The Balfour Declaration: Diplomacy in the Details
Date Due: Thursday, September 23, 11:30am electronically via SafeAssign on BlackBoard.
Length: Approximately 4 pages (can be slightly longer, but not to exceed 5 pages, approximately
1000-1250 words). Formatting instructions appear in this prompt on the second-last page.
Total points: 20% of final grade.
For the historian, as for the diplomat, a few words in a document can make a world of difference. In
this exercise, you are invited to examine several versions of the Balfour Declaration (issued officially
on Nov 2, 1917) as it was negotiated between the Zionist Organization under the leadership of
Chaim Weizmann and the administration of the British Government. The wording of the Balfour
Declaration was scrupulously wrung out in a protracted series of editorial reviews. By the end, it
presented a political doctrine that set in motion a process that would culminate in the establishment
of the State of Israel.
Without consulting sources outside of these versions, can you try to determine the differences
between the different versions and the significance of those differences?
Read each of the versions—carefully!—and write an essay tracing the significant shifts in language
over the period of this document’s editing.
Your essay should take the structure of the “five paragraph essay” (structure, not length) in which
you begin with an introductory paragraph that has a thesis statement providing a specific interpretation
of the primary sources, and then follow with supporting paragraphs of evidence in which you show
your reader how the documents support your interpretation. End the paper with a concluding
**Note: You are not asked to use any outside reference matter for this paper. Should you choose,
however, to consult outside matter, you must cite it accordingly in order to be intellectually honest.
All material external to this page must be cited according to the Chicago manual of style, which
means footnotes formatter by Author, Title, Publication location, Publisher, Date, and Page.
A. Herbert Sidebotham (British journalist, military commentator), late June, 1917:
The British Government adopts as one of its essential war aims the reconstitution of an integral Palestine as a Jewish
State and as the national home of the Jewish People…a State whose dominant national character when the hopes of its
founders are realized will be Jewish in the same sense as the dominant national character of England is English.
B. Ahad Ha’Am and Nahum Sokolow (Representatives of the Zionist Organization),
July 12, 1917:
His Majesty’s Government, after considering the aims of the Zionist Organization, accepts the principle of recognizing
Palestine as the National Home of the Jewish People and the right of the Jewish People to build up its national life in
Palestine under a protection to be established at the conclusion of peace following upon the successful issue of the War.
His Majesty’s Government regards as essential for the realization of this principle the grant of internal autonomy for
the Jews of Palestine, freedom of immigration for Jews, and the establishment of a Jewish National Colonising
Corportation for the resettlement and economic development of the country. The conditions and forms of the internal
autonomy and a Charter for the Jewish National Colonising Corporation should, in the view of His Majesty’s
Government, be elaborated in detail and determined with the representatives of the Zionist Organization.
C. Harry Sacher (Member of Zionist Organization), July 17, 1917:
- His Majesty’s Government accepts the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the
- His Majesty’s Government will use its best endeavours to secure the achievement of this object and will discuss the
necessary methods and means with the Zionist Organization.
D. Lord Alfred Milner (member of British cabinet), Mid-August, 1917:
His Majesty’s Government accepts the principle that every opportunity should be afforded for the establishment of a
home for the Jewish people in Palestine, and will use its best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, and
will be ready to consider any suggestions on the subject which the Zionist Organization may desire to lay before them.
E. Final Draft, November 2nd, 1917:
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.
Pages 4 Double spaced(1100 words)
Style and sources APA7, 1 source
Bibliography / Reference page
Study level College
Assignment type Essay
Subject Social Sciences