London (Feb. 29)
Much harm has been caused by a careless reading of statements in the House of Commons in relation to the tariff question, so far as it concerns Palestine, Dr. Selig Brodetsky, member of the Jewish Agency Executive, said this afternoon in the course of a statement which he made at a press conference held at the Zionist Central Offices here. I would like to make it clear, he proceeded, that the question of the inclusion of Palestine within the scope of Imperial Preference is only dealt with in the legislation just passed in the sense that the Import Duties Act empowers the Government to include, by Order-in-Council, any Mandated Territory within the scope of exemption from the Import Duties, should such inclusion be deemed desirable.
The Act has now been passed, and it contains a permissive Clause to the above effect, Dr. Brodetsky went on. We understand, he said, that the Secretary of State is personally very anxious that Palestine shall have the benefit of such exemption, but the matter is complicated by certain considerations of a legal nature. The Government seems to be fully aware of the advantages which would accrue to all sections of the Palestine population from the extension of Imperial Preference to Palestine, and all we can do for the moment is to await developments. I have no means, he concluded, of anticipating how soon a definite decision may be expected.