Skip to main content

British White Paper of 1939 on Palestine (MacDonald White Paper)

A British White Paper, or government policy document, prepared by Secretary of State for the Colonies Malcolm MacDonald and published on 21 May 1939. Following the conclusions of the Peel and Woodhead Commissions and discussions at the St. James Conference, as well as the ongoing Arab Revolt, the paper rejected the idea of partition and suggested the establishment within 10 years of an independent state in Palestine, with Arabs and Jews sharing the government. It also concluded that Jewish immigration to Palestine should be limited by both the country’s economic capacity and the political consequences, bringing the Jewish population to around one-third of the total in five years, after which further immigration would require Arab consent. It further called for restrictions on the purchase of land by Jews that were indeed enacted in 1940.