HC Deb 01 May 1907 vol 173 cc895-6
MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)

asked the Prime Minister whether a verbatim report of the discussion now proceeding at the Imperial Conference on preferential trade within the Empire will be published, or whether it was intended to confine the debate given to the public to such meagre summaries as were published in this morning's papers.


I have explained again and again that we have no control in the matter. Whatever action is taken as to publication or non-publication or delayed publication is under the instruction of the Conference itself. I am sure of this—there will be no different treatment, no preferential treatment given to one subject over another. I understand— I speak with no authority—but I have been told that it is probable, and perhaps a little more than probable, that a full report will be published after the Conference is closed. That I believe is in accordance with the desire of the members of the Conference themselves.


after explaining that he put the Question, not as matter of complaint against the Government, but to the Prime Minister as president of the Conference [Sir H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN: "No, no," and HON. MEMBERS: "Not yet"], in order to obtain information, asked whether, if any question arose as to full publication, the influence of the Government would be exercised on the side of publicity.


I have no information in the matter. It is in the hands of the Conference. I do not believe for a moment that any different treatment will be applied to one subject as compared with another.


asked whether the matter of the fullnes or meagreness of the reports was decided by vote.


I am not aware. I do not know. It has never come to a vote there, I am told, certainly not upon this occasion. But I may at once dispel the darkness that appears to pervade some quarters by saying that, as far as I am concerned and my colleagues in the Government, so far from objecting to publication, we hope-every syllable will be published.