de la cote. La Conference, dans le cours de ses travaux, s'est toujours preoccupee du progres et de la prosperite du Maroc; elle restera fidele au meme esprit en exprimant a S.M. le Sultan le v[oe]u que tous ses sujets, quelle que soit leur religion, soient appeles a jouir des memes droits, ainsi que du meme traitement devant la loi et que les ordres que S.M. Cherifienne a donnes ou donnera a cet effet soient fidelement executes. L'assentiment de l'Italie est toujours acquis a l'affirmation des principes de liberte religieuse qui sont une des bases de ses institutions politiques et sociales.

S. Exc. le Baron Joostens (Belgique) declare que la Delegation belge s'associe entierement a la declaration que vient de faire S. Exc. M. le Marquis Visconti-Venosta.

LL. EE. le Jonkheer Testa (Pays-Bas), M. le Comte Cassini (Russie) et M. Sager (Suede) adherent aussi aux sentiments exprimes par MM. les premiers Delegues des Etats-Unis et d'Italie.

Le v[oe]u propose par S. Exc. M. White est adopte par l'unanimite des Delegues des Puissances.

LL. EE. MM. les Delegues marocains expliquent qu'ils ne manqueront pas de faire connaitre cette decision a S.M. le Sultan, qui certainement aura a c[oe]ur de proceder dans l'espece de la meme facon que feu son pere.

S. Exc. M. White (Etats-Unis) remercie MM. les Delegues des Puissances d'une adhesion qui repond si entierement aux vues du Gouvernement des Etats-Unis et aux sentiments personnels du President Roosevelt.

("Protocoles et Comptes Rendus de la Conference d'Algesiras" (Paris, 1906), pp. 246-248.)

* * * * *


Until quite recently the question of the national restoration of the Jews to Palestine did not play a conspicuous part, or, indeed, much of a part at all, in practical international politics. This is not a little strange in view of the great mass of religious opinion which has always been deeply interested in it. It may be profitable to indicate some of the reasons.

In the first place, from the middle of the second down to the middle of the nineteenth centuries the Palestine problem, as a political problem, was exclusively concerned with the custody of the Holy Places of Christendom. After the failure of the many attempts to oust the Turk, the question became one of diplomatic accommodation, and under the Capitulations with France and the Treaties of Carlowitz and Passarowitz between the Holy Roman Empire and the Grand Signior, various expedients were adopted by which Christian interests in Jerusalem might be reconciled with the local political rights of the Ottoman Porte. This difficult problem absorbed the Oriental activities of European diplomacy until after the Crimean War, and it left no room for the consideration of Jewish claims.

In the second place the question during the whole of this period was always primarily one of eschatology rather than of practical politics. Even when the Millenarian mystics sometimes crossed the border-line, the case they presented was not calculated to conciliate sovereign princes. We have a curious instance of this in the first Zionist book published in London, "The World's Great Restoration, or Calling of the Jewes"—(London, 1621)—which was written by Sir Henry Finch, the eminent serjeant-at-law, although his name does not appear on the title page.[110] Among other items in Finch's programme was one to the effect that all Christian princes should surrender their power and do homage "to the temporal supreme Empire of the Jewish nation." When James I read the book he was furious. He said he was "too auld a King to do his homage at Jerusalem," and he ordered Finch to be thrown into gaol.[111] In 1795 an exactly similar proposal was made by an ex-naval officer, one Richard Brothers, who announced himself as King of the Jews. He also was prosecuted, but was found to be a lunatic.[112] A certain political interest attaches to the case of Brothers; inasmuch as his scheme for the National Restoration of the Jews was brought before the House of Commons by one of his adherents, Mr. Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, M.P., with a motion for the printing and distribution of Brothers's proposal. The motion failed to find a seconder.[113]

In the third place, unless the Restoration were favoured by the Ottoman Government, all schemes to compass it in normal times ran counter to international law and the comity of nations. This point was actually decided in this sense by the Law Courts some seventy years ago in the case of Habershon v. Vardon. The case related to a bequest by one Nadir Baxter for the political restoration of the Jews in Jerusalem. The bequest was held void, and the Vice-Chancellor, in giving judgment, said: "If it could be understood to mean anything it was to create a revolution in a friendly country."[114]

In the fourth place the idea was likely to weaken the doctrine of the integrity of Turkey, and, for this and other reasons, was inconsistent with the interests and traditional policy of Great Britain and other Western States. It was all the more inconsistent because this policy originally shaped itself in deference to religious considerations far more precious to Englishmen than the national cause of the Jews. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the struggle between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation was at its height, the naval balance of power in the Mediterranean rested between Spain and Turkey. Hence a bias towards Turkey on the part of Protestant States was inevitable. Curiously enough, the Jews, who were then hostile to Spain, supported the pro-Turkish policy of England, as they did in 1876-78 on account of their antipathy to Russia. In the time of Cromwell this consideration was reinforced by our trade interests in the Levant and in India. A century later the tradition became again imperative owing to the fear of Russia and afterwards of Napoleon. All this rendered a strong and friendly Turkey necessary to us, and hence to entertain the idea of a National Restoration of the Jews to Palestine was to risk offence to a valued ally.

A fifth reason was the indifference of the Jews themselves. Until the Zionist movement was founded twenty years ago there was scarcely any symptom of a Jewish desire for international action on their behalf in the Palestine question. This was not for want of opportunity or even for want of suggestion from others. In 1840, when Mehemet Ali was driven out of Palestine and Syria by the Powers, the future of Palestine was open for discussion.[115] The country, with all its Hebrew and Christian shrines, was in the hands of Christendom, who could have done with it as it pleased. Not a voice was raised among the Jews for the restoration of the land to them. And this, be it remembered, was when Sir Moses Montefiore and M. Cremieux were busy in the East in connection with the Damascus Blood Accusation, and when Lord Palmerston was proposing to take the Jews under British protection as a separate nationality.[116] Instead of championing the national aspirations of the Jews, they contented themselves with obtaining the famous Hatti-Humayoun, or Charter of Liberties for the Jews of Turkey, by which they were more nearly assimilated to Turkish Nationals.[117] In the following year the Powers were actually discussing the future of Palestine, but the Jews again made no move. Even while the negotiations were in progress, a scheme for restoring the Jews as the political masters of the country was drawn up by a Christian, Colonel Churchill, then British Consul in Syria, and submitted by him to Sir Moses Montefiore and the Board of Deputies. Its reception was curiously frigid. Whilst piously blessing Colonel Churchill's proposals, the Board declined to take any initiative.[118] It was the same in 1878 when Lord Beaconsfield annexed Cyprus and secured a British Protectorate over Asiatic Turkey. No opportunity could have seemed better for the promotion of Zionist aims, but when Laurence Oliphant pointed this out he found scarcely an echo beyond a small circle of obscure Jewish dreamers in Southern Russia.[119] Indeed, until the time of Herzl all the most prominent protagonists of Zionism were Christians. The Dane, Holger Paulli, who in 1697 presented a Zionist scheme to King William III of England with a view to its submission to the Peace Conference of Ryswick, was a Christian,[120] and even the notorious Jewish pseudo-Messiah, Sabbathai Zevi, who raised the flag of Jewish nationality in Syria thirty years earlier, owed more of his inspiration to English Fifth Monarchy teaching than to Jewish tradition.[121]

Nevertheless, there were two occasions on which the Jewish aspects of the Palestine question did enter the field of practical international politics.

The first was in 1799, when Napoleon carried out his audacious raid on British interests in the East by his expedition to Egypt and Syria. A scheme for enlisting the support of the Jews by founding a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine formed part of the plans for the expedition secretly prepared by the Directory in 1798, and French public opinion was familiarised with it by a good deal of propagandist literature. The Jews were alleged to be anxious to support the French in the Levant, and a bogus Zionist scheme—very much on the Herzlian lines—supposed to be written by an Italian Jew—was widely circulated in France. It embodied an appeal to the Jews of the world to form a representative council through which they could negotiate with the Directory for Palestine. It was supported in a very soberly reasoned article by the Decade Philosophique et Litteraire, and was soon after published in the London Press and reprinted as a twopenny pamphlet by the Courier.[122] Ten months later Napoleon, marching from El Arish on the road which has lately been traversed by General Allenby, published a proclamation inviting the Jews of Asia and Africa to rally to his standard "for the restoration of the ancient kingdom of Jerusalem."[123] The scheme collapsed with the battles of Acre and Aboukir.

The second occasion was in 1841, when the Powers had to decide on the fate of Syria and Palestine wrested by them from Mehemet Ali. It is true that the Jewish element in the question received very scanty attention and evoked no positive sympathy, but, at any rate, it was mentioned, and this fact indicates that the Powers had begun to realise that the future of Palestine was not exclusively a Christian question. The exchange of views which then took place is, however, interesting for other reasons. The documents, which are now published for the first time, comprise four separate schemes for solving the Palestine problem, and the considerations discussed in connection with them constitute a body of material which may be usefully studied at the present moment.

The first scheme, apparently suggested by France, contemplated the creation of a small autonomous Ecclesiastical State, consisting of Jerusalem, constituted as a Free City, with a limited rayon of territory. This was to be governed by a Christian municipality, organised and protected by the Great Christian Powers.[124] Russia raised objections in October 1840, and incidentally took occasion to ridicule the idea of a National Restoration of the Jews.[125] Both Russia and Austria were anxious to preserve the Turkish domination, and to that end made counter-proposals. The Russian scheme proposed that Palestine should become a separate Pashalik, that the Church of the Orient should be restored, that the Greek Patriarch should resume his residence in Jerusalem, and that an special Church and Monastery should be founded for the use of the Russian clergy and pilgrims. The Austrian scheme proposed to leave the Turkish administration untouched except in regard to jurisdiction over Christians. This was to be confided to a high Turkish official directly responsible to Constantinople and advised by a Council of Procureurs appointed by the Great Powers.[126] Russia opposed the Austrian scheme.[127] Thereupon Prussia put forward a fourth scheme of a far more ambitious character.[128] It provided for a European Protectorate of the Holy Cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, and a sort of national autonomy for the various Christian sects which might be extended to the Jews, the whole to be governed by three Residents appointed by the Christian Powers. Each Resident was to have a small military guard. The Protestant Church, under the joint protection of Great Britain and Prussia, was to be recognised as on an equal footing with the other Churches, and to establish its headquarters and other institutions—including schools for Jews—on Mount Zion, which was to be fortified.[129] This scheme was strongly opposed by Austria, in whose view Lord Palmerston concurred.[130] Russia also opposed it, but in Paris it was received sympathetically.[131]

In the end all these schemes were dropped, and Palestine was handed back to the Porte practically without any new conditions. Prussia, however, continued her negotiations with Great Britain, both with a view to general reforms and to the recognition of the Protestant Church in Jerusalem. For this purpose she sent Baron Bunsen to London on a special embassy.[132] Among the reforms proposed by him were facilities for the purchase of land, "as many persons in Protestant Germany, Jews and Christians, are desirous of settling in Palestine."[133] Eventually he negotiated with Palmerston the Anglo-Prussian Agreement for the establishment of a Protestant Bishopric in Jerusalem. There is a curious reference to the Restoration of the Jews in Bunsen's account of this transaction:[134]

* * * * *

"Monday, 19th July, 1841.—This is a great day. I am just returned from Lord Palmerston; the principle is admitted, and orders to be transmitted accordingly to Lord Ponsonby at Constantinople, to demand the acknowledgement required. The successor of St. James will embark in October; he is by race an Israelite,—born a Prussian in Breslau,—in confession belonging to the Church of England—ripened (by hard work) in Ireland—twenty years Professor of Hebrew and Arabic in England (in what is now King's College).[135] So the beginning is made, please God, for the restoration of Israel."

* * * * *

It should be added that probably one of the reasons why, during recent years, the British Government has held aloof from the Palestine question is that by the Treaty of London of July 15, 1840, Palestine was recognised as an integral part of Syria,[136] and that in 1878, at the Berlin Congress, Lord Salisbury agreed to recognise the whole of Syria as a French sphere of interest in return for the French recognition of the Cyprus Convention between Great Britain and Turkey.[137] It is to be assumed from the terms of the Secret Agreement of February 21, 1917,[138] that British interests in the Suez Canal and other more recent events have modified that arrangement.

During the present war the growing strength of the Zionist movement, and the energy of its leaders, have forced the Restoration idea on the attention of the Great Powers. In November 1917 Great Britain led the way with a promise to give sympathetic consideration to the aims of the Zionists.[139] With this promise the other Entente Powers have since associated themselves.


* * * * *


Memorandum delivered by the Russian Government to the Prussian Government in October 1840.

Des opinions diverses et pour la plupart contradictoires, ont circule recemment en Europe, et surtout en France, sur les facilites que les grandes Puissances intervenues dans les affaires de l'Orient, auraient, dans ce moment, pour accomplir l'[oe]uvre que les Croises d'autrefois avaient vainement tentee dans leurs longues et sanglantes guerres. Le projet d'eriger une Souverainete Chretienne en Palestine, a ete mis, si non serieusement discute. D'autres ont pense a la possibilite de faire revivre l'ancien ordre des Chevaliers du St. Sepulcre pour lui confier la garde de ce sanctuaire. Il y a eu meme quelques individus qui ont exprime le v[oe]u d'appeler dans la ville de Salomon les Juifs disperses dans differents pays pour tenter la conversion sociale et religieuse de ce peuple d'antique et coupable origine.

Il serait superflu de discuter ici tous ces projets, on ne s'arretera qu'a l'examen d'une autre combinaison dont la realisation serait desirable, si elle etait possible. Il s'agirait de l'assentiment de la Porte et d'une entente entre les principales cours de l'Europe pour eriger Jerusalem une ville libre, avec un rayon de territoire convenable et sous une administration municipale organisee sous les auspices des Puissances qui se declareraient les protectrices et les garanties de ce petit etat ecclesiastique.[140]

Un pareil arrangement doit assurement reunir beaucoup de suffrages. Cependant, avant d'aborder la question d'une maniere serieuse, soit avec les autres Cabinets, soit avec le Divan il importe de calculer d'avance les moyens dont on disposera pour mener l'[oe]uvre a bon terme, les difficultes locales qu'on aura a surmonter dans la realisation du plan convenu et les probabilites qui s'offrent pour le maintien du nouvel ordre de choses qu'on parviendrait a etablir. Sous tous ces rapports on peut consulter avec profit les renseignements et les donnes que le Ministere de Sa Majeste possede, et qui lui ont ete fournis en partie par les indigenes, mais plus particulierement par deux employes du service de S.M. qui ont visite la terre sainte a des epoques differentes, et recueilli sur les lieux memes des informations dont on ne saurait revoquer en doute l'exactitude.

Il resulte de l'ensemble de ces informations:

1. Que la ville de Jerusalem, situee entre la Syrie, l'Egypte et le desert, a ete de tout temps exposee d'une part aux incursions des Arabes Bedouins et de l'autre aux vexations des Pachas voisins.

2. Que sa population, composee d'environ 15/m. ames, parmi lesquelles on compte a peine un millier de Chretiens appartenant a diverses communions, n'offre guere d'elements propres a la formation d'une administration municipale indigene, digne de quelque confiance, sous le rapport politique ou religieux.

3. Que l'eloignement des cotes de la mer, distantes de la ville de pres de deux journees de marche a travers une route escarpee et deserte, ne permettrait pas aux batiments de guerre Europeens de prendre sous la protection de leurs canons la defense de la cite et de ses habitants.

4. Que la population Musulmane et Arabe etablie depuis des siecles dans le pays et qui possede dans la seule ville de Jerusalem plus de trente mosquees, ainsi que le fameux temple de Salomon que les premiers califes conquerants ont rebati, s'assujettiraient difficilement a un Gouvernement Chretien quelconque, qui ne disposerait pas de beaucoup de ressources et d'une forte garnison, pour en imposer aux hordes des Bedouins et pour reduire par les armes tout ce qui s'opposerait au nouvel ordre de choses.

Les memes rapports signalent, sous les plus tristes couleurs, la desunion profonde et la rivalite incessante qui existe entre les Chretiens des diverses communions, admis a l'adoration du St. Sepulcre et dont les scandaleuses dissensions, loin d'etre amorties ou contenues par la saintete du lieu, y ont eclate souvent avec une vivacite haineuse et une obstination fanatique que la presence des autorites Musulmanes pouvait seule contenir dans de certaines bornes.

Nous savons enfin de maniere a ne pas pouvoir en douter que les religieux Latins, pour la plupart Espagnols et Portugais d'origine, et qui, durant leur mission en terre sainte, se trouvent sous la protection speciale de la France, sont les principaux fauteurs de cette rivalite si peu evangelique, en s'elevant sans cesse des pretentions sur la possession exclusive et la garde du St. Sepulcre et en invoquant en leur faveur les traites de Francois I avec la Porte et meme les souvenirs des Baudouin et de Godefroi.

* * * * *

Enclosure in Russian Mem. of October 1840.

1. Publication d'un nouveau Hatti Scherif avec pleine confirmation de tous ceux qui ont ete emanes sous les regnes anterieurs en faveur de l'Eglise et du Clerge de Jerusalem.

2. Nomination d'un Pacha ou moschir de la Palestine, homme de sens et de justice, qui fixerait sa residence, soit a Jerusalem, soit a Jaffa, avec une autorite civile et militaire, suffisante pour y maintenir le bon ordre et pour faire respecter les lieux de sa jurisdiction par les Bedouins du desert qui, n'etant plus contenus par la crainte des troupes Egyptiennes, recommenceront probablement bientot leurs brigandages habituels sur les couvents Chretiens des environs de Jerusalem et sur les caravanes des pelerins que la devotion appelle des pays les plus eloignes.

3. Defense positive au Clerge Grec comme a celui des Catholiques et des Armeniens, de renouveler leurs dissensions anciennes et souvent pueriles en cherchant a se calomnier mutuellement et a s'exclure des eglises et des oratoires, dont les Hatti Cheriffs precites ont fixe la possession a chacune de ces communautes.

4. Defense severe au Mollah et au Cadi de Jerusalem de ranconner les religieux et les superieurs des couvens, toutes les fois que ces ecclesiastiques ont recours a la justice locale, ou qu'ils cherchent a se disculper de quelque avanie.

5. La crainte de ces memes avanies et les frais considerables d'installation, auxquels etaient exposes les patriarches de Jerusalem toutes les fois qu'ils se rendaient dans leur diocese, ayant oblige depuis quelques annees ces prelats a sejourner a Constantinople, en laissant a leurs vicaires le gouvernement de leur eglise, la Porte ferait aujourd'hui un acte de politique et d'equite a la fois, en accordant au patriarche actuel d'autorisation et les facilites dont il peut avoir besoin, pour se rendre sur les lieux de sa jurisdiction spirituelle, et veiller de pres a la discipline de ses subordonnes et au redressement des desordres ou des abus, que les troubles recens et les changemens politiques survenus dans ces contres, peuvent y avoir introduits.

6. Toute innovation dans l'antique hierarchie de l'eglise d'Orient serait rejete comme dangereuse et inutile et toute reclamation de priorite ou de privilege de la part des religieux des autres communions, ne serait admise qu'apres un examen impartial et approfondi de la question. Dans les cas de cette nature, il semblerait que le tribunal le plus competent, a en juger, serait une commission ou conseil du Gouverneur de la province, du patriarche de Jerusalem, ou en son absence, de son vicaire, du superieur des ecclesiastiques Armeniens et d'un commissaire ad hoc, choisi et nomme par la Porte parmi les prelats les mieux reputes de la nation Grecque etablis a Constantinople.

Ce conseil pourrait aussi fixer aux deservans des cultes respectifs, les heures des prieres et des ceremonies, en regularisant d'une maniere equitable et definitive ce point qui a ete souvent un sujet de litige et qui a meme occasionne des rixes scandaleuses dans l'enceinte d'un Temple, ou l'union et l'humilite devraient regner constamment.

7. La reparation des eglises et des couvens ruines ou endommages par le temps et les incendies, sera permise par les autorites locales, toutes les fois que les superieurs de ces communautes en demanderont l'autorisation, et le Gouvernement n'exigera pas dans ces occasions des cadeaux ou des benefices arbitraires.

8. Defense severe serait faite aux soldats Turcs preposes a la garde des portes de l'eglise qui renferme le Saint Sepulcre, de s'introduire dans l'anterieur du temple, sous pretexte d'y faire la police. Ces gardiens recevraient egalement l'ordre de temoigner tous les egards et tout le respect qui sont dus au patriarche et a ses delegues.

9. Pour ce qui concerne plus specialement les pelerins Russes qui visitent chaque annee les lieux saintes, la sublime Porte serait invitee a prescrire a ces officiers civils et militaires de leur accorder toute protection et assistance. Et afin que ces voyageurs, etrangers pour la plupart aux usages et a la langue du pays, ne soient exposes a des avanies ou a des retards dans l'accomplissement de leurs v[oe]ux, le consul de S.M. Imperiale residant a Jaffa aura l'autorisation d'accompagner, toutes les fois qu'il le jugera necessaire, la caravane des pelerins de sa nation et de veiller sur eux pendant le tems de leur sejour a Jerusalem.

10. Les religieux de la plupart des nations chretiennes possedent a Jerusalem des etablissements pieux ou ils se reunissent, soit pour y demeurer, soit pour y celebrer les ceremonies de leur rit dans leur propre langue.

Les ecclesiastiques Russes sont seuls prives de cet avantage, et doivent par consequent recourir, toutes les fois qu'ils visitent la terre sainte, a l'hospitalite et a l'assistance spirituelle de leurs co-religionaires les ecclesiastiques Grecs. Il serait de toute justice que la Porte autorisat le Patriarche d'assigner une des eglises ou monasteres de la ville a l'usage exclusif du clerge et des pelerins Russes, et que les autorites civiles et militaires du pays eussent l'ordre precis de reconnaitre et de respecter cet etablissement, comme etant place sous la protection speciale de la Russie et sur le surveillance de son Consul.

* * * * *

Memorandum delivered by the Austrian Government to the Prussian Government in October 1840.

Les succes obtenus en Syrie qui ont amene la soumission de Mehemet Ali et la determination de Sa Hautesse de la faire suivre par l'investiture du Pacha d'Egypte du Gouvernement hereditaire de cette Province viennent de mettre au grand jour le resultat vers lequel tendaient les transactions de Londres, dictees par les v[oe]ux uniformes des Puissances Chretiennes, d'assurer la paix politique de l'Europe par le maintien de l'independance et de l'integrite de l'Empire Ottoman qui devait ressortir du reglement definitif des rapports entre la Sublime Porte et le Gouvernement de l'Egypte. La Syrie qui avait ete placee pendant quelque tems sous la domination de ce dernier et avait offert aux etrangers une securite analogue a celle qu'ils trouvaient en Egypte, pendant que la population indigene Syrienne se voyant assimilee a celle de cette province et menacee de perdre toutes les conditions d'un etat social tout different et base sur des lois positives, des transactions historiques et des habitudes gouvernementales garantissant la propriete, la liberte du commerce, &c., &c.; la Syrie rentree maintenant par les succes des armees du Sultan et de ses allies sous la domination du Grand Seigneur, reclame les soins les plus assidus du Gouvernement Ottoman, afin d'oter tout pretexte raisonnable a ceux qui voudraient deverser un blame sur les resultats obtenus en 1840, en alleguant que la condition de cette Province interessante, aurait empire a leur suite.

Les Puissances qui ont prete leurs conseils et leurs secours a S.H. dans le but invariable d'assurer l'independance de son pouvoir et l'integrite de son Empire contre les usurpations d'un sujet rebelle, doivent abandonner maintenant au Sultan le soin de faire participer ses sujets en Syrie aux bienveillantes dispositions pour ses peuples, enoncees des le commencement de son regne par le Hat de Gulhane; et si leurs conseils doivent tendre a hater leur realisation, elles auront dans les voies d'une sage politique, a en surveiller l'execution.

Mais le fait meme, nouveau dans l'histoire, du secours porte par des Puissances Chretiennes au Grand Seigneur contre un sujet rebelle, auquel l'opinion publique attribuait le merite d'avoir procure, dans les pays soumis a sa domination de fait, aux Chretiens tant indigenes qu'etrangers plus de securite pour leurs personnes et une plus grande tolerance que celles qu'ils y trouvaient auparavant, impose a ces Puissances comme devoir de conscience de peser murement les moyens pour epargner tant au Grand Seigneur, leur allie, qu'a Elles-memes, le blame qui pourrait ressortir pour Elles, si la condition des Chretiens en Syrie allait se presenter sous un jour moins favorable, a la suite de la reintegration de cette Province sous la domination directe du Grand Seigneur. C'est pour obvier a cette facheuse eventualite que le Cabinet Imperial soumet a ses Allies les considerations suivantes:

Les Chretiens en Syrie sont ou fixes dans le pays, ou ils y resident temporairement. Les premiers constitues en corps de nations, comme Maronites, Armeniens, &c., &c., jouissent d'une existence politique decoulant de capitulations, traites, privileges, &c., &c., et se trouvent sous des Chefs ressortant de ces derniers; la Sublime Porte vient d'enoncer sa ferme volonte de donner a cet etat de choses, les developpements et la fixite qu'il reclame et pour lequel ces Populations ont acquis un nouveau titre a la suite du devouement qu'elles viennent de montrer pour rentrer sous la domination legitime.

Une autre partie de la population sedentaire Chretienne est repandue dans le reste du pays, soumise aux lois generales et protegee par le Hat de Gulhane. Elle ne saurait demander que la stricte observation de ces dispositions par les autorites locales, et toute la tendance du Gouvernement Ottoman est la pour la leur assurer dans l'avenir.

La population Chretienne transitoire se compose en partie de ceux qui y arrivent comme etrangers pour leurs affaires de commerce, les traites existant avec les differentes Puissances et la protection consulaire assurent leur condition. Mais la Syrie renferme les lieux que l'origine de la Religion Chretienne a sanctifies pour toujours et ou la piete des fideles a etabli de nombreuses fondations et qui ont attire de tous tems de nombreux pelerins; ces fondations et ces pelerins ont joui depuis l'occupation Mahometane de nombreux privileges, qui, a partir de 1059 jusqu'en 1803, se sont succedes et dont l'effet n'a pu etre suspendu ou contrarie que par le fait des autorites locales Musulmanes, qui, au lieu de se conformer aux dispositions souveraines et a l'esprit de la legislation et du centre, gardiennes de la foi juree, et favorables a une tolerance conforme aux principes du Coran et a un Gouvernement eclaire, se sont laissees egarer par un esprit de lucre et de partialite.

Il parait donc que l'action tutelaire du centre du Gouvernement, qui doit vouloir le maintien des concessions faites, des privileges donnes, &c., &c., a manque jusqu'ici d'organes propres pour obvier a ces abus, et que le but special, dont ils sont l'objet, la protection des lieux saints et des pelerins de toute la Chretiente qui vont les visiter, ne saurait etre atteint, tant qu'il ne formerait qu'une des attributions des administrations ordinaires; ne serait-ce pas ici le cas pour que la Porte se decidat a nommer un employe special, afin d'assurer le maintien des anciens privileges et l'execution des dispositions du Hat de Gulhane a l'egard des lieux saints, et les Chretiens qui forment la population sedentaire et mouvante Chretienne de ces lieux?

Cet employe d'un rang assez eleve pour assurer sa position et garantir les attributions de sa place vis-a-vis l'autorite du Pacha revetu du Gouvernement civil et militaire, cet employe charge directement de tout ce qui aurait rapport aux lieux saints et aux pelerins et mis en contact avec les representans des Gouvernemens Chretiens nommes ad hoc, qui, sous la denomination de Procureurs, auraient a soutenir les droits de leurs nationaux sous le point de vue confessionnel; cet employe place pour sa personne en rapport direct avec le centre du Gouvernement a Constantinople, ne recevant d'ordres que de la ou toute reclamation possible contre lui et tout appel en derniere instance s'adresserait egalement par les organes diplomatiques des Puissances Chretiennes, repondrait a un besoin qu'il est facile de pressentir des ce jour, et dont l'experience demontrera ou l'utilite, s'il est nomme a tems, ou la necessite si l'on tarde a y pourvoir.

Il ne s'agit pas de faire du nouveau pour le fond; il s'agit de maintenir des privileges, et de regulariser de nouveau ce qui a existe et ce qui est tombe en desuetude dans le cours des siecles. Le pelerin religieux est respectable aux yeux du croyant, le gardien des lieux saints ne l'est pas moins, le Gouvernement central et l'esprit religieux du peuple le reconnaissent et le sentent egalement; ce n'est que les abus des passions et des positions subalternes qui ont fait et qui font le mal et auxquels il s'agit d'opposer la digue d'une entente entre les Puissances et la Porte qui aurait pour objet de regulariser l'action d'une autorite bien organisee dependant directement du centre de l'Empire, autorite qui ne saurait avoir un autre interet que celui de repondre au but de son institution.

(F.O. Docs. 64/235.)

* * * * *

Lord Clanricarde to Lord Palmerston (Extract).


February 23, 1841.

MY LORD,—...The memorandum of Prince Metternich, suggesting the establishment of a Turkish Commissioner in the Holy Land, for the protection of Christian Pilgrims, and Travellers, and proposing a joint, or simultaneous application from the European Powers to the Porte, in which France might take a part, and thus be drawn out of her isolated position, has been coldly received by the Russian Government. Count Nesselrode said it did not appear to him a necessary or desirable measure, and that the Consuls in Syria were adequate to protect the Europeans, whom Commerce, piety, or curiosity might attract to that Country....

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