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Excerpt from a Speech for the Colonies, to the House of Commons, July 11, 1922.

No pledges were made to the Palestine Arabs in 1915. An undertaking was given to the Sharif of Mecca, that His Majesty’s Government would recognize and support the independence of the Arabs within certain territorial limits, which specifically excluded the districts of Mercina, and Alexandretta, and the portions of Syria lying to the west of the Damascus, homs, Hama, and Allepo. It was also stipulated that the undertaking applied only to those portions of the territories concerned in which Great Britton was free to act without detriment to the interests of her allies. His Majesty’s Government have always regarded, and continue to regard Palestine as excluded by these provisos from the scope of their undertaking. This is clear from the fact, to which the honorable member refers, that in the following year they concluded an agreement with the French and Russian governments under which Palestine was to receive special treatment.

So far as I am aware the first suggestion that Palestine was included in the area within which His majesty’s Government promised to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs was made by the Emir Faisel, now King of Iraq, in a conversation held at the Foreign Office, on January 20th, 1921, more than five years after the conclusion of the correspondence on which the claim was based. On that occasion, the point of view of His majesty’s government was explained to the Emir, who expressed himself as prepared to accept the statement that it had been the intention to exclude Palestine.

When I assumed Middle Eastern Affairs I went carefully into the correspondence referred to, and my reading of it is the same as that of the foreign office, as was recently stated in the Declaration of British Policy in Palestine, which has been published and laid before the House. I am quite satisfied that it was as fully the intention of His Majesty’s government to exclude Palestine from the area of Arab independence as it was to exclude the more northern coastal tracts of Syria.

Quoted in Documents relating to the McMahon Letters, Jewish Agency, 1939.

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