Mandates Body Reports Unfavorably on British Proposal for Wailing Wall Commission; Britain Offers Al

recommend the British proposal to the Council. The powers which would be vested in the special commission were not, in the Mandates Commission’s opinion, compatible with the terms of Article 14 of the Mandate which reserved exclusively to a special commission competence over all questions connected with the holy places of Palestine, of which the Wailing Wall question is one.

“Moreover, according to the proposal, the composition of the commission was to be determined by the president of the Council whereas according to Article 14 the method of nomination, composition and functions of the commission are to be determined by the Mandatory power and submitted to the Council for approval. Realizing the importance of the problem to solve and the difficulties, the Commission took the opportunity to state that it was prepared to consider, with the view of recommending to the Council, any proposal that might be submitted, and without being contrary to the terms of the Mandate that might settle the differences existing between the Jews and Moslems with regard to the Wailing Wall, to calm aroused feelings and to permanently insure peace and order in Palestine.”

Following this the British government offered the alternative proposal outlined above. Making a further concession Great Britain agrees that the members of the proposed commission appointed for the purpose of dealing with the Wailing Wall question should end their membership as soon as their decision on the questions referred to them had been given. As regards the method of nomination for the commission Britain finds that the provisions of Article 14 are not quite clear but that she is nevertheless prepared to comply with whatever the Council may consider to be the correct interpretation. Subject to this, England proposes to the Council that it approve in principal the appointment of a commission and that England submit to the Council its ideas on the commission’s composition in accordance with the terms of the Mandate.

Great Britain even hopes that it will be able to submit actual nominations for the Council’s approval, the actual nominations to be made by the British government on receipt of an intimation from the president of the Council that the Council approved the nominations. Even if the actual nominations cannot be submitted to the Council at its coming session it is hoped that if the Council approves the composition of a commission the approval of the actual nominees may be obtained without waiting for the next session.

After the rapporteur of the Mandates Commission, Procope, read the report to the Council he announced that the British government had submitted a new proposal regarding the appointment of a commission by the Council of the League of Nations to settle the Wailing Wall question. He thanked the British government, saying that the new proposal is additional proof of the good will of the British government to settle the question.

In order to give the members of the Council an opportunity to study the new memorandum, M. Procope suggested that the discussion on the new proposal should be postponed for a later meeting. Arthur Henderson, British Foreign Secretary, agreed to the suggestion.

Regarding the proposed extraordinary session of the Mandates Commission to be held in March, M. Procope considers it advisable that the session should be put off until a later date because the British government is not certain whether the report of the Palestine Inquiry Commission will be ready by then. The British government desires that the Mandates Commission should investigate the Palestine events completely and in order to do so it is necessary to have the report of the Shaw Committee. Procope also suggested that this matter be discussed at a later meeting of the Council. The proposal was adopted.

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