Jerusalem (Jun. 13)
The Report drawn up by Mr. Lewis French, the Director of Palestine Development, has been handed to-day by the High Commissioner, General Sir Arthur Wauchope, to the Executive of the Jewish Agency and the Palestine Arab Executive for their comments, before it is forwarded to the Colonial Office.
In accordance with the Dispatch of July 1931, under which Mr. French was appointed, the Report of the Director of Development must first be submitted in Palestine to the Jewish and Agency and the Arab Executive, and then, together with the Jewish and Arab views sent by the High Commissioner, with his own observations to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London.
Nearly a month ago, about the middle of May, the High Commissioner, in the course of a letter to the Mayor of Gaza, said that the French Report was already in proof, and the question of an Agricultural Bank which had been raised with him during his visit to Gaza was being considered in connection with the Development Scheme.
Dr. Brodetsky told the J.T.A. when he left Palestine on his return to London that the French Report would be ready in a fortnight (from April 9th)., but we shall not, he said, see the report before June or so. It is for that reason, he added, advisable to call the next Actions Committee meeting only at the and of June or July.
Since then it has been announced that the next meeting of the Actions Committee will be held in the middle of July.
During his stay in Palestine, Dr. Brodetsky saw the Director of Palestine Development, Mr. Lewis French, as well as the High Commissioner, the Chief Secretary, and other Palestine Government officials, and before leaving Palestine on his return to London he told the J.T.A. that he had particularly discussed the questions of lands and of Mr. French’s investigations in relationship to the Government and the Jewish Agency.
The really important political problem before us at the moment is that of the Development Scheme and Land Policy, and the reports expected from the Director of Development, Dr. Brodetsky has said.
I cannot, of course, he went on, anticipate Mr. French’s reports or deal with the alarming, and often alarmist rumours circulated in connection with the report. We were not able to appoint a Jewish Adviser, owing to the threat of land legislation in August 1931, prejudicial to Jewish work in Palestine. The question of an Adviser is not practical politics now that the reports are imminent, and the whole matter is to be discussed with the Government. Nevertheless, I can state that Jewish interests
have been watched the whole time, both in London and in Jerusalem. The attitude of the Executive with regard to the problems of development and land legislation is strictly in accordance with the instructions of Congress and Council, and we have made clear to the Government, both in London and in Jerusalem, the principles that we consider indispensable in relation to these matters.
Mr. Emanuel Neuman, on the eve of his departure from Palestine for London at the beginning of this month, lunched together with Dr. Arlossoroff and ex-Deputy Farbstein with the High Commissioner, and it was stated that political matters, including the French Report, were discussed in the course of the conversation.
The Report, it was added at the time, would be placed in the hands of the Jewish Agency Executive and the Arab Executive in about a week from then.
Mr. J. H. Thomas, the Minister for Dominions, speaking in the House of Commons when he was Colonial Secretary, in reply to a question whether it was proposed to ask Parliament to guarantee a loan of 2Â½ million pounds for the relief of agriculture in Palestine, said that the question of asking His Majesty’s Government to guarantee such a loan does not arise at the moment, but will be further considered in due course in the light of the general financial situation. The scheme, if and when approved by His Majesty’s Government, he added, will be administered by the Director of Development in Palestine, Mr. Lewis French.
The present Colonial Secretary, Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, confirmed this statement later in the House of Commons, and when Colonel Wedgwood asked in this connection whether they could take it that there will be no commitment under this head without the House of Commons being informed, Sir Philip said: The position is that Parliamentary sanction is required before a loan is granted. If that is so, the whole matter will come before the House for consideration.
Mr. Janner followed up the statement by asking whether, in considering this question, the contents of the letter read by the Prime Minister announced in Parliament (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald’s letter of authoritative interpretation of the Passfield White Paper, addressed to Dr. Weizmann) will be kept under consideration, and the Colonial Secretary, Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, replied to the question in the affirmative.