HC Deb 01 December 1937 vol 329 cc2057-8
32. Commander Locker-Lampson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that out of 270 British officers in the first division of the Civil Service in Palestine, 106 speak Arabic and only six Hebrew; and what steps he has taken and can take to improve this discrepancy?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

My hon. and gallant Friend quotes the figures given in the report of the Palestine Royal Commission, but he has overlooked a further statement, made in the same paragraph of the report, that there are also 20 officers who can speak both Arabic and Hebrew. I understand that in present circumstances when the bulk of the Arab population can speak no other language but Arabic, a knowledge of Arabic is found to be more generally useful to Government officers than a knowledge of Hebrew, but I propose to look further into the matter and to consider whether any special action is called for.