Marshall Announces Plan of Palestine Experts Survey; Detailed Program for Commission’s Work
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Marshall Announces Plan of Palestine Experts Survey; Detailed Program for Commission’s Work

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The detailed program of the work of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission, which is now surveying conditions in Palestine on behalf of the Jewish Agency, with a view to working out a plan of ten years activity for the reconstruction of the country under the terms of the Palestine mandate, was made public yesterday by Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, representing one of the parties to the Jewish Agency accord concluded between him and Dr. Chaim Weizmann.

The program is described in a document entitled “Terms of Reference to the Commissioners,” directed under the date of June 1, 1927 to the Right Hon. Sir Alfred Mond, Dr. Lee K. Frankel, Felix M. Warburg and Dr. Oscar Wasserman, the four commissioners who will supervise the survey.

As it appears from the outline given to the Commissioners, the Palestine Survey Commission will inquire into the present state and future prospects of agriculture, mining, industry, commerce and will ascertain the results ot the activities carried on in Palestine by the Zionist Organization and other Jewish organizations and private undertakings during the past ten years.

The Commission is also charged with the task of examining all available records to ascertain the receipts of the past ten years of the various Jewish bodies engaged in Palestine work and the sources of such receipts. The commission will deal with the problems of immigration, agriculture, colonization, industry, cooperative movement, hanking and credit, public health, labor, finance and the physiographical and geographical character of the country.

In the letter addressed to the commissioners, made public yesterday through the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Mr. Marshall and Dr. Weizmann state:

A Joint Palestine Survey Commission, upon which you have had the goodness to accept membership, has been created, pursuant to an agreement entered into by the the undersigned, for the purpose of ascertaining, by means of a survey and investigation conducted on scientific lines, the resources, economic conditions and possibilities of Palestine, to facilitate the framing of a comprehensive and systematic programme for future constructive work in Palestine and for the guidance of a reorganized Jewish Agency.

With this end in view, the Commission is requested to inquire into and report upon the following subjects, and any other related matters which in its discretion it may deem to come within the scope of the purposes for which it has been formed, special reference being had to the annexed specifications, which are made a part hereof:


I. General Survey: (a) The ecomonic resources of Palestine; (b) The present state and future prospects of; (i) agricalture; (ii) mining; (iii) industry; (iv) commerce.

(c) The nature, extent and results of Jewish activities in Palestine during the past ten years, including the activities of (i) the Zionist Organization and its subsidiaries; (ii) other public bodies and institutions; (iii) private undertakings.

The Commission is requested to make or cause to be made an accurate and detailed examination of all available records with a view to ascertaining the receipts for the past ten years of the various Jewish bodies engaged in activities in or for Palestine and the sources of such receipts, the expenditures of such bodies, their plan of organization, methods of management and operation, and their respective assets and liabilities, and to report thereon.

II. Immigration: The selection, transport, reception and distribution of immigrants, with special reference to the separate requirements of (a) immigrants without means; (b) immigrants with means.

III. Agricultural Colonization: (a) The possibility and desirability of acquiring additional land for colonization, (i) in areas where Jewish colonization has already begun; (ii) in other parts of Palestine; (iii) in any neighboring territory in which suitable land may be or may become, available; (b) Methods of facilitating the advantageons acquisition of land; (c) Methods of colonization with special reference to (i) the prospects and relative advantages of cereal-farming, fruit-farming dairyfarming, poultry-farming, and other branches of agriculture; (ii) the relative advantages of the various types of settlement; (iii) the relations, including in particular the financial relations, between the settler and the colonizing agency, (d) Irrigation, dry-farming and afforestation, (e) Agricultural education, experiment and research, (f) Generally, the means by which further progress can be made with close settlement by Jews on the land as contemplated in Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine.

IV. Industry; (a) Openings for the investment of capital in industries large or small (inchuling fisheries), providing employment for Jewish labor. (b) The feasible measures which can be taken to encourage the development of Jewish industry in Palestine, with special reference to the needs of industrialists possessing moderate capital.

V. The Co-operative Movement; The development of the co-operative movement in its varions branches, its place in the economic life of the Jews in Palestine, and the practicable measures if any, which can be taken to strengthen the movement and increase its mility, including measures designed to promote the establishment on a co-operative basis of small industries producing goods for local consumption.

VI. Banking and Credit: The adequacy of the existing machinery for the provision of credit, and the measures, if any, which can safely be taken to make credit more readily available for (a) agriculture; (b) industry; (c) commerce; regard being had to the activities of existing financial institutions, including co-operative credit institutions, both urban and agricultural.

VII. Public Health: The nature, extent, cost and results of Jewish activities in the field of public health, and the division of responsibility between the various Jewish organizations concerned, and between those organizations and the official public health authorities.

VIII. Labor: The relations of employer and employed and the problems existing or to be anticipated with respect thereto in agriculture, industry (including the building trades) and commerce are to be specially considered.


IX. Finance: (a) The Commission is requested to prepare a budget, in which shall be set forth an itemized estimate of the expenditure reasonably required to give effect to its recommendations, so far as such expenditure can at present be computed.

(b) The Commission is also requested to make such recommendations as it may think fit with regard to the means by which the necessary financial resources are to be provided, and the machinery by which they are to be administered, the object in view being to insure the utmost degree of efficiency and economy and the elimination of every form of waste. In such recommendations the revenue and administrative machinery of such financial institutions as the Palestine Foundation Fund (Keren Hayesod) and the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth) are to be taken into account for the time being.

It is earnestly hoped that you may be able as speedily as is consonant with the importance of the inquiry which you are to institute and the farreaching results which will follow from your action, to render an exhaustive report upon the several subjects referred to you, embodying your findings and recommendations with respect thereto.

It is scarcely necessary to add that the recommendations of the Commission should take into account among other things the conditions peculiar to Palestine and the distinctive characteristics of its population.

The letter is signed by Mr. Marshall and Dr. Weizmann.

The specifications attached to the letter state:

A Joint Palestine Survey Commission having been designated pursuant to agreement to make a scientific and thorough survey and investigation of the agricultural, industrial, commercial. economic and financial conditions of Palestine and adjacent countries, and related subjects, it has been determined that the general lines of inquiry to be pursued are the following:

I. Physiographical and Geological: (a) The general climatic conditions of the region throughout the year as affecting agriculture, horticulture, fruit growing and animal husbandry, and in their relation to the public health, are to be studied.

(b) The topography and geological and other characteristic features of Palestine and adjacent countries, as bearing on the economic development of the region, are to be carefully noted.

This will embrace a geographical study, including a consideration of the diversified character of the land extending from the sea plain to the mountains, of the various harbors and water courses, of the highway system. the facilities for advantageous inland and foreign transportation, the possibilities of developing hydro-electric power, of obtaining water adequate for irrigation, and of increasing the now available potable and commercial water supply by the sinking of artesian wells and otherwise and the construction of reservoirs and aqueducts.

(c) Soil analysis. This will involve the ascertainment of the nature, qualities and characteristics of the soil in the various parts of the region, its chemical and mineral constituents, its adaptability for the growth of forests. orchards, cereal and other crops, truck farming, forage, and such other products for which markets exist or can be created.


(d) Mining and other possibilities. This relates to the ascertainment of the sub-surface resources in the various regions, including the development of oil wells, quarries, and the production of minerals, metals and other substances possessing valuable physical or chemical properties. This would include a consideration of the utilization of the waters of the Dead Sea and the feasibility of reforesting the mountain slopes and other lands not adapted for agriculture.

In respect to each of these subjects it is important to secure the fullest statistical information available, which it is appreciated will be dependent, to a large extent, upon data to be derived from Government and other authoritative reports.

II. Demography: (a) An accurate account of the inhabitants of Palestine and adjoining regions, dealing with the composition and characteristics of the population, its various race stocks, their relations to each other, their respective standards of living, occupations pursued, languages spoken, and the literacy of the several elements.

(b) Vital statistics; giving such information in tabular form as is accessible relating to births, deaths, marriages, divorces and health conditions.

(c) Tabular information as to immigration and emigration annually during the past ten years, according to sex, age, lands of nativity and occupations, the present method of distributing immigrants, their employment, living conditions, economic status and financial resources.

III. Agricultural Resources and Possibilities: The ascertainment of the area of land in Palestine and adjacent countries suitable for productive and profitable use and cultivation for–

(1) cereal and other usual crops: (2) the growth of citrus and other fruits, including dates, figs, olives, bananas and small fruits: (3) vegetable and other products of truck farming; (4) grazing, pasturage and forage; (5) dairying; (6) the growth of sugar, cotton, tobacco and grapes; (7) the incidental manufacture of wine, cigars and cigarettes and of vegetable oils, and the canning or preserving of fruits; (8) animal husbandry, including poultry farming; and the extent to which these several forms of cultivation and other related activities are economically practicable.


In each instance statistical information so far as accessible, or such data as are available, should be collected for the purpose of determining to what extent these various forms of agriculture and allied industries have been conducted in the past, the cost of the land and buildings employed therein, the expense of development, the methods pursued and the results attained, and the use, cost, need and availability of fertilizers; also to what extent additional arable cultivable or grazing lands are available, and at what cost, for additional development, and the districts where such lands are located.

The quality and marketability of the various products enumerated, the extent to which they may be respectively improved and the degree to which the methods heretofore adopted may be advantageously varied or modified, should be ascertained, due regard being had to the suitability of the soil in the various districts for that particular form of agriculture now practical or which may be advantogeously substituted, with a view to the introduction of such methods as will best correlate soil and products.

Information should also be secured as to the character of farming and other implements used in connection with the various agricultural activities, the extent to which irrigation is now employed or is necessary or practicable or may be successfully extended, to what degree and how existing methods of irrigation may be improved and at what cost to the distributor and the user of the water supplied. The feasibility of dry farming in the various districts should also be carefully investigated, with a statement of the results to be reasonably anticipated and the probable cost incident to the system recommended.

Attention should especially be directed to the establishment of proper standards for the maintenance of a high quality of products and to the introduction of the most approved forms of planting, harvesting, packing, grading, storing, transporting and of domestic and foreign marketing.

In connection with cattle-raising and dairying, attention should be given to the breed of cattle best adapted for home and other markets, their suitability to climatic conditions and their susceptibility to or immunity from cattle diseases. This also applies to the raising of horses, donkeys, sheep and goats.

It is also desirable to ascertain the amount now invested by Jewish organizations and Jewish settlers in land, buildings, improvements, equipment, tools, and live-stock; the nature of the prevailing land-tenure and the general provisions of the contracts under which settlers are operating; the living conditions of the settlers; the total area under cultivation, the yield per acre of the various kinds of prodacts, the unit prices obtained and amounts realized for crops, fruits, dairy products, cattle and other of the animals above specified, during each of the past five years.

Special attention should be given to the various classes of labor available, the standards of living of agricultural laborers, their efficiency, and their rate of compensation.

IV. Industrial and Commercial Possibilities of Palestine and Adjacent Regions: This involves a study of (1) the existing industry and commerce of Palestine; (2) the raw materials, native and imported, available, and their cost, compared with the like materials in other countries; (3) the amount of capital invested in industry and commerce; (4) the supply of suitable labor and its cost; (5) foreign and domestic markets for manufactured products.

This will necessitate a classification of such industries as are now or which have been carried on in Palestine during the past ten years, the txtent and the degree to which the various undertakings in that field have proven successful or unsuccessful, and the reasons for such failures as may have occurred so far as ascertainable; the number of Jewish and Arab workmen now engaged in the various industries, and the average number employed in the various industrial establishments.

The labor problem generally and particularly in connection with these several classes of industry, including the building and other trades, should also be thoroughly considered in its various aspects. This includes a consideration of the several classes of labor available and the cost and efficiency of each, the standards of living of the various classes of employces, their hours of labor, their expermess, and the cost of the various classes of labor, and especially by way of comparison with the cost of like labor in those countries where goods similar to those produced in Palestine are manufactured for disposition in markets with which Palestine will have to compete.

In respect to Palestinian commercial activities, it is desirable to ascertain to what extent merchandise has been or can be profitably disposed of at home and abroad. It would also be useful to ascertain to what extent hydro-electric power produced or about to be produced will be available and at what cost to the consumer.

Careful attention should be given to the relative extent of urban as contrasted with agricultural development, and consideration given to the special problems growing out of past experience in connection with building operations and with respect to unemployment.

V. Banking and Finance. This calls for the ascertainment of the capital resources as supplied by (1) banks of loan and deposit; (2) land or mortgage banks; (3) public or private trust companies; (4) credit facilities.

In each instance it is desirable to secure reliable information as to the amount of capital available, the terms and conditions on which loans are made or credit is extended, including the cost of obtaining loans, the rate of interest and the security required, the relation of demand and supply, the term for which loans are obtainable, the percentage of losses sustained by the lenders, and the promptitude with which payments have been made by the borrowers. This also necessitates an inquiry regarding the extent to which the introduction of new and improved methods of banking and the extension of credits may be feasible without involving substantial risks to the lender. It will likewise be desirable to ascertain whether, and if so to what extent, a coordination of the various capitl resources is practicable.

VI. Public Health and Hygiene: This will involve a study of climatic and other conditions affecting public health, the maintenance of an appropriate Jewish health service co-operating with governmental and other agencies, a survey of hospitals, clinics and dispensaries, of nursing, public and private; the extent to which endemic diseases exist or have been ameliorated, the adequacy and potability of the milk and the water supply, and the possibilities of public health education in personal and public hygience, and other methods of sanitary control, and the subject of sewage disposal.

VII. Accounting, Audit and Budget: There is to be a detailed examination, with a report thereon, by qualified accountants of all available records to ascertain the receipts, the sources whence derived and the expenditures made in connection with the carrying on of the various official Jewish activities conducted in or for Palestine during the past ten years, their plan of organization, methods of management and operation, and their respective assets and liabilities. A budget is also to be prepared which will so far as practicable indicate the expenditures reasonably required to carry into effect such a programme as may be regarded as necessary and practicable to effectuate the conclusions reached by the Commission as the result of the survey to be made as herein provided.

The above enumeration of subjects to be investigated and of details mentioned under the several heads is not to be regarded as exclusive, but may be added to or modified from time to time, the specifications declare.

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