Protectionist Stand of Samuel in Palestine Referred to in Parliamentary Debate

The “shady past” of Sir Herbert Samuel, the Home Secretary of the British Government, who resigned as a protest against the imposition of tariffs, during his office as High Commissioner for Palestine, was recalled good-humoredly yesterday by Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister, Colonial Secretary, in the course of the Parliamentary debate regarding the Ottawa imperial conference.

It would have been difficult to find a more arrant protectionist than Sir Herbert Samuel when he was responsible for the Palestine administration, the Colonial Secretary stated, referring to the imposition of high protective duties by Samuel on Palestine salt. This enabled Palestinians to produce salt not only for their own consumption, but also to export it to Egypt.

While preaching free trade for England, Samuel practiced protectionism for Palestine, Cunliffe-Lister further pointed out.

At this point Samuel interrupted, declaring that the salt tariff in Palestine was an inheritance from the Turkish regime. Cunliffe-Lister, unabashed, retorted that Samuel himself imposed protectionist duties in Palestine on such products as tobacco in order to enable Palestinians to develop their own tobacco industry.

To this Samuel replied that it was not a protective duty, but a revenue tax.

Cunliffe-Lister, however, refused to accept this differentiation.

At the same time, the Colonial Secretary disclosed that differences had existed on the tariff question in Palestine between Sir Herbert Samuel and Leopold Amery when the former was Palestine High Commissioner and the latter Colonial Secretary.

That there was no intention on the part of the Colonial Secretary to attack the Palestine policy of Sir Herbert Samuel was disclosed in the former’s concluding remarks that even Free Traders such as Samuel when confronted with the responsibilities of practical administration have to depart from their Free Trade policy.

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