London (Jul. 22)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
The economic and financial disabilities of Palestine under the British mandatory administration were the main topics of discussion in the House of Commons yesterday when the House took up for consideration a resolution to authorize the Chancellor of the Exchequer to guarantee the Â£4,500,000 loan of the Palestine government.
Col. Leopold H. Amery, British Colonial Secretary, who moved the adoption of the resolution, stated that those who criticized Great Britain for assuming the Palestine mandate did not realize that Palestine is today able to repay a large proportion of the financial obligations incurred by the mandatory government. A considerable amount, about three million pounds, was barrowed by the Palestine government for railway improvements and other public works which have been accomplished in the last year or two. The remainder is wanted for necessary developments, particularly for the railways and the construction of the Haifa harbor. The Palestine government proposes to create a really adequate harbor in Haifa which, with a moderate expenditure of about one million pounds, would become the greatest harbor in that region, enabling the development of the entire Near East, the Colonial Minister declared.
The loan would be amply covered but the imperial guarantee is necessary in order that the loan may be secured in the general market at the cheapest possible rate of interest in Palestine, although a small country, has developed largely since the war and still has the widest possibilities for considerable further development. The trade figures justify a loan policy, the Colonial Secretary declared.
Repayments have already been made to Great Britain with respect to the railways and expenses incurred during the occupation. One million pounds has also been repaid to the British exchequer for the railway system which is being taken over by the Palestine government. The total outlay for the railways was about twice that amount, which Palestine is to pay.
Replying to the question of Sir Frederick Wise as to why it was necessary to give Palestine a grant in aid, the Colonial Secretary declared that the grant in aid was intended for defense purposes in Transjordania, covering Palestine as well, where it is desirable to build up something in the nature of a reserve.
William Graham, speaking on behalf of the Labor party, declared that his party is not opposed to the development plan but it would demand information regarding the financial aspects of the loan. This loan, he stated, is different from loans raised for productive purposes and probably will entail more onerous terms for the Palestine government than usual. Harry Snell of the Labor party demanded that the loan be spent for the development of Palestine without discrimination of race or creed. He declared that he received complaints from Palestine labor organizations that the Palestine government is dealing with the cheapest trader whose estimates are based on the cheapest kind of labor, including that of women and children.
The labor party would demand that the resolution authorizing the guarantee of the loan should include a clause guaranteeing fair wages in all contracts connected with the loan and also a clause to the effect that all contracts in connection with the loan should not be an excuse for importing the cheapest kind of sweated labor to the exclusion of the natives. The debate will be continued tomorrow.
A general conference of Jewish workers was held recently in Paris for the purpose of forming a Union of Jewish Workers in France. It is intended that the Union should unite all Jewish workers without regard to their opinions, for the defence of their common interests. An appeal in Yiddish was issued, calling upon the Jewish workers in France to join the Union.
The Hebrew Theological College of Chicago has announced that Rabbi Edward Fried-man, B.A., has been appointed executive secretary of its institution to succeed Rabbi D, Englander.