HC Deb 21 November 1919 vol 121 cc1283-4

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he can make a statement in reply to the Question submitted on the Adjournment last night?

The Question was as follows: Mr. A. Henderson: May I ask the Noble Lord the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury if the Government are in a position to give the House any information regarding the reports as to the decision of the American Senate and the adjournment of the ratification of the Peace Treaty sine die?. If the report is correct, can the Noble Lord say what effect it is likely to have on the putting into operation of the Peace Treaty?
Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)

The facts are, I believe, in substance as described in the newspapers. As far as we can judge they are these: The Senate of the United States has adjourned without passing Resolutions which, as part of the treaty-making power in the United States, must pass before the President can ratify the Treaty of Peace with Germany. The inability of the United States representative at Paris to deposit the President's ratification of the Treaty of Peace at the same time as the ratifications of the other Allied and Associated Powers are deposited would not prevent the remaining Allied and Associated Powers from carrying the Treaty into effect.


May we take it that, whatever happens in regard to other countries, there will be no slackening in the determination of His Majesty's Government to do all in their power, at any rate, to take the load in seeing that the League of Nations becomes an effective instrument of human progress?


My right hon. Friend need have no doubt about that. I think it would be a mistake to assume that all possibility of help from the United States must be given up.


Will there be any modification of the probable date which the Prime Minister was good enough to indicate as the date of ratification?


It is impossible for me to make a statement on that matter. It must depend on whether or not at the meeting of the Senate early in December, there is the possibility of a change of view.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. HOARE

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the action of the Congress has made any difference to the Anglo-French-American Treaty?


My hon. Friend knows that our undertaking under that Treaty is contingent on its being carried out also by the United States. Up to now that Treaty has not been considered; at all events it has not been ratified by the United States.

Lieut.-Commander KEN WORTHY

In regard to the Anglo-French-American Treaty, are we to understand that the Anglo-French portion, namely, our assurances and insurances to the French Government stand, irrespective of America's action?


So far as any obligation of this country is concerned, I do not say that another situation will not make a new position of affairs. As far as our obligation is concerned it is contingent on the United States Government taking the same obligation.