HC Deb 11 July 1907 vol 178 cc46-7

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any new instructions have been issued to British delegates at The Hague with reference to the question of commerce destruction; and whether Sir Earnest Satow's views on this subject correctly represent the attitude of the Government in relation to the immunity of private property.


I beg at the same time to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the opposition of His Majesty's Plenipotentiaries at The Hague to the proposal to render private property at sea immune during naval warfare represents the opinions and was offered on the instructions of His Majesty's Government.


I conclude that this Question and the Question of the hon. Member for Leicester refer to the subject of enemy's private property at sea; the line taken by the British; delegates at The Hague Conference is entirely in accord with the original instructions issued to them by His Majesty's Government for their guidance.


I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether it is possible to state in an authoritative form the instructions to the British delegates at The Hague Conference on the subject of contraband and blockade in time of war, since the British views have already become known with more or less incompleteness during the sittings of the Conference.


We cannot make any further statement than that which has already been allowed to become public by the Conference respecting its discussions. The part taken by the British delegates has been, and no doubt will continue to be, in accord with their instructions, but it would not be desirable to anticipate what future action they may have to take by publishing the instructions in advance.