HC Deb 13 March 1922 vol 151 cc1743-5
48. Mr. A. HERBERT

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether this House will have an opportunity of reviewing and, if necessary, amending any agreement entered into at Paris?


The forthcoming meeting between the three Foreign Ministers at Paris is intended to arrive, if possible, at an agreement between the three Great Powers—France, Italy and Great Britain—as to the means by which hostilities between Greece and Turkey can be terminated as speedily as possible and a new Treaty concluded with Turkey. Such a solution would certainly not be facilitated, and might be indefinitely postponed, if the suggested conditions were to be subject to review and amendment in the opening stages by the Parliaments of the three countries. Should the three Governments be successful in their endeavour to bring about peace, there will be every desire to keep Parliament fully informed.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

If we are not to amend this Agreement afterwards, would it not be better to discuss the policy before the meeting in Paris?


I have already urged most strongly upon the House, with such influence as I could command, that to initiate a discussion before the coming Paris Conference would, in my opinion, be contrary to the public interest and must militate seriously against the success of the Conference.


Is not that on the understanding that any Agreement initiated at Paris shall not include the Anglo-French Pact, which we were promised we should have a chance of discussing?


Certainly; it does not derogate in any sense from the pledge that before the Anglo-French Pact is ratified that shall be discussed by the House of Commons.

49. Rear-Admiral Sir R. HALL

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether it is intended that our representative at the forthcoming Conference in Paris shall keep in view our general policy in the East and not only that portion known as the Near East?


Yes, Sir.

52. Mr. O'CONNOR

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the active campaign which has been conducted against the Government and the claims of Greece in many quarters, he will give a day, or a portion of time, for the discussion of the case of Greece, the Armenians, and the other Christians of the Near East for securities on the lines of the Treaty of Sèvres for their protection against a renewal of the oppression by the Turkish authorities, and for a consideration of the British interests which will be menaced by the re-establishment of a Turkish régime in the Smyrna district?

Sir J. D. REES

On a point of Order. Before this question be answered, may I ask whether it is not out of order, as being argumentative and question-begging, as well as assertive and aggressive in its character?


I think there is a little bit of personal opinion in it, but the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) himself occasionally puts a little into his supplementary questions.


No, Sir. For the reasons that I gave on Thursday last, I would earnestly deprecate any discussion in the House on these matters in anticipation of the Conference, that is to be held in Paris, and I hope that the hon. Member will not press his request.


If we are not to have a day for the discussion of this matter, can we, at any rate, have a promise that the pledges made during the War will be adhered to until the forthcoming Conference?


Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to postpone my answer to his statement till I come to another question later on?