In 1917, British foreign secretary, Arthur J. Balfour, wrote the following letter to Lord Rothschild, head of the British Zionist Organization:
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His
Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist
aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
‘His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in
Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best
endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly
understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and
religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights
and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the
knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour”
Source: The World War I Document Archive