On November 2, 1917, Arthur Balfour, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom issued what has became known as the "Balfour Declaration".
November 2nd, 1917Dear 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 CabinetHis Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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.Yours,Arthur James Balfour
From the Jewish Virtual library:
According to the Peel Commission, appointed by the British Government to investigate the cause of the 1936 Arab riots, "the field in which the Jewish National Home was to be established was understood, at the time of the Balfour Declaration, to be the whole of historic Palestine, including Transjordan."
The Mandate for Palestine's purpose was to put into effect the Balfour Declaration. It specifically referred to "the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine" and to the moral validity of "reconstituting their National Home in that country." The term "reconstituting" shows recognition of the fact that Palestine had been the Jews' home. Furthermore, the British were instructed to "use their best endeavors to facilitate" Jewish immigration, to encourage settlement on the land and to "secure" the Jewish National Home. The word "Arab" does not appear in the Mandatory award.