HC Deb 22 March 1917 vol 91 cc2052-3
50. Mr. SHAW

asked the Prime Minister whether, towards the close of 1905 or in the early weeks of 1906, a Minute was-drawn up by Sir Eyre Crowe, of the-Foreign Office, in which the development and tendencies of German foreign policy were traced; whether that Minute touched upon the possibility of conflict between Great Britain and Germany; and whether, in view of the interest and importance of the subjects treated, he will cause a copy of the Minute to be laid upon the Table of the House?


Yes, Sir; an extremely able Memorandum was drawn up by Sir E. Crowe and submitted to the Secretary of State on 1st January, 1907, dealing with German policy and the grave dangers with which it threatened this country. But I do not think it would be in the public interest to make a precedent for the publication of secret Departmental Memoranda by laying it on the Table. I say this with reluctance, because the publication of this very striking State Paper would set at rest for ever the baseless insinuations which have been made against the patriotism and character of one of the ablest of our public servants.


Did the Government of the day take any steps to prepare after this particular information was given by such an important public servant, or did they go on neglecting it?


The Noble Lord cannot answer for the last Government but one.