Oral Answers to Questions — Anglo-Egyptian Relations.

– in the House of Commons on 6th November 1929.

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Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

46.

asked the Prime Minister whether he has received the views of the Australian and New Zealand Governments regarding the draft Egyptian Treaty; and, if so, whether he will make a statement on the subject?

Photo of Mr Arthur Ponsonby Mr Arthur Ponsonby , Sheffield, Brightside

I have been asked to reply to this question. His Majesty's present Government share the view of their predecessors that the frank and confidential exchange of information and views between the several Governments of His Majesty on current international questions, which is an essential feature in connection with the conduct of foreign policy, cannot but be seriously hampered if the correspondence on each occasion has to be conducted on the basis that it may have to be published. This consideration appears to the Government here to hold good in the present instance, in which consultations have taken place and accordingly they do not feel it possible to make any statement of the nature referred to by the hon. and gallant Member.

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

Is it not important on these matters to know the views of the Dominions, and since when has the hon. Gentleman become converted to the principle of secret diplomacy?

Photo of Mr Arthur Ponsonby Mr Arthur Ponsonby , Sheffield, Brightside

The Prime Minister replied to a similar question to the one put down by the hon. Member yesterday in practically the same terms and I think the House; generally agreed that the publication of correspondence and consultations between the Dominions and ourselves is undesirable.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

If that is the view of the Government, why was it not adhered to in the equally confidential correspondence between Lord Lloyd and the Government?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

Is not the correspondence of Lord Lloyd, as a direct representative of the Government, more confidential than that of the Dominions?

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

Is it not a fact that the Opposition ask for Papers?

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Singapore correspondence was published?

Photo of Mr Archibald Skelton Mr Archibald Skelton , Perth

Is the Minister aware that the Opposition did not ask for Papers?