HC Deb 16 November 1938 vol 341 cc860-2
36. Sir Frank Sanderson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the total strength of the police and of His Majesty's Forces in Palestine; and what is the average cost per month falling upon the British Exchequer of these two forces?

Mr. M. MacDonald

The approximate strength of the personnel of the police, Royal Air Force, and Army serving in Palestine is at present 7,300, 700 and 15,500 respectively. I am afraid that I am not yet in a position to give the average cost per month falling upon the British Exchequer in respect of the police. As regards the Air Force, the average monthly cost to the British Exchequer is about£30,000. The extra cost of maintaining the military forces in Palestine, over and above the cost of maintaining them at their normal stations, amounts to about £175,000 a month (exclusive of capital services).

Sir F. Sanderson

Can my right hon. Friend state whether the numbers are likely to be reduced in the near future, and also whether the Palestine Government contribute towards the cost?

Mr. MacDonald

The Palestine Government do make a considerable contribution towards the cost. With regard to the possibility of reducing the numbers, I am afraid I cannot hold out any hope of that in the immediate future, but I do hope that later on conditions may make that possible.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform me whether the police are now at full strength, or whether further recruits are required?

Mr. MacDonald

Further recruitment of British police is going on all the time. They are going out in batches of 100 or 150 as quickly as they can be absorbed in the local forces. I do not think the full complement which is required will be in Palestine for two months or so.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Is any difficulty being experienced in obtaining recruits for this service?

Mr. MacDonald

None, Sir.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the right hon. Gentleman present before the proposed conference the suggestion which has been made for a Legislative Assembly, which would eliminate the need for this?

51. Mr. David Adams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has a statement to make as to the position in Palestine?

Mr. MacDonald

So far as the general situation regarding Palestine is concerned, I can add nothing at present to the recent statement on policy by His Majesty's Government and to answers which I gave to questions on 10th November. Preparations for the proposed discussions in London are continuing. In Palestine itself steps are being taken to restore the Government's authority throughout the country.

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