New Colonial Secretary Faces Trouble In Palestine

Tuesday 9th June 1936

William Ormsby Gore had succeeded Jimmy Thomas as Colonial Secretary when the latter resigned over the Budget leak scandal. Ormsby Gore soon found himself earning his keep as the troubles in Palestine worsened, prompting him to make a statement to Parliament. Emergency powers had been extended by proclamation and press censorship reinforced. In an interesting demonstration of how political agendas shift over the years, Labour's Herbert Morrison insisted that the leaders of the disturbances be dealt with severely; he suspected them of being "capitalists." The minister could reply that the leaders of the Arab strike suspected of inciting violence had been detained.

Ormsby Gore claimed to be impartial in the communal conflict but there was ample evidence that the British were no longer counting on Arab goodwill. They were giving priority to a military solution to the unrest. Two more infantry battalions had arrived and another was on its way. This would bring military strength to eight battalions, practically an infantry division. Perhaps more significantly, a report in the Arab press that Jewish immigration was to be halted, was denied emphatically.