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Volume 244: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1930

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies when he expects to be in a position to define the financial provision which it is proposed to make for the purposes of agricultural development, as referred to in the recently issued statement of policy relating to Palestine [Cmd. 3692]?

I have been asked to reply to this question. I have already told the House that the matter is under active consideration. I am not in a position to name a date.

May I ask whether or not it is to be understood that no financial provision was defined or taken into consideration before the pronouncement as to policy?

I understand that there is to be a day next week for the discussion of Palestine, when the Government's financial policy will be fully explained.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether His Majesty's Government will publish the instructions given to Sir John Hope-Simpson leading to his visit to Palestine, and his report on immigration, land settlement, and development [Cmd. 3686.]

The hon. and gallant Member has already been informed of Sir J. Hope-Simpson's instructions. No formal commission was issued to him.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies the names of all the persons who accompanied him on his recent visit to the Near East; in what capacity they travelled; whether they all went at the expense of the taxpayer; and what was the total cost of the visit?

The Under-Secretary was accompanied by his Parliamentary Private Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Mathers), and by an officer in the Mediterranean Department of the Colonial Office. The tour was undertaken in accordance with the general policy of establishing closer contact between the Colonial Office and oversea Governments. The expenses of the party will be borne by public funds, in conformity with the established practice in such cases. The exact cost of the tour is not yet known, but it will be approximately £600.

Is there any precedent for a Parliamentary Private Secretary going at the Government's expense?


asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the criticism and disapproval of the new statement of policy with regard to Palestine, His Majesty's Government will refrain from promulgating any ordinances in Palestine on the basis of the White Paper until Parliament has had an opportunity to discuss it?


asked the Prime Minister whether the Government will consider the advisability of recommending the Government of Palestine to defer action upon the statement of policy recently presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State until an opportunity has been given for a debate in both Houses of Parliament?

The White Paper on Palestine issued by His Majesty's Government after the receipt of the Hope Simpson report has given rise to some misunderstanding and has been misinterpreted in some essential points; and His Majesty's Government, therefore, do not intend to proclaim ordinances before discussion of the White Paper in this House. I must repeat that His Majesty's Government intend to carry out their obligations under the Mandate to both sections of the population in Palestine.

I am sure that the Prime Minister will realise that it is important to have this matter cleared up as soon as possible. When can he give us an opportunity for a discussion on this subject?

The matter has been in the hands of the usual channels, and I believe that to-morrow, in the course of the statement of next week's business, the subject will be announced. I cannot quite say when it will take place. It may be Monday; it may be Tuesday.

Are we to draw the deduction from the answer of the right hon. Gentleman that the Government are prepared to modify the drafting of the White Paper and to make a statement to that effect in the debate when it takes place?

The right hon. Gentleman might wait for the debate. The substance, I think, is all right.