HC Deb 10 April 1946 vol 421 cc1907-8
18. Earl Winterton

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will cause an inquiry to be held into the destruction, by Jewish terrorists, of a number of aeroplanes on two separate dates on aerodromes in Palestine, with a view to disciplinary action being taken against those responsible for failing to make adequate arrangements to defend the aerodromes in question.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Ivor Thomas)

I have been asked to reply. An immediate investigation was held into the incidents on the night of 25th–26th February, which was the only occasion on which aircraft were destroyed by Jewish terrorists. It was considered that, having regard to the limited forces available for defence tasks, all possible steps had been taken for the protection of the airfields in Palestine.

Earl Winterton

Can the hon. Gentleman explain why in the published report of the incident it was stated that those responsible were not able to take any action because of cross firing? Does that mean they were not properly armed to protect themselves against Jewish terrorists?

Mr. Thomas

No, Sir, they were properly armed. There had been expectation of trouble and mobile patrols were out every night.

Mr. Gallacher

Is it not a fact that it is essential for the Government to formulate a policy with regard to Palestine, and come to an understanding with the interested parties?

Mr. Speaker

That is another matter altogether.