On 9 July 47, Shoghi Effendi received a letter from the chairman of United Nations Special Committee on Palestine requesting a statement on the relationship which the Bahá'í Faith had to Palestine and the Bahá'í attitude towards any future changes in the status of the country. His reply was written 14 July 47 and sent the next day. A portion of the cover letter were published in BW vol X and not made part of the statement published as a pamphlet.
That letter is as follows as published in Ruhiyyih Khanum’s 1988 book, “The Guardian of the Baha’i Faith” [which is similar but not identical to “The Priceless Pearl.]
Mr. Justice Emil Sandstrom, Chairman,
United Nations Special Committee on Palestine.
Your kind letter of July 9th reached me and I wish to thank you for affording me the opportunity of presenting to you and your esteemed colleagues a statement of the relationship which the Bahá’í Faith has to Palestine and our attitude towards any future changes in the status of this sacred and much disputed land.
I am enclosing with this letter, for your information, a brief sketch of the history, aims and significance of the Bahá'í Faith, as well as a small pamphlet setting forth its views towards the present state of the world and the lines on which we hope and believe it must and will develop.
The position of the Bahá'ís in this country is in a certain measure unique: whereas Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Christendom it is not the administrative center of either the Church of Rome or any other Christian denomination. Likewise although it is regarded by Moslems as the spot where one of its most sacred shrines is situated, the Holy Sites of the Muhammadan Faith, and the center of its pilgrimages, are to be found in Arabia, not in Palestine. The Jews alone offer somewhat of a parallel to the attachment which the Bahá'ís have for this country inasmuch as Jerusalem holds the remains of their Holy Temple and was the seat of both the religious and political institutions associated with their past history. But even their case differs in one respect from that of the Bahá'ís, for it is in the soil of Palestine that the three central Figures of our religion are buried, and it is not only the center of Bahá'í pilgrimages from all over the world but also the permanent seat of our Administrative Order, of which I have the honor to be the Head.
The Bahá'í Faith is entirely non-political and we neither take sides in the present tragic dispute going on over the future of the Holy Land and its peoples nor have we any statement to make or advice to give as to what the nature of the political future of this country should be. Our aim is the establishment of universal peace in this world and our desire to see justice prevail in every domain of human society, including the domain of politics. As many of the adherents of our Faith are of Jewish and Moslem extraction we have no prejudice towards either of these groups and are most anxious to reconcile them for their mutual benefit and for the good of the country.
What does concern us, however, in any decisions made affecting the future of Palestine, is that the fact be recognized by whoever exercises sovereignty over Haifa and Acre, that within this area exists the spiritual and administrative center of a world Faith, and that the independence of that Faith, its right to manage its international affairs from this source, the right of Bahá'ís from any and every country of the globe to visit it as pilgrims (enjoying the same privilege in this respect as Jews, Moslems and Christians do in regard to visiting Jerusalem), be acknowledged and permanently safeguarded.
The Sepulchre of the Báb on Mt. Carmel, the Tomb of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in that same spot, the Pilgrim Hostel for oriental Bahá'ís in its vicinity, the large gardens and terraces which surround these places (all of which are open to visits by the public of all denominations), the Pilgrim Hostel for western Bahá’í s at the foot of Mt Carmel, the residence of the Head of the Community various houses and gardens in Acre and its vicinity associated with Bahá'u'lláh's incarceration in that city, His Holy Tomb at Bahji, near Acre, with His Mansion which is now preserved as a historic site and a museum (both likewise accessible to the public of all denominations), as well as holdings in the plain of Acre — all these comprise the bulk of Bahá’í properties in the Holy Land. It should also be noted that practically all of these properties have been exempted from both Government and Municipal taxes owing to their religious nature. Some of these extensive holdings are the property of the Palestine Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, incorporated as a religious society according to the laws of the country. In future various other Bahá’í National Assemblies will hold, through their Palestine Branches, part of the International Endowments of the Faith in the Holy Land.
In view of the above information I would request you and the members of your Committee to take into consideration the safeguarding of Bahá’í rights in any recommendation which you may make to the United Nations concerning the future of Palestine. May I take this opportunity of assuring you of my deep appreciation of the spirit in which you and your colleagues have conducted your investigations into the troubled conditions of this Sacred Land. I trust and pray that the outcome of your deliberations will produce an equitable and speedy solution of the very thorny problems which have arisen in Palestine.
Haifa, Palestine, July 14, 1947