HC Deb 09 November 1911 vol 30 cc1808-9

asked the Prime Minister, have His Majesty's Government considered Article 23 (h) of the Regulations embodied in The Hague Convention (No. 4) concerning the laws and customs of war on land, which particularly forbids a belligerent to declare extinguished, suspended, or unenforceable in a court of law the rights and rights of action of the nationals of the adverse party; and, inasmuch as this Convention was signed and ratified as on behalf of Great Britain in 1907 without being submitted to Parliament, does it abrogate the principle of British law that during a war all dealings with the enemy are prohibited and all rights of action on contracts made previously to the war suspended; and do His Majesty's Government hold that such an abrogation of British law can be effected by the action of the Executive alone without the passing of an Act of Parliament, or do His Majesty's Government propose to introduce a Bill giving sanction to such a change in the law?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Harcourt)

The answer to the first question is in the affirmative, and to the second in the negative. With regard to the third question, His Majesty's Government have no present intention of taking any steps to abrogate the rule of the English Common Law referred to, and have not therefore considered the means by which such abrogation would be effected.