HC Deb 02 March 1925 vol 181 cc12-3

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, at the council meeting of the League of Nations beginning on 9th March, he will press for the appointment of a neutral president of the Saar Commission in place of M. Rault?

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Austen Chamberlain)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by me to the hon. and gallant Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) on the 18th February.


Are there no members already sitting on the Commission who have the necessary qualifications, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred in his previous answer, other than a Frenchman or a Belgian?


I think it is obviously undesirable that I should discuss in this House the individual qualifications of gentlemen sitting on a Commission of this character and drawn from several different countries, but I have arrived at the conclusion that, in the interest of all the parties concerned, the most suitable candidate for the chairmanship at the present moment is the present chairman. I make that statement in order to be quite frank with the House, but I would beg hon. Members, and the House at large, not to tie the British delegate to these international conferences too tightly by pledges or public statements beforehand. The whole object of these conferences is that we should come with open minds and put what we have to contribute into the common stock out of which a common agreement may arise, and if each of us in our own Parliament is to be pledged in advance to a particular course of action, T think the whole object of the League meetings will be destroyed.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that for five years now there has been a French President of this Commission, and that throughout the country there is, especially among the friends of the League, a growing concern that the whole idea of the League is not at all being satisfactorily carried out?


My answer to the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question is in the affirmative, and to the second in the negative.



We cannot now have a Debate.