My Lords, I beg to ask His Majesty's Government whether they have received any recent communication, by cable or otherwise, from the Supreme Moslem Council and the Palestine Arab Executive, prote- 4 sting against the choice of Mr. Novomeysky for the Dead Sea concession.
§ THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, in November, 1927, the Secretary of State for the Colonies received through the High Commissioner for Palestine a letter from the Executive Committee of the Palestine Arab Congress asking that the concession for the extraction of salts from the Dead Sea should not be granted to any company controlled and financed by "Zionist foreign capitalists," but that this undertaking should be kept in the hands of the Palestine and Trans-Jordan Governments and "thus nationalised for the benefit of all inhabitants alike." In reply to that letter it was explained to the Executive Committee of the Congress that the Palestine and Trans-Jordan Governments some months previously had decided in principle to grant the concession to Major Tulloch and Mr. Novomeysky provided that suitable terms and conditions could be agreed upon, and that satisfactory financial guarantees were furnished. It was also pointed out that the extraction of salts from the Dead Sea was not an enterprise which could be properly undertaken by the local Governments, since it was an undertaking of a highly technical and commercial order involving the expenditure of considerable sums of money and the risk of losing that money.
No communication from the Congress or the Supreme Moslem Council has since been received by His Majesty's Government, but on March 18 last both the Executive Council of the Congress and the President of the Supreme Moslem Council addressed telegrams to the Lord Chancellor protesting against the grant of the concession to Mr. Novomeysky and urging the request that the natural resources of the Dead Sea should be developed by the local Governments. These telegrams were acknowledged, but they were not officially answered. Had any reply been sent, it would have been in effect a repetition of that previously given.
I am much obliged to the Government for the reply. I must say it is about the limit of shortness.