9. Mr. PONSONBY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the 6 Minister of Blockade was acting under instructions when, at the reception of American correspondents last week, he referred to the possible offer of peace terms on the part of Germany as a peace offensive to be directed very largely against Great Britain, thereby implying that whatever the nature of the terms might be they would be rejected; and whether this represents the attitude of His Majesty's Government?
My Noble Friend usually meets American correspondents once a week, and discusses with them subjects in which they are interested. It was, I believe, a telegram from Washington, which appeared on the morning of the interview, which suggested its subject. I fully approve of what he said. The hon. Member is of opinion that my Noble Friend's statement about the coming peace offensive implied that whatever the nature of the German terms might be they would be rejected. The train of reasoning which leads him to this conclusion is, however, obscure, and I am unable to follow it. I may perhaps add that the references which my Noble Friend is supposed to have made to the presence of a German emissary in this country in the shape of a distinguished neutral are wholly imaginary.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that offensives are generally resisted, and that is why I put that part of the question? I give notice that on Thursday, on the Adjournment, I shall raise the question of the repeated failures of our diplomacy.
§ 14. Mr. LEES-SMITH
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Minister of Blockade informed him of his intention before giving his interview to the Press on 3rd May, in which he stated that he anticipated an early movement for peace from Germany which this country ought to reject?
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
Cannot the right hon. Gentleman prevent the Minister for Blockade making these unauthorised statements, in view of the fact that on the previous occasion on which he did so the statements he made had to be repudiated by the Foreign Secretary himself?
I do not agree with the hon. Member's history, and in my opinion 7 the interviews which my Noble Friend has with these correspondents are convenient and useful for the public service.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Does the right hon Gentleman think it proper for an Undersecretary, on his own, without consultation with his superior, to make important announcements in regard to policy?
There was no announcement about policy that I remember To what does the hon. Member refer?
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Has the right hon. Gentleman treated this interview as he treated Count Hertling's speech— that is, he never read it?
I have read it, and I suppose the hon. Member has. I have not discovered an announcement of policy. Has he?