When the British Mandate of Palestine was established in 1920, Herbert Samuel was appointed the first High Commissioner of Palestine. Samuel was a British Jew and his appointment demonstrated that the British mission was to establish a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. (Subsequent High Commissioners of Palestine were not Jewish and the British later committed themselves to establishing two states in Palestine.)
On June 30, 1920, Sir Louis Bols of the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration handed over Palestine to Herbert Samuel, who signed that he had received “one Palestine, complete.”
Samuel attempted to set up first a legislative council and then an advisory council which would include Jews, Arabs and Christians. Due to the lack of cooperation on the part of the Arabs these initiatives failed. An advisory council made up of only British officials was established instead.
During Samuel’s administration the White Paper of 1922 was published, restricting Jewish immigration and defining the Jewish national homeland as “not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, a interest and a pride.”
Herbert Samuel left Palestine in 1925 and was succeeded by Herbert Plumer as High Commissioner. Samuel returned to politics in Britain, serving both in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.