HC Deb 25 November 1936 vol 318 cc408-10
33. Captain CAZALET

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any plan has been drawn up by the authorities in Jerusalem and London to be submitted to the Royal Commission suggesting conditions for the future regulation of Jewish immigration into Palestine, whereby a fixed numerical relationship shall be maintained between Jews and Arabs?


No plan such as that referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend has been drawn up by His Majesty's Government, and I am not aware that any such plan has been placed before the Royal Commission on behalf of the Palestine Government.


May I ask whether the evidence given before the Royal Commission by officials in Palestine is given by them as private individuals or as representatives of the administration there, or of the Government here?


It is given by them as heads of their several departments on questions of fact. Officials appearing before the Commission are under oath, and any reply they give is their own.


Will it be made perfectly clear that each civil servant who goes before the Royal Commission gives evidence entirely on his own behalf and not on behalf of the High Commissioner or of His Majesty's Government?


The High Commissioner has already given evidence, and he was perfectly free to give what evidence he thought right in all the circumstances. There have been no instructions from here, and there is no suggestion that there is any evidence on behalf of the Palestine Government.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make it certain that any evidence they give is on questions of fact, and that they do not put forward schemes which they hope the Commission will adopt?


The right hon. and gallant Gentleman knows that the Royal Commission is independent of the Government, and is entitled to ask anybody who appears before it any question, and the witness is more or less bound to answer. Therefore it is not wholly or merely evidence on questions of fact. If they are asked on matters of opinion they are free to answer for themselves.


Would it not be well to let it be known that unless questions are asked by the Commission, no suggestion should be put forward until after all the evidence has been taken?


That is the position. I have been very careful in this House not to give any expression of opinion as to future policy in Palestine.

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