Mandates Commission Discusses British Proposal for International Commission to Settle Wall Dispute

The Mandates Commission of the League of Nations spent all day Friday dealing with the unexpected memorandum of the British Government containing the proposal that a special international commission be appointed to settle the Wailing Wall question in Palestine. Although the British government had agreed to making public the memorandum, the Mandates Commission decided to deal with the matter in strict confidence. It did not even issue the usual communique that the Commission was in session.

In connection with the British Government’s proposal, it is timely to recall what Article 14 of the Mandate for Palestine says on the matter of an international commission: “A special Commission shall be appointed by the Mandatory to study, define and determine the rights and claims in connection with the Holy Places and the rights and claims relating to the different religious communities in Palestine. The method of nomination, the composition and the functions of this Commission shall be submitted to the Council of the League for its approval, and the Commission shall not be appointed or enter upon its functions without the approval of the council.”

The plan for the Commission failed in 1922, the year in which the Mandate was given, because the Council of the League of Nations did not approve of the composition and functions of the Commission as suggested by Great Britain and because the Catholic pow-

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(Continued from Page 1) ers objected to an American being named as chairman.

So far as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s correspondent has been able to learn, in the present memorandum, the British Government states that in view of the continuous conflicts over the Wailing Wall, it suggests that the Council of the League of Nations create immediately a special commission for the sole purpose of settling the Wailing Wall dispute. It further suggests that the recommendation for such a commission might best come as the opinion of the Mandates Commission in the matter.

At Friday’s session the Mandates Commission discussed whether, as an advisory body to the Council of the League, it was entitled to reply directly to the mandatory power and not through the Council itself. In view of the fact that the British memorandum was sent directly to the Mandates Commission instead of to the Council, which is the ordinary procedure in such matters, the Mandates Commission decided to reply directly to the British Government.

It is believed the decision will be made known some time this week, the Commission expecting to sit until Tuesday.

There was a long debate regarding the memorandum itself, the majority of the members being of the opinion that Article 14 of the Mandate made no provision for a special commission to deal solely with the Wailing Wall dispute. The final decision on the matter, however, will not be reached until the day when a specially selected committee of four members will report on the suggested form of the reply to the British Government.

In certain circles here it is assumed that Great Britain’s proposal is connected with the recent visit of the secretary of the League of Nations to the Vatican and to London. It is further felt that it is likely that the British Government desires to make a definite proposition on Palestine at the forthcoming meeting of the Council of the League of Nations in January and that it is now approaching the Mandates Commission directly in order to give them time for discussion before

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(Continued from Page 2) the matter is brought up at the Council sessions.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns on authoritative information that the action of the British Government in asking for an international commission is not due to the fact that the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry now sitting in Palestine is unable to cope with the situation. The Inquiry Commission is not called upon to settle any problems but merely to investigate the riot causes. The Palestine Government, however, which is anxious to have the Wailing Wall question and the status quo definitely fixed in order to avoid further complications, has urged the appointment of such a commission upon the British Government.

The suggestion that the naming of an international commission is the result of Italian pressure is merely vague speculation.

It is believed the extraordinary session of the Mandates Commission will be held in April and not in March inasmuch as the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry will not have completed its report by March.

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