HC Deb 28 February 1938 vol 332 cc739-40
38. Sir Percy Harris

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now in a position to give the names of the new Palestine special commissioners; what are their terms of reference; and when they are likely to leave England?

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

Yes, Sir. The personnel of the Palestine Partition Commission will be as follows:

  • Sir John Woodhead, K.C.S.I., C.I.E. (Chairman).
  • Sir Alison Russell, K.C.
  • Mr. A. P. Waterfield, C.B.
The appointment of a fourth member is still under consideration. The secretary will be Mr. S. E. V. Luke, of the Colonial Office.

Sir John Woodhead entered the Indian Civil Service in 1904; he was appointed Secretary of the Commerce Department of the Government of India in 1929, and was Finance Member of the Government of Bengal from 1932 to 1937. After service as Attorney-General in Cyprus, Sir Alison Russell was appointed Chief Justice of the Tanganyika Territory in 1924. He retired in 1929, and was subsequently appointed Legal Adviser to the Government of Malta, and he was Chairman of the Committee of Inquiry into the disturbances in the copper-belt of Northern Rhodesia. Mr. Waterfield is a Principal Assistant Secretary in His Majesty's Treasury, which he entered in 1911.

The terms of reference of the Commission were announced in the White Paper on Policy in Palestine (Cmd. 5634). The Commission will start work in England about the middle of March, and it is probable that they will leave for Palestine about a month later, in order to arrive in Palestine as soon as possible after the close of the Easter ceremonies in Jerusalem.

Sir P. Harris

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how long it is likely to take the Commission to carry out its task? Does he anticipate any particular period of time for their work?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Certainly not; it is entirely a matter for them. There is a lot of complicated and detailed work to be done.