London (Feb. 10)
Negotiations are still in progress between the Iraq Petroleum Company and the Government of Iraq, and I am not in a position to say whether any agreement has been reached, Dr. Drummond Shiels, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, said in the House of Commons this afternoon in reply to a question by Mr. Hore Belisha, a Jewish member of the Liberal Party, associated with the Seventh (Palestine) Dominion League.
The Company has negotiated a formal agreement with the Governments of Palestine and Transjordan regarding the conditions on which it will be allowed to construct a pipe line through those territories, Dr, Shiels explained, but the decision as to construction must obviously depend upon the outcome of the negotiations with Iraq.
Dr. Shiels’ statement bears out what was suggested in this regard in the J.T.A. Bulletin of the 5th. inst., that “the convention signed between the Iraq Petroleum Company and the Palestine Government is still contingent upon the conclusion of an agreement between the Company and the Government of Iraq”, and further that “the negotiations between the Iraq Petroleum Company and the Governments of France and the French mandated territories of Syria and Lebanon have not yet been completed and it is still possible that an agreement will be reached to lay the oil pipe line to Alexandretta, Tripolis or some other Syrian port, as well as to Haifa, carrying out the much-discussed bifurcation project. In any case, the possibility of the oil pipe line being built to a Syrian port as well as to Haifa is not disposed of by the agreement.”
FRENCH ANXIETY LEST LINE BE CONSTRUCTED ONLY TO HAIFA AND CONSTRUCTION OF TRIPOLI LINE POSTPONED INDEFINITELY OWING TO DIPLOMATIC TROUBLES: M. BRIAND ASKED TO EXPLAIN POSITION TO SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMISSION
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the French Senate, the “Times” reports to-day, has directed its chairman to request M. Briand, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to appear before it and to furnish it with precise information as to the present relations between Syria and Iraq, the schemes for pipe lines between Mosul and the sea, and “the value of certain news quite recently published”. The decision to call upon M. Briand was reached only after a long discussion, in the course of which several members of the Committee repeated the statement that an agreement had been reached some six months ago between Great Britain, France, Syria, and Iraq. By this agreement it is understood that the pipe line had been so designed that one branch would terminate at Tripolis, and would thus be under French control, while the other would terminate at Haifa and would be under British control. It was stated by various Senators that the line to Tripolis would traverse a flat country and could be constructed at a relatively low cost, while the other would cross a hilly country and its construction would be expensive. Reference was made to recent statements in the French Press according to which it was now intended to construct only the line to Haifa and to postpone the construction of the line to Tripolis indefinitely owing to diplomatic difficulties.