Oral Answers to Questions — Naval Armaments (Anglo-German Agreement).

– in the House of Commons on 27th June 1935.

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Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

69.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the recent Anglo-German naval arrangement includes any provision for mutual inspection of naval establishments; and whether it is contemplated that naval forces of the two countries shall form part of the collective system of security of the League of Nations?

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. It is the hope of His Majesty's Government that Germany will in the future again co-operate with the League as a member. If this hope is realised the position of the Germany Navy in any system of collective security will be the same as that of the navies of the other Powers which are members of the League.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Do the Government now realise the serious blunder they have made in their method of bringing about this agreement?

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

No, Sir, I disagree entirely with that comment.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Has not the Minister for League of Nations Affairs had to spend last week in explaining it away all over Europe?

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

No Sir, the suggestion contained in that supplementary question is not justified by the fact, and I regret that the hon. Member has made it.

Photo of Mr David Mason Mr David Mason , Edinburgh East

With reference to the first part of the question, dealing with inspection, may I ask whether that was discussed with the German Government? Formerly they were inclined to agree to it.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

The hon. Member had better put down a question on that subject. I have dealt with the question on the Paper.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

70.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will explain under what circumstances the Government contemplate giving their consent, under Section (c) of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, to the German Government, in the event of exceptional construction by other Powers, increasing its total tonnage above its 35 per cent. quota?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Sir Bolton Eyres Monsell):

The portion of sub-paragraph (c), to which the hon. Member refers, reads as follows: If the general equilibrium of naval armaments, as normally maintained in the past, should be violently upset by, any abnormal and exceptional construction by other Powers, the German Government reserve the right to invite His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to examine the new situation thus created. I can add nothing to this statement, which seems to me to be perfectly clear, but I would point out that, as stated in paragraph 3 of the Note, we recognise the right set out in sub-paragraph (c) on the understanding that the 35: 100 ratio will be maintained in default of agreement to the contrary between the two Governments.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

May I ask what is the object of this examination to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred? Does this mean the British Government have a right to release Germany in certain circumstances from the obligation of the 35 per cent. quota?

Sir B. EYRES MONSELL:

I think the terms of the Note are perfectly clear, and I can add nothing to them.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

In view of the lack of accurate definition in this very slipshod document, will the Government withdraw it?