Oral Answers to Questions — Syria and Palestine.

– in the House of Commons on 29th October 1919.

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Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Clackmannan and Eastern

66.

asked the Prime Minister if any statement can now be made in regard to the policy of the Government concerning the future government and administration of Syria and Palestine; whether the Government still adhere to the policy indicated to the King of the Hedjaz and the Zionist organisation when the Arabs revolted against the Turks and agreed to co-operate with the Allies; and, if not, in what respects has British policy altered?

Photo of Mr Bonar Law Mr Bonar Law , Glasgow Central

No final statement in regard to the future government and administration of Syria and Palestine can now be made. The settlement of the future of these territories rests with the Peace Conference, which has not, so far, been able to consider the question of Peace with Turkey, because the United States of America have not as yet defined their attitude in regard to the responsibilities they may be prepared to undertake. So far as Syria is concerned, the British Government announced to the Peace Conference last March that in no circumstances would Great Britain be prepared to undertake a Mandate for Syria. Owing to the delay in the conclusion of the Turkish Peace, already mentioned, we are making arrangements with the French Government and the Emir Feisal for the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Syria, and for the assumption of the duties of occupation by the French and the Arabs pending the conclusion of the Turkish Peace. I should like further to add that, if the Peace Conference grants to Great Britain a Mandate for any of the territories of the ex-Turkish Empire, it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to introduce forms of administration which will give every encouragement to the growth and development of local governments and institutions.