§ 11. Colonel YATE
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Mr. Hurst, K.C., who has been described as mainly responsible for the drafting of the disastrous Declaration of London, is the representative of the Foreign Office at the discussion of the Treaty of Paris now being carried on in Paris?
§ 8. Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Mr. Barrington Hurst has been sent on a mission to Paris to discuss with the French authorities questions connected with the blockade of Germany; and whether, in view of the distrust of Mr. Hurst's judgment in such matters caused by the belief that he took a prominent share in framing the instrument known as the Declaration of London, he will say what is the precise nature of the mission entrusted to Mr. Hurst and on what instructions is Mr. Hurst acting?
§ 13. Major HUNT
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why, in view of the fact that Mr. Barrington Hurst, K.C., was mainly responsible for the drafting of the Declaration of London, he has been sent out to Paris to discuss with the French authorities the subject of contraband, so important to the effective application of the blockade by the Allied navies?
§ Sir E. GREY
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The answer to the second part is that it is contrary to the public interest to take the enemy into our confidence by public statements about confidential discussions with the French Government on the subject of blockade.
Whatever part Mr. Hurst took in negotiations about the Declaration of London was done on instructions for which he was not and is not responsible. He has equally acted under instructions during the War with regard to stopping supplies going to Germany, but I have no hesitation in saying that without the assistance of Mr. Hurst those measures—the effectiveness of which is now beginning to be understood—would not have been so well applied nor so ably maintained and defended as they have been.
If the hon. Member could know all the facts I am sure he would share this opinion, and I must add that the attacks made outside upon permanent officials 2882 who are not responsible for policy, who cannot say a word in their defence and who are under great pressure doing invaluable service to their country in a great crisis are most unfair, and at a time like this most unpatriotic. If the policy of the Government is not approved, it is the Government that should be the subject of attack and criticism, or at least the political head of a Department and never the permanent officials, and I would appeal to Members of the House to adopt that course and to give no countenance to any other form of attack.