HC Deb 23 April 1928 vol 216 cc606-7
11. Colonel HOWARD-BURY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, with regard to the Dead Sea salt concessions, he will take steps to bring about a merger of the various interests concerned, backed up by a British group?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Amery)

I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend means the interests of the various applicants for this concession. I am afraid I am not prepared to intervene in the manner suggested.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that an offer has been made by a powerfully-backed British scheme for a merger of these interests, and does he not consider that it would be far preferable to the speculative possibilities of M. Novamesky?


If the applicants like to merge their interests, that is their concern. I cannot arrange it for them.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is this not a case of M. Novamesky having done all the pioneer work before the anti-Semites were aware of the salt deposits, and that now they want to come in and scoop the pool?

12. Colonel HOWARD-BURY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has made any official inquiries as to the syndicate behind M. Novamesky in the Dead Sea salt concessions; and whether he can give their names?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second, the discussions have not reached a point which would enable me to inform the House of the names of their financial supporters.


Can my right hon. Friend say whether secrecy is one of the conditions of their offer?


No, not at all. As the discussion has not yet arrived at concession, and it is not certain yet who are their supporters, obviously it would be unfair to give the names of people who have not yet definitely decided to commit themselves.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is there any reason why these gentlemen should be treated any differently from others who are applying to the Government for leave to exploit a concession in a mandated area?


I do not know that that arises. The question is the names of the backers of this particular applicant. Undoubtedly, if a definite agreement were arrived at, it would be a matter for the information of the House as to who stands behind the agreement. But the matter is still entirely unsettled.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

Will my right hon. Friend see that the interests of British agriculture are properly safeguarded?