§ Mr. TREVELYAN
I beg to move,That no treat', shall be ratified and no diplomatic arrangement or understanding with a Foreign State involving, directly or indirectly, national obligations shall be con-chided without the consent of Parliament and no preparations for co-operation in war between the naval, military, or air staffs, and the naval, military, or air staffs of a Foreign State shall be lawful unless consequent upon such arrangement or understanding; and this Resolution shall be communicated to all States with which this country is in diplomatic relations and to the League of NationsIn doing so I am certain I shall be expressing the feelings of a good many of my colleagues if I say that I wish the man who had a good deal to do with the actual wording of this Resolution—Mr. Morel, the late Member for Dundee—were here to move or support it. When we realise full democratic control in this country, we shall owe it not a little to Mr. Morel's strenuous exposition. He cared for nothing in life more than this. Having given 10 years to winning freedom for black men in Africa from slavery, he spent the rest of his life force in trying to bring safety to white men in Europe from war. The real meaning of the Resolution which I move is no less than that. The aim and the intention is to save future generations of our country from what has befallen ourselves. The Labour party, at any rate, has ceased to believe in the hatching of peace in secret, even by well-intentioned rulers. We 1431 believe it can be secured only by the deliberate and overt determination of the mass of the common people, to whom war has become a horror, a fear and an abomination, to resist all policies which lead up to it. We feel that the first requisite for this new security is that this House should no longer have, merely nominally, the last voice in deciding foreign policy but that actually, ordinarily, and by established practice, the control of foreign policy should be as much in the hands of this House as the control of domestic policy has been for 100 years. If it is right that, in the interest of home policy, this House should make laws, it is just as vital to the existence of the country that it should sanction treaties which very often are more important than laws. If for a century or two we have ceased to tolerate secret commitments to national expenditure of money, just as little ought we to tolerate secret commitments which may result in the expenditure of the blood of the nation, and the Labour Government when it was in power decided to attempt to inaugurate a new regime. My hon. Friend the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Poesonby) declared the new policy of the Labour Government in these terms:It is the intention of His Majesty's Government to lay on the Table of both Houses of Parliament every Treaty, when signed for a period of 21 days. after which the Treaty will be ratified and published and circulated in the Treaty 'Series. In the case of important. Treaties, the Government will, of course, take the opportunity of submitting them to the House for discussion within this period. But, as the Government cannot take upon itself to decide what may be considered important or unimportant, if there is a formal demand for discussion forwarded through the usual channels from the Opposition or any other party, time will he found for the discussion of the Treaty in question. By this means secret Treaties and secret clauses of Treaties will be rendered i In possible.A little later he said:During our term of office, we shall inform the House of all agreements, commitments, and understandings which may in any way bind the nation to specific action in certain circumstances."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st April;, 1924; cols. 2003–5, Vol. 171.]One of the first declarations of the present Foreign Secretary was that the present Government did not consider themselves bound to adopt that procedure. 1432 For reasons which I intend to give in a few minutes, I confess I was genuinely surprised at that announcement, but, owing to it, until we know better we arc forced to assume that we have reverted to the old conditions, that secret diplomacy has again become possible, that this House is not necessarily to be in formed of acts of policy by the Government, and that its consent will not necessarily be required to vital acts of State in relation to foreign policy. Therefore, on behalf of the Labour party, we have taken immediate steps to raise this question, and I propose to point out. why this is liable to become a first-class political issue unless the Government are prepared to modify what appears to be their attitude.
The old excuse for the continuance of the system under which foreign policy was laregly kept out of the purview of this House which satisfied our predecessors, more or less, 15 years ago, was essentially this. The argument was: We choose as Foreign Secretary a man of probity, wisdom and caution, we trust the policy to him, and he with his advisers will tell us all that is necessary. I quite agree that we have almost always chosen a man of those characteristics as Foreign Secretary, and I do not for a moment say that we have now departed from that practice—far from it—but the reasoning is no longer valid. Fifteen years ago it would have been very difficult to find a Foreign Secretary whose character, in general public estimation, rose more to the height of the argument than did that of Lord Grey of Falloden. But what happened at the start of the Great War? Some of us who are sitting on this bench did not wait until the War was over to declare that whether our going into the War was right or wrong, our people had very little voice in deciding whether they went into it or not, and that the secrecy of eight years of diplomatic and military preparation before the War made the consultation of the House of Commons at the last moment, when Fate was already hammering on the door, only a sham and a farce. Many have said it to-day where few ventured to say it then. I wish to quote to the House a speech which was made soon after the War by a man whose actions we may criticise, but whose candour we all admire. That is the 1433 present Foreign Secretary. I am afraid it is rather a long quotation, but I think it is important that I should read it, because it will, in the words of the existing Foreign Secretary, give the whole argument that I myself want to put forward. Speaking on 8th February, 1922, the present Foreign Secretary used these words:We found ourselves on a certain Monday listening to a speech by Lord Grey at this Box which brought us face to face with war, and upon which followed our declaration. That was the first public notification to the country, or to anyone by the Government of the day, of the position of the British Government and of the obligations which it had assumed. It is true that Lord Grey, speaking at this Box, said that it was for the House of Commons to decide whether they would enter into war or not. Was the House of Commons free to decide? Relying upon the arrangements made between the two Governments, the French coasts were undefended… There had been the closest negotiations and arrangements between our two Governments and our two staffs. There was not a word on paper binding this country, but in honour it was bound as it had never been bound before—I do not say wrongfully; I think rightly.
I agree. That is my whole point, and I was coming to it."
Then, later on, he said:Suppose that engagement had been made publicly in the light of day. Suppose it had been laid before this House, and approved by this House, might not the events of those August days of 1914 have been different? It is not, at any rate, clear that our intervention came as a great surprise and a great shock to the German Government, that they were wholly unprepared for it, and that some few among them …. saw at once that German ambitions would never be realised in the war in which they had already engaged, and from which they could not escape? If we had had that, if our obligations had been known and definite, it is at least possible, and I think it is probable"—Those are the words of the present Foreign Secretary—that war would have been avoided in 1914."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th February, 1922; cols. 197–9, Vol. 150.]That is why I am surprised that the Foreign Secretary should be the man to reverse the policy which was begun last year by the Labour Government. The Foreign Secretary so clearly sees the issue. "Was the House of Commons free to decide?" It was not. It is true 1434 that Lord Grey and his apologists have always argued that Parliament was free to decide, because Parliament was asked on 3rd August to sanction the policy which was revealed after eight years, but, really, to interpret democratic consultation as meaning a twelfth-hour acquiescence in decisions running over a period of eight years, and unknown to the country, to believe and assert that self-government means permission, if we can, to throw over secret obligations involving, not indeed the honour of the people, but the honour of the Government, at the last moment, is an astounding misinterpretation of democracy. That amazing misinterpretation has probably done more than any other single thing to relegate a great historical party to two back benches, but it has done more than that. It has created, at any rate in a great part of our people, a deep-seated determination that what occurred for us shall not occur for our children, that their fate shall not be, as ours was, in the hands of a few elder statesmen, assisted by coteries of civil servants and soldiers. We want their fate to be their own; and let them bring it on their own heads if they want to.
I cannot make up my mind to think that the present Government do not realise something of the new state of feeling. I hope they will not respond with the blank negation of the Amendment of the hon. Member for York (Sir J. Marriott), because, if so, in many ways a serious situation begins to arise. Here we have a new appreciation throughout the country, intensely strong in some quarters and unquestionably existing in others, that things ought to change. The British w ay of making formidable political and constitutional changes is always preferably the gradual way. We like, as a people, to move from precedent to precedent, and that was what the Labour Government. hoped, that a moderate change of practice could gradually he firmly established and then expanded, if it answered to the desires and approval of the people. But how, if the present Government will not even continue the beginnings which the Labour Government made? How, if we cannot trust to the gradual evolution of the new system which we began? We are faced with this: Even if a Labour Government, some years hence, had full power for a certain 1435 number of years and carried out the practice which was established by the late Labour Government, we have no guarantee whatever that our successors would not proceed immediately to retract that when they came into power. What the Government ought to realise, in the first place, is this, that we shall be forced immediately into the position that the only course for us is, when we get the chance, to give the validity of law to the constitutional change, that we shall have to make up our minds to confer the Treaty-making power and the power of making war upon the House of Commons by legal enactment, and to transfer by Statute the Royal Prerogative to Parliament. If the Government are not going to try to continue our policy, it is absolutely inevitable that we shall be forced into that course.
The second result to which I must now turn is liable to be very serious too. We have no guarantee as to what may not be done by the present Government in the course of the next few years. They are not more honourable men than Mr. Asquith and Sir Edward Grey. Those statesmen did not really let us know what they were doing. I do not go over the past, hut, unless we have an understanding such as is laid down in this Motion, we have no guarantee. Wars. of course, do riot originally arise from small causes and small and momentary follies of nations. They arise from conditions where there exists an amount of passion and prejudice, where wars are beginning to be expected. It is out of this sort of conditions that wars arise, and it was largely out of the expectation that we should fight Germany that the war with Germany arose—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—and the consequent preparations. Here we have a situation which might be very much the same. We have an intense prejudice about Russia, or very strong opinions, as we choose to consider it, and how are we to know that surreptitious alliances are not being prepared against the Soviet Republics? How are we to know it?
We were told that there was no preparation by the Liberal Government. How are we to know it? The Government may say: We do not intend to enter into 1436 any secret obligations. Why, then, should they not agree to our proposition if they have no objection to this House knowing, and if they desire to carry on a policy which secures us from what we are afraid of? How are we to know that there may not be, some years hence per haps, military discussions with the Poles? And in other parts of the world, how are we to know that consultations may not go on with other nations for the security of the Pacific? The practice inaugurated by the Labour Government would protect us. But owing to the action of the Government we have been forced out of that position, and we have got to look round for other methods. I want to call the attention of the Government to a Resolution which was recently passed unanimously by the Labour party. It runs as follows:No Treaty or Convention of any kind shall be binding upon this country or will be recognised as such by any future Labour Government until it has been confirmed by Parliament.I ask the Government to consider the implications of that. Even Governments with a great majority are eventually transitory. It is a reasonable expectation, both at home and abroad, that the alternative to a Conservative Government may be Labour rulers. Therefore foreign nations entering into relations with us will have to take into consideration this declaration, which I am asked officially by the labour party to call attention to. If they want to make treaties with Britain, unless those treaties are ratified by Parliament, they will have no stable national validity. Unsanctioned treaties will have ceased to be national acts of State; they will have become Conservative acts. Under these circumstances I invite the Government not to oppose a rigid refusal to this Motion. It is no use their pleading their good intentions. That is not the point. We would not trust a Quaker Foreign Secretary. The people which is now half self-governing. I believe that there are very many Conservatives to whom our principles are not repugnant. We would far rather act by co-operation, but if strife it must be, there is nothing about it would strive with greater expectation of success than in favour of the principles of the Motion I now move.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Ronald McNeill)
The right hon. Gentleman in moving this Resolution presented it to the House as if it were a security against a future war. That is a proposition which I traverse entirely, and I hope I shall be able to pursuade the House that that is an entire misapprehension of the facts of the case. I want, however, in the first instance, for the House to understand exactly what it is the right hon. Gentleman is doing. He is attempting by this Resolution to modify the prerogative of the Crown. I am not for a moment suggesting that this is not a thing which might not from time to time be done. I submit to the House, however, that if the right hon. Gentleman desires to modify the prerogative of the Crown, he is setting about it in the wrong way. I do not think that a Wednesday evening Motion, usually called a private Member's Motion—on this occasion brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman—is either the occasion or the manner in which so very important a change as this, surely of all ways, ought to be moved. The right hon. Gentleman held out as a sort of terrible threat to the House that, unless the Government accepted this Resolution to-night, the time might come when the Labour party, having the power to do so, might effect this change by Act of Parliament. I think that would be the right way to do it. If they want to make a change of this constitutional magnitude—though I shall show that in a practical sense it is not so very great—they ought either to do it by Act of Parliament or by an Address to the Crown. When the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends are able to carry out the. policy which he has supported to-night, I think they will be very well entitled to do it by Act of Parliament, and I think it would be done better in that way than by a Resolution such as that he has moved. The right hon. Gentleman, and those who follow on the lines he has taken to-night, are in the habit of contrasting what they propose with the existing practice, as though there were a new diplomacy and an old diplomacy. The new diplomacy in its broadest aspect, which the right hon. Gentleman supports, is just about now attaining its centenary. The new diplomacy of the 1438 right hon. Gentleman was introduced by Mr. Canning. These are his words:Our influence. if it is to be maintained abroad, must be secure in its sources of strength at home. The sources of that strength are in the sympathy between the people and the Government, in the union of public sentiment with public counsels, and in the reciprocal confidence of the House of Commons and the Crown.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I have no hesitation maintaining that for at least 100 years the principles upon which foreign policy has been conducted in this country has been the dependence upon, and on the support., first of all of Parliament, and then of the country. People often maintain that we have less popular democratic control of foreign affairs than there is in some foreign countries, but. that I believe to be an entire mistake. I myself agree entirely with what was said by Sir Edward Grey (as he then was) on 27th May, 1909:As a matter of fact, I think the House of Commons ready exercises more constant control over foreign policy than is usual in foreign Parliaments.In this country, I submit, there are ample safeguards for popular control over foreign affairs, as things are at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman spoke as if we could be committed to some very far-reaching obligation without either Parliament or the country knowing it. [HON. MEMBERS: "We were!"] I wonder if this House quite appreciates what engagements would be included under the terms of this Motion, which says:That no Treaty shall be ratified and no diplomatic arrangement or understanding with a Foreign Statebe concluded, as the Motion goes on. Let me first refer to important treaties, that is to say, treaties of the first class, which alone involve the sort of obligation to which the right hon. Gentleman refers. They require, of course, ratification, and the existing practice in almost every such case is to require legislation before the treaty can come into force, and such legislation is presented to this Douse between the signature of the treaty and its ratification. Consequently, under the existing practice, there is, in all these cases at all events—I will discuss others in a moment—precisely that provision for popular control which the right hon. Gentleman advocates, precisely that pro- 1439 vision for popular control which was involved in the procedure introduced by my right hon. Friend who was my predecessor at the Foreign Office. The opportunity for Parliamentary discussion comes when that legislation is introduced. But as the right hon. Gentleman and his friends lay so much stress upon the mere opportunity that Parliament has of discussing a treaty before it is ratified, I would like to point out to the House that, while that opportunity exists, the control that Parliament exercises is much more theoretical than real in those very cases; and the more important the treaty is, one may almost say; the less really effective control this House has or can have.
Many hon. Members must remember, as I do, the discussion, so far as it was a discussion, which took place in this House over the Treaty of Versailles. Everybody who has looked at it knows the sort of document the Treaty of Versailles is—500 and more clauses, concerned with boundaries, and the Covenant of the League of Nations, and a hundred most important matters covering the whole field of Europe, which have to be settled by that great instrument. When that treaty was presented to this House it was obviously out of the question that any Member should master its contents and be in a position really to offer any criticism of it when it was discussed in the House. Consequently, it was presented by the Government. of the day and was passed through after the most perfunctory examination by this House, because that was the only sort of examination which it is possible to give in cases of that sort. What I want to suggest is this, that the real commitment of the country—and that is what the right hon. Gentleman has in mind—is not made when a treaty is ratified, but when it is signed, and there is no proposal from the bench opposite that Parliamentary control can h brought in before the treaty is signed; yet, as I say, that is when the real commitment takes place. The safeguard, and the only safeguard, that the country can have or will have, whatever procedure we adopt—the real safeguard—is that under our Constitution no Government would ever dare, if they were in their senses, to embark upon a treaty unless they were confident of the support 1440 of this House, whether or not that was consequent on the support of the country outside or not.
So far as I know, there is only one exception to the rule, which, I think, one may lay down as a general rule, that no Government would ever sign a treaty until they were confident of support. The only exception that I know is a treaty that was signed by the Labour Government, of which the right hon. Gentleman was a distinguished member, because there, I think, the Government not only were not confident of the support of this House, but were fully warned that they had not got it. They knew for certain, from the warning of the leaders of both the parties which, in combination, were in a majority in the House, that they were embanking on a course this House would not tolerate. Notwithstanding that, the right hon. Gentleman, and the Government Bench to which he belonged, signed that Russian Treaty on the very day that Parliament adjourned for a long Recess, committing the country, as we warned them they would do, to the terms of the Treaty, knowing that Parliament could not even criticise their action for some months. Then right hon. Gentlemen come forward and talk about the iniquity of secret diplomacy, or committing the country to anything without the sanction of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the answer that was given by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on the 15th December, and in consequence of that answer my hon. Friend the Member for the Brightside Division (Mr. Ponsonby) used these words, and they have been repeated by the right hon. Gentleman this evening. He said:In consequence of that answer the old era of secret Treaties is to be gone back to again.The right hon. Gentleman suggests, also. that unless we accept his Motion there is no security that there might not be all sorts of secret treaties entered into for the suppression of this, that or the other, hostility to the Soviet Government, or in any other direction. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion may know, I do not think he has ever been at the Foreign Office. My hon. Friend who sits beside him must know perfectly well that there is no ground whatever for such a suggestion, because when he was at the Foreign 1441 Office a question was put in this House on the subject of secret treaties, and the answer was given that there were no secret treaties in existence.
There are no secret treaties, and if there ever had been, he knows perfectly well not only that all treaties—at least practically all: I will not say there are none, because there may be some so trifling that they may have escaped me—but as the right hon. Gentleman knows, all treaties are published in the treaties series: and as an additional precaution against the possibility of a secret treaty in these days, every engagement entered into by a member of the League of Nations has to be registered, and is registered, at Geneva.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Certainly all clauses of all treaties. The right hon. Gentleman although he represented that all he was attempting to do was to re-establish the procedure which the late Government introduced for a few months goes far beyond that, because all that so-called new procedure attempted to do was to lay upon the Table of the House for 21 Parliamentary clays all treaties requiring ratification. As I have already pointed out, in actual practice it would not make the smallest difference as regards those treaties requiring ratification.
The right hon. Gentleman, however, is going to sweep into his net a vast amount of instruments and engagements that do not require ratification at all, and I am going to tell the House something about them. Let me tell the House what the number in a single Session would be which could come under this rule. First of all there are treaties, conventions, and formal exchanges of Notes which must be regarded as amongst the more important clauses of instruments and engagements. In the Session of 1923 there were 59 of them, and in the Session of 1924 38 of them. In addition to that—I take the words of the Motion—there were diplomatic arrangements or understandings which come under this definition in a recent Session of no less than 106.
I would like to give the House some idea of what these arrangements are, and what they involve in the procedure which the right hon. Gentleman proposes 1442 to introduce. I hold in my hand a list—and I do not believe even now it is exhaustive—of five closely typed pages giving the titles of engagements, diplomatic arrangements or understandings which we passed in a single Session. Let me take one or two samples. There is an agreement with Italy providing for reciprocity in medical practice. There is an agreement with Greece providing for reciprocity in medical practice. There is also another agreement with Austria for the reciprocal recognition of proof marks. There is an agreement for British protection of Afghans in Chinese Turkestan, another for the exchange of hotel waiters between Great Britain and Switzerland, and for reciprocal customs facilities for British and Norwegian diplomats and consuls. There is an understanding between Great Britain and Belgium regarding Consular marriages. All these arrangements, if this Motion were carried, would have to be laid upon the Table of this House for 21 days before they could be signed as they do not require ratification What would that, mean?
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. McNEILL
That would he the beginning and the end. Either there would be a demand for discussions of these innumerable instruments or there would not. I do not suppose there would be a great demand to discuss the interchange of waiters between Great Britain and Switzerland. If it is agreed that there should not he a discussion of these matters, why make a fuss about it? It is simply routine business carried on by the Foreign Office: although these arrangements are not of great national importance they would all come within the definition of this Resolution. Supposing we had discussions on these matters. That is the only way in which you can make Parliamentary control effective. If there is to be discussion, in other words if this Parliamentary control is to be a reality and not a sham, how many of these instruments do you suppose we could get through in the course of a Session? If these instruments had been lying for 21 days on the Table of the House and any hon. Member wanted to discuss any one of them and made a demand for discussion, this House would be doing nothing else except discussing 1443 these engagements of a secondary character. I think that the late Under-Secretary will not contradict me when I say that in relation to some of these minor engagements the Labour Government found themselves at some inconvenience last year in consequence of their own action in relation to certain Conventions which my hon. Friend (Mr. Ponsonby) will recall. There was the case. of the international railway regime, and it happened to be important that it should obtain ratification in time to come before the Council of the League of Nations. That Council was in session in June of last year. It was therefore of considerable importance, for the sake of the influence upon other nations, that our ratification should be communicated to the Council of the League. I am not going to say that it was entirely, but it was very largely, because right hon. Gentlemen opposite had tied themselves to an utterly absurd rule that this instrument should lie upon the Table of the House for 20 days, and because the Whitsuntide Recess came at an inconvenient time, that it was not possible to get that instrument ratified in time to have it communicated to the League of Nations. There were some other difficulties, but if it had not been for the rule which the Labour Government had laid down that inconvenience could never have arisen.
It is quite true there was also this difficulty which might have been got over, and it is one which arises with regard to all our international engagements now, and that. is the necessity of obtaining the consent of all our Dominions before we enter into an international convention. But supposing this rule which is now proposed were carried, and it became necessary here, before ratifying even the most insignificant agreement, that it was to lie on the Table of this House for 21 Parliamentary days, can anybody imagine that any one of our Dominions would be content without having the same procedure in their own country? The consequence would be that every Parliament in the British Empire would have to have every one of these engagements lying on the Table of their own House for three weeks. May I also point out that they do not all sit simultaneously, and the real consequence 1444 would be that a very large number of extremely beneficial international arrangements, although not of first-class importance, would be practically held up and could never be really carried through at all?
I want to say something about that part of the Motion which refers to preparations for co-operation in war. The right hon. Gentleman referred to a speech which was made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary with relation to the events of July and August, 1914. If I may respectfully say so, I absolutely agree with every word that my right hon. Friend said. I endorse every word of the speech, and I do not think that the interpretation put upon the speech by the right hon. Gentleman opposite was really the true interpretation, in the light of the actual historical facts. It would take too long to go into the facts, and I do not want to delay the House for that purpose. The real view is, not that difficulty arose or that evil was created by any secret engagement that we had entered into at that time, but by the fact that we had not implemented that agreement by a much more far-reaching pact, which would have notified to the world that in the events which actually did happen they would find us on the side of our Allies, instead of their imagining that we should possibly stand out. That, I am perfectly certain, is what was in my right hon. Friend's mind, and I think it is quite true.
The right hon. Gentleman's Motion applies not merely to the time of peace but to the time of war. Perhaps he thinks that there is never going to be another war. Of course, I cannot say whether the right hon. Gentleman holds that view or not, but if he is so confident that there is never going to be a war again, why does he talk about making preparations for co-operation in war? I do not think the rest of the House are inclined to accept the view that there never, in any circumstances, can he a war again. Let me take the hypothesis that we should at any time find ourselves in war, end perhaps under circumstances similar to the war of 1914. How should we be tied by the procedure which the right hon. Gentleman wants to introduce? We should have no definite pact or engagement, such as is referred to in the earlier part of the 1445 Resolution. Consequently, it would not be lawful for us to make any preparations whatever for co-operation, either with allies with whom we might be fighting, or with potential allies whom it might be very desirable to bring on to our side.
The right hon. Gentleman referred especially to naval preparations. I do not think that I take the same view that he does with regard to the naval arrangements at the outbreak of war. My own impression is that the arrangements to which I suppose he was referring, namely, the arrangements which we then had with France which enabled us, and alone enabled us, to concentrate our Fleet in the North Sea instead of having it scattered in different parts of the world was most timely. It was a mercy of Divine Providence that that arrangement had been made, because when we found ourselves at war we were prepared to defend ourselves in the way we did. Military conventions differ in this respect from treaties which, as I say, cannot be secret, in that arrangements for military co-operation must either be secret or futile. Unless they are secret, they are obviously useless. Again, let me suppose ourselves at war, which God forbid. The right hon. Gentleman would make it unlawful while we were carrying on the war to arrange for co-operation between the allied armies. If he thinks, and he may think, that there should be no military conventions at all, then why does he not say so? He does not say that there ought to be no military conventions, but he says that we ought to have a procedure with regard to them which would make them perfectly useless.
The right hon. Gentleman has entirely left out of account what appears to me to be a. very important aspect of this subject. International relations and national obligations do not depend exclusively on treaties or conventions that are laid on the Table of this House. They have a negative as well as a positive aspect. To terminate a treaty may have just as momentous consequences as to sign one. To refuse to sign a proper treaty may be equally fraught with tremendous results to the nation. We are hearing a great deal at the present time about pacts and protocols, and they certainly involve very grave decisions. The gravity is or may be, equally great 1446 when a decision is to attach a signature or to withhold it. The right hon. Gentleman, in his Resolution, has attempted to control one side, and one side only, of this great body of doctrines upon which our foreign relations depend. He does not touch the others.
As I have endeavoured to explain, his Motion, if carried, would make not the smallest difference whatever in the practice as regards treaties of the first class, but it would most mischievously hamper the efficiently of the whole conduct of our foreign policy in innumerable minor details which have no political or party colour in them whatever. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is an executive officer. You cannot deprive him of that position. Why should you strip him of all authority and all responsibility any more than his colleagues at the Colonial Office or the India Office or even the Home Office? The real and, as I believe, the only possible safeguard for real Parliamentary control over all these offices alike lies simply in the fact which is at the very root of the whole of our practice, and that is, that the Executive which is responsible for taking these actions is either to enjoy the, continuance of the confidence of a majority in this House or else immediately give place to others who possess it in a higher degree.
§ Mr. J. BECKETT
I had hoped that I might get an opportunity of saying something with regard to the secret diplomatists of all countries who, probably perfectly honestly and perfectly sincerely, flung the youth of Europe into the furnace of hate, horribleness and beastliness because of their own foolishness. Now that I have that opportunity, I am not going to waste my time or the time of the House replying to the arguments that have been put forward from the Front Bench opposite. We spend a lot of time in this House arguing whether we should have a capital or a Socialist system, whether things shall be owned by private individuals or, as I and some of my friends think, by the State. It does not matter by whom those things are owned if you are going to allow future war to come, and when Resolutions are brought forward, even if some hon. Members on the other side think that they are wrong, they do represent a genuine attempt to avert not just a 1447 little war, not a punitive expedition, not just the bullying of a little country by a big one, but to avert a tragedy which anyone, especially a distinguished soldier, knows is going to be fatal to the evolution of the world.
I hope sincerely that the House will give this Resolution a fair hearing. You do not stop war or any of these horrors of human nature by those technical arguments, and cheap debating points, and the use of ponderous evasiveness. These things have got to be faced frankly. If we are wrong tell us how there is a better way of doing it, but for goodness sake do not get up in this House, as some of you do on every vital issue which is discussed, and quibble and carp at every suggestion which is put forward, and never have the shadow or gleam of a suggestion for doing anything yourselves. That is the disheartening factor. [HON. MEMBERS: "Address the Chair!"] The Chair probably would be more intelligent to address than some hon. Members opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] I beg your pardon. I should have said that the Chair might have understood what I am saying.
Last Friday the Prime Minister referred in this House to the suspicion which is preventing stability in Europe, and he said, and I believe in all sincerity, that his Government stood for the removal of that suspicion realising that unless you remove suspicion you cannot get down to the fundamentals of a decent, just, and lasting condition of things. I wish to suggest that if the Government reverse the policy initiated in this matter by the hon. Member for Brightside (Mr. Ponsonby), they are not likely to help to calm suspicion in other countries. May I quote from the "Osaka Asahi," a very prominent and progressive newspaper in Japan. It says:That Japan would have to spend more money on her navy is held to be the inevitable consequence of the threat believed to he contained in a battle fleet on the borders of the Pacific.Then the "Yomiuri," a Liberal paper of Tokio, points out that should Singapore be made a battlefield base, the defence and capacities of Malta, Aden and Colombo will have to be increased in proportion, and this, it considers, will imply a menace to France and Italy.
1448 To-night we are not discussing the merits or demerits of the Singapore base, but I suggest that you cannot afford to go on piling up armaments to increase your navy, army and air force and build expensive military bases in different parts of the world. To go on, not looking for war—I do not believe that anyone on that side wants war any more than we—but talking of possible enemies, of people who might possibly want to make war with you, and looking with suspicion at them makes them suspicious of you. Piling up armaments against them makes them pile up armaments against us. Before the War many people in Germany thought quite genuinely that we meant to attack them directly we got the opportunity. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, they were fooled by their politicians just as we were by ours and as we shall be again if we are not careful. So you get the nations of the world building armaments and entertaining suspicions of each other, nobody wanting war, but blundering on, each possessed of these suspicions, each piling up instruments until war is inevitable. Until we find a better way of conducting our national and international affairs another war will be inevitable just as the last war was inevitable. We have Admiral Takarabe, the Minister of Marine in Japan, saying:Japan must now look to national defence, since Singapore is only two days from Formosa.We have heard from those benches, and I do not wish to dispute it, that Singapore is not intended to be a menace to Japan, but in the "Times" last month we had a letter from a prominent publicist, Mr. Geoffrey Drage, who is closely connected with many hon. Members on the opposite side of the House, in which he says:In 1930 Japan will be ready, if not before. We are as we were in 1908. only Japan is far more clever than Germany.and so on. I dwell for some time on that issue because it illustrates how war comes from the suspicion created by armaments and secret diplomacy, and so I believe that if we are going to avert war we must not go on in the spirit of looking for possible enemies, but we must look for possible means of averting enmities, and there is no possible way of averting enmities unless you are prepared to be open and above board in your conduct and in the handling of all these matters in connection with other nations. I 1449 thought in 1918 and 1919 that this battle, which we are fighting all over again to-night, had been won, and that secret diplomacy and negotiating and bargaining with the people's lives behind closed doors was a thing of the past, and that we were going forward into a better era. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who, from his speeches and writings, is manifestly a supporter of our policy, is not here.
§ Mr. BECKETT
I am very sorry that he is ill, and therefore prevented from coming and giving us the support in this matter which, I gather from his speeches and writings, he would have given. I am also sorry that the right hon. Gentleman whose words were read by the Mover of the Resolution cannot be here to repeat the inspiring message which apparently he gave to this House some years ago. You know what happened in the Army. These views were unpatriotic then with the great mass of the public, but the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench told us these things two years before they were popular and therefore was regarded as being unpatriotic. In the Army days we did riot get so much of that. At least that was not my experience. They read the speeches of the Gentlemen in this Chamber and then they said: "To hell with the war and politics!" and went on with the work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] I am quoting, you have all heard it. I dare say there are a good many men on that side of the House who have some personal knowledge of the fighting forces, who heard that phrase at least as many times as I did. That was the phrase during the War. After the War we got President Wilson of America. I know he was led astray. He was led astray by a gentleman who succeeded in leading the Conservative party astray for a very considerable time, and if that gentleman was clever enough to lead you astray, it ill behoves you to sneer at President Wilson, because he kept what you would regard as good company
§ Mr. BECKETT
I rather gathered that at this time of the evening some Members of the House were more in a mood to prefer amusement. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"] There are many more serious things that could be said about this Resolution, and if they were said, you would still have no right to call "Withdraw!" There is no object in mincing words. This Resolution means to us the safety of this country and the safety of all civilisation. We are not prepared, I am not prepared, and I have never spoken to any considerable body of people in this country who are prepared to allow right hon. Gentlemen on either Front Bench, but especially right hon. Gentlemen with the war and peace records of some of the right hon. Gentlemen on the opposite bench, to handle in secret. in common with the Junkers of Germany, and of every other country, the future of the people of this country without protesting in Parliamentary language or any other language we are able to use.
§ Sir JOHN MARRIOTT
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the wordsthe existing procedure of this House already adequately secures the control of Parliament over Foreign Affair.I am quite certain that no one on this side of the House, whatever they may think of the Resolution itself, will take any exception to the terms in which it was moved by the right hon. Gentleman. I would like to say of the speech to which we have just listened that I am sure that there was real sincerity, although some of us took exception to some of the words uttered. Many of us are in complete disagreement with the practical suggestions contained in this Motion. I want to ask the House to consider what is the real motive behind this Resolution? What is the real gravamen which is urged by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite against the old diplomacy? The indictment, as I understand it. against the old diplomacy is that it is a mixture of turpitude and ineptitude, partly wicked and partly foolish; that it is wicked, and that in the past and especially the recent past, it has manifested in practice its hopeless incapacity. The very word "diplomacy" has, I quite admit, acquired a rather sinister connotation. Being an exact person, I turned 1451 the word up in that invaluable work of reference, the Oxford Dictionary, and I find that there diplomacy is defined asthe management of international rations by negotiation.That is all right. That is an innocuous pursuit. But the dictionary proceeds to quote, as illustrating the connotation and common usage of the word, a certain passage from a book published by Grattan in 1862 to this effect:I can find no better signification for the word which typifies the pursuit of diplomacy than double dealing, which is expressive of concealment if not of duplicity.That really, as I take it, summarises the gist of the whole complaint which is made from the opposite benches. I have sometimes thought that absolutely the most fatal gift. for a diplomatist is the gift of humour, for I believe that, if it had not been for an ambassadorial joke, the House of Commons would not have been engaged in this particular Debate tonight. The joke was made 321 years ago. It has stood the test of time. It was made by an English Ambassador on his way to Vienna, and he wrote in the album of a German merchant at Augsburg the words:Legatos est vir bonus peregre misses ad mentiendum reipuiblicae causa.I feared that hon. Gentlemen opposite would find my Latin so barbarous as to be unintelligible to them. So I will translate:An ambassador is a good man, sent abroad to lie for the benefit of his country.That joke was written in the album of a German merchant 321 years ago. I cannot resist the suspicion that diplomacy in the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite has never quite recovered from the slur cast upon it by Sir Henry Wotton's jest. Possibly there was in the mind of Sir Henry Wotton the words of an earlier writer—about six years earlier—Carlo Pasquali, who wrote:I want the ambassador to shine by truth the best assured of virtue. But I am not so boorishly exacting as entirely to close the lips of the envoy to official lies.That is to say, lies uttered in the course of business. That utterance might tempt one to embark on a rather prolonged discussion of a casuistical nature, like the discussion initiated by Pilate when he 1452 asked his famous question, "What is truth?" I resist that temptation; I think we may be content with the time-honoured definition of a lie, that "it consists in not telling the truth to one who has a right to know it."
That is really the core of the question raised by the Resolution before the House to-night. Or rather, I will put it thus: By what procedure in international affairs will the interests of this country and the world be best promoted? That is really the question which is raised in this Resolution. There is one point on which I am certain all parts of the House will agree, and it is this, that the supreme interest of this country is the maintenance of peace, and to maintain peace is the supreme business of the Diplomatic Service. War marks, not the triumph of diplomacy, but the failure of diplomacy, and that is nowhere better recognised than in the Diplomatic Service itself. It is the highest duty and the most persistent ambition of the diplomatists to maintain peace between nation and nation. To say, as hon. Gentlemen do, that. history, and particularly recent history, has exhibited a lamentable series of failures, is simply to say that human nature is a much more potent force than diplomacy.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I must point out to the hon. Member that he is now going rather wide of the question raised in the Motion.
§ Sir J. MARRIOTT
Thank you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I Neill try and conform entirely to your ruling. The point on which I join issue with the right hon. Gentleman who proposed this Motion is, that he and those who act with him imagine that the procedure which they propose in this Resolution is likely to make for peace. That is the real point at issue between us. I find no warrant for the assumption which lay behind the greater part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. I find no warrant for it in history or in human nature. May I try to bring it home to the House in this way? Suppose that, let us say, in the year 1910, the procedure recommended by the right hon. Gentleman had been actually in operation. Does he suggest that the adoption of the machinery suggested in this Resolution would have averted the War of 1914? That was the assumption which underlay the whole of 1453 the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and that is really the whole point of the discussion in which we are engaged to-night. I invite the House, therefore, to examine for a minute or two the implications of that suggestion.
I will frankly make the admission that I believe, and have always believed, that if Sir Edward Grey, as he then was, had been able to announce, even in July, 1914, that any act of hostility by Germany against France would bring the whole forces of Great Britain and the British Dominions into the field against the peace breaker, the peace might not have been broken. But now suppose that the procedure proposed in this Resolution had been actually adopted four or five years before the outbreak of war. Is there any hon. Member in this House to-night who would get up in his place and say that if the Government of that day, or any Government, had come down to the House of Commons and asked the House of Commons to give Parliamentary sanction to such a pact, it would have been granted? I say that there is not the faintest chance that the House of Commons would have approved it, let us say, in the year 1910. I am speaking of a military pact, of a military convention, and I say that the mere proposal in this House of such a military convention would have been regarded as provocative in the highest degree; and, as a fact, no such pact and no such treaty was in existence. We have that on the authority of all the responsible Ministers of that day. The formula agreed upon in 1912 between ourselves and the French Government was—and here I am quoting the words of the President of the French Republic of that time—simply hypothetical, and implied no firm obligation of reciprocal assistance:The British Cabinet'—and I ask the House to mark the words—did not feel itself able to contract a positive obligation without Parliamentary sanction.Those are the words of the President of the French Republic himself. And when he wrote to His Majesty on the very eve of the War, on the 31st July, 1914, what were his words? He wrote:Undoubtedly. our military and naval engagements leave Your Majesty's Government entirely free.I can imagine some hon. Gentlemen saying: "That is quite true; but there ought 1454 to have been a treaty. Nothing less than a treaty, nothing else than a treaty, could actually have averted war." That may be so; it is an argument which I am certainly not going to traverse; but is that the argument of the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Resolution to-night? Will the hon. Member for Brightside (Mr. Ponsonby), who sits beside him, if he speaks—as I hope he will—later in the Debate, tell us that there ought to have been au actual alliance, and that the terms of that alliance ought to have been indicated to this House? Is it not as clear as daylight that the necessity for obtaining Parliamentary sanction prevented the conclusion of such an alliance, which, in the then condition of European politics, could, by general admission, alone have averted war? And yet you are here to ask us to increase that measure of Parliamentary control. If this Resolution had asked that there should be in this House more ample opportunity for discussion of foreign policy, I should have very heartily agreed with it. If it had asked for a Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, I personally should have lent, at any rate, an attentive ear to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman—but, let me say clearly, on one absolute condition, namely, that the Committee should not be a rival Cabinet, that it should not in any degree diminish the direct and complete responsibility of the Cabinet to Parliament, that it should not diminish the control of the whole House over foreign affairs.
I have lately been giving, as I expect a good many other Members of the House have been giving, close attention to the Reports recently obtained by the action of the late Prime Minister, for which I am sure the whole House must be grateful to him—the Reports which he was good enough to obtain from His Majesty's representatives abroad as to the procedure of foreign Parliaments for dealing with international questions. I gather that that very important document was not known to the hon. Member for Brightside at Question Time this afternoon, to my great surprise, as I thought he had been partly instrumental in obtaining it. A perusal of these memoranda might lead hon. Members to imagine that the British Parliament was in a position of exceptional impotence in 1455 regard to control over foreign affairs, but I do not think, myself, from some knowledge of this matter, that that is at all the cases. It is perfectly true that the procedure of other Parliaments, as revealed in this White Paper, does provide for the setting up of a specific Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs; but, take the case, for example, of France on which there is a very long and interesting Memorandum from our British Ambassador in Paris. There is no country, certainly in Europe, where the committee system is so fully developed as it is in France. And what does Lord Crewe say in his reply to the Foreign Office? He says:A study of he Parliamentary annals of the Third 'Republic shows that there are a number of matters of the first importance on which Treaties have been in fact concluded and ratified without a vote in either Chamber.My impression, formed by a perusal of this document and by some little acquaintance with the subject, is that in actual practice this House possesses a greater measure of control over foreign policy than, perhaps, any Parliament in Europe.
I come back for one moment, in conclusion, to the core, as I understand it, of the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. It rests, as I take it, on two assumptions. The first is that the old system of diplomacy, of conducting international relations, has hopelessly broken down, has manifested its failure; and the second is that it has broken down by reason of the insufficiency of Parliamentary control. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will quarrel with my summary of his Resolution, and the assumptions on which it rests. My Amendment questions the accuracy of the diagnosis and denies the efficacy of the prescription. I would suggest, if I may, respectfully to the House, that we ought to distinguish between the objects of diplomacy and the mechanism of diplomacy. As to the objective of our foreign policy, of course, I quite agree that, in regard to the main outlines of our foreign policy, there cannot possibly be too much of Parliamentary discussion, too much of publicity, too much of control. But the mechanism, I suggest, must, in the interests of peace, be committed to 1456 trained and expert hands, and you would defeat the supreme object of the machine if it did not effect that result. I will go further than that. I believe you will very soon discover that the ostentation of publicity is only the camouflage of concealment, an d that is the main reason why I would ask the House to reject the Motion and to assent to the Amendment.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I ask the indulgence of the House if the lucidity of the arguments in a maiden speech are not what I should like them to be. The right hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion spoke of the coterie of civil servants and soldiers. It so happens that I have been both, and though I am no hide-bound a prioriadmirer of the Foreign Office—if I were I should no doubt be listening to the Debate from the Gallery instead of taking part in it—I was struck by the ingenuousness of the right hon. Gentleman in proposing such a Motion at all after having tasted the sweets and the bitters of office for a short period last year. If my information is correct—I was not in England at the time—on the great day the Russian Treaty was signed the Under-Secretary announced it in this House, while his colleagues in another place would give no information. And yet Members of that party are asking for more information and more control for the House over foreign affairs. They apparently did not succeed in getting it in their own Government. The Under-Secretary has already dissected the terms of the Resolution, but I should like to point out the last words, the suggestion that if passed it should be communicated to all States and to the League of Nations. I shudder to think what the States concerned would think on receiving such a document. They would certainly say it was the business of this country to arrange its constitution as it pleased and it was none of their concern how foreign affairs or anything else were conducted here. The words in the Motion, that no understandings, etc., shall be lawful, convey little to me. Lawful to whom? In what way? Lawful to this House, lawful to the country, lawful to foreign countries I am in a fog. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned as one part of his indictment that he had no guarantee of what might be done by the 1457 present Government. May I commend to his notice and that of the Gentlemen who sit behind him Article 18 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which reads:Every Treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat and shall as soon as possible be published by it. No such Treaty or international engagement shall be binding until so registeredThat covers the procedure of our Foreign Office and of all the Foreign Offices of the members of the League. I think that would satisfy the demands of any reasonable enquirer after the truth.
I feel that we should keep this Debate down to the question of procedure all the time. We are not discussing foreign policy, or even whose fault it was that the War broke out. We are merely discussing the machinery: whether or not the present practice is sufficient for our purpose. I ask here, if you are going to have a Resolution passed saying that all Treaties are to be ratified, what is to be the machinery of the House to enable the discussion to take place? Does it mean that the House as a House is to meet and discuss every one of these multitudinous small agreements mentioned by my right hon. Friend? Does it mean a Committee of the Whole House, sitting as a Committee? Does it mean a Select. Committee or a Committee of 40 or 50 Members? It has not been touched upon, but it is to my mind extremely important, because the constitutional practice of this country—there is no getting away from it—is complete divorce between the three branches of Government, executive, legislative and judicial. This House is not an executive body. It is a deliberative assembly. We delegate to the right hon. Gentlemen who sit from time to time on that Front Bench the power and the authority to act on our behalf, and so long as they have our confidence and the confidence of the country, they are the proper and right people to be the executive.
Immediate past history last autumn, I should have thought, would have thrust this lesson deep into the consciousness of hon. Members opposite. They say, frequently, that this House and the country has not got sufficient control over foreign affairs, but what happened? I know that the ostensible cause of the Election was 1458 not foreign affairs, but at the back of it the whole shadow that was cast over the Election was due to the fact that a treaty being signed which could not have the approval of this House and did not have the approval of the country. The late Prime Minister was perfectly right in this sense, that he acted upon his own responsibility. I do not blame him for that but where he went wrong was that the policy he supported was not that of the country. He was perfectly right to take the matter into his own hands as the Executive, but that was the beginning and end of it. I call to mind the first of the 14 points of the late President Wilson was, "open covenants of peace openly arrived at." He himself found it impossible to live up to that. When he got to Versailles it was soon a question of the big ten, and then the big five, and the big world outside was kept in the cold. The late Prime Minister, in August, 1923, said: "We must end all trust in secrecy. That phase of diplomacy ought to have been finished with the War. That volume ought to have been closed with a bang." The only bang that reverberated through the corridors of the Foreign Office was the explosion attendant upon the Russian Treaty.
The conduct of foreign affairs must be in the hands of the few. There is no getting away from that. So long as we delegate our executive authority to the Government of the day it is up to them to carry it out with due authority in the Departments concerned. I am certain that you cannot expect to carry on delicate negotiations if you are going to have to bring down accounts of your interviews, your telegrams and your dispatches, your notes of communications, your minutes, your memoranda, anything you like into the body of the House or even into a Committee upstairs, because if you have that kind of Committee sitting on foreign affairs, it means that you have to bind them by the Official Secrets Act, and that means that 40 or 50 Members of the House will be given information which they could not pass on to other Members. Therefore we should be having the House turned into coteries of secrecy—Members and non-secrecy Members. We prefer to leave it in the hands of the Government of the day to explain to us, and there are plenty of opportunities of debating 1459 their policy, but the actual methods of carrying it out must be left in the hands of the few. There is no doubt that a large Committee of this kind would have to spend a great deal of time in what I might call education. In a Committee of all parties on the League of Nations it is very remarkable what a large number who attend the meetings have never even read the Covenant, and yet that is a perfectly public document several years in antiquity. When it comes to discussing current business from day to day I shudder to think of it.
I take it that originally Ministers might be called the Crown in Commission. To-day they are the repository of certain powers in the House, and if we are to retract certain of those powers why should we stop at foreign affairs? Surely that is putting the cart before the horse. It would be much more sensible, if we wanted to do it, to set up committees of further investigation into matters of everyday interest which come into the lives of every single Member as representing his constituency, matters such as pensions, and so forth, where one can get the information immediately and directly. In foreign affairs you cannot get it unless you have made a study of them. You cannot go first to one country, say in the Near East, and then, say to South America. You have to trust your man on the spot, and that is what is done in the Foreign Office. Other countries deal by Committees, but other countries are not Great Britain. We are not a small Continental State. We are a large Empire, and you have to bear that in mind in discussing this question. The great classic example of a House entirely having control over foreign affairs, is in the United States Constitution. There the President and the Senate act together. They are the treaty making power. The President can only act with the consent of the Senate and on the advice of the Senate, with a two-thirds majority, and sitting in secret session, and I have yet to learn that any hon. Member opposite proposes to give any such power to another place. Cabinet Ministers in the United States are not members of Congress, and, therefore, this procedure of the Committee system is adopted. But even so, in connection with what the right hon. 1460 Gentleman opposite said about the trifling affairs which come up, it is worth bearing in mind that there is still waiting on the floor of the Senate a Treaty signed in 1897, which has not yet been ratified. Why, I am afraid I am unable to tell the House.
But the point I want to make, and to keep on making, is that you cannot conduct negotiations in the open all the time. When they have been conducted and before the decision is reached, well and good, but the actual conduct cannot he done in that way, and I attribute to a large extent the failure of a good deal of the foreign policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) to the great indiscretion and leakage which occurred, not through his fault at all and not in London, but in other places, when he was Prime Minister. They certainly did adversely affect our foreign policy at the time. It was not at all his golf-playing propensities. It was too much leakage. The Foreign Secretary only last Thursday said:It is my object at all stages in conducting the foreign affairs of the country to take the House of Commons and the country, and especially the House of Commons, into the fullest confidence that circumstances permit, because it is only in that way that we can hope to arrive at a national policy, and in the sphere of foreign affairs above all it is desirable that our policy should be national and not party.I think we can safely continue with the present methods of procedure both now and in the far future, and we have to remember all the time that the procedure adopted here would have to be duplicated and triplicated in all the Parliaments of the Empire. The conduct of foreign policy would become impossible. The present difficulty is to make the executive voice of the Empire heard in foreign policy at all. If you are also going to add control at every stage of the proceeding by six or seven Houses of Commons, I am afraid that very little will be done. It is because I feel that the present method, like so many others in our Constitution, has been gradually built up during centuries and does meet the case, that I ask the House to support the Amendment.
§ Major CRAWFURD
It. is, perhaps, hardly for me to interpret the feelings of the Ho-use, but I am perfectly sure that I shall be saying what. everyone would 1461 have me say when I extend a word of congratulation to the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken. He began his speech with expressions of modesty, but we all realise that he has given us at any rate an example of lucidity and has drawn largely from his own varied experience. He has also conferred the benefit on this House, not that he has argued for open diplomacy, but that he has given us what I am sure is an example above the average of a diplomat in the open. I want to take up one phrase of his which I would like to traverse with all good feeling, a phrase which we on this side regard as expressive of so much that we dislike and distrust, not that we distrust the hon. Member. I understood him to say that foreign affairs should be in the hands of the few. We do not believe that. I am reminded by one of my hon. Friends that the present Lord Privy Seal, when he was Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under his distinguished father, was definitely forbidden ever to answer a supplementary question. That is what we dislike, because we realise that more often than not it is the supplementary question which is really designed to get the information.
I suppose that this Resolution has been moved in the interests of peace. Therefore, those who count themselves the friends of peace should not quarrel amongst themselves. I shall not follow the right hon. Gentleman in some of the remarks which he made in moving the Resolution—remarks with which I should profoundly disagree with him, as to events in the past. I do not think that very much good is done or will be done by dwelling on the past, on the events before the War, except that we can draw this lesson: that those who had charge of events then could not work in any way that was in advance of the practice of their day. Even hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who held office in the last Administration could not do more in the way of open diplomacy than those with Whom they were negotiating would allow them to do. But when I come to contrast the terms of the Resolution and the terms of the Amendment, I have not the slightest doubt as to which my Friends and I should cast our votes fox. I cannot pretend to sympathise with the objections that were alleged by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. Whether the 1462 treaties which he enumerated as being amongst those documents and instruments that would lie upon the Table of the House are concerned with the interchange of waiters with Switzerland or the preventing of the interchange of goods with all the countries of the world, I do not think that argument really touches the question which we are debating, for it is obvious that hon. Members of this House will select from amongst all those treaties only those that really have an important bearing upon the question of peace. Nor am I able to follow the suggestion that the War might have been avoided, if I might paraphrase the words quoted, "if we had openly threatened Germany." That is what the argument comes to.
This Motion really does not go far enough. My experience since I have been a Member of this House tells me that the wording of the Amendment really represents exactly the opposite of what I believe to be the facts. The existing procedure of this House does not secure the control of Parliament over foreign affairs. Of that I am perfectly sure. Nobody would wish to make any kind of attack on the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, more particularly in his absence. But at this moment I do not know what is the policy which the right hon. Gentleman is pursuing. I quite agree with what has fallen from the hon. Member who has just spoken—that a House of Commons of this size cannot discuss the everyday procedure of negotiation. What. T submit is that we do not know the main lines of the foreign policy that is being pursued. The other day we had a Debate on foreign affairs, and we on these benches tried to get information from the Government as to what their intentions were on certain points. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was proceeding the next day to what would be a very important, and what may well prove to be a very vital, conference amongst the great Powers of Europe. Surely it is not too much to ask that this House, representing the people, whatever party may have a majority, should have some voice in saying what representations the Foreign Secretary is to make when he gets to that conference. If this House cannot do that, I do not know for what purpose the House has been called together. I am certain in 1463 my own mind that, whatever the technical difficulties may be, if the procedure outlined in the Motion should become the normal procedure, this is meant to be an expression of opinion from this side of the House that there should be more direct control of foreign affairs by the representatives of the people. The last speaker talked about the control of foreign affairs by the few. As a rule the few do not pay and do not suffer. I do not want to use as an argument on this question what was once described from the other side of the House as "sob stuff," but I do want to say that those people who suffer cruelly should have the chance of deciding these things for themselves, and our experience of diplomacy up to date has not been happy enough to help us to trust it to go along as it has gone so far. As between the Resolution and the Amendment, I have in my own mind not the slightest doubt. I and those who think with me must vote for the Motion.
§ Sir GEOFFREY BUTLER
I think the House owes a debt of gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Resolution for the specific character of its terms. It is not the stammering utterance of a commentator, hut is the Law and the Prophets, the full evangel of the doctrine of democratic control, and I do not think he will regard me as impertinent or patronising if I say it is extremely difficult to express that doctrine. Let me put it in another way. It is extraordinarily easy in this matter to attempt to score points off your opponent by arguing against just what he did not say, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman who is hound to me by the tenderest of all ties, that of constituent and Member of Parliament, will correct me if I misrepresent him in any way. We on this side do not believe that the other side think we are opposing this Motion because we are in favour of secret, or, as I prefer to call it, bureaucratic diplomacy. There are many Members here who have ventured into that fascinating region where the old art of diplomacy makes touch with the new science of publicity, and they, at any rate, realise that frequently the contrary or opposite of open diplomacy is not secrecy, but the rumour of the bazaar. I see seated beside the right hon. Gentleman the hon. 1464 Gentleman who was Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the last Government, and I am going to read a statement of the case in terms which he has included in one of his books. He saysThose who desire reform have been accused of demanding that the Foreign Secretary should place his cards on the table, thereby exposing his hand and spoiling the game, but this has never been the demand. What is asked, is that we should be fully informed as to what game he is playing since the stakes he is playing with are the nation's honour, and the people's lives, If we are ignorant of the nature and object of the game, we are clearly at his mercy. We cannot alter the course lie is taking, because we do not know what it is, and we cannot tell whether his failure, if and when he fails, is due to the strength of his opponent's hand or his own want of skill.If I may say so with the greatest respect, that appears to me to be very finely said. More than one hon. Member upon this side of the House, although they might have expressed it in slightly different terms, would generally subscribe to that doctrine, because it gives a valuable distinction between what, after all, is a control of policy and a control of negotiation, but, beyond that, it is a very clear indication of the catastrophe which must occur when, or if, there be a divorce between the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the House of Commons. When I have said this, I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he thinks that this all but connubial bliss and mutual comprehension which should exist between the statesman and the Legislature will be promoted or retarded by the regulation of constitutional minutiæ and the incorporation of those minutiæ in our own theory and practice of government. For what is proposed is this: Let us look at the Motion and get it clear. It is the inauguration of a new practice, a practice which will render it possible for a debate to be held on any proposed treaty with a foreign power, not. merely on those treaties on which the Executive of the day deliberately invites the opinion of Parliament, either because it knows legislation will be needed to carry out the treaty, or because the treaty raises an issue of overpowering importance and it wishes to be certain that it has Parliamentary and national opinion behind it.
Let me look again at the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. The very reference to the general staffs and the agreements which they may make indicates, 1465 I submit, that he realises that treaty making is not the only, not possibly the most important, mechanism of diplomatic action. I believe there is one authority on international law who enumerates no fewer than 11 ways in which one State can hold intercourse with another, and that is not merely, I submit, the pedantry of the textbook, because I can see hon. Members around me now who saw at close quarters President Wilson bringing a great country into the War against Germany without ever making a treaty, or thinking of making one, and I ask the right hen. Gentleman if, in screwing up treaty making too tightly, in rendering it too formal, there is not a danger of encouraging other and less tangible methods of negotiation. I am not suggesting for a minute that all the other methods of negotiation arc bad, nor that the right hon. Gentleman himself maintained that they wore. Those who were in the last Parliament will remember that we were told, ad nauseam, that a new diplomatic technique had been discovered, the technique of gesture, and, upon my word, I am not certain that there is not something rather infectious in the virus but even there I believe he is following a will-o'-the-wisp in attempting to put our foreign affairs into commission.
The technique of gesture is not as old as sometimes we are told it is, hut it is surely a necessary adjunct to diplomacy. It has this, surely, very clearly about it, that it is one of those operations which is better performed solo than in chorus. The right hon. Gentleman is very adroit and skilful. If and when he is our next Minister of Foreign Affairs, can he be certain that he can lead behind him the members of his own and other parties in a gesture and in a disciplined and practised chorus? I do not know, but when my eye passes to some of the higher benches above and below the Gangway, I have a suspicion that a charming but rebellious beauty may burst in and destroy what should be an English ballet by a few paces specially imported from Moscow or even a suspicion of the Highland fling. [An HON. MEMBER: "The hon. Member for Bridgeton would oblige!"] As has been said before to-night, in our Constitution the treaty-making power is 1466 vested in the Crown. Is it wise to disturb it'? I am not speaking from any stick-in-the-mud, do-nothing point of. view when I suggest that experience has shown that the claim of the Legislature to have a voice in treaty-making rarely rests within the limits of prudent moderation, that the right to be consulted about every treaty becomes the power to withhold or to give a conditional con-sent to ratify. The French Constitution of 1871 defined a class of treaties in which the co-operation of the Legislature was necessary, but it was not 20 years before, in 1891, over the Inter-National Brussels Act against the slave trade, that the Chambers were refusing to ratify until certain, to them, obnoxious Clauses had been removed. The hon. Gentleman below the Gangway, in that very able maiden speech of his, called attention to the United States, and successive Presidents have found themselves faced by Senates which refused to ratify unless alterations were made. "Excellent," the right hon. Gentleman may say, "here is indeed democratic control." But has he estimated the full effect of minimising the position of the plenipotentiaries charged with the making of agreements? In proportion as they feel that the decisions of the plenipotentiaries are subject to revision, I believe that the nations will find a tendency for their treaty-making propensities to be atrophied. Let me quote the comment of a distinguished American critic from another point of view, an utterance recently made by a gentleman very much respected in the country, and a former American Ambassador (Mr. J. W. Davis). Speaking last year at the Conference of American Bar Association he said:It does not contribute to national influence, prestige, or safety that the process of ratifying or rejecting Treaties should degenerate into an endeavour to discover some qualifying formula acceptable to the minority. There is grave danger in forgetting, whether in matters domestic or foreign, that the business of the Government is to govern.Of course, it is possible by legislative-act to change the constitution. Innovations are always taking place: hut I believe the most experienced parliamentarians will tell us that the most natural and most safe innovations take place, not in the mechanism of the constitution itself, but in the spirit of the statesmen or composition of the electorate who work 1467 it. That may make English constitutional history difficult to write, but it also makes it extremely difficult to forecast what will be the result of changes in our constitution. When in 1649 the Act was passed establishing a Commonwealth in England, it laid it down thatthe people of England and all the Dominions and territories thereunto belonging are to be governed by the supreme authority of the nation, the representatives of the people in Parliament,although at that time the inhabitants beyond the sea were not represented in Parliament, and were outside the Realm. Few saw by that momentous change that the first step had been taken towards the loss of the American colonies.
I would rather that my tongue withered in my mouth than that I should say anything disrespectful of this House, but I cannot help asking whether the right hon. Gentleman, in making this new and unprecedented claim for the House, unknown to the constitution and never claimed before in responsible quarters, is not equally blind to the claims of the Dominions, the people over the sea. Either he claims unique and superior authority for this Legislature, or, if he has the other Legislatures in mind, he must, as the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway said, be prepared to see before every treaty, not two Debates, one in this House and one in another place, but ten Debates in the various Dominions over the seas.
There is one other point. In accepting the distinction made by the hon. Gentleman on the front row opposite between the control of policy and the control of negotiation, or, one may say, interference in negotiation, would not they be inviting just this interference in negotiation if they merely summoned Parliamentary co-operation at the eleventh-hour stage, a stage at which the Treaty is drawn up and is ready for application? And I think there is this added consideration, that at this late stage co-operation would he useless. If any hon. Gentleman will read in the Parliamentary Reports of the Debates upon the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904, or the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907, he will see that if there had been anyone at that stage so perverse as to disbelieve in the Anglo-French Entente, and had wished to 1468 emphasise its danger, the time to urge such considerations was not when the diplomats of both sides had constructed, in the face of great difficulties, a delicately-balanced compromise, and that the method by which to urge them was not that of picking a hole in some one or other of the clauses out of innumerable clauses dealing with Newfoundland fishing rights, Egypt, Morocco, Siam or Afghanistan. It is just because of the realisation that it is useless to interfere at that stage that Governments have been tempted to publish their agreements after the House rose, and that in the old days the period between September and February became a kind of lambing season for the Foreign Office. That was not done to create an atmosphere of mystery, but it was a tribute to the unreality of debate at that stage, and the danger of intemperate criticism.
Let us have all confidence between the Foreign Secretary and this House; realising that need not and does not depend upon machinery. Last week, was it the Standing Orders, or a speech impregnated. with charity, which most truly embodied for this High Court of Parliament that sense of unity in service to the nation? Not machinery, I believe. And if there is anyone who is a sceptic as to that, I ask him to look at the map of Europe. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Labour told us he had displayed in a prominent place a chart indicating the ebb and flow of unemployment. I believe that side by side might go the map of Europe; that map with its boundaries showing geography defying the laws of religious and economic gravitation, that Europe in which emigration to the United States has been cut off, and the back flow which has meant 30 much to European policy. If one looks at that map and tries to approach it in a spirit removed from party politics, whichever party may be in power it may be necessary to keep the diplomatic sword as sharp as the sword of temporal defence. I believe that sword will be kept by my right hon. Friend in the scabbard, but it will be kept sharp. I do not believe that the people of this Empire will treat with mercy anyone who allows that sword to grow blunt.
§ Mr. PONSONBY
I have been pounding away at this subject for the last 15 years, and I thought while the Labour 1469 Government was in power that I had the privilege of making a very necessary change in the procedure of this House. The Under-Secretary has told the House that the change proposed by the Mover of this Resolution—which really amounts simply to a change equivalent to that effected by the Labour Government last year—would not make the smallest difference. Those were his words. To show what a difference of opinion we have had this evening the Member for Cambridge (Sir G. Butler), who has just spoken, regarded the proposal of my right hon. Friend as an unprecedented claim, and as something that was quite beyond the present Constitution. Again, the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs said that it would modify the prerogative of the Crown. Nay I say that it would do no such thing.
The prerogative of the Crown is the power of ratification. This House has no power of ratification, and we do not ask that it should have any such power. What we ask is that this House shall have an opportunity of sanctioning a treaty before it is ratified by the Sovereign, and in that there is no modification of the prerogative of the Crown. I find in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, not only on this point but on many others, a very remarkable ignorance of what our procedure involved in the last Parliament, and what is the actual constitutional position. The right hon. Gentleman gave the House the impression that we became so entangled in our procedure that we could not get on because treaties had to remain for 21 days on the Table of the House. There was no such thing. I can recall no single instance where there was the smallest delay. The procedure worked perfectly smoothly. The idea of placing a treaty on the Table of the House 21 days before the ratification was a very simple procedure, merely to allow the House an opportunity of expressing its approval of the treaty. So simple was that, and so simple was our declaration that. we intended to make all agreements and understandings public, that what we apprehend is the danger that may result from a reversal of our policy by the present Government. If the present Government had not taken the step that we took we should not have been surprised, but that they should go out of their way to reverse the decision, once made, when it 1470 was working smoothly, must of necessity make the country suspicious that they desire to conceal from the country and from this House certain treaties and certain agreements.
The right hon. Gentleman said that this Motion would make no difference whatever. It certainly would make a difference. There are two notable instances of Treaties that have not been submitted to this House before ratification. One was the Anglo-Russian Agreement in regard to Persia in 1907, which was never brought before this House, and only debated several months after ratification. The other was the continuance of the Japanese Alliance, in 1905 I think it was, which was not submitted to this House. There was vehement protest at the time that the House had not the opportunity of discussion before ratification.
The present Government have the constitutional power of concluding treaties, concluding agreements, making secret understandings, and allowing military and naval experts to come to agreements with the naval and military experts of other countries, without this House being informed. That is the point which we wish to bring before the House. There has been a too frivolous note running through many speeches. The hon. Member for York (Sir J. Marriott) could hardly get to grips with this question. He gave us some chestnuts. There ought to be some time limit on the age of chestnuts. He asked me a definite question. He asked, whether I thought that if our engagement with France had been publicly known before 4th August, 1914, it would have made any difference to events at that time. I most distinctly think it would. I entirely agree with the Foreign Secretary who, in the quotation given by my hon. Friend the Member for Central Newcastle (Mr. Trevelyan), said that it might have made all the difference. What we are asking to-night is that this House should be informed of agreements, and that the country should know the obligations that they have undertaken and which they may be called upon to discharge by the sacrifice of their lives.
I did not think that we should get through this Debate without some reference to the Russian Treaty. My right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary 1471 goes a great deal further than we do in this Resolution. He says that the House of Commons must be consulted before a treaty is signed. That is a view at which. perhaps, I shall arrive at some future time, but I am not as advanced as my right hon. Friend in that respect.
§ Mr. PONSONBY
The right hon. Gentleman, within the recollection of the House, taunted me and my right hon. Friend who was Foreign Secretary at that time with having signed the Russian Treaty without consulting this House. I admit that the negotiations with regard to the Russian Treaty were extremely difficult and extremely intricate—so difficult and so intricate that the present Government do not even dare to make a start. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that. there is not any danger at all now—You can trust us because by the Covenant of the League of Nations, Article 18. all treaties have got to be registered and have got to be published by the League of Nations.I think that Article 18 of the Covenant of the League of Nations is a most admirable Article if it be carried out. We know that it has already been broken. The Franco-Belgian Military Convention is registered but not published. As the right hon. Gentleman said, these Conventions cannot be published because, if they were, their effect would be spoiled. Is the right hon. Gentleman quite sure that his naval and military advisers are not at this moment having conversations with the naval and military experts in other countries?
We find ourselves to-day in an extremely critical position. We find that the Government have gone out of their way to repudiate and to revise a very simple method of procedure for preventing secret treaties, and have gone out of their way to repudiate a small but very necessary safeguard which would prevent this House from being taken in and deluded as it was in 1914. The hon. Member who has just sat down was kind enough to refer to certain passages that I had written on this subject, and I hope that he saw me blushing, but towards the end of the speech he rather taunted my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Oppo- 1472 sition with having been an expert in the technique of gesture. The change that has come over Europe since my right hon. Friend left the Foreign Office has been very noticeable. Hon. Members opposite may attach very little importance to gesture and to atmosphere, but they must know that it is not the formidable nature of an obstacle that matters, but it is the spirit in which the obstacle is faced, and that two people who are ready to come to an agreement may overcome great difficulties, whereas two people who are in discord may find that the very smallest technical difficulty upsets them altogether. It was the spirit and the atmosphere which my right hon. Friend created in Europe which made a very great change. Look in all quarters and you will see the change. That is why we feel that this Resolution is very necessary at the present moment. We feel that there is the greatest necessity for confidence between the Foreign Secretary and the House of Commons. The present Foreign Secretary has quoted already, and I should like to give the House a very short quotation from a speech he made in Birmingham in February, 1914. He saidI sometimes ask myself whether in future it will not be necessary and indeed if it would not be a good thing that the Foreign Secretary should take the House of Commons in the first instance and his fellow-countrymen at large in the second, much more into his confidence than he has done, in the past. We have passed in recent years through European crises, the full gravity of which was not realised by our people, if realised at all. I ask myself, Can you conduct democratic government on those principles?That is what he thought in 1914. As we look to-day into Europe, as we listen to the Foreign Secretary as we did last Thursday, we learn nothing at all. The speech to which we listened last Thursday was one which was full of generalities, giving us no lead, no suggestions with regard to what policy he was pursuing, and he goes out to Geneva and he may be, for all we know, committing us to an engagement here or there without our knowledge, without our sanction, without the approval of this country. There is nothing to prevent him doing that. We want a check to prevent him doing that. We say that the Foreign Secretary has entirely altered the tone and temper of the whole controversy with 1473 regard to reparations and the Franco-German position. Where my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition used the method of conciliation, the present Foreign Secretary has gone back to the method of dictation. In all quarters we see him adopting the imperious, arrogant method. It is a matter of common talk in the Press of Europe that there has been a considerable change. The German Chancellor said the other day he wanted to get back to the atmosphere of The London Conference, because in the London Conference he had an opportunity of coming and consulting side by side with the Prime Minister and Ministers of other States. Now he is told that he has got to do this. He is dictated to and he is not allowed to come and, by means of consultation and co-operation, to settle these great differences which exist.
We do see a very great change in the atmosphere of foreign affairs. We come down to this House and we ask that the House should be informed of the commitments and obligations which we as a nation undertake, and the Under-Secretary gets up and refuses us any such thing. It will be noted throughout Europe and the world that this Government want to reserve to themselves the right of making secret treaties and secret engagements. That is the only interpretation. There is no difficulty about the procedure. There is no infringement of prerogative. There is no possible objection to the practice we adopted being carried out. My right hon. Friend who moved this Resolution very rightly said the next time we have a chance we will not introduce it as a practice, but we shall have to introduce it by legislation. The Under-Secretary laughs, thinking, I suppose, that the Labour Government will never have a chance. I think those Smiles and that laughter are perhaps a
§ little unwise, but I feel about this whole question that we go very much too slow in this House. I have been in this House since 1908, except for the bogus Parliament of 1918. I see the House drifting along the same way, I see us beginning on the old slippery slope, discussing expenditure on armaments, scoffing at all the various proposals made in the direction of peace.
§ I think that an appeal must be made more directly to the people outside. They have learned what war means. They know that at the time of the declaration of war, owing to their ignorance, they are deluged with falsehood. I think an appeal must go out to them to take the law into their own hands, because, after all, Cabinets and Governments cannot wage war without men. Pile up your armaments, but if the people refuse to use them, then you will have to adjust your diplomacy accordingly. And you can adjust your diplomacy accordingly. You know now that the people would not fight at this moment. There have been more causes for war, if ever there was a cause for war, since 1918 than there ever were in the seven years before 1914 and yet you have not fought—and you have not fought because you know the people would not fight. [Interruption.] I want to make an appeal direct to the people to keep in that mood, and to prevent them from being taken in by the subterfuges and falsehoods which precede a declaration of war; and if we move slowly in this House of Commons they will make a great advance towards the peace of the world.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 133; Noes, 255.1477
|Division No. 36.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Bromfield, William||Day, Colonel Harry|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bromley, J.||Dennison, R.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Brown. James (Ayr and Bute)||Duncan, C.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Buchanan, G.||Dunnico, H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Charleton, H. C.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Clowes, S.||Gillett, George M.|
|Barnes, A.||Clues, W S.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)|
|Barr, J.||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Greenall, T.|
|Batey, Joseph||Connolly, M.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Bann, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Crawfurd, H. E.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Dalton, Hugh||Grundy, T. W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murnin, H.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hardle, George D.||Naylor, T. E.||Stewart, J. (St Rollox)|
|Harney, E. A.||Oliver, George Harold||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon, Vernon||Palin, John Henry||Taylor, R. A.|
|Hastings, Sir Patrick||Paling, W.||Thomas. Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Thomson, Treveiyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W||Thurtle, E.|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hirst. G. H.||Potts, John S.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Varley, Frank B.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Riley, Ben||Viant, S. P.|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Ritson, J.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Warne, G. H.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Kelly, W. T.||Rose, Frank H.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Lansbury, George||Scrymgeour, E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Lawson, John James||Scurr, John||Wignall, James|
|Lee, F.||Sexton, James||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Lindley, F. W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Lowth, T.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lunn, William||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Sitch, Charles H.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Mackinder, W.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Windsor, Walter|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Smillie, Robert||Wright, W.|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|March, S.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Maxton, James||Snell, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr. T. Kennedy.|
|Montague, Frederick||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr. T. Kennedy.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Greenwood, William (Stockport)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Albery, Irving James||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Gretton, Colonel John|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Conway. Sir W. Martin||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cooper. A. Duff||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cope, Major William||Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Cooper. J. B.||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Hanbury, C.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Atkinson, C.||Craig, Captain C. C (Antrim, South)||Harland, A.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Baldwle, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Crook, C. W.||Harlington, Marquess of|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Bellairs, Commander Canyon W.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Henderson,Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Bethell, A.||Davidson,J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Henn, Sir Sydney H|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks. W. R., Skipton)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Dawson, Sir Philip||Herbert, S.(York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Blundell. F. N.||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Hilton, Cecil|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Dreve, C.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Eden, Captain Anthony||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Holland, Sir Arthur|
|Brass, Captain W.||Elveden, Viscount||Holt, Capt. H. P.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||England, Colonel A.||Homan. C. W. J.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hope. Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fairfax. Captain J. G.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Faile, Sir Bertram G.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Brown, Maj. D. C (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newh'y)||Fermoy, Lord||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Brown Lindsay, Major H.||Fielden, E. B.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Finburgh. S.||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Burman, J. B.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Hutchison, G.A. Clark (Midlin & P'bl's)|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Forrest, W.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Butler. Sir Geoffrey||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Fraser, Captain Ian||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Gates, Percy||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Gee. Captain R.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Kennedy. A. R. (Preston)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Goff, Sir Park||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Christie, J. A.||Gower, Sir Robert||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Grace, John||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Clayton, G. C.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Little, Dr. E. Graham||Perring, William George||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Loder, J. de V.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Storry Deans, R.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Philipson, Mabel||Stott. Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Lougher, L.||Pitcher, G.||Stuart, Crichton, Lord C.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Price, Major C. W. M.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Lumley, L. R.||Radford, E. A.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Rains, W.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Ramsden, E.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(Croydon, S.)|
|Macintyre, Ian||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Tinne, J. A.|
|McLean, Major A.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Macmillan Captain H.||Remer, J. R.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Rentoul, G. S.||Waddington, R.|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Wells, S. R.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Williams, Corn. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Russell, Alexander West (Trynemouth)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Rye, F. G.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Meller, R. J.||Salmon, Major I.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Meyer, Sir Frank||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Womersley, W. J.|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Sandon, Lord||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Savery, S. S.||Wood, E.(Chest'r. Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Morden, Col. W. Grant||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Moreing, Captain A. H.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Shepperson, E. W.||Woodcock. Colonel H. C.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Smithers, Waldron||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Oakley, T.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||colonel Gibbs and Captain|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.||Douglas Hacking.|
§ Question proposed, "That those he there added."
§ It being after Eleven of tree Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.