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Orders of the Day — War and International Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th September 1944.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham 12:00 am, 29th September 1944

I have not the knowledge which my hon. and gallant Friend possesses of Russian views in this matter, and I am not going to discuss future frontiers. I have been arguing that it would be a mistake for us, at the present time, to discuss this question of frontiers. The facts cannot be known adequately to any of us here at the moment. I say that our principle in regard to Poland should be to stand up firmly for a strong and independent Poland, but to recognise that Russia has a special sphere of interest in that part of the world, similar to that which we have claimed in other parts of the world. In this respect I would like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) on the speech which he delivered yesterday. It was a very remarkable contribution to our Debate, and I hope we shall often hear him again on questions of foreign policy. I was sitting in the House all the time, and I think my hon. Friend was heard with great acceptance in all parts of the House and that he certainly got down to the bedrock of the principle upon which British foreign policy at its soundest has been based.

The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have laboured, day in and day out, to prevent a break-down in Russian-Polish negotiations. I think there is no doubt whatever that Poland and this country owe a tremendous lot to their united efforts. We know what the strain upon them must be, the tremendous rapidity with which events are happening, and the fact that every day there seems more to be done than can be done in the longest working hours. I think the time and attention, skill and loyalty which they have given and shown in this Russo-Polish question should be acknowledged by all of us, and I would like to throw out the suggestion that, much as we should all miss him in this House, there is something to be said, if it is possible, for the Foreign Secretary going to Moscow in the near future. I believe that my right hon. Friend might help very greatly to produce a solution of what is the paramount and immediate problem in Europe to-day.

We are also debating, quite naturally, the future of Germany. Very different views have been expressed upon it. I do not propose to go into the various plans which have been debated here and elsewhere, and will go on being debated. I want only to insist that whatever you do to Germany, you must, in the first place, know the facts in Germany after the war, which none of us know now. We cannot tell what we are dealing with, or what may be the bent of such organised opinion as may still exist among the German people. But quite apart from that, whether you impose a Carthaginian peace upon Germany, or grant her a generous and clement peace, matters comparatively little provided the disarmament of Germany is fundamentally agreed between the three great Powers and lived up to by them. That is what will matter. Once again peace will depend upon agreement between the great Powers, not only now but 20 or 30 years hence. In another place, the Secretary of State for the Dominions has issued a warning that the German general staff is once more thinking of, and preparing for, the next war. I am sure it is; that is its business. They are never going to give up that business, and let us recognise that, whatever is done, they will still be at that business and that their main chance of resuming it will be the same chance that was foolishly given to them in 1919, namely, fundamental disagreement between the Allies.