HC Deb 31 July 1924 vol 176 cc2232-3

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that the problem of the reduction of armaments has been specifically remitted to the League of Nations by Article 8 of the Covenant, he can state on what grounds he is departing from the practice of former Governments to leave such questions in the hands of the League; and what action he proposes to take in the matter at Geneva?


The hon. and learned Member is wrong in thinking that His Majesty's Government have any idea of taking the matter out of the hands of the League. As regards the last part of the question, my right hon. Friend has already stated that he is not at present in a position to add anything to what has been said and published on behalf of His Majesty's Government.


Is it not a fact that, in the communication which the Prime Minister sent to the Secretary of the League of Nations, he holds forth a prospect that at some future period, called, I think, "a favourable opportunity," a conference will be convened of the other countries of the world, independently of the League of Nations, to formulate some scheme of disarmament?


As is indicated in my answer, it is in respect of that communication that I think the hon. and learned Member has reached a wrong conclusion.


Will the Prime Minister give the House any indication as to the line of policy which he intends to propose at Geneva?


I could not at the moment definitely say, but probably my right hon. Friend will speak on this subject next week.

Major-General SEELY

Can the Deputy-Leader of the House give us an undertaking that he will do so, in view of the fact that, in spite of what he has said, it does appear to be a reversal of policy, and the House is entitled to know what action is going to be taken at Geneva?


I am sure the Prime Minister would not next week withhold any information on the subject that the House may desire to have.