London (Mar. 14)
A reply to the French Ministry on the question of granting the concession of the exploitation of the salts of the Dead Sea, will soon be sent by the British Government, Sir Austin Chamberlain declared in reply to a question raised by Col. Howard Bury. Col. Bury, in the House of Commons, has consistently opposed the granting of the concession to Engineer Moses Novomejsky.
The Foreign Secretary stated further that he does not understand Col. Bury’s implication that granting the concession to Novomejsky in principle offers an obstacle to a settlement by agreement with the French Government. However, the question of settlement by agreement has not arisen. Sir Austin further stated that he cannot say whether France intends to take the matter of the Dead Sea concession to the International Tribunal at The Hague, but he does not think that France will make any decision until she has received the British Government’s reply.
The French Government insists on the validity of the concession to exploit the salts of the Dead Sea, granted before the war to Ottoman subjects by the Turkish government and purchased from them by French operators.
The British Government persists in its refusal to recognize the French claims. It is believed in some quarters that this was the cause of the considerable delay in the signing of the concession to Engineer Moses Novemejsky.