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Britain’s Report to League Awaits Royal Commission Inquiry

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Foreign Minister Anthony Eden of Great Britain yesterday informed the League of Nations Council at a public meeting that the report on Palestine asked by the Mandates Commission would have to be deferred until the Royal Commission presented its report to Parliament.

Mr. Eden’s statement may be summarized thus:

The current situation in the Holy Land unfortunately shows no sign, of immediate improvement. The Government, which did not anticipate that the disorders would be so long and drawn out, has always been willing to facilitate to the best of its ability the important task of the Mandates Commission.

As matters, however, stand now there is no prospect that the Government will be in a position to furnish the Autumn session of the commission with the information sought. Clearly, it would be premature, pending the report of the Royal Commission to express any opinion on the causes of such dissension. The Government, through Colonial Secretary William G.A. Ormsby-Gore has already stated that it contemplates no change of policy in Palestine until the commission’s report has been received and considered.

However, Britain will be happy to furnish the Mandates Commission with copies of the report at the earliest possible moment. The Mandates Commission, meanwhile, the government feels certain, will understand the difficulty which Mr. Eden or his associates find in making any replies to questions forming the province of the Royal Commission’s probe. The Government would appreciate League members’ patience in awaiting the outcome of the Royal Commission’s accommodations regarding a solution of Palestinian disorders.

Mr. Eden’s argument produced an unfavorable impression among the delegates, especially since the Mandates Commission had criticized Britain’s refusal last month to supply information as to the causes and significance of the terroristic outbursts in the Holy Land.

Pierre Ortis of Belgium, vice-chairman of the Mandates Commission, who last month characterized Britain’s appointment of the Royal Commission as “stalling for time”, said he knew full well that the Government would find it impossible to declare what its intentions in Palestine were. He expressed regret that the discussion on the 1935 Palestine mandate report could not be terminated. As matters stand now, said Mr. Ortis, the Mandates Commission would be unable to make any observations on the Palestine situation.

Arising to conclude the debate, Mr. Eden declared that he was aware of the anxieties of the Mandates Commission but nevertheless his Government in Palestine had grave responsibilities which it had to face. Therefore, he could not promise a report until the Royal Commission finished its investigation, he said.

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