§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N.W.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury for what reason the British plenipotentiaries to the Berlin Labour Conference have been exclusively chosen from persons occupying an official position or being employers of labour; why no representative working man has been selected as a plenipotentiary; and why a Member of this House has been appointed to the inferior position of an expert delegate?
§ MR. CREMER
Before the First Lord answers that question I wish to ask if ho can state whether the French Government or any other Government represented at the Conference has divided its representatives into two classes, and why Her Majesty's Government have made I such a distinction in the case of the British representatives?
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I regret that the question on the Paper appears to imply that there has been a distinction made between the classes of persons representing this country at the Berlin Conference. No such distinction was intended by Her Majesty's Government, nor has any such distinction been drawn by them. The gentlemen who have been appointed as plenipotentiaries, so called, are appointed because they have a general knowledge of all the questions to be dealt with. The gentlemen appointed as experts, so called, are appointed because they have a special knowledge of certain trades and interests with which they are identified. But there is no distinction drawn which implies any sort of difference between the gentlemen appointed in one capacity and in another. I much regret that any such suggestion should have been made in this House.
§ (6.0.) DR. TANNER
May I ask the First Lord of the Treasury why no working man representative has been selected?
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I should have thought my answer would have been satisfactory to the hon. Member. The gentlemen appointed to represent this country are capable of dealing with all the questions which will come before the Conference. Representative working men, so called, are representatives of particular trades and interests, but the gentlemen we have selected are qualified to give valuable information to the Conference with regard to all trades.