Munitions, Germany.

Oral Answers to Questions — Peace Treaties. – in the House of Commons on 27th February 1922.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

31.

asked the Prime Minister what action has been taken by the Allies in connection with the breach of the Peace Treaty on the part of Germany in manufacturing since the Armistice large numbers of howitzers of large calibre and concealing the same, in contravention of the terms of the said Treaty; what is the total number of such howitzers discovered; whether the Inter-Allied Commission have recently discovered full returns of the strength of the German army at the time of the Armistice which were stated to have been lost; whether these returns have since again disappeared; and what action has been taken in this matter, as well as in respect of many other like breaches and evasions of the Peace Treaty on the part of Germany?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir F. HALL:

52.

asked the Lord Privy Sea] whether the guns discovered at the Rockstroh works at Heidenau, in Saxony, some time after the issue by the War Office in September, 1921, of a statement that only 102 guns were left to be dealt with under the Versailles Treaty, have been destroyed; whether these guns were manufactured after the Armistice and under the supervision of a representative of the German Government; whether invoices were dis- covered, endorsed with instructions from the German Government, to keep the howitzers at the factory instead of sending them in the usual way to the Spandau arsenal; and if he will state what explanation has been furnished by the German authorities of this serious breach of its Treaty undertakings?

Photo of Mr Robert Sanders Mr Robert Sanders , Bridgwater

I have been asked to reply to these questions, and I would refer my hon. Friends to the reply given to the hon. Member for Consett on the 23rd instant. As regards the case at the Rockstroh works, most, if not all, of these howitzers have already been destroyed. Before the ratification of the Peace Treaty Germany was under no legal obligation to cease manufacturing war material, and the representations made to the German Government have been on the subject of the concealment of these howitzers. As the result of these representations the manager and directors of the Rockstroh works are to be prosecuted, but I am not in a position to add anything further to my previous replies regarding this case at present. With regard to the last part of Question No. 31, the Inter-Allied Military Commission of Control have not discovered full returns of the strength of the German Army at the time of the Armistice. The remainder of the question, therefore, does not arise.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is it not a fact that very full returns were discovered, that they were put under a guard, and that next morning they had disappeared?

Photo of Mr Robert Sanders Mr Robert Sanders , Bridgwater

I have no information on that subject.

Photo of Viscount  Curzon Viscount Curzon , Battersea South

Are the directors and manager concerned under arrest, or can they get out of the country?

Photo of Mr Robert Sanders Mr Robert Sanders , Bridgwater

I must ask for notice of that.

Sir F. HALL:

47.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the persistent and deliberate evasion by Germany of the provisions of the Peace. Treaty as to the destruction of war materials existing at the time of the Armistice and the discontinuance of the manufacture of further supplies, steps will be taken to strengthen the Allied military commission of control and to increase the powers of inspection and investigation vested in the Commission?

Mr. DOYLE:

32.

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the deliberate and systematic evasion in Germany of the Treaty obligations in regard to disarmament; and if the attention of the Government will be immediately directed to this grave menace to the peace of the world?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I am aware that there has been evasion on the part of individuals, including minor officials, in Germany, but in our opinion it would not be true to say that there is persistent and deliberate evasion on the part of the German Government. Exhaustive reports on the progress of disarmament and cases of evasion are forwarded regularly by the Inter-Allied Military Commission of Control in Germany to the Allied Military Committee of Versailles which brings such matters as it considers necessary to the notice of the Ambassadors' Conference, or the Supreme Council, with a view to suitable action being taken. The powers of the Commission are laid down in the Treaty and cannot be altered.

Sir F. HALL:

Does my right hon. Friend think there is nobody in high places who knows that these various guns are still being maintained in secret spots and that they will be concentrated for utilisation against some of us at some future time?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I said that in our opinion it would not be true to say that there has been persistent and deliberate evasion on the part of the German Government, though there has been evasion on the part of individuals, including minor officials.

Sir F. HALL:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that an enormous number of documents were found—two rooms full of them—that they were supposed to have been placed under guard, and that when we went for them the next day they had all been removed? Was that done by minor officials?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I have no knowledge of that, but I thought it was denied by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for War earlier in the afternoon.

Sir F. HALL:

It has not been denied.