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League of Nations Council and Palestine: Report Presented by M. Marinkovitch Rapporteur on Mandates

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As regards Palestine, M. Marinkovitch, the Jugo-Slavian Foreign Minister, who is this year’s Rapporteur on Mandates to the League of Nations Council, said in the course of his report to the Council (given briefly in yesterday’s J.T.A. Bulletin) in addition to the Annual Report for 1930, the Permanent Mandates Commission noted the declaration by the British Government dated October 1930 and the text of the British Prime Minister to Dr. Weizmann, dated February 13th., 1931, together with several special reports communicated by the Mandatory Power.

The Commission notes that order has been maintained in Palestine during the year 1930, thanks to a series of measures taken by the Mandatory Power and the reorganisation of the police force. The Commission recognises that the British Government has endeavoured to facilitate Jewish immigration without prejudicing the Arab majority, by increasing Palestine’s economic capacity to absorb immigrants. It has also noted that the preparation for the systematic plan of agricultural development was to be entrusted to a special commissioner. Lastly, the Commission learns with satisfaction that, in accordance with its suggestions, the Mandatory Power is endeavouring to improve relations between Arabs and Jews by inviting them to take part in the consideration of schemes for reform and economic co-operation.

The Commission further hopes, he continued, that the Report which was submitted by the Commission in December 1930, and which, in accordance with the Council’s resolution of January 14th., 1930, has finally determined the rights and claims of the Jews and Moslems with regard to the Wailing wall at Jerusalem, will put an end to all controversy on this subject. I feel certain that the Council will wish to associate itself with this recommendation of the Mandates Commission, and with the hope expressed by the Commission that the fresh attempts to settle the problem of relations between Arabs and Jews may be crowned with success. The special observations of the Commission on the administration of Palestine do not, in my opinion, call for comment.

TERMINATION OF A MANDATE

The observations of the Mandates Commission on the administration of Syria and Lebanon are of quite unusual interest this year, M. Marinkovitch went on. During its session the Commission was, indeed, informed by the accredited representative of the Mandatory Power that the present process of evolution points to the termination of the mandate for Syria and Lebanon at a not very distant date, and that consequently the treaties which the French Government contemplates concluding with the Governments of those countries will relate not only to the carrying-out of the mandate, but to its replacement by a new regime. I feel certain that the Council will wish to congratulate the Mandatory Power on having succeeded, in spite of the great difficulties which, as we are all aware, it has had to face, in equipping the mandated territory with political institutions, administrative machinery and an economic system which make it possible to contemplate the emancipation of the territory in the near future. The Council will, I think, also approve the attitude of the Mandates Commission in refraining from expressing any opinion on a programme of action with the details of which it was not acquainted, and in confining itself to hoping that the agreements preparing the way for the new regime in Syria and Lebanon will ensure the maintenance of certain rights and interests which it is the duty of the Mandatory Power to safeguard until the termination of the Mandate. I do not doubt that the Mandatory Power will comply with the Mandates Commission’s desire to be kept regularly informed of the various phases of the evolution which the regime in Syria and Lebanon is about to undergo.

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS IN REGARD TO MANDATED TERRITORIES

The Council approves the conclusions, says a resolution adopted by the Council, at which the Permanent Mandates Commission has arrived regarding the general conditions to be fulfilled before the mandate regime can be brought to an end in respect of a country placed under that regime. In view of the responsibilities devolving upon the League of Nations, the Council decides that the degree of maturity of mandated territories which it may in future be proposed to emancipate shall be determined in the light of the principles thus laid down, though only after a searching investigation of each particular case. The Council will naturally have to examine with the utmost care all undertakings given by the countries under mandate to the Mandatory Power in order to satisfy itself that they are compatible with the status of an independent State and, more particularly, that the principle of economic equality is safeguarded in accordance with the spirit of the Covenant and with the recommendation of the Mandates Commission.

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