HC Deb 23 June 1924 vol 175 cc28-30

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the circumstances leading up to the acceptance by the Iraq Assembly of the Anglo-Iraq Treaty; and, in particular, if he will say whether any pressure was put upon the constituent Assembly of Iraq by the British High Commissioner, on the instructions of His Majesty's Government, before they agreed to ratify the Treaty?


The House is aware of the position in regard to the Iraq Treaty. Under Article 18 of the Treaty, acceptance by the Iraq Constituent Assembly was made a condition precedent to ratification. No pressure was brought to bear on the Assembly by the High Commissioner or by His Majesty's Government. It was made clear to them from the first that the Treaty and accompanying documents, as signed by the British and Iraq Governments, must be accepted or rejected as a whole. They were left entirely free to determine thir own action. I am aware that the letter addressed by His Majesty's Government to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, a full summary of which was given to the House by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on the 2nd June, has been represented in some quarters as a form of pressure upon the Assembly. It was nothing of the kind, as hon. Members will see if they will refer to my right hon. Friend's statement. The object of the letter was merely to put clearly before the League, as we were bound to do, the position as it then stood, and the alternative contingencies that might arise.


Are we to understand from that statement that there is no truth in the statement, which appeared alone in the "Daily Herald," that the right hon. Gentleman and His Majesty's Government put unfair pressure upon the Constituent Assembly?


There is no truth whatever, and it is fair to say that, although the suggestion was made that the late Government were responsible, the Prime Minister and myself accept full responsibility.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the treaty signed on 10th October, 1922, with the Government of Iraq will be submitted to Parliament before ratification; and, if so, when?


I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Kennington (Lieut.-Colonel T. Williams) on the 2nd June.


Is the treaty not going to be laid forthwith?


I said it is going to be laid.