HC Deb 15 November 1916 vol 87 cc939-40

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 22nd February, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."


I desire to make a few observations in reference to a Motion which I had on the Paper, "That in the opinion of this House, and in view of the repeated statements of the Imperial German Chancellor that Germany has been, and is, prepared to discuss the termination of the War, a Commission should be appointed for the purpose of carrying out that object."

I addressed a question to the Prime Minister as to whether the Government could see their way to give a day to discuss the matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies said that he could not accede to that request. As I am very much in a minority on this question my only alternative in order to draw attention to the very remarkable speech of the German Chancellor was to move the Adjournment of the House or to raise the matter, as I am now doing on the Motion for Adjournment. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies said that there were no proposals from the German. Imperial Chancellor which were not based upon an acknowledged victory on the part of Germany. I wish to refer to that and briefly to survey the position as it presents itself to me. I desire to be as conciliatory as may be, and therefore do not propose to enter into any recriminations, or to attack the Foreign Office or any representative of the Foreign Office. My sole object is to offer a few observations in the hope that they may serve a useful purpose. I think that we must all regret that so far no notice has been taken of the very remarkable speech of the German Chancellor, and what I regard as the remarkable proposal which it contained, by any member of the Government. I do not ask for any reply to my observations.

Notice taken that forty Members were not present; House counted, and forty Members not being present, the House was adjourned at Three minutes before Eleven o'clock till To-morrow.