§ 2. Sir ARTHUR MARKHAM
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that at the Peace Conference held at The Hague in 1907, at the instance of His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, Article 7, of Convention 5, defining the rights and duties of neutral Powers and persons in war on land was signed without reservation by all the Powers, including Germany and the United States, that Article 7 provides that a neutral Power is not bound to prevent the export or transit for either belligerent of arms, munitions of war, or in general of any-thing' which could be of use to an army or fleet, he will say whether at any time during the proceedings of the Plenipotentiaries of the Powers at The Hague, Germany raised any protest against this article; and whether the German Government, in order to promote German trade, have in recent years, when themselves neutrals, permitted German manufacturers to export munitions of war to belligerents and also to Great Britain during the South African war?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir E. Grey)
There is no mention in the official record of proceedings of The Hague Convention in 1907, of any protest by the German delegates against the article referred to. The Fifth Convention was signed by all the Great Powers without reservation, except of Articles 16, 17 and 18 by Great Britain; these articles do not affect the present question. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.
§ 3. Sir A. MARKHAM
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that, at the Peace Conference held at The Hague in 1907, Articles 6 and 7 of Convention 13, relating to the rights and duties of neutral Powers in maritime war, was assented to without reservation by the Plenipotentiaries of the United States and Germany, that Article 6 forbids the supply (la remise) of war material of any kind by a neutral Power to a belligerent, that Article 7 provides that a neutral 948 Power is not bound to prevent the export of munitions of war for either belligerent, he will say whether the Government of the United States have at any time during the present War supplied war materials of any kind to His Majesty's Government, or whether all munitions acquired on account of His Majesty's Government in the United States have been purchased from manufacturers and others as distinct from the United States Government in accordance with the provisions of Article 7 of The Hague Convention?
§ Sir E. GREY
The United States Government have not at any time during the present War supplied any war material of any kind to His Majesty's Government, and I do not suppose that they have supplied any of the belligerents. It has always been a recognised legitimate practice—and wholly consistent with international law—for manufacturers in a neutral country to sell munitions of war to belligerents. They were supplied in this way from Germany to Russia during the Russo-Japanese War, and from Germany to Great Britain during the Boer war, and are, no doubt, being supplied in the same way from manufacturers in neutral countries to belligerents now.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
Has not the rule always been, before The Hague Conference at all, that subjects of neutral nations are allowed to supply war munitions at their own risk? Was not that arrangement recognised so far back as 1793.
§ Sir E. GREY
I cannot give the date, but it is wholly consistent with international law that that practice should go forward. If there were any question of departure from neutrality at all, I think it would be, not in permitting the practice, but in interfering with it.