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Palestine (Mps' Broadcast Appeal)

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 23 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he authorised the broadcasting from Palestine of an appeal from two hon. Members calling on all Jews to help towards the release of two kidnapped British sergeants; and whether he had the script of the proposed broadcast beforehand.

My hon. Friends the Members for East Coventry (Mr. Crossman), and West Coventry (Mr. Edelman), asked if a message from them might be broadcast by the Palestine Broadcasting Service, calling upon the Jewish community to assist in obtaining the release of two British soldiers kidnapped on 12th July, one of whom was a constituent of the hon. Member for West Coventry. I informed the hon. Members that, while I had no objection, this was a matter within the discretion of the High Commissioner for Palestine. He was consulted by telegram and, with his consent, the message was broadcast in Palestine on 17th July. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the affirmative.

Would it not have been more courteous on the part of the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn), and more in accordance with Parliamentary traditions, if he had advised the two Members for Coventry of his intention to raise this matter? Would he not have served more effectively the cause of saving the lives of these two soldiers, to save whom was the sole purpose of sending this message, if he had not sought to disparage the broadcast?

Since that question has been put, Mr. Speaker, may I say that the hon. Gentleman has no right to suggest that I sought to disparage the broadcast, whatever that may mean? I did consider telling the two hon. Members I was putting the Question down. It then occurred to me that, by the putting of the Question down, the Question itself would reach them as quickly as a note from me.