HC Deb 30 October 1918 vol 110 cc1448-9
27. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is in a position to explain the constitutional effect of the changes in the system of government in Germany referred to in the reply of the German Government to President Wilson's Note; whether the powers of the Bundesrat as a legislative body and as the supreme administrative board have been in any way modified; whether the Secretaries of State and other heads of executive departments have gained any responsible authority or remain answerable to the Imperial Chancellor alone and liable to be dismissed by him at will; and whether the expression War Cabinet now appearing in reports of German political movements implies the existence of an executive Government with collective responsibility to the Legislature, similar in constitutional status to that assigned by modern usage to the Cabinet in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy?


I fear that I could not within the limits of a reply to a question explain the constitutional effect of the changes now being made in the Government of Germany. As far as I know, there is no evidence that the powers of the Bundesrat have been in any way modified. With regard to the third part of the question, it does not appear that there is any proposal to alter the position of Secretaries of State in Germany. They remain, as I understand, subordinate to the Imperial Chancellor, and are appointed by the Emperor on his recommendation. They are also, I suppose, liable to be dismissed by the Emperor, who will presumably exercise this power on the recommendation of the Imperial Chancellor, although this does not seem to be specifically provided for. The last part of the question is, therefore, presumably in the negative.


Will representations be made to the German Government that the powers of the Bundesrat should be regulated under the terms of the Parliament Act?