Oral Answers to Questions — World Economic Conference.

– in the House of Commons on 7th February 1933.

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Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

37.

asked the Prime Minister if he can now state the date and arrangements for the World Economic Conference; and whether he can give the proposed agenda?

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

38.

asked the Prime Minister whether any decision has now been arrived at with regard to the date and agenda of the World Economic Conference?

Photo of Mr Robert Bernays Mr Robert Bernays , Bristol North

39 and 40.

asked the Prime Minister (1) the date of the forthcoming World Economic Conference; and whether the agenda of the Conference has yet been prepared;

(2) if he will take an early opportunity of giving time for a discussion of the economic policy to be advocated by His Majesty's Government at the forthcoming World Economic Conference?

Photo of Captain Sir Peter Macdonald Captain Sir Peter Macdonald , Isle of Wight

42.

asked the Prime Minister if he can now state which countries will send representatives to the World Economic Conference; where it is to be held; and what will be the principal items on the agenda?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Seaham

The Preparatory Committee of Experts have drawn up a draft annotated agenda for the World Economic Conference, which has been published by the League of Nations, which I should remind the House is in charge of the Conference. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House. The Council of the League have decided to transmit the draft agenda to all States invited to the Conference.

As regards the date of the Conference, the Council have decided that the convocation of the Conference should not be unnecessarily delayed; that it could not, in view of the necessity for further preparation and the distance to be covered by some of the delegates, take place for at least three months from the present time; and that it should be left to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as president of the Organising Committee, to convene that committee at some suitable date during this period of three months in order to take a final decision on the eventual date of the Conference.

I have been asked by the Council of the League of Nations to act as President of the Conference. As regards the place of the Conference and the countries to be invited, I would refer to the reply given to the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) on the 18th October last (OFFICIAL REPORT: Vol. 269, No. 133, cols. 14–15). If it is desired that an opportunity should be given for a discussion of the economic policy to be advocated by His Majesty's Government at the Conference, a request will no doubt be made through the usual channels.

Photo of Mr Robert Bernays Mr Robert Bernays , Bristol North

Can the Prime Minister give the House an assurance that at this Conference the efforts of the British Government will be directed to the removal of tariff barriers, which are universally admitted to be one of the main causes of world depression?

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Do I understand from the reply that the Committee to fix the date may meet at any time in the next three months, and that a further three months must be allowed before the assembly of the Conference, so that it may be six months before the Conference can take place?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Seaham

No, not that. Invitations will be issued, and three months after the invitations have been issued the Conference may meet. It is a question of travel and preparation. It is not three months after the Committee has decided the date of the Conference.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Do I not understand from the answer that the Committee may meet any time within the next three months? It may be three months before the Committee may meet to come to a decision.

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Seaham

That is so. Although I am not in charge of the arrangements, I certainly hope and I shall press upon the Committee at Geneva to give a warning to the Governments., when the agenda is issued to them, that they must be prepared to assemble within three months of that time, if preparations are ready.

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Seaham

Have the United States Government a representative on this Committee?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

Is it correctly reported that the Prime Minister has made his acceptance of the presidency of the Conference conditional on the Conference meeting in London?

Photo of Mr Ramsay Macdonald Mr Ramsay Macdonald , Seaham

That is so. In other words, it is conditional upon a decision which the League of Nations has already come to.