§ Mr. MOREL
I am sure the statement we have just heard from the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will have caused great relief to every Member on this side of the House. A war between Russia and ourselves over the questions raised in the Note would not only be a monstrosity in itself, but would lead to very serious events in this country. We have had an interesting Debate on the Saar, and out of that Debate has emerged one fact which we, on this side of the House, I think, are pretty unanimous in emphasising, and that is that, until there is a League which is a real League, an all-inclusive League, and not merely a League of the victorious Powers in the late War, you never will have a really efficient and impartial body to adjudicate and settle international affairs, and again, until the League in its constitution is far more democratic than at present, and until you have representatives on its Council and its Assembly and its Commissions who are not merely representatives of the Government of the day, but representatives, in the true sense, of the peoples concerned, you will never have a really efficient body.
The Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil), who, I am sorry to see, is not now in his place, widened out the Debate beyond the Saar and made what, if I may be permitted to say so, was a very courageous speech. It is always very courageous to admit that you have been wrong, and the Noble Lord's whole speech, from beginning to end, was an admission virtually that he had been living in a sort of twilight of illusion, the action that he took the last time we debated this Ruhr question when he was in the House was diametrically opposed to the action that he took to-day. On the former occasion he pooh-poohed absolutely the idea of the League of Nations intervening, and he discouraged the Government from appealing to the League, but to-day he burned his boats and turned 2671 completely round. That is very satisfactory to us, and it is very satisfactory to those of us especially, on this side of the House, whom the Noble Lord has castigated somewhat severely for not holding the optimistic views that he himself has so often expressed here as to the objects of French policy. I think the attitude taken by the French Government in connection with the German Note, and the method that it has adopted, has opened the eyes, not only of the Noble Lord, but of a great many other people in this country, to the real character of French policy.
I hardly think that it is worth while discussing the merits or demerits of the Note. There is not a Member of this House, there is not a Member of the Government, who is in a position to say how much more Germany can pay without bringing ruin upon herself and upon her creditors. I have been hearing the views, conveyed to me personally during the last few days, of a number of City men, with a presumably large experience of affairs, and they have one and all told me that they do not believe that Germany can pay anything like the amount of money she is prepared to pay, as she says, in her offer.
§ Mr. MOREL
I have no doubt that business men differ, but I am in touch with a few business men of some importance in the City, and their view is unanimous, not only that Germany cannot pay anything like what she has offered, but that it is utterly impossible for Germany to hope to get any international guarantee until she has been able to prove to the world that she has got back her recuperative machinery into her own hands. What attitude do the Germans themselves take? It seems to me to be an attitude, whether you agree with her offer and think it adequate or not, which is unanswerable. They say this: If you do not think we are offering enough, call in a body of international financial experts—
§ Mr. MOREL
Certainly—and get really a scientific opinion, instead of these ridiculous opinions which we have had up to the present moment. Then they say: If you think our guarantee 2672 is not enough—and we offer, after all, to pledge all the resources of the State—tell us what you would like us to guarantee. Unanswerable. There the matter for the time being may lie, until common sense has replaced political prejudice and political folly, but two things, I think, may usefully be said. The first is that the original idea of attempting to make one belligerent nation in the Great War pay the cost of the War—an idea worthy of the inhabitants of Bedlam and based upon the preposterous and ridiculous opinion that one nation alone was responsible for the War; this idea, which has presided over all the futile Conferences of the past four years, is working out to-day its own Nemesis, and will continue to do so until both the idea and the postulate are abandoned. Another point which may be made is this, that, no matter what the Germans had offered, no matter what guarantee they had made, the present rulers of France, whom, I say again, as I have said here before, do not in my conviction—and there is more and more evidence of it—represent the people of France as a whole, would have turned it down, for the simple reason that the present rulers of France do not want Germany to get on to her feet again, and know perfectly well that if this indemnity question is settled, as it can only be settled, on an international basis, Germany will get on to her feet again.
The real issue in this matter is not reparations. It never has been reparations. It is not security. It never has been security. The real issue in this matter is whether or not the present rulers of France are going to succeed in their fixed and determined aim of disrupting Germany. That is the real issue. It is an issue of very great importance not only to France and Germany, but to the whole of the continent of Europe and to ourselves. All these discussions about reparations and security are really completely artificial when you are faced with a situation such as you are facing to-day—when a French army is paralysing the heart and lungs of industrial Germany, when the Saar Valley is being virtually annexed to France under the cloak of the League of Nations, when the whole of the civil administration of the Rhineland is being ruthlessly stamped out and the whole 2673 country is being gallicised. Deportations to-day amount to over 23,400 persons, including 33 editors, five Roman Catholic priests, 10 Protestant clergymen, and 150 teachers. This, I repeat, is the real issue—whether France is going to succeed in disrupting Germany. This country can no longer afford to ignore the real issue. The interest of our working-classes, the interests of our commercial classes and our national security are being more and more affected, and French policy is threatening more and more the peace, the immediate peace, of the world.
I would like to be permitted to draw the attention of the Committee to several aspects of the question, which perhaps have not received in this House, the attention which they ought to have received. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in another place, or in a public speech, I forgot which, repeated a few days ago the well-known formula that the maintenance of the Entente was the only hope for peace in Europe, and Ministers in this House constantly refer to the French as our Allies. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Quite so. Well, what I want to know, what this House is entitled to know, and what the country is entitled to know, is, if France is our ally, are the preparations for war which are now going on in Europe under French direction going on with our knowledge and consent, by virtue, it may be, of some secret political or military agreement, of which this House knows nothing? Are they going on with our knowledge; and, whether they are or not, what is the purpose of these military preparations? I claim that the time has come when the country must be told the truth. It is not being told the truth to-day. It does not know what is the real position.
What is the truth? Put bluntly—and I shall make no reference whatever to French armaments as to which a good deal has recently been disclosed—the truth is this: The French General Staff is organising the new Europe for war. French finance is supplying the money and French armament firms the material. Before justifying that deliberate statement, which I shall do here and at once, I would beg the Committee to bear in mind the tremendous revolution which has been wrought in the distribution of power in Central Europe and South-East Europe as the result of the Versailles 2674 Treaty and accessory Treaties. Austria is to-day little more than a geographical expression. Hungary has become an open and unprotected plain: its capital is within the range of the guns of its northern neighbour: its armed forces are insignificant with virtually no modern equipment. Upon these ruins and the ruins of the old Tsarist Empire, four States stand erect. Two of them are new creations: one has been resurrected: the fourth has greatly increased its territory. These four States are Czecho-Slovakia with 14,000,000 inhabitants, Yugo-Slavia with 12,000,000, Rumania with 17,000,000, Poland with 27,000,000. The first three are known as the Little Entente to which Poland, although not formally, is more or less attached through the connecting French link. It is these four States of the new Europe that the French General Staff is organising for war and which the French Government is equipping for war.
Let us glance at the modus operandi on the financial, political and military side. Let me take first the financial side.
On the financial side, France has lent Poland 400,000,000 francs, and is negotiating for a loan to Yugo-Slavia of 300,000,000 francs, which I believe has gone through—at any rate 100,000,000 is now in operation—and 100,000,000 francs to Rumania. All this money is to be expended upon arms, not spent for the benefit of the countries concerned, but spent in armaments—made in France.
So far as Yugo-Slavia, where there is just now intense military activity, is concerned, new munition factories are being set up in the neighbourhood of Belgrade where hundreds of homes for workmen are being erected in the vicinity of the new factories. So far as Rumania is concerned, M. Antonescu, the Rumanian Minister in Paris, has recently stated that the new equipment will be transported directly to Rumania in French vessels.
Now with regard to the political and military side. I put questions at the end of last Session to the Under-Secretary of State for War and to the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs as to the plan of operations of the summer manœuvres of the Polish Army. I got an evasive reply. Possibly the information was not known to His Majesty's Government. Possibly the fact that the Chief of our General Staff is accompanying His 2675 Majesty to Italy and is going on from Borne to Warsaw will enable the Government to have the information which it did not have at the end of last Session. Marshal Foch is at present in Warsaw, arranging the details of a new military convention between Poland and Czechoslovakia. The French General Le Rond has been in Prague—he was there all last month—putting the finishing touches to the same Convention from the Czechoslovakian end. We may be sure that when it is completed, this Convention will no more be communicated to the League of Nations than the Franco-Polish Convention, of which it is the complement, has been. A very well-known French General—General Mittelhauser—is the Chief of Staff of the Czechoslovakian Army. Preparations are now being made on an extensive scale for manœuvres of the Czechoslovakian Army next month along what is termed the Trianon frontier, along the Southern slopes of the Carpathians. These manœuvres will coincide with the arrival of Marshal Foch at Prague next week, who will probably, between now and then, have paid a visit to Bucharest and Belgrade. A word now as to the capacity and equipment of these new legions which are being trained under the supervision of the French General Staff in Europe. Under the new scheme—I will not trouble the Committee with the details of divisions and brigades which I have here—Czechoslovakia has a peace strength of 180,000—not a very large figure perhaps for a population of 14,000,000, but, I would remind the Committee, 80,000 more than is allowed to Germany with her population of 63,000,000. The strength of the active army on a war footing under the new plan is 1,300,000. The peace equipment provides for 800 war-planes which, however, by the Act of Parliament passed last year will be successively increased to 1,400. The peace footing of the Yugo-Slav Army is 140,000–40,000 more than Germany is allowed. As now provided for the war strength will be 1,500,000. Rumania's Army on a peace footing is 210,000—more than double that of Germany's. Its active war strength will henceforth be 1,700,000. The full details of the Polish peace and war strength have not yet, I think, been worked out. At any rate, I do not yet possess them.
§ Lieut.-Colonel CROFT
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman can tell us what the peace army of the Russian nation is at the same time.
§ Mr. MOREL
I am following out a line of argument, and the hon. Member must allow me to do so. I am now giving information which I think this House ought to know. All these States have Conscription Laws. The Czechoslovakian Conscription Law of 1920 applies to all males between the ages of 17 and 60, and provides for 43 classes with a total of 2,300,000—i.e., including all the reserves, plus the active army figures which I have already given. The Yugo-Slavian Conscription Law affects males between 19 and 50 years of age, provides for 32 classes with a total of 1,600,000. The Rumanian Conscription Law affects all males between 19 and 46 years, provides for 27 classes and totals 2,500,000. Thus, under the direct supervision of the French General Staff, 6,500,000 men in these States of the Little Entente alone, four and a half years after peace was signed, are being drilled and equipped for the next war. And this takes no account—[Interruption]. Interruptions do not add to the clarity of debate. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is to keep Germany in order!"] This takes no account of Poland or of Belgium for which country tens of thousands of our lads were sacrificed to preserve its independence and which has now become in a political and military sense, practically a French province.
Now I come to the point which is troubling hon. Members opposite. We are either allies of France or we are not. If we are allies of France then this arming of the new Europe is being carried out with the knowledge and with the approval of the British Government. If that is the case this House and the country have a right to know for what purpose and under what agreement, secret or otherwise? For what reason are these legions being raised? Against whom are they going to be flung when the twelfth hour strikes again? These are things which we have a right to know. If these preparations are being carried out with the knowledge and consent, and with the committal of our Government, we should know. If we are not committed in any way, if there is no secret agreement under which we approve of these preparations, 2677 for the next war in Europe, then let us drop the word "Allies" and let us know where we stand.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
I only speak by the hon. Gentleman giving way, but may I ask him what does he mean by arming for the war that is in preparation? He is building up a structure—we do not agree as to facts—but will he tell us, for it is not clear—he puts it as a fait accompli—about the war that is in preparation.
§ Mr. MOREL
That is a rather long interjection, but one does not generally raise and equip 6½ millions of men with modern weapons in order to play football You have a helpless and disarmed Germany [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] These interruptions merely make me keep the Committee longer than I wish to do. I got up to say certain things, and I shall say them. The more I am interrupted, the longer it will take me to say them. That we have disarmed Germany in Europe was admitted here the other day by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for War. You have Germany with 100,000 men. Austria is wiped out. Hungary does not count. Why are the States of the New Europe arming to the teeth under French supervision? If it is not for war, what is it for? I say if we are allies of France, then this is being done with our knowledge and consent, and we ought to know why and for what purpose? If it is not being so done, then let us drop the word "ally." We must know where we stand, not only because of our own most vital national interests, and because of the cause of peace, but for the preservation, which I can assure hon. Members on the other side of the House that hon. Members on this side of the House are just as keen about as they are—the preservation of good relations between the British and French peoples. There appears to me to be a very singular lack of what is needed at this present moment precisely for the preservation of the good relations between France and England and that is frankness, not only between France and ourselves, but with ourselves. We saw the beginning of the former the other day in the reply given to this House by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and by Lord Curzon in another place on the French action respecting the German offer, with which pronouncement most hon. Members in 2678 this House were in agreement. There has been that beginning of frankness between France and Britain, and if it is carried on it can only help to heal rather than to widen the breach which is widening every day.
But we want also frankness among ourselves. There is a remarkable reluctance on our part here to admit what a very large part our past official acts have played during the last four years, up to the moment of the present Government coming into power, in bringing about the state of affairs which exists in Europe at the present day. What is the key to the whole situation? The key to the whole situation is that France to-day, or rather the present rulers of France, are logically and ruthlessly carrying out the policy embodied in the Versailles Treaty, if not in the letter at least in the spirit, and until we are determined to break away from that policy and from that spirit we have no real basis of approach to the better mind of France, and we have no real basis of appeal to what is perhaps the most potent force in human affairs, the moral opinion of the world. It cannot be too often emphasised that both before and since the imposition of the Treaty of Versailles upon Germany, and until we found that our interests were adversely affected, the Coalition Government worked hand in glove in a policy which is now seen to be developing disastrously for all concerned. The proposal which was eventually adopted, the proposal to add pensions to the damages, which swelled the indemnity to fantastic proportions and thus diminished the payment to France for her devastated areas, was a British proposal It ought not to be forgotten that the Versailles Treaty was a joint production. It ought not to be forgotten that the ridiculous demand of £11,000,000,000 odd in January, 1921, was a joint demand, that the occupation of the ports of the Ruhr, Dusseldorf, Duisberg and Ruhrort, though carried out by the French, was approved by us. It cannot be too often emphasised that the subsequent demand for £6,600,000,000 in May, 1921, was a joint demand, and the ultimatum that the Ruhr would be occupied unless the Germans paid up was a joint ultimatum. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and M. Clemenceau share a distinction which will go down to 2679 posterity of being the creators of the Versailles Treaty. The right hon. Gentleman is not here. [HON. MEMBERS: "He is here by the Speaker's Chair."] I am glad he is here as I do not like criticising people in their absence. Since he is here he must allow me to say that one of the most audacious statements that can surely ever have been made in this House was made by him on 19th February last, in reply to a speech by my Friend the Member for the Colne Valley. The right hon. Gentleman stated that no such demands as demands for £11,000,000,000 or £6,600,000,000 had ever been made upon the German Government. This is a matter which cannot be left as the right hon. Gentleman left it. In regard to the first demand, the demand of January, 1921, I have a copy of the actual Note here signed by the right hon. Gentleman in which the 42 annuities beginning at £100,000,000 and rising to £300,000,000 and totalling £11,300,000,000 are specified as sums that Germany "must pay." "Devra payer" are the words used. I have yet to learn that they mean anything but "must pay." When I first drew the attention, in this House, of the present Prime Minister to the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman and asked for a White Paper, the Prime Minister—whom we all hope to see soon fully restored to health in his seat—replied that it was not necessary because the newspapers had given the details at the time. That, of course, was perfectly true. "The Times" leader of 31st January said:The provisions of the Paris settlement are fully described in our messages. They fix the amount to be paid by Germany at £11,300,000,000, payable in 42 years from 1st May next, or at some £2,150,000,000 less than the total contemplated at Boulogne.The "Times" correspondent waxed rather sarcastic, and said:Yesterday morning all went merrily as a marriage bell.… Drastic sanctions were agreed to … as a condiment to a mighty dish of Allied decisions for Teutonic digestion, M. Briand praised Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Lloyd George praised M. Briand. A unanimous declaration of Allied solidarity in peace as in war was prefixed to the minutes of the proceedings. It was even stated … that at the close of the Conference the delegates in their enthusiasm sang each other's national anthems, keeping the best time and tune they could. According to another account they sang them all simultaneously. This 2680 cannot be true. It would have been too dreadful.Then as to the second demand made as a result of the Conference in May, 1921, the demand for £6,600,000,000, the right hon. Gentleman went into the details at great length in this House, after the abortive visit of Dr. Simons, in a debate on 5th May, and the substantive portion of his declaration was this:After hearing everything which the German representatives had to say … the Reparations Commission last month found that, after deducting the amount already received, and after the Belgian Debt—which is to be added to the payment of the reparations—there was due from Germany £6,600,000,000—gold pounds. Of this figure, France claims 52 per cent., and the British Empire 22 per cent.An ultimatum was sent to Germany on the 5th of May, and they had to accept or reject it within six days, failing which, the Ruhr would be occupied. And yet the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon (Mr. Lloyd George) had the audacity to come down to this House on 19th February last and say that this demand had never been made. Reminded on that occasion by the present Prime Minister that in making that demand, and presenting that ultimatum, the right hon. Gentleman had either foreseen "all these calamities which had happened and was preparing for them, or else he was making a proposal which he knew that Germany could not accept," the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon interjected the word "bluff." Yes, it is that "bluff," carried on for four-and-a-half years, which has brought Europe to its present position. It is that bluff, which I prefer to call criminal folly, which has brought about the present tension between the British and French peoples, who have no real quarrel, but who tomorrow may find themselves, if not foes, at least next door to it.
The fact that, under the leadership of the right hon. Gentleman, this country marched together with France along the same road of folly, which we are now increasingly realising to be such, that we participated with France in every step taken upon that road, does, in my opinion, make it incumbent upon us to put forth a serious effort to turn France from her present course before the automatic development of her rulers' folly has compromised the relations of the two peoples beyond redemption. We cannot 2681 do this simply by insisting that experience has taught us wisdom, and that it ought to have taught France wisdom. We can only do this by showing to the French people and to the world that, as I said a moment ago, we are determined for our part to break with the policy embodied in the Versailles Treaty, and make, as Castlereagh made in 1815, and Gladstone made in 1872, a disinterested gesture in the face of the world.
We can say to France: "We are prepared unconditionally and primarily as a concession to you, to drop any further claim for indemnities from Germany. And conditionally upon your withdrawing your troops from German soil, giving up this idea of dismembering Germany, coming to a conference like sensible human beings, a new world conference, to clear up this financial mess we have all got into, to make the League of Nations a reality, and elaborating some scheme of disarmament, conditionally upon that we will wipe out your debt to us, and become the principal guarantors of an international loan upon the security of Germany's resources. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] No doubt some- hon. Members would prefer that this quarrel should go on, but I do not want it to go on. What is the alternative? If this course I have suggested fails, then at least we shall know where we stand, and we shall have made what, in my opinion, is the only appeal which will affect American opinion.
The affecting of American opinion is in my view the crux of the whole situation, because there is between the British and the American peoples a link in all that pertains to the War and the aftermath of the War which is unique, for in Britain and America, unlike the Continental belligerents, the mass of the people went into the War in the passionate belief that they were going to destroy war and militarism. Upon that sentiment—and I am not sure that sentiment does not really rule the world more than finance—upon that basis I think a wise and sagacious statesmanship can build an enduring superstructure. If that policy is tried and fails what remains? Simply a drift into a catastrophe between France and Germany which cannot be delayed much beyond August, and the gradual development of this sullen quarrel between Britain and France, 2682 marked by intrigue and counter-intrigue, by reshuffling and reshunting of relations in the pursuit of a balance of power, that are going on now, accompanied by the beginning of a new rivalry in armaments which indeed has already begun. There is only one end to that road, and we all know in this House what it is.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
The hon. Member who has just sat down has not produced a single fact to warrant any of his statements. He told us that the French Government had lost the confidence of the French people, and he also stated that we had demanded the whole cost of the War from Germany, although he must know that even in the Treaty of Versailles we did not demand the whole cost of the War. The hon. Member told us that Francs was arming for another war, but he never produced a single fact to show us in what way she was arming. He mentioned the number of troops, but he never told us the armaments which the French were producing, and he never told us the number of men required for the programme which the French were carrying out in the Ruhr. If the French have mobilised a certain number of troops, does it not occur to the hon. Member opposite that if the French embark on their programme in the Ruhr these forces are necessary to carry out their policy? Does it not occur to the hon. Member that if any reparations are to be got from Germany a certain amount of force is required?
We have heard a good deal about the League of Nations. I have always been a great believer in the idea of the League of Nations, and I am at the present moment, but that League at present does not exist. There is a League of Nations, but there has never been the League of Nations, and there cannot be until you have every great Power in the world in it. Without the United States the League of Nations cannot be a real force in the world, and it cannot be the League of Nations. It is true that you have a League of Nations existing at Geneva to which a certain number of big Powers send representatives, but Germany is not a member of it, and with regard to the great problems that have arisen out of the War, the League of Nations, as at present constituted, is not capable of dealing with them. Even at the Peace 2683 Conference the Peace was not settled by the League of Nations, but it was brought about eventually by four men who sat in one room. If we were to put this problem of the Ruhr before the League of Nations, the discussions which would take place upon that problem would make it quite impossible to reach any solution within a reasonable time One criticism which has been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) was that France, in her reply to the German offer for the payment of reparations, did not wait until our Government had had an opportunity of meeting the representatives of the French Government and delivering a joint Note to the German. I suggest that there was no time for the French to do that. If France had delayed replying to the German offer the Germans would have concluded that France had some intention of accepting the same after asking for a little more than was offered. If in business and trade you make a definite offer for a certain concern, and the owner of that concern delays his reply, then you know that you have made an offer fairly near the sum which he is likely to accept, and if you go a little higher you know that he will take it. If France had hesitated the Germans would have been right in assuming that their offer, though too small, was somewhere near what the French were willing to accept. Consequently the French Government immediately replied to the German offer without waiting, telling them that the sum was not large enough.
I am not criticising the action of our Government in regard to this matter, because their action was perfectly obvious. I put it that if the French had waited until they knew what the reply of the British Government was going to be we should have had another conference, and after a great deal of delay the reply would have been made by the Allies in which Germany would have been asked to pay more, and that this delay would have been most serious from the French point of view in compelling the Germans to pay the sum which they deemed to be adequate. The British Government issued their Note, in which they criticised mildly the action of the French in being so precipitate. I think, when 2684 one reads that Note, one can read nothing of pessimism, because it is a distinct and direct move for co-operation, between ourselves and France, in European politics. There are some hon. Members in the House who have an absolute belief in the League of Nations for solving all the problems in Europe and the world; and there are some of us, on these benches, who have a good deal more faith that by co-operation with France in Europe you will solve the great problems of Europe and the world. Those of us who hold that view, if they see any means put before them by which France and this country can be called together again in order to solve those difficulties, would support them wholeheartedly.
After the speeches we have heard to-night, which have been mostly speeches of despair, and a great number of which have been speeches of pessimism, to draw attention to the other Debates on the Ruhr that have taken place, when first the French went into the Ruhr, hon. Members opposite predicted that the most terrible things would take place; that unemployment in this country would be very severe; that unemployment figures would grow; that our trade would be worse; that our business would suffer; that the Stock Exchange prices would fall; and that gilt-edged securities and prices in the industrial market would fall, also. Not a single one of those things has happened. The French have been in the Ruhr four months, but the unemployed figures have been steadily reduced by over 250,000 men less than in January last. So far as the Stock Exchange is concerned, not only have gilt-edged securities risen but throughout the whole industrial market, on the average, industrials have risen. Trade has improved, and the average import and export trade of this country have very greatly improved since the French went into the Ruhr. I am not instancing that to suggest that the action of the French in going into the Ruhr has had an advantageous effect, but to point out that it has not had a disadvantageous effect. If one studies the figures of the cost of living, or the prices of commodities, one immediately comes to the conclusion that the entrance of the French into the Ruhr has not had the slightest effect, either on the cost of living in this country or on our external trade.
2685 If the French remain in the Ruhr another six months it will not have the slightest effect on our trade or on business in this country. All those dreadful prophecies, which were made by hon. Members opposite when the French went into the Ruhr, have been entirely and absolutely falsified. Although the future in Europe has been painted very black by hon. Gentlemen this evening, I suggest that, in reality, it is not so black as it appears. The French are in the Ruhr, and they are not going out of the Ruhr until Germany pays some of the money that very many of us, on this side of the House, believe she should pay. I believe the majority of people in this country would insist upon Germany paying a great portion of the wreckage which she caused in the War. Nobody suggests, as an hon. Member opposite assumed, that we were demanding the whole cost of the War from Germany. We are not doing that, and we never have demanded that. Even if the Germans offered enough money to cover a portion of the wreckage that they caused, they would be offering sufficient, and what the French would accept. The French say, however, and very naturally, that they will not evacuate the Ruhr before the last penny of the money for reparation is paid. Is not that absolutely business? We have had the Treaty of Versailles, which the Germans signed, in which they definitely stated that they would give us a definite sum of money. They have not given it to us.
What is to prevent the Germans from signing again, if it is necessary, or offering a definite sum of money, and then, the moment the French have gone out of the Ruhr, refusing to pay? You cannot have the French popping in and out of the Ruhr, whenever the Germans have refused to pay. The French are perfectly right, on a business footing, in saying, "You pay this money to us, and until you pay the last instalment we will not leave the Ruhr." Hon. Members may suggest, as it was suggested on the opposite benches, that the French never intend to leave the Ruhr. Surely, from a practical and business point of view, would any Member opposite make any other terms? It is perfectly plain business that the French will not, in any circumstances, withdraw their forces from the Ruhr until the Germans have paid the last penny. I suggest that if 2686 the French had not gone into the Ruhr we should never have had the offer from the Germans which we had the other day.
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
I suggest that if the French remain in the Ruhr, and carry out their policy, a very much better offer will be forthcoming later on, in which the Germans will offer a much larger sum, and not, as the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Morel) suggested, with the assistance of a loan levied in this country. The hon. Member not only suggested we should let the Germans off every penny they owed us, but that, afterwards, they should raise the money with which they were to pay the French in this country. By that, we should not only get no money from Germany, but should pay the indemnity which Germany owes France. The hon. Member, I hope, does not speak for the whole of the party which he represents, but for whoever he spoke I am perfectly certain he could not have been absolutely in earnest in that, because he put forward—
§ Mr. HARMSWORTH
I merely rose to suggest that there was no ground in that Note for the pessimism and despair we have heard this evening. I hope the British Government, in future, will work for that co-operation with France that so many of us on these benches hope and desire again to see. I suggest there are still a few people alive in this country, and still a few Members alive in this House, who desire to see a proper Reparation got from Germany and who mean to see that they are obtained.
§ Mr. JAMES BUTLER
I should like to join in commiserating the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education on the difficulties with which he was confronted at Geneva, which were not lessened by the fact that he is not the ordinary spokesman of the Government in foreign affairs. The really serious thing about this absurd incident in the Saar is that it shows that here is 2687 an organisation, started under the auspices of the League of Nations—very largely, I believe, at the initiation of the British—which is being used, or has been used since the French invaded the Ruhr, in a way absolutely alien from British ideas; and not only from the ideas of the people in this country, but from those of the British Commonwealth overseas. In all this business, I do not think there is anything more pathetic than the figure cut by the Canadian representative, Mr. Waugh. Mr. Waugh was invited over from Canada, at very great personal inconvenience, and came over from sheer loyalty to the Canadian Government, to try and make this Saar concern a success. Ever since he got there, on any important issue, he has been voted down, as a rule, I believe, in a minority of one. The right hon. Gentleman said something about trusting the man on the spot. It occurred to me, when he said that, that there were several men on the spot; and I wondered which of those he preferred to consult. I think importance might have been attached to the opinion of an absolutely impartial British and Canadian citizen there, who had absolutely no axe to grind whatever.
The next point that arises is that here is a matter in which the Council of the League of Nations has absolutely failed to give any redress to the inhabitants of the Saar. I was astonished when the right hon. Gentleman said that the Council had no source of information, except the President of the Governing Commission, as to what the conditions were in the Saar. Possibly, as such, the Council had no information, but surely the members of the Council had the resources of ten Foreign Offices at their disposal. Perhaps that is going rather far. The Foreign Offices of Uruguay and China, and perhaps Brazil and Japan, may not have been very well primed on the subject of affairs in the Saar. But surely the Foreign Offices of the great European Powers had plenty of information, of which they might have made use, for a settlement of the question. I do not wish to say anything against the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman. So far as I can make out, his protest was one of dignity, and was respected by everyone.
There is one point in regard to the election of Mr. Land, which seems to me 2688 to be an extremely bad piece of staff work on the part of the Council, and of the right hon. Gentleman's advisers, namely, that there was no name down in opposition to Mr. Land. Obviously, it was very difficult, when only one name was put before the Council, not to vote for that name. The right hon. Gentleman and Mr. Branting abstained, but so long as there was no other name down, it was very unlikely that Mr. Land would not be elected. That was a very serious mistake of organisation, that no names, in opposition to Mr. Land, were put forward. Surely, the real unsatisfactoriness of the whole affair comes back to the fact that the Council, with an unwisdom almost incredible at the present day, selected a French gentleman to be President. I have nothing to say against Mr. Rault, as an individual; but how can a Frenchman be impartial in a Commission like this, where you have an extremely important difference between the French and the German attitude? The first thing, and the most important thing, was to find a President who could be looked on as impartial. I hope, when the next election of a President comes on, it will be possible for the British Government to take some initiative to alter this mistake. That is one example of the fatal consequence of yielding, out of the best of motives, to the French pressure, when a question of principle is concerned. The question of principle here is that we cannot have an impartial President unless he is neither a Frenchman nor an inhabitant of the Saar Valley. This was done, no doubt, in order to avoid friction with the French, but the results have been absolutely disastrous.
I will take one other example of this danger of yielding to the French pressure. Take the question of Poland. A short time ago, the question of the Eastern frontiers of Poland was brought up, and decided, as they had every right to decide it, by the members of the Council of Ambassadors. Both questions, that of the Polish-Lithuanian frontier, and that of Eastern Galicia, were of extreme difficulty, and I am not suggesting any better method of settling them. The points I would like to insist on, are these. First, in regard to Poland and Lithuania, that there you had an absolutely different position taken up by the representatives of the Powers on the Council of Ambassadors from the schemes put forward on the 2689 authority of those Powers in the Council of the League of Nations. Unless the explanation is French pressure, I do not see how that difference can be accounted for. Secondly, in the case of Eastern Galicia, the point at issue is not so much what was done, as the way in which it was done. Surely a case of autonomy was exactly one where the League of Nations was, above all, the proper body that ought to have been consulted. The Council of Ambassadors decided that Eastern Galicia was to have autonomy, but apparently they took no steps whatever to secure that autonomy should be a reality. Can we believe anything else but that it was owing to French pressure that the League of Nations was not consulted on that matter? I have no doubt the British Government would have been delighted to refer the matter to the League of Nations, and I believe it was due to French pressure that they yielded.
Needless to say, I do not want to object to the influence of France as such. No League of Nations in Europe can be successful unless France plays a prominent part, but the present state of things is that French influence, to put it mildly, does not work in the interests of European reconciliation. One might put it very much more strongly indeed, and it has been put more strongly by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Morel). I am going to say nothing about the question of French policy in the Ruhr. That has been very largely discussed; but I would like to say something about the manner of the execution of that French policy. It was perfectly possible for the French policy in the Ruhr to have been executed in a much more humane manner than it has been. I need only refer to the monstrous sentences passed by a French Court on the Krupp directors. The whole country has been staggered by the sentences of 15 years' imprisonment, plus a fine of 100,000,000 marks. For what crime? For the crime of having 12 German workmen shot by French troops, not a hair of the heads of the French troops having been hurt. This is following the example of the Bolshevist Government, who are using the sentences of Courts as a diplomatic instrument. One word as to the effect of all this in Germany. The Germans who most regret and condemn the attitude of their reactionaries will tell you that this is the 2690 main thing which tends to strengthen their own extreme nationalists, who are strong enough already. From the point of view of France, it is perfectly mad. I hold no brief for the Germans, but surely it is absolute madness to indulge in this bullying of a nation of 70,000,000 people which, under any circumstances, is bound to play a great part in the future of Europe.
I would like to know if the British Government has done everything in its power to mitigate the effects of French severity? Have we done everything we could to try to promote a policy of European reconciliation? Have we done anything to try to check this mad increase of armaments on the part of certain European Powers? I think one must certainly allow for the danger caused to these Powers in Eastern Europe by Russia, but I should like very much to know whether his Majesty's Government have taken any initiative in this respect at all? To many of us it seems that the British Government have absolutely abdicated the initiative in European affairs, and that the initiative everywhere is being taken by the French Government. We are playing second fiddle, if sometimes a rather discordant fiddle. It is constantly said, and by many of the strongest advocates of the League of Nations in this country, that the French have captured the Council of the League of Nations, and, when one considers the way in which the votes of the members of the Council have been east recently, it is a plausible suggestion. It seems to me that the blame is very largely our own. I doubt very much whether our Government have done as much, to use an unpleasant word, in manipulating the organs of the League as has been done by other nations. In America, the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) told us, the British Government are suspected of Macchiavelian designs in foreign policy. I rather wish that in this matter we had shown a little more of a Macchiavelian disposition. I wish we had done more to try to push our own policies, which are usually sound policies, in the League of Nations. I believe in France there is a strong inter-Departmental Committee which discusses all questions interesting France which are to come before the League of Nations. I believe in our own case we have only one representative, one member of the Foreign Office, though an extremely able and capable one, whose 2691 business it is to deal with questions concerning the League of Nations. It seems to me it is not surprising, under these circumstances, that France should be able to make her weight felt more powerfully in the League than we are.
Are we thinking, for instance, how we are to use the machinery of the League of Nations for the policies we have at heart? Are we taking every step to use all the resources of diplomacy with a view to making our own policy prevail? Have we done everything we could to make use of the good offices of the Scandinavian States, of Holland and of Switzerland, in this vast question of European reconciliation; and, if not, why have we not done so? Many people speak as if a League of Nations policy is an end in itself. It is desirable so far as it goes, but it is inadequate. The League is not an end but an instrument, though a valuable instrument, and what we have to do is to use that instrument and play upon that instrument for the policy in which we have an interest, and I believe the British Government are not using the instrument of the League as they might do. I hope that when the time comes the British Government will make far greater use than they have of the machinery of the League of Nations towards pushing on the all-important question of the limitation of armaments in Europe.
The present isolation of Germany is most dangerous, and dangerous above all to France. The policy of the British Government since the Armistice has been exactly the opposite of the policy of Castlereagh after the last great war. He first negotiated a Treaty of Alliance which would secure the countries of Europe against French aggression for the next 20 years, but, after that, he was extremely reasonable and lenient in allowing France to take her share in the counsels of the Great Powers. We have done just the opposite. We have provided no guarantee for France against German aggression, and we have refused to admit Germany into our counsels. The policy of Castlereagh was very much sounder than that of the late Government. With regard to the entry of Germany into the League of Nations, as a result of certain decisions of the League of Nations Germany has been alienated from it. It is true that the British Government have on more than one occasion declared their willingness 2692 to see Germany admitted to the League, but I would press the Government to do more than that. I would press them to try to urge Germany to come into the League at the earliest possible date and to allow Germany to come in at once as a member of the Council. Germany will never enter the League unless she comes in by right as a member of the Council.
And now, what can we do for France? For France to feel that she is insecure is a danger to Europe, but with regard to the question of French security, there is a very remarkable dilemma or paradox. It appears that French politicians and soldiers admit that for the next 10 or perhaps 15 years Germany can do them no harm. The French are afraid of what is going to happen to them after 15 years. But the trouble is that the guarantees to France under the Treaty of Versailles are only for the preliminary period during which there is no danger. What we have to do is to try to contrive some form of security which will protect France after the first period, during which Germany is disarmed, has passed. It has been suggested that the Rhineland should be demilitarised and under international control. If it is to be only for a term of years, there is a great deal to be said for such a régime, but it seems to me it would be extraordinarily unwise to use the League of Nations for that purpose unless Germany had previously been admitted to the League. Have international rule if you like, but do not use the machinery of the League of Nations until Germany has been admitted. The one fatal thing would be to make such a régime perpetual, to say that for all time to come the Rhineland is to be ruled under international control. I was glad the other day to see in the important speech of the Foreign Secretary on this question that he laid it down that guarantees for France must preferably be reciprocal. That is at the core of the whole question.
If guarantees are merely one-sided and if they are supposed to be in perpetuity, you will have the same thing as happened in the case of Russia and the Black Sea. At the end of the Crimean war, Russia was forced to agree that she would not keep warships in the Black Sea., but, when the Powers which had 2693 been engaged against her in that war were otherwise engaged later, Russia broke that condition. This kind of guarantee made in perpetuity and on one side only is doomed to ineffectiveness. If you are to have permanent security you must have guarantees which Germany can herself accept as reasonable and that means they must be reciprocal. It may not be very popular in France to suggest that France should be called upon to give guarantees, but that is the only result we can come to. It is impossible to make out that Germany is and has always been the eternal aggressor and that France is and always has been the eternal victim. That is absolutely unhistorical. I do not want to go into the instances, but everyone remembers them perfectly well. If guarantees are to be of any use, if they are to hold for long, they must be reciprocal guarantees to which Germany herself will agree. Those guarantees, I think, can only be found in some such scheme as that put forward by my Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil), a scheme for mutual guarantees and for reduction of armaments, a scheme which was accepted by the Assembly of the League of Nations last year, and which is at present being discussed by the military advisers of the League. If I might, I would urge the Government to do all that they can to adopt this policy, and to press it for all they are worth by the machinery of the League of Nations and by all the machinery of diplomacy which they have at their disposal.
§ Mr. CHARLES BUXTON
I should like to make on or two observations on the subject with which this Debate was opened this afternoon, namely, the Saar district, because there is an aspect of the question which I do not think has been sufficiently considered. This is primarily a question concerning the working classes. It is primarily a question concerning miners, and we have had no allusion to that. Here is a population of between 600,000 and 700,000, of whom the vast majority are miners. They are people of exclusively German birth and sympathies, and the real question of importance is what is happening to these people, and how they are getting on. As a matter of fact, we might very well question why there should be a League of Nations or a so-called League of Nations occupation at all. The hon. Member for 2694 Thanet (Mr. Harmsworth) put the case from the point of view of France and of the need that France should be paid. So far as coal is concerned, there is no justification for handing over the Saar district, or, rather, the Saar mines, to France, because there was another provision altogether in the Treaty, not dealing with the Saar district at all, under which Germany was obliged to pay France for the whole extent of the damage, so far as coal was concerned, which she had suffered in the War. Germany was to pay, I think, 20,000,000 tons, or such a sum as was necessary to make up the difference between the coal that France was getting and the coal that France would have got but for the damage wrought by the German forces in the War. The handing over of the Saar mines was entirely in addition to that.
The important thing, however, for the moment is the condition of affairs actually prevailing there, and those who have tried to follow the facts of the case know that these people are living under a state of affairs in which their liberties are trampled under foot every day, in which they have no kind of political rights, in which they have to be taxed without being represented, in which the so-called Council is a Council of a purely advisory character, with no powers whatsoever, and, as we have heard to-day, liable to be overridden, and, in fact, overridden, at every point by a Commission presided Over by a French Chairman, and supported, not, be it remember, by a local force, as was provided by the Treaty, but by a gigantic French force. I think it was the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) who made an intervention, saying that there was a military occupation going on. He received no answer, but in substance his intervention eactly described the situation. Here is a great military occupation going on, not by the League of Nations at all, not under the Treaty at all, because the Treaty says that you have to have a force formed of the population of the Saar itself. There is nothing of the kind. The French troops began, I think, speaking from recollection, at 2,000 or 3,000. They rose to 4,000, and have now risen to 10,000 men, for a wretchedly small district as regards size, and for a population, as I have said, of considerably under 1,000,000. Moreover, as I am reminded, they have 2695 their wives and families with them quartered on the country.
There is another aspect of this situation. I am sorry the President of the Board of Education is not here, because I should have liked to ask him why he ignored the vital factors in this question. He told us that there was a strike going on. He said so incidentally, and it has been incidentally commented upon by other speakers. But the strike is the whole essence of the matter. Why is there a strike? Why has there been a strike for ten or twelve weeks past in the Saar mines? I will give one very obvious reason. The Saar mines have been taken over by the French Government. It is a very bad example of nationalisation, and I would not commend it to my friends in this country. It is worked by the Government. Nationalisation does not work very well by one Government in the territory of another Government, and under conditions such as are obtaining in the Saar. Here you have the mines carried on by the French Government, and what wages do they pay to the miners? They pay to the miners 16 francs a day. How does that compare with the wages the miners are getting in the coal mines of France? In the coal mines of France they are getting, on the average, 25 francs a day. In the Saar mines, where you have a German population, exploited and forced as far as possible to work by an alien Government supported by an alien Army, they are paid 9 francs a day less than in France, and that is why they went on strike, or, at least, that is one of the reasons. I do not say it is the only one. There is absolutely nothing political about it. The President of the Board of Education told us that he was informed—he seems, by the way, to be singularly simple in what he believes—that this strike was not economic, but was in reality of a political character. It was nothing of the kind. I am not speaking merely on my own authority. The "Times" correspondent who was there declared in so many words that the strike was not a political strike at all, but arose on the question of wages, on the question of these German miners being exploited for the benefit of the French Government. That was the way in which it began. Afterwards, we are told, political elements came in. That, I see, has been denied, 2696 but, if they did come in, it is certainly nothing to be surprised at.
There is one other feature in the situation which, again, has never been alluded to in the Debate. The currency of the country was, of course, the German currency. A very definite and deliberate policy is now being pursued of substituting the French currency, the franc, for the mark. I will not go into the details of that. On the face of it, of course, it might not make very much difference if the alteration in currency were compensated by alterations in wages and prices and so forth; but it is, at any rate, the opinion of the German miners in the Saar that the substitution of the franc is seriously damaging to them, that they cannot buy what they need for their tables day by day on account of this change in the currency. That is one side of the matter, but this change in currency is regarded, and not, I think, without reason, as part of a policy for bringing about an economic union with France, destined to lead up to a political union. I say I think that it is not without reason, because, not very long ago, a certain M. Dariac, well known in connection with the Ruhr, made a report on the Saar in which he recommended this very economic union of the Saar district with France. I need hardly say that that was quite contrary to the Treaty of Versailles. M. Dariac is very well known for his report, sent officially to M. Poincaré, on the objects and methods of occupying the Ruhr and the advantages that might be gained therefrom. That was a report, as hon. Members will recollect, issued before the occupation of the Ruhr actually took place, but advocating the main policy which was afterwards carried out. This same gentleman is recommending something similar for the Saar, and that is one of the reasons which are causing the dissatisfaction, anxiety and agitation among the miners of the Saar. Again I say that, if an economic strike takes on a political character, in view of a policy such as that, and of preparations such as these, I venture to think that there is nothing very striking in its taking on such a character. That brings me to the decree, of which so much has been said in this debate. Hon. Members who introduced this subject confined themselves entirely to the question of the decree. What is the explanation of the 2697 decree? It is designed to suppress and to meet the trouble and agitation caused by the events I have described, and it is regarded by the Saar miners very largely as introduced in order to stifle criticism and discussion on this policy of economic union with France which is being introduced little by little and surreptitiously. That is what they believe to be the reason for the introduction of this scandalous and unexampled piece of repression of free speech and personal liberty.
With regard to the Ruhr, I would say what I have said with regard to the Saar. The primary question of interest and importance is what is happening to the workers who are living in the Ruhr. That is the thing that matters, and as I have seen it on two visits with my own eyes, I naturally feel very strongly about it. The hon. Member for Thanet (Mr. Harms-worth) has said something about the smooth and easy working of this occupation of the Ruhr. He certainly would not say so if he had been there. He has ignored the fact that there prevails a reign of terror among the workers. He did not even pay any regard to the fact that a very large number of them have been shot down. The number amounts, if I have added up the figures rightly, to 52 who have already been killed, the majority of them working men, generally on the way to or from their work, suspected for aught I know of some evil intention or other, but in many cases with no overt act proved against them whatsoever, but simply shot as they were going about in the ordinary course of their business. That culminated in the event that happened at Krupps Works, where no fewer than 14 mechanics were shot outright.
That is only the beginning of things. Vast numbers have been expelled. We talk glibly of people being expelled. What does it mean to be expelled? These people are mostly railway men living in a humble way and suddenly, without warning, they and their wives and children are turned out of their homes without the slightest preparation for getting them away, and this has taken place in thousands of cases. Very often their furniture has been turned out into the street and they are not allowed to carry off things with them when they leave the Ruhr district. That is a reign of terror, and if it happens in thousands of cases it 2698 naturally spreads all round and there is a feeling of anxiety which hangs like a dark cloud over everyone. People dare not speak their opinions in the street, through fear of getting into trouble. These are only one or two of the factors which are contributing to make the lives of the miners, railwaymen and engineers of the Ruhr district lives of profound misery and anxiety.
I cannot share the optimism and contentment that were expressed by the hon. Member for Thanet. He endeavoured to defend the attitude of the French Government by saying it was simply an attitude of business. If that be his idea of business I can only say, God help us if we ever have to live under a régime of business. But, as a matter of fact, it is not business. By business I understood him to mean that the French Government is there to obtain payment. If the French Government was there to obtain payment some of us might feel rather differently on the matter, but their conduct hitherto does not suggest that they are there to obtain payment. It does not suggest that the payment of these reparation claims is their real object. If the restoration of the devastated districts was their object why did they not accept the repeated offers of the German Government to restore, the devastated districts direct? Those offers are often forgotten. They were perfectly precise, particularly the offers made in 1920 in connection with the Spa Conference, and they were repeated more than once. Not only were they offers made by the German Government, but they were offers made on the basis of conferences which had taken place between the French and German trade unions in the trades concerned with the building and reconstruction of these devastated areas. They were not general, they were not vague, they were perfectly precise, they were accompanied by specifications and details of every description and by offers to place alternative plans before the French Government if the original plans were not considered satisfactory. If the French Government wanted payment why did they not accept that?
Last year there were certain arrangements made by the Allies, to be executed by the Reparation Commission, for the delivery of certain goods to France and 2699 the other Allies on demand. I put a question a few days ago to the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs on this point and I understood from the answer that the outline of the facts I was asking about was not disputed. The French Government last year was entitled to claim reparations in kind to the amount of somewhere about £47,000,000. Instead of claiming that £47,000,000, as they might have done, they only claimed £13,000,000. I want to know why that was, if it is true that their object is to obtain payment. It is not that the other Allies are in the same position. This is no common feature applying to them as well. The other Allies did demand, within a small amount, the quantity of reparations in kind which were due to them. It was the French Government alone that only demanded out of the £47,000,000 to which it was entitled £13,000,000. If that is the position how is it possible to claim that the payment of reparations is the first if not the only object of the French Government?
I have always used in this connection the expression "French Government." I do not say France. I do not say the French people. I distinguish between them. We are in a very difficult position on this side of the House. We have the utmost desire to be in close contact with the French people and the representatives of the French workers, and when we are told we express ourselves critically about France it is not true. We express ourselves critically of the French Government. The fact that you have sympathy with the French people makes it doubly difficult to have sympathy with the French Government, because it is not standing for the interests of the French people in the main, or not, at least, for their interests as we conceive them. We conceive their interest to be the reconstruction of their devastated area, and the rebuilding of their ruined villages. I know what these are. I have been through them. I have done my best to understand the feelings and the psychology of the French workers and peasants in the matter, but it is not they who are benefited. The policy that is being pursued is not helping them to get their cottages rebuilt or their villages restored. That is the difficulty of finding a formula which may express real sympathy with France when we are obliged to deal, in 2700 the main, with the policy of a Government which does not seem to us to be acting in the interests of the French people.
We have to face the problem of reparation, and we speak as if it were an extraordinarily difficult problem to solve. I contend that, in itself, it is not difficult to solve. In itself, it is, in the state that it has now reached, comparatively simple. Let me remind the Committee of the figures as they stand now. Germany has offered, roughly speaking, of course, with qualifications, £1,500,000,000. That is ridiculed in many quarters as very small and absurd. Will hon. Members keep the figure in mind, and realise, on the other hand, what are the demands? The demands of France, which we all agree are the important things in this matter, amount, in practice, to less than £1,500,000,000. That is a fact that is not always realised. It has been said—I will not say in the official communications of the Government, but in a communication which they will not repudiate—that what France is interested in is not the £6,600,000,000, but the "A" and "B" Bonds. The last portion of that £6,600,000,000, provided they are treated in a certain way by us, they would be prepared to give up, I mean the remaining "C" Bonds, which they do not really take seriously. The parts they are interested in are the "A" and "B" Bonds of £2,500,000,000. That is the figure for all the Allies; that is not the French share. The French share is 52 per cent., or £1,300,000,000, and not £2,500,000,000. Therefore, it comes down to this, that, at the bottom, what the French Government is interested in at the present moment by itself, if it wants reparation at all, is £1,300,000,000, roughly speaking, in pounds sterling; and Germany has offered £1,500,000,000.
I anticipate that ridicule will be poured upon me for speaking in this way. I shall be told, "You are leaving out all the other Allies; you are leaving out Great Britain." Frankly, I am leaving out Great Britain. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] It is a very important point, and I hope to be able to convince the hon. Member. The British claim, as regards by far the greater part, is a claim for pensions and allowances. The agreement made between the Allies, on the one side, and Germany, on the other, 2701 before the Armistice was concluded, was an agreement which excluded that claim. Not only is that my opinion but it is the opinion of lawyers and business men who have written or spoken on the subject. The claim for reparation, according to that agreement, was a claim in which pensions and allowances should not have been included. It was a claim for injury done to civilians. The claim for actual damage constitutes by far the greater part of the French claim, and on these benches we have every sympathy with it, on the ground that it is a claim for the restoration of actual damage. By far the greater part of the British claim is a claim for pensions and allowances, which is a distinct breach of faith on the part of this country—a breach of the agreement on the basis of which the Armistice was concluded.
That is the first reason for advocating, as I do, the renunciation of that British claim. Even if there were not that legal argument, that more than legal argument, that moral argument of good faith, there would still be reason enough to make this renunciation. Britain would gain from the material point of view far more from bringing about a real and final settlement of this question, bringing about peace and the possibility of disarmament, and putting an end to our quarrels with France as well as our quarrels with Germany—Britain would gain far more from doing that than by pressing for this claim, year after year, and perhaps never getting it in the end. I believe that the same is true when we come to the question of inter-Allied debts, and that we should gain more by the renunciation of debts which are in any case problematical. We gain more by the renunciation of debts than by keeping the sore open and by keeping the trouble and disturbance continually going on.
I am not suggesting for a moment that this attitude of renunciation—for it is from a certain point of view renunciation—should be our attitude, without any qualification or condition. This renunciation could be made and ought to be made as part of a general settlement, in which we obtain a quid pro quo, and a thorough and substantial quid pro quo for what we renounce, and that should be the complete withdrawal of all the armies of occupation from the Rhine, the Ruhr and the Saar, and, in addition, a 2702 complete revision on international lines, on European plus American lines, of the whole of the Treaty of Versailles; a revision from top to bottom of those provisions of the Treaty which have brought us into the trouble in which we are at the present time. I am sorry to have detained the Committee so long over this problem, but I feel that we have now, in the situation that exists—and it has been emphasised by this debate—a new opportunity of going one step further in this problem. We have a chance of doing something new. The British Government is going to declare its opinion and to say something new on the subject. We have a chance of bringing to an end the deplorable and dangerous situation which exists, and in bringing it to an end we may possibly bring peace to a distracted Europe.
§ Captain BERKELEY
My hon. Friend who has just spoken will forgive me if I do not follow him further in his very interesting exposition of the reparation problem; a very important problem, and a problem which is germane to much that I wish to say. He has recalled to us, in a very vivid manner, the bitter controversy over the question of the admissibility or non-admissibility of the claim for pensions and other kindred matters. If the Committee will permit me to do so, I am anxious to invite its attention to certain aspects of the earlier part of the Debate on the League of Nations. I have been intimately associated with the work of the League of Nations ever since its inception, and before its inception, and I have seen these difficulties growing up and growing larger, and, I am sorry to say, threatening the peace of Europe as they grew. First, however, may I express my regret that the hon. Member for Thanet (Mr. Harmsworth) has been compelled to leave his place, because whilst he was speaking—I do not wish to say anything in an uncivil sense—I was unable to resist the conclusion that he was not very familiar with the subject which he elected to discuss.
His reference to the submission of the problem of reparations to a body composed of all the members of the League, including Panama, may have struck him as an extremely amusing illustration, but it was not the proposal of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchen, nor was it the 2703 proposal of the right hon. Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher). The proposal was that the Government should call an immediate meeting of the Council of the League to deal with these two great kindred problems, the Saar and the Ruhr, and there was no question of invoking the assistance of Panama or any other members of the League except those on the Council. Nor did I follow him in his interesting remarks upon the question of how far British industry and business have been affected by the French action. As he sees it, apparently, British industry has almost derived profit from the French occupation of the Ruhr. I would ask him if he considers that a state of circumstances which brings about an enormous increase in the price of coal, which the exports of coal from this country to Germany necessitated by the French occupation of the Ruhr has produced, is beneficial to the trade of this country? As an hon. Member on the other side interjected, it involves all the iron and steel trades of the country. Not many days ago we were discussing the building trade in relation to the cost of materials for houses. One of the principal factors in the price of materials is the cost of light castings. Nobody will say that light castings are likely to be reduced in price if the price of coal is stimulated as a consequence of French action in the Ruhr.
That, however, is somewhat by the way. I would like to associate myself warmly with almost all that was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. J. Butler) on the question of the Saar Valley, but he raises a point upon which I think it is only fair to the Council that we should have a little further light, as to the nomination of the French member of the Governing Commission to be Chairman of that body. I happen to recollect the circumstances in which that appointment was made. It was made at the first executive meeting which the Council of the League had. The previous meeting, which took place in Paris, was a purely formal affair, at which criticisms and good wishes were exchanged. The first executive meeting at which any important business was considered was the meeting in St. James's Palace, which took place about 15 days after the League had come into being. At that meeting the French member of the Saar Valley Commission was proposed 2704 as Chairman. That was the time when the Saar Valley Commission was constituted.
While I should be the last to deny that in the event it has proved to be a choice of questionable wisdom, yet it is not quite fair to the Council of the League to condemn it too severely for the first executive action which it was called upon to take. There was a strong reason why the Council should appoint the French member to the Chair. That reason, which was put forward by those who proposed the name of the Frenchman, and which at the time impressed me as being very plausible, was that the Treaty, in so far as it deals with the Saar, lays down that the administration is to be for the purpose of allowing the French to exploit the mines so as to repay themselves for the devastation in the coalfields of Northern France, and that French Customs régime is by the Treaty imposed upon the area. It was argued—I do not say that the argument was sound but it was certainly plausible at the time—that since the President of the Governing Commission is entrusted with executive functions, while the Commission is not sitting, it would be a proper thing that a Frenchman should be appointed to the post, because of the very difficult and complicated questions of French customs and administration of law which would be bound to arise from day to day. The Committee should consider this in arriving at their judgment as to how far the League should be condemned for that initial act.
But when we come down to the events of three weeks ago, when the Council of the League was sitting I find it very hard to accept the defence which the President of the Board of Education put forward for the action of the Council. It seems to me that if the Council of the League is going to acquiesce in that kind of what I may call panicky legislation on the part of its Governing Commission it is high time that the whole queston was reviewed afresh. The defence of the Presdent of the Board of Education is that the Council could not disregard the views of the man on the spot. To a certain extent I suppose that that is so, but as my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University pointed out, why could they not have checked the information, 2705 even if they had not access to all those Foreign Offices to which they have access? Is it beyond the wish of the Council of the League of Nations to devise means of checking information put before it by its administrative Commission on the Saar? That was a defence which should not be allowed to hold water. Suppose that the Chairman of the Governing Commission had proposed in exactly the same decree that the penalty should be penal servitude for life instead of five years, or suppose it to be the death penalty, the decree would not be one whit more ridiculous by the imposition of a penalty of that kind. Surely the Council of the League should not have sat silent and accepted such a decree without further investigation. I very much hope that the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who doubtless will reply at a later stage, will consider whether there is not a valid objection to the attitude taken up by the Council on this matter.
I do not know how far it is in order to refer to the past action of the Council. Certainly I have no wish to criticise unfavourably the proceedings of the Minister, because from all I can ascertain he seems to have carried out his very difficult task in an extremely tactful and statesmanlike way, but I think that it is relevant to point out that there have been previous meetings of the Council at which issues—not this particular issue, but quite as serious—have been raised, and that a strong line by the British representative has had a very great effect in determining the decision to which the Council came. I quite appreciate the fact that as he was acting as President the task of the President of the Board of Education was made very much more difficult. But I would like the Committee to bear in mind that our responsibility on this body is as heavy as, if not heavier than, that of any other State, because the influence—I have seen the Council at work—wielded by the British representative on the Council is very formidable and strong, and rightly so. That brings me to a criticism of the manner in which the Governments which attend the Council of the League are represented upon it. Again I preface what I have to say by dissociating myself altogether from any adverse criticism of the Minister. I would like the Government to consider whether the real intention with regard to the Council of the 2706 League, especially when it is dealing with these important issues, is not that the representative of the Powers concerned should be either the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary. There really is a point of substance in that.
When a Cabinet Minister who is not responsible for the control of our Foreign Affairs and is not the Prime Minister attends as our representative an international conference abroad, particularly an international conference of this kind, he is bound to consider himself to a great extent hampered by the instructions that he has received in advance. I do not gather that in this particular case the instructions to the right hon. Gentleman went very far. We can hardly blame him—I certainly do not blame him—if he found a difficulty in deciding to take a strong line, even an anti-French line, with the European situation and our relations with France in the state in which they are at present. Had it been the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secrtary who attended this conference, that difficulty would have been entirely removed, because the Foreign Secretary is perfectly capable of taking an independent judgment upon a matter of foreign politics, and to justify that judgment afterwards to his colleagues, and, of course, the Prime Minister, as the head of the Government, can take any decision he pleases, subject to the same qualification, that he justifies it afterwards to his colleagues.
Our case is the best case that you can make for the representative of any Power on the Council. But when you take the case of France you find that she is not represented by a Cabinet Minister at all. The representative of the French Republic at the last Council meeting was, for the first two days, a very distinguished diplomat. I think he is a Minister Plenipotentiary. At a later stage his place was taken by a distinguished Academician and historian, M. Hanotaux. Neither of them is a member of the Government. Therefore, if our Minister was restricted, how much more should the French representative be restricted through the instructions which he received? The Belgian representative was a very distinguished statesman who was at one time Foreign 2707 Minister of Belgium, but now no longer holds office. The Italian representative for the great part of the time was an ex-Ambassador. He holds no official position. The representatives of many of the—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that that subject is hardly in order on this Vote. The hon. Member is perfectly in order in suggesting that the Prime Minister or the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs should have gone to Geneva, but he cannot argue that the French Prime Minister ought to have gone.
§ Captain BERKELEY
The representation of other powers on the Council of the League is likely to be very powerfully affected by the status of the British representative, and if our Government would set the example of sending the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister, I believe the example would be quickly followed by other Powers. This particular question of the Saar, if the most serious of the issues raised at the Council, was by no means the only question raised and by no means the only contentious question raised. There was, for instance, the question of entrusting the interests of members of the community of the Saar to the French Government when they are abroad. That is a point subsidiary to the main question, but it is an important point. It is a point which has called for repeated protests from the German Government, and it is a decision as to the legality of which I am by no means satisfied. I have very little doubt that the advisers of the League Council in this case may not have been unconnected with the advisers whom my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) dealt with so severely in connection with the advice they gave about this particular Decree.
The Council adopted a resolution instructing the Secretary-General to communicate to the German Government a copy of a note from the Saar Governing Commission, together with a copy of a Report affecting the treatment abroad of inhabitants of the Saar basin. That is the reply of the Council of the League to a formal diplomatic protest entered by the German Government against the interests of these people being committed to France while abroad. What attitude 2708 did the British Government instruct its representative to take on this particular point? There was another question as to which some kind of protest is called for. When they came to discuss an extension of the service of the gendarmerie, M. Branting, who seems always to be compelled to take the responsibility for ventilating questions affecting the interests of the inhabitants of the Saar, pointed out that, although the garrison had been reduced to about 2,000 men and the black battalion had been removed in consequence of protests, the garrison had recently been increased again to 4,000 men. That was a matter which required investigation, and I was rather surprised to find that apparently no attention was paid to it by our representative.
Another very important question which has been discussed at the Council, and which has been to some extent shelved, but which will recur, and on which the policy of the Government is highly important, is the question of the Hungarian minorities in Rumania. Anyone who studies the agenda of the recent Council meetings and read the minutes will be struck by the manner in which the quarrels of the Balkans are once again beginning to monopolise the attention of Europe. It is a most serious problem. In the case of Rumania and the Magyars, complaints are being made to the League that the Rumanian Government, in defiance of its pledges under the Minority Treaties, is expropriating Magyar proprietors. It is stated that the law of Rumania, the internal law of the country which refers to all Rumanian subjects, renders them liable on certain terms to be expropriated, provided they are compensated. But the plea put forward on behalf of the Magyar minority is that they are being expropriated by the Government and are not receiving any compensation. This question bristles with troubles for the future. That is the kind of high-handed act which may very well result, first in strained relations between Rumania and Hungary, and finally in outbreaks of violence, and I was sorry to see that the question was not grappled with promptly and firmly by the Council at its last meeting, but was deferred to a further meeting.
I have no wish to make any imputation against the French, but it is an unfortunate fact that the attitude adopted by the 2709 Rumanian representative at the Council of the League, received very strong support from the French, and although the Japanese representative endeavoured to bring about some kind of compromise, it ultimately fell through. The matter has been held over to the next agenda, and I hope the Government will be able to give an assurance that at the next ordinary meeting of the Council—I do not suggest they should put it into the extraordinary agenda of a meeting such as we are pressing for to-day—but that at the next meeting of the Council they will see that the case of the Magyars is properly investigated and that justice is done. Whilst discussing the question of minorities, I should like to ask the Under-Secretary a question which bears upon the feasibility of these Minority Treaties, and which will go to show how far they can really protect racial and religious minorities. It is with regard to the status of Jews in Poland. I think it is true to say that before the Minority Treaties were negotiated there had not for years been a Jewish representative in either of the Chambers of the Polish Legislature. Is it correct to say that as a result of the protection extended to these minorities in Poland, and I believe very loyally observed by the Poles, that there are now a number of Jews in both Chambers, exercising legislative functions. [Laughter.]
§ Captain BERKELEY
The question of the status of the Jews in Poland has been a very serious and most thorny problem in the past. The hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. Charles Buxton) who knows far more about the subject than I do, will agree with me it has been a most vexatious problem. If the Minority Treaties have been able, in the case of Poland, to bring about a real measure of protection for these people, I hope the Government will find a way of utilising the same Treaties so as to give real protection to minorities in the Balkans. I am sure if they are applied in the Balkans as they have been applied in other States, the difficulties which exist there will disappear. I feel I have intruded on the 2710 time of the Committee for longer than I intended and I should like to express my thanks for the patient hearing which has been granted me and to conclude by expressing the hope that the Government will find it possible to accept the request put forward by the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) by those on this side of the House, to submit the problems of reparation and of the Saar to an extraordinary meeting of the Council of the League to be summoned immediately.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Morel) expressed the opinion that the view was held by some people in the City of London that Germany was not capable of paying the £1,600,000,000 which she has offered. It is an extraordinary revelation to me that Germany has offered to pay something which she cannot pay. My knowledge of the Germans, and not of the Germans alone but of human nature does not bear out that view. People do not, as a rule, offer to pay more than they can afford. Very often it is the other way about, and they offer to pay less. But it is news to me that a person should come forward and offer to pay more than he has got the means of paying. The late Prime Minister appointed a Financial Committee, consisting of some very eminent members of the financial group in the City of London, to ascertain what, in their opinion, Germany could pay, and those gentlemen said, as nearly as my recollection goes, that Germany could pay £20,000,000,000, which is very different from the £1,600,000,000 they have offered. I have never agreed—not that my opinion is worth much on the subject, nor, indeed, anybody else's opinion—but I have never agreed that Germany could afford to pay such an enormous sum as £20,000,000,000. I was always under the impression, however, that it was quite possible for Germany to pay—with very great inconvenience to herself — a sum which might approximate to something like £8,000,000,000 or £10,000,000,000.
As hon. Members know, the City of London consists of a very large number of people, but, like every other place where people are congregated together, there are differences of opinion, and, therefore, it is absurd to say that the City of London thinks this, or the City of London thinks that. All that you can 2711 say is that the majority of people in that part of the Empire think so and so. As far as I myself have been concerned, I have always spoken for the alliance with France, and I have always said that Germany should be made to pay the utmost she could be made to pay, and up to the present I have never yet had a single letter from any elector in the City of London—I probably shall get one now—commenting upon my action. The hon. Member for Dundee also said that Germany was crushed, and I ventured to say, "Hear, hear!" I do not know that that was a disorderly interruption, but the hon. Member said that my interruption did not add to the clarity of the Debate. I should have said that it rather did, and I cannot help wondering why the hon. Member should object to my approving of his statement that. Germany was crushed.
I do not know whether hon. Members opposite have read the Life of Mr. Page, the American Ambassador here during the War. I have read it. There are two volumes of most interesting reading, and Mr. Page by no means was always in favour of England. To a great extent he was, but by no manner of means always. He sometimes saw defects in which I thought he was mistaken, but Mr. Page was behind the scenes, and he knew what was going on, and he was a man, not only of great ability, but of great courage and great single-mindedness. In this life there is reproduced a letter which was sent to Lord Bryce by an Englishwoman who had married a German officer, and this letter was written, as far as my recollection goes, in October, 1914. Lord Bryce sent this letter to Mr. Page, and the letter said that the writer regretted very much the trend of events, that her house was constantly being occupied by German officers, both naval and military, and that they one and all said that before Christmas 10 German army corps would be in England. And what were they going to do when they got here? [An HON. MEMBER: "What would we do with them?"] We have done very little at present. What were they going to do when they got here? They were going to destroy every single city in this country which had produced munitions. [An HON. MEMBER: "Good for the dynamite trade!"] I do not know whether it 2712 would be good for trade or not, but we are not discussing that. We are discussing the existence of the British Empire, and we are discussing these men who laid down their lives in defence of that Empire, quite regardless of whether they lost, or made, money. Not only were they going to destroy every single city in this country in which—
§ Major PAGET
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Newbold) entitled to whistle in this House?
§ Mr. NEWBOLD
I was not conscious that I was whistling. That is the hon. and gallant Member's imagination after 9 o'clock.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
They were not only going to destroy every city in this country which had made munitions, but they hoped that the men at least would resist, because it would give them an excuse for killing all the able-bodied men in England, and because they thought that would facilitate their intention, which was to make this country a German colony, which would put them on the route to America and enable them eventually to become the masters of the world. Now the same hon. Member for Dundee, who, if my memory serves me right, was a supporter of the enemies of his country in 1914, comes down and talks to me and other Members of this House who have lost their relatives in the War, who did their duty—I am proud of it, that they did their duty. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Newbold), who is laughing, volunteered for the front during the late War.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I wonder the hon. Member is allowed to sit in this House, after he has made that shameful declaration.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Earlier in the evening, I asked the hon. Member for Motherwell not to interrupt, and I must repeat that now.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Member persists in interrupting, I shall have to ask him to leave the House.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not think we need be under any obligations to the Germans, in order to assist them to do again what they did eight years ago. There may come in the question of whether or not we are injuring our trade. I am quite willing to admit that trade is one of the most important matters which any Government have to consider. There are circumstances, however, which overrule that consideration. I remember that, before the War, there were very great complaints made of German goods being dumped upon this country, and I remember that it was said that the result, was that our workmen were thrown out of employment, because the ordinary person in Great Britain preferred to buy for, say, 1s. a German article which could not be produced in this country under, say, 1s. 4d. or 1s. 5d. [Interruption.] I never can understand the mentality of hon. Members opposite. What do they think? They, apparently, are under the impression that if German goods are allowed to come to this country—and we must remember that at the present moment the Germans would be very much advantaged, much more than they were eight or nine years ago, by the low rates of exchange, and that therefore quite irrespective of the fact that German workmen work much harder than our workmen, much longer hours, and for less wages—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—notwithstanding that fact, in addition to that fact, they would be advantaged by the lowness of the exchange. What good is this to anybody in this country, except a wicked capitalist like myself, who does not work or produce anything, who lives in a state of idleness on the labour of the supporters of hon. Members opposite, and who is going to gain by being able to buy German goods at a less cost than the same goods can be produced by English labour in this country? I may be a reactionary Tory.
§ Mr. J. JONES
On a point of Order. Might I be allowed to ask what this has got to do with the subject?
§ Mr. SPENCER
Just a question. I want to make reference to the right hon. Gentleman's statement that the German workers worked longer and harder. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that one hon. Member came back from the Ruhr, and stated that there was no poverty in Germany?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I did not say worked harder. I said longer, but I will say harder. But we are not talking about the Ruhr. We are talking about Germany itself. I am not at all obliged to admit that everything a single hon. Member says who happens to have gone over for a short time to a foreign country is right. I should like to address a few words to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, I understand, is now leading the Government. My quarrel with the Government is that they have not taken proper steps to back up our Allies and France. My belief is that if the Foreign Secretary, when France first went into the Ruhr, had told the Germans that we were going to support France and that, if necessary, we would send our men there, I believe Germany would have given in at once, and we should have had none of this trouble. After all, we are the victors. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question!"] I do not think there is any question at all about it. It may be a question for hon. Members opposite. The question for us is that we ought to have backed up France. We have no sympathy with Germany, who brought us into the most disastrous War that ever occurred—I will not say in the history of the world, but within the last 500 years—a war which they carried out in a disgraceful and most unsportsmanlike manner.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
I do not intend to follow the right hon. Gentleman. I will only concern myself by making an appeal to the Government to take definite steps with regard to the Ruhr. I appeal to the Government to talk in a distinct manner to France, because we have a right to talk to France. When that country was fighting, we fed France with men and food and clothes and guns. [An HON. MEMBER: "And with money."] We stood by the side of France all the way through, and we have a right to ask 2715 France to consider Britain, to consider the British point of view, to consider British interests, and to ask her to treat us as an equal, not as a third-rate Power, and to be consulted on matters connected with the settlement of the peace of Europe. I have personally as much regard for France as any hon. Member or right hon. Member in this House. I love the country, its language and people, but I believe that the French Government policy is fatal to the interests of the people of France, fatal to the interests of peace in Europe, and fatal, in particular, to the interests of the working people of this country. May I call attention to one of the points in the right hon. Gentleman's speech? He said that if Germany began to send goods here, our workers would be out of work. The right hon. Gentleman may remember that we have something like 1,500,000 unemployed in this country, and we could not get very much worse if the trade of Europe were restored. The maddest idea that any politician can hold is the idea that you can dislocate Europe and in some way benefit yourself.
I leave that subject and turn to the question of the present position as it now applies to Germany. The hon. Member for Thanet (Mr. Harmsworth) talks as if Germany knew what she had to pay, and ought to pay. My complaint it that the Government have not devised a policy which tells Germany what she is to pay and when the troops will be withdrawn and on what conditions. At the present time here is a nation of people not knowing what they are expected to pay—the sum has never been fixed—not knowing if the troops will be withdrawn. That is the position of affairs. It is not the position of a brave victor, it is not the position of a generous victor, it is not the position of the ordinary idea of an English victor, that when the enemy is crushed he should be jumped upon. That is not a British principle. It never was and never will be, and the people of this country are revolting against it. [HON. MEMBERS: No!"] During the War it was the proud boast of Members of this House and people outside that our principles were better than German principles, that we were not cruel and degraded. I object, as a Briton, to being made responsible for a policy of oppression and cruelty which in other countries we 2716 condemn. That is the opinion I hold. No hon. Member opposite can quote one statement in which the French have spoken of the total withdrawal of troops from German territory. These are the facts of the case and I hope hon. Members who say "No" will have a chance to prove that I am wrong. I have made some little study of the subject myself and I have not been able to find a definite declaration by a responsible French politician as to the total amount Germany is expected to pay, or as to the conditions on which the troops would be withdrawn.
As regards the Ruhr, frankly, I am pessimistic about the position. It is true that feelings are tremendously excited, and the troops themselves are not out of danger if feelings get the better of those living in the country. It seems to be thought that those miners in the Ruhr are men who are accustomed to military discipline. Will hon. and right hon. Gentlemen believe me when I assure them that even when Prussian militarism was in its heyday it could not keep a garrison in the Ruhr, for the miners would not have it. France and Belgium are trying now to inflict on a population foreign troops that in time of Peace would not bear their own. It is not true to say that the German Government is responsible for the action of the workmen in the Ruhr. The people responsible for the action of the workmen in the Ruhr are the working men themselves, through their organisations, their trade unions, and their political parties. They are the responsible people. Let France deal with the Government of Germany to-morrow if she likes, and the Government of Germany can submit, and the odds are that when the German Government have submitted, those miners who never would bear soldiers in their midst will refuse to work under French bayonets, and I admire them for it!
Let me say a word about the results to France. Everyone wants to see Northern France and Belgium restored, but what is France getting by her policy? What is it bringing to France? What is taking place is this, that France is spending huge sums of money every week, while her furnaces in Lorraine are closing down, and she is going to be forced to tax her people, a thing she has never dared to do—I am speaking of the Government. Then perhaps the French people will take a leaf out of the British 2717 book, and begin to consider whether it is not better to exercise reason than to give play to feelings of vengeance! France cannot pay her debt to us, but she can spend untold millions in the occupation of the Rhineland and the Ruhr. I would not think quite so much about it if these occupations were conducted on reasonable lines. Anyone who knows the circumstances in the Rhineland knows that the demands made on the Germans by the. French forces have been demands that no reasonable man could justify. Can any man reasonably justify taking uncles, aunts, cousins and sisters and planting them on a conquered population? Can any man justify the demand for hundreds of thousands of wine glasses; thousands of ladies' toilet sets; thousands of ladies' night-tables, and those other articles of such intimate personal use that one does not speak of them in public? Can any man reasonably justify demands of that kind made on a conquered population? The facts are obvious. If any hon. or right hon. Gentleman wants the facts they are easy of access. There is no question about the facts. Our own forces in the Rhineland can give the particulars. Those who need can easily get the information that I am now providing for them.
I think we ought to recognise that Germany of the present day is not the Germany of 1914. The Germany of 1914 was a Germany that lived under the jackboot. Anyone who knew the country in those days knew that before 1914 the civilian was the second class and the military the first. Anybody who has seen the cities, as I saw them, may be able to justify what I am going to say, that the officer swaggering along the road was, if I may use a Northern expression, "the cock o' the walk." All that, I venture to suggest, has now gone. These men have been swept away. The Germany of the present day is a Republic, and the majority of its people desire peace, and are willing to make reparation if they get a fair opportunity of doing so. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Well, the information of hon. Members may be better than mine. All I can say is that I have taken considerable pains to get mine. I know something of Germany, as I know something of France. I have travelled both countries from end to end, and know a very large number of people 2718 in them. [An HON. MEMBER: "And speak their languages!"] I suggest to the House again that it is unwise to treat the Germany which is a Republic as one might have treated the Germans who formed the Monarchy. I give my own personal experience for what it may be worth. Two years ago the ordinary German that one met in the train, street, or restaurant took the point of view that Germany had lost and that she had got to pay, but that she ought to have a chance of paying. The ordinary conversation in the streets, tram, and train now is: "Let the French take what they can, and our day will come."
France is pursuing a policy for the moment—and I hope our Government will discuss it with her in the most friendly spirit possible—is following a policy that has already alienated America and is rapidly drifting in the direction of alienation in this country. Seventy millions of people nearly, and continually growing in numbers, with well-organised industries on the one hand! On the other hand a country of much less population, not so well organised, not growing in numbers. Why, the thing is inevitable unless reason displaces force! You cannot held those people down for ever by the sword. It is impossible, and the policy that made France desire revenge against Germany is exactly the policy that the French are pursuing and will make the Germans desire revenge. They are trying to make an Alsace-Lorraine in Germany. A more fatal blunder could not be imagined, for the Saar is as much German as London is Britain, and more so. The Rhineland is as utterly German as any part of the world can be. Would it not be better, instead of getting those countries away or attempting to get them away, that arrangements should be made with a new Republic in Germany to give voluntarily—not by force, but voluntarily—guarantees of demilitarisation through the League of Nations, through America as well, rather than to pursue a policy which inevitably will bring Germany finally on the back of France at a time when the Allies, that France had before, are not there, and which will inevitably mean defeat for the country that we fought with from 1914 to 1918!
It is necessary, I think, above all in this that there should be peace in Europe, and that there should be the resumption of 2719 commercial relationships. As it is in this country we can provide only a small proportion of the food that we consume, and unless our people are skilled artisans and sell their goods abroad, unless trade moves freely then there is distress and misery in this country. Hon. Members who know the county of Lancashire well know the distress and misery we have had there for the last few years. Is it not wise, is it not statesmanlike to ask France to adopt a policy which will bring real peace to the world? Or is it wiser and more statesmanlike to ask that a policy should be pursued that is not succeeding, that is developing feelings of hate in a powerful nation, that is preventing the chance of Europe settling down, that is preventing our trade moving, and the chances of our people getting work?
I make an appeal to the Government to use all their efforts in the most friendly way possible to persuade France to adopt a simple principle, namely, that of stating directly what she wants, and on what terms she is prepared to retire. If those terms are not acceptable to Germany then we should ask France to submit her case to friendly neutrals of the expert type who can adjudicate and give a decision. Otherwise, there is no hope of a solution. By the present policy France is bleeding herself white financially as she bled herself white physically during the War. In the occupied territory the troops are like locusts in the land, and they are costing more than any reparations we are likely to get. The true way to proceed is to give Germany a chance of getting on with her task. If the German people are not placed upon their feet industrially then the French towns and villages will remain unbuilt. If France requires additional security then let us ask Germany to give guarantees to the League of Nations that will give the necessary security to France, and thus remove the fear which exists among the French people that in the end the Germans will attack France again. If this is done then there is a chance that houses will be rebuilt in France. I quite agree that France and Belgium towns and villages ought to be restored, but how can they be restored by a nation when every effort is being made to prevent that nation exporting goods, which 2720 is the only way in which she can assist in the restoration of France.
There are only three ways of proceeding. An hon. Member opposite made a speech two or three months ago in which he pointed out with beautiful simplicity and lucidity the only ways in which a nation could make reparations—in the first place, by the payment of gold, which is quite out of the question in the case of Germany; in the second place, by services, and France refuses those services; and thirdly, it could make reparations in goods. Whether those goods come to the country getting the reparations, or whether they are sold in another country and the proceeds transferred does not matter, but that is the only way of the three which I have mentioned in which Germany could really make any substantial reparation. Hon. Members who give this suggestion a moment's consideration must admit that that simple fact admits of no contradiction.
How can reparations be paid unless Germany is given a chance? I appeal to the Govermnent to do their utmost to get all these outstanding and thorny questions, which are now dividing the French and the German people, submitted to an impartial tribunal. In a trade dispute in this country it is often found that the nearer the sides are getting the more violent becomes the language, and often so violent does the language become that neither side will give in because it wants to save its face. It is just possible that in this case both Germany and France desire to save their faces, and a kindly offer of mediation, a friendly offer of services, a policy distinctly and clearly stated, and an absolutely straightforward declaration that the parties should be treated as equals and not inferiors may do a great deal to bring peace into the world. I urge the Government to use every effort not to adopt a policy of neutrality and do nothing, but to point out to France that her policy does not help her at all, but is simply crippling her, and making her poorer, and her only chance of success is to adopt such a policy as is likely to allow the people of France and Germany to live together in amity and in concord.
§ Colonial Sir CHARLES BURN
I claim to know the German people quite as well as hon. Gentlemen opposite do. I 2721 am aware that the French people have had their country devastated, and bled white, and they firmly believe now that the only way in which they can expect to get anything out of the German nation is by occupying German territory, and they think they can get something back in that way.
§ Sir C. BURN
What I say is that if this country had stood by our Allies when the French occupied the Ruhr, the Germans would have caved in, and would have submitted to whatever terms were imposed upon them. I have no doubt whatever about that. I claim to know the Germans better than the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. I have lived more than he has in that country, and I have had more to do with Germany. The French think that, they can get reparations by occupying the Ruhr, and we have yet to see whether they are right in their surmise or not. I am satisfied myself that if we had been with the French in the Ruhr, we should have got reparations and so would the French. As far as the actual reparations that will be paid by Germany are concerned, that is a problem that nobody can solve, but, knowing the German nation as well as I do and from my own experience, I know perfectly well what the state of this country and the countries of our Allies would have been if Germany had been the victors. I know that in this country we should have been bled white and they would not have treated a defeated enemy with the same good feeling as we have shown. They would have had the jackboot on us, and they would have crushed the blood out of our bodies, and moreover they world have taken all our securities and every valuable we possess in this country, and when they had satisfied themselves that they had got the last penny out of Great Britain they would have remained over here and occupied our country for many years to come at our expense.
Perhaps hon. Members opposite do not know what was the attitude of the Germans 2722 for many years before the War. Perhaps they are not aware that the Germans had prepared plans and schemes for occupying every estate and every big house in this country. They knew perfectly well the places they meant to occupy if they had won the War, as they anticipated they would. I know that statement is true, and I believe every word of it. In these circumstances it is for France and Great Britain to put their heads together, to lay down on an equitable basis what Germany can pay, and when that is decided upon, it is up to us to make Germany pay it. Hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side, who are hand in glove with Germany—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—are always ready to praise any enemies of this country.
§ Sir C. BURN
The hon. Member asked what I was doing over there. I was staying with the Kaiser. I grant that the situation at this moment is a difficult one, but it is not beyond solution. If we and our Allies work together, and put our heads together, then the sum that Germany is able to pay will be ascertained by expert opinion, and there will be a chance of this country getting some of the reparations that are due to us for all that we have gone through and lost through this war brought on by the Germans.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I congratulate the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Sir C. Burn) for being outspoken in his criticisms of this Government. I agree with him that their policy has been neither one thing nor the other. If they were not going to make a protest against what we on this side think is the illegal action of France against the Peace Treaty, they ought to have done the other thing, as the hon. and gallant Member suggests, and have gone the whole hog with France. This policy of neither one thing or another whether applied to Germany, Russia, or any of the other countries, will be our undoing, and I quite agree, to that extent, with the hon. and gallant Member. Otherwise, I am absolutely opposed to his point of view. I am only going to speak on this subject in a moment, and I do not wish to be misunderstood as being not in agreement with the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. 2723 T. Shaw). I agree with every word he said, and because I am only going to spend a sentence on that speech, he must not misunderstand me. We have a special responsibility at this moment to see that Germany is properly treated, because we have disarmed her in war. It is looked upon as the most cowardly thing of all to kill an unarmed prisoner. Germany is exactly in that position with regard to us now. We have beaten her, and insisted upon her disarmament, and now we are specially responsible to see that she gets justice, whatever our feelings towards her for the events of the last few years.
I wish to exercise myself in attempting to turn a searchlight on certain dark places. I want to seek information from the hon. Gentleman who represents the Foreign Office—always an exhilarating exercise on our part in the way of getting information, sometimes successful and sometimes unsuccessful—as to a curious body, which we hear about occasionally, and which seems to work principally in the dark, usually very unsuccessfully, which is known as the Council of Ambassadors. I wish to ask what this Council is; of whom it consists; where it meets; to whom it is responsible; and from whom it gets its directions—I mean, as regards our representative? If he is always our Ambassador in Paris, then that is a very dangerous thing, because, after all, he depends for his success on being persona gratia with the French Government. If that be the case, it would account for the continued success of the French on the Council of Ambassadors, and our almost invariable failure. I wish that the Union of Democratic Control in this country were not quite so pacifist, because I believe they would get a tremendous amount of support. I think their demand for better Parliamentary control over foreign affairs is a very sound one. I support them all the way in that subject, and this example of the Council of Ambassadors is a very striking one. I wish to refer to one or two of its recent activities or, what is still worse, its in-activities. The Council is not set up under the Peace Treaty, and I think it is really no exaggeration when I call it an illegal body. At any rate, we have no control over it in this House. Yet it makes decisions which will affect the future of Europe, and therefore our trade and 2724 security in a very vital way. Take its recent judgment on Eastern Galicia. Eastern Galicia is one more Alsace-Lorraine in Europe, and it is the most probable cause of another great armed conflict in the world.
This question is a very striking one. You have here a country which has been handed over to Poland, lock, stock and barrel. In it, the Poles, are in a distinct minority Even the figures of the Foreign Office Consuls show that the non-Poles are 63 per cent. of the population. The Austrian figures show that the population is 74.4 per cent. Ukranian, 12.3 per cent. Jewish, and 12.7 Polish and the Jews are anti-Polish. Those figures may be exaggerated, but it is a fact that there is a large majority of anti-Poles in that country. One of the causes of the last war was the Pan-Slav movement in Russia, which aimed at incorporating Eastern Galicia in the Ukraine. As long as Russia is Russia, there will be ferment in unredeemed Galicia, which will always be a cause of trouble. We ought to have given the temporary mandate for Eastern Galicia to Austria. No one would have objected, except Poland. The Austrians have always managed to rule, with a fair amount of success; at least, with as much success as alien peoples are usually ruled with. Incidentally, it would have helped Austria. She would have had a market, and it, would have prevented her from falling into the sorry financial state in which she is to-day.
The Eastern Galicians, after the Austrian revolution, formed an army against the Poles, and defeated them. We imposed an Armistice on the Eastern Galicians, on certain well-defined terms. We promised them justice and that the Poles would not be allowed to attack them with their reinforcements, and particularly with Haller's army, which was raised at that time. Haller's army was sent on the distinct understanding it would not be used against the Galicians. The French sent out artillery, and got the Poles to send Haller's army against the Galicians after the Armistice, which was treacherously broken, and they were attacked by the Poles and overrun. Under the Peace Treaty it was arranged that the frontiers of Galicia should be determined, and the so-called Curzon line 2725 was put forward, defining the frontier between Eastern Galician and Poland. After an interminable delay, the matter being in the hands of this Council of Ambassadors all these years, in March this extraordinary decision was come to, by which the Galicians were handed over to the Poles, with only the Polish undertaking that they should be given autonomy, and with no safeguard for the population.
Now there may be in the next few months a movement by Russia against Poland, and whereas, in the past, if we had given Eastern Galicia justice, the Eastern Galicians would have fought to the bitter end against an invasion by the Red Armies, now, I fear, the majority of the Eastern Galicians will welcome the Red Army, and it will be a case of the Polish armies being badly outflanked in Eastern Galicia. I just draw attention to this case, which I think is ridiculously flagrant, and I only wish to add this. There are only, it is true, 5,000,000 Galicians, but we tried to govern Ireland in a similar way in recent years and we failed utterly, and I am sure that where we failed in Ireland the Poles will fail in Eastern Galicia. But there is in Canada a loyal population drawn from this part of the world. There are half a million of persons of Galician descent in Canada. [HON MEMBERS: "No, no!"] Well, the Canadian Government has protested against any unjust treatment of the Eastern Galicians. They have been powerful enough to impress their case on the Canadian Government against the Polish Government. There are 35,000,000 people of the Ukranian race outside Galicia, and as long as their brothers are under Polish rule we need not look for peace in Eastern Europe. That is one result of the malevolent activities, when they are active, of the Council of Ambassadors. The Foreign Office excuses this action by saying that it is the best thing to do in he case.
Memel, under the Council of Ambassadors, was a case of years and years of delay until action was taken by the Lithuanians and the Council of Ambassadors was stirred at last to activity. In Vilna the Ambassadors' Council failed to do anything until the town was sered by a Polish Army under Zilagowski. The case of Upper Silesia is another case of delay 2726 and then violence, and then the matter had to be handed over to the League of Nations. I would very much like to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs where we come in in this Parliament? What control have we over this extraordinary body? Where do the expenses of the Council of Ambassadors come from? I think this is a case where Parliament should assert itself. This Council of Ambassadors is an off-shoot from the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council made a fairly complete hash of Europe, and the Council of Ambassadors has done its best to complete that work. This system of diplomatic settlement has been a failure, and as soon as it is abolished and a better system found of settling up post-war Europe the better for everyone concerned.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
To-night's Debate has impressed me as being one that is very ominous for the Government. It is curious how history repeats itself in politics, for to-night every speech delivered on the back benches from the Conservative side of the House has been an attack upon the policy of the Government. When I find the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) and the "Morning Post" and all that familiar circle speaking once again in unison and attacking the policy of the Government of the day, one is really led to expect some exciting developments in the very near future such as we witnessed in December last. I fear that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister is in some danger of following in the footsteps of those many Conservative Leaders who have tried to do something sensible and have been repudiated by their party. On that sad occasion he may derive some consolation from the fact that he will be in good company. His spirit will march into the Elysian fields between the spirits of Canning and Sir Robert Peel, while the rear of that imposing procession will be brought up by the shade of the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. A. Chamberlain). He may even find somewhere in the background of that galaxy of Conservative shades the pale ghost of the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), still doubtless sword in hand now, also a nebulous wraith-like sword robbed of its terrestial state. It would be sad if the advocates of peace in Europe had to follow in the same sad path as the 2727 advocates of peace in Ireland. It is an extraordinary phenomenon to follow in this matter the arguments advanced by the right hon. Member for the City of London. We have all been brought up on the tradition that the right hon. Gentleman is the last of the real individualists left in this House. Yet we find him this evening and always consistently supporting the policy of France. What is the policy of France? The policy of France is the making of money by the imposition of Socialism on another country. The right hon. Gentleman's whole thesis in his political life has been that the adoption of Socialism, the bureaucratic control of industry by the State for its own purposes means ruin for industry and ruin to the State, and yet he says that France, an alien Power, may march into Germany, bureaucratise and control her industries, and impose Socialism from without against the will of her population, and that that is the only way to get money out of Germany and to reap indemnities. How sad it is to observe the descent of the last of the individualists! Has there ever been so great a fall from greatness as that of the right hon. Gentleman, or so great a departure from steadfastness or principles as we have heard this evening?
If I might now refer directly to the subject under discussion—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]—which, so far, has been but slightly debated from the benches opposite — I have followed the worthy precedent set by the right hon. Gentleman, and in striving to be courteous in following strictly the arguments of my opponents, I was led a little from the point under discussion—our object this evening, as it seems to me, should be to elicit, if possible, from the Government what their foreign policy is. The object in moving this reduction, apart from its condemnation of their attitude upon the question of the Saar Valley, is, as I understand it, to elicit a declaration of policy. It is very difficult to attack the policy of the Government. It is as difficult as attacking some nonexistent phantom, because we really do not know quite what it is. On the Ruhr question, in particular, it has been described by a variety of right hon. Gentlemen and Noble Lords in very ambiguous language. To begin with, the Prime Minister described it as an attitude of 2728 benevolent neutrality. Many weeks, even months, elapsed, and the Foreign Secretary described it as a policy of positive neutrality. Of course, that denoted a marked advance, a perceptible stiffening of the attitude of the Government. A movement from benevolence to positiveness was a great advance, but still the position has not been entirely clarified.
What are the facts of the situation as we observe them to-day? The Government for a very long time said that the psychological moment for action in this question had not arrived, and they attacked and derided every suggestion put forward from this side of the House for a positive and active policy in relation to the question of the Ruhr. Then, at last, they decided that the moment for some action had arrived. After weeks and months of waiting, it was determined that the psychological moment was at length upon us, and the Foreign Secretary of this country saw fit to address to the German Government an invitation to make an offer to France. That offer was made, and that offer was abruptly turned down. Surely, the Government, in assuming responsibility for making that invitation to Germany, had in their minds the possibility of that offer being turned down exactly as it was turned down by France. Surely, we are entitled to ask the Government to state the facts. What is the next move? What do they intend to do? What is their policy? Having assumed upon their shoulders the responsibility for inducing Germany to make an offer to France, which, in the circumstances of the case, as I submit, was bound to be turned down as was almost any offer the Germans might reasonably make—what is their plan? What is their policy, thought out and conceived in advance, as all policies should be? Surely, it is inevitable that any offer made by Germany to France is bound to be rejected, unless extraneous circumstances intervene to effect a settlement.
The facts are so obvious. In January last, it was estimated by the experts of this country that the maximum capacity of Germany to pay was £2,500,000,000. That conception was turned down with derision by the French Government; they would not accept it. It was said that no French Government could accept it and not fall the next day. Since that estimate was made, the French have, in the words of the English Prime Minister, cut 2729 the jugular vein of Germany's industry. People like the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London may think that that is a good way to persuade Germany to pay. It may create a greater willingness to pay, but no one, and certainly not the Government, will argue that it will increase her capacity to pay. It stands to reason, therefore, that, if our estimate in January last of Germany's total capacity was £2,500,000,000, the subsequent proceedings on the part of France must not have increased, but rather decreased, that capacity, and, therefore, France to-day must be faced with the inevitable result of her action in the shape of getting not more, but rather less, than she actually refused to accept in January last. That is a situation, as I see it, which no French Government is likely to accept, and it is useless for the Government of this country and for the right hon. Gentleman to invite Germany to advance offers in the hope that France will accept them, unless they have some policy, by concerted international action, to induce France to take a more reansonable view of the situation. What then is to be the policy of the Government. For the moment you find a complete deadlock in Europe, France unable to yield without loss of prestige, and Germany unable to yield without the loss of her economic existence. If Germany surrenders unconditionally to impossible demands it means her ruin, and Germany says, "If we are to die in any case, we will die fighting." All brave men, if they have to die, prefer to die fighting, and that is a very reasonable and natural attitude for any country to adopt. So you have an absolute deadlock which must somehow be resolved by firm intervention from extraneous sources. What is the plan of the Government? Having taken upon their shoulders the responsibility for this new movement in the great deadlock, surely we should be entitled to hear what that policy is to-night. They have gone so far as to remonstrate with France for her separate action. We have made a gesture, which some may think dignified, but a gesture is not a policy. We must have something more than that if the matter is to be solved. It is no use saying to France, "We are very offended and pained because you have taken separate action." 2730 That is not going to solve the affair of the Ruhr. Some further policy is needed.
It is really after all not so great a catastrophe that England has not been involved in another joint reply with France, based inevitably on an unsatisfactory compromise which does not really express our genuine views. Surely, too, often we purchased allied unity at too great a price. We have seen England dragged helpless, ineffective and reluctant at the wheels of France's chariot. That is not the position for this country to occupy. I am glad in a way that France, by her precipitate action, has avoided putting us once again in the position of being a participant in the dispute. I would rather that we became, not a participant, but an arbitrator in the dispute. I would therefore suggest to the Government that they turn for a joint reply, not to France, but to America. This Note has been addressed to America. It imposes upon America almost as great a moral obligation as upon this country, because it follows in its broad details precisely the lines of the Hughes proposal. The one hopeful fact in this note of Germany is that it definitely accepts the principle of reference of the whole of the great question of reparations to an international and impartial tribunal. That is precisely Hughes proposal, and surely it is open to this country to turn to America and say, "Will you join with us in this attempt to salve from the wreck some of those ideals for which you, as well as we, fought in the War, and also to preserve your European market from final destruction." I think that would be more fruitful than even any immediate invitation such as that issued to America by the noble Lord, immediately to join the League of Nations, for the Americans one sees in this country—I see many, because I am connected with an organisation for that purpose—are unanimous in the opinion that it would be far easier to get America to interpose in the Ruhr dispute than immediately to participate in the League of Nations. As she has assumed some moral responsibility, why cannot England take the responsibility of appealing to her to take joint action with us? If we fail, no harm is done, but if we succeed, immeasurable benefit may be derived. Why should not that attempt be made? The right hon. Gentleman may reply: "America and England and everyone 2731 else may expostulate, but France will take no notice. She does not care. She will proceed with her policy." Then we have other weapons, economic weapons. Why should we not at once use those great economic weapons? Why should not America and England say jointly to France, "We are not going any longer to pay for the wreckage of our foreign markets." Large sums of money are owing by France to this country and America. Why should we continue to release her from those burdens in order that she may pursue objects which are wholly alien to ourselves and America?
Wielding such great economic powers, these two countries, acting in unison, could impose conditions if they thought fit to do it. How could France or any other country in Europe face the united economic hostility of the two great countries of England and America? There are powers within our grasp which might work enormous benefit in the present distressed condition of Europe and the world.
It may well be said that such a policy would not be successful. It must be borne in mind that our policy must have the definite limits of economic sanction: that never again can we contemplate the intervention of force or the adoption of military measures in the internal affairs of Europe. The follies of Europe have been cleansed sufficiently in the blood of our people, and never again will they contemplate or will they tolerate military intervention from this country in the internal affairs of the Continent. When we seriously weigh the economic weapons which are in our hands, who can doubt that they will be sufficient for the purpose? If they fail, it may well be that we shall have to withdraw again into the terrible condition of isolation, bereft of our great foreign markets. We shall not be so rich, but we shall be preserved from any responsibility for the further sabotage of Europe and from entanglements in a future war. It is better to be in isolation than in sheer desolation. If the worst comes to the worst, this country may once again have to turn away from Europe towards the new world, and ultimately call in the new world to redress the balance of the old.
I beg of the Government to develop a definite policy, to create a concrete 2732 conception of what they mean to do, to formulate a plan in advance and pursue it. What is their policy? I heard the Minister of Education blamed this afternoon—although he was not personally attacked—for not taking a more vigorous stand at Geneva. He had an impossible task. He was not expressing his own opinions. He was there to express the views and policy of the English Government, and we ask him to take a firm stand. How can you express a perpetual wobble in firm language? What is the task imposed upon the right hon. Gentleman? We say to him: "Why did not you go to Geneva and there erect a more stable and stately edifice of English policy"? What was his foundation for that edifice? His foundation was the English Cabinet and their policy. You might as well ask him to build a pyramid upon a jelly fish. You want something more solid than this upon which to build the foundations of the new world. You want a policy, a conception, a plan, vigorously thought out and vigorously executed. [Interruption.] I hear some familiar voices. Indeed we have all that great eminent band of gentlemen who perform the original function, in this House, not of meeting argument by argument, but a simpler and more fruitful duty than that, the duty of cheering their leaders whenever they speak, and interrupting their opponents whenever they speak. Those are distinguished services which, I have no doubt, will one day meet with an adequate reward, not here below. Those are services which could not adequately be recognised on this terrestrial plane. Hon. Gentlemen must look for their reward to those celestial spheres where no doubt they will be recognised.
§ Mr. W. GREENWOOD
On a point of Order. May I ask if it is possible for the hon. Member to talk about the subject which is in debate?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
I was meditating rising, to ask the hon. Member to turn to the subject under discussion.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I was led away by the sentiment of hon. Gentlemen opposite which they could not repress, so ardently were they animated by profoundly disinterested motives. But, if I may refer 2733 to the subject to which I have devoted the whole of my remarks prior to the interruptions, I would ask the Government to state, if they can, what is the policy of the English Government. Having advanced an invitation to Germany, having elicited a response, having assumed responsibility for a new move in the international situation, what is the plan of the English Government? [HON. MEMBERS "British" and "No."] We have seen and suffered too long from the jeers and derision of people whose laughter plays the tune by which Europe marches to its destruction. A policy is often put forward from these benches which is received with jeers, laughs and boos from those benches. In a few weeks later there is acquiescence in precisely the same policy. On this occasion I ask the right hon. Gentleman to turn, if he can, to the traditions more worthy of this country and recover, if he can, in the councils of the nations some of those mighty ascents of English statesmanship which in the past thrilled the moral conscience of the world. [Interruption.] Despite the laughter of hon. Gentlemen opposite, I venture to refer to some of the great traditions of this country—traditions which have passed from the benches opposite and are now in the custody of hon. Members around me. I beg hon. Gentlemen opposite, before it is too late, to recapture some of the traditions of the nation, and to recognise that salvation will not be found in a policy of supine lethargy of dreary drift and despair. If they will do so, this country may once again save herself and save Europe by the greatness of her exertions.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
The hon. Gentleman, who has just sat down, evidently made some excellent jests, which would, no doubt, have pleased us on this side as much as they pleased himself, had he only had the consideration for us to have made them audible.
§ Mr. McNEILL
During the 6½ hours of Debate a great number of topics has, very naturally, been touched upon by a large number of right hon. and hon. Members. There has been one feature, which rather struck me as characteristic of the Debate. 2734 There has been a great amount of criticism, some of it mild, some of it severe, coming from all sorts of angles. But the criticism has not, except indirectly, been criticism of His Majesty's Government. There have been ricochets which, no doubt, have hit us. The criticism began by attacking a body charged with the Government of the Saar Valley. Then there has been a good deal of criticism of the Council of the League of Nations, and there has been criticism of French policy and of the French Government. We came in only at second or third hand. For example, there was the attack upon the Governing Commission of the Saar Valley, which was the opening of the Debate by my right hon. and learned Friend opposite (Sir J. Simon). We have no representative upon that body; we are responsible only at second or third hand, through the Council of the League of Nations, upon which we have a representative. When I was listening to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who opened the Debate, I kept wondering when he was going to show our responsibility, and where it led. Even to this moment, after listening to all that has been said, both by the right hon. and learned Gentleman and by the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) and others, and remembering that the right hon. and learned Gentleman began by moving a reduction of the Vote put from the Chair, I am wondering what is the precise issue upon which we are to have a Division in a few minutes, and what will be the exact line of division which will send some of us into the one Lobby and some into the other.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley more nearly than any other hon. Member struck a clear line of division, because, if I recollect aright, he said that this Government was culpable for this reason: that having had information of the character of the decree which has been so much criticised and which was passed by the Saar Valley Commission, we should have at once instructed our representative on the Council of the League of Nations, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, to go to the meeting of the Council and immediately, in the most vehement or at any rate in the most uncompromising manner, denounce that decree and demand its withdrawal. Therefore that is really our fault and that is what we are attacked 2735 for—because we did not denounce that decree as uncompromisingly as the right hon. Gentleman did in the Committee and demand its withdrawal immediately. As regards the decree, I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that, in itself, the decree has no defender here and I am quite certain there is no one on this side any more than on the other, who would say that the decree on its merits was one which they would have any desire or capacity to defend in any connection whatever. But it does not quite follow from that that it would have been a wise thing, from any point of view, immediately to take the action which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley thinks we should have taken. The right hon. Gentleman said in the course of his speech that he regarded what has happened as a great blow to the prestige of the League of Nations and I think that view was rather accepted by the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) whom I welcome back to the House. I am inclined to agree that the whole of what has happened and certainly the Debate which has taken place to-day will not add to the prestige of the League of Nations.
One thing which I would ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to consider seriously is whether, on the particular merits of this decree—a temporary decree, a decree for meeting a special set of circumstances in that area—our objections to that decree are necessarily so overwhelming that in order to express the feelings which this Government and this country must naturally feel about it and which we should express without hesitation if we were dealing with merely domestic affairs, it would have been worth while doing so at the price of levelling a blow which would be a most damaging blow, as the right hon. Gentleman said, to the prestige of the League of Nations. When we are talking about this decree surely we must examine, not merely the theory or the actual terms of that provision, but must also ask ourselves how it works. After all, that is the real point.
You may have a, decree which has in itself all the objectionable, indefensible, tyrannous provisions of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman made so much, the House will remember— 2736 describing the penalties which would be upon himself or any other critic of the Treaty of Versailles if he were to go, while this was in force, into the land where it has jurisdiction—but the practical question is, How has it worked? I was very much interested to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher), who speaks with much bigger knowledge upon this matter than most Members of the House, having been himself the British representative on the League of Nations, when he pointed out that, in point of actual practice, there has been a great deal of German propaganda in the Saar Valley—propaganda which it is quite intelligible should take place—that is very easy to understand—but still, which, in point of fact, must be an extremely difficult and even dangerous matter for the Governing Power, which is, after all, whether we like it or not, the Governing Power set up by the Treaty, and is bound to carry on under the conditions with which it has been charged. The right hon. Gentleman said there is much propaganda there, and he also said that there has been an immense amount of exaggeration with regard to the actual procedure of the French Administration in that province, and I think it is well that we should bear those facts in mind when we are discussing how far it would have been wise for us, under the circumstances, to have taken more vehement action than we did.
Of course, a discussion like this really raises a very large question as to what, and how, the League of Nations itself ought to work. The League of Nations has a Council, as we all know, on which the various Powers are represented, and one hon. Member—I think it was the hon. and gallant Member for Central Nottingham (Captain Berkeley)—suggested that we ought to have selected instead of an occasional Minister like the late Minister of Education and the present Minister of Education, the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary to go as the representative of this country on the Council of the League of Nations. I have heard suggestions made, for which I think there is quite as much to be said, that our representative on the Council should not be a statesman or a politician at all, or at all events that he should be some distinguished citizen, someone, perhaps—although he is a statesman as well—like the right hon. Gentleman the late Education 2737 Minister, who has great distinction apart altogether from politics, some person of that sort, who would be a permanent representative. I am not saying that that is my view; I am only saying that that is a view—
§ Mr. McNEILL
A Debate of this sort raises all those sort of questions, and reminds us how very little has been decided in difficult matters like this. They are very grave questions, which will be discussed, no doubt, as time goes on. The right hon. Member for Paisley made two definite suggestions, and I think the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin agreed with him in saying that a special meeting of the Council ought now to be summoned in order to denounce the Decree. That is a very intelligible proposition, and a very definite one, but what possible confidence would this House have that, if the Council were called together to-morrow, it would denounce that Decree? The Council consists of England, France, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Uruguay, China, Spain, Sweden, and Belgium. If you were to call a meeting for the special ad hoc purpose which is suggested, it would surely be essential, to begin with, that you should have what we in this House call lobbying going on beforehand, you would have to find out how these votes were going to be given, unless you liked to take the chance, which would be certainly not a good chance, from the point of view of the right hon. Gentleman, of—
§ Lord R. CECIL
I did not suggest that there should be a special meeting for that purpose. What I suggested was that a meeting should be called for another purpose, which, I said, might also consider the Saar question.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I think that what. I am going to say will apply equally to that. What I am afraid of is this: You are bound to form those into groups, or, on the other hand, you might possibly get a majority of States who would take your view. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are never tired of talking of the time when everything will be done by international agreement, when all difficulties are to be solved by international conferences; but the moment you get into a conference, even so small as the Council of the League of 2738 Nations, this House and many Members of it are never content with that conference unless we get our own way. I believe that in this Council of the League of Nations and other international conferences we shall have to reconcile ourselves with the position of finding ourselves very often in the minority. When we get into these Conferences we may meet people who do not share our views. It is an unfortunate thing, perhaps, for us that we have to reconcile ourselves to seeing a great deal done against which we would make futile resistance. If the League of Nations is not to be wrecked, I say the less we talk in our Parliament, and to our representatives there, the better. If we are always insisting upon having our own way and denouncing everything done with which we do not agree, we shall very soon wreck the League of Nations.
Let me just repeat in the few moments left to me the actual proposals that the Government have made under the circumstances. It does not seem a very drastic procedure. I do not know enough to venture upon any optimistic forecast as to what it may bring; at all events, it does seem to me to be under the circumstances all that we can expect to do. We want to get the League of Nations to send representatives—not those whom we send to sit on the Council—but other representatives who shall go into the Saar and hold an independent inquiry into the actual conditions there in regard to Administration, and to report to the League of Nations. The reason for that is, as several hon. Members have said, that the Council of the League of Nations itself does not get—is not able to get—full, proper, and impartial information as to what is going on If we get an inquiry of that sort I do believe we should, at all events feel in a very much better position than to-day to criticise the Council of the League, and possibly give some further instructions to our representatives.
In this Debate this matter of the Saar has been very much mixed up with the larger question of the Ruhr. Even if I had time—which I have not—all I should have said to-night is—as hon. Members know—that at the present moment we are preparing to send our reply to the German Note. Therefore, it would not have been right to say anything on the subject of the Ruhr and Reparations. All 2739 I can say is that I believe that when the reply we send to Germany is made public, a great many of those who have to-night criticised the Government by anticipation, will find that they are really not so dissatisfied as they might have thought. But I may say that the bedrock of our policy—and I say this for the satisfaction of some who have spoken from both sides of the House—the bedrock of our policy was described only a week ago in the House of Lords by Lord Curzon. He said that the bedrock of our policy remained the maintenance of
§ our alliance with France; apart from that he could see no prospect of peace in Europe; that the Entente was the one stable structure in the world of flux. I hope that whatever comes we shall maintain that alliance, even though from time to time we may have causes for dissatisfaction and disagreement such as have recently occurred.
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceding £113,607, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 143; Noes, 238.2741
|Division No. 145.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adams, D.||Grigg, Sir Edward||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Groves, T.||Newbold, J. T. W.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.)||O'Grady, Captain James|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield. Hillsbro')||Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Oliver, George Harold|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Attlee, C. R.||Harbord, Arthur||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hardie, George D.||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)|
|Barnes, A.||Harris, Percy A.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||[...]rtshorn, Vernon||Price, E. G.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hayday, Arthur||Richards, R.|
|Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hemmerde, E. G.||Ritson, J.|
|Bonwick, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Herriotts, J.||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Briant, Frank||Hill, A.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Brotherton, J.||Hinds, John||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Buckie, J.||Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Burgess, S.||Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Cairns, John||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Snell, Harry|
|Chapple, W. A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Spoor, B. G.|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, D.||Trevelyan, C. P.|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lansbury, George||Warne, G. H.|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Lawson, John James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dunnico, H.||Leach, W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lee, F.||Webb, Sidney|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Lees-Smith, K. B. (Keighley)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Edmonds, G.||Linfield, F. C.||Weir, L. M.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lowth, T.||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||M'Entee, V. L.||Whiteley, W.|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Fairbairn, R. R.||Maxton, James||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Falconer, J.||Middleton, G.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Millar, J. D.||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Foot, Isaac||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Gosling, Harry||Morel, E. D.||Wright, W.|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Greenall, T.||Mosley, Oswald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Muir, John W.||Mr. Phillips and Sir A. Marshall.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Murnin, H.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Becker, Harry|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Banks, Mitchell||Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Betterton, Henry B.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Barnett, Major Richard W.||Birchall, Major J. Dearman|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Barnston, Major Harry||Blundell, F. N.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Paget, T. G.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Halstead, Major D.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Hamilton, Sir George C. (Aitrincham)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Perring, William George|
|Bruford, R.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Peto, Basil E.|
|Bruton, Sir James||Harrison, F. C.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hawke, John Anthony||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hewett, Sir J. P.||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Isl'gt'n W.)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Hood, Sir Joseph||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hopkins, John W. W.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Houfton, John Plowright||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hudson, Capt. A.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hughes, Collingwood||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hume, G. H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Cope, Major William||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Jephcott, A. R.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Simpson-Hinchliffe, W. A.|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Singleton, J. E.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Skelton, A. N.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Lamb, J. Q.||Sparkes, H. W.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lorden, John William||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Lort-Williams, J.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Lougher, L.||Sugden, Sir Wilfred H.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Lumley, L. R.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.)||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon George Clement|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Manville, Edward||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Fawkes, Major F. H.||Margesson, H. D. R.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Mercer, Colonel H.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Foreman, Sir Henry||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Wells, S. R.|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Molloy, Major L. G. S.||Whitla, Sir William|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Winterton, Earl|
|Furness, G. J.||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wise, Frederick|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Murchison, C. K.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Gates, Percy||Nall, Major Joseph||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Greaves-Lord, Walter||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Gibbs.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Nield, Sir Herbert|
Resolution agreed to.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, and objection being taken to further Proceeding, the CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.