HC Deb 20 November 1919 vol 121 cc1106-7
29. Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the policy indicated in his speech at the Guildhall on the 8th instant, it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to continue the form of blockade now in force against Soviet Russia during the winter; and whether he is aware that this form of blockade will cause and is causing intense suffering to innocent women and children in Soviet Russia?

44. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Prime Minister whether he can give any intimation that the blockade of Soviet Russia will not be continued when the ice leaves access to Petrograd open, so that shipments can be arranged beforehand?

63. Major HAYWARD

asked when naval operations in the Baltic against the Bolsheviks are to cease?


asked the Prime Minister whether the blockade of Russian ports is still in force; if not, when orders were given for its removal; and what were the terms of those orders?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Lloyd George)

The maritime policy in the Baltic is that of the Allied and Associated Powers, not of this country alone. There has been, in the strict sense of the term, no blockade of Russian ports. We have been engaged in helping the Baltic Provinces in the struggle against Bolshevik Russia which involved the use of the naval forces of the Allied and Associated Powers, to prevent the Bolshevik ships of war from bombarding Baltic ports, and assisting Bolshevik troops and to hinder supplies useful to those troops from entering Bolshevik ports. But this problem is being solved by natural courses as with the formation of ice, both the ships which might have traded with Petrograd and the Allied war ships which might have turned them back, must go elsewhere. It is not proposed that the British Fleet should undertake the patrol of the Baltic in the spring.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Can. the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in case of arrangements between the Baltic States and Soviet Russia, any hindrances will be put in the way of traffic between the ice-free ports and Soviet Russia by our Navy?


If the hon. Member will take note of what I said he will see that it is not proposed that our Fleet should patrol the Baltic.


Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the answer given yesterday by the First Lord of the Admiralty with regard to our intervention in Russia, and can he say whether there has been any change in the policy of the Government as declared by himself in his speech of Monday last?


I discussed this very answer with my right hon. Friend this morning before I gave it, and I cannot imagine that there is any change of policy.


Has it not been the practice of this House for right hon. or hon. Members not to refer to an answer given by one Minister in putting the same kind of question to another?


Are we to understand that the policy enunciated by the Under-secretary for Foreign Affairs that this blockade was to continue until there was a democratic Government in Russia, which, we can trust, is not now the policy of the Government?


I do not know to what answer the right hon. Gentleman refers. He must give me an opportunity of studying these things.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the policy of the Government is based on principle or expediency?