§ LORD SYDENHAM
My Lords, I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies what sums have been advanced by the Crown Agents to the Government of Palestine on the security of a loan to be floated when the Mandate has been ratified; what is the amount of the proposed loan; and whether, as it must be secured upon taxation of the population of Palestine, the Government has ascertained if the assent of that population will be forthcoming.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE)
My Lords, advances to the total amount of £1,365,000 have been made by the Crown Agents to the Palestine Government on the understanding that the money will be repaid from the Palestine loan when it is issued. The proposed amount of this loan is £2,500,000. I do not wish to enter into controversial matters not directly bearing on the present Question; but I must not be taken as assenting to the noble Lord's proposition that the Palestine Mandate has not yet been ratified or that the issue of the loan awaits such ratification. I do not suppose that the population of Palestine are any more fond of taxation than the rest of the world; but they doubtless realise that it is impossible to build roads and other public works, and in general to repair the ravages of time in a country which had been consistently neglected during hundreds of years without incurring a considerable amount of capital expenditure. I understand that most, if not all, of the works hitherto carried out were previously discussed with the Advisory Council and other responsible representatives of local opinion. In these circumstances I see no reason to anticipate the difficulty which the noble Lord apprehends.