Sir Herbert Samuel Pleads Palestine Cause in House of Commons

The first address delivered by Sir Herbert Samuel, Liberal leader and former High Commissioner of Palestine, was devoted to a plea in behalf of a fair opportunity for development for Palestine.

Rising, during the debate in the House of Commons, at the second reading of the Colonial Development Fund bill, Sir Herbert stated that he fails to understand why the loan facilities extended in the bill to East Africa are withheld from Palestine. He hopes, he stated, that the government will accept the amendment to remove the limitation. He wishes to direct particular attention to loans to mandated territories. Under the mandate system, the category (a) to which Palestine belongs, constitutes such mandated territories which should at some period become self-governing countries. If these territories were to try to float a loan, repayable within a period of forty to sixty years, investors would be unwilling to loan money because they would contend that it is indefinite how long the country will remain under British administration. Consequently the mandated territories find themselves in a unique and unfavorable position. It is therefore essential that the British government be willing to guarantee their loans.

He hopes, Sir Herbert stated, that in the new measure under consideration, Palestine will not be forgotten. (Continued on Page 4)

Although the country is historically ancient, it is economically new and is only now standing on the threshold of modern civilization. He believes, he added, that Palestine is the only country, of the territories affected by the World War, which ever repaid anything to the British Exchequer for railways and other assets left by the military administration.

The former High Commissioner further stated that he wishes to draw the attention of the government to the desirability of constructing a railway from Haifa to the Syrian frontier, so that the Palestinian railways may be linked with the Syrian railways. When he was High Commissioner, he discussed the matter with the French High Commissioner of Syria, who was strongly in favor of the project. This would be of great advantage to the Palestine railways because it would allow a through traffic between Egypt and Syria, permit trade between Syria and Palestine, and link Palestine with Asia Minor.

Sir Oswald Mosely, referring to Sir Herbert Samuel’s query, replied that Palestine is not specifically mentioned in the clause referred to, because Palestine can be assisted under other clauses of the bill which permits mandated countries to make loans under the Colonial Development Fund.

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