The Balfour Declaration may be the most extraordinary document produced by any Government in world history. It took the form of a letter from the Government of His Britannic Majesty King George the Fifth, the Government of the largest empire the world has even known, on which — once upon a time — the sun never set; a letter to an international financier of the banking house of Rothschild who had been made a peer of the realm.
Arthur Koestler wrote that in the letter “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.” More than that, the country was still part of the Empire of a fourth, namely Turkey. It read:
Foreign Office, 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: