HC Deb 25 June 1908 vol 191 c83
MR. SCOTT (Ashton-under-Lyne)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can explain what the effect is of the reservation made by Sir Arthur Hardinge on behalf of His Majesty's Government that, although he had signed the Protocol of 19th December, 1907, restricting the export of Russian sugar, and thereby equally limiting the amount importable into this country, he nevertheless did not thus assent to the stipulation tending to restrict the exportation of Russian sugar.


The reservation referred to by the hon. Member was made in order to define the attitude of His Majesty's Government towards the provisions of the Protocol. If no such declaration had been made, the signature affixed to the Protocol on behalf of His Majesty's Government might have been held to imply an acknowledgment of an obligation on the part of Great Britain, if called upon, to take part in action designed to secure that Russia should fulfil her obligations under Article 3 of the Protocol, or in an inquiry as to whether she was, in fact, at any future time, fulfilling these obligations. The declaration made it clear that His Majesty's Government were not prepared to participate in such proceedings. As I have already explained, His Majesty's Government regarded the arrangement as one which was not dependent on their consent, which could have been made without their consent, and which it was not in their power to prevent. They therefore considered that the utmost they could do was to free themselves from any possible obligation to close their ports to Russian sugar, which they have done by the declaration in question.