Illegal Entry Debated in Commons; Macdonald Refuses to Set White Paper Date

The question of Jewish illegal immigration into Palestine was the subject of debate in the House of Commons today, with Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald replying to attacks on the Government’s policy by Laborite Tom Williams and other members.

Interrupting a discussion concerning 182 illegal immigrants quarantined at Haifa, Mr. Williams declared they were no more illegal than the Government which had “sidestepped” the absorptive capacity principle formerly governing Palestine immigration.

“Illegal immigration,” Mr. MacDonald replied, “is definitely illegal. As for the policy of the Government, that is a matter of opinion, but I cannot agree with the implications of the question.”

Laborite David Adams urged that the illegal immigrants be permitted to remain. Mr. MacDonald said their case was still under consideration and voiced agreement with another member who declared their number could be deducted from the regular immigration quota.

The Colonial Secretary refused to give a definite date for publication of the Government White Paper. He gave a blunt negative to Geoffrey Mander, Liberal, who asked if the recent London conference on Palestine had been “dominated by the ex-Mufti in the background.”

The Daily Herald’s diplomatic correspondent reported today that the Cabinet was not unanimous on the forthcoming White Paper on Palestine and that at least one minister had advised further delay in its issuance. Last reports were that publication of the document, which is expected to provide for ultimate establishment of an independent Arab-dominated Palestine state in which Jews would be fixed as a one-third minority, had been postponed until May 23 or 24.

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