Oral Answers to Questions — Post-War Territorial Settlement.

– in the House of Commons on 21st May 1942.

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Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give an assurance that His Majesty's Government will enter into no treaty agreement anticipating a post-war territorial settlement except conjointly with all our Allies and after first submitting any such proposal to Parliament?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I have been asked to reply. I do not think it would be possible to give so far-reaching an assurance in these precise terms, since a variety of contingencies have to be kept in mind. As regards consultation with Parliament, His Majesty's Government do not propose to depart from the existing practice, with which my hon. and gallant Friend is doubtless familiar.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Would the hon. Gentleman refresh the memory of the House as to what the existing practice is?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I should have thought that the existing practice was well known to the House. It was last laid down in July, 1929, by the then Foreign Secretary, Mr. Arthur Henderson, and I think my hon. Friend would find it in the OFFICIAL REPORT for 17th July, 1929.

Major Cazalet:

Has not the principle already been set out in the Atlantic Charter, and also in certain statements by the Prime Minister?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I do not think there is anything in the Atlantic Charter which refers to this Question.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Was it not laid down that all Treaties should be submitted for approval to this House before final ratification?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

The agreement at that time was that all Treaties subject to ratification should be submitted to this House before they were ratified.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Was not that practice departed from in regard to the Abyssinian Treaty, the only one produced since the war started?

Photo of Mr Richard Law Mr Richard Law , Kingston upon Hull South West

I think the hon. Gentleman will find that the Abyssinian Treaty was not subject to ratification.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Is it not the case that the Atlantic Charter is not a Treaty, but only a declaration of intention by two eminent persons?