HC Deb 23 March 1948 vol 448 cc2800-63

Question again proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

4.40 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton (Brixton)

The events that have taken place over the weekend have not unduly disturbed the tenor of the remarks that I was in the course of making when the Committee adjourned last Friday. I was dealing at that moment with the position of the Trusteeship Council and its responsibilities in relation to the future of Jerusalem and the Holy Places. It is perhaps an unhappy coincidence that my doubts about the capacity of the Trusteeship Council to deal adequately in the time with the problem of Jerusalem have been so much increased by the astonishing and what may well be the disastrous somersault in the policy of the United States with regard to the future of Palestine.

There is, however, some meagre consolation to be derived from this remarkable change that has taken place in American policy. In the past few years the British Government have been accused by all sides, in Palestine of shilly-shallying, tergiversation and so forth, but all this is more than outclassed by the rapid change that has taken place in such a short time in the policy of the United State, Government. This point emerges from the latest development that has taken place. It may well be that trusteeship will require forces hardly less than the implementation of the partition proposals would have required, and in this connection it is right and proper that the Colonial Secretary and His Majesty's Government should give a very clear indication that the decision of the United States has not made any difference in the policy or commitments of the British Government in regard to Palestine.

The Trusteeship Council may have this advantage from the point of view both of America and of the British Government, that the Russians have so far refused to take part in the work of the Trusteeship Council, but if as a result of the latest change that has taken place in the situation the United Nations becomes the trustee for Palestine, under a trusteeship agreement, Great Britain cannot avoid some share of responsibility as a member of the Trusteeship Council. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General or my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies can give the Commitee some reassurance on that issue. We know from our experience of what took place on Friday that the mind of the Colonial Office is, as Palestine may well be after 15th May, a complete vacuum, but on this particular point of our responsibilities under the Trusteeship Council, in my submission, it is very necessary that the British Government should make it quite clear to the Government of the United States that the recent change in American policy does not mean that the British Government are prepared to undertake any additional responsibility in regard to Palestine. I hope, therefore, that we may have some official statement from the Government Front Bench this afternon. It seems to me to involve a point of some consider-able magnitude. Many people in the world today, unfortunately, have little faith in the United Nations——

4.45 P.m.

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but I am afraid the Debate is getting exceedingly wide. I hope we shall not have too much discussion on the United Nations.

Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden)

With the utmost respect, Mr. Beaumont, I think that in the circumstances that have taken place since this Bill was introduced and in view of the statement made overseas, it is vital that we should consider the United. Nations' aspect. Otherwise, we on this side of the Committee will not be able to decide what our attitude is to be towards this Bill.

The Deputy-Chairman

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. What I should have said was that I do not want the Debate to deal too much with the attitude of the United States.

Mr. Janner (Leicester, West)

It seems to me that the attitude of the United States which has taken this very peculiar and unfortunate turn is a matter which is material in the consideration of Clause 1 of the Bill. I would ask you to reconsider your decision in that regard, because, after all, the United Nations organisation and the States which constitute that organisation are very material and important matters in this Debate.

The Deputy-Chairman

I want to meet the wishes of the Committee, and I want to allow as wide a latitude as possible. I am only expressing. the hope that we shall not have too long a discussion on the attitude of the United States.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Again with the utmost respect, the recent announcement made by the Government of the United States regarding their own attitude as a member of the United Nations has brought a new issue into the discussion of this Bill It seems to me impossible to take part in a Debate on the Committee stage of this Bill unless we can examine the significance of the statement of the Government of the United States.

The Deputy-Chairman

I quite agree, and I am only too anxious to meet the desire of the Committee. I only wished to express the hope that the Debate would not concentrate too much upon the United States.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I was on the verge of concluding what I had to say on this aspect of the matter. There is undoubtedly a feeling in the Committee that the events of the week-end cannot possibly be divorced from our consideration of the problem which we are trying to solve in the Palestine Bill. However, as. I have no doubt this point will be touched upon at least by succeeding speakers, I am content to proceed to the next point that I should like to make in connection with the Bill.

It has always struck me as extraordinary that the policy of the Colonial Office in regard to Palestine has been this: If we can only succeed in alienating as many people as possible and creating in Palestine a situation in which no one is satisfied with the British administration there, we have succeeded in proving to the world our impartiality, our blamelessness and our innocence in the administration of Palestine, and so we are giving up the Mandate, leaving behind us goodness knows what. The discussion that took place on Friday failed to elicit from the Government what they have in mind, and I very much doubt—although we must all make an attempt in that direction—whether we shall succeed in extracting very much more from the Government Front Bench than we were able to extract on Friday. However, we have got to keep on trying, and it may well be that either from this side or from the other side of the Committee we shall succeed in eliciting from the Government what they really have in mind.

Now I come to the second point I want to make, which is in connection with the surrender or giving up of the Mandate. Here, again, we seem to have created a situation of the utmost difficulty for ourselves which will affect the manner in which our troops are to be withdrawn from Palestine. Last Friday, the hon. Member for North Blackpool (Mr. Low) referred to what seemed to involve an inevitable loss of stores. It will be impossible, on the basis of the figures which he gave—and we have no others before us on which to arrive at a conclusion—to remove from Palestine much more than half the military stores that are now to be found in that country. I am wondering whether the Colonial Secretary can hold out any hope that the conclusion of the new Treaty with Transjordan might simplify our problem in that respect. If there is to be a complicated operation, as a result of which our troops and materials will converge on the port of Haifa, it may well be that a supplementary form of withdrawal should be envisaged which would save lives and material.

The recently concluded Treaty with Transjordan which, I believe, was ratified only a day or two ago, makes provision for a joint defence board, the functions of which are to include consideration of and necessary recommendations for the location of British Forces at places other than the two Royal Air Force stations which are already in operation. I believe that evacuation from Palestine would be more rapidly brought about if, instead of our troops and materials converging on the Port of Haifa alone, there was withdrawal into Transjordan. The Treaty provides for that possibility, and I respectfully suggest that advantage should be taken of that new Treaty.

Article 4 of the Annexe to the Treaty also makes it clear that Transjordan agrees to afford all the necessary facilities for the movement of units in transit across Transjordania, with their supplies and equipment, so that position seems to have been considerably simplified. The boast of the Government, all along, has been that there would be no piecemeal surrender or lengthening of the time of the withdrawal. Nevertheless, the fact that the Mandate will come to an end on 15th May, and that the last of the British troops and materials are to be withdrawn on or about 1st August, means that for two and a half months there will be all the complications arising from a possible duality or triplicity of jurisdiction in Palestine. During their withdrawal British troops will, presumably, have to fight a three-cornered contest. That is a position which cannot be regarded with any degree of complacency in any quarter of the Committee.

A much better solution, although perhaps now impracticable, would have been for the withdrawal of troops and the ending of the Mandate to have coincided. Then the Government could have claimed that there would be no piecemeal surrender, evacuation or withdrawal. I hope that on these two points—first, the effect of the American statement that Palestine should be handed over to a trusteeship council; and, second, the possible advantages to be derived, in the present difficult circumstances, from the recent conclusion of the Transjordan Treaty—the Minister will be able to give assurances which will allay the disquiet and anxiety which I am sure is felt in all quarters of the Committee.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Creech Jones)

In the Debate on Friday last a number of questions were addressed to me about our future position in Palestine during our withdrawal, and the situation which might arise after 15th May. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) has drawn the attention of the Committee to recent developments at Lake Success, as a result of which the Security Council are now confronted with a new proposal which, in some respects, changes the outlook so far as the future Government of Palestine is concerned. His Majesty's Government have asked, in this Clause, that the jurisdiction of His Majesty in Palestine shall be determined on 15th May, or sooner, and I also announced that by 1st August the withdrawal of troops would be completed. It is the intention of the Government to stand firm on these dates. We shall proceed with the winding-up of The civil administration so that our authority under the Mandate comes to an end by 15th May, and we shall proceed as rapidly as circumstances permit with the withdrawal of troops so that all troops will be out of Palestine—and stores, so far as they can be brought out—by 1st August.

The situation after 15th May is obscure, but whatever obscurity there may be there is nothing but clarity in the policy of the Government in respect of the withdrawal of troops and the termination of our authority under the Mandate. Our anxiety, in winding up our affairs in Palestine, has been that on withdrawal we should leave the country in such a state that ordinary Government can continue. Our effort has been to preserve the economic structure of Palestine and, so far as our powers could be used, to reduce violence and maintain law and order, so that the transition could be effectively and efficiently made, and that instead of Palestine being plunged into disorder and chaos by our removal ordinary Government could proceed.

5.0 p.m.

During the discussion many charges have been made against the British Government to the effect that we have obstructed the work of the Palestine Commission, that we have pursued a policy in Palestine which was calculated to make for chaos on our withdrawal, and that we have forgotten our responsibilities as an important member of the United Nations. I wish for a few moments to rebut some of those charges, because it is so easy to lay the blame for the present position at the door of His Majesty's Government, and to forget that the Palestine Commission was charged with a responsibility which it had not the means to discharge, and with a task which in the conditions of Palestine was somewhat unreal.

At New York we have tried to assist the Palestine Commission to the utmost of our power. We accepted the recommendation for the Resolution of the United Nations Assembly of 29th November, and our purpose since then has been perfectly honest and straightforward. But we have at no time undertaken to implement the decision that was reached by the Assembly on that date. But we have placed at the disposal of the Palestine Commission all the experience and knowledge that we could command. We have initiated discussions on problems which were emerging in Palestine and on problems which will become of importance when we leave Palestine on 15th May, and we have tried to provide in this interim period for effective responsibility to be seized by the various local authorities and for security forces to be created, so that in the difficult background of Palestine at least some degree of normal and orderly life might prove possible.

It is true that the situation in Palestine severely deteriorated after the passing of the United Nations Resolution, and it was a situation which had not been provided for by the Palestine Commission. Further, the Resolution which was passed by the United Nations paid little heed to the enormous problem which confronted the Palestine Government itself, not only in the winding up of administration but in the maintenance of law and order and of a sound security position until the troops could be withdrawn. I say that the Resolution of the United Nations took little account of the very heavy responsibility which the British Government was obliged to carry until 15th May. Accordingly, when it was suggested that the terms of the recommendations agreed by the United Nations should be put into effect, there were particulars in which, on practical grounds, those terms could not be agreed.

I am most desirous of emphasising that this situation was visualised by us before 29th November, and we did point out to the United Nations, when this problem was under discussion, that at no stage while we held the Mandate could we accept a position of divided responsibility in Palestine. We made it clear that this responsibility must be carried by the British Government up to the termination of the Mandate because it was obvious to us that the security position in Palestine would, as a result of the opposition of the Arabs, become impossible if a concession were made on that particular point. Nevertheless, the recommendations of 29th November were carried, and it was clear right from that time that it would be virtually impossible for certain of those proposals to be brought into operation.

For instance, we had made it clear that it would be impossible for us to open a port on 1st February for unlimited immigration, for the inflow of armaments and men, because of the entanglement into which the British Forces must inevitably Get in the withdrawal of their stores and men. We made it clear that the Arabs would resort to violence, and that there would be considerable trouble is such a concession were made. All this was known before the United Nations passed the Resolution of 29th November.

I submit that insufficient attention has been given by the public to the difficulties which face the Palestine Government in carrying through its responsibilities or to those which face the British Government in their responsibility for the security of Palestine, and also to the necessities of the situation for the withdrawal of our Administration and British troops. We have never behaved out of disrespect for the United Nations. Indeed we have been forthcoming in all these discussions with the Palestine Commission, trying to meet their wishes in almost every respect, giving them all the information they wanted, and, as I have said, initiating discussion on those questions which would be of particular moment when they themselves took over the administration in Palestine.

It was not only at Lake Success that we did our utmost, but also in Palestine itself. In the last few months there has been, as I have already suggested to the Committee, a great transfer of responsibility from the central Government to the local authorities. In many cases, new local councils have been created. In many cases new police forces have been brought into being. The responsibility for services necessary for normal life—health, schools, water, agriculture, etc.—has been transferred to the local groups so far as possible in order that normal life should continue once the central Government was no longer there to carry on. I suggest, therefore, that it is unreasonable that we should be charged, either with obstructing the work of the United Nations through the Palestine Committee, or with trying to create conditions of chaos in Palestine when we withdraw.

During the Debate last Friday suggestions were made that we had given insufficient attention to the situation in Jerusalem. I wish the Committee to appreciate what steps were taken by the British Government in regard, not only to that ancient city, but to the Holy Places as well. The Chairman of the Palestine Commission has made it perfectly clear that Jerusalem cannot be dissected from the rest of Palestine in regard to the orderly conditions after 15th May. He has pointed out that the proposed international State depends very largely for its maintenance on the maintenance of services which are built up in the States surrounding the international State which it is proposed for Jerusalem. He has pointed out that the water supply for Jerusalem comes from the hills, which will be inside the Arab State. The communications to the coast will be completely cut off, and if a state of war exists around Jerusalem, it will be extraordinarily difficult for the normal life of the city to be maintained.

The Arabs, in turn, have pointed out that they regard the special arrangements in relation to Jerusalem as part and parcel of the general partition plan, and, therefore, they have refused co-operation, both on the Trusteeship Council, and in Palestine in the arrangements which we were intending to make in regard to the safeguarding of the future position of Jerusalem and the Holy Places. What we sought to do was, first, to obtain a truce in Palestine between the Christians, the Moslems, the Arabs and the Jews, in the hope that, in the future, there would, at least, be some degree of tranquility, less conflict between the various sects, and an effort made to secure peace and normal conditions for the city.

So far, we have met with little success in regard to these efforts for a truce. We have, at the same time, tried to strengthen the police force in Jerusalem by the recruitment of special civil guards, both on the Jewish side as well as on the Arab side. We have also tried to strengthen the position of the municipal authority so that it could at least, carry on during the transition period. With the present conditions in Jerusalem it is very difficult for normal services to be maintained. The working people, who are responsible for the normal sanitation service and the rest of the services, are not particularly eager to carry on in conditions of very great danger to themselves, and it is very difficult at the present moment to maintain the essential and basic services of the municipality, and to persuade the people to carry out their normal daily work.

5.15 p.m.

At the Trusteeship Council, to which the United Nations have referred the future of Jerusalem, we played some part in drafting the Constitution to which the Council had been asked to agree. We gave of our experience and knowledge of Palestine, and of Jerusalem in particular, in the shaping of the Constitution which should operate in this international State. In all these discussions at the Trusteeship Council we have made it clear that this matter is one of great urgency, largely because of the anxiety felt in many parts of the world as to the future of the city and the Holy Places. We pressed the Trusteeship Council, as the responsible authority, to appoint a Governor for the new international State without delay. We were particularly anxious that that appointment should be made, chiefly because the Holy Places will be safeguarded by a security force recruited by the Governor himself. Under the Constitution and the Resolution of 29th November of the United Nations, it is required that the Governor should recruit a sufficiently strong security force for the defence of the Holy Places——

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

I think many hon. Members may find themselves in the same difficulty as I am in, in following this point. My right hon. Friend said, a little while ago, that the Jerusalem part of the partition scheme cannot be implemented alone, either by the British Government or by anybody else. How, then, is it supposed that a Governor appointed from a long way off, and beginning to recruit a force from somewhere to protect this little part of the partition scheme, would be any more effective?

Mr. Creech Jones

The position under the Resolution of 29th November was that a Governor should be appointed by the Trusteeship Council at an early date, and that the Governor should proceed to the recruitment of a security force for the protection of the Holy Places. The British Government have no responsibility, either for the appointment of the Governor, beyond their membership of the Trusteeship Council——

Mr. Silverman

Accepting for the purposes of the present argument that the British Government have no responsibility at all, how does my right hon. Friend suggest that the position would have improved if a Governor had been appointed under the scheme, and the preliminaries of recruiting a force carried out? How would that have helped, in view of his statement that that part of the partition scheme could not be implemented alone?

Mr. R. A. Butler

Does the decision of 29th November now stand?

Mr. Creech Jones

It is still the operative decision of the United Nations Assembly. No one can tell what the Security Council will do. It does not meet again until tomorrow. With regard to the point raised, the purpose of the security force was merely to protect the Holy Places, and a Governor's police force for that narrow purpose could have functioned quite well. That was recognised as a United Nations responsibility.

Mr. Janner rose——

Mr. Creech Jones

I want to finish this particular point in regard to Jerusalem, because many questions have been asked about it and many hon. Members are very anxious about what the British Government have been doing in regard to it.

The further point I want to stress is that the Trusteeship Council has delayed its further consideration of this problem until the end of April. That delay, when it occurred, was under protest from the representative of Britain, because he—as I have done on the Security Council and in respect of other organs of the United Nations—made it perfectly clear that we regarded this matter as of considerable importance; that our public were very anxious about it; and that a decision ought to be taken. We have done all in our power to get this matter straightened out before 15th May. I have also made it perfectly clear to the chairman of the Palestine Commission and to the Commission itself that after 15th May a very heavy responsibility rests at their door for some provision to be made in regard to the Holy Places from 15th May to 1st October, when it was anticipated that the new statute would come into full operation.

Sir Patrick Hannon (Birmingham, Moseley)

Would the right hon. Gentleman be kind enough to tell the Committee what he contemplates will take place now, in view of the decision arrived at by the United States in the Security Council at Lake Success? Would he tell the Committee what action the Government contemplate in view of the changed circumstances?

Mr. Creech Jones

The Security Council is meeting on Wednesday when the question of procedure, the question of a recommendation, will be discussed. That will embrace the problem of Jerusalem as well as the rest of the problem of the Jewish and Arab States in the whole plan of partition. Our own position is quite clear. We are definitely withdrawing our civil administration on 15th May and our troops also are withdrawing from Palestine as quickly as conditions will permit, but certainly they will be out by 1st August.

Several questions were asked about other matters. One question was put about Palestinian passports. As I understand the position, after 15th May Palestinian citizens will cease to be British protected persons. Passports belonging to such persons will not, however, be withdrawn and will continue to be valuable documents showing that their owners are Palestinian citizens. A question was asked in regard to diplomatic representation. The position is that after 15th May the care of British interests in Palestine will fall to the Foreign Office who are making adequate arrangements for representation in Palestine.

Mr. Oliver Stanley (Bristol, West)

To whom will the representatives be accredited?

Mr. Creech Jones

For the moment, the British Consuls will be there, but we are very much in the dark about what is likely to happen in Palestine. I have not the gift of prophecy. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has made the statement that after 15th May the responsibility is that of the United Nations. In any case, it is proposed to make arrangements for representation on the termination of the Mandate.

A question was raised in regard to interference by citrus interests in the withdrawal of troops and stores. I have made inquiries into that matter. I am assured that the whole plan for the withdrawal of troops is not in any way interfered with by the conveyance of citrus crops, and that we are conforming with our time schedule in regard both to stores and the withdrawal of men. I am also assured that we do not anticipate that we shall be hampered in any way by the trade in these commodities which is so necessary for the economic life of Palestine.

Mr. A. R. W. Low (Blackpool, North)

The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the question I asked. It is all very well for him to say what he has said. Indeed, he and other right hon. Gentlemen have said it on frequent occasions. The figures which they have given, and figures which the Palestine Government or the Army in Palestine published the other day, show that that is not the case. I ask the Committee not to be content with a vague protestation from the right hon. Gentleman on this most important subject.

Mr. Creech Jones

The hon. Member must be misinformed in regard to his figures. The information at my disposal which is information from the Services as well as from the High Commissioner, is that which I have just conveyed to the Committee. There is no interference, and the withdrawal of stores and troops is proceeding in accordance with schedule. Neither the general officer commanding nor the High Comissioner anticipate any difficulty in completing the withdrawal in acordance with the plans which they have laid down.

Mr. Low

May I have some other figures? All the figures I gave were figures provided by the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues. It may be that those figures are wrong. If they are wrong, the Committee should be told, because Ministers should not give wrong figures. When I have taken the trouble to give the Committee the figures in full, it is no good for the right hon. Gentleman merely to say that there is some mistake unless he says what the mistake is.

Mr. Creech Jones

I have been given the figures which the hon. Member used. He said that 648,000 tons of stores were to be removed. That figure related to Army stores and equipment now in Palestine and Egypt, and it included R.A.F. stores in Palestine as well. I have the actual figures for the Army and R.A.F. stores in Palestine alone. They are very much below the total figure which the hon. Gentleman used in the discussion last week.

Mr. Ivor Owen Thomas (The Wrekin)

Can we have some indication as to the position which will arise, or might arise, in the definite and final withdrawal of the British troops and administration from Palestine on 15th May, and the possible creation of a hiatus which will border upon a condition of anarchy with complete absence of administration? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is possible for some interim period to be contemplated which will enable the new administration to take over from the present administration?

Mr. Creech Jones

There can be no interim period which involves British troops or the British administration. We are quite definite. The Government are absolutely adamant that the dates I have announced must be observed. We withdraw on 15th May and we hope that all our troops will be out by 1st August. We have done everything in our power to create conditions in Palestine so that ordinary life can continue when the British troops withdraw; but it is now a responsibility of the United Nations. It is a responsibility which has been assumed, as announced by the Secretary General during the week. There, I think, we must leave it. We cannot prophesy, we cannot foresee, what the position in Palestine will be after 15th May.

Mr. Blackburn (Birmingham, King's Norton)

Would my right hon. Friend say a word on immigration? On what date will our policy of stopping the immigration ships come to an end? Is it 15th May?

Mr. Creech Jones

Our civil administration comes to an end on 15th May. After that, we have no responsibility in regard to immigration.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden)

We have had a very long detailed statement from the Secretary of State, which appears to us almost completely to disregard the events which have taken place since Friday last when we were considering this Bill. To deal first with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman and before I come to the more substantial points, may I say that I do not wish in any way to withdraw the view expressed by myself on behalf of the Opposition in the course of the passage of this Bill through its earlier stages in Committee, or to say that we disagree in any way with the Government on the two main propositions which the right hon. Gentleman made in his speech; namely, that at no time were we prepared to implement the decision for the partition of Palestine, and, in the second place, we agree with him that there could be no divided responsibility as long as we were still in authority. We therefore agree absolutely with those statements, and, in regard to the rest of his speech, there was practically really nothing which he had not said previously to the Committee or which was not known before.

What the Committee now wants to know is what is the Government's general attitude in regard to this Bill, and, in particular, towards Clause 1 which we are now considering, in the light of the decisions and statements made by the United States Administration, and the new position, as we see it, which has arisen in the United Nations? There has been no reference whatever by the Secretary of State to that statement, and the only result, in this Committee, outside in the country and overseas, will be that people will be somewhat surprised that the right hon. Gentleman can speak in Parliament and make no reference whatever to this decision. I, therefore, would like very strongly to press the right hon. Gentleman, before we agree to the passage of this Clause, to make some allusion, at least, to the events which have taken place. If he is incapable of doing that, may we ask the Foreign Secretary, who is attending this Debate and thereby showing the importance which he attaches to this problem, to make some statement in order that the position can be cleared up to some extent, and so that we may know what kind of action they are intending to take?

Mr. Creech Jones

The right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong in saying that I have not made reference to the events over the week-end. I made it perfectly clear that the announcements which had been made by the Security Council did make the future of Palestine, after 15th May, very obscure, and I made it perfectly clear that, whatever decision the Security Council might take, our position remains as previously announced. We are withdrawing our civil administration on 15th May; we are withdrawing our troops. We will, meantime, do everything in our power to effect an orderly transfer. That we are doing, but the situation, from the point of view of the British Government in respect to this Bill, has not altered at all. This Bill seeks to give us the necessary power in regard to the termination of the Mandate, and whatever has happened in the last four or five days at Lake Success does not alter our determination or the purpose for which the Bill is now before the Committee.

Mr. Butler

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will remember that when I took part in the Debate earlier, I drew the attention of the Committee to the anxiety felt by my hon. and right hon. Friends on this side of the Committee and myself about the obscurity of the situation as it existed on Friday last. If I may say so, the right hon. Gentleman then used the expression that "the house was ready for the tenant to come in," and we then had some vague idea who the tenant was. Now, we have no idea who the tenant is or what arrangements are being made when we leave Palestine. There are some of us who feel, in the tradition of our country, that we have no right easily to assent to the passage of this Clause if we have no conception of the attitude of the Government as to who is to be the successor authority and what arrangements are to be made. I think the right hon. Gentleman should have been able to give us some more indication of what the position is likely to be.

Let me try to state as clearly as I can, and I certainly do not want to make an obscure position more difficult, the manner in which we see this Bill in the light of the present situation, with a view to trying to encourage right hon. Gentlemen opposite to give us more information. As we see it, since Friday last, when we started to discuss this Clause, there has been this important statement by the Secretary of State and by the State Department in America on the subject of the ending of the partition plan which caused that proposal to be abandoned. Instead, a trusteeship is proposed under the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations. So far, we are all agreed that that is the new position. I have been able to obtain——

Mr. Creech Jones

May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? This proposal was put forward on the Security Council itself. No decision in regard to this proposal has been taken. There is before the Security Council the recommendations of the Assembly and the views of the Palestine Commission as well. What the Security Council will decide, whether for a trusteeship, a truce or the partition plan, no one at this moment can say.

Mr. Butler

If that be the case, cannot the right hon. Gentleman make the situation more clear? Can he give any indication of what the attitude of the Government is towards this situation, and what attitude they are likely to take up on the Security Council in regard to the future of Palestine after the passage of this Bill? If he can give any indication, I should be very glad to have it.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

I should like to say that, on this matter, the Government have not changed their policy, and they cannot change their policy, because some other State makes a proposition—and that same State has made a number of propositions in regard to Palestine. The fact before the world is that the Assembly has made the decision. When this process has gone through the Security Council, they may be calling another Assembly to say what action should fie taken. No one can say what is going to happen, but that does not affect this Bill. This Bill covers our responsibilities in coming out. Neither this announcement nor the Assembly could do anything to affect our coming out.

Now hon. Members opposite are asking what is the attitude of the Government going to be to the question of trusteeship? His Majesty's Government have stated all the way through that they will support anything which can be agreed between the Arabs and the Jews, but that they will not take part in enforcing anything, whether a trusteeship or anything else, on the one or the other. That has been their attitude all the way through. I wish other people would realise what enforcement meant before they voted so easily.

His Majesty's Government take the view that it cannot anticipate these further discussions that will go on. We shall remain in a neutral position until we know what the proposals actually are. Would the right hon. Gentleman opposite stand in this place and give an answer on what he would do in this or that situation when he has not seen the actual detailed proposition? I am not sure of the reactions of Arabs or Jews, or what they arc going to do about it, and I do not know what the chances of a truce are. We have taken the line that we will do all we can to promote harmony between these two races.

One other point. We have made up our minds very strongly on a point on which I hope the Committee will support us. We cannot be in the same position as the rest of the members of the United Nations until we are out of Palestine. While we have troops there, while we are there, involved as we have been, we do not get the same position as any other member of the United Nations. After 15th May, and we are out, and the transition is taking place in the administration, a very different situation can and may arise, but that is a matter that I cannot foresee at the moment. I do want to emphasise that we have to get into a position to enable us to be out of Palestine. That is the fundamental point of British policy. It has been asked whether we will hand over to chaos. That will not be the case: we have handed over to the United Nations. If the United Nations, in taking over, has produced chaos, how can it be said that Great Britain has handed over to chaos? It is not we who have done so. We have been willing to hand over to the Security Council or to anybody else.

Mr. Mikardo (Reading)

The Government refused——

Mr. Bevin

We have never refused to hand it over——

Mr. Mikardo

It was refused here on Friday.

Mr. Bevin

We did nothing of the kind. We declined to have it in the Bill.

Mr. S. Silverman rose——

Mr. Bevin

Wait a moment. If hon. Members cannot argue fairly, I do ask them to be truthful, for the sake of the world. We did not do that; we declined, as I understand it, to have it stated in the Bill.

Mr. Warbey (Luton) rose——

Mr. Bevin

Wait a moment. It was a very good thing that we did not put it in the Bill because we should have been tied. At the same time as we were moving, another country was moving in an entirely different situation. We are ready to hand over to whatever form of body the United Nations ultimately decide we shall hand over to. Let me make that perfectly clear.

Mr. Warbey

Is it not a fact that earlier this year the Palestine Commission asked His Majesty's Government that they should go to Palestine in accordance with the decision of the General Assembly? Is it not also a fact that His Majesty's Government told them that they could not go at that time?

Mr. Bevin

That is another issue altogether. That is a question of the date on which the Palestine Commission should arrive in Palestine, and who should provide for their security on arrival. That is another issue altogether, but we have made it perfectly clear that we have not opposed the United Nations decision ever since it was taken. Let whoever cares to misrepresent us do so, but that is the fact and I hope that it will go out quite clearly. If other people have created a muddle, why should His Majesty's Government be blamed? We were blamed because we did not do the right thing in Palestine when we were responsible; we were blamed when we were trying to get out; we are blamed for what is happening when we are going out. The quicker we are out, the better.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I should like to thank the Foreign Secretary for intervening in the Debate in a very useful manner. He has now made clear to us, in supplementing the speech of the Secretary of State, what is the definite attitude of the Government. That enables me to divide up our attitude on the Bill in this way, in the light of what has been said here and the statement made on Friday in another country. The Clause we are discussing is entitled: "(Termination of His Majesty's jurisdiction in Palestine.)" We consider that we should support the Administration in letting this Clause go through because we think that, in view of the general uncertainty prevailing, we should definitely continue to support, as we said we should before this latest declaration, the withdrawal of our jurisdiction from Palestine. In regard to this first Clause, therefore, we have no doubt of the right action to take.

5.45 P.m.

As to the rest of our discussion on the Committee stage, I must give a word of warning. The rest of the Bill may not be drawn in such simple terms, as this part, namely matters dealing with assets, legal proceedings, troop withdrawals, and so on. It may be necessary, as we see it, for the Government, even though they adhere to their decision to withdraw from Palestine, to re-draft this Bill in certain contingencies in the future which at present we cannot foresee. Therefore, when we come to later parts of the Bill, we on this side of the Committee shall have to reserve the right to state that there may need to be amending legislation in certain contingencies which we cannot foresee, even although we agree with the main proposition contained in the Bill. If we state our position on those lines, we shall be safeguarding those who speak on this side of the Committee.

I should like from the Government, preferably on the passage of this Clause, or later in the Bill, a statement that will make the position clear, that if it were necessary to introduce amending legislation in the light of further developments occurring in the United Nations Security Council, the Government will undertake to introduce amending legislation to put the matter right, even though the Bill may be passed in its present form today. That is a reasonable request and it would, at least, put us straight with our own conscience in the light of the great uncertainty prevailing. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will realise that we are trying at least to bring a little clarity into the situation. The one plain element appears to be that we should now be clear in our determination to withdraw from Palestine and put ourselves on a par with the other nations.

Mr. Bevin

I would readily give that undertaking but, for the sake of the record, I prefer the phrase "the United Nations Assembly" rather than "the Security Council," or both. In this procedure one does not know exactly what will happen, but if we pass out of Palestine altogether and some new situation arises which we cannot foresee, then, if His Majesty's Government are willing or prepared to take any other step involving a change of legislation, I readily give the undertaking.

Mr. Butler

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Janner (Leicester, West)

There are one or two points I wish to make in regard to the speeches which we have heard from the Front Bench. Today, for the first time, it has been made categorically clear that when we leave Palestine we propose to hand over the administration and jurisdiction to the United Nations. We were not told that on Friday. We were not told that at any time in the course of the Debates on this Bill, and, although a specific demand was made during the Debate on this first Clause, the position was left unclear. It has been stated by the Colonial Secretary —whose attention I would like for a moment—that every effort was made to assist the Commission and to assist the United Nations in putting into effect the recommendations of the Assembly. I would like to point out that the actions taken by the Government ever since the Assembly placed its recommendations before the world, have in no sense justified the statement he has just made.

Whilst it is true that he said we should not participate by giving our troops or any other support towards the implementation of those recommendations, my right hon. Friend surely cannot deny that the whole of the actions which have been taken—the acts of omission—cannot but leave everybody to conclude that he did not desire to put into effect what the Assembly wanted, and that he had no intention of allowing anyone else to do so. The recommendations were clear. The steps which were to be taken were made perfectly clear. They were made clear, not for want of proper knowledge of the whole situation, but with the full knowledge of everything that had to be stated about the situation. We have been told, time after time, that His Majesty's Government have placed at the disposal of those who were considering proposals, all the information in their possession. Quite obviously they had been told about these dangers to which they allude today; we are told by my right hon. Friend that he had informed them of every detail available, but, never- tneless, this independent body came to a definite conclusion, and pointed out the methods by which that conclusion was to be implemented.

I ask my right hon. Friend, even at this stage: Why do not we do what the Assembly asked us to do? Why do we not allow the necessary forces—I do not mean British forces—to be used in Palestine for defence purposes? Why do we not allow the Jewish settlers—who have done no harm in Palestine at any time, but who have been constructive in their efforts, and have performed something really worth while—to defend themselves? Why do we still give arms to Arab States which have declared categorically that they will defy the United Nations, whatever the United Nations does, so far as its recommendations are concerned with regard to partition, or any solution of that nature?

Why do we allow Fawzi Kawukji, armed to the teeth, to come into Palestine with his supporters, from those very States to whom we are sending arms? These are questions of considerable importance. It is no good protesting that we tell these States not to use our arms in this way. The fact of the mattes is that arms are being brought into Palestine from Syria, from Transjordan and from Iraq—countries to whom we are at present sending arms. It is ridiculous to suggest that those arms are not, in one way or another, being used against the Jewish settlers by the very States who openly declared that they will defy the United Nations, in carrying out its conclusions.

So far as America is concerned, I think everybody will agree that in the last few days there has been perhaps as big a betrayal as we have witnessed from any other source. The question is: What has been going on behind the scenes? I wonder whether we can be told if the State Department in America has had any contact with our own Departments here? Have we emphasised to them that we still propose to stand by until a day or so before the Mandate is relinquished, and not to allow the Commission to come in? What is the good of our saying that the Commission was being supported, and that we were doing everything for the Commission, when we would not let the Commission go into Palestine? No; the true position is quite clear. The Assembly made its decision, and on the strength of that decision one of the parties in Palestine proceeded, to help to bring that decision to a proper and effective conclusion.

The Jewish settlers in Palestine, acting in conformity with the decision of the Assembly, acted in the manner in which the Assembly would have them do, and they have arranged to set up a government in a part of Palestine, although, in effect, by so doing they were prepared to relinquish a considerable amount of the claim which they had in respect of Palestine, and which was legitimately their due according to the Mandate. At this stage we must not say that we intend to leave these stalwarts in a position which will not enable them to continue that which the Assembly decided. We should now tell the United Nations definitely: "We have changed our mind with regard to the obstructive measures that we have been adopting hitherto. We are prepared to let the Commission carry out its work. We are prepared to do what the Assembly stated we should do." Everybody wants our troops out of Palestine and out speedily. I contend that we must not create in Palestine a position which will leave the Jewish builders there fighting with their bare hands against armed bandit Arab forces—forces whom we, and nobody else, have enabled to be armed.

I tried to ask my right hon. Friend a question about Jerusalem. I did not understand quite what he intended to convey to the Committee in his speech. Am I to understand that the Government were agreeable to a Governor of Jerusalem being appointed forthwith? Would that governor collect around him the necessary forces to control Jerusalem, and would those forces be allowed to take over straight away? If that is so, I quite agree with my right hon. Friend. But if it is so, how can that be done with regard to Jerusalem while at the same time it is contended that with regard to the rest of Palestine the Government are not prepared to do the same. If that is the case, if there is to be dual responsibility in Jerusalem, pending the termination of the mandate, what difference is there between that dual responsibility and the dual responsibility which the Assembly itself conceived when it asked that the Commission should go to Palestine and make the necessary preparations without delay?

What is wrong with opening a port for emigrants? The boundaries of Palestine are being crossed by armed bandits. Why not let the immigrants from Cyprus go into Palestine? What earthly harm can they do? They have to go in before 15th May. Why not open a port and let them in now?

Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)

They may be killed.

Mr. Janner

The Jewish settlers in Palestine are not so free from responsibility or humanitarian concern as to want their harassed relatives there if they cannot protect them. They know they can protect them. They would have been able to protect the whole community if the recommendations of the Assembly had been properly accepted. When is my right hon. Friend going to open the door to these persecuted people? When is he going to allow them to come in? Are we going to wait until a day or two before 15th May, or are we going to take our stand straight away, side by side with other members of the United Nations Assembly, and let them in forthwith? These questions ought to be answered this afternoon. No one wants to stand in the way of passing this Bill through as speedily as possible, but we ought to have proper answers to those important questions which I have asked.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)

It was said rightly several times in the Debate on Friday that Clause I was the most important Clause in this Bill. By this Clause the Mandate is relinquished, and by this Clause the date of 15th May has now been inserted. The discussions on this Clause have been particularly important for another reason altogether, namely, that until the intervention of the Foreign Secretary a few minutes ago, information as to how this Clause would be translated into effect was singularly conspicuous by its absence.

The Colonial Secretary gave a number of what I must admit I thought were very unconvincing replies to particular points put to him from this side of the Committee on Friday. He referred to the position of Palestinian subjects holding British passports. As far as I understood it, he said that these British passports, in possession of Palestinian subjects after 15th May, were to be kept as valuable documents. Hitherto, the value of a British passport to the holder has been that the holder was entitled to some protection from Great Britain. After 15th May that protection no longer exists. I do not quite follow what value a British passport will have for Palestinian subjects after that except as a museum piece. What is to be the position of those Palestinian subjects, who are residents outside Palestine? Can they use British passports to travel from one country to another? Although the protection afforded will no longer be in force, will the passport have international recognition? I think we are entitled to have rather fuller replies on that question.

We should also like to know a little more about the scheme for the evacuation of British civilians and non-military personnel from Palestine. On Friday, the Colonial Secretary told us we could not have much information about the plan for military withdrawal for security reasons. There cannot be any security reasons for not telling us the plan for the withdrawal of civilian personnel. There are quite a large number of them—British subjects in religious institutions, British subjects who work in commercial undertakings. What is to be the plan of evacuation for these men, women and children? The Committee is entitled to know. A further point raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler), was not taken up by the Colonial Secretary, namely, would any financial provision be made for those who are infirm, sick or impoverished and, hitherto, whose livelihod has depended upon residence in Palestine? What kind of compassionate financial assistance is to be available to them?

I want to refer once again to the withdrawal of the British troops—this was discussed on Friday, the hon. Member for North Blackpool (Mr. Low) raised it again this afternoon. We on this side of the Committee are not quite certain as to which of two Ministerial statements is the right one. The original statement made by the Colonial Secretary on 11th December was that normal trade, and especially the citrus trade, would be interfered with as little as possible by troop movements. The second statement on 26th January, was that troop movements have complete priority over everything else. Then we have the report in "The Times" of 15th March, emanating from the military authorities in Palestine, which explained quite categorically that the capacity of the Palestine railways was no more than 22 trains of all kinds a day. The report went on to say that much of this traffic was not available owing to the high priority demands of the citrus trade.

I am not an expert on Q-movements, but if the capacity is only 22 trains a day it is perfectly obvious that the withdrawal cannot be completed by the named date if both citrus or troop movements have a priority. They cannot both have the priority at once. We want to know from the right hon. Gentleman what is the actual state of affairs about the withdrawal of the troops. He said in his remarks earlier this afternoon that we would try to withdraw as much of our military stores as we could by 1st August. What sort of stores does he envisage leaving behind after that date? Does he mean equipment which is not movable, or does he envisage a state of affairs on 1st August which will necessitate a certain amount of stores being left behind owing to the method of withdrawal, in that the timetable will not be complete, and, therefore, they will be abandoned on some dump to rot? We should like a little information about that.

Lastly, I want to refer to the Holy Places. The Colonial Secretary made what he could with what I thought was rather a weak case to convince the Committee that our hands were quite clean and our consciences quite clear about this question, but he knows as well as I do, and as well as every Member of this Committee, that the question of the Holy Places is causing a great deal of concern all over the country and all over the world. He referred on Friday in the Second Reading Debate to the special Force which was to be recruited by the Governor in Jerusalem. It is really no good trying to pretend that that special Force has the slightest chance of being in existence on the 15th May—that is simply throwing dust in the eyes of the public—for the very simple reason that it cannot be recruited until the Governor is installed, and the Governor has not yet been appointed. Even supposing he were appointed tomorrow there is still not the slightest chance of the special Force being recruited within six weeks.

In any case, from events of the last 48 hours, it is quite clear that the United States intends to drop tile partition scheme and, presumably, if the partition scheme drops, the Jerusalem enclave comes out of it also. What would the position of Jerusalem then be in the new set-up? I invite the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to this matter because it calls for an answer. One of the most pathetic examples of pious hopes I have ever heard in my short period in the House of Commons was from the lips of the Minister of State in the Second Reading Debate when he said the safety of Jerusalem will depend on the behaviour of its 200,000 inhabitants… It is the responsibility of the citizens there. That, I fear, must be our main hope at the moment." [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1948; Vol. 448, c. 1361.] If the events of the past months are any indication for the future, all I can say is that the omens are not at all good.

By any reasonable forecast we know we shall be handing over the custody of the Holy Places to no organised authority at all. It is, in my view, a very bitter condemnation of twentieth century Christendom that apparently, in spite of the Christian nations who sit on U.N.O., no effective steps can be taken to prevent the Holy Places from becoming the battleground of Jew and Arab alike. Will the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre be violated by the tommy-gun and the hand grenade in this violent racial struggle between Jew and Arab? I urge the right hon. Gentleman to attach more than "considerable importance" to quote his own words, as a degree of priority, to this question. I urge him to make still further representations of the highest possible priority, and with all the emphasis and weight he can command, to the United Nations organisation that something must be done to avoid leaving a complete vacuum in respect of the custody of the Holy Places after the 15th May, lest it be said of our generation that we failed to appreciate the significance of the Holy Places in our history.

Mr. Mikardo (Reading)

I want to make no more than a passing reference to the speeches we have heard from the Front Bench this afternoon, because I do not think they did, in fact, clarify what are obviously widespread doubts amongst the Committee about the situation as it will exist with the passage of Clause 1, and in particular in the light of the happenings since we discussed this matter on Friday. I may be in a minority of one in this Committee, but I thought the intervention of the Foreign Secretary, far from clarifying the position, made it a good deal more obscure than it was before.

The right hon. Gentleman came in like a deus ex machina, dropped a thunderbolt, and then disappeared leaving us to sort out exactly what he meant. He said that at no time have His Majesty's Government expressed or shown any disinclination to pass jurisdiction over to the United Nations, when that jurisdiction is relinquished, as we now know, not later than 15th May. I wish that the Foreign Secretary had been present on Friday to listen to some of the speeches made by his colleagues, especially the speeches of the Secretary of State and the Attorney-General. I have to be extremely careful in what I say in reference to any remarks of the Foreign Secretary, because if you quote him quite literally, including the commas, you are then accused of misrepresenting him, but if you leave the commas out, you are dashing the cup from his lips.

He said today that it was misrepresentation to suggest that His Majesty's Government had at any time expressed any disinclination to pass over jurisdiction to the United Nations, and all they stood for on Friday last was the insertion of the passage of such jurisdiction to the United Nations in the Bill. I do not think that any Members who were present on Friday would accept that as a correct interpretation of what was said from the Government Front Bench.

Mr. S. Silverman

It is in direct conflict with the speech of the Attorney-General.

Mr. Mikardo

Yes, it is in direct conflict with what the Attorney-General said. It was stated on Friday that if His Majesty's Government committed themselves to passing over jurisdiction to the United States, and if, for whatever reasons, when the time arrived for passing over that jurisdiction the United Nations were unwilling to accept it, then this would put His Majesty's Government into a position in which they could not pass over the jurisdiction at all. There was a great deal of talk about what happened if a baby was left on someone's doorstep and the door was not opened to take it in. Therefore, the Government argued on Friday that we could not commit ourselves. Those who read HANSARD will see that what I have said is borne out, and that the Government stated that they could not commit themselves to passing over jurisdiction to the United Nations if, for some reason or other, the United Nations would not accept it, which means that we are left in a position in which we cannot pass over the jurisdiction at all. The Foreign Secretary now comes along and says that we are committed, and that we have always been committed to passing over jurisdiction to the United Nations. If that is so, I want to know what we were debating on Friday. I wish that my right hon. Friend had been present on Friday, because he could have saved us an hour or two of Debate.

6.15 p.m.

Everyone regrets that it is not possible to pass the remaining stages of the Bill at the rate the Government hoped. Members of the Government, particularly the Lord President of the Council, have expressed their disappointment that members of the Committee have been such a bunch of naughty boys in not getting on a good deal faster. I would point out, however, that it is the Government who are doing their best to make the proceedings as long as possible. Until yesterday, I had not the slightest intention of taking part in the Debate on this Clause, but I have been compelled to take part in the Debate, as I was on Friday, because of an observation made, not for the first time, by the Lord President of the Council in reply to a question on Business.

The Lord President of the Council persists in seeking grossly to misrepresent the object which some Members of the House had in putting down a reasoned Amendment on the Second Reading of this Bill, and in seeking further to amend the Bill in Committee. I said on Friday that I found it necessary to make a speech, which I would not otherwise have made, because of the reply given by the Lord President of the Council to a question put on Business, in which he suggested that the only issue which now remained in connection with this Bill was whether or not we should get out of Palestine on 15th May. Those who were present on Friday will know that if there is one issue about which there is no division of opinion in any quarter, it is this issue. Therefore, the issues in question are quite different. Over and over again that has been made abundantly clear in the Debates on this Bill.

The Lord President of the Council has many other duties, and for that reason he has been unable to be present during the proceedings on this Bill. He is, I am sure, the hardest working Member of the House, and he has many commitments, but he nevertheless persists in coming to the House and trying to pretend, I do not know for what reason, that there are some Members who are seeking to delay the exodus of our Forces and administration from Palestine, and every time that he does that, it becomes necessary for some one to get up and say that this is not the issue. I hope, so far as the House is concerned, that we shall dispose of this Bill by today, but if we do not, I have the fear that the Lord President, in answer to some question tomorrow, will once again produce this story, and then we shall have to make more speeches to protect ourselves from misrepresentation, and the House will be held up in its desperate efforts to pass this Measure.

Major Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

I am surprised that the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) should express so much astonishment over the apparent difference of opinion between the Foreign Secretary and the Colonial Secretary, because if he goes back to 1945, he will find that there has been considerable difference of opinion all along. The hon. Member is quite right in asking the Colonial Secretary what exactly is the position now, so far as handing over to the United Nations is concerned, because on Friday the Attorney-General said: After the appointed day Palestine will become, in effect, foreign territory and nothing done under an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament could, as a matter of international law, in any way affect the rights which His Majesty possesses to protect British subjects and British property abroad."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th March, 1948; Vol. 448, C. 2507.] It is extremely important, especially in the light of what has happened over the weekend, that, while we do not want to alter the date of 15th May, we should consider very carefully what is to happen between 15th May and 1st August to our own subjects in Palestine, and to the Palestine subjects with British passports to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) has referred. If we are to have a consulate or some political representative, where is he to be situated, and to whom are his credentials to be presented? It is most important that this should be cleared up, and that we should be told whether any equivalent to the British consulate will be in Palestine.

There are one or two other points with which I want to deal, particularly in the period between 16th May and 1st August. Some time ago, the Minister of Defence was asked a question by another hon. Member and myself on the matter of the evacuation of hospital patients after the very unpleasant incident which had taken place in a hospital against British troops. The Minister of Defence said on that occasion that he did not think that we could start moving them out now, because there might be some who were too seriously ill to move. If that is the case now, it may quite easily be the case on the final day. What is to happen then? Are they to be left there because they cannot be moved? One can recall many parallels during the war in which people far more dangerously ill than some of those in Palestine, were moved far greater distances. I hope that the Colonial Secretary will be able to tell us that some steps are being taken, if necessary in conjunction with the Egyptian Government, to get our hospital casualties away now, because I know that there are many parents in this country who are extremely worried about the position.

There is one other point which I wish to touch upon. That is the question of the Holy City having been the capital of Palestine, and what is to happen now? Is the centre of government to be carried on in those buildings? I urge the Colonial Secretary to represent to the United Nations that the sooner any form of central government can be cleared out of Jerusalem the better. I believe that there is nothing that antagonises the people in Jerusalem more than the fact that the Arab Higher Committee and the Jewish Agency are there exacerbating any difficulties that may exist already. I should have thought that the sooner they could be moved out the better. I hope that the experiences of our officials who have been in Palestine for many years will be used to recommend to the United Nations as to where the new capital should be.

I hope that the Holy City will not be the capital of Palestine, whether Palestine is eventually partitioned, federalised or made a trustee territory. Whatever the case, the mere existence of these rival governments or rival heads of races in Jerusalem itself will, I believe, undo any progress that may be made in the future, or prevent any progress being made in the future towards peace in the Holy City. It is one of the most lamentable things when we remember what this week is, to think of the Holy City being torn as it is today. I hope that the-Colonial Secretary will do everything in his power to get it across to the United Nations that Jerusalem as the Holy City should no longer be the capital of Palestine, whatever else is decided by the Security Council or the General Assembly.

There is the more mundane matter of concessions, which I think we shall be able to deal with in greater detail on Clause 3. There are many concessions which affect both Jewish, Arab and British people in this country. Under the original plan of 25th November, the United Nations reported that there was to be an economic union, and the concessions were to stand with the new authorities giving the concessions. What is now to happen? Has the right hon. Gentleman considered what may happen if there is a battle immediately after wards? British subjects would be interested in that, and I think he has an obligation to the British in these concessions, and also an obligation to ensure that British employees of other concessionaries are protected. As I see it, there will be, even after 15th May, quite a few civil employees of concessionaires in Palestine whose position may be practically untenable, and if any efforts are made by either side to end these concessions, what is going to happen to the British citizens who are there? I hope that we may have some clarification of that position.

In conclusion, may I refer to what was said by the hon. Member for West Leicester (Mr. Janner). I am sorry that he has left his place. He tried to make out that the Zionists in Palestine and the Zionist leaders had to look after their own people and would not welcome the people from Cyprus if they knew that they were likely to be killed. I hardly think that any leaders who ship their people across the Mediterranean in the so-called "hell ship," are likely to be squeamish when it is a matter of bringing reinforcements to fight a war for them. I hope that the United Nations will be advised to take steps to see that the Jews at present in Cyprus are removed as quickly as possible, and if possible are not sent into Palestine itself. It seems that if they go there, it will make the position worse than it is.

I criticised the Government on the Second Reading for being limited in the way in which they had advised the United Nations. I said that I thought they were right in saying that we as a nation would take no further action, but, nevertheless, they should say something to the United Nations as to what they suggested should be done. Have they done that over the matter of future immigration between 15th May and 1st August? I am disturbed from the point of view of our own troops who will be left in Palestine after 15th May, if immediately after that, date illegal immigration, as it used to be known, starts again. It seems that all it will do will be to bring in all the thugs who have been shipped to Palestine, and diverted to Cyprus, and make things worse.

It is no good the hon. Member for West Leicester saying that we cannot tell the Jews what to do, if, at the same time, he is trying to tell the Arabs what to do with the arms which we are giving them under Treaty obligations. We used to be criticised for "governessing" Europe. The hon. Member for West Leicester wants to governess the Arab States. If they are sovereign States they have the right to have Treaty obligations that we honour. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not pay much attention to what the hon. Member for West Leicester had to say on the matter of the Arab States.

Mr. Mikardo

Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say under what Treaty obligations rifles are at present being sold by British authorities in Palestine to Palestinian Arabs?

Major Legge-Bourke

I am not aware of that fact. I doubt if they are, and I am sure that if they were doing that, they would be court-martialled, and quite rightly so. I am referring to the Arab States with which we have Treaties, and with which we are under Treaty obligations to provide the wherewithal to defend themselves. If other sovereign Governments misuse that, that is a matter for the Arab people concerned and the United Nations, but certainly not for us in this Debate today.

As hon. Members know, originally I tried to argue the opposite case, because I felt an injustice was being done to the Arab people. The Government stuck to their guns on the matter and we in this House have to accept their decision. The actions of the Government are more likely to lead towards peace if they stick to a decision once it is made rather than change their minds every five minutes. I did my best to get the other point of view accepted, and I still think it an injustice to Palestine that that decision should have been taken. However, the Government thought otherwise, and now that that decision has been taken, I hope that the Foreign Secretary and his colleagues in the Government will adhere to the decision to get out on 15th May, and to withdraw completely by 1st August and that there will be no change from those dates.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Benn Levy (Eton and Slough)

I would not have spoken this afternoon had it not been for the intervention by the Foreign Secretary. He rose in answer to a request by the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler) ostensibly to bring clarity and light into the Debate. Instead it seems to me that he produced a dense mass of artificial fog, and I want, if I may, to try to dispel some of it. During his brief but characteristic intervention, he managed to accuse the Committee of untruthfulness, unfair argument and misrepresentation. I do not want to throw back those charges, but I should like to see how far they are completely irrelevant to the case he himself made.

The right hon. Member for Saffron Walden asked him a plain question—what was the Government's attitude or policy? As far as I could understand my right hon. Friend's reply, it was that the Govern- ment's policy was solely to support an agreed solution between the two parties, the Arabs and the Jews. That sounds very well but only for a moment, because nobody in this Committee believes that such a solution is possible. Nor does my right hon. Friend believe it either. He himself has gone on record saying specifically in so many words that there can be no such solution, and it, therefore, follows that what he was saying was that the Government have no attitude and no policy.

In point of fact, to have no attitude and to have no policy is to have a policy supporting the status quo. If a change is not supported, then the existing situation is supported, and it is partly because the Government have consistently supported the status quo that there is, in fact, nobody at this present time to whom we can hand over control. The responsibility for the locked door on the step of which we are laying the baby, is in large part our responsibility, and the Committee ought to realise that what the Foreign Secretary's intervention has revealed quite clearly is that the Government have no overt policy, but have still what they have had for the last two and a half years, a covert and ill-advised policy of oblique Arab appeasement. The present impasse is the result.

Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)

I do not think the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) is quite fair to the Foreign Secretary. He said that the Government had no policy. The Foreign Secretary in his announcement was quite consistent with the attitude that the Government have maintained hitherto. The Government have decided—and I believe the majority of the people of this country are behind them—that British troops shall no longer be used in Palestine nor should they risk their lives to enforce on either side a policy to which either one or the other objects. That is a perfectly reasonable and sound attitude to take up, and I would ask the hon. Member for Eton and Slough if he is prepared to go down to his constituency and say that he is willing that British troops should be used to enforce on the Jews or the Arabs a solution which either or both of them do not want?

Mr. Levy

The hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) has evidently been listening closely not to what I said but to what the Lord President of the Council persists in saying. The Lord President persists in saying that the critics on this issue are opposed to the withdrawal of British troops. I repeat for the hundredth time we are opposed to nothing of the kind; we favour it.

Mr. Lipson

I asked the hon. Gentleman a straight question and he has not given me a definite answer. Unless there is an agreed policy it follows that there must be one to which one side or the other objects. It is obvious, therefore, that force would have to be used to implement that policy. If we are not prepared for our troops to be used for that purpose, we are told that we are disloyal to the United Nations.

Mr. S. Silverman

The hon. Gentleman must put forward his own perfectly sincere views in his own perfectly sincere way, but he will only obscure the issue if he persists in misrepresenting other people. There is nobody in this House who believes that at this time under the Mandate the jurisdiction of this country should be prolonged by five minutes beyond 15th May, nor is there anybody in this House who believes that any British soldier should remain in Palestine five minutes longer than it is physically possible to take him out.

Mr. Lipson

I thought the matter at issue was, what was to happen when we came out, and if the solution of partition were still standing and had to be enforced, it would have to be enforced by the United Nations. I am sure that those who are criticising the Government are anxious that we should join and take our part in any international Force required. [HON. MEMBERS:"No."] I am very glad to have got that out of them at least.

Mr. Silverman

The hon. Gentleman must not say, "I am glad to get that out of them." If he had taken the trouble to come to the House on Friday he would have heard it ad nauseam.

Mr. Lipson

If that is so, then there is even less justification than I thought for the criticisms which have been made of the attitude which His Majesty's Government have taken up since the decision of 29th November. Apparently, we are all agreed that we should lay down the Mandate on 15th May, and that all troops should be withdrawn by 1st August. For that reason I support the Motion that the Clause stand part. What we must also be anxious about is that there should be peace in Palestine. I believe that people outside Palestine have a contribution to make towards ensuring that peace is likely to happen. They will not make that contribution, however, by supporting the extremist view of either one side or the other but by asking—I am glad to see the hon. Member for Eton and Slough is now applauding me—for an agreement between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine.

The only solution which will bring peace to Palestine is one which results from agreement. The alternative is bloodshed in Palestine until one side has destroyed the other. I, therefore, appeal to everybody not to say anything that is likely to make a bad situation worse, by encouraging the extremists on both sides. I welcome the recently announced change of attitude on the part of the United States. It shows that that country is facing the facts of the situation as we realised them from the outset. The United States now realises that the proposal for partition is not practical politics. I do not think they ought to be blamed, they having realised their mistake, for changing their mind. It is much better to do so when one has made a mistake than to persist in the mistake and so make matters very much worse.

I hope that we shall take every possible step to come out of Palestine upon the appointed day and that we shall persist in the attitude that, whatever proposals may come forward in the future with regard to Palestine, we are not prepared to use our troops in more fighting there. On the other hand, we must try to be a conciliatory influence. I hope that that attitude will have support from all sides of the House.

Mr. Thomas Reid (Swindon)

Since we last discussed this matter a notable change has been effected at Lake Success, although nothing has been definitely decided yet. In my humble opinion, however, partition is dead and buried—I hope for ever. I hope that the people who came to that decision at U.N.O. have at last realised what people who knew the situation well have all along realised, that the setting up of a Jewish State in a part of Palestine was unjust, unwise, and unworkable. The proposals for partition meant that the United Nations were setting the Near East in flames but, having provided the conflagration, they did not provide the fire brigade for putting it out.

So far as one can see, now there will be no United Nations Commission to take over from us in Palestine. If so, a vacuum will be left. The new policy seems to be that Palestine is to be placed under the Trusteeship Council. Whether and when that will be set up is not yet known. Nor is it known who might be the ambitious State that will wish to be the trustee for Palestine. I hope that our Government will think twice before accepting this damnosa hereditas. Current events seem to show that some people in Palestine want to take the law into their own hands by setting up a Jewish State or an Arab State. If that happens, we shall be in a very difficult position while we are responsible, until 15th May, for law and order. I hope that the Government will consider what they will do in case one or both of those States is set up, rebellious as it will be against the United Nations and against the mandatory Power.

The Clause we are discussing enables us to leave. And I support it. We cannot carry on any longer, and we cannot legislate in this Parliament for the United Nations. Reference has been made to the fact that Jews and Arabs cannot possibly settle their disputes. The decision of the United Nations Security Council, if carried out, means that the Security Council and the United Nations will not vote for partition, will not vote, in other words, for a Jewish State. There cannot be peace in Palestine as long as there is any attempt to create a Jewish State there. If that possibility is removed, in the interests of Briton and Arab, and above all in the interests of the Jews, peace can be established in Palestine in spite of the ferment which exists there at the moment. When I was a member of the Palestine Commission in 1938 and since, I have said that the average Jew and the average Arab longed only for peace for themselves and their children. I say so still. Provided the Jewish State policy is abandoned, there can be a settlement.

Jews and Arabs in Palestine should come together, in their own interests and in the interests of Palestine. They should not take notice of their tormentors outside Palestine. Even at this late hour, let the Jews give up the idea of the Jewish State. Let there be a free and independent Palestine, in which the rights of the Jews there can be guaranteed. That is the only practical solution of this problem.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Manningham-Buller (Daventry)

I hope that we shall have some elucidation from the Government upon the points which have been raised in the Debate. It is not easy to put those points in order of importance. I thought that the observations made by the Colonial Secretary about diplomatic representation were woefully and totally inadequate. He told us that representation would be adequate and that on 15th May it would be the responsibility of the Foreign Office. If there are plans for diplomatic representation, this Committee is entitled to know what they are and to whom those representatives will be accredited. It has the right to be assured that there will be adequate protection for those representatives.

So far, all that we have had from the right hon. Gentleman is a statement that representation will be adequate. I must press the right hon. Gentleman to be frank with the Committee and to tell us the plans of the Government for that diplomatic representation. In particular, we want to know to whom the representatives will be accredited. Are they, as the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs rather indicated, to be accredited to the United Nations? If not, to whom?

We have been told that responsibility falls upon the United Nations after 15th May. That statement confirmed the argument I put forward last Friday that, when we give up the Mandate, the right to exercise jurisdiction will go to the United Nations. That view seems to differ considerably from the advice which the Attorney-General gave to the Committee on Friday. If we have to wait until after 15th May to see who seizes power in Palestine, which is the right hon. Gentleman's view, how can we be assured that there will be diplomatic representatives after 15th May accredited to anyone in a part of Palestine that we do not occupy? I thought that the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Benn Levy) was certainly wrong in one, at least, of his observations, in suggesting that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had accused hon. Members of unfair misrepresentation. It was nothing of the sort. He termed hon. Members on that side of the Committee, not this side——

Mr. Levy

I wonder why.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Well, the hon. Member will agree that that was an incorrect representation of the statement of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Levy

I was paying him a compliment.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

I now come to another matter——

Mr. S. Silverman

Before the hon. and learned Gentleman leaves that point, will he favour the Committee with his view on whether the Foreign Secretary was right or wrong in the charges he made, because he has just said something which appears to mean that the (right hon. Gentleman was wrong?

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Whether the Foreign Secretary was right or wrong in the observations he made is not for me to judge on this issue, but I think we ought to have the Government's statement clarified. The right hon. Gentleman said something about the responsibility falling on the United Nations. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has said that no jurisdiction will be exercised in Palestine except by those who obtain power after 15th May.

Mr. Silverman

Which is right?

Mr. Manningham-Buller

I leave it to the Front Bench to explain. I now come to the question of passports. The Secretary of State for the Colonies said that British passports will not be withdrawn from Palestinian citizens. I dare say that the collecting of British passports from Palestinian citizens would be a most difficult undertaking. It is most valuable to have the assurance that they will not be withdrawn. We are then told that the British passports will be valuable documents showing their owners to be Palestinian citizens. I wonder whether the Palestinian citizens will value these documents very much after 15th May. What useful purpose will these documents have? We ought to be told something more about that, too.

First, with regard to the Palestinian citizens who are in Palestine, what proper diplomatic documents can they obtain after 15th May? If they want to travel outside Palestine, will they be entitled to obtain passports from the United Nations? Have there been any discussions on that? What about the Palestinian citizens who are now in other parts of the world? I think I am right in saying that many Palestinian citizens went to South America before the war and are there on Palestinian passports. What will be their position after 15th May? Will they be able to get another passport enabling them to travel, and if so, from whom? We ought to have an explanation about that.

Here is another matter. The right hon. Gentleman was asked about the evacuation of British civilians who were not in Government employment. What will be done about them? Are they to be offered facilities? If so, let us have some detailed information about it. What about British civilians who happen to be in hospital at the present time? A question has been asked more than once as to what will be done about British troops in hospitals. We have had no clear statement about that. Quite apart from the position of British civilians, there are, and have been for a long period, both Jews and Arabs in the Government service who have served the Government well. It may well be that a number of these servants of His Majesty's Government will not wish to remain in Palestine after 15th May. It may well be that some of those Jews who have served the Government well will wish to leave the country. Will any facilities be offered by His Majesty's Government to assist them in their departure? Will any facilities be open to other Jews—old Jews or anyone else—who wish to leave the country before that date? We ought to be told something about that.

There has been reference to the removal of stores. My hon. Friend the Member for North Blackpool (Mr. Low) quoted a lot of figures on the last occasion. Now, after considerable pressure, the Colonial Secretary has given some further information on that point. However, can he indicate to what extent stores will be left behind after 1st August, because on the Second Reading of this Bill he made what appears to me to be a very remarkable statement. He said: Thus the funds and other movable property vested in or belonging to the Government of Palestine can be vested in appropriate authorities here. Immovable property will, of course, be left to the successor authorities except such as is vested in a Government Department here, such as the War Office. What will happen with regard to movable property vested in the War Office in Palestine after 15th May? The Secretary of State went on: Regarding Palestine assets and liabilities generally, we are at present negotiating with the United Nations Commission in New York about them. Our object is to hand over the general assets of the Government to the successor authorities on their undertaking to meet liabilities. It may be that we shall be unable to complete satisfactory arrangements until well after 15th May, or possibly not at all.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1948; Vol. 448, C. 1248.] Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any information now as to the progress of those negotiations? Can he tell us, too, to what extent our stocks and assets will be left behind after 1st August?

I now come to the very important question about the Holy Places. A great deal has been said about this from both sides of the Committee, but no word which could give comfort to any Christian in this country has come from His Majesty's Government. I really hope that every possible effort will be made to ensure that some protection is secured for the Holy Places in the gap which is now bound to occur before any other force can possibly protect them.

I understand that the mail service to Palestine for civilians will be suspended. What will be the position about communicating with the British subjects who remain in Palestine after 15th May—such as British inhabitants of religious houses in Palestine? Will it be the case—I fear it will, and if it is so it should be made quite clear—that after 15th May there will be no facilities for getting in touch with those British subjects who remain outside the areas which after that date are occupied by our troops?

It has been said that this is perhaps the most important Clause of the Bill, and we ought not to pass from it without much more information about these questions than we have already had from the right hon. Gentleman. We ought to have from the Attorney-General some reconciliation, if he can make it, of the apparent—I do not say that they exist in fact—discrepancies between the statement he made on Friday and the statement which the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs made today.

The Attorney-General (Sir Hartley Shawcross)

Before the hon. and learned Gentleman sits down, perhaps he would be so kind as to tell me what the discrepancy is. I have been looking for it in vain. I dealt with what the hon. and learned Gentleman referred to as the technical question of juristic sovereignty and said there was no automatic transfer of juristic sovereignty. I said, not once but three times, that I was not dealing with political or moral questions. The Foreign Secretary today, as I understood him, was making it quite clear that it was his view that the United Nations had assumed the political responsibility for the future government of Palestine. I certainly never said that they were incapable of doing that. Whether that results in their obtaining juristic sovereignty in Palestine depends on the development of events.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his intervention. I would like him to answer this question: can we have diplomatic representatives accredited to the United Nations when it holds political responsibility, or must our diplomatic representatives be accredited to a Power having juristic responsibility? Would he explain what he means by the expression, "political responsibility"? If he would explain those matters—the relationship between political responsibility for what happens in Palestine after r5th May, and juristic responsibility, and in particular answer the question, to whom diplomatic representatives will be accredited—it will assist discussion.

7.0 p.m.

The Attorney-General

I do not propose to do that because, if the hon. and learned Member will do me the honour of reading my speech he will find that I dealt with the point explicitly and in detail on Friday. If he did not understand, I can only express regret, but I do not propose to take up the time of the Committee in repeating my view. I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman is serious when he asks me to distinguish between a technical juristic responsibility and a political responsibility.

Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)

I am not complaining and perhaps it is easier for me to be serious. I am perfectly serious, when I ask to whom should the United Nations be responsible, and how can that be enforced? What is meant by saying that the United Nations are politically responsible? To whom are they responsible?

Earl Winterton (Horsham)

I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again." As I am entitled to do, I desire to put to the Chair, under the guise of a point of Order, the reason for submitting this Motion. In this very important Debate, which has raised important questions quite outside the ambit of the Colonial Office, we have not had present any representative of the Foreign Office or of the War Office. In my long recollection it is quite unprecedented for the Foreign Secretary to take part in a Debate and make a speech, of great importance, and then be unrepresented on the Front Bench. I submit that in those circumstances I am entitled to move that the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Burden)

I quite appreciate the point put by the noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) but I am afraid that at the present stage I am not prepared to accept it.

Earl Winterton

I am sorry to burden you with a further point of Order. Do I understand you refuse it on the ground that, as the Foreign Secretary is not present and has no representative present, that is not a reason for moving to report Progress?

The Temporary Chairman

It may be a reason for the right hon. Gentleman to move, but I am not prepared to accept it.

Mr. R. A. Butler

On that point of Order, I would like your guidance as to how my right hon. Friend the noble Lord can put his perfectly legitimate case that on this Debate the Foreign Office are not represented, whereas for the whole of Friday the Foreign Office were represented by the Minister of State. In the second place, the War Office are not represented. How is my noble Friend to put his point with regard to that, if he is unable to move his Motion?

The Temporary Chairman

I feel the point is a difficult one, but I am obviously not in a position to compel any Minister to be present. I feel that at the present stage of the Debate we are reaching what I think to be a conclusion— [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—and it would be a mistake on my part to accept a Motion to report Progress.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

At what stage in the Debate Mr. Burden do you propose to accept such a Motion?

The Temporary Chairman

That is a hypothetical question based on a hypothesis with which I cannot agree. Mr. Silverman.

Earl Winterton

Further to that point of Order——

The Temporary Chairman

Mr. Silverman.

Earl Winterton

I am afraid I regard this as of some importance. Strange as it may seem, I always thought it to be the duty of a Committee to insist, through the Chairman upon having a Minister present. Without attempting to controvert your Ruling, Mr. Burden, I suggest that there is abundant precedent for a Chairman of a Committee to give some reason for refusing a Motion to report Progress to call attention to the absence of a Minister whose Department is being inferentially discourteous. During the whole of the years I have been in the House I have never known a Chairman refuse a Motion when two Ministers have been absent, without the slightest attempt made by the Leader of the House or by the Government to obtain their presence. If you regard it as a small or trivial matter, I do not think the Committee will, or the public outside, and I ask you to give a considered Ruling on the subject.

The Temporary Chairman

My Ruling is that I am not prepared in the circumstances to accept the noble Lord's Motion, in view of the very long Debate the Committee have had on the Motion that the Clause stand part.

Mr. Low

It may not have entered your mind before you gave your Ruling, Mr. Burden, that particularly ought the Secretary of State for War to be here today, as several hon. Members made speeches from this side of the Committee on Friday which require a reply from his Department, and no other Department. Those speeches have been on the record since Saturday morning, and I respectfully suggest that that was a very good reason to demand the attention of the Secreary of State for War, or the Under-Secretary of State for War, and that we should report Progress until they are able to be here.

The Temporary Chairman

It may seem a very good reason to the hon. Member, but in the circumstances, as I have explained, I am not prepared to accept the Motion.

Earl Winterton

Further to that point of Order—[HON. MEMBERS: can keep a point of Order going for two hours if necessary. Further to that point of Order, would you not agree that on every precedent, the Chairman of Committees has always given some reason why he should not accept the Motion to report Progress when those concerned—[Interruption.] It is no use hon. Members shouting at me. I am going to put this point of Order, and the longer they shout, the longer I shall be in putting it. Never in the history of this Committee has a Chairman refused to give a reason why Progress should not be reported when an important Minister has been absent from the Debate in which he has previously taken part. For the benefit of future Chairmen, I ask you to give a considered reason why you should not accept my Motion.

The Temporary Chairman

I have endeavoured to explain to the Committee that I am not prepared to accept the Motion. A number of Ministers were present on Friday when I happened to be in the Chair and when I believe the right hon. Gentleman the noble Lord himself was not present. Mr. Silverman.

Earl Winterton rose——

Mr. S. Silverman

On a point of Order. May I ask at what point requests for a clarification of a Ruling become a dispute of the Ruling, and whether it is in Order for an hon. Member, or the noble Lord, to dispute a Ruling?

The Temporary Chairman

I appreciate the point, but I have asked the hon. Member to continue the Debate.

Earl Winterton

Will you further clarify the Ruling, as I understood you to say that as a Private Member of this House was not present on Friday that was a reason why the Minister should not be present when his Department is being discussed?

The Temporary Chairman

I have already explained the point to the hon. Member——

Earl Winterton

The right hon. Member.

The Temporary Chairman

—the right hon. Member, and I see no reason to depart from it. Mr. Silverman.

Mr. S. Silverman

If we may now continue the Debate, I wish to say that since I made a speech on the Motion that the Clause stand part of the Bill on Friday I would not have thought it——

Earl Winterton

Hear, hear.

Mr. Proctor (Eccles)

On a point of Order. Did I hear the noble Lord say, "The worst Chairman I have seen," and is that not a reflection on the Chair?

The Temporary Chairman

I did not hear it myself.

Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)

Further to that point of Order, as the noble Lord is giving an outstanding demonstration of his desire to act as a rebel, would it not be desirable to introduce a purge?

Mr. Silverman

I was endeavouring, to explain that as I took part in the——

Mr. Blackburn

Further to the point of Order, not only did I hear the remark attributed to the noble Lord quite distinctly, but when you took the Chair, Sir Charles, the noble Lord very loudly said, "Hear, hear."

The Temporary Chairman (Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew)

I do not think anyone has ever cheered me before.

Mr. Silverman

Since I made a speech on the Motion "that the Clause stand part of the Bill" on Friday, should not have thought it necessary to intervene again, but for two facts.

The first concerns my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council who is, I am glad to see, present on the Bench. My right hon. Friend has now twice on the Floor of the House stated that the issue between those who support and those who oppose the Government on this Bill is whether or not our jurisdiction shall cease on 15th May, and whether or not our soldiers shall come out of Palestine at the earliest possible moment and, in any case, not later than 1st August. I was presumptuous enough to correct him on both occasions when he said it on the Floor of the House, and I hope I am not committing any breach of confidence if I say that I took steps privately to explain the mistake in between the two occasions on which the mistake was made. I must, therefore, warn my right hon. Friend that if he persists in repeating this quite untrue assertion, somebody may think that he is deliberately trying to confuse the issue, and others may think that he is not at all anxious to get his Bill through the Committee very quickly. The first reason I have for venturing to speak again on this Bill is to make it abundantly clear that I do not believe the Mandate ought to continue beyond 15th May, that I support enthusiastically the Government's policy in ending British jurisdiction in Palestine on 15th May, and that my only quarrel with the Government's decision to get the troops out not later than 1st August, 1948, is that I think that it gives them too long a period and that they ought to be out quicker. I hope I have made that clear now beyond any further misrepresentation by anyone.

I would like to know, in view of the rumours that are circulating, whether the Government are of that mind still, because I see statements in some of the newspapers that, if partition were abandoned and some sort of trusteeship substituted under the United Nations, His Majesty's Government might have second thoughts. I have even heard it suggested that there have been in London over the weekend representatives of the State Department discussing that very matter with His Majesty's Government.

Mr. Stanley

Would that be with representatives of the Foreign Office? In that case we ought to have someone from the Foreign Office here.

Mr. S. Silverman

I cannot answer the question of the right hon. Gentleman, I do not know with whom the conversations took place if, indeed, any conversations took place. I am referring only to rumours, not because I give any credence to them, but because these rumours ought to be denied at once if they are not true. I welcome the plain statement made by the Foreign Secretary in his intervention a little earlier which seems to be utterly inconsistent with any such rumours, but I hope that it will be made perfectly clear at some stage that our decision, which we made when we referred the matter to the United Nations, was that we would take no further responsibility, no matter what the United Nations did. I think that decision was right, and I would like to be sure that the Government remain of that opinion.

7.15 p.m.

The other thing about which I thought it right to intervene was the demonstration to which the world was treated over the week-end of the American way of life, the question obviously being whether that makes any difference to our policy. In my view, what the United States have so far done makes no difference at all. They have made a proposal to the Security Council and, if the Security Council accepts it, we shall still be no further until, and perhaps not even then, a general assembly of the United Nations has changed that view to which it came last September. And it may very well be that once a great majority of the nations of the world have been convinced that a particular solution, though not ideally just, is nevertheless the best obtainable or attainable, it may not be so easy to make them change their minds. And it will be all the more difficult if the view is not expressed—and this seems to be the position of the United States as I understand the announcement—that there is anything wrong in principle with the decision reached last September.

I do not understand that the announcement made by the State Department includes any statement to the effect that they disagree with the partition solution of the Palestine problem. What they say is, "It has become clear to us that it cannot be implemented except by force; we cannot find sufficient force to implement it and, therefore, we no longer support it." They do not say that it is wrong. What the United Nations would be doing if they accepted that view would be to confess not merely their impotence, but their moral bankruptcy. They do not say, "This solution that we reached is the best available; we thought so then, we think so now; we abandon it and leave nothing but chaos and anarchy in its place, not because there is anything wrong in it, but because we are not prepared to enforce it." I think it may be difficult, therefore, to persuade other nations who are perhaps not so dominated by the American way of life, to accept that view, and I would like to quote to the Committee an extract from a French newspaper, "Le Populaire" of 22nd March: What will be the attitude of France? France cannot leave a nation in the shadows of destruction, a nation which has fought side by side with her, and which represents one of the most advanced domocracies of the world. Neither can she allow the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, and its decisions to be frustrated by special motives, however important they may be. That may be the view of other States, and I say to the Committee that they must approach this question of Clause 1 in this Bill not on the assumption that anything had changed, but on the assumption that nothing has changed except the opinion of some United States statesmen which may or may not ultimately be the view of their government, and which may or may not ultimately be the view of the governments of other countries. After all, when the United States came to its decision last September, everybody said, "Oh, it is election year." Well, it is still election year——

Earl Winterton

Hear, hear.

Mr. Silverman

I am greatly relieved, Sir Charles, to understand that the applause does not refer to anything I have said, but to the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who has just come in. That being so, we are left in the position in which we were, and that is that we go away. We are right to go away, and wrong not to leave anybody with the right to exercise jurisdiction when we go; to leave the house fit or unfit for an incoming tenant, but not to have any incoming tenant. I agree entirely with the hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) as to the conflict between the view of the Foreign Secretary concerning the position after we leave Palestine and the view of the Attorney-General on Friday last. The Attorney-General says that there is no difference, that he was talking about law and that the Foreign Secretary was talking about politics. I do not think that is so. The Foreign Secretary was saying that we were prepared to hand over jurisdiction to the United Nations or to anybody appointed by the United Nations. We all heard him, and that is what he said.

Those were the very words of the Amendment which the Government were resisting. The Attorney-General said jurisdiction will not automatically pass to the United Nations unless the United Nations are there in Palestine—and not merely that, but unless they are there in Palestine with sufficient forces to assume sovereignty; that if they are not there with sufficient forces to exercise de facto sovereignty, then de facto sovereignty will go to whoever can seize it by force, and de jure sovereignty will follow the event. The Attorney-General is perfectly clear about that. Unless the Attorney-General and the Foreign Secretary were both making speeches in support of the Amendment which the Government and the Committee rejected on Friday, they just do not make sense and do not fit in with one another. In that position we are invited to leave this Clause.

Brigadier Peto (Barnstaple)

I rise to make only two points. One was put into my mind by the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid) who said that, in his view, it would be quite impossible to have a Jewish State in Palestine. I want to make my position clear. I spoke in the Palestine Debate early last year, and I held the view very strongly that it was quite possible to have a Jewish State in Palestine alongside an Arab State as a temporary measure, leading to fusion in the end. What has happened now? We have had disorder stirred up to such an extent that instead of leading to fusion, it has led to confusion. My view now is that it would not be possible to have a Jewish State separately, and I consider that the United States have done very wisely in making known during the weekend the decision which they have now taken.

My second point is one which the Colonial Secretary put into my mind. He spent some part of his speech doing what he called rebutting the charges that the disorders and the trouble in Palestine were caused by this country and its Administration. I cannot allow him entirely to get away from those charges with impunity. In my opinion, the disorders were mainly incited by influences, Jewish and otherwise, outside Palestine, but they were partly caused by the promises made to the Jewish people in Palestine by the Labour Party at the election, which have not so far been fulfilled and will never be fulfilled by that party. The two factors—the outside influences stirring up trouble in Palestine, and the promises which have not been fulfilled for one reason or another—are the cause of Palestine being in utter chaos and the reason why there is no body to whom we could hand over satisfactorily. Speaking for the people of my constituency, I can only tell the Committee that this determination of the Government to be out of Palestine by 1st August and that our Mandate shall cease as from 15th May will be welcomed by one and all. As the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Siverman) said earlier in an intervention, no one in this Committee disagrees with the Government on that point.

Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)

The Government have had this Mandate for nearly 30 years, and the purpose of the Mandate was that we should take charge of Palestine and carry out the responsibility of preparing Palestine for democratic self-government. That is the Mandate; why do not the Government carry it out? Can the Government walk out of Palestine and leave it in chaos, without any attempt to carry out and complete their responsibility? I would have the troops out tomorrow. I would have had them out last year—in fact, long ago—but getting the troops out does not relieve the Government of their responsibility. It is not troops which bring about democratic self-government. It is a policy which does that. [Laughter.] I know the hon. Member for North Blackpool (Mr. Low) has been brought up in the Army, and thinks that the only way to produce democracy is by getting a gun, and that the bigger the gun, the greater the democracy. The Government have the responsibility under the Mandate to leave Palestine in a settled condition with a democratic form of government.

Throughout the past I have always advised Zionists against the road which they were taking. I have said at Zionist meetings in this country that the Jewish people were being led to disaster, with the Zionists and the Arabs fighting for the independence of Palestine. I have always taken that line. I say to the Government that they cannot simply lay down the Mandate as they propose without an extra earnest effort being made to carry out the responsibility given to them when they asumed the Mandate. Bring out the troops, yes; but use every possible measure to leave Palestine in a settled condition. Suppose that the Government sent the Foreign Secretary to Palestine instead of to Washington, and the Colonial Secretary with him. [Laughter.] What is the laughter for? The Government have responsibility for Palestine under the Mandate, which is not given up yet.

Are we going to walk out and leave chaos where we promised to leave peace, order and democratic self-government? That is a crime for which every one in the Government is responsible. If necessary, the Government should send the Foreign Secretary and the Colonial Secretary there to bring together representatives of the Arabs and the Jews, and discuss with them between now and the end of the Mandate, the possibility of building up a combination of Jewish and Arab recognised public people who would make themselves responsible for keeping a measure of order. We are certainly committing a crime against all that we ever claimed to stand for when we took the Mandate, if we walk out and leave chaos without attempting to bring about order.

7.30 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Rees-Williams)

I know that in the minds of very many Members in this Committee there is a good deal of disquiet and feeling that we may be leaving Palestine in a state which one cannot help anticipating it may be left in and it is, therefore, only natural that Members should travel over a wide range of topics in trying to forecast—or, what is more, in trying to get the Government to forecast —what may take place after 15th May. I have listened to all the Debate, but I suggest that much of it has been largely irrelevant. Whatever the situation may be after 15th May, this Bill will apply; it is an enabling Measure, a piece of machinery which is to come into effect to meet any situation that may arise. I suggest that we have been discussing matters which are not germane in any way to the Bill, although I can well understand the natural feelings of hon. Members on this point.

I had long thought that it was not possible to introduce any fresh matter into a Palestine Debate. I thought the ground had been covered so fully and so often that nothing new could be turned up, but the speech of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) did introduce a new note into our discussions. His suggestion that we should remove all our troops from Palestine, and send the unfortunate Foreign Secretary and the Colonial Secretary there, is one that has not been made until now. For the first time for many years we have had something fresh turned over on the question of Palestine.

Mr. Gallacher

Is it not the case that we are responsible for leaving Palestine in a state of law and order, with democratic self-government, and now propose to walk out without the least effort being made to carry out our responsibilities under the Mandate?

Mr. Rees-Williams

The Government have been making efforts since they have been in office to arrive at a just settlement in Palestine. Only last week the hon. Member came to see me and asked me to bring about what he called a "Dunkirk evacuation" from Palestine. His suggestion that we should remove our troops in a kind of panic evacuation from Palestine does not coincide with the suggestion he is now putting up, that we are responsible for leaving Palestine in a state of law and order after we have left that country.

The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) repeated a query which was properly raised by the hon. Member for North Blackpool (Mr. Low) last week, about stores in Palestine. If I answer this point now it will be a reply to a suggestion that the Secretary of State for War should have been here today. The hon. Member said that on 20th January he asked a Question of the Secretary of State for War as to what Army stores and equipment were then in Palestine. If the hon. Member will re-read that Question he will see that what he asked was about Army stores left in Palestine and Egypt which, of course, makes all the difference. The figure he quoted to us on Second Reading was the figure which he arrived at of the stores remaining in the two countries.

I can now give the actual stores position in Palestine. The figure for Army and Air Force stores which are scheduled for removal is 250,000 tons. That was the original figure. Of this total 153,000 tons were shipped by 1st March, leaving 97,000 tons to be shipped before 1st August, so that approximately 61 per cent. of the stores to be removed have already been moved. The planned withdrawal of stores is in no way being held up, either by shortage of shipping or the requirements of the citrus trade. Those acquainted with this trade will know that it finishes, both as to collection and removal, at the end of March. The citrus trade cannot interfere in any way with the removal of stores. There was a slight shortage of shipping in the early stages of the evacuation, but that has now been made good. I hope the hon. Member will now be satisfied that those are the facts, and that the figure he gave was a misunderstanding of the figure given by the Secretary of State for War.

The question of Holy Places in Palestine has been one to which the Government have given most earnest consideration. I can assure the Committee that it has caused great anxiety to Ministers. We all realise that the ancient City of Jerusalem should, if humanly possible, be preserved from desolation, desecration and looting. We have constantly pleaded with the Trusteeship Council to take this matter into consideration, to make the necessary arrangements to appoint a Governor, and then to give him the necessary powers to get a staff together and forces, either a police force or otherwise. We said that should he require police, as he will, we would be prepared to permit police officers in Palestine who desired to remain on a voluntary basis with the Governor to do So. Unfortunately, the Trusteeship Council have not come to any decision on the matter, and they have now adjourned consideration of the appointment of a Governor until 28th April.

Mr. Janner

Could my hon. Friend say whether it was the intention of the Government that the Governor should be permitted to have these forces before our departure after 15th May?

Mr. Rees-Williams

Not before 15th May.

Mr. David Renton (Huntingdon)

As there is the probability that the Trusteeship Council may not be able to make any satisfactory arrangements to cover the period 15th May to 1st August, will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that through the most troubled times of recent years Arabs and Jews have, in the main, respected the Holy Places? Will he make an appeal to the two races and their leaders to do everything they can during that period to continue the respect for the Holy Places which, in the main, they have held in the past?

Mr. Rees-Williams

We have already done that; we have suggested a truce between Moslems, Christians and Arabs. We must not forget that Christians come into this just as much as Jews and Arabs. In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Janner), there is another complication. Whatever our views may be about troops being admitted to Jerusalem before 15th May, the Jerusalem statute does not come into operation until 1st October.

Mr. Low

The hon. Gentleman ought to have had a representative from the War Office at his side. What is the position of those British troops who remain in Jerusalem for two or three weeks after 15th May? That is very important to everyone in the Committee.

Mr. Rees-Williams

The hon. Member is frying not only to forecast what is to happen in Palestine but what I am about to say. I intend to deal with that point in this way: It is only a possibility that some troops may be in Jerusalem after 15th May. Some troops may be in any part of Palestine after 15th May and before 1st August. There is no more difficulty about those troops who may be in Jerusalem than there is about troops in any other part of Palestine. I do not see the hon. Member's point. We have said that we will evacuate all troops from Palestine by 1st August. Where the troops are located between 15th May and 1st August is a matter for the Commander-in-Chief. It may be that some troops may be in Jerusalem; the Commander-in-Chief may desire some troops to be there. I cannot tell him, nor can anyone else. That is purely a matter of security, and is one for the Commander-in-Chief.

Mr. Low

The hon. Gentleman has missed my point. What would be the policy if something happened to endanger the Holy Places? Will any troops who are there have any responsibility for the preservation of the Holy Places or for the preservation of law and order around the Holy Places?

Mr. Rees-Williams

They will have no responsibility for law and order after 15th May save in so far as it is necessary for the preservation and safeguarding of the Forces themselves in the withdrawal. There is no doubt about that.

A point was raised by the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke) as to our representatives in Palestine after 15th May. It will be quite clear, from what the Attorney-General said, that that is already covered by the Government's decision. During the Committee stage, on 19th March, the Attorney-General, in an intervention, when the hon. and learned Member for the Isle of Ely was speaking, said: —if the United Nations are in control, we shall be able to have a consul there, accredited in much the same way as consuls are accredited to other sovereign States. If the United Nations are not in control, and there is no other Power which assumes de facto and de jure rights of sovereignty, the position will, of course, be more difficult and as a matter of international law. All I can say is that we intend to have somebody there."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th March, 1948; Vol. 448, c. 2511.] That is quite clear. We intend to have someone there who will have the authority of a representative of His Majesty's Government.

Mr. Grossman (Coventry, East)

To whom?

Mr. Rees-Williams

He will be in exactly the same position as are all the other representatives who are there now and who, we suppose, will remain there. Again I am being asked to exploit a gift of prophecy which I have not got. I do not know, and how can I say, who will be the legal government at that date? To whoever is the legal government at that date our representative will be accredited. If there is no legal Government there at that date the other circumstances to which the Attorney-General was referring will obtain, and our representative will be there without being accredited to anyone.

International law is made step by step by a series of accidents and eventualities, and we shall just be making a little more international law. [Laughter.] There is no difficulty about it. I do not see why the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) laughs about any suggestion which is made with which he does not agree.

Mr. S. Silverman

I will tell the Under-Secretary of State what amused me. It was his suggestion that anarchy and chaos can produce international law, or that there was any necessity for that to occur. The Government could have put into their Bill the authority to whom they gave jurisdiction and could have accredited their representative to that authority. I thought that was what the Foreign Secretary said. Now the Under-Secretary is rejecting that.

7.45 P.m.

Mr. Rees-Williams

That is a frivolous suggestion, which was put forward to justify an empty laugh.

The question of the evacuation of the wounded was raised by the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely. Here again I do not quite see the point at issue. We are now moving wounded from Palestine as soon as they can comfortably be moved. It may be that occasionally if a man was badly wounded he would not be moved at once; he would be left in hospital until he was in a position to be moved with safety. We shall move all wounded, if there be any such, up to 'the date of our final withdrawal. If there are any wounded at the moment of final withdrawal they will be taken away in the normal way. The British Government and the British Army are not in the habit of leaving their wounded behind, and we shall not do so.

On the one hand, the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely said he agreed to our moving our troops out; he confirmed the Government's policy in that respect, and approved it. Next he said that we must look after our concessionaires. How? It may not be possible. It is a question of negotiating with any successor Government there may be. At this stage it is quite impossible for His Majesty's Government or anyone else to see how they are to protect the interests—oil interests or other interests—of concessionaires in Palestine. The important thing for us to look after at the moment is to get our own civil authorities and troops out, and the concessionaires will no doubt be dealt with, if possible, at a later date.

Major Legge-Bourke

It was unfortunate that I used the words "look after." What I meant to ask was whether the Government had taken any steps to inform the various British citizens working in those concessions what the position of the Government there will be after our withdrawal. Have His Majesty's Government asked those people what they want to do, and are they giving them any facilities to do what they want to do?

Mr. Rees-Williams

When the hon. and gallant Member used the word "concessions" I thought he meant it. Now it woud appear that he is referring to employees of concessionaires.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Minister of State, speaking on the Second Reading of the Bill, was much more explicit about concessions than the Under-Secretary has been. He said: I think it is plain that we should have good a title as any other member of the United Nations to demand of the Commission, in that interim period, that they should attend to our interests as far as lies in their power."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1948; Vol. 448, C. 1359.] Could the Under-Secretary underline that assurance, and in case of there being a Trusteeship and not a Commission, would he underline that we shall take steps to get the Trusteeship to look after our interests?

Mr. Rees-Williams

Certainly, we shall take all necessary steps. I do not want to be tied down to any particular steps with any particular body but I agree with the spirit underlying what the Minister of State said.

With regard to civilians, the Palestine Government have undertaken that, in the event of it being necessary at the time of withdrawal to evacuate British subjects after 15th May—that is, civilians in employment or service in Palestine—arrangements will be made to do it. A register is being compiled of British subjects whose normal occupation is in Palestine and whose domicile is in this country. A note is made in that register of those who desire to remain after 15th May. We have urged them to take advantage of the present conditions and to send their wives and children to the United Kingdom before the end of April. We hope that most of them will do so.

Mr. Dodds-Parker (Banbury)

Will the hon. Gentleman deal with the question of civilian stores before he leaves that matter——

Mr. Rees-Williams

I am going to deal with stores. If hon. Members opposite would allow me to make my speech they will find that all these points will come out, but I cannot make two or three speeches at the same time. With regard to War Office property in Palestine——

Mr. Quintin Hogg (Oxford) rose——

Mr. Rees-Williams

No, I am not going to give way any more. With regard to War Office property in Palestine after 15th May, I take it that immovable property is meant and not movable property. That again is a matter for negotiation with any successor Government or body that there may be. I would point out that discussion on this point would be more appropriate, subject to your approval, Mr. Beaumont, under Clause 3, Subsection (4) of the Bill.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) has once again, for some reason, thrown doubt on the period at which the Mandate is to end——

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Has the hon. Gentleman now left the question of personnel?

Mr. Rees-Williams

I will come back to that. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne has once more cast doubt on this question of the end of the Mandate. Some rumour reached him that somebody had come over from America, or from the State Department, to meet someone in this country, and on the strength of that nebulous rumour he has come to the Committee of the House of Commons and put forward a suggestion that the Government have changed their mind——

Mr. S. Silverman

I did not do that.

Mr. Rees-Williams

It is no such thing. We have not changed our minds, and the Mandate will terminate on 15th May. It will be remembered that the Government have already amended this Bill, and that the date of 15th May is now part of the Bill. That, I should have thought, was, of itself, sufficient evidence that there has been no change of mind or heart on the part of His Majesty's Government.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne also strove to show some conflict between what the Foreign Secretary said today and the statement of the Attorney-General on the Committee stage of the Bill on Friday. The Foreign Secretary as I understood him did not say we would not hand over jurisdiction if the successor authority was not in Palestine. It was implicit in his statement that whoever was to take over the jurisdiction would have to be in a position to exercise it. It seems to me obvious that it is useless to hand over jurisdiction to an authority which cannot exercise it. Therefore, the Attorney-General's statement on Friday is perfectly consistent, and has to be read in connection with the statement today of the Foreign Secretary, in order to make quite clear what is the view of His Majesty's Government.

Mr. S. Silverman

I put that point to the Foreign Secretary in the middle of his speech, and he described it as a misrepresentation. I am very grateful for what my hon. Friend is now saying. With that put into the speech of the Foreign Secretary, there would be no conflict; without it there would be all the conflict in the world, but when I suggested that, he accused us of misrepresenting him.

Mr. Rees-Williams

I understood that the Foreign Secretary was not talking about misrepresentation in that regard. He was accusing some hon. Members of misrepresentation on an entirely different point.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Under-Secretary is not very felicitous in this matter. It seems to me that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne is correct in his interpretation and I think we ought to know which member of the Government is giving which interpretation. If the Attorney-General would be good enough to elucidate the point, we would be satisfied.

Mr. Rees-Williams

I am not entering into the battle of giants—if battle there be —but it seemed to me while listening, although I am not an expert in these matters, that the thing was perfectly plain. If the authority is not in a position to exercise jurisdiction, then jurisdiction cannot be handed over to it.

Mr. Hogg

What I had in mind when I sought to intervene was that the hon. Gentleman put a qualification on his assurance with regard to the statement about personnel leaving Palestine. He referred to British subjects domiciled in this country. I was hoping that the hon. Gentleman would make it perfectly plain that British subjects who happen to have their domicile in the Dominions, or other parts of the Empire, would not be excluded from his register or from the hope of evacuation.

Mr. Rees-Williams

I will look into that point. I think that most of them are domiciled in this country, but the hon. Member can rest assured that we should not exclude anyone from the Dominions or the Colonies who wished to be evacuated. I think there is no question about that, and I give that assurance. I hope that now, after this very full consideration, we may be given this Clause without further Debate.

Several Hon. Members rose

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Whiteley) rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 274; Noes, 88.

Division No. 104.] AYES. 7.56 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty) Levy, B. W.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) Lewis, J. (Bolton)
Allan, A. C. (Bosworth) Evans, Albert (Islington, W.) Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Alien, Scholefield (Crewe) Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Lindgren, G. S.
Alpass, J. H. Evans, John (Ogmore) Lipson, D. L.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Attewell, H. C. Fairhurst, F. Longden, F.
Bacon, Miss, A. Farthing, W. J. Lyne, A. W.
Baird, J. Fernyhough, E. McAdam, W.
Balfour, A. Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) McEntee, V. La. T.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Foot, M. M. McGhee, H. G.
Barstow, P. G. Forman, J. C. McGovern, J.
Barton, C. Fraser, T. (Hamilton) McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Battley, J. R. Freeman, Peter (Newport) Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)
Bechervaise, A. E. Gallacher, W. Maclean, N. (Govan)
Benson, G. Ganley, Mrs. C. S. MoLeavy, F.
Berry, H. Gilzean, A. Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Beswick, F. Glanville, J. E. (Conselt) Marquand, H. A.
Bing, G. H. C. Gooch, E. G. Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Binns, J. Gordon-Walker, P. C. Mathers, Rt. Hon. George
Blackburn, A. R. Grenfell, D. R. Mayhew, C. P.
Blenkinsop, A. Grey, C. F. Mellish, R. J.
Blyton, W. R. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Messer, F.
Bottomley, A. G. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Middleton, Mrs. L.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Mikardo, Ian
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Guest, Dr. L. Haden Mitchison, G. R.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Gunter, R. J. Monslow, W.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Guy, W. H. Moody, A. S.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvll Morley, R.
Brown, T. J. (Ines) Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Buchanan, Rt. Hon. G. Hardman, D. R. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)
Burden, T. W. Hardy, E. A. Moyle, A.
Burke, W. A. Harrison, J. Mulvey, A.
Callaghan, James Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford) Murray, J. D.
Carmichael, James Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Nally, W.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Herbison, Miss M. Naylor, T. E.
Champion, A. J. Hewitson, Capt. M. Neal, H. (Claycross)
Chater, D. Holman, P. Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Chetwynd, G. R. House, G. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Cluse, W. S. Hoy, J. Oldfield, W. H.
Cobb, F. A. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Oliver, G. H.
Coldrick, W. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Paget, R. T.
Collick, P. Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Collindridge, F. Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.) Palmer, A. M. F.
Collins, V. J. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pargiter, G. A.
Corlett, Dr. J. Janner, B. Parker, J.
Cove, W. G. Jay, D. P. T. Parkin, B. T.
Crawley, A. Jeger, G. (Winchester) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Crossman, R. H. S. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Paten, J. (Norwich)
Cunningham, P. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley) Pearl, T. F.
Davies, Edward (Buralsm) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Perrins, W.
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.) Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Price, M. Philips
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Keenan, W. Proctor, W. T.
Diamond, J. Kenyon, C. Pryde, D. J.
Dobbie, W. Key, C. W. Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Dodds, N. N. Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E. Randall, H. E.
Driberg, T. E. N. Kinley, J. Ranger, J.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Lang, G. Rankin, J.
Dumpleton, C. W. Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J. Rees-Williams, D. R.
Durbin, E. F. M. Lee, F. (Hulme) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Dye, S. Leslie, J. R. Rhodes, H.
Ede, Rt. Hon J. C. Lever, N. H. Richards, R.
Ridealgh, Mrs. M. Stross, Dr. B. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Stubbs, A. E. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Robertson, J. J. (Berwick) Summerskill, Dr. Edith Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Rogers, G. H. R. Swingler, S. Wigg, George.
Ross, William (Kilmarnock) Sylvester, G. O. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Royle, C. Symonds, A. L. Wilkes, L.
Scollan, T. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Wilkins, W. A.
Scott-Elliot, W. Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare) Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Shackleton, E. A. A. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin) Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Sharp, Granville Thomas, John R. (Dover) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir. H. (St Helens) Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton) Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Shurmer, P. Thurtle, Ernest Williams, R. W. (Wigan)
Silkin, Rt. Hon. L. Tiffany, S. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Silverman, J. (Erdington) Titterington, M. F. Willis, E.
Silverman, S. S. (Nelson) Tolley, L. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Simmons, C. J. Ungoed-Thomas, L. Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.
Skinnard, F. W. Vernon, Maj. W. F. Wise, Major F. J.
Smith, C. (Colchester) Viant, S. P. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke) Walkden, E. Woods, G. S.
Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.) Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst) Wyatt, W.
Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.) Warbey, W. N. Yates, V. F.
Snow, J. W. Watkins, T. E. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Solley, L. J. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.) Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Sorensen, R. W. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Sparks, J. A. Wells, W. T. (Walsall) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Stamford, W. West, D. G. Mr. Pearson and
Steele, T. Westwood, Rt. Hon. J. Mr. Richard Adams.
Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth, N.) Wheatley, John (Edinburgh, E.)
Agnew, Cmdr, P. G. Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V. Pickthorn, K.
Astor, Hon. M. Hogg, Hon. Q. Pooh, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Barlow, Sir J. Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Raid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Jeffreys, General Sir G. Rerrton, D.
Birch, Nigel Jennings, R. Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Kendall, W. D. Ropner, Col. L.
Bower, N. Lambert, Hon. G. Scott, Lord W.
Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan Lancaster, Col. C. G. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Spearman, A. C. M.
Butcher, H. W. Lindsay, M. (Solihull) Spence, H. R.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral) Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Byers, Frank Low, A. R. W. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Challen, C. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon M. S. Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Clifton-Browne, Lt.-Col. G. Maclay, Hon. J. S. Studholme, H. G.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Maclean, F. H. R. Sutcliffe, H.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n. S)
Crowder, Capt. John E. Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Thorp, Brigadier, R. A. F.
Davidson, Viscountess Manningham-Buller, R. E. Touche, G. C.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Vane, W. M. F.
Drayson, G. B. Medlicott, Brigadier F. Wadsworth, G.
Drewe, C. Mellor, Sir J. Walker-Smith, D.
Dugdale, Maj. Sir. T. (Richmond) Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen) Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Duthie, W. S. Morris-Jones, Sir H. White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Erroll, F. J. Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. While, J. B. (Canterbury)
Fox, Sir G. Mullan, Lt. C. H. York, C.
Gage, C. Neven-Spenoe, Sir B. Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey) Odey, G. W.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Orr-Ewing, I. L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Grimston, R. V. Osborne, C. Major Ramsay and
Hannon, Sir. P. (Moseley) Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Brigadier Mackeson.

Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.