Oral Answers to Questions — League of Nations.

– in the House of Commons at on 23 November 1931.

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Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL:

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the number of countries which are in default in the payment of their contributions to the League of Nations in respect of the years 1920–30, inclusive, any steps are to be taken to deprive them of their voting power in fairness to those countries which bear their full proportion of the expenses of the League?

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

The answer is in the negative. This year, however, a committee was set up to consider the question of unpaid contributions previous to the 31st of December, 1930, and there are indications that, as a result of the greater importance now attached to prompt payment, the states concerned are taking steps to reduce their outstanding obligations.

Sir F. HALL:

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the enormous amounts owing by many of these States, China in particular; and does he think it fair that they should have the same power given to them as if they had paid their contributions?

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

I agree that the position has been most unsatisfactory, but it is now improving slightly, and for the moment we had better leave it there.

Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

Are the representatives of these nations to continue to vote indefinitely at the meetings of the League when their contributions have not been paid?

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

That is a matter for the Council of the League and not for the Government.

Sir F. HALL:

Will the Government draw the attention of the League to this matter?

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

I am sure that the League is aware of it, as a special committee was set up to go into it.

Sir F. HALL:

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government will arrange for the issue of a White Paper explaining in simple terms the organisation of the League of Nations, the basis of membership, the manner in which important decisions are arrived at, and the extent to which nations belonging to the League are responsible for upholding such decisions in the event of one member or more refusing to be bound thereby?

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

This matter is under consideration.

Sir F. HALL:

If I put down a question on this day week, will the hon. Gentleman be able to give a reply?