What was the Passfield White Paper of 1930?
The Passfield White Paper, issued by Colonel Secretary Lord Passfield on October 21, 1930, was another British policy statement on the Palestine Mandate, the result of studies ordered following the 1929 Arab riots. It incorporated the recommendations of the Shaw Commission and the expert testimony of the Hope-Simpson Report, which called for a new, formal statement of policy to resolve questions causing dissention in the Mandate land.
Clearly pro-Arab, anti-Zionist in tone, the Passfield White Paper used the Hope-Simpson findings on carrying capacity of the land to recommend limits on Jewish immigration and land ownership. Because of the alleged shortage of arable land, a finding that was not supported by the details of the Hope-Simpson Report, Jewish development would no longer be permitted and Jewish immigration would be slowed. All practices that prevented Arabs from obtaining employment were to be curtailed. Furthermore, the Passfield paper reiterated the cultural nature of the National Home as defined in the Churchill Paper of 1922. Specifically, it “espoused the theory of an equal obligation under the Mandate to the Jews and the Arabs and denied that the clauses designed to safeguard the rights of the non-Jewish communities were merely secondary conditions qualifying the provisions which called for the establishment of the National Home. [Appendix IVPalestine: Historical Background, Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry] The Zionist movement was extremely disappointed and angered by these conclusions. Jewish organizations worldwide and British opponents mounted a major campaign against the White Paper resulting in a letter from British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald (February 13, 1931) to Dr. Chaim Weizmann that somewhat eased the offending provisions.