HC Deb 04 July 1923 vol 166 cc413-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Great Britain still adheres to the declaration set forth in the Berlin Act of 1885 that traffic in slaves, whether by land or sea, is a violation of the principles of the right of nations, and thereby places upon all civilised nations an obligation to use their authority and influence towards its abolition; and whether, in view of the belief that the present Government is unwilling to collaborate with other nations in this objective, he will give an assurance that in the efforts of the League of Nations against slavery Great. Britain will co-operate with other Powers for the abolition of slavery in territories where Great Britain has influence as well as in territories under its direct authority?


The hon. Member presumably refers to Article IX of the Berlin Act of 1885, the text of which bears some resemblance to the first part of his ques- tion. His Majesty's Government have never failed to carry out their obligations there under and under the Convention of 1919, which has partly replaced it; and the second part of the hon. Member's question, therefore, does not arise. The imputation that His Majesty's Government is not collaborating for the suppression of the slave trade is one of which I have never heard except in the mouth of the hon. Member to-day. His Majesty's Government have every reason to resent it. No Government in the world has shown greater earnestness in putting down the slave trade.


also asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the convention of 10th September, 1919, is assumed to restrict in any way the previous official declarations made by Great Britain to use her authority and influence towards a complete abolition of slavery in all its forms?


I regret that I am unable to answer the hon. Member's question, in the absence of specific information as to the particular official declarations to which he refers.

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