HC Deb 16 February 1920 vol 125 cc505-6

asked the Prime Minister whether the civil and military administration of Mesopotamia is still carried out by officers acting under the instructions of the Secretary of State for India, and in Palestine by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and whether any steps are being taken in Palestine as in Mesopotamia to replace military by civilian administration?

64. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked when a statement of Government policy in Mesopotamia may be expected; whether the War Office, Foreign Office, or India Office are responsible for the present administration in that country; and, if more than one department is responsible, which duties are performed by the officials responsible to these departments, respectively?


The Prime Minister regrets that he cannot be present to-day. The civil administration of Mesopotamia is carried out under the direction of the Secretary of State for India. The military administration of that area is controlled by the War Office. Palestine is under military administration, A civil administration cannot be effected until peace has been concluded between the Allies and Turkey and the status of the various parts of the former Ottoman Dominions decided.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the case of Palestine certain appointments are being made from among military officers of a more or less permanent character and some of these officers are not very well suited to the posts which they are being given? Will it be made clear that these appointments to either service are purely temporary pending the proper establishment of civil government?

Sir J. D. REES

Under the circumstances, are not military officers likely to make better administrators?


I am not aware of the facts stated by my Noble Friend, but the answer which I have read shows that in the meantime there is nothing but a military administration and therefore the appointments must be temporary.