Oral Answers to Questions — Unconditional Surrender Policy

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1949.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 27th July 1949

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will publish as a White Paper any declarations which committed this country to the policy of unconditional surrender following President Roosevelt's statement at Casablanca.

Mr. McNeil:

No, Sir.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

In view of the grievance expressed by the Foreign Secretary in the Debate last Thursday because he was not consulted about this, and as many people in this country think that this slogan prolonged the war indefinitely, will the right hon. Gentleman make arrangements to put the documents in the Library?

Mr. McNeil:

I understand the feelings of my hon. Friend on this subject very well. However, there was fairly substantial Press publication on the subject at the time, and at any rate I think he would agree that it would be an unusual departure from normal practice. These documents are usually published after the heat and dust have disappeared and after they have become accessible to professional historians.

Photo of Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge , Bedford

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that in future when a matter like this comes up for decision it shall be a Cabinet decision and shall not be decided by an individual member of the Cabinet without other members being consulted?

Mr. McNeil:

I think that my hon. Friend is not talking about this Government.

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Bristol West

If the right hon. Gentleman is going to give all these guarantees, will he also give a guarantee that in any future war the leader of an Allied State, to quarrel with whom would be a disaster to this country, will also consult our Cabinet before he makes a statement?

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

Is it not important that the British people should understand the extent to which this unconditional surrender was discussed before the declaration was made? That is the important point.