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Macmahon Letters Not to Be Published; Incompatible with Public Interest, Commons Told

There is not sufficient ground for holding that the MacMahon-Hussein correspondence either intended to do or did in fact pledge the British government to include Palestine in the promises of a projected Arab state made by Sir Henry MacMahon, the House of Commons was informed today by Dr. Drummond Shiels, under-secretary for the colonies, in replying to a question from F. S. Cocks, Laborite. The House of Commons will recess today without time having been granted for a full Palestine debate.

Dr. Shiels said that Sir Henry himself had denied that the inclusion of Palestine in the proposed Arab state was his intention. Dr. Shiels explained, however, that the ambiguous and inconclusive nature of the correspondence might have left the impression. that the government had such intentions. Continuing, Dr. Shiels said, that the government, impressed by the feeling of Parliament regarding the correspondence, had reexamined it fully in the light of the history of the period and the interpretations put upon it and there were still valid reasons, entirely unconnected with the Palestine question, which render it in the highest degree undesirable in the public interest to publish the correspondence.The matter of making public the MacMahon-Hussein correspondence had been repeatedly raised in Parliament during the last few months. Each time Dr. Shiels avoided any definite answer but always promised a statement in the future. It is presumed that today’s explanation is the promised statement. It appears to put an end to the demand for the publication of the correspondence.

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