§ 1. Mr. BUTCHER
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will lay upon the Table of this House a Paper containing the provisions of the Declaration of London, as modified by any Orders in Council which are to be put in force by this country during the present War?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord Robert Cecil)
I rather hope my hon. and learned Friend will not press for this to be done. The Orders in Council are readily obtainable, and so is the text of the proposed Declaration of London. To collect and reprint them would be useless, and to re-edit the Declaration of London by the light of the Orders in Council would mean an expenditure of official time which I venture to think might be better employed.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Do the Government think it really necessary to fetter the Prize Court by written Rules on the subject of naval warfare, and would it not be better to have a clear and intelligible statement of those Rules in view of the fact that it is very difficult even for lawyers to understand the present position?
§ Lord R. CECIL
I shall be very glad to talk it over with my hon. and learned Friend if he will allow me to do so, but I must venture to protest against the doctrine that anything the Government can do fetters the Prize Court. The Prize Court administers international law quite irrespective of what the Government does.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Does not the fact that the Order in Council is issued laying down certain specific Rules for the Prize Court to follow in adjudicating upon prizes to a certain extent hamper them in administering international law?