Arab Rulers (Subsidies).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ex-Service Men. – in the House of Commons on 2nd March 1922.

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Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

52.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the names of the Arab rulers in Asia to whom subsidies are paid out of British taxes; and what amounts are paid to each?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The position as regards the payment of subsidies to Arab rulers is as follows: The sum of £150,000 was provided in the Estimates for the current year to meet probable payments to the following rulers:

To the Sultan of Nejd (Ibn Saud) £5,000 a month and a lump sum payment of £20,000£80,000
To the King of the Hedjaz (Hussein) £5,000 a month from 1st August, 1921, and a lump sum payment of £20,00060,000
To other rulers10,000
Total£150,000

The Sultan of Nejd is the only one of these rulers to whom the full amount provided in the Estimates is actually being paid. As regards King Hussein, the conditions on which the monthly subsidy was to become payable have not yet been fulfilled, and consequently no payment has yet been made on this account. Certain advances have, however, been made to the King on account of the lump sum of £20,000. The sums so advanced amount in all to about £18,000. With regard to the other rulers mentioned above, no agreements have yet been concluded with these persons and consequently no subsidies have yet become payable. No other subsidies of any kind are being paid from British revenues to Arab rulers in Asia.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

What are these rulers doing for all these large sums of money?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

It is rather a question of what they are not doing! As a matter of fact this sum of £150,000 is less than the cost of a single battalion of native infantry for the year. During the period this policy has been in force nearly 50 battalions have been withdrawn, with the consequent saving.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

Would it not then be better if we withdrew all the battalions and came away altogether?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

My right hon. Friend asks rather too much.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Is it not the fact that the subvention paid to Ibn Saud is being used for the purpose of fighting the King of the Hedjaz, another ruler who is also paid a subvention to fight Ibn Saud?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I am assured that the hostilities between these two potentates would be on a much more devastating scale were it not for the mollifying influence that the subventions exercise.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Assheton Pownall Lieut-Colonel Sir Assheton Pownall , Lewisham East

Are these subventions paid once only, or continuously, and will the payments go on indefinitely?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

Of course, I will present the proposals yearly to Parliament as long as I am responsible. The subventions are paid monthly—in arrear—and consequently we only pay for value received.