HC Deb 04 April 1921 vol 140 cc10-1
10. Mr. LYLE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any concessions for development work of any sort, including mineral research, have yet been granted in Palestine; if so, will he state to whom they have been granted and on what conditions; and what is the nature of each one?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative, and the remaining parts, therefore, do not arise. I would, however, add that, owing to the long delay which has occurred in the ratification of the Treaty of Sèvres, and the urgent need for fostering the economic development of Palestine, the Secretary of State for the Colonies is considering, in consultation with His Majesty's High Commissioner for Palestine, the adoption of a new policy whereby applications for concessions for constructional development and schemes providing for the employment of labour might be granted by the Palestine Administration, provided that (1) the terms of the draft mandate for Palestine are strictly observed, and (2) the concessions are not in conflict with any existing concessions which it may be necessary to deal with under Article 311 of the Treaty of Sèvres. No modification of the decision not to grant concessions for working and prospecting for minerals and oils pending the entry into force of the Treaty of Sèvres is, however, at present proposed.


When are we likely to have the policy to be adumbrated by the Secretary of State for the Colonies presented to the House?

Lieut.-Colonel AMERY

I hope the Secretary of State will be back in this country on Wednesday, and I have no doubt he will wish to bring the results of his journey before the House at the earliest moment after having communicated with the Cabinet.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

May we take it that there will be no preference given to any special nationality in granting these concessions? Is that perfectly clear?

Lieut.-Colonel AMERY

Yes, I think so.


In view of the most critical situation as regards land rights between Jews and Arabs, will my hon. and gallant Friend give an undertaking that these concessions will be given, if they are to be granted at all, to anyone applying for them, and not necessarily to one race?

Lieut.-Colonel AMERY

No, Sir, I do not understand that there is any question of confining concessions to any one section of the community.

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