MR. Chamberlain's Statement.

Oral Answers to Questions — Genoa Conference. – in the House of Commons on 29th March 1922.

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Photo of Lord Robert Cecil Lord Robert Cecil , Hitchin

46.

asked the Prime Minister whether the questions of the reduction of armaments or of the payment of reparation by Germany or of Allied debts are to be considered at Genoa; and whether any Papers dealing with the proceedings at Genoa will be laid upon the Table before the proposed Debate on the subject?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN (Leader of the House):

The Resolution on which we propose to take the opinion of the House on Monday will be moved by the Prime Minister, and will be in the following terms:— That this House approves the Resolutions passed by the Supreme Council at Cannes, as the basis of the Genoa Conference, and will support His Majesty's Government in endeavouring to give effect to them. The Cannes Resolutions of the Supreme Council, together with the Memorandum published by the Council explanatory of the objects of the Genoa meeting and of the subjects to be discussed there, are being presented as a Command Paper, copies of which are now available in the Vote Office. I cannot deal adequately with the scope of the Conference within the limits of a reply at Question time, and I trust that my Noble Friend will consent to leave this matter to be dealt with by the Prime Minister in opening the Debate on Monday next.

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

Could the right hon. Gentleman let us have copies of that Resolution now?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

The Resolution, will appear on the Paper to-morrow, but I will send a copy at once to my hon. and gallant Friend.

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is a fact that the question of reparation has been definitely excluded from the programme of the Genoa Conference by international agreement?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I do not think my Noble Friend can have heard what I said. In the concluding part of my answer I said that I cannot deal adequately with the scope of the Conference within the limits of a reply to a question, and I trust my Noble Friend, as well as my Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin (Lord R Cecil), will consent to leave this matter to be dealt with by the Prime Minister in opening the Debate on Monday.

Photo of Lord Robert Cecil Lord Robert Cecil , Hitchin

Do we understand that the scope of the Conference at Genoa will be confined to the Resolutions at Cannes?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I must adhere to my answer. I mean no discourtesy to the House, but it is not possible for me to deal suitably or fairly with the scope of the Resolution in the limits of a reply to a question.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY:

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of giving two days for the Debate instead of one?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Yes, I have considered that, but, in the state of public business, I cannot allot two days.

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

Can the right hon. Gentleman let the House and the country, before Monday, have the conditions under which this country will agree to recognise the murderous maniacs of Moscow?

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

1.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a Press section will be attached to the British Delegation to the Genoa Conference; and, if so, who will be in charge of that section?

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

The answer is in the negative. Publicity is a matter for the Conference itself, and will presumably be carried out through the Secretariat-General on which the British Delegation will be represented.

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

2.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for what reason His Majesty's Government have, abstained from official communication with the Soviet Government at Moscow in regard to the Genoa Conference?

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

There has been no occasion for His Majesty's Government to communicate with the Soviet Government on the subject of the Genoa Conference It is the Italian Government which issued the invitation to foreign Governments and has communicated with them about the Conference.

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

Is it of no interest to His Majesty's Government to know what views on the part of the Soviet Government they may have to meet when they arrive at Genoa?

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

No, Sir; I do not say that at all.

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

3.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Lord President of the Council or His Majesty's Ambassador at Washing ton were consulted with regard to the project of the Genoa Conference before the Supreme Council meeting of 6th January last; if so, on what date; and on what date the decision of the Supreme Council at that meeting was communicated to His Majesty's embassy at Washington?

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The second part therefore does not arise. The Supreme Council's decision of 6th January was immediately published, and presumably reached His Majesty's Ambassador the next day.

Photo of Lord Eustace Percy Lord Eustace Percy , Hastings

Are we to understand that the Government took no steps whatever to sound the United States Government before arriving at this decision, and did not have even the courtesy to inform the Lord President of the Council, or the British Ambassador at Washington, or the United States Government that an invitation was being given?

Lieut.-Colonel MURRAY:

Do we understand that the United States Government saw this for the first time in the public Press?

Photo of Mr Cecil Harmsworth Mr Cecil Harmsworth , Luton

I am not sure. I would like notice of the question.

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

50.

asked the Prime Minister how many persons from the Foreign Office, Board of Trade, Treasury, Prime Minister's secretariat, and Cabinet offices are accompanying him to Genoa; whether Lord Riddell is an official member of the British Delegation to Genoa; if so, what are his duties; whether any special police protection is being sent over from this country in case of disturbances between the local Fascisti and Communisti in the neighbourhood of the residences of the British delegates; and whether the strike in Genoa is expected to be over before the Conference?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

As at present arranged, the numbers of the staff referred to in the question will be as follow:—

Foreign Office, 20; Board of Trade, 23; Treasury, 15; Prime Minister's secretariat, 8; Cabinet offices, 25.

There may, however, be slight variations in these numbers.

Lord Riddell is not an official member of the British Delegation.

No special police protection is being sent from this country, the maintenance of public order in Genoa being entirely a matter for the Italian Government.

As regards the last part of the question, it is understood that the Italian Government are mediating in the dispute, and that there is every prospect of a settlement being reached before the meeting of the Genoa Conference.

Photo of Mr William Ormsby-Gore Mr William Ormsby-Gore , Stafford

51.

asked the Prime Minister why, when the British Foreign Secretary is still in Paris, the Italian Minister paid a visit to this country; what were the objects of this visit; and which British Ministers received him in this country?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Signor Schanzer asked for a meeting with the Prime Minister as head of the British Delegation to the Genoa Conference to discuss certain matters of procedure at the Conference on behalf of Signor Facta, the Prime Minister of Italy, and was received for that purpose by my right hon. Friend.