§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Lloyd George)
It is very difficult, in giving an explanation of transactions which took six weeks in the making, to choose the particular subjects upon which the House requires elucidation. I always feel, in making these statements, that I may be dwelling at unnecessary length upon one particular part of the transactions, while at the same time, perhaps, not dwelling at adequate length upon other parts, on which the House would like to have a clearer, fuller and more detailed explanation. It was for that reason, let me assure the Committee, that I was anxious rather to rise later in the course of the discussion, after questions had been addressed to me, and that the reason was not any endeavour in the slightest degree to escape the obvious duty which it is my privilege to discharge to the House of Commons. However, I hope the House will extend to me the indulgence of another opportunity of replying later on—if I find it necessary—to any questions which may be addressed to me, or to any criticisms that may be offered upon the action of my colleagues and myself at Genoa.
1450 I should also like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my colleagues and myself, to thank the House of Commons for the great forbearance which it extended to us during the six weeks when we were at Genoa. Before we went there, there was a discussion in the House, there were criticisms addressed on the policy proclaimed on behalf of the Government, there were even challenges of the composition of the delegates, and there were obvious reasons why the delegation would have been very much better had it been chosen from other quarters of the House of Commons. No doubt that was perfectly legitimate criticism. When, however, we were at Genoa, the House of Commons treated us, not as the representatives of a party, but as the representatives of our country, and extended to us every fair play and good treatment. And I feel that it is my duty, on behalf of my colleagues and myself, to thank the House for the great indulgence they extended, under what must have appeared to most of them to be very trying conditions.