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Palestine Defence Cost: £170,000 Excess Cost of British Forces in Palestine over Cost at Normal Sta

Captain Hope (Conservative) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the House of Commons to-day whether the British forces in Palestine and Transjordania were paid by the British Government entirely or only partly, and if he would state the cost to the British Government in the past year.

Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, the Colonial Secretary, replied that the British forces in Palestine and Transjordania were paid by His Majesty’s Government. The estimated cost for the year 1931-32 was £650,000, of which approximately £170,000 represented the excess cost of these forces over their cost at normal stations. The Palestine Government was contributing towards that cost £55,000, and had in addition provided local services of an estimated value of £49,000.

Is there any prospect of the Palestine Government paying any more in the near future? Captain Hope asked.

I should be very sorry to answer that, the Colonial Secretary said, without seeing next year’s estimate in detail.

Brigadier-General #pears asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the Royal Air Force armoured car force in Palestine was established on the lines of similar units in the army, whether the advice of the War Office was sought when these units were formed, and if they were manned by Air Force personnel and commanded by officers of the Royal Air Force, and what previous training and experience these have had of similar land units.

As regards the first part of the question, Sir Philip Sassoon replied, Royal Air Force armoured car units are designed to meet the special requirements of the Royal Air, Force, since they normally work in the closest possible co-operation with aircraft with which, for example, they are in constant touch by wireless. It has also been found essential, he said, to arrange from time to time for an interchange of officer personnel between air and ground units. These and similar factors necessitate an organisation somewhat different from that of the corresponding army formation. As regards the remainder of the question, he added, I would refer General Spears to the reply given to him yesterday. I may tell him again that upon the original formation of these units some ten years ago a number of army personnel were attached or transferred to the Royal Air Force, and that the units are now entirely manned and commanded by the Royal Air Force personnel. Perhaps I should add that the War Office and Air Ministry co-operate in the selection of suit-able types of equipment.