Dominions (Consultation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1950.

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Photo of Mr Stanley Prescott Mr Stanley Prescott , Darwen 12:00 am, 27th July 1950

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations by what criterion His Majesty's Government is guided in determining whether to consult Governments in the Dominions prior to important decisions being arrived at by His Majesty's Government, or merely to inform Governments in the Dominions subsequent to a decision having been taken.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Walthamstow West

It is the invariable practice of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to ensure that other members of the Commonwealth are informed in advance on any matter which falls to be decided by this Government, but which may affect Commonwealth interests. The object is to enable the other Governments to express any views which they may wish to put forward; and I need hardly add to enable His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to take fully into account such views as their Commonwealth partners may express.

Photo of Mr Stanley Prescott Mr Stanley Prescott , Darwen

Is the Prime Minister satisfied that the Dominions are fully consulted before important decisions are taken, apart from their being informed of those decisions which are arrived at in this country?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Walthamstow West

Yes, Sir. The object of giving information is so that comments may be passed from one Government to another. That is the object of that notification; therefore, there is time for consultation except occasionally in some extreme incident, when one Government may have to act very quickly.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Would the Prime Minister say whether this criterion was accepted by the Government before or after the recognition of Communist China?

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

Can the Prime Minister say whether the criterion is the same for foreign affairs and Defence as for other matters?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Walthamstow West

Yes, Sir, in all these matters we endeavour to have the fullest possible consultation.

Photo of Mr Stanley Prescott Mr Stanley Prescott , Darwen

asked the Prime Minister what representations he has received within the last six months from Dominion Prime Ministers personally, or from Dominion Governments, with regard to the desirability of consultation between His Majesty's Government and Dominion Governments before important decisions are arrived at by the former affecting the Empire and Commonwealth as a whole.