Genoa Conference.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 22nd March 1922.

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Sir W. JOYNSON HICKS:

50.

asked the Lord Privy Seal upon what grounds the International Labour Conference has offered to attend the Economic Conference at Genoa; and whether it is open to any other conference or body to claim attendance at Genoa and by whom invitations are or will be sent out?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation resolved at its meeting in January last to place at the disposal of the Genoa Conference such information as it possessed as to labour and economic conditions in Europe, and also appointed a deputation of six of its members (two Government representatives, two employers' and two workers' representatives) and the Director of the Office to attend the Conference, it invited to do so. Invitations are issued by the Italian Government and the acceptance or not of the offer of the International Labour Organisation will presumably rest with them.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

Have the Government any information as to whether the Italian Government intend to ask this self-appointed delegation to join the Conference?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

No, I have no information on that subject. I must not be taken as accepting the implication, which seems to underlie the question, that the International Labour Organisation at Geneva can be classed with any voluntary body which might think it could add to the counsels of the nation by being present.

Photo of Mr George Barnes Mr George Barnes , Glasgow Gorbals

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the International Labour Office has decided to make an inquiry of its own and that, in order to avoid implications, this offer was made to the Genoa authorities?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I was not aware of that.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY:

Does it rest entirely with the Italian Government to say who is or who is not to be present at the Conference?

Sir J. D. REES:

Is there any limit at all to the sphere of action of the International Labour Conference?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I am not prepared to define the functions or sphere of activity of the International Labour Organisation without notice of the question. I have been asked about an international gathering for which I have not the direct Ministerial responsibility which attaches to a home Department or to a meeting summoned by our own Government, and I cannot say what will be the procedure here. The Italian Government has, of course, acted on the invitation of the Supreme Council at Cannes. Whether the ultimate determination as to the invitations will rest with the Italian Government, or with the Supreme Council, or with the Conference, I am really not in a position to say.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

51.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, having regard to the fact that America is not sending representatives to Genoa, and that the French Prime Minister, apparently, will be unable to attend, the Cabinet will reconsider the question of the attendance of the Prime Minister of Great Britain while his presence is so urgently needed in this country?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

No, Sir. It was agreed at the meeting of the Supreme Council at Cannes that the Prime Ministers of every nation should, if possible, attend the Genoa Conference in person, and His Majesty's Government intend to act in conformity with that agreement.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

Does not my right hon. Friend think that as so many others are not going, our valuable Premier might be more usefully employed here?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I need not say no one has greater reason to desire the continued presence of the Prime Minister in this country than the unfortunate individual who has to act as his deputy when he is absent, but at the same time this is a matter of such consequence, and the part which the Prime Minister has played, and the influence he yields, at these Councils is so great, that it would be a misfortunate not for us alone if he were prevented from going.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Did the French Prime Minister indicate to our Prime Minister at their recent Conference at Boulogne that he would not be able to attend the Genoa Conference?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Notice should be given of a question of that kind.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee Lieut-Colonel Martin Archer-Shee , Finsbury

Is the Prime Minister's great influence going to be used in the direction of recognizing the Bolshevist Government?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will postpone his inquiries on that subject till the Debate which the Government will initiate on Monday week.

Photo of Colonel Charles Yate Colonel Charles Yate , Melton

Can we have any information before that date as to what is to be the policy at Genoa?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

No; I think the Debate is the proper occasion to give the information.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

53.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether it is his intention to give notice of a vote of confidence in the Government before the Genoa Conference?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave yesterday in reply to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

This is a different question. The question is whether there will be notice of a Vote of Confidence in the Government before the Genoa Conference and not about the Genoa Conference.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

No. I see no occasion for it.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

On this occasion will the Prime Minister himself move this Vote of Confidence in himself?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

That is very characteristic of the form in which the hon. Gentleman chooses to put his questions. I reply to it simply. We have not yet decided whether my right hon. Friend will himself move the Resolution or whether one of his colleagues will move it.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Will this be a Resolution approving the policy to be pursued at Genoa or approving the policy of holding a conference at all, or simply confidence in the Government?