Geneva (Oct. 20)
In connection with the meeting of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations this week, a booklet has been issued by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on the subject of Mandates. It deals with the origin of the Mandate system, the territorial allocation of the Mandates, etc.
In the determination of the Mandate for Palestine, it is pointed out, certain particular circumstances had to be taken into account. The Palestine Mandate states that the Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home and the development of self-governing institutions. A special organization known as the Jewish Agency is recognized as a public body for the purpose of cooperating with the administration in such matters as affect the Jewish National Home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine. The Zionist Organization so long as its organization and constitution are appropriate is recognized as such agency but is to take steps to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish National Home. The administration is to facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and encourage settlement by Jews on the land, and the nationality law for Palestine is to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in the country. On the other hand, the Mandate emphasizes that the administration must ensure that the rights and position of other sections of the population will not be prejudiced by this policy and that the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine irrespective of race and religion must be safeguarded.
The British Government has drafted several proposals regarding the establishment of the commission which is to be appointed by the Mandatory under Article 14 of the Mandate to determine the rights and claims in connection with the Holy Places and the different religious communities in Palestine. The control of the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites in Palestine has in the past given rise to considerable difficulties and conflicts. The plans of the British Government on the subject have not as yet met the views of all the Powers represented on the Council, and the British Government has expressed the hope that the Powers which have been unable to accept its suggestions would themselves endeavor to formulate a generally acceptable scheme for the consideration of the Council of the League of Nations.
The Mandated areas, it is emphasized, are administered on behalf of the League of Nations as a whole, and this implies the indirect responsibility of all its Members. The supervision of the observance of the Mandates is, however, a matter in the first instance entrusted to the Council of the League. The Permanent Mandates Commission is a purely advisory body; it has no power to render any decisions or to make direct recommendations to the Mandatories.
The commission examines and discusses each report in the presence of the duly accedited representative of the Mandatory Power who offers any supplementary information required. When this discussion is at an end and the representative has withdrawn, the commission decides on the observations to be submitted to the Council. These observations are communicated to the Mandatory Power which is entitled to add any comments of its own, and such comments are published at the same time as the reports of the Mandatory Powers and the observations of the commission.