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Colonial Office Failure to Amplify White Paper Causes Much Confusion in Palestine

The failure of the Colonial Office to follow up immediately its new statement of policy on Palestine with new legislation giving effect to this policy, particularly as regards immigration and land purchase has left the local government authorities as much at sea as the Jewish officials regarding immediate action.

This is indicated first by the fact that a number of government departments have been instructed not to increase their scope of work in planning their new budgets and secondly by the unprecedented action of the High Commissioner in submitting to the Colonial Office for its approval the Jewish Agency Executive’s immigration proposals for the next six month period. In the past these proposals have either been approved or rejected by the High Commissioner without consulting the Colonial Office.

As regards land transfers confusion is apparent among both sellers and prospective purchasers as well as the government land office. Purchasers are hesitating to deposit their fees at the land registry office, anticipating difficulty in obtaining refunds in the event that new legislation voids the sale.

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It was learned today that the recommendation contained in the Simpson report that in estimating the economic capacity of Palestine to absorb new immigrants account should be taken of Arab as well as Jewish unemployment, a recommendation echoed in the government’s statement of policy, was made by High Commissioner Chancellor. Although not receding from this stand as incorporated in the White Paper he is known to be anxious to permit the maximum number of persons of means and artisans not offering possible competition with Arab labor to enter the country.

Meanwhile more people are commenting on and discussing the Simpson report, having had an opportunity to study it since the full text has become available. A number of British officials and civilians have expressed themselves as struck by what they term the misplaced humor, petty and irrelevant facts, hasty judgment, general superficiality as well as the apparent misstatements that characterize the report on which the government’s new policy is based.

The director of one government department has said that all of Sir John Simpson’s conclusions relative to his department’s activities are fallacious, adding that this is perhaps also true of other departments. In this connection it is understood that the government is likely to ask all department heads to comment on the facts, figures and conclusions of the Simpson report and also on the feasibility of his recommendations.

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