Public Information Services and Communications
Replies to most of these questions, received by Mr. Medina in two communications from the United Kingdom Delegation, are as follows:
Replies to other questions on this subject have been circulated as UK/81 and UK/84)
Answer: The wireless equipment at BeIt Jala is not the property of the Government of Palestine but of the War Department of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom. These installations are being removed by the Military authorities in accordance with the military evacuation programme. They are required for the use of British military forces in the Middle East and cannot, therefore, be made available to the Commission. For security reasons, it is not possible to postpone their removal from Palestine which is scheduled to take place very shortly.
Answer: (i) The Mandatory Power does not plan to remove or otherwise alter the status of the radio transmitters of the Palestine Administration at Ramallah.
(ii) The Government of Palestine will do its utmost to ensure the safety of these installations until the termination of the Mandate.
Answer: The Government of Palestine is sending the information required and it will be communicated to the Commission as soon as it is received. No part of these installations, which are the property of the Government, will be removed from Palestine.
Answer: It is presumed that the “communication facilities” referred to in this Question mean telephone and telegraph lines. There is no special security detachment detailed for safeguarding these communications, the maintenance of which is part of the general commitment of the security forces and will remain so until the termination of the Mandate. Thereafter, those British forces which remain in Palestine will only be concerned with protecting these communications insofar as any particular line is deemed by the General Officer Commanding to be essential to the military withdrawal.
Answer: (i) Cable and Wireless Limited intend to continue operations on a commercial basis so far as conditions permit. Communications abroad from the Haifa terminal may be considered reasonably secure. Communications from places in Palestine other than Haifa will depend upon the maintenance of communications between such places and the Haifa terminal.
(ii) The existing capacity of the Company’s equipment is about 150,000 words per diem.
(iii) Cable and Wireless Limited hope to have their direct circuit in operation to New York by the end of April 1948.
(b) The figure of 150,000 words per diem referred to in (ii) of the Answer to Question 5 is the combined total of both paid and unpaid groups (i.e. service messages and unpaid service indicators on paid messages, etc). The figures given by the Company in respect of paid groups only are: -
Answer: On the termination of the Mandate, the Government of Palestine will hand over to the Commission the two medium wave transmitters of the Palestine Broadcasting Service. If, however, the Commission wish to set up a further medium wave transmitter in the Jerusalem area, the Government of Palestine would not object provided
(b) that arrangements were made after discussion that no transmissions affecting security should be made before the termination of the Mandate, except with the prior agreement of the Government of Palestine.
One of the two medium wave transmitters referred to in the first sentence of the answer to Question 6 is the property of His Majesty’s Government but negotiations are in progress for its transfer to the Government of Palestine.
Answer: It is proposed that the possibility of making available for the Commission a suitable amount of time daily on existing broadcasting facilities in Palestine should be discussed with the Commission’s staff in Jerusalem. There would, of course, be no objection to the reporting over the Palestine Broadcasting Service of official statements and press releases by the Commission, but if the Commission wished to use the Palestine Broadcasting Service directly, all the Arab staff would leave, while the danger to the Commission itself and to the existing broadcasting facilities would be much increased.
The considerations referred to in the answer to question 6 are also applicable in this case.
Answer: (i) Pages 873 et seq. of the Survey of Palestine give an indication of the nature and extent of the press censorship exercised by the Government of Palestine. Press censorship is enforced under the provisions of Part VIII of the Defence (Emergency) Regulations. The main Regulations involved are Nos. 87 and 89. Under Regulation No. 89, the Press Censor requires the submission for censorship of all matters excluding certain defined categories. Matter which is considered by the Press Censor to be detrimental to the defence of Palestine or to the public safety or to public order is excised.
(ii) One Press Censor (British), three assistant censors (one British, one Jewish, one Arab), three deputy assistant censors (two Jewish, one Arab), two reporting officers (both Jewish), five chief examiners (four Jewish, one Arab), three senior examiners (two Jewish, one Arab), eleven examiners (nine Jewish, two Arab), clerical staff and messengers.
(iii) The Mandatory Power will continue to exercise censorship of the local press until the termination of the Mandate.
Answer: (i) The printing plant of the Government of Palestine will continue to exist after the termination of the Mandate, but it is, of course, uncertain how many of the present staff will be prepared to work for the Commission.
Answer: The teletype circuits now operated by the Public Information Office between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and Haifa (not Jaffa) are the property of the Government of Palestine and will be handed over to the Commission with other assets.
Question: Will the Mandatory Power permit the Commission to continue to use radio frequencies now employed by transmitters in Palestine until such time as other frequencies may be secured from the International Telecommunications Union?
Answer: Presumably the Commission will inherit existing wave-lengths now allocated to Palestine.
The frequencies in use in Palestine may be divided into the following categories; -
(1) Internal and external aeronautical and other services operated by the Government of Palestine. These frequencies will remain at the disposal of the Commission.
(2) Medium wave broadcast services operated by the Government of Palestine. These will also remain at the disposal of the Commission. (All medium frequencies for broadcasting will come under review at the forthcoming European Area Broadcasting Conference in June.)
Frequencies used by various enterprises in Palestine, e.g. the Iraq Petroleum Company. Them frequencies can remain in use at the present.
(3) Frequencies used by Cable and Wireless Company for the operation of external services under concession from the Government of Palestine. These frequencies are and will continue to be used in the operation of external cervices carried on in Palestine by Cable and Wireless Company under their existing concession. If Cable and Wireless Company should leave Palestine and the operation of external telecommunication services be taken over by the Commission, then so far as His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom is concerned, the frequencies would remain for their existing registered purposes. The Services concerned are Palestine United Kingdom, Palestine - United States of America Palestine – Egypt and Palestine - Cyprus.
Answer: The Government of Palestine exercises licensing functions in respect of radio broadcasting stations, newspapers and periodicals and printing plants. In this connection reference is invited to the definition of “press” in Section 2 of the Press Ordinance (CAP 116) and also to Section 31 of the same Ordinance.
The Government of Palestine does not exercise any license function in respect of the distribution of motion pictures, although individual films are subject to censorship.
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