HC Deb 15 November 1917 vol 99 cc547-8

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that in the Debate in the French Chamber of Deputies on 31st July, 1917, M. Ribot, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, informed the Chamber that the Czar of Russia had promised M. Briand, when Prime Minister, that he would, in addition to supporting the French claim to Alsace-Lorraine, leave France free to make, if need be, an autonomous state out of German territories on the left bank of the Rhine; and whether he is prepared to make any statement on the subject?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I may remind the hon. Member that Monsieur Ribot stated on that occasion that he repudiated on the part of the French Government a policy of conquest.


Does the Noble Lord recollect that when this arrangement was referred to by myself in the Debate on Foreign policy last week the Foreign Secretary stated that it was an absolute mare's nest; in view of the answer of the Noble Lord does he adhere to the statement of the Foreign Secretary?


I had not the pleasure or hearing the speech of my right hon. Friend, but I read it the next morning: I adhere to everything he said.

10. Mr. JOWETT

asked whether any negotiations with France had been opened. up regarding Alsace and Lorraine before the War; and, if not, when the British Government agreed to support the French Government in making the restitution of Alsace and Lorraine an essential item in our war aims?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. With regard to the second part, it was a well understood war-aim from the moment we entered the War.

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