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had been effected as would comply with the pledges given. He referred to the Rutenberg concession, and said that the scheme, unless subjected to enormous modifications, would give to a Jewish citizen wide powers over the Arab population in connexion with social, economic, and industrial conditions. He declared that the scheme was based on a deliberate policy of economic preference to Zionists. The Zionist Commission was going a long way to usurp the position of Government in Palestine, and unless it was checked it would have very serious consequences.
The reply to Lord Islington was made by Lord Balfour, and was notable as his first speech in the House of Lords. He said that the mandatory system contemplated the mandate of Palestine, and he expressed surprise that although the policy was formulated in 1915, had been before the world in detail in 1918, had been approved by the Allied and Associated Powers and endorsed by the League of Nations, and although America had declared that the establishment of a Jewish home would be for the benefit of the world, there had been no challenge until 1922. A Jewish Government, he said, was not necessarily a consequence of the establishment of a Jewish home. He could conceive of no political interest enjoying greater safeguards than the interests of the Arab population, for every act of the Palestine Government would be jealously watched. These were fantastic fears. Under the British mandate no form of tyranny, racial or religious, would ever be permitted. Lord Balfour did not enter into the question of the Rutenberg concession in detail, but stated that the whole scheme had been examined in the most critical way by the experts of the Colonial Office, and that the latter were quite unanimous that the terms and the character of the undertaking were such that they could hope for no better contract being made than that offered by Mr. Rutenberg. Under the scheme there could be no undue favouritism, but if it were carried into effect, as he hoped it would be, it would give great economic advantages to Palestine which could be obtained in no other manner. He denied that there was favouritism in the giving of the contract, or that there would be favouritism in carrying it out between different sections of the population; but that the great scheme sanctioned by the Government was to be used as a method of oppression by those who found the money against those on whom the money was to be spent was one of the most fantastic accusations ever heard. He also ridiculed the suggestion that the British Government had been unjust to the Arabs.
On a division the Government were defeated, the motion of Lord Islington being carried by 60 votes to 29.
A fortnight later the subject was raised in the House of Commons on the Colonial Office vote, when Sir W. JoynsonHicks moved a reduction in the salary of the Colonial Secretary
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in order to call attention to the Rutenberg concession. His contention was that Lord Balfour's pledge to the Zionists was in opposition to the pledge previously given to the Arab King, Hussein. Denying that he was an Anti-Semite, he declared that the burden of his complaint was the way in which Zionists had been permitted, with the connivance of the Government, practically to control the whole of the government of Palestine. Zionists, he insisted, held the view that the Jewish national home was to lead up to a Jewish commonwealth. The Rutenberg scheme, which he described as the most astounding concession that he had ever heard or read of, meant that the development of the whole country had been handed over to Mr. Rutenberg. The real scheme for Palestine should have been an agricultural and not a commercial scheme.
Mr. Churchill, in his reply, recognised that there were two issues involved: (1) Were we to keep our pledges to the Zionists, made in 1917, that we should use our best endeavour to facilitate the achievement of a national home for the Jewish people? (2) Were the measures taken by the Colonial Office to fulfil the pledge reasonable and proper? Mandatory responsibility for Palestine had been approved by the country. Mr. Churchill described the improvement which had taken place in the condition of Palestine, and said he had to approach the Rutenberg concession by the only path open to him—the endeavour of the Colonial Office to secure the establishment of the Jewish national home. He asked what better steps could have been taken than to entrust to the Zionists the creation of this new Palestine wealth without doing injustice to a single individual. No one believed that the Arabs could have done the work.
Left to themselves, continued Mr. Churchill, the Arabs would not, in a thousand years, have taken effective steps towards the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. He denied that there had been streams of applications for the concession, and said that when the Rutenberg concession was granted there was no other application before them. Sir John NortonGriffiths thereupon intervened with the statement that he had been offered the concession twice, and that it had been hawked round the city and refused by house after house. Mr. Churchill said that Rutenberg was a man of exceptional ability and personal force, and his application was supported by the influence of the Zionist organisations. He did not believe that the concession was one which would secure the necessary funds were it not for sentimental considerations. Rutenberg was a Jew and a Russian, but he was not a Bolshevist. As an official of the Government of Kerensky he had advised his chief to hang Lenin and Trotsky. He had rendered great assistance to the French at Odessa. In conclusion Mr. Churchill informed the House that the Government had to regard the decision on
that matter as a vote of confidence. In the division which followed the Government obtained a majority of 257.
At the end of June Lord Midleton, in the House of Lords, moved for papers in connexion with the Genoa Conference. In the course of the debate Lord Derby introduced the subject of Anglo-French relations. They wanted, he said, to know the terms upon which France went half-heartedly to Genoa, why Russia went, as well as why America refused to go. He dwelt on the misunderstanding between France and Great Britain on the question of the pact, and asked whether it had been offered by the Prime Minister to M. Briand in writing, and whether it had been accompanied by any condition such as that of sending delegates to Genoa. He also inquired whether the offer of the pact was renewed to M. Poincaré, whether any despatch had been sent in reply making conditions or suggestions, and if so what were those conditions or suggestions. He believed that there had been a concrete case of misunderstanding, which could be cleared up by a frank statement.
Lord Balfour replied that, in conversation at Cannes, the Prime Minister and M. Briand had discussed the subject of the pact, and had agreed that there were three or four outstanding questions between France and this country which it would be desirable to settle first. These subjects were still under discussion between the two Governments, and until a settlement had been reached it would not be worth while to enter into further details.
Lord Grey then referred to the anxiety felt during the Conference of Genoa, when from time to time it seemed that the entente with France was strained almost to the breaking point. Anyone listening to Lord Balfour, he said, would imagine that there had been no strain and that anxiety had been misplaced. He could not see that the Genoa Conference had made any substantial progress towards the reconstruction of Europe; if it had not, it was a very serious matter. His complaint against the Government and other Governments was, that while they were all agreed that the reconstruction of Europe was the most important and urgent problem, they did not seem to have settled down to any clear perspective of the methods by which that process could be brought about. The first thing necessary was the co-operation of the Government and resources of the United States. That America was not sounded as to the conditions upon which it would attend Genoa was a fatal mistake. So long as there was difference between Great Britain and France the United States would not co-operate. Without a good understanding with France he did not think they could make a real beginning, and without the co-operation of the United States they could make no progress.
Lord Grey then came to the question of German reparations. That had been excluded from the Genoa Conference
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because the French Government had demanded that it should be so. He thought that they were right. Genoa was not a suitable place to discuss reparations, but so long as that problem remained unsettled he did not believe progress was possible. The prime object of Genoa appeared to be to secure agreement with the Bolshevist Government, and he considered that a mistake. He did not believe such an agreement was of the first practical importance to the reconstruction of Europe. In securing reconstruction he placed co-operation with the United States first. At Genoa the Government had begun at the wrong end-the Bolshevist end instead of the United States end.
Towards the end of June great interest was taken in both Houses of Parliament in the question as to the principles followed in the award of Honours. In the House of Commons Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson put down a motion for a Select Committee, representative of Lords and Commons, to consider the existing methods of submitting the names of persons for Honours for the consideration of His Majesty, and what changes, if any, were desirable in order to secure that such Honours should only be given as a reward for public service. Especial interest had been occasioned by the peerage conferred on Sir Joseph Robinson of Wynberg, and the Prime Minister of South Africa had publicly stated that his Government was not responsible for recommending this Honour. Discussions took place in the House of Lords on June 22 and 29 relative to the grounds on which Sir J. Robinson's peerage had been given. The interest taken in the question of Honours was mainly due to the suspicion-which was not a new one-that contributions to party funds as well as public services might influence the inclusion of a name in the list submitted to the King.
In the House of Lords on June 29 the Lord Chancellor sought to placate criticism by reading a list of additions to the House during the present and preceding administration, asserting that this included a very remarkable period of English history. As regards the particular case of Sir Joseph Robinson, he admitted that the Secretary for the Colonies had not been consulted. He agreed that it was essential that a citizen of one of the self-governing Dominions should not be recommended for Honour except with the assent and approval of his Government, and said that that rule would undoubtedly guide action in future. It had been upon the recommendation of General Botha that he had received a Baronetcy. The Lord Chancellor then announced that Sir Joseph Robinson had declined the peerage offered to him.
Lord Lansdowne, while expressing appreciation of Sir Joseph Robinson's action, said that it would not remove the cloud of uneasiness which still hung over the House. He said that the question of corruption did not arise in considering the case of Sir Joseph Robinson, but it was idle to pretend that the grant of an Honour had not been in certain cases associated with a payment to party or political funds.
As a result of this debate the demand for an investigation of the methods by which persons were recommended for Honours gathered fresh strength. In the House of Lords Lord Salisbury intimated that he would bring forward the matter for consideration at an early date. In the House of Commons also the Prime Minister agreed to a discussion of the matter. These debates took place during July and will be described in the following chapter.
CIVIL WAR IN IRELAND. THE beginning of July found Ireland in a state of civil war. The surrender of the Four Courts did not end the resistance of the rebels, and heavy fighting began again in Dublin on July 2. The Irregulars, with Mr. de Valera among their leaders, fortified themselves in a square of commandeered hotels and other buildings in the Sackville Street area, barricading the streets with commandeered vehicles. After sporadic firing during the day the National troops concentrated late in the evening and an intense bombardment of the stronghold in Sackville Street was opened. A number of small positions were captured and two of the hotels surrendered, but fighting continued, and on the. next day a close ring was drawn by the Free State troops round the fortified positions which still held out in Sackville Street. Many Irregulars were captured with their arms while endeavouring to escape from the enclosed district. On July 4 the National troops made a vigorous attack on the remnant of the Irregular stronghold in Upper Sackville Street, and bombarded it with heavy guns, but it was not till the evening of July 5 that the rebels finally surrendered. They left the hotel which they had made their headquarters under a white flag after it had burst into flames. Cathal Brugha, who was the last to leave, refused to surrender and advanced towards an outpost with a revolver in his hand; machine-gun fire was opened and he was wounded in the leg and captured; Mr. de Valera, however, was not among the prisoners. By this time the east side of Upper Sackville Street was on fire; many hotels and other buildings were burned out and an enormous amount of damage was done.
While the fighting was in progress stories of outrage were reported in England of a character worse than had hitherto been reported in the whole of the disturbances in Ireland. On July 3 the House of Lords was shocked by a horrible story by