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Pre-State Israel:
The San Remo Conference

(April 1920)


Pre-State Israel: Table of Contents | Balfour Declaration | Peace Efforts


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The San Remo Conference was an international meeting held following the conclusion of World War I that determined the precise boundaries for territories captured by the Allies.

The conference, attended by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan- with the United States as a neutral observer, was held in San Remo, Italy, in April 1920. The conference was a continuation of a previous meeting between these Allied powers that had been held in London in February 1920, where it was decided, among other things, to put Palestine under British Mandatory rule. At San Remo, the Allies confirmed the pledge contained in the Balfour Declaration concerning the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

The British delegation to San Remo was headed by Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Lord Curzon, who had replaced Lord Balfour as foreign minister in 1919. Balfour, however, was also present at the conference as a consultant for final settlement issues. At both meetings the French expressed many reservations about the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in the peace treaty, and it was only after the exertion of British pressure that they were gradually persuaded to agree to it.

The Conference was also attended by Chaim Weizmann, Nahum Sokolow, and Herbert Samuel, who presented a memorandum to the British delegation on the final settlement in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The article concerning Palestine was debated on April 24 and the next day it was finally resolved to incorporate the Balfour Declaration in Britain's mandate in Palestine. Thus Britain was made responsible "for putting into effect the declaration made on the 8th [sic.] November 1917 by the British Government and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people; it being clearly understood that nothing should 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 resolution at San Remo was celebrated by mass rallies throughout the Jewish world.


Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

L. Stein, The Balfour Declaration (1961), 652–63; C. Weizmann, Trial and Error (1949), 321–5; D. Lloyd George, The Truth About the Peace Conference, 2 (1938), 1167–75, 1182–90; J. Nevakivi, Britain, France and the Arab Middle East (1969), 240–54 and index.

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