§ 20 Mr. OUTHWAITE
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether his attention has been drawn to statements in French newspapers to the effect that if the Allies do not give Japan a free hand to occupy Russian territory that country may join the enemy; in view of the effect that such statements are calculated to have upon Australian troops, will he make representations to the French Government on the subject; (2) whether his attention has been drawn to the endeavours of British and French speculators to secure the seizure of Russian territory by Japan and effect the crushing of the Revolution by Japanese Armies; in view of the fact that any such attempt would cause the Russian people to seek security from Asiatic invasion by alliance with Germany, will the Government take prompt steps to discountenance this propaganda; the Prime Minister (3) whether his attention has been drawn to the agitation in this country and France demanding the seizure of Russian territory by Japan in the interest of speculators whose schemes of exploitation have been affected by the restoration of the land of Russia to the Russian people; and can. he say whether this campaign is part of the propaganda of Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Northcliffe?
I will deal with these three questions together. I fear I am not 1692 at present in a position to say anything with regard to the situation in Asiatic Russia beyond that it is receiving the closest attention from His Majesty's Government.
I should add that many of the implied statements of fact contained in these questions have not the slightest foundation.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the French journals are taking it for granted that Japan will join the enemy if not given a free hand in Siberia, and can he give a denial to these statements, considering the effect that they must have upon the people of Australia?
The hon. Gentleman has quite as full opportunities of reading the French papers as I have.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
I have an opportunity of reading them, but I was asking whether you would take steps to contradict these statements. May I further ask whether the lands in Siberia have not been handed over to the peasants, and whether any action by Japan would not mean the dispossession of the peasantry?