HC Deb 09 December 1929 vol 233 cc23-4

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government have made any promises or pledges to the Arab-speaking populations of Palestine or neighbouring countries which invalidate in any way the Balfour Declaration of 2nd November, 1917, or the clauses of the Mandate for Palestine as approved by the League of Nations?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Dr. Drummond Shiels)

I have been asked to answer. The position in regard to this question was fully stated in the White Paper (Cmd. 1700) of 1922, to which I would refer the hon. Member. His Majesty's Government have always held that there is nothing in their pledges that could invalidate the Balfour Declaration or conflict with the terms of the Mandate.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

On a point of Order. May we have that answer repeated? It has been perfectly impossible to hear what was said.


Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the Arab leaders that this is the policy of the Government?


Is it not the case that on 24th October, 1915, Sir Henry McMahon made a declaration stating I am empowered in the name of the British Government to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs within the limits of the boundaries proposed by King Hussein and that these limits included Palestine?


On a point of Order. This is a very important matter, and neither I nor any of my Friends could hear the reply.


May I have a reply to my question?


As regards the first supplementary question, I think it is true to say that the facts which I have stated are perfectly well known. The position is that which the British Government have always taken up in this matter. In regard to the second supplementary question, the pledge to which my hon. and gallant Friend referred was not made to the Palestinian Arabs, and the British Government have always taken the view that Palestine was excluded from that pledge.


Was it not definitely stated in a letter from Sir Henry McMahon to King Hussein that they were promised independence for Arab territories and that the promise included Palestine and that has always been the Arab point of view?