24 APRIL 1936, Page 21


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

SIR, —The Chancellor of the Exchequer made a statement in the House prior to Easter from which it is quite clear that we are not prepared to surrender any British colonies to another Power. , He was not so explicit regarding our Mandated Territories. He stated quite properly that Mandates were accepted by certain Powers from the League, that those Powers have to report on their stewardship to the League and that there is no provision in the Treaty or the Covenant for transfer of Mandates. He was perhaps not on quite such firm ground in saying that the transfer of a Mandate would involve the assent of the Power transferring and of the Power accepting and the assent of the League. He said nothing as to the assent of the population concerned. He was at pains to make it clear that the previous statement of the Colonial Secretary on the subject only went as far as saying the Goverruneitt are not considering transfer of a Mandate. He did not say the Government were not prepared to consider such a transfer, in fact he said he would not predict what future action might be in this respect. He did say, however, that he could not conceive that any British Government would consider trans- ferring a Mandate regardless of what other Governments did about their Mandates. The crux of the matter is here, because it is obvious that Japan who, though net a member of the League, is still a Mandatory Power will never surrender her mandated islands, where very queer things are said to be happening. The Chancellor was also extremely guarded about the wishes of the population of any mandated territory we might consider transferring. He did not say the consent of the population would be necessary, but said something quite different ; viz., that we should have to be satisfied that the interests of the population were safeguarded. To sum up, I receive the impression that this Government is quite definitely prepared to transfer Mandates subject to certain ifs and ands. If I am wrong then the sooner the Government clear the matter up the better.—I am, your obedient servant,