HC Deb 18 November 1925 vol 188 cc419-541


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

I beg to move, That this House approves the ratification of the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee, initialled at Locarno on 16'th October, 1925, and annexed to the Final Protocol signed on that date. In accordance with the promise which I gave to the House at an earlier stage of the negotiations which resulted in the Treaty of Locarno, I now submit a Motion which brings under the review ol the House the obligations which it is proposed that His Majesty's Government should accept before His Majesty's Government tender advice to the King to ratify that Treaty. I had been encouraged to hope, by the very generous acknowledgment of the work done at Locarno, which has been made in public speeches by the leaders of the two Opposition parties, that such a Motion as I have placed on the Paper would receive the unanimous acceptance of the House. I am sorry, though it is not for me to criticise it, that the Opposition parties should have found it necessary to put down any Amendments to my Motion. But I gladly take note of the fact that neither of the Amendments criticises the agreement which was come to, or challenges the policy of His Majesty's Government in accepting the limited obligation imposed by the Treaty of Locarno. What both Amendments do is to assert that the work of Locarno will not be complete until it is followed up by further steps of general pacification and appeasement, and I hope it is not necessary for me to say that it has always been the view of His Majesty's Government, a view which I have more than once publicly expressed, that the agreements made at Locarno, valuable as they are in themselves—and I beg the House not to under-rate their intrinsic value—are yet more valuable for the spirit which produced them, which informed them, and which is already at work in our international relations. And we regard Locarno, not as the end of the work of appeasement and reconciliation, but as its beginning.

The policy which His Majesty's Government have pursued has already received the general approval of the House. I was able to satisfy myself in our earlier discussions, particularly in the month of June, that the policy which His Majesty's present advisers were pursuing was accepted by all parties in the House, and that not only were the aims of all parties the same, but that there was general agreement as to the conditions which must govern our search for those aims. The House will observe that in the policy which we have pursued we have built on the foundation afforded to us by our predecessors, that we have taken up the work which they were pursuing in their time, but which they were unable to complete, and that we have carried it on with the same desire to help Europe to move out of the rut of war thought and war suspicion and war fears into a better atmosphere, which is the only sure foundation for future peace.

I was myself, let me acknowledge, very fortunate in the circumstances in which I was called upon to deal with this question, and in the men with whom I had to co-operate as the representatives of other countries. It was a great thing for His Majesty's present Government, and for their Foreign Secretary in particular, that the reparation question had been removed from the field of controversy before we were called upon to deal with the international situation. I desire, once again, to express my indebtedness to the work of my predecessors, and to recognise that, it they could not in the time allotted to them carry the work as far as we have carried it to-day, they were aiming at the same object and pursuing the same end—not always. I admit, by exactly the same means, hut animated by the same purpose, which is not a party purpose, but a national purpose, common to all parties and all sections of the community in this country.

I was not only fortunate in what preceding British Governments had accomplished, I was fortunate in the colleagues with whom I had the honour of working at Locarno. I had not met representatives of the German Empire until I met them at that Conference. I very soon was able to satisfy myself that they came there animated by the same sincere desire for peace and reconciliation that animated the Western nations, and that they would work with us in the same whole-hearted spirit to secure an end so essential for the prosperity of all our peoples. I was particularly fortunate in the character of the great Frenchman who represented his country there. M. Briand is a man of singular courage, of great clearness of vision and of a wide and generous liberality of thought. When he sets to work to make peace, he does it in the largest spirit. I think I am not saying too much when I say that the success of the Locarno Conference was essentially due to the character of the representatives of Germany and the representatives of France at that Conference. The representative of Belgium assisted the peaceful purpose of the representative of France. The representative of Italy took exactly the same position as the representative of His Majesty's Government, and contributed with us to the settlement of difficulties, to the alleviation of fears and the dispersion of suspicion that, without the aid of our two countries, might never have been possible of solution by the parties immediately concerned.

I think it is true to say that all of us in that Conference, and observers watching it from the outside, felt from the first meeting of the Conference that we were face to face with something new, after the last four years. For the first time the nations who had been enemies met on a footing of perfect equality, free to give or to refuse, to undertake or not to undertake. They met. not at the summons of the victors of yesterday, addressed to the vanquished to come and render an account of what they were doing or of their failure to fulfil obligations, but, on the initiative taken by the German Government itself, made our own by the Governments of the Western nations, and we met to consider, not terms prepared in advance by the Western nations for submission to, and acceptance by, the representatives of Germany, but a document in which their jurists had co-operated with our jurists: and that was the only document that was before the Conference. It was, therefore, as free nations, meeting by common consent on a footing of perfect equality to discuss their differences and, if they could, remove them, that members of the Conference of Locarno assembled.

I would undertake to say—and I observed it to some of my colleagues in that Conference—that had some inhabitant of another world, ignorant of all that had passed in the last few years in this world of ours, not knowing who we were who were gathered in the Courthouse of Locarno, dropped into our gatherings and found us at work, he would have never have guessed that we were the representatives of nations so recently involved in a bitter feud. He would have taken us for business men who had been associated in the past, amongst whom certainly grave differences had arisen as to present or future policy, but who were determined that those differences must be overcome so that their associations might be maintained. It was in such a spirit of good-will on ail sides, of confidence and friendliness, that the Conference of Locarno met, conducted its deliberations, and came to its conclusions. And it was the feeling of us all when we separated that, though what had been achieved there did indeed mark a turning point in the history of Europe, and it may be in the history of the world, yet it was, as I have said, but an earnest and an omen of the new international spirit and of the relations which would grow and develop between us as the years rolled by.

4.0 P.M.

It is complained, or criticism is suggested, in the Amendments on the Paper not of what we did, but of what we did not do. It is suggested that our work was incomplete, because among the documents initialled at Locarno was none which provided for general disarmament. That is true, but Locarno was not the place, nor were we who were assembled there competent alone to produce that scheme of general disarmament. What we have done is to bring a new assurance of peace and security to many of the nations which felt themselves most threatened and insecure. In so doing, it is our belief, the belief of all of us who were there, which we placed on record, that we have hastened the possibility of effectively dealing with the question of disarmament, that we have brought a new support to the work of the Assembly of the League of Nations and of its Council. And I would remind the House that the Council, in pursuance of resolutions, will itself be discussing this question in a very few weeks' time, and that a Committee of the Council is to meet in advance of the meeting of the Council, in order to prepare the way for the effective handling of it. It was not possible to deal with disarmament at Locarno. Other nations must be represented besides those who were at Locarno, in order to deal with this question effectively. But not only did we do nothing at Locarno to make disarmament more difficult, but we did much to make it easier. The whole of our work must result in making that problem one of greater immediate urgency and of practicability, and of assisting the Council and the Assembly in bringing it to a successful conclusion.

The second criticism which is suggested —I will not say criticism; it is not really criticism, but advice which is tendered— is that the Treaty should be followed by positive steps to secure the adhesion of Russia to the League of Nations. It might, perhaps, be sufficient for me to say that that is really not relevant to the particular Motion which is before the House. But, as it has been thought sufficiently relevant to appear upon the Notice Paper, I think I ought to say a few words more. It is the desire of His Majesty's Government, as I think it must be the desire of every member of the League, that the League should become as widely, as universally, representative as possible. The abstention of great nations from the League does pro tanto weaken the League's authority and powers of usefulness, although, in my opinion, it would be a great mistake to underrate the present power and influence of the League, even as it is now constituted, as an instrument of peace, an aid to conciliation and reconciliation between nations, and as having a moral authority, apart from any sanctions which it may have got, in international affairs which no nation can afford to disregard.

But the admission of Russia must depend, in the first place, upon the attitude of the Government of Russia. It is not for the League to go begging in one quarter or another. That would be derogatory to the League; it would be a minimising of its authority and its position, which I think no friend of the League could countenance or support. The will to join the League must be spontaneous in the Government concerned. Is there any will on the part of the Soviet Government to join the League? As far as my information goes —and my latest information is drawn from accounts of what M. Tchitcherin has said in the last few days in Berlin— it is that the Russian Government is not prepared to join the League on any terms whatever—that it finds a difficulty about joining a body, the seat of whose secretariat and the habitual place of whose meetings is in Switzerland. But it has more fundamental objections than those. It regards the League as an association of nations each of them constituted on a system which is incompatible with the view which the Soviet Government take of what the world should be, and it has a fundamental objection to joining a League of Nations based upon such a constitution of society. If that be, as I have every reason to believe, the view of the Soviet Government, it is really not-possible for anybody to accuse His Majesty's Government of being an obstacle to the entrance of Russia into the League.

With those preliminaries, I come more immediately to the documents themselves and to the proceedings of the Conference. We were dealing with Germany, and I think every friend of the League and every friend of international peace and goodwill will rejoice that the German Government have seen their way to propose entrance to the League of Nations. There were two questions which presented considerable difficulty to us in the course of the Conference. One was this very question of the entrance of Germany into the League. The other was the relations created by past treaties between France and Poland and their reactions on the new treaties which we were endeavouring to carry through. I must confess that I was taken completely by surprise when I found that by far the most serious of those difficulties was constituted by our condition, or our request, that Germany should enter the League. The question of the reaction of the French treaties and of the relations of France with Poland and Czechoslovakia was found on examination to be far lees difficult than any of us had supposed, and I must say that some injustice was done to Poland and to the distinguished representative of Poland in that Conference, because whenever there was thought to be a hitch in our proceedings, the Press representatives, whom we could not inform from hour to hour of all that was passing among us, perhaps not unnaturally, assumed that Poland must be the obstacle in our path. It was not so. The greatest obstacle was the entrance of Germany into the League. How that was resolved appears from the letter, printed on pages 55 and 57 of the White Paper, and which it is proposed that the other Governments represented at the Locarno Conference should address to the German Government on the day of the signature of the Treaty.

I came to the conclusion that the German objections were due to apprehensions which were very largely misapprehensions of what were the obligations of a member of the League, and of what would be the policy of the League in given events. All of us who initialled that letter felt that in the declaration which we made to the German Government we were saying no more than what has been declared by the Assembly in resolution after resolution and no more than what is the common-sense of the document which we had to interpret. No member can enter the League except with the same rights and the same obligations as every other member. I pause for a moment—perhaps it- is hardly necessary —to say that there is a single possible exception afforded to Switzerland, because, I think, it is the seat of the League, and for no other reason. But the very foundation is that all nations in it are equal, be they big nations or be they little nations, that they have the same rights, and that, consequently, they have the same duties. And it was impossible to create a new class of membership with restricted rights and restricted duties, or, alternatively, with full rights and with restricted duties. But the duties of a nation must be proportionate to the capacity of the nation to fulfil them, and no one can anticipate that the Council would ask of any a service which it is materially incapable of rendering. We have, therefore, I submit to the House, said nothing which in any way weakens the authority or the position of the League. We have carefully explained that we have no authority to speak on behalf of the League, but we have given as our own an interpretation of the obligations of membership of the League which, I think, will be accepted in every quarter.

If I turn to the actual Treaty of Locarno — that Treaty of Mutual Guarantee which is the only Treaty that His Majesty's Government propose to sign—I would make first about it three observations. In the first place, it is a Treaty which is aimed at nobody, pointed at no one, threatening no one and menacing no one. In the second place, it is a Treaty of Mutual Guarantee. The obligations of France to Germany are the same as the obligations of Germany to France; the same is true of Belgium and Germany; and the obligations of the guaranteeing Powers, Italy and Great Britain, are the same to Germany as they are to France or as they are to Belgium. This is not, then, a Treaty directed by one group of Powers against any Power or group of Powers, but is a Mutual Treaty of Guarantee among the Powers concerned to preserve peace on their frontiers and between themselves. The third point that I would ask the House to observe is that all the agreements initialled at Locarno conform strictly to the spirit of the Covenant and the spirit of the League of Nations—that they are placed under the guardianship of the League, that the League is the ultimate authority in regard to the issues which may be raised, and that what we have done is not to subtract from the power or the authority of the League, but to support and to underpin that authority and power for the settlement and reconciliation of conflicts between nations.

I need only run very briefly through the Articles of the Treaty. Article 1 is a guarantee by all the contracting parties of the inviolability of the Western frontiers and the maintenance of the territorial status quo. By Article 2, France and Germany, and similarly Belgium and Germany, undertake not to invade or make war except in special cases. The first case is self-defence, that is, where one of the parties has already broken one of the obligations which it has undertaken; and the second is where a flagrant breach of Treaty obligations has taken place, where such breach constitutes an unprovoked act of aggression, and by reason of the assembly of armed force in the demilitarised zone immediate action is necessary. That is, again, a case of self-defence. The third case is action in pursuance of the Covenant and the decision of the Council or the Assembly of the League. Article 3 provides for arbitration and conciliation, and the details are filled in by the Conventions regarding arbitration which were also initialled at Locarno.

Article 4 is the one which most immediately concerns us, because it embodies our guarantee. Article 5 is the guarantee of the Arbitration Conventions. Article 6 protects the Treaty rights of the Powers. Article 7 makes clear that these Treaties are not an infringement of the authority or power of the League, but are supplementary to it and in support of it. Article 8 fixes its duration. Article 9 deals with the position of the Dominions and India, to which I shall return later, and Article 10 deals with the entry of Germany into the League.

What the House will want to know is, what is the obligation that we undertake? There is no case in which we can be called upon to take military action except in pursuance of the Covenant and the action of the League, or where action is taken by one of the parties in breach of its obligations which leads to such an immediate danger that you cannot wait even the few days that may be necessary for a meeting of the Council. In that case, the British Government of the day remains the judge, and the only judge, of whether that case of immediate danger has arisen. I say the British Government is the only judge. Of course, the Italian Government, as joint guarantor, is in exactly the same position as ourselves. Each guarantor is judge of whether the circumstances have arisen which bring its guarantee into immediate play.


Is each guarantor separately to assess its own responsibility, or are the guarantors jointly to meet to assess joint responsibility?


I have no doubt that as a matter of practice the two guarantors would at once exchange views upon the situation. Indeed, I think it is probable that the powers which are guaranteed will be anxious to know what views the guarantors take of the situation before they themselves take action. Though, undoubtedly, the Italian Government and our own would in such circumstances exchange views, the decision rests in each case with the particular Government. It is not a joint decision of the guaranteeing Powers. It is the British Government as far as we are concerned that must be satisfied that the situation contemplated has arisen.

What is that situation? It is—it will be found on page 11— In case of a flagrant violation of Article 2 of the present Treaty or of a flagrant breach of Articles 42 or 43 of the Treaty of Versailles"— those are the Articles which regulate the demilitarised zone— by one of the high contracting parties, each of the other contracting parties hereby undertakes immediately to come to the help of the party against whom such a violation or breach has been directed as soon as the said Power has been able to satisfy itself"— that is our discretion; we must be able to satisfy ourselves— that this violation constitutes an unprovoked act of aggression, and that by reason either of the crossing of the frontier or of the outbreak of hostilities or of the assembly of armed forces in the demilitarised zone, immediate action is necessary. I do not need to remind the House that, under Article 44 of the Treaty of Versailles, the signatory Powers are entitled to consider any breach of any provision of Articles 42 and 43 as a hostile act by Germany against each of them. Any one of these hostile acts might have led to war. Now, we provide that immediate war follows only if the act is of such a character that delay becomes dangerous to the innocent party, and might be fatal to his safety.

You cannot argue that the French or we should sit still while the demilitarisation of the demilitarised zone is rendered ineffective, and that we should take no action in our self-defence until German troops have actually crossed the French frontier. That would be to destroy the whole value of the demilitarised zone. On the other hand, it would be a monstrous crime against humanity that some trifling infringement, or even some serious infringement, of these same demilitarisation clauses which do not immediately endanger peace should be the cause of the immediate outbreak of war. Suppose a siding is constructed for military purposes. That is an infringement of the Treaty. Suppose a fortress is erected. That is an infringe- ment of the Treaty. But these things cannot be done in a day. The fact that some workmen are at work here or there is not a cause for war. These are oases which should go through the process of judicial decision or conciliation provided in the Treaty. It is only in cases where any delay endangers the security of any innocent party that we contemplate action before the decision of the Council has been given, and even then we provide that the Council shall still be seized of the matter and that when it has given its decision, we will all conform to it.

I do not think that the obligations of this country could be more narrowly circumscribed to the conditions under which we have an actual vital national interest than they are in this Treaty of Locarno, and I do not think that without that amount of responsibility undertaken by Great Britain anyone could have achieved that détente in the international situation which has already taken place in consequence of the conference of Locarno. I should have felt that the work of Locarno was only half done if it had not produced also a détente on the eastern frontier of Germany and contributed to render secure peace in that part of Europe. Recent events must have taught us all that if war breaks out anywhere no man run say whore the conflagration will be arrested, and we cannot be indifferent to the prospects of peace in any part of the world, least of all in any part of Europe, in which we are so interested. But more. We took obligations when we joined the League of Nations. We become in greater or less degree participants in any conflict which breaks out, and it is, therefore, doubly our interest to see that the danger of war is removed as far as possible from every quarter of the world, and, above all, from every quarter of Europe in which the danger of war may arise.

The treaties signed between Poland and Germany and Czechoslovakia and Germany, naturally, could not be exactly the same as those which were signed by the western nations. Great Britain was unprepared to accept any new obligations in that part of the world, but I am thankful that by their free agreement and by the goodwill which their representatives brought to the discussion of their special problems, the security of the eastern frontiers of Germany and of the neighbouring States has come out of Locarno not weakened but strengthened, and the danger of war has been rendered much more remote there, just as it has been rendered much more remote in the western half of the Continent of Europe.

M. Briand, in his final word to the Conference at Locarno., made in reply to the statement by Herr Stresseman on behalf of the German Delegation, observed that if the signing or initialling of the Treaty at Locarno was to have been the end, as it was the beginning, of Locarno, and nothing more was done, he would have thought it an act of bad faith to have come and he would never have come. I do not say that those treaties when ratified make war impossible. It is not given to any human instrument to do that, but I do say that they render war infinitely more difficult and they make it far less possible that war should break out on some obscure or doubtful incident or claim, and with those agreements in operation I think that it will be difficult for one of the nations signatory to them to make war against one of its fellow nations without clearly putting itself in the wrong before the whole civilised world, and bearing the odium of such wrong doing.

After all, half the conflicts between nations spring out of some petty incident that is not worth the loss of a soldier's life, but where the honour or the pride or the national sentiment of two countries becomes engaged and neither deems it possible to yield. I do not believe that such incidents can create war among the parties who have signed these treaties, and if these incidents which kindle the flames of war cannot be wholly removed by written instruments at least it is true to say that the spirit which brought us to Locarno, and which inspired us there, has found immediate results in the policies of the Governments concerned, and that there is good hope to-day that we have turned over a new leaf, that we have put the war spirit behind us, and that we shall work with a common will to preserve peace.

Look at what has happened. At the moment when we met at Locarno thousands of German inhabitants of Poland were under an order of expulsion not in pursuance, or at any rate directly in pursuance, of rights drawn from the Treaty of Versailles, but under an agreement come to between the Polish and the German Governments for dealing with their nationals who opted to retain their nationality. I never heard any question in Locarno as to the right of the Polish Government to expel those men, but hardly had their Foreign Minister gone back from Locarno, carrying the Treaty with him, to the capital of his own country than the Polish Government decided to suspend the decree of expulsion against all these men and the German Government, on its side, decided to suspend the decree of expulsion against the Polish nationals in Germany.

And on our side, although it has taken a little longer, the fruits are also apparent. The settlement of the outstanding question about disarmament has been facilitated, at least, by the good-will engendered by Locarno. But more than that. The new spirit of confidence of the Treaties of Locarno enables us to say that we will no longer wait for the execution of all that has to be done but that on the 1st December, the day on which these Treaties are signed, the evacuation of Cologne shall begin, and it shall be carried through with all the expedition that the material circumstances of the case permit.

The whole administration of the remaining portion of the occupied Rhineland has been under review with a view to changing its character. When we stood—the Western nations and Germany—at arms length, menacing, threatening, things were necessary which become meaningless the moment that there is confidence and good-will between our respective nations. We shall now welcome what we have had in view for some years past, the presence of a Reichs Kommissar to discuss matters with us, and the whole administration will be reviewed with a view to reducing our interference with German life and German administration to the narrowest limits compatible with the safety of the troops that remain. I believe that a great work of peace has been done. I believe it above all because of the spirit in which it was done and the spirit which it has engendered. It could not have been done unless all the Governments, and I will add all the nations, had felt the need to start a new and better chapter of international relations, but it could not have been done unless this country was prepared to take her share in guaranteeing the settlements so come to.

I regret, nobody more so, that the circumstances of the British Empire made it impossible for all parts of the British Empire to be present throughout all our discussions, and to conduct these international negotiations from day to day in common. It was the desire of His Majesty's Government, before ever they embarked on this policy, to get into conference with the Governments of the Dominions and of India. That was not found possible. All that we have been able to do is to keep those Governments fully informed of everything that has been done from first to last. Their liberty and freedom of action are safeguarded specifically under the Treaty. It is recognised that only their own Government, acting with the authority of their own Parliament, can undertake for them the obligations that we are asking the House of Commons to undertake for Great Britain, but we hope that we may discuss this matter fully whenever the next Imperial Conference is set up, and that that Imperial Conference may not be too long delayed. I do not think that it is possible to treat matters of this great consequence, covering so wide a field, by despatch or cable across thousands of miles of ocean. For a true appreciation of the position, personal contact and personal explanation are necessary. It is for this reason that His Majesty's Government will submit to the Dominions that the best way to proceed is that we shall confer together whenever they and we are able to arrange a future meeting.

Meantime we who live close to the Continent, we, who cannot dissociate ourselves from what passes there, whose safety, whose peace and the security of whose shores are manifestly bound up with the peace and security of the Continent, and, above all, of the Western nations, must make our decision, and we ask the House to approve the ratification of the Treaty of Locarno in the belief that by that Treaty we are averting danger from our own country and from Europe, that we are safeguarding peace and that we are laying the foundations of reconciliation and friendship with the enemies of a few years ago.


I am sure that every party in this House will join in congratulating and in praising anyone who cither of his own initiative or in co-operation with others has done something to make peace in Europe more secure than it has been, and I think that the speech to which we have listened is a very substantial contribution to that end. We may say, as has been put down on the Paper, that the work at Locarno must be supplemented. I think that it is very desirable that the House should indicate in what direction that supplementing action should take place, but, after all, the best tribute that can be paid to any really substantial piece of work is to look at it with one eye very sympathetic and the other eye which is equally critical. Only by that double process of examination do we pay the homage that a good substantial piece of work ought to have paid to it. That. is what we are doing this afternoon. I must thank the Foreign Secretary for the very kindly reference which he made to what my colleagues were able to do during the time when we were in office. I almost envy that idyllic picture of the business men sitting at Locarno. It was not always our experience.


Hear, hear.


But nevertheless, if as the days go on, these conferences become more peaceful, more businesslike and more fruitful in practical work, then those of us who were in at the beginning will feel more and more happy at the part which Providence allowed us to play. There are two or three things about this Pact that ought to be mentioned, as being of the utmost importance from the point of view of securing peace. Whatever it does or does not do, it certainly has done one or two things which somebody or other had to do before any substantial advance could be made towards the pacification of Europe. Let me give the first reason. It is not an alliance; it is not a military compact. It is, as the Foreign Secretary said so truly, a combination for mutual comfort and succour, not a combination to present a common front to any enemy or group of enemies. It brings Germany into the League. I am not at all sure that if you could have brought Germany into the League without anything else, you would have done everything that this Pact has done. Anyone who understands the working of the League and who has intimate acquaintance with the mind of the European nations, must see the enormous importance that is gained when Germany sits down as a member of the League, represented at the Councils, with the right to initiate discussions, with the right to explain its grievances to the Councils, with the right to get its grievances properly discussed and settled —anyone who understands the real causes and troubles to-day will see what an enormous advance that is upon the present situation. I think that Germany in the League will turn out to be worth, perhaps, 20 Pacts such as this.

There is another thing. The Pact does advance the practice of arbitration. I think I was the creator of a sort of triple alliance of arbitration, security and disarmament. I am profoundly convinced that the one test of good faith in any European nation, the one test which we can apply to ourselves or to anyone else as to whether our cause is a righteous cause or an unrighteous cause, is: "Are you willing to submit that cause to an arbitration court? If you are, prima facie you are honest and sincere. If you are not, prima facie you are not honest and you are not sincere." Twelve months ago there were certain Technical difficulties in the way of committing ourselves to complete arbitration. This Pact has, I think, removed them all. Now one of the first consequences of the Pact ought to be that this country takes upon itself the same responsibility to submit its causes to arbitration as France and Germany have done with regard to the Rhine frontier. The practice of arbitration must be universalised. What is good for Germany, what is good for France on a matter which the whole of history shows is one of the most tender of the points of honour which again and again have produced wars, and when they did not produce wars have prolonged wars—the question of the Rhine frontier—if France and Germany have agreed to submit their cause, to submit any problems, any questions, any conflicts arising out of it to arbitration, then it is hard for any other nation on the face of the earth to refuse to resort to the same beneficent methods.

There is another good thing about this Pact. I happened to be on the Continent just at the end of the sittings at Locarno, and for some days after the Locarno Conferences had finished. I must say this: The change in the psychology, which one felt instinctively, was almost miraculous. I have already ventured to describe what to me is certainly not a light thing at all, but a very important thing. I have said that I have never known Couéism carried on on such a large scale, and with such a mass effect, as happened after it was announced that the representatives at Locarno had come to an agreement, and that the Pact was signed. At once everybody felt that they were at peace. If you asked them "Why?" they replied, "Well, we are at peace, are we not?" The only answer you could give to that was, "Of course you are." It was that extraordinary, psychological effect that attained to a power far greater than armies or force, that smashed down barriers of the mind which had kept the people separated, which made them look up, made them see that there was some hope in Europe, after that instrument had been signed.

There was another good thing. I found it universally on the Continent that the Pact was accepted as the first step to the Protocol. Naturally, I was delighted— nation after nation repeating the statements made by representatives at Geneva, at the Assembly, still standing by them, and saying, "We would like more." The mind of the peoples of Europe, the tremendous determination to have peace, to get security by mutual agreement, was turning more and more to that in Geneva. They wished for more; they would take more; they will ask for more. And they accept this as a very substantial first step to the complete end that they would like to attain. Every risk that was in the Protocol is here; every safeguard that is here was in the Protocol. The Foreign Secretary has expressed sentiments which I have listened to with very great pleasure. In fulfilment of those sentiments I beg of him to forget what he said last year, as, the more he remembers it, the more mentally difficult will it be for him to carry out successfully and fully and largely the spirit which he showed so well at Locarno.

But we must remember this—that a psychological effect is always a passing one. It comes: it goes. It is always passing. It comes like a tremendous flood. The moment it reaches its maximum it begins to end, and unless the opportunity is taken swiftly, unless you use every opportunity that that change in mind has opened up, then the harvest will never ripen, but will be like the seed sown on stony ground: it withers away before it ripens. I am, therefore, delighted to know that Cologne is to be evacuated, and that new arrangements are to be made regarding the occupation of the Rhine. May I ask the Foreign Secretary this, which is germane to these two declarations? He knows the point, as everyone who has sat at the Foreign Office knows it. Will he not also consider the desirability now of ending the Ambassadors' Conference? It could not be done until we had a larger measure of agreement than we had until Locarno. Now Locarno gives him a magnificent opportunity. The Ambassadors' Conference is a remnant of war machinery, and with these things straightened out and a better spirit in Europe, I hope that the Foreign Secretary will now take into his own hands, by direct negotiations between himself and other Foreign Offices, the settlement of those outstanding questions, which are still occupying the attention of this Committee of Ambassadors in Paris.

There is another thing. I am hoping more and more to impress the grave danger that besets Europe to-day on account of the position of the minorities in various lands. In one country in particular the failure of the League of Nations to get something like a just settlement of the minorities problem which was handed over to it by the Treaty of Versailles, has created feelings which, I am sure I do not exaggerate if I say that they would produce a war to-day and would have produced a war then, if either of the nations concerned had been in a position to fight. The one reason why there is no war in certain of these Balkanised States in Europe now, is not that between themselves they are at peace, but that they cannot fight over their grievances. I beg the Foreign Secretary to push hard at this question of minorities, because the Locarno psychology does give him the opportunity. As was shown in the case of Poland and Germany, it gives him his opportunity of compelling both sides to be reasonable, to face their history-long racial problems like reasonable men who must live at peace one with another.

In connection with that there is another point. The right hon. Gentleman said quite truly that Locarno does not deal with the smaller and more insignificant risks which unfortunately may burst out into war. I am not afraid of the big causes of war.


I do not think that I said that.

5.0 P.M


Well, I will say in. Locarno does not deal with any, of the small and the more intimate causes, like racial conflicts, in the Middle and East of Europe, which may burst out into war, and undoubtedly will burst out into war if left in the state in which they now are. You can have agreements about arbitration and all that, but unless the feeling is removed and cooled down, unless the problem is faced and some better agreement come to than that which exists now, we are going to have war, whether we like it or not; it cannot be avoided. I would press upon the Foreign Secretary the desirability of seeing that there are certain provisions in the Treaty of Versailles that will thwart every peace made so long as they exist in Europe. You cannot go and talk to these people; you cannot go and discuss matters with them inconfidence so as to get the mind exposed of any great leader of a political party in some of those countries, but you find that there is something underneath —that there is a grievance; that in their hearts there is resentment of injustice and that it is common to all parties. It is a national grievance, not a party grievance. No man has ever made a perfect instrument, but if we are to get real peace we must prepare our colleagues in Europe to examine objectively and freshly the experiences of certain provisions of the Treaty of Versailles with a sincere desire to amend them and readjust them and to get them stabilised. The Foreign Secretary, in dealing with Russia, gave us a very free translation of M. Tchitcherin's speech. I am perfectly certain if M. Tchitcherin had delivered the speech here he would not have got laughter from the benches opposite.


I did not freely translate or recount a speech of M. Tchitcherin's, but gave an account of the observations which he made to the British Ambassador in Berlin.


Did the British Ambassador laugh, may I ask? Of course he did not. I am not complaining, but the point is that the Russian ease is not a case to be laughed at either by hon. Members opposite or hon. Members behind me. It is a serious case. If it is not a serious case, if really there is nothing in it at all except some peculiar whims of a Russian Foreign Minister who has got some queer ideas both about him self and the best of Europe—and that is the impression I would get from the account given by the Foreign Secretary— as I say. if that is so. has the right hon. Gentleman taken to task his hon. Friend who sits on the same bench. He knows perfectly well the effect upon Russian opinion of the speech made by his hon. Friend.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES(Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

Will the right hon. Gentleman quote? I have seen several versions of the speech, most of them grossly inaccurate.


Yes. I am very glad I have mentioned it. As a matter of fact the copy which I have here is one which has been handed to me. The copy on which I base myself is the report which appeared in the "Manchester Guardian." The copy which I have here is the report from the "Times." If I had my own copy, it would have been the "Manchester Guardian" report. The hon. Member was speaking at Manchester and therefore the report in the "Manchester Guardian" was likely to be the fullest one, but this is what was in the "Times." The question was, 'Is Germany to regard her future as being bound up with the fate of the great Western Powers, or is she going to work with Russia for the destruction of Western civilisation?' The Foreign Commissar was brought from Moscow to try to prevent that. The significance of Locarno was tremendous. It meant that as far as the present Government of Germany was concerned, it was detached from Russia and was throwing in its lot with the Western Powers.


That is exactly what I said—that he came out of Russia to try to stop the Locarno Pact before it was signed, and it was a significant fact that Germany, in taking this step, had rejected his blandishments entirely.


I must say—


May I add that the "Manchester Guardian" reporter had left the room before I made any remark about this matter, in answer to a question. I made my speech and a question was put at the end of the meeting, when most of the reporters had gone, including, as I happen to know, the "Manchester Guardian" reporter.


We are very glad indeed to get that information. That was not published in the "Manchester Guardian," but, in any event, that is good enough or bad enough, because what does it mean? That speech has been taken to mean— and certainly reading it impartially and reading is as the pronouncement of a Minister I should say that this was the idea in his mind—that Locarno is going to be used to isolate Russia. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Well, I am very anxious to be helpful, and I will ask whoever is going to reply for the Government to tell us exactly what is meant by it. That will give an opportunity to dispel rumours which, if they are true, are very mischievous indeed. There has hardly been a reference made to Locarno and Russia since the hon. Member made that speech in Manchester—and he must know it himself if he reads the newspapers—but has mentioned that speech as more or less of an indication that, sneaking on behalf of the Government and in possession of the mind of the Government, he regarded the Pact of Locarno as an anti-Russian Pact.


I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not exaggerate and that he quite realises that by any exaggeration of this matter he may be doing harm to the cause of peace which we all want. I was speaking at Manchester about Empire cotton growing, and I made a speech with no reference to Locarno whatever. In reply to a vote of thanks when Locarno had been mentioned, as it happened to be the day after the Locarno Pact had been signed, I was asked on the spur of the moment to say a word about it, and I replied in the words I used in the second speech. It was not in any way a prepared speech, and I really think in that case, when I had never been near any of my colleagues in the Government, to use these words as the pronouncement of a Minister is hitting very hard.


If I may say so with respect, the hon. Member's indignation should be reserved for a more fitting occasion. The hon. Member is reported in this way: Referring to the Locarno Conference, and then his speech runs on. There is no indication that it was a second un-considered speech. The hon. Member himself ought to have corrected it next day. Perhaps he took the view which I always take that it was not worth while. (HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] He was quite right in taking that view, but now that I give him a chance of explaining, he should not be indignant about it. However, we need not take up time with this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Then we will take up time. This is a speech reported as though it were part and parcel of one pronouncement. It runs on and no indication is made that it is otherwise. The words used begin with a reference to the solidarity of Christian civilisation and state that it is necessary to stem sinister tides or sinister forces that have arisen. Then the hon. Member goes on to refer to the union of the great Western Powers in relation to Germany. Then he says that Germany got the choice as to whether it was going to work with Russia or work with the Western Powers, and he goes on in that way, referring finally to the Foreign Kommissar coming from Moscow to try to prevent Germany working with us, and then the comment he makes upon that, immediately in the next sentence, is The significance of Locarno was tremendous. I say, if there has been read into that speech a misrepresentation no misrepresentation could be more natural than that.


I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon for interrupting, but this is a little vague. I therefore ask the right hon. Gentleman, if he will be good enough to say what is the charge— what is the assumption which he wishes the Government to deny?


What I wish the Government to explain or to deny—


I want to know the charge which I am called upon to meet, so that I may meet it. The right hon. Gentleman will realise that this involves our international relations with another great Power, and that is always a dangerous matter. If he hints at beliefs that have gained credence and calls upon me to explain or deny, I want to know exactly what it is I am to deny.


This speech has been reproduced in Russia. It has been commented upon. It has been used in Germany. I saw it myself there and I saw comments upon it in certain sections of the German Press—not the Communist Press. Therefore, surely the Government will welcome the opportunity which I give them the very first time I can, of removing these evil suggestions that have been made based upon the wording of this speech.


Which are?


Which are, as I have already said, after a summary about Christian civilisation having to be made solid against Russia, that Germany has been separated from Russia and has been brought into a new alliance; that it is against Moscow; that the Foreign Commissar was brought to Moscow to try to prevent it and that this is the significance of Locarno, in relation to Russia and to Germany. The Foreign Secretary is under no misapprehension about what has happened in regard to comments on this speech. I would very respectfully suggest that he should look at his newspaper cuttings at the Foreign Office.


What I want the right hon. Gentleman to do is to state the comments to which he takes objection —which I think were not justified by the speech—to state the comments which he wishes me to deny, so that I may know exactly what is the charge he wants me to deny.


Is it the Government view that Locarno was engineered for the purpose of uniting Western civilisation against Russia?


No, it is not. I have constantly repudiated any idea of pursuing such a policy.


Was it the idea of Locarno to isolate Germany, to detach Germany from any co-operation with Russia, to get her into the group of the League of Nations States in order to form a bloc of European nations against Russia?


No,Sir, it was not.


Try again!


I am very delighted to hear that, and when hon. Members are good enough to ask me to try again, I would refer them to interviews which I gave to the German Press the moment I saw that, when I declared that I did not believe that any such thing was the intention of the Government. This is the first time we have been in a position to get that statement from the Government. I must say that this point has dragged out to a length to which certainly I had no intention of dragging it, but there it is. Now we know this, and this is most satisfactory, that so far as Locarno is concerned, it does not contain any idea, it is not the beginning of any movement, to further isolate Russia in Europe, but that, according to the declaration made earlier by the Foreign Secretary, everything will be done that can reasonably be expected to be done to keep the doors of the League of Nations open for the Russian State as soon as it makes up its mind to come in. Well, that is all right.

There is another point to which we must refer, and that is the question of disarmament. The reference made in the body of the Treaty to disarmament may mean little or may mean much. It is not a definite reference at all; it is a reference which may be nothing more than a pious opinion. I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman has told us to-day that it is more than a pious opinion, because its importance to this country is a very simple one, and it is this, that in proportion as we fail to effect an agreement upon disarmament, so is our risk greater under this Pact. Unless we can come to a disarmament agreement, then our risk under this Pact is, as a matter of fact, in relation to actuality, greater than our risk was under the Protocol. Disarmament is the one condition under which our security is good under the Locarno Pact. When we survey the whole position in Europe and look from what points and quarters wars may come, the thing that strikes us most of all is the limitations of Locarno. There is nobody in Europe to-day who believes that a war can arise over a quarrel in the Rhine Valley. It is impossible. There have been no wars between France and Germany on a direct issue as to whether the Rhine or something else than the Rhine is going to be the frontier between the two countries. That problem, if a war does arise, may prolong the war, as it prolonged the last War, probably, for years, but where the war will arise is nearer the Danube than the Rhine. The lighting of the match will take place, if it takes place at all, in Middle and in Eastern Europe.

Therefore, when we look at the map of Europe and see what areas and what problems are covered by the Locarno Pact, we see how very thin and narrow they are and what a tremendous hinterland of war risks is still left untouched. In fact, at one place, when I asked what they thought about the Pact of Locarno, although feelings were very hot and military sentiments pretty keen, I was in-formed: "We do not think anything about it at all. If your statesmen imagine they are going to settle the peace of Europe on the Rhine, they are very much mistaken. "That is only a very partial criticism of the Pact, but nevertheless it shows where the actual danger lies. What we have to do is this: We have tore member that that hinterland has to be covered in some way or other with peace security. Now here comes the very great danger of Locarno. In those places—in those small nations rent and riven with racial troubles, economic troubles, political troubles and jealousies, and religious troubles, troubles that have arisen like that in Czechoslovakia at the present moment, which has had such a tremendous influence upon the election that has just taken place—if an attempt is made to get security by agreement between Governments on the Locarno lines, on the status quo,with Great Britain signing or counter-signing, then nothing but harm will come, and already an impetus has been given to that method of giving security in the Balkanised States of Europe. Locarno cannot be applied, the diplomacy and method of Locarno cannot be applied, beyond the Rhine frontiers and into the Middle and Eastern States of Europe.

Moreover, there is another great danger, which is peculiar to ourselves. The Foreign Secretary made the best of the very dangerous settlement regarding Imperial responsibility. This is not the last that is going to be heard of this, and I am quite certain that the Foreign Secretary himself is under no delusion about that. Everyone knows that the settlement of foreign affairs and the conduct of the foreign policy of this country, not merely as an island, but as representative of an Empire scattered all the face of the earth, has within the last three or four years, especially since the end of the War, reached a point which could almost be described as the point of breaking down. It is one of the constant problems. I remember expressing certain views or it in the House over a year ago. One of the most constant problems that we have to face now is how we are to make arrangements by which our moral authority in the councils of Europe will not be merely our own moral authority, but the moral authority which we had as representative, not of these islands, but of the whole British Commonwealth of Nations. Let that go, and then I am not quite sure what authority we may have. It is not only the prestige apart from moral authority, it is the fact that the bulk of it as well as the right of it has a good deal to do with it.

What has the right hon. Gentleman done? He has cut the knot. He said: "It is a terribly difficult thing to consult with these far-flung Dominions." Well, we know that. ''Under pressure of time, I could not get at them, and," he said, "I will sign for the Homeland; you have no responsibility at all." I am not quite so sure on the constitutionalism of that, but we will leave that for a moment.aside. He said: "You have no responsibility; if you like, you can come in, but if you do not come in, the signature that has to be attached to those instruments on the 1st December does not commit the Commonwealth, it only commits these islands." Will it ever come to that? I do not know, I am not going to prophesy but what I think is most deplorable is that, without consideration, without a complete exploration of the problem, that has been settled as a matter of convenience. They have had 12 months in which to deal with this since they came in. It is not a new problem. My hon. and right hon. Friends remember the bother they gave us over the Lausanne Treaty, when we had to make the best of perhaps a bad job. We did our best, but the moment we discovered that difficulty, that more than difficulty, that danger, we took steps at once to get this considered by the Dominions, and we summoned a conference especially for its consideration. But here twelve months elapsed, and there was nothing done. We had this most unsatisfactory settlement of an exceedingly important problem, a settlement the result of which may not be seen till developments take place, and the Dominions may say: "Never again will you sign an international instrument, except for yourselves, allowing us to come in afterwards if we like or to stay out if we like." I cannot conceive of a more calamitous system of conducting Imperial foreign diplomacy than the method that has been enshrined in the Locarno Treaty.

Their is one other point about which I am a little unhappy, and I can deal with it in a sentence. It is a question of the relation between this sort of Pacts and the procedure of the League of Nations itself. This is what is likely to happen. Nations A, B and C meet apart, under no League of Nations supervision or control, but of their own free will can come to an agreement. It may be a good agreement, or it may be a bad agreement, but they come to it, and then they say, "In order to prove that we are loyal members of the League of Nations, and wish to show homage to it, we will hand over this agreement of ours to them, and ask them to be the custodians of it." If that were to be pursued to any great extent, that would be the end of the League of Nations, because that is turning the League of Nations into a sort of foundling hospital. The thing is produced, signed, and then handed to the League of Nations. The essential condition of the building up of a steady, continuously exerted moral authority of the League of Nations is that no agreement of any importance, no Treaty or Pact of any importance ought to be concluded by any nation in Europe loyal to the League of Nations, except under the auspices of the League. The League ought to be recognised in the negotiations, and not merely in the final result, and, therefore, I think, from that point of view, the Pact may have an unfortunate result.

But there it is, as I said, and I do not withdraw a single word I have said. The Pact, the spirit of the Pact, the psychological effect of the Pact is going to advance us substantially, I hope, in the way to peace, and these criticisms I have made are in the nature of developments, and the taking of opportunities which the Pact undoubtedly presents to Europe. I know some people say that we ought to remain isolated. I wish we could. I am in favour of an isolation policy theoretic-ally. Practically, it is a mere ostrich policy. It does not face the facts; it does not face the conditions. For us to stand up and say to France, to Germany, to Belgium and European and other nations to-day, "Go on your way, light and cut your throats, arm and prepare for war. We a, re indifferent; we have no concern with your quarrels," why, it is like a man who happens for a moment to he healthy, living in a diseased area under the impression that these things are not infectious, and the chances are that before long he himself will be down with the disease. We have to recognise now that there can be no European quarrel that is not going to affect us. Even if we keep out of it, it is going to affect us. Even if we do not send a, single soldier across the Channel, it is going to affect us. It may have been the argument used in 1914, but 1914 is gone, and we now have got a condition of Europe, the key to which is the League of Nations, and anyone who believes in the position that was possible before 1914, must, at any rate, be consistent to this extent, to give notice now to terminate our connection with the League of Nations. You cannot go on carrying out the Covenant of the League of Nations, and believing you are isolated from the rest of the world. It cannot be done.

What have we got to do? Finding ourselves in this position—I confess, again, it is an uncomfortable position; it is not a position one likes, but there it is—finding ourselves in this position, we have to use every ounce of intelligence we have got to devise a European policy to secure peace. Peace is the aim and the end of our policy. I believe we can do it. I believe that through the League of Nations, a strengthened League of Nations, by taking upon ourselves the responsibility of submitting our case to arbitration when our case arises, by showing to other nations of the world how to walk in such a way that war is not only impossible but unthinkable— unthinkable being the most sturdy form of the impossible—by pursuing that policy, helping to build up a great interlocking system of arbitration, disarmament, security, settlement of racial problems and, above all, rounding it with Imperial moral authority, we shall fulfil our destiny and our duty in the League of Nations, and find the security that isolation offered to us in days gone by more and more certain, and the creation of such a League of Nations bringing us, this country, ourselves, an unassailable peace.


I have already had an opportunity in public of felicitating the Foreign Secretary upon his achievement at Locarno, and I do not wish to withdraw from the position I took. On the contrary, I should like to reaffirm the sentiments I then expressed. The right hon. Gentleman made very-generous acknowledgment of the part played by others in this accomplishment. I was very delighted, as on old friend of M. Briand, to hear the Foreign Secretary's eloquent testimony to the part which he took. I am one of the sincerest admirers of that great French statesman, and I am very proud of his friendship. I agree with all the Foreign Secretary says. There is no doubt his great suppleness, his breadth, his imagination and his unexampled powers of persuasive eloquence, which, I think, are the greatest in Europe, and, above all, his great courage, must have contributed to this Treaty.

I think, also, if I may say so, that the reference of the Foreign Secretary to the part played by Germany was exceedingly fair and courageous. In many respects it was the greatest part of all, because, after all, we were just renewing a pledge we had already given when we entered into the Pact of Security. Although it was a joint one on that occasion, we always felt we had no right to keep out of it merely because America had failed. France, on her part, was getting a guarantee from the greatest Empire in the world for the security of her frontiers, and, so far as Germany was concerned, it was a voluntary acceptance by her statesmen of the frontiers of defeat. That was a very great act of courage. Initiation came from them, and I think it is right that in the British Parliament we should acknowledge the high courage which inspired that offer on the part of Germany, and I must say I am very delighted at the tribute which the right hon. Gentleman so fairly and so generously paid to the statesmanship which inspired the offer of Germany on this occasion.

The Foreign Secretary has received flowers from many nations, great and small. I should like to add to the nosegay the humble leek. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition mixed a good many thistles with his bouquet. There were more prickles than perfume, but there were one or two criticisms of his with which I certainly agree, notably, that about the Dominions. But I still say, I am frankly delighted, as one who has taken a part in many of these conferences, at the unquestionable advance which this represents in the cause of European peace. If there are any criticisms, they are criticisms with a view to there being amendment in future conferences.

There are two outstanding features of this Treaty which, I think, drown all criticism. The first is that Germany has been induced to come into the League of Nations—a very difficult task, as I know. I remember having a conference with the German Chancellor at Genoa, in which on behalf of the British Government I begged and implored him to induce Germany to come into the League. We promised the support of the British Government to the application, and not only that, but we promised the support of the British Government to the application of Germany to be a member of the Council of the League. They were then smarting under the decision of Silesia, and he then told me that public opinion was so angry that -no German Government could at that stage have entered the League. It is a real achievement to have got them inside.

I agree with everything the Leader of the Opposition has said about the League of Nations. All the same, do not let us shut our eyes to the fact that it has appeared too much as a Council of the Allies in many ways. The Allies dominated it, and there were many decisions which looked as if they had been inspired rather by the spirit of conquest than by the spirit of conciliation. But the introduction of Germany to the League alters in a very large measure the character of that body, and I think it is the beginning of bigger things, because I do not think the League of Nations can hope to dominate international affairs of Europe and be a real security for peace until you have got all the great nations there. Nobody knows better than my two right hon. Friends how difficult it was for Great Britain to be always standing there alone pleading for fair play and conciliation. It became almost a conflict between two old friends, France and ourselves. It makes such a difference when you have other Powers there friendly to France, equally friendly to Germany, and who will be able to exercise that judicial calm, that discriminatory examination of the problems that come before the League. I think it is a very great achievement having Germany in, and from the bottom of my heart I congratulate my right hon. Friend upon that achievement, if it were that alone.

I come to the second feature, which I consider almost as great as, if not greater than, the first, and that is the introduction of the principle of arbitration and its application. I was one of those who criticised the Protocol, and one of my objections to the Protocol was that, although it introduced the principle of arbitration, it did not apply it to the disputes which were likely to arise in Europe in the course of the next few years. It excluded some kind of arrangement for settling disputes under the Treaty of Versailles. As I understand this document, every kind of dispute, wherever it comes from, however it arises, is referable to arbitration. That makes all the difference in the world. I am taking, not merely the very words of this document, but I am also taking the words used by Lord Balfour in the House of Lords when he explained the policy of His Majesty's Government in reference to this Pact. In answer to a question by my right hon. and Noble Friend Lord Oxford, on this very point, Lord Balfour said: As I understand it, arbitration is complete. There is no question "— No question! which can arise between Germany, France, Belgium, ourselves, and Poland—if Poland comes in—which will not be submitted to arbitration, using the term in its widest sense. I understand that that is the policy of Locarno. I understand that that is a policy which is embodied in the Pact of Locarno; and, certainly, on the face of the document, it appears to me that the words of Lord Balfour are enshrined in the Pact of Locarno. That is vital. You had arbitration in the Covenant of the League of Nations. It was there. There was no difficulty so far as that was concerned. It was always, however, the contention of French statesmen that the Covenant of the League of Nations should not apply to disputes that arose under the Treaty of Versailles. That Treaty enters into almost every international question of Western Europe. To rule out the League of Nations from dispute sarising under the Treaty of Versailles was to make arbitration nugatory, and, to a large extent, to make the League of Nations comparatively nugatory too. According to this Pact all questions, how ever they may arise, will be referred to arbitration, and ultimately to the decision of the League. I consider that to be an enormous achievement, one indeed which is overwhelming! Under Article 6—it is perfectly true—the Treaty of Versailles is accepted. So it was when my right hon. Friend went to Paris. The Treaty of Versailles was a solemn obligation and was essential to the peace of Europe. That, however, did not mean that my right hon. Friend was not in favour under certain conditions, of using the usual machinery. That is where the covering letter of M. Clemenceau comes in, the letter which he sent to the German delegation at Versailles enclosing copies of the draft Treaty. That is always forgotten, yet it is a very vital part of the whole of the transaction. M. Clemenceau, writing on behalf of the whole of the Allies, said he was enclosing a copy of the Treaty. At the same time he said, after claiming that the Treaty itself was a fair one, that it creates the machinery for peaceful adjustment of all international problems by discussion and consent, whereby the settlement of 1919 itself can be modified from time to time to suit the new factors and new conditions as they arise. Article 6, therefore, is not in the least inconsistent with the principle of arbitration referring to all question when the conditions arise.

What mattered, said my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, was the spirit of Locarno. I would not like to say that. A disembodied spirit is not very helpful in an emergency. Therefore, I am very glad that he has incarnated the spirit in the form of a Treaty, and upon this he can be congratulated. Still, the spirit does matter. As my right hon. Friend knows perfectly well, it was very difficult to get some of the Allies to meet the Germans at all around the table. We met at Spa, London, Cannes, and Genoa. I agree there was something different, something new in the meeting at Locarno —that there you discussed a project submitted by Germany herself. That was a new thing.

Since then there have been two or three important events. First of all there is the economic pressure upon Europe. The nations have begun to realise more and more that they are dependent one ach others' good will. They realize that international hatreds are bad. They realize that the franc has suffered just like the mark. Economic pressure has, I think, altered the attitude of the nations to each other. Another factor, and a very important factor—andhere the right hon. Gentleman has had the advantage of me—isthat, since those days, you have had the intervention of the Ruhr, and its failure. It is one of the difficulties we always had that in the best-disposed French statesmen there was the lure of the coalfield before their eyes. They felt that some how or other they would get full compensation there. The thing was tried, and the failure of it has altered the whole attitude of France It is a great advantage, and to the credit of the right hon. Gentleman is this that through the lapse of time wounds have healed, the smart has, to a large extent, passed away, nations have begun to realise that this attitude of watching each other, of hostility one towards the other, does not so much damage the other nation as themselves. There has also been the fact that the other policy has been tried and has been found to be a complete failure.

The right hon. Gentleman has had the courage to take advantage of the new atmosphere, and, if I may say so, he has taken full advantage of it. I do not agree that he could have had disarmament, and the Resolution to which I have put my name does not say so. I simply, say I think he ought to follow up—and I think he agrees—the matter, and I should like to hear what he has to say on it. To attempt disarmament at Locarno would have been to lose everything. I do not agree even that you could have had Russia in at Locarno, for the same reason. I made that point when at Genoa. I do not regard the Russian spirit as having changed much since then. I shall be glad to hear about that. I have seen comments that may have been unfair, but I think that the right hon. Gentleman has made it clear that this is not the organizing of force son the West against anybody. I think one of the very best passages in his speech was that in which he said Locarno was not aimed at any body. I think that is vital. Therefore, I am not criticising him because he did not complete his task by achieving disarmament. Disarmament is a very difficult business. It takes a long time. In regard to Russia, I do not criticise him because he could not bring Russia in. Very bravely after Locarno M. Briand said he would be prepared to go back if he could do anything. There was no response; but it is one of the things which I think must come. I do not think it can be done now—quite frankly I do not think so.

I come, however, to another part of the subject, and I should like to ask one or two questions because there are one or two obscurities. An article in the "Times" to-day indicates some dangerous obscurities. I know there is the temptation, when you are trying to settle a dispute, if there are very troublesome questions which you need not settle there and then, to put them off till the next Conference. No one knows that better than trade union leaders. There is a disposition to say, "Let us settle nothing but this matter at the moment, and then later we can come to the other." I would not criticise my right hon. Friend that he has not precised everything, and that there are certain things left in doubt, for if he had insisted upon a very complete definition he might easily have broken up the Conference. I am not criticising that, but there are one or two things which I think are really vital and about which I think we should know. They are very vital. We must not leave gaps through which the dogs of war can pass.

The first question I should like to ask him is this: I do not quite know what he means by the phrase "an Arbitration Convention." It is in the second paragraph, which says: This provision does not apply to disputes arising out of events prior to the present convention and belonging to the past. 6.0 P.M

Well, that may mean something very, very serious, and very wide. On the other hand, it may simply mean that in little incidents which have occurred during the last few years, where Germany has a grievance, that she is not to be allowed to raise all these questions and insist upon arbitration. What matters with these ambiguities is this: that you should not have an ambiguity of first-class importance where honest men may honestly differ as to interpretation. I think it is rather important that we should know whether that paragraph refers back to questions, for instance, like the decision of the League of Nations outside Silesia, or some question about the Saar, or about the Danzig Corridor, or whether it simply refers to incidents which are treated as past, and cannot be raised again. The second question I should like to ask is this: The "Times" article to-day indicates that all boundary questions are excluded. If that is the case, that is a departure from the Clemenceau letter because, according to the Clemenceau letter, by the Treaty of Versailles you can, by an, article in the Covenant, raise questions of boundaries —you cannot go to war, it has got to be settled by the judicial means provided by the Covenant. I would like to know whether those questions are excluded.

The next question is not so much on the Treaty itself as on the explanation offered by the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office say Article 6 has a saving Clause intended to make it quite clear that the Treaty of Locarno does not invalidate any special right enjoyed by any party, under the Treaty of Versailles or under the agreements which have arisen out of the Treaty. There are special provisions in that Treaty which confer special rights on the Allied Powers individually or as a group. Those rights are safeguarded by Article 6. I do not know whether that refers to the dispute with the British Government—which the present Prime Minister was involved in, and his predecessor, Mr. Bonar Law, even more so— with regard to the invasion of the Ruhr by France, when she claimed the right to act apart from her Allies. That right was repudiated at the time by the Conservative Government of the day. We have never accepted the French interpretation. I think it is a very dangerous interpretation, if it is accepted; and I would like to know what are these individual rights which are conferred upon individual Powers which do not belong to the group of Powers who signed the Treaty of Versailles, because this is capable of a very dangerous interpretation. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what he means with regard to that?

Now I come to a point raised by my right hon. Friend where I really feel I must press a criticism for the first time, and it is with regard to the consultation of the Dominions. I think the failure to consult the Dominions, to bring them into consultation, is a serious error which may have grave consequences. There was a great change in the whole treatment of foreign politics by the Empire as the result of the War. It was expressed very well toy a Canadian statesman the other day when he said, Before the War the method of dealing with foreign politics in the Empire was by a policy of trusteeship. What does that mean? That Great Britain was the trustee of the Empire as far as foreign policy was concerned; the business was left to Great Britain, and the rest of the Empire accepted the action of the trustee. It was the policy of trusteeship. The Dominions said, during the War, "We have sent a million of our sons to fight your battles; it is for a policy we have never been consulted about, but we are going to support you; we cannot do otherwise. But we must in future be consulted about all questions of foreign policy that might entangle you with other nations and precipitate the British Empire into war." We said, "That is fair." We accepted that position. Thenceforth there was not trusteeship, but partnership. It was quite a new policy. We definitely agreed that upon all questions of foreign policy—certainly those involving any new departure, not interpretations left to the Foreign Office, but over great Treaties—the Dominions should be fully consulted.

The Foreign Secretary has said very fairly, "You cannot conduct consultations by cable." But my right hon. Friend the leader of the Labour party has pointed out that there has been plenty of time for a fuller consultation than that. This offer came from Germany in February. There have been seven or eight months during which the Dominions could have been consulted. Every great treaty up to Lausanne, as my right hon. Friend pointed out, was negotiated upon the basis of full consultation with the British Empire delegation. There was a British delegation in Paris, and there was not a Clause in the Treaty of Versailles about which they were not consulted—not one. The same thing applies to all the other negotiations. They were present at Genoa. The first departure, and it is a very, very grave departure, from that policy was over the Treaty of Lausanne. I am very sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with his great traditions in this matter, should have followed that most perilous precedent. It is very dangerous. May I point out what the effect of it is? A very remarkable speech on this very point was delivered the other day by General Smuts. It appeared in the "Times," and as it states the case so powerfully, and, I think, so fairly, I will, if the House will permit me, read what he says: He regretted that the Empire had not acted with a united front in negotiating and signing the Pact, and doubted whether all the Dominions were likely to adhere to the Pact ex pout facto. This case was going to be a precedent for the future. The tendency would be for the British Empire delegation to disappear from the field of diplomacy. Well, it has disappeared, since Lausanne.


They were at Geneva.


Oh, yes. I beg pardon. At Geneva they were there, because they were in the League of Nations. I was referring rather to Lausanne.


And London.


And London as well. I am very glad to hear that. That emphasises the thing all the more. General Smut's speech goes on: More and more the foreign policy of the British Empire would become simply that or Great Britain. The day might come when the Dominions might feel that they had little in common with such a policy and would begin their own foreign policies in their own interest. There were natural and inevitable centrifugal tendencies at work in the Empire, and he feared that Locarno had given some impetus to them. A fear was sometimes expressed, which he did not share, that the League of Nations must inevitably weaken the links of Empire. Incidents like Locarno were far more likely than the League to sow seeds of dissension and derision. Then he goes on to say: The Empire was a priceless blessing, and was to-day, with American abstention from the League, the main force supporting the advance of great human causes and ideals in the world. The maintenance of solidarity and a united front were, therefore, essential. That is a very remarkable criticism upon the position, and I have seen a letter from a very prominent Conservative, who was certainly also a great Imperialist, who regarded this with profound dismay— the failure to consult the Dominions, which is quite inexplicable. I believe the Dominions would probably have come in. It is just the sort of policy that might conceivably appeal to them. If South Africa takes this view, if Canada takes this view, it will make it very difficult for Australia to take a different view on the subject; and I am very much afraid that the effect of it will be to shake the very fabric and solidarity of the Empire.

It has been a break in our diplomatic unity. I thought one of the achievements of the War was that it had unified the Empire, had brought the Dominions into the orbit, as it were, of our foreign policy, and that we should have the advantage of knowing that whatever happened to us in the future would be as a result of a policy they were just as much responsible for as we were. I am not going to predict that if we were in trouble the Dominions would desert us. I do not believe it. But they might not come in with the same alacrity if it was over something they had not been consulted about, and, as my right hon. Friend knows very well, they might not come in with the same unanimity and unity, and that makes all the difference. I deeply regret that this consultation was not possible, especially as it was in the negotiation of a Treaty which I heartily approve of, which I rejoice in. It is a great misfortune that there should be just this one thing that has marred the triumph, and has introduced a new-element of peril to the Empire at a time when we are undertaking liabilities and responsibilities which are full of peril themselves.

I have only one word to say in conclusion. The Prime Minister, in referring to the Treaty of Locarno the other day, used a word which I hope he did not fully mean. He told us it was the "culmination" of post-war effort to obtain stability and security. If it is the culmination it is a cul-de-sac, and a trap. Its value is that it is a step, and not a goal.

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

Would my right hon. Friend allow me to explain? I understood the word "culmination," I think, rather in the sense of being a peak, on which we take our stand and intend to remain.


To remain? Oh, no, it is a peak from which the right hon. Gentleman has got to leap on to another. I do not know whether my right hon. Friend has any experience in climbing mountains. If he has, he knows very well that as you go up you say, "That is the top," and when you get there you find there is another peak further on. That is the kind of peak that I hope he regards this as—a place from where he can see something beyond to climb up to. If this be really regarded as the end, and as something to rest on, I think it is a folly, a mistake, a peril. You have got to carry it further than that. After all, there are the Balkans. We know well what that means. [Laughter.] I do not know what there is to laugh at. After all, the Balkans are the earthquake region of Europe. The earth's crust is thinner there than it is anywhere else. That is where the tidal wave of blood came from in the last War. Until something like Locarno, something that will introduce the principles of Locarno, is brought into play in the Balkans, so that it is impossible for force to be used in those disputes, and you can compel them to refer disputes to some sort of arbitration, Europe will be full of peril.

Russia must be brought in. I was delighted to hear what my right hon. Friend said about disarmament. Until we have disarmament in Europe, no treaties will avail to prevent war. The temptation would be too great. If there is one Power with overwhelming force where its claims can be established easily and readily, the temptation will be to resort to the battlefield and not to the court of arbitration. It is therefore vital that there should be disarmament. After all, let us be quite plain upon this point. It is no use having Pacts and securities and arbitration as long as nations are building submarines to sink our ships and aerodromes are being planted on the shores of the English Channel. The spirit of Locarno has gone right through to the question of armaments. Unless it goes through to that, Locarno will be simply regarded in history as a slobbering melodrama. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will carry it further. It is not enough to have arbitration, although that is a magnificent achievement and one upon which I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman fully and with a whole heart. I congratulate him, not merely upon what he has accomplished but also on the tenacity, the courage and the skill which he has displayed in this matter. I have followed him with great interest and great pleasure and with very great personal satisfaction. I congratulate him from my heart and I hope the courage, skill and tenacity he has shown in putting this Pact through will also tend to facilitate the further disarming of the great armies of Europe.


I am not quite sure as to whether we are discussing either of the Amendments on the Paper at the present time, because I gather that neither of the Amendments have been moved, although the substance of them has been dealt with by the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite who have spoken. They have offered their congratulations to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but I must say that I never heard a congratulation offered so unwillingly or with so little grace. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down described the Treaty of Locarno as a "slobbering melodrama."


I cannot allow the hon. Member to say that I was not sincere in my congratulations, and if I have conveyed that impression I am sorry. I fully intended that my words should convey my sincerity. It is not correct to say I called it "slobbering melodrama," but I said that history might so regard it, and I also stated that disarmament should be the next step.


The right hon. Gentle-roan said that the Treaty of Locarno would weaken the solidarity of the Empire. If that is so, it is not a matter for congratulation at all. I know we cannot expect hon. Gentlemen opposite to be particularly enthusiastic in handing in their bouquets. They appear to be in the position of one congratulating a man engaged to be married, but feeling bound to point out that the real test as to whether these congratulations were deserved would come after the ceremony, and that for their own part they have the gravest doubts as to the wisdom of the step that is being taken. The main point about the two Amendments with regard to the policy of the Treaty of Locarno is that it contains insufficient about disarmament. With regard to the policy of disarmament surely we are all agreed, and we are all working towards that policy as our ultimate ideal, although personally I think that many of those who talk so much about disarmament, and who are such sincere lovers of peace are approaching the question from the wrong end because they are seeking to obtain peace by disarmament instead of promoting that feeling of security which will lead to a policy of disarmament.

I do not think disarmament conferences will do any good while you have people feeling that they are not secure, and while they have a feeling that their neighbours may resort to war. It is the will to peace that we wish to encourage, and which will promote a sense of security, and if this is done then disarmament must come almost automatically. The Amendment put forward by the Labour party suggests that some serious step towards disarmament should have been taken at Locarno, but that seems to me to be quite an impracticable suggestion. You could not expect four or five foreign Ministers at Locarno to deal with proposals or make suggestions for disarmament. We know that to achieve disarmament we must consult naval, military, and air experts in order to get any practi- cal results whatever. We also know that so far as this country is concerned disarmament is a question of naval disarmament. At the present time we could only consider this question at a conference at which the United States and Japan were represented. I think these facts make it impossible seriously to support the Labour Amendment. Of course I do not expect that that Amendment will be pressed to a Division, and it seems to me to be a proposal intended for us to talk about rather than to vote upon.

One subject dealt with in one of the Amendments is the desirability of consulting the Dominions; in fact, both Amendments deplore that the Dominions were not consulted in regard to this Pact I yield to nobody in my enthusiasm for the Dominions and in my deep sen6e of the importance of consulting the Dominions upon every step taken in regard to our foreign policy. It is much to be deplored that at the present time no machinery exists whereby the Dominions can be kept constantly and continually in close touch with the Imperial Government in regard to matters of foreign policy, and it is much to be hoped that in the near future some such machinery will be constructed. The point, however, is that it does not exist at the present time, and when hon. Members opposite deplore the fact that the Dominions were not consulted, I would like to ask in what way is it intended that they should be consulted. How could the Foreign Minister, in the course of the extremely delicate negotiations in-which he took part, and which changed from day to day and from hour to hour, possibly keep in touch with the representatives of our Dominions all over the world? How could he possibly consult them, more especially in view of the fact that two of those Dominions were plunged at the time in the middle of a General Election? I hope the time will come when some machinery will be brought into existence for this purpose, but at any rate it does not exist to-day, and is it not unjust folly to blame the Foreign Secretary for not using machinery which does not exist?

But, after all, why should we suppose that the Dominions will take a view of the Locarno Treaty different from that which has been taken by nearly every- body in this country? The Locarno Treaty is one which has commended itself to the good sense of the whole of the nations of Europe, and why should we suppose that the good sense of the Dominions will lag behind the good sense of Europe. But even supposing such a disaster should occur and one Dominion should be found lagging behind on account of their lack of experience and their failure to appreciate the problems with which the Locarno Treaty deals and should hold back from ratifying that Treaty and should go so far as to refuse to take any part in it, does that mean that this country should throw out an agreement of that kind? Does it mean that the great step which has been taken towards peace in Europe should be abandoned because one Dominion does not agree with it? In these matters we are dealing with various parts of the Continent of Europe, and we are dealing with problems which do not primarily concern our Dominions, and therefore we must have the ultimate decision, and although we expect and hope that the Dominions will see eye to eye with us in regard to these questions, we feel that the Foreign Secretary who represents this country must be in a position to take some responsibility upon his own initiative.

But really when we near all these passionate declamations from ex-Prime Ministers against the Government for not having sufficiently consulted the Dominions one is astonished at the lack of memory which is displayed in those statements. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition is no longer in his place, but the hon. Member who was the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the right hon. Gentleman was Prime Minister, is present, and he will remember how the Treaty with Russia was signed on his instigation. I would like to ask if on that occasion the Dominions were consulted in regard to that policy? As a matter of fact this country was not consulted at all. In that case we had the head of a Government, which had only the support of a minority in this House, making a Treaty with a foreign Government, a Treaty which had not the consent of this country, in fact there was every reason to suppose that the country would condemn that policy, and to-day we find the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who was then Prime Minister, coming forward and blaming the Foreign Secretary for taking a step of which the whole of Europe approves, and the right hon. Gentleman complains because the Government have not consulted the Dominions. Even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs is not guiltless in this respect. He stated that a great change had come over foreign affairs since the War. I remember an instance which occurred in 1922, when the right hon. Gentleman launched an ultimatum to Turkey which nearly plunged this country into war, and he did not even consult his own Foreign Secretary.


That was Winston Churchill.


I think the question of our relations with Russia seems to me to be very remotely connected with the Treaty of Locarno. I am not quite aware as to how far we may, in discussing this Treaty, deal with extraneous subjects, and whether it would be legitimate whilst congratulating the Government upon the Treaty, deal with extraneous subjects, dealing with the state of things in Mexico and the Tacna-Arica dispute between Chile and Peru. The right hon. Gentleman opposite made great play in this connection with a statement made by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies. What does the statement amount to which has been so much blamed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs? It amounts simply to this, that the hon. Gentleman said he was glad that Germany had come into the League of Nations and had joined the great community of Powers which forms the League of Nations, and had to that extent been taken out of the influence, into which there was obviously a danger of her falling, of Russia.

Everyone who has studied or even given a thought to foreign affairs must have realised the danger of an alliance between Germany and Russia. We know that a Treaty exists between Germany and Russia, made under the very nose of the right hon. Gentleman, and there was a real danger of that Treaty becoming an Alliance, and of that Alliance representing exactly what I am sure hon. Gentlemen opposite must deplore, namely, the old balance of power in Europe, with two groups of Powers, with Germany and Russia side by side against the rest of Europe and the League of Nations. The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies was glad to see that a blow had been dealt at that by the decision of Germany to join the League of Nations against the advice of Russia. I cannot see what harm that statement could possibly have done if it were properly interpreted, though I can easily imagine great harm coming from it if it were misinterpreted, either by people abroad or by people in this country.

With regard to our relations with Russia, I hold a view which may be heretical in this party. I think that, the sooner the outstanding questions between us and that country are settled, the better. I think, now that the question of the Eastern frontier of France is more or less on the way to settlement, the next danger zone in Europe is the Western frontier of Russia, and I look forward to the day when we can come to some sensible agreement with Russia. There is nothing more disquieting in foreign affairs at the present time than the entirely unsatisfactory condition of our relations with Russia—half recognition and half not, half hostile and half friendly. Nothing could be worse than the existing relations between this country and Russia. As to the internal government of Russia, I entirely agree with some hon. Members opposite when they say it is not our concern. There have been bad governments in Russia in the past; there have been none, perhaps, so tyrannical, so bloodthirsty, so oppressive, so anti-democratic as the present; and I am afraid it is the case that there have also been none so Imperialistic. Just as the Government of the French Revolution became more Imperialistic, more militarist, and more ambitious than any government of Louis XIV had ever been, so I fear there are symptoms of the Soviet Government at the present time becoming Imperialistic and ambitious, seeking to spread its influence throughout the world, intriguing against us, as they are undoubtedly doing, and as all Russian governments have done in the past until we had the Entente for a few years. There is every evidence to show that that is the tendency of the Russian Government at the present time.

The chief difficulty in the way of our coming to reasonable terms with Russia, and of persuading Russia to join the League of Nations, is the present Russian Government. That is so much the case that I should almost like to add, to the long and rambling Amendments which we may shortly be discussing, a further rider to say that we desire peace with Russia, that we desire good relationship with Russia, that we desire Russia to join the League of Nations, and that to that end we sincerely hope that the present regime in Russia will shortly be destroyed, as we think that it constitutes the greatest obstacle that exists in the way of Russia joining the League of Nations, and in the way of our becoming friends.

A great deal has been said, both by the Leader of the Opposition and by the Leader of the Liberal party, on the subject of the extension of the principle of arbitration. The right hon. Gentleman sees no reason, now that we have gone so far, why we should not be prepared to undertake, in the way that France has already undertaken, that every question that arises in the future we will submit-to arbitration and abide by the decision. That is a very important step to take. It is one which I hope, in the days to come, this country may be in a position to take, but, in my opinion, it is an undertaking which no Foreign Secretary has the right to give at the present time. No Foreign Secretary representing a party in this country who have a temporary majority in the House of Commons has a right to bind the good faith of this country, and to bind all his successors for years to come, to submit any dispute that may arise in any circumstances to arbitration and to abide by the result. It will be necessary to get a different spirit in Europe, a different spirit in this country, before you can undertake an obligation of that kind with the certainty of being able to fulfil it.

The League of Nations runs no greater risk than that of nations rashly entering into obligations which, when the time of trial comes, they may prove unable to fulfil. The first time that happens, the first time one of the many obligations which countries have undertaken under the Covenant of the League and subsequent agreements is broken, it will deal a blow at the prestige of the League of Nations from which the League will have difficulty in recovering. Therefore, I believe it to be the right, sane, wise and cautious policy, and, above all, the moral policy, not to enter into any such agreement, not to give any such wide and vague undertaking at the present time, because we cannot be confident that we, or those who come after us, will, in the day of trial, be able to fulfil it.

We have heard very little, and we shall probably hear still less, from hon. Gentlemen opposite in praise of the Treaty of Locarno. It is not their business to praise the Treaty; it is not their business to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman. The Opposition are there, after all, to oppose. That is their main duty, and they will, no doubt, fulfil it to the best of their ability. But, whatever may be said by them in this House, whatever appears in the newspapers, I believe that the facts of the Treaty of Locarno are known to the people of this country. In that strange way which the English people have of appreciating the facts of the situation in spite of what they are told by politicians and in contradiction of what they see in the Press, more often than not they realise the truth of the more important events that happen in the history of their time. They have appreciated that in the Treaty of Locarno a great step has been taken towards the ideal which they all cherish and in which they all believe, and they realise what I believe to be true, that the Treaty of Locarno will prove in the future to be part of the foundation of a peaceful Europe.


I beg to move, to leave out from the word "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words while agreeing to the ratification of the Treaty of mutual guarantee initialled at Locarno on 16th October, 1925, and annexed to the Final Protocol signed on that date, and while approving the various provisions for arbitration in the Treaty and expressing satisfaction at the impending entry of Germany into the League of Nations and at the improvement in international relations evinced at Locarno, is of opinion that the real test of the Treaty depends upon whether it is followed by disarmament, and regrets that it does not contain definite provisions concerning disarmament; and this House is further of opinion that the Treaty should be followed by positive steps to secure the adhesion of Russia to the League of Nations and its participation in European agreements. I move this Amendment, not in the spirit which was described by the hon. Member who has just sat down when he said that it was in the spirit of an Opposition who considered it to be its duty to oppose that we should debate this Pact and bring forward our Amendments. That is not the spirit by which we are actuated at all. This is far too important a matter to necessitate the ordinary tactics of British party politics. This is an international matter which the whole world is watching, and we on this side of the House desire to speak with a full sense of responsibility, not only as being a British Opposition, but as forming the nucleus of a party which inevitably one day will again form the Government of this country. Therefore, Europe is naturally looking to see in what way we regard this Pact, and we think it right that we should point out in what way we desire that it should be improved, and that we should give warning of the points which we consider to be dangerous. It is entirely in that spirit that I approach the very responsible task that has been entrusted to me.

I do not want to cover ground that has been already covered, but there are points that require emphasing. I should like to join with others in congratulating the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and to add my humble flower to the bouquet which has been made up, as I understand, by a thistle from my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, and a leek from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). I am wondering what humble flower I can add; perhaps the best one I can think of is love-in-the-mist, for there is a good deal of mist. The task that the Foreign Secretary has undertaken, and the way in which he has discharged it, have naturally drawn a great deal of applause and commendation from his fellow-countrymen, and everyone must realise the difficulties with which he was confronted. I do not want to say anything further about the gratification that we feel at the principle of arbitration being extended. Reference has been made, and one can but repeat it, to the satisfaction that is felt at Germany being at last brought into the League of Nations, and the right hon. Gentleman, in his opening remarks, paid a very well deserved tribute to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition for the way in which last year he prepared the atmosphere which has been so favourable for the further steps.

I should like to draw attention to one further small point, which I think may not have been fully noted, and which has also given me particular satisfaction. It is in these words, which are contained in the Preamble to the principal Treaty: Anxious to satisfy the desire for security and protection which animates the peoples upon whom fell the scourge of the War of 1914–1918"— I think these are most significant words— upon whom fell the scourge of the War of 1914–1918"— that is to say, the old myth of the sole responsibility of Germany for the War has been finally and officially dropped. I think that that is indeed ground for satisfaction. That His Majesty's present Government should have gone as far as this Pact goes is, undoubtedly, considering what their attitude has been in the past, a very great step forward. We on this side of the House have to consider, too, that this Pact has been received with the warmest approval by the Socialists in Germany and the Socialists in France; but that does not exonerate us from examining very particularly whether the Pact is indeed a step towards the goal which we all have in view, and whether it does not contain, perhaps, dangers which may prove to have encumbered us with an agreement which is worse than no agreement at all.

After these preliminary remarks, to show that it is rot in any factious spirit of petty opposition that we are putting down this Amendment, but with a genuine desire to offer useful criticisms, I should like to proceed to those criticisms. I think what the Leader of the Opposition said with regard to disarmament has been misunderstood, judging by the remarks of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down. Nobody expected that any practical suggestions for disarmament could be contained in the provisions of this Pact, but, unlike the Protocol, it does not provide for the calling of a conference on disarmament, and in that respect it is undoubtedly inferior. When the signatures are put to an instrument of this sort and everyone throws up his hands and says, "We have now got European peace," and at the same time we see no process of reduction going on in any quarter—we know that the military equipment of Europe is very much bigger than it was before 1914; we know that we are spending £130,000,000 on armaments and that the manufacture is going on—that destroys confidence in the bona fides of the signatories that they really intend to disarm. If they believe that this brings security to the frontier, which has been the cause of war, if they really think that there is in this Pact genuine ground for thinking that one of the most vital causes of war has been removed, they ought to show immediately by some act that they can reduce armaments. Nothing of the kind has been done. It is true the right hon. Gentleman said there had been a mitigation of the occupation of the Rhineland, but that there should be any troops left in the Rhineland, when the Powers in question have put their signatures to a document by which they pledge themselves never to have war over that frontier, seems an anomaly and again prevents people from really putting the same confidence in these signed documents as they would have if they were immediately followed by specific action.

With regard to Russia, I think there has been some misapprehension. I am very glad we have cleared up the indiscretion of the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and that we have a specific reply from the fountain-head, because I think it is very important. But while I have been assured that the right hon. Gentleman's intention never was directed pointedly against Russia, at the same time it is not a matter of intention, it is a matter of consequence, and there can be no doubt that this instrument can be quite well interpreted as a grouping of Western Europe against Russia, the isolation of Russia and the throwing of Russia into the arms of Asia. It has been interpreted in that way, and I do not think at all unreasonably. I do not think it is unreasonable for us to say that is the inference that can be taken from the terms of this Treaty. The and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken said we had got rid of the balance of power. We have got rid of one sort of balance of power, but we have a very great danger of creating a very much more dangerous one, a balance of power between Europe and Asia—a Continental balance. After all, the world is very much smaller, and seems to get smaller every day, and the grouping of Powers covers a very large area. Communication is very rapid, and these Continental groupings are quite practicable, and I think they constitute a possible danger which I am quite justified in drawing attention to. The right 'hon. Gentleman said Russia was not prepared to come into the League of Nations, and I think he was correct. I do not think Russia is prepared to come into the League of Nations at present. I do not think Russia trusts the League of Nations. I think Russia has considered that the League of Nations has been a committee of the Allied Powers consolidating their victory after the War, and I do not think they have been very far wide of the mark in putting that interpretation on it. But I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether any endeavour has been made to come alongside Russia in a friendly way and bring Russia first of all into amicable and normal relations with this country and Western Europe. The right hon. Gentleman has returned a decidedly obstinate opposition to any friendliness towards the Soviet Government since he has been in power. He very dexterously eluded the question of the incivilities at the station and at the reception, and he was perfectly correct in saying there was no sort of regulation which necessitated the representation of the Secretary of State either at the reception or at the station.


That is not what I said. I deprecate these endeavours to manufacture an offence where no offence was given. I said it is not the practice of the Secretary of State to be represented at the national celebrations of other countries in this capital or to be represented at the departure from London of Ministers and Charges d' Affaires. That is a simple statement of fact and that is a practice, or absence of practice, which applies equally to those Powers with which we are most closely associated as to Russia or any other.


I accept absolutely what the right hon. Gentleman says. I do not mean to interpret it in any other way. I am sorry I did not express it in the recognised, technical, official form.


You said I eluded the question.


May I finish my remark? What the right hon. Gentleman has said is perfectly correct. There is not a word to be said against it. It is like saying our relations with another country are correct, which is just the phrase used when they are not friendly. When, for instance, the French Ambassador, M. Saint Aulaire, left London on his retirement, a Foreign Office official was present at the station. Last year at the reception to M. Rakovsky there were several officials of the Foreign Office present. I am quite sure invitations were in the ordinary course extended to them and they knew that the correct attitude under the present administration would be a refusal. Therefore, they were perfectly right. It is the correct attitude. There has never been an attempt at friendliness towards the Soviet representatives or the Soviet Government during the last 12 months. [Interruption.] Any reference to Russia, any reference to the enormously important questions that are all mixed up with our relations with Russia are always treated by hon. Members opposite as a huge joke. I do not think this isolation of Russia is a matter that can be disposed of quite so lightly. I am very glad of the statement the right hon. Gentleman made to-day, and I hope it will do a great deal towards getting rid of the impression which it certainly gave rise to, and I do not think wholly unreasonably.

We must realise that the Pact imposes upon this country very serious obligations. In return: we see the possible solution of a very vexed, long-standing cause of trouble between the two countries. That is important. But considering the obligation that we have undertaken, which is to put the entire force of Great Britain behind France or behind Germany in certain contingencies—:an immense obligation—I think we should have got as a. quid pro quo more than appears in this instrument. I think such a guarantee as that, a most valuable guarantee, a guarantee which produces an enthusiasm for this Pact in Germany and in France which is quite natural, for they are both going to have the backing of this country behind them, ought to have given us a very much firmer voice in, demanding an immediate measure of disarmament on the part of France. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) called attention to a point in which I think he was not entirely accurate. I want to raise it because I think perhaps the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will be able to correct him, or to correct me. There is in Article 3 of this Treaty a provision that says Germany and France undertake to settle by peaceful means all questions of every kind which may arise between them. He then quoted Lord Balfour, who said in the House of Lords, on 6th July, there was no question that could arise between Germany, France, Belgium and ourselves which would not be submitted to arbitration. I think that statement of Lord Balfour's is very much qualified by Article 6 of the Treaty, which says: The provisions of the present Treaty do not affect the rights and obligations of the high contracting parties under the Treaty of Versailles or under arrangements supplementary thereto. 7.0 P.M.

That is to say, all questions arising out of the Treaty of Versailles do not come under Article 3. They still remain to be decided and interpreted by the decisions of the Allies and the Conference of Ambassa does. That leads me to what I think is very noticeable in this matter, which is that the sacrosanctity of the Treaty of Versailles is preserved. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) spoke of the number of conferences that he had attended, and everyone of those conferences is testimony of the weakness and the impracticability of the Treaty of Versailles. Everyone of those conferences is an attempt to improve it or revise it. But in this Pact there was an opportunity of making the Treaty of Versailles take rather a back seat. Instead, its sacrosanctity is insisted upon and emphasised.

I come now to what I think the misleading feature of the Treaty. We find in Article 6 the specific incidents mentioned which may lead to war. We read of "unprovoked attack and aggression" and "flagrant breaches of treaty," and then all the necessary machinery will come into operation when these incidents occur. I do not believe that under that Article there is a single incident mentioned which will toe the cause of war. Wars are not caused by troops crossing frontiers, or by breaches of treaties. If hon. Members will reflect and think of the wars of the past I do not think they will find one that was caused by a breach of a treaty. Treaties are broken right and left directly a war is declared; that is a consequence; but I do not believe a breach of a treaty can be pointed to in recent years as being the cause of a war. Therefore I do not think these breaches and unprovoked acts of aggression—we do not know what unprovoked aggression is; nobody can define it—in this Article are providing against eventualities which are in the least bit probable. I do not think wars are caused in that way. In fact, I am very sure that they are not. Wars are not caused by troops marching over frontiers, by erecting fortifications or by deliberately breaking a clause of a treaty. Those are not the causes of war. I think the right hon. Gentleman himself has said that the causes of war always have to be looked for very much farther back. He very well described how often it was a petty incident which produced the conflagration which is not the cause but the occasion of war. As we know, in the last War the murder of the Archduke at Sarajevo was not the cause of the war at all. It was the occasion. The causes of the War, as anybody will see who reads Lord Grey's book, went right back and were bound up with the psychological estrangement of nations one from the other which begins without one noticing it and extends over a number of years and increases in intensity. That is why the attitude towards Russia I am so frightened may gradually take us forward into a position which would be very difficult for us to get out of.

We are discussing these matters of high policy, which I can assure the House I feel myself absolutely incompetent to reach. The issues are so vast that an ordinary subordinate private Member feels unequal to the task of dealing with them. You always get into a sort of language of high diplomacy. We imagine ourselves in Foreign Offices, Chancellories, Cabinets and Courts, and among the manԓuvrings of diplomacy. But T want to ask the House just for one moment to regard this from a very different point of view. This is the issue of peace or war, and it is an issue which interests the common people of this country and every country. I want the House for one moment to look at it through their eyes and through their spectacles. They have got no time to read pacts and protocols and covenants annotated with comments that they could not understand. I am not sure that we in this House understand them very well. They have not got the time, but they know very clearly some things. They know that in this issue which may arise any day they are not only the victims and the sufferers but they are the chief agents. They understand that while on the big social questions that we discuss here they have but a very indirect influence with their votes and the pressure of agitation and letters, in this question of peace and war they have an absolutely direct voice. They were told that the Great War was a war to end war, and they have been waiting for years to see what the Governments are going to do. They see the expenditure on armaments going up, they see armaments manufactured, and they see armaments sent to those inflammatory parts of the world where wars break out, those inflammatory parts of the world, which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, like the Balkans and elsewhere, where wars break out. Why? Because the combatants are supplied with those, new methods of destruction by the Christian and Western Powers. They look around, and they wait for some hope that they are not going to be called upon to participate in this barbarous, and yet as they see absolutely futile, conflict, and yet they hear us discussing these pacts and protocols, and the thing goes on still. They see people baring their heads in front of the Cenotaph and singing with great emotion: Sufficient is Thing arm alone, and our defence is sure, and then going on to the War Office and the Admiralty and the Air Ministry to order more bombs, more shells, and more aeroplanes. They begin to ask and to wonder whether they are not being deceived again by a gross and extensive hypocrisy, and they are thinking whether they may not bring about the desired way of getting peace which we all believe in, namely, disarmament. Disarmament is not mentioned, except vaguely. A disarmament conference is not proposed. Disarmament is not practical politics, and yet without disarmament you can never get security. Disarmament must come first before you can get security. They are beginning to wonder, if the Governments do not make haste, pay compensation to those who fell by making that war really a war to end war, and secure die-armament and prevent these armaments from being manufactured, whether they could not make up their minds to refuse to use them. I believe that the people are giving this their very earnest thought. They are getting impatient when they see how slowly Governments move. I am sure we on this side of the House desire to welcome any move forward, and we regard this as a move forward, and we do not desire to oppose the ratification of these treaties. But I think we are right to point out the dangers and to ask the House to look at it, not only from the official view, but from the view of the people, and to see how we are situated in this country to-day. I think we are right in showing that the best method of procedure is not by partial pacts or by sectional arrangements, but by uniting all countries together in their determination that war shall not occur again.


I beg to second the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Ponsonby). I hesitate to offer to the Foreign Secretary congratulations in the way that all my predecessors in the Debate have done, at any rate from this side of the House. We have been accused, those who have offered their congratulations, by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Duff-Cooper) of being not altogether sincere. At any rate, I am sincere in this, if you will believe me, that the whole of the party opposite at any rate is very much to be congratulated upon the complete change of attitude which enables them to listen quietly to the peaceful appeals regarding our late enemy Germany which the Foreign Secretary to-day has made. It is not a far cry to the General Election of 1918, when a leading member of that party, a member ultimately of the Coalition Government, described Germany as a nation to be treated like an orange, to be squeezed until the pips squeaked. We are drinking the loving cup to-day with the representative of that nation. It is a great and glorious change that has been effected. I mention this in order to emphasise the further point that the change which has come over the members of the party opposite to such an extent as I have named ought to warn them that before long it will be equally necessary for them to change their attitude regarding another great nation of Europe. The laugh which to-day followed the remark of the Foreign Secretary when he dealt with the question of the difference of outlook in the matter of social organisation between Russia and ourselves will, I hope, change quickly. I congratulate the hon. Member for Oldham on the change that is going on in his own mind regarding this issue of Russia, and the necessity of including Russia in the arrangements that we shall have to make in the future with regard to Europe as a whole.

I do not think that the complaints that have been made in this Debate regarding the emphasis that was placed by the Leader of the Opposition on the speech made by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies are justified. The "Manchester Guardian," in which appeared the report which affected the mind of the Leader of the Opposition, is one of the newspapers that circulate, as hon. Members opposite know, throughout the whole of Europe. It is a highly reputable organ of public opinion. I can say that as a member of a party which does not agree with its political views. I expect hon. Members opposite will take the same view. If in that newspaper a report is given of such importance as the speech of the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, it ought surely to have been the business of the Under-Secretary at once, or of someone representing his Department, or someone representing other Government Departments, to see that the report was contradicted, and to give an opportunity to people in Europe to realise what he really did say. If the complaints that have been made to-day are a matter of offence to members of the party opposite, they have themselves to blame, or the Government has itself entirely to blame upon this issue.

I wish to deal with the further issue that has come up regarding the Locarno Pact. Complaint has been made of the inadequacy of the attempts which the Government made to work in conjunction with the Dominions before a final arrangement was come to. I wish to press that complaint, and I do so supported by a statement made on behalf of: the Foreign Secretary. A little while ago there was organised in this country a petition in favour of the acceptance by our Government of an optional clause for the submission of disputes in the future, ultimately, to international arbitration. The Foreign Secretary was not able to receive that petition, signed by half a million people, but he instructed one of the representatives of his office to give a reasoned reply upon the petition, and there will be found in that reply the following statement on behalf of the Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Office: There are certain considerations affecting the British Empire winch require to be taken into account. In substance, the constitution of the British Empire is not unitary, and it is perilous to proceed as if it were. The assent of the Dominions and of India has to be secured at every step and it is undesirable to give unqualified undertakings which it may prove impracticable to fulfil. The condition of things in the event of failure is apt to show itself more provocative of insoluable dispute than if no unqualified undertaking has been given. The Foreign Office, therefore, realised, in spite of all the supposed objections regarding the difficulty of dealing through cables, telegrams and so on, that in taking steps upon questions of this sort the Dominions ought to be consulted all the way, and they have said so explicitly in the communication that I have just read. I press the complaint which came from the Liberal benches and from these benches against the Government in their too-speedy effecting of this arrangement without taking into account the opinion of the Dominions. It is an amazing thing that the party which so frequently expresses its belief in the Empire and in the necessity for the union of the Empire, should be here to-day defending an act clearly disregarding the principle of working according to the Imperial will which the Foreign Office itself has clearly laid down.

I was glad to hear the Foreign Secretary say that he looks upon the League of Nations as the ultimate authority in regard to the issues which may be raised in connection with the Locarno Pact. He insisted that this Pact was a part of the general system of which the League of Nations is the head. In so far as he is working for that end he will receive from these benches and from all quarters of the House the support that it will be necessary to give him. But I am doubtful whether he had fully considered all possible cases when he put that view forward. Does he really mean that the League of Nations is to be the ultimate authority in regard to all issues. Is the League to decide how the British Navy shall be disposed in these issues? He has told us that he felt it necessary and that his colleagues who were working with him at Locarno felt it necessary to make an exception in those cases where sudden provocative aggression was practised by a particular State. In that case, the nation which feels it is suffering from the aggression is to be left free to be its own judge regarding that aggression.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Brightside has said, it is so easy to give an impression that provocative aggression has been practised by another nation. It is so easy to do it when, really, that is not the cause of the conflict. It has been stated many times in debate in this House that the reason why the party which now sits below the Gangway on this side supported the Government in 1914 in the prosecution of the War, was because the Belgian frontier was invaded. I am quoting the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) correctly, I think, when I say that on several occasions he gave expression to that view; but we now know that that was not the cause, those were not the influences that led to the participation of this country in the Great War. We know that if another war comes it will be supported by expressions made by statesmen that the cause of the war was the sort of reason put forward by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, namely, the provocative aggression of another State.

When once you embark upon war through a reason of that sort, there is no holding back. The dogs of war, once they are loosed in modern warfare, can never be chained until they have run their full course of ruin. I ask the Foreign Secretary, even though he has spoken of the League of Nations as the ultimate authority, is it not likely to be the case that, under this Locarno Tact, a day may come when the people of this country, through untrue state- ments regarding the real causes of the war, may be persuaded to enter upon war, and our men may be persuaded to take up arms, and when once they have been persuaded, no power on earth can hold them back until ruin has finally run its course? It is for that reason that we insist, in spite of the references by the hon. Member for Oldham regarding disarmament, that every step that is now made in connection with arrangements in which military movements are possible contingencies in the future ought to be accompanied by a provision for disarmament.

We do not feel that the world will ever be secure again until disarmament, not merely a measure of disarmament, but total disarmament, is accomplished. By this Pact, the Foreign Secretary has said, the British nation, through its Government, will be finally free in exceptional cases to say whether it will come in or not. If the British Government takes that view, I say as an individual, speaking for myself, that I, too, am free upon that issue, and I make it clear, here and now, on my own behalf, and on behalf of thousands of young men throughout this country, that if another war comes, whatever be the pretext of that war, in no circumstances will I take part by force of arms in backing up the decision that the Government has made. I am prepared to help to get this Pact ratified in the interests of seeing the party opposite tread its path towards peace, and in the interests of helping parties in other parts of Europe to tread the path towards peace.

I do not agree with the provision regarding sanctions, and having made clear the position that I personally shall take, and which the great mass of the young men of this country will take who had experience of the last war, I plead with the Government, with all my strength, to get on quickly now with those disarmament proposals that would have been dealt with but for the too-ready rejection of the Protocol. I have seen arguments in the Press that those who support the Protocol must necessarily support this Pact. May I remind the House that the provisions of the Protocol could never have come into effect until the Governments of the world were satisfied that an effective provision for -disarmament had been made as provided for in the Conference that should have been held in June, 1925. But there is no provision in connection with this Pact, and it is for that reason that we are watching it with the greatest alarm. We feel the possibilities of this great danger in future. We hope that the Government will press on with the unified attempt that ought to be made to bring Russia as well as Germany into the League of Nations, and finally we plead that the disarmament for which we have so long pleaded may at last be given effect to in a great disarmament conference at which the world will finally make up its mind to do without armaments in time.


The two hon. Members who have moved and seconded this Amendment will not expect to find much concurrence with their arguments on this side of the House, but I am quite certain that when this Debate as a whole is reviewed and public opinion is brought to bear on it, as well as upon the Amendments on the Paper, it will be somewhat of a surprise, and at all events will give much satisfaction, to find how far we do go in agreement. On all sides of the House it is felt that in this Locarno Pact a great step forward has been taken, and all sides of the House agree in congratulating the Foreign Secretary and those who are associated with him on their part in bringing that about. That leads me to say, what I know is in the minds of many hon. Members, that it would be an enormous advantage if in this country we continuously bear in mind the benefits of banning party feeling when we are dealing with such matters as foreign affairs and Empire. It is surprising, listening to this Debate this evening and the recent Debates which we had on Empire subjects, to find how far we are already moving in that direction, and I think that it is a direction which we should all encourage.

The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) has spoken of the serious position in regard to the Dominions, and it is upon that that I wish to say a few words. It is undoubtedly a serious thing that on 1st December, when this Pact comes to he ceremoniously signed, it will be signed on our behalf by the Sovereign as King of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the seas, and Emperor of India, and all the while there is in the Fact a clause which expressly excludes these same Dominions and India from its operation. Article 9 says: The present Treaty shall impose no obligation upon any of the British Dominions or upon India, unless the Government of such Dominions or of India signifies its acceptance thereof. The right hon. Gentleman says that this was a very grave departure from previous practice. He also quoted what General Smuts, one of the great figures of the war settlement period and ex-Prime Minister of South Africa, has said when if declared that he saw in this a tendency for the British Empire delegation to disappear from the field of diplomacy more and more, until the foreign policy of the British Empire is simply that of Great Britain. I simply make this remark that, that was exactly the position before the War, so far as European affairs were concerned. The foreign policy of the British Empire before the War was really the foreign policy conceived in the Foreign Office and approved by Parliament expressly, directly or indirectly. During the War came the Imperial War Cabinet, now heard of no more. Therefore, it is true to say that this is a first departure, but we must be fair and realise what part the Foreign Secretary has himself taken in trying to lead the British Empire to a new method.

The House will remember that in answer to several requests which I put before the House rose for the Recess the right hon. Gentleman explained that he had week after week, from the Foreign Office, informed each of the Dominions of the steps that had been taken and invited more or less expressly their opinion upon them. He did all that he could to inform the Dominions of what was going on, but the Dominions made no reply except in the case of New Zealand.

Why did not they reply? For the simple reason that they had many things much nearer home to think about. In Canada they had very vital problems to face—tariffs, railway questions, and other matters, all concerned in a bitterly-contested general election. In Australia also they have had an election, and they would naturally concentrate their thought on the immediate issues involved. The tact is that they did not want to be committed, and that is why they made no response. I am sure that I am not going beyond the mark when I say that no one would be more delighted than the right bon. Gentleman himself if he had been able in these negotiations to secure what General Smuts referred to as Empire solidarity in the negotiating and signing of this Pact.

Of course, these Dominions belong to the League of Nations and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would be quite right in arguing that they were already committed under the Covenant of the League to do what this Pact only does in a special manner, and I am not sure what might be the result of a discussion of that sort if it were held. But in countries like Canada and South Africa they have their own local points of view which always must come first. In the recent elections, which have just concluded in Canada the main issue in Quebec, which is the pivotal province of Canada, holding 65 seats in the Canadian House of Commons, it was suggested to the French Canadian habitant, "if you vote a certain way you will bring about all sorts of European entanglements," and upon that issue, which was argued with what many would regard as gross misrepresentation, pressure was put upon the electors to induce them to vote a certain way. Therefore, you must remember that the Dominions have their own local point of view, and we shall never get forward with Empire policy unless we bear that in mind.

I remember very well in Western Canada coming across a farmer and congratulating him upon the magnificent field of wheat at which we were looking from his shack. He told me of the tremendous number of bushels to the acre. In conversation I happened to say a word about the British Empire. He said: "I am an American by birth. I have come to Canada. I am growing this wheat. What has the British Empire to do with me? I grow my wheat; I send it to the elevator. They pay me for it. I go back to my farm and grow more wheat. What have I to do with the British Empire?" He took the local point of view, but it was not difficult to show him that he had a great deal to do with the British Empire. It was easy to point out to him the importance of the market for his wheat which Canada possessed in the British Empire. But in all parts of Canada, as is inevitable, you have this local point of view, and we shall never have full co-operation for foreign affairs-unless we remember this continuous background of daily local life.

The right hon. Gentleman said that we? were trustees in the direction and control of foreign policy until the are principle of partnership was brought about in the War years. The House will remember the part played by Sir Robert Borden in developing this War time partnership in foreign affairs. Therefore this Locarno Pact is a challenge to us on the Empire side because of the abstention of the Dominions, and the natural local point of view which dominates them, in the consideration of these problems. But the House will be very much mistaken if they deduce from that the idea, that there was any lack of loyalty in the Dominions to the British tradition. The British tradition is, in the minds of three out of four Canadians, one of the greatest things in the world. Indeed you may call it the English tradition, because it is more English than British, and it is because the English tradition has shown, such a wonderful faculty of transference-and because the French Canadian and the American Canadian have got in their mind the belief that it is one of the best safeguards of their special liberties that the English tradition is having the tremendous force we see throughout that whole Empire.

The House in considering this problem would go very far astray if it lost sight of the variety of political conditions resulting in a local State system in each part of the Empire. We have seen Canada the other day signing a separate Treaty with the United States with no British signature upon it. We have seen the Canadian movement, with Mr. Bonar Law as Prime Minister assisting-, for a Canadian Minister at Washington. Australia and New Zealand have their own local system, as expressed in their attitude towards the Singapore base, and we shall never get our foreign policy right unless we recognise these Dominion local considerations in their attitude towards foreign policy. Great Britain is of Europe as Canada is of America, and the problem is to reconcile such local spheres in foreign affairs with Imperial unity. Unfortunately, the system of conferences, as it has been adopted, has proved somewhat inadequate. They are held at too sparse intervals, and they do not realise the ideas of the Dominions whose representatives come here, and it does become us all to find methods of enabling these new nations of the Empire to act independently in their own special local affairs, and, at the same time, act together in matters of common importance and mutual advantage.

I remember the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), speaking as Prime Minister during the War period, saying that he trembled to think what would have happened to our cause if it had not been for the million men flocking from overseas—because of the English tradition and not because of any compact. Is it impossible? We are developing the spirit of co-operation in several practical matters. We are developing it in the Imperial Shipping Committee and in the Imperial Economic Committee, on each of which the Dominions have representatives. There is another interesting development with a more direct bearing on the subject. The Australian Government has conceived the idea of establishing its own liaison officer here, and of our having a liaison officer in Australia to keep both Governments constantly in touch with one another on the very important matters that we are now discussing. Of course, out of that a good deal may come. I believe that if we will only recognise the need, the vital necessity, indeed, of these local spheres of State action, as expressed in such things as the Halibut Treaty; if we have that translated into our methods of foreign policy, we shall find that the English tradition and the sense of unity of the British peoples throughout the world will carry us forward to the destination to which an Empire like ours may look forward.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about this Article in the Pact shaking the fabric of the solidarity of the British Empire. I do not believe it. The House may remember the phrase used by Mr. Gladstone when he spoke of the British Empire as the greatest agency for good known to mankind. I beg the House not to imagine that the Canadians, the French Canadians, and the American Canadians, or the Dutch South Africans, are any less conscious of the greatness of that agency than we are. They are fully conscious of it. They know that there was never a moment when the leadership of that English tradition was more vital to the benefit and the peace of the world than it is to-day. It is no good being impetuous. The speeches which we have heard while they strongly approve of the Pact, ask the Government to go forward to disarmament and other things. Those are excellent objects, and I have no doubt that the impetus forward will be promoted by every means within the reach of Dominions like Canada and Australia. But it is no good imagining, when dealing with communities overseas, with local differences and strong local preconceptions such as the French Canadians have, that you can rush forward on this path. It is a task calling for patience and persistence. This Empire is a great experiment in freedom. I beg the House, in accepting this Pact, to believe that with this English tradition, with patience and persistence, we shall find that this problem of foreign policy will move forward to its own solution in its own way.


It has been said that our praise of these Treaties has been too qualified and not sufficient. I beg hon. Members to believe that, so far as I am concerned, any meet of praise that I have to give is quite sincere and unqualified, in so far as the Pact goes. From the first I have always welcomed the Pact, in so far as it went—practically every speaker to-day has said the same thing—not as an end in itself, but as a beginning. I want to underline one or two points which have not been made, even by the Foreign Secretary. It appears to me that not only are the Locarno Treaties not Treaties of alliance— they are not alliances for the purpose of balancing Powers, one group against another—but they are mutual treaties for the purpose of outlawing war, and they do in fact constitute a very large contribution to the creation of a public law of Europe, to which eventually all nations, and all contingencies as between nations, will become subject. This constitutional point, I think, will probably expand in importance in the future. It appears to me that along the lines of the Locarno Agreements we are very rapidly going towards a state of affairs when every conflict of any kind which arises between nations will be subject to arbitration. Even more valuable than that is the fact that the Locarno Agreement enormously strengthens the authority and increases the power of the League of Nations. It appears to me that the League from this time onwards will not only have greater authority, but is likely to have to do an increasingly large amount of valuable and important work. I have heard it suggested that the Locarno Treaty may be criticised because it accepts as a basis the Treaty of Versailles. But it is not we alone, the Allies of yesterday, who accept, but Germany who accepts.

In this matter we need to be realists, and to recognise what is the fact, what can be ascertained by referring to the Press of the Continent of Europe—how the influence of Locarno is already spreading eastward to Hungary, Roumania and the Balkans generally, and how very valuable indeed the spread of the spirit of arbitration, the spread of the spirit of submission to the public law of Europe, is for the people of Europe. And because we are realists I hope we shall endeavour to get the adhesion of Russia to the general scheme of European arbitration. I suggest that, just as many of us here very adversely criticised the Treaty of Versailles in the past, but accept it as realists as the basis of these agreements, so hon. Members opposite who have very adversely criticised the regime in Russia might accept that as realists and try to bring in Russia without attempting any impossible modifications. I suggest more than that, and with all respect—that the way to bring in Russia is not so very complicated as has been imagined. First of all, the position of Russia ought to be accepted frankly. Russia should be accepted as one of the established nations of Europe.

Ever since my own visit to Russia in 1920, at the height of the period of military Communism, I felt absolutely convinced that Russia was a stable Power, a Power the ruling authority of which would not be upset by military or political interference from without, a Power which was acting in a way entirely different from our tradition and our practice, and one which we ought to recognise, and with whom we ought to enter into relations, not for the sake of this idea or that idea, but for the sake of the general peace and welfare of Europe and the world. I believe now that if His Majesty's Government would frankly accept the established position of Russia, that would be a great step forward in bringing Russia into the League. Russia is bound to be suspicious of the League at the present time. Nor is that all. Russia is afraid of the rest of Europe, just as France and Germany up to yesterday were afraid of each other. To go into Russia in 1920 was to go into a strange and extraordinary country with ideas quite contrary to ours, with ideas extraordinarily at variance with those prevailing about current events. There is still a great gap in ideas between Russia and the rest of Western Europe, and because of that Russia is afraid. There are more armed sentries and posts on the frontiers of Russia than almost on any other frontiers. There are still frontiers of Russia, that on Rumania, for instance, where there are no friendly relations at all. You have there a condition of armed neutrality. Russia, therefore, is in a condition of war fear with regard to the rest of Europe.

I suggest to His Majesty's Government that if they want to get the co-operation of Russia in European affairs and in a set of arbitration Treaties and Agreements which will cover all relations with Russia, they can do it, not by directly instigating Russia to enter the League— that is likely to fail—but by inviting Russia to a European Conference on disarmament, and asking Russia, on equal terms with other nations, to that Conference. I believe that a European Conference on disarmament to which Russia was invited with the idea of seeing what method of arbitration could be established, would bring the greatest benefits very quickly. I do not think that we need be afraid of Russia. It is evident to anyone who has studied Russian affairs that she needs peace. I am not afraid of Russia, but I am frankly afrai3 of armaments and the cost of armaments. It is sometimes overlooked by some of my own friends and by others, that there are people living in conditions of so-called peace in our great cities to whom it really must be a matter of indifference whether there is war or peace, because the conditions are so wretched that they can hardly be made worse even by the physical miseries of War. It is a lamentable fact, but a fact nevertheless, that in a part of this city, not very far from here. in all the poor parts of the city, the women and the children during the War were better off than they generally are in peace time. For that alone many were sorry when the War came to an end. When you have a large number of people living in such misery and poverty you have always instability, because they get no special advantage out of peace; they get, in fact, certain definite advantages out of war.

8.0 P.M

I was rather surprised to hear the suggestion from the Foreign Secretary that the question of Russia was not relevant to the question of the Locarno Treaty. I was surprised, because one of the other signatories to the Pact, M. Benes, of Czechoslovakia, in a recent exposé of the whole question of the Locarno Pact, at Prague, on 30th October, a copy of which I have here printed in a paper called the "Gazette" of Prague, declared that one of the greatest advantages of the Pact of Locarno was the moral disarmament of Europe entailing. the necessity of a similar attitude with regard to Russia. The paper is in French, but I have translated this sentence, spoken with all solemnity in addressing the Parliament of Czechoslovakia on this very important subject: I believe that this will not be long delayed, and that we shall reach a second Locarno where the whole of Europe will filter into understandings with Russia. So that the Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia—that wonderfully governed State which has made such striking progress since the War—does not share the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, but believes that the Locarno Pact is a stage on the way to an understanding with Russia of the same nature as the understanding reached at Locarno with the other Powers. In fact, he went even further. He spoke of the possibility, after an understanding with Russia, of the Locarno agreements bringing about a modification in the attitude of the United States. I hope that may be so, and I Hope that we shall carry the Dominions with us in our attitude, even if we have not up to the present done so. I am not inclined to join in any blame of the Foreign Secretary on this matter, because I understand the great difficulties which exist. But I think the difficult situation which has arisen with regard to Locarno shows the urgent necessity of having a better method of Imperial consultation available for use in eventualities which are likely to arise in the future. It has been said to-day that the world is getting much smaller, and as it gets smaller, the part which the Empire is called on to play is bound to be more important. It is urgently necessary that all who are concerned with Empire affairs should help to devise a method by which the Empire can arrive quickly at an Imperial opinion instead of merely asking the Dominions to subscribe to the opinions of His Majesty's Foreign Secretary or His Majesty's Secretary for Dominion Affairs.

The Treaties of Locarno are wonderful things. I do not think the Foreign Secretary wants to claim all the credit for these Treaties. He has said himself that they are the results of the work of many people in the past. It seems to me all the conferences which have taken place in Europe since the War period have contributed largely to the Locarno Pacts. There were, first, the conferences between France, Great Britain and the United States; then the conference between France and Great Britain; then the meeting between the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs and M. Briand which, unfortunately, did not eventuate. Then there were the propositions by the Cuno Government of Germany and other conferences; the Treaty of Mutual Assistance, the Protocol of Geneva, and, finally, the Locarno Pact.


And 11,000,000 men died getting there.


It seems to me that the gradual development of these ideas, persisted in over a period of years, is in itself a very valuable indication of the change of opinion in Europe. An hon. Member behind me remarks that 11,000,000 men died in order to get there. That, of course, is quite true, but in the days before the War there would not have been even attempts at this kind of conciliation, arbitration and agreement, and it is an enormous advantage that there is now that change in the international spirit. I be- lieve all persons who have worked for international peace and good feeling should take a part of the credit. A great deal of the credit belongs to Geneva, and to those who constitute the personnel of the technical administration at Geneva. They have done valuable work. I also suggest that Geneva has made a very valuable contribution to Russia in the past, and I do not know if Russia understands it. Let me recall a piece of history which is quite well known to a number of people. When the Russian famine began a conference was summoned in Geneva of all the relief societies, and various Government representatives to decide whether assistance to Russia should be Organised or whether such assistance should not be given. Without Geneva that conference would never have been held. As a matter of fact, there was great opposition to the proposal for giving relief to Russia, and I am reveal-no secret when I say that it was due to the British representatives at Geneva—who, in the usual way wore able to devise a form of words acceptable to all the delegates—that the great work of helping to relieve distress in Russia was started. Russia actually owes a great deal to Geneva, although Russia is not particularly fond of the name of Geneva.

In this matter of Locarno we have transcended party, and I hope we shall transcend party with regard to the policy of disarmament. I approach this question not from the point of view of a pacifist, for I am not one, but from the point of view of an economist—as I hope I am—realising that we cannot afford to go on paying for armaments, and What it is wrong for us to spend money on them when there are so many miserably wretched people in this country who need the money much more for other things. The misery of people in this country, I am sure, is constantly present to many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite as it is to us on this side. That misery ought to warn us of the fundamental defects of our social system. One of those is that we are spending money, of which we have only a limited amount, in wrong ways, and one of those morally wrong ways is upon armaments. There is an old Indian saying that the thrones of kings are undermined by the tears of the oppressed. In Europe as a whole it seems to me the thrones of civilisation are being under- mined by the poverty and wretchedness of the millions. In the midst of our con gratulations to the diplomats and ambassadors, "the captains and the kings" as it were of the world, who are so pleased with the great and noble work that has been accomplished, we ought to remember that we are only trustees for the poor and miserable of the world. One of the greatest things we have to do is to see that the wealth of the world is properly disbursed so as to do as much good to the peoples of the world as possible.

We cannot afford armaments. It is our duty at the earliest possible moment to cut down the amounts we are spending upon them, because it is waste and it does not help life. It is not only a question of refraining from using weatlh wrongly. We ought to try and use all that power which is now diverted into the fighting Services, and all that money now diverted into the fighting Services for better and nobler human service. I have the greatest possible respect for the soldier, the sailor and the airman. I believe you have the finest human types entering these Services. I want to see these men going into other service and doing other work, and the money spent on these Services employed for other purposes. We might spend the money which we waste on armaments on a deliberate attempt to build up the standard of life and culture of our people, not only in this country but all over the Empire. Locarno is a great beginning, but a great beginning only if it leads to the outlawry of war, and not only that, but helps us to outlaw the physical misery which is the lot of so many hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens.

If we do not use the achievement of Locarno rightly, if we have not the courage to go on to still greater tasks, then all that has been achieved up to the present will only be an eddy on the stream making for another 1914 disaster. When one thinks of the great changes which have come over European affairs since 1914, when one realises the difference in the spirit of Europe now and the spirit of Europe immediately after the War, it seems we are accelerating our passage from bad to good, and that we may expect to do even greater things in the future than we have done in the past. A few years ago the League of Nations was almost a joke. One remembers a rather amusing story told of M. Clemenceau, of how about the time of one of the peace conferences he used to say that he knelt down by his little bed every night and prayed— "Clemenceau, tu crois en la Ligue des Rations "— obviously meaning, of course, that he did not believe in the League of Nations. Now that League of Nations, which was a kind of mockery, a subject of smoking-room jokes, has become one of the chief factors in European politics. It is an enormous change and I believe we can go on. I am sure we have the good will of the Prime Minister in wanting to go on to greater things. I am sure we have also the good will of the Foreign Secretary, and I hope that they will not be content to rest upon that summit of which the Prime Minister spoke. I should have thought myself that a. summit was a rather awkward place on which to sit. I hope, however, they will not rest upon that summit but will go on to further achievements— firstly, a real arrangement with Russia, which I believe can be achieved by inviting Russia to submit suggestions in relation to a general plan of European disarmament, and suggestions for a conference with other European powers on disarmament, and secondly, to try to make with Russia and other countries of Europe treaties of arbitration of the same nature as those which have already been made.

If we can only spread arbitration, achieve disarmament, and bring Russia into the League, then the moral authority of the League which has been so greatly reinforced by Locarno, will be much more strongly reinforced. If we can get the moral authority of the League of Nations and what I have called the public law of Europe, strengthened even more than they have been strengthened by Locarno, we shall be within not an idealistic but a very realistic reach of the possibility of having no war at all on any conceivable assumption. Now that we are so near the possibility of outlawing war I hope the right hon. Gentleman and the party opposite will not cease from their efforts. I am quite sure that so long as they are working in the direction of peace, of disarmament, and of increasing the general well-being of our community, we, on this side, although we may criticise them, at any rate will not oppose them.


In the course of the remarks made by the hon. Member for North Southward (Mr. H. Guest), who has just sat down, he detailed briefly the various conferences which have been held since the War with a view to settling the problems outstanding in 1918, but in doing that he did not press the point which I should like to press, and that is that in my opinion the success of the Conference of Locarno is due, to an enormous extent, to very careful preparation, a factor which is always conspicuous in the actions of the Conservative party, and particularly in this case. It was no question of the Foreign Secretary rushing off at a moment's notice and trying to settle the problems of the world, but it was the result of patient labour by himself and by the Foreign Office from the time when, early in the spring, the suggestion was first made from the German Government. That is indeed the lesson which we can get from the present Pact, and it is the lesson which I would like to press home when touching upon the Amendment before the House.

The Amendment states that the Treaty should be followed by some steps dealing with disarmament and with the adhesion of Russia to the League of Nations, both of which subjects have been under discussion for a considerable time. If we have learned anything by the success of the Locarno Conference, it is the value of careful preparation, and let us follow that up before we tackle either the one or the other of these two problems. Members opposite have spoken, I thought, as if disarmament had nothing to do with this Treaty, and yet the first document in the White Paper giving the Final Protocol is a sort of Memorandum by the representatives of the high contracting parties which ends up with the words: In strengthening peace and security in Europe, it will hasten on effectively the disarmament provided for in Article 8 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, even down to the detail of indicating where the necessary information may be found by hon. Members who are not fully aware of the details of the Covenant. When we hear so much about Russia from hon. and right hon. Members opposite, and when they say that neither the Foreign Secretary nor the Government nor the Conservative party go out of their way to encourage Russia to come into the League of Nations, it is rather a curious fact that, according to the official report, which I saw in the Press at the time, this last month, the Executive of the Labour and Socialist International, to which certainly some hon. Members opposite belong, and of which the right hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) is President, met in London to discuss this very Treaty, and at the end one of the resolutions on the subject expressed the opinion that the resistance of the Socialist parties to the isolation of Soviet Russia finds one of its greatest impediments in the self-isolating policy of the Soviet Union, with its refusal to enter the League of Nations. Judging from what we have heard to-day, it is the Conservative party's fault, but the Labour and Socialist International now ventures publicly the opinion that it is "the self-isolating policy of the Soviet Union" which is considerably to blame. We have heard from the late Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, who moved the Amendment, that Socialists in France and in Belgium welcomed the Treaty, but he did not end up by saying that the Socialists in England welcomed it.


A lot of us do not.


Exactly, and that is probably why he did not say it.


Hear, hear! He has been well trained.


Anyhow, referring once again to this Labour and Socialist International, they held a meeting, under the presidency of the right hon. Member for Burnley, at Marseilles in August, and in the report of the speeches I observe that Mr. Roden Buxton, one of the British delegation, stated that the British delegation held the view that responsibility for the Pact must be left to the bourgeois Governments. I am quite sure that if my right hon. Friend's Government is a bourgeois Government, if that be its technical appellation in Socialistic circles, it is quite prepared to accept the responsibility for this Pact, in so far as British foreign policy is concerned.


Hear, hear!


That applause is premature, because by October the Labour and Socialist International people had rather changed their tune. In the October report it is stated that they now consider this Pact as a partial success in the great fight of the international working class against the methods of violence in relations between peoples "; so, having left the responsibility, first of all, on the bourgeois Governments in August, by October they had come to say it was a partial success in the great fight of the international working class. Whether it is or is not, there is no getting away from the fact that it is a great advance towards peace in Europe, and a fortiori in England, with which we are more particularly concerned. The path which we are called upon to tread as a result of this Treaty is, curiously enough, one which was foreseen. I daresay hon. Members opposite have taken the opportunity of reading the exceedingly interesting book by Lord Grey on his experience at the Foreign Office, where it is stated that in the early part of the War, in October, 1914, he was carrying on a private correspondence with Mr. Roosevelt, who was then ex-President of the United States of America, and, if I may be permitted, I will quote one or two sentences out of one of those letters, dated 20th October, 1914, in which he is discussing what kind of action, theoretically, in his own mind, America might have taken in the crisis that began in August, 1914. Lord Grey writes: If the United States had stopped the War, they would have broken militarism without a war. It would have been made clear that it was not worth while to maintain these enormous armaments if, when an attempt was made to use them for aggressive purposes, the world was brought out against them. I think that is really an extraordinary letter, in view of the circumstances of the Pact which we are now discussing. This was a private letter of Lord Grey's at the time, certainly written without any idea of publication, and he says: The result might have been an agreement between France and Germany, Russia and England, that none of them would attack another, that they would keep their armaments within certain bounds, that on any dispute arising on this or any other question between any of them it would be referred to arbitration, possibly the arbitration of the United States"— of course, that is out of the question now— and that, if any one Power refused arbitration, the others would all join forces against it. It is an extraordinary thing, to my mind, that that should have been written 11 years ago, and now, in the year of grace 1925, we are discussing this Treaty, which even the official Amendment to the Secretary of State's Motion approves. By our signature to this Treaty we have certainly done our little share, with the help and co-operation of the great nations on the Continent of Europe, towards bringing closer the pacification of Europe, the progressive disarmament of the nations of the Continent, and of ourselves. We have brought closer the idea of arbitration in disputes which can be settled in that manner, and this House of Commons should be proud of the opportunities which have come its way to do something to prevent the outbreak of another war, at any rate, in our generation.


I suppose I may once again ask the House for its indulgence to express an opinion which is definitely against the ratification of the Pact of Locarno. I also cannot help congratulating the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but my congratulations to him are not for achieving the Treaty, but for achieving a result from a strictly Conservative and capitalist point of view, in having won over so successfully the Social Democratic parties of Germany, Belgium and France, and a section of the British representation on the Socialist International. That achievement is certainly a marvellous one, and not only do I congratulate him, but I frankly say I envy him. We do not for a moment oppose the Pact for having achieved what it claims to have achieved, but we do not believe that the Pact is really the grand scheme which has been put forward to us to-night. If there were genuine arbitration, if there were a stoppage of war, if there were a stoppage of the settlement of disputes by physical violence, we would most heartily support it and welcome it, and want it extended. But the Locarno Pact is not an instrument of peace at all, and the Foreign Secretary, as a man of experience, with experience of several wars, will clearly realise that no war will be stopped, if nations choose to go to war, because of this Pact.

I put it to the House that if this Pact had existed in July, 1914, with its Articles —the three exceptions—under which war can be carried on, the great War would not have been stopped. The great War would never have been stopped. The Germans said that they saw a French military aeroplane over Strasburg, and that that was an act of aggression by France, and therefore they poured their troops into Belgium in order to beat the Frenchmen. If this Locarno Pact had been signed in July, 1914, the great War would have gone on all the same, because, according to paragraph 1, where warfare is legitimate, Germany would have claimed that there was an act of aggression by France. In 1926 it will be still easier to find an excuse. We live in the days of wireless waves, and we would not be surprised if somebody wanted to go to war with his neighbour because of waves which were inimical, and therefore constituted an act hostile to the country, and the whole Pact of Locarno would be completely helpless. Take the Clause which says there shall be no preparation for war, no mobilisation in the demilitarised zone.

That can be easily evaded. I think the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs would know from family archives how the Boer War was manufactured and carried on to the bitter end. Nothing would be difficult to that man and that class to manufacture a war in the face of dozens of treaties of Locarno. A new gymnasium in the Rhineland would be taken as a war preparation. A few college boys marching in the up-to-date Fascist fashion would be taken as mobilisation. Anything can be described as a preparation for war, or as mobilisation. Half a dozen sets of wireless apparatus could be described as a preparation for war. In modern days anything and everything could be put down as a preparation for war. A new chemical manufactory in the Rhineland might be so regarded. Any of the signatories, acting closely in accordance with the Pact of Locarno, can go to war to-morrow, and there is nothing to accuse them of having violated the Treaty of Locarno.

In addition to the known existing excuses for war, the Pact of Locarno creates a new instrument of war which was not known to mankind in the past. Even alliances left some voluntary action, but the Locarno Pact adds a new theory, that whether you believe in your conscience that you should go to war or not, you are bound to go to war when the League of Nations compels you to go to war. For instance, if a dispute arises between France and Germany, or Germany and Belgium, and if Great Britain decides in her judgment she is not justified in going to assist one of the countries, the League of Nations, with the whole matter placed before the Council, may command Great Britain to go to war. We do not see how this Treaty of Locarno is going to stop war at all.

We are told that the Pact will produce a spirit of confidence and economic stabilisation. I doubt very much whether, after fully thinking it over, even shrewd capitalist bankers will welcome Locarno. The great inducement given to the world is that when this Pact is signed, and the probabilities of war are not so evident, Great Britain and America may make another advancement of loan to Germany, Belgium, or any other State. After a little reflection, after all the enthusiasm has cooled down, the bankers will begin to find out that, supposing they make a new loan to Germany, supposing the British bankers take part—for the British bankers and the German nation have no quarrel—suddenly the League of Nations may call upon Great Britain to go to war against Germany. One thing which Germany will naturally do, and be fully justified in doing, is to repudiate the payment of the loan to the British bankers, saying that the declaration of war has ended things, and they no longer owe money to the British bankers, for the economic stability of Germany has been destroyed by the British! Therefore, Germany is unable to pay.

In this way the Treaty of Locarno is most distinctly not all that it claims to be. There has been no single war in cur past history, the Boer War, the Crimean War, our wars in India, the last Great War, the wars of America, the war between Japan and Russia, and Japan and China, there has not been a single war which could have been avoided even if the belligerents themselves had signed the Treaty of Locarno, for everyone of the belligerents would have found a simple and easy method of avoiding its provisions. The right hon. Gentleman told us that since the Pact was signed the Polish Government had said that they would not deport Germans, and Germany had said they would not deport Poles. Has the Home Secretary now resolved to change his unreasonable attitude towards aliens who come into Great Britain and stay here, or is this matter only confined to Poles and Germans and is not to be carried through for Great Britain? That, in itself, shows that these little incidents are put forward only to create a psychological picture, and that it is not a substantial achievement which applies universally to all parties concerned.

What, in reality, is the Pact? The Pact in reality is a temporary stabilisation of public psychology. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) pointed out that a favourable atmosphere has been created because the whole of Europe has been economically shaken, and the powerful members of the Alliance who were once very eloquent, namely, France and Great Britain, are also tottering from an economic point of view. That is bringing about, not a sense of reason and justice, but the sense of a new intrigue. While there is a temporary stabilisation of the public mind of the working classes of the masses in all the countries by which the bewildered investors may now find it possible to secure investments and to acquire new influence. The Pact of Locarno just gives to the bankers that ostensible illusion of security for the time being, as if there were going to be no war, no quarrel, and as if Europe has arrived at a new era for investment, and so on. We all know it.

From these benches in the House as well as from the Labour movement outside, not only in Great Britain but all over Europe, it has been said that the real causes of war are economic. The last War was not for the freedom of the smaller nations. It was not for the safeguarding of democracy in Europe. It was a great struggle for economic prizes in the distant parts of the world. We know that the root causes of all wars are not troubles in south-eastern Europe, not the deeds of President Kruger, or this or that, but there are always some economic prizes to be obtained by one nation from another nation. I would put it in the name of the working classes—no sensible men and women of the working class movement would call the Treaty a Treaty that is going to end war unless it enforces arbitration in economic questions. We are not told that the question of Alsace-Lorraine, or the question of coal from the Ruhr area, or the question of oil in Mesopotamia, or the copper fields of Rhodesia will in future be referred to arbitration. We are only told about the boundaries of one particular State in Europe being referred to arbitration. That leaves the root causes of wars altogether untouched. The working classes will see that, after all this big noise and after all this psychological effect of creating a new era of peace, it is going to do nothing of the kind. The Pact is one between the bankers of Germany, America, France, and Britain, to throw dust in the eyes of the suffering working classes, and to make up a combined force to bring down the wages and increase the hours of work, and to go ahead with new forms of investment and activity. It is on that score that I entirely disagree with the ratification of the Treaty, and the Amendment which pretends to oppose without opposing.


There are two points which have been raised in the Debate to which I should like to refer. Attempts are being made in the Amendment, and also by some hon. Members, to blame the Government because the Dominions have not been taken into full consultation. That is extremely regrettable. I had the advantage of spending in Canada most of the campaign time prior to the General Election there. I was familiar with a very large number of Canadians. We discussed the Pact of Locarno. The only feeling which was expressed to me by the Canadians was one of pride and satisfaction that Britain had taken the lead in this great achievement. I do think that it is not for Britons of any party to try to make mischief between the Motherland and the Dominions in this matter. It is satisfactory that there should be such a large measure of agreement between parties in this matter. It will be remembered that it was the Conservative Government of 1923 which took the. lead in Europe on the Dawes Report, and the vexed question of reparations out of the way rendered possible this great Pact at Locarno. In the following year the Conservative party gave unstinted support to the Leader of the Opposition in his attempt to carry on the work. To-day we have had these attempts at blaming the Government in regard to the Dominions. We have had the most generous acknowledgment paid by the Leader of the Liberal party to the work of the Foreign Secretary, and a less generous acknowledgment from the Leader of the Opposition. At any rate, we have had a large measure of agreement on this matter. It is a good augury. One hopes that it may be an augury of agreement on other troublesome matters. If it be so, it will be welcomed here.


I would not have intervened in this question of high politics were it not for the fact that I also have a note of discord to bring into this hymn of praise which has been sung this afternoon. I am totally opposed to this Pact, and I want to make clear why I am opposed to it. I object to it because, in my view, it is much more likely to lead to war than to peace. I refuse to believe that any partial European agreement, which is based on force and does not compel the parties to it to submit all their differences to arbitration, is likely to lead to the desired object, and I refuse to pledge the blood of either this generation or the next generation to support such a Pact. I am not going to say a word against the sincerity of the Foreign Secretary. I believe he is quite sincere in his belief that the Pact is going to further the cause of European peace. No one who listened to him this afternoon could help being impressed by his sincerity; but the sincerity of the Foreign Secretary is not what is in question, it is his judgment that I and some of my friends are questioning. After all, we cannot rely entirely upon the sincerity of Foreign Secretaries. Lord Grey, when he started the policy of the Entente in 1906 believed, undoubtedly, that that was going to contribute, not to war, but to peace. No one doubted his sincerity at that time. He made speeches couched in very much the same kind of language as was used by the Foreign Secretary this afternoon, saying it was one step, and a very important step towards the establishment of stability and peace in Europe.

Lieut.-Colonel FREMANTLE

He did not start the Entente.


Well, it had not advanced very far at the time. We know what the result of that was. In spite of all that Lord Grey could do, he found himself obliged to involve this country in the recent bloody War. I ask the House to consider whether there is any more reason to suppose that the faith of the present Foreign Secretary that this Locarno Pact is going to establish European peace is better founded than the faith which Lord Grey had in the Entente with France. I submit there is no ground for the contention that the Foreign Secretary has better grounds for his faith. He told us this afternoon that the Conference at Locarno was a Conference of equals. That is not true. It was not a Conference of equals. If we are going to pretend that Germany went there on an equal footing with the rest of the Powers we are being patently dishonest. Germany went to that Conference with the heel of the conqueror on her neck. She was in a wretched, dependent position, and she wanted to get out of it if she possibly could, and consequently she was prepared to make concessions of a vital character. But that does not represent the permanent mind of Germany. She had to resort to that attitude because of her present position. Quite easily in ten years' time, or it may be even less, she may not be of the same mind about her Western frontier as she is to-day. If at some time in the future she is not content with that Western frontier then the whole basis of this Pact goes by the board.

What are the reasons which have been given to the House for our entering into this Pact, the immediate reasons. There are three—the evacuation of Cologne, the amelioration of the Rhineland occupation, and finally, and most stress is laid on this, the entry of Germany into the League of Nations. I submit that these reasons, important though they may be, are totally inadequate as justifying us in undertaking the very heavy and serious responsibilities we are undertaking under this Pact. Consider these three things. There is not one of them that we could not have got without this Pact, had we been content to wait a little while. The evacuation of Cologne! Who is there in this House who is going to pretend that if no Pact had been made the evacuation of Cologne would not have been an accomplished fact in six months, or at any rate in 12 months? As to the Rhine-land occupation, consider the internal position of France to-day and her external difficulties, and who is going to say that France would not have been compelled, in her own military and economic interests, to effect very serious changes in the Rhineland occupation in the course of the next few years? Then take the final point, the question of the entry of Germany into the League of Nations. That had been on the tapis time after time even before this Pact was thought of, and there is every reason to suppose that Germany's own interests would have compelled her to go into the League in the course of the next few years whether any Pact were brought about or not. That brings me to this point, which is almost the key of my argument. The Foreign Secretary said this afternoon that the reason why we did not engage in a disarmament conference at the time of the Locarno Pact was because the conditions were not opportune. Whether that be so or not, is open to question, but with far stronger reason I claim we could say that the conditions were not opportune for the conclusion of a Pact like this. If we wanted reasonable conditions for such a Pact we would have waited until we had got, not part of Europe, but the whole of Europe into a condition of agreement; we would have waited until we had got Germany and Russia and the whole of the States of Europe into the League of Nations. Having got that condition, we could have formed a mutually protective agreement, and the risks of such an agreement would have been quite negligible. The House may suggest that this is impossible, that we could not afford to wait five years, or it may be 10 years, for such a condition as that; but I submit that there was no urgency in regard to this question. If we are considering the possibility of avoiding another European war, that is not an urgent matter for the next few years. For the next five or 10 years, at any rate, there is not the remotest possi- bility of a great European war, not on account of our statesmen and politicians, because they may blunder in the future as they have done in the past, but because the war-weary peoples of Europe, for a further period of 10 years will take very good care that their statesmen do not land them into another war. Therefore, there is absolutely no urgency for this Pact during the next 10 years, and if we had been content to hold our hands, by the lapse of that time there would be general conditions obtaining which would have made it possible for us to have a comprehensive agreement without the slightest risk.

Let me deal with one or two material points in connection with this agreement. Under Article 4 it is laid down that certain signatories may make war without the consent of the League, and they can decide whether a condition justifying war has arisen, and if they do find that that condition of things has arisen, they can call upon us to support them. We can decide whether our obligations really justify us in going to their support straight away. The matter is referred to the Council of the League of Nations for consideration, and the Foreign Secretary said the Council would make its decision and all the signatories thereto would conform to it.

Consider this possibility. War is already started, and the Council meet. The Council is unable to come to a unanimous decision. There is no instruction given to the signatory States, and what is going to happen then? Clearly this country will be involved, because at once there will arise a cry, "Here is an obligation of honour. The Council of the League has not said that you ought to take part in this war, but on all moral and ethical grounds you are bound to take part in it." The Foreign Secretary said that the signatories might consult between themselves. Italy and ourselves might consult as to whether we ought or ought not to take part in a war under these circumstances. Italy may be in favour of going to the assistance of one of the guarantee Powers, and we may not be in favour of doing that. In such a case, where do we stand? We are able to point to Italy and say that she is prepared to act, and then we should have no option but to follow the example of Italy. It may be that our judgment would tell us that we ought not to follow the example of Italy, but our obligation of honour would be stronger and, in spite of our judgment, we should have to go into the war.

9.0 P.M

There are one or two other points with which I should like to deal very briefly. All these kind of arrangements really mean that we are doing something which is fundamentally very serious for the people of this country, because we are surrendering a right which hitherto the people of this country have regarded very jealously, and that is the right of the House to control the destiny of its people. Technically we have got the right to consider whether or not we shall go to war, but actually with all these forces against us and all these obligations of honour being pressed upon us we have not got that right, and we are going to land our people willy-nilly possibly into one of those devastating calamities. It would be a very different thing for us under the Protocol to be brought into a question of this kind. If we had a comprehensive League of Nations which was a mirror of the conscience of Europe, and that League told us that it was our duty to come to the assistance of an attacked State, then there would be greater authority behind that, and the people of this country would be more justified in acquiescing in that policy than in the case of one State making a frantic appeal to us under this Pact on the ground that we are under an obligation of honour to go to their assistance.

What is going to be the effect of this Pact on the armaments question? We are giving specific military guarantees. A distinguished Frenchman once said that military guarantees were of no use unless they were backed up by military conversation. Therefore, one of the consequences of this Pact will be that there will be military conversations between the chiefs of staffs in this country and in France in order to determine how we are going to implement the terms of this Pact, and after the staffs of this country have consulted with the French staffs they will have to consult with the German staffs as to how they are going to arrange to defend Germany against a possible attack by France. As far as the question of armaments is concerned, the House ought to consider the facts. Suppose France is faced with an unarmed Germany, she is not likely to require very great military assistance from us. Let us take the other case.

If this Pact means anything, it means that we are just as genuine in our pledge to support Germany against France as we are in our pledge to support France against Germany. What is the position of Germany against a great military nation like France? We may find that the Secretary for War will have to come along and say, "We must have a larger striking force." We have disarmed Germany and rendered Prussia nugatory and now we shall find people coming forward and saying, "In view of this arrangement we should certainly allow Germany to increase her armaments." On all these grounds it seems to me that the common sense of the people of this country will be against this Pact.

There is a fundamental weakness in human nature which operates rather like this: We are uncomfortable at the present time, and in order to become comfortable at the present time we are prepared to mortgage the future to some extent. We know that that happens in our own domestic affairs, and it is the kind of thing which is happening in connection with this Pact. There are certain very real difficulties in Europe at the present time; we want to get rid of them, and, in order to get rid of them, we are prepared to pledge the future generation to the possibility of another war. It is a gamble, and, in my opinion, it is a wanton and unnecessary gamble. It is not a gamble with our own blood, it is not a gamble with our own peace, but it is a gamble with the blood and with the peace of the future generation, and I, for one, am not prepared to have any lot or part in that gamble. I want to say, not in my own words, but in the words of someone else who said it much better than I can, that the people of this country and the Members of this House ought to think a long time indeed before they take this step. These words are not the words of a politician, they are not the words of a war profiteer, they are not the words of any of those people who shelter in Whitehall while others go out to fight; they are the words of a great General who has had experience in a large number of wars, who had great experience in the last War, who endured the agony of seeing thousands and thousands of his men slaughtered in a useless enterprise. I refer to General Sir Ian Hamilton. This is what General Sir Ian Hamilton says, and I ask the House to mark his words: Try as much as you can to avoid putting off responsibilities upon posterity. Think twice or thrice before you purchase a quiet time, or the semblance of a quiet time, by pledging those who come after you to fight for causes which you may think vital, but which they might come to look upon in quite another light.


It is with the greatest diffidence, as a back-bencher, that I intervene for a few moments in what is a Front Bench Debate. I do so to direct attention to a point particularly stressed by the Leader of the Opposition in his criticism of the Locarno Pact negotiations. I refer particularly to what he said about the non-inclusion of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics in the Locarno Pact. I would like to call the attention of the House to what, if it is not very well known, should be well known, namely, that one of the main reasons why negotiations with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics have hitherto proved so unfruitful has been that within the Socialist Soviet Republics has been working the sinister influence of the Cheka. It is not sufficiently realised how the Cheka transforms and influences everything in Russian internal politics; and its influence is widespread and widely felt in working against the British Empire and against the security and solidarity of Europe. It is well known that the emissaries of the Cheka are everywhere fostering dissension and enmity in the British Empire. It is well known that the object of the Cheka is to bring about an alliance between Russia and Asia, an alliance which would be fatal to any entente between Russia and the European Powers. I do not myself despair of the time when we shall be able to wean Russia from that influence; I regard it as of the highest importance that Russia should again be brought into the family of European Powers, and I look forward to the time when that will be possible. I am quite certain that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, so far from being, in the main, at all hostile to the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, also looks forward to the time when it will be possible to bring them within the European fold.

I do not at all agree with the forecast of the last speaker that this Pact will lead to increased armaments and increased danger of war. I believe, on the contrary, that a very solid foundation has been laid for better understanding between the Powers which were recently at variance. I do not altogether see eye to eye with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who foresaw the future proceedings in connection with this Pact as a kind of procession leaping from peak to peak. I see it rather from the point of view of the present Foreign Secretary, that it forms a solid foundation on which it will be possible to build up a more far-reaching and finer edifice, under which the nations of the earth will dwell happily and peacefully. I foresee a time in which the name of the present Foreign Secretary will be remembered with honour and gratitude, when those of many contemporary statesmen will no longer be heard.


In speaking in support of the Amendment of the Labour party, I believe that this Amendment is the greatest concession ever made by a party towards the Government of the day; for, while every man on these benches is against, in principle, any partial pacts or alliances, the opening words of our Amendment definitely state that whilst agreeing to the ratification, and so on. It has been with a great deal of heart-searching that some of us have arrived at that conclusion. We know that to the hand of the Foreign Secretary, when he entered upon his office, there was a much better instrument than the Pact of Locarno—a much wider agreement; and that it was the British Government, and the British Government alone, that prevented the success of the wider Protocol. That we know, and our congratulations to anyone must be tempered by the fact that some of us, at any rate, must look upon the Foreign Secretary as having had a cathedral left to him with nothing but the slates to put on, and as having presented us at the finish with a very small parish church.

We know, too, the danger that has been so well pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle). One has to envisage what responsibilities we are taking, and it is certainly a question which ought to be calmly considered. It is all right if Germany attacks France; we are pretty safe in that eventuality. France has probably the finest army in the world, and the largest Air Force; Germany is disarmed. But our bond of honour is as much to Germany as to France. Is there anything in thi3 Pact that will justify us in not objecting to its ratification, with those dangers and difficulties in front of us? My personal position is that, on the balance, that guarantee does exist in the Pact which will justify us, provided that the other conditions in our Amendment are accepted, in agreeing to the ratification of the Pact. It is not for the moment a case of Pact versus Protocol. If we were voting on the question of Pact versus Protocol, the position would be very easy for every Member of our party. But the only question upon which we have to vote is, shall or shall not this Pact be ratified? We have heard of the dangers if the Pact be ratified; let us look for a moment at the dangers that exist if the Pact be not ratified. Does anyone think that, with the Pact not ratified, there is any hope at all of any disarmament on the part of France? That is the first point that I want to put as an argument. If the present development in France is to be helped—and the development of public opinion in France during the last 12 or 18 months has been phenomenal—if that development of friendly feeling in France is to be helped, then the constant fear of the French people must be allayed.

Everyone who has travelled in France, anyone who knows representative politicians in France, knows perfectly well that, justified or unjustified, a real fear exists in the minds of the French people that there is a danger if France has not got some guarantee, and there is not a party in France that does not know the fear and does not want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Will this Pact do anything to allay that? Obviously it will. I am speaking, I think, with some knowledge of French opinion, and it will be the greatest thing for general French opinion, I think, that has happened since the War. The position in Europe is wonderfully different from what it was two years ago. We have now France, instead of being rather lukewarm about the League of Nations, a warmer friend than ourselves, prepared to move forward farther than we are. If one desires to look at what has taken place in Europe during the last two and a-half years and compare the position to-day with the position then, one will have to go back to the time of the Ruhr invasion, when we had the greatest industrial district in Germany occupied by French troops, when we had between this country and France the greatest possible tension owing to the fact that the Government of Britain held that the occupation of the Ruhr was contrary to the terms of the Treaty. Now we have a totally different position of affairs. We have Germany herself, of her own volition, agreeing with the rest of the nations mutually to guarantee each other. The age-long antagonism—for it is ages since 1914—is breaking down. Will this Pact help that process, or will it hinder it? In my opinion, it will help. It falls far short of what I desire, and it contains many things that I do not like, but I have to admit in my heart of hearts that it will help towards good feeling in the four countries of the West of Europe where good feeling has not existed for the last few years.

It will not deal, of course, with the great dangers of Europe. The great dangers of Europe do not lie on the Rhine frontier. They are in the East. They are the question of minorities, and so long as Russia is outside there will always be a danger so far as Europe is concerned. I hope—for I believe it would be a stupid thing to do otherwise—that our Government will use its utmost endeavours as quickly as possible to come to a good understanding with Russia. Whatever one may say, the progress that has taken place with regard to Germany and France has taken place with regard to Russia. Let anyone contrast the declarations of Russian statesmen four years ago and to-day and the difference will be obvious. Four or five years ago the ordinary declaration of Russian statesmen was that under no circumstances could their Government come to an arrangement with bourgeois Governments. On the other hand, every so-called bourgeois Government was engaged, if not in active conflict with Russia, in maligning Russia and making a position that was already bad enough infinitely worse by scandalous libels on the condition of affairs in that country. There is a great change. There is not a party in this House which will openly say it does not desire to have relations with Russia. One can see the change of opinion in every party in this House, and the change of opinion in Russia is still more marked. We have frequent statements by responsible Russian representatives that they desire peace, harmony and commerce with this country, as with others. The same statements as to the desire for peace which are made here are made in Paris and Berlin. So that if we have to take the Russian declarations on their face value, as the party opposite took them at their face value when they seemed to be rather lurid, we see that in Russia as well as in this' country there has been a tremendous move forward.

So we come to the question as to what is best to be done for the future. At any rate this Pact will do one thing. It puts down definitely in black and white, and gives Parliament an opportunity of expressing its opinion thereon, not only the Pact itself but a declaration that Parliament can accept, and the Opposition can accept, if the ratification is granted, that the words are not empty words, and that they really mean what they say. When the White Paper speaks of the representatives declaring their firm conviction that the entry into force of the Treaties and Conventions will lead to a solution of many political or economic problems in accordance with the interests and the sentiments of peoples, and then finally they say that it is the signatories, on behalf of their nations, and on behalf of the Parliaments of their nations if every nation takes the same step that we do, they definitely declare—and the House of Commons will definitely declare if the Treaty is ratified—that they undertake to give their sincere co-operation to the work relating to disarmament already undertaken by the League of Nations, and to secure the realisation thereof in a general agreement. Those words either are a serious declaration or they are not. If they are not a serious declaration, the Opposition can say to the Government, "Here is your solemn pledged word. You have broken it and the country will hold the Government to account." If the Government keep the word they have given, whether it be a political advantage to us or not, the only thing that matters is that these things should be done, and if disarmament is arrived at it matters little which is the party that is responsible. If good is done that good will accrue to our people whether the signer of the document happens to be a Conservative or a Socialist, and it matters not the glint of a brass button who does the work if it gets done. So I have to make up my mind, and I have made it up. Taking all the disadvantages and all the dangers of the Pact and then considering, Pact or no Pact, and contrasting the position if the Pact is ratified with the position if it is not ratified, I have to declare that, given the undertakings that we ask for in our Amendment—a declaration in favour of a friendly policy towards Russia and a declaration in favour of the disarmament part of our Amendment—I see no reason why we should not all vote in favour of it, and I hope the Government will see their way to accept it.


I have listened with great interest to the speeches which have been delivered from the Opposition. The last right hon. Gentleman who spoke ignores one fact, that is, that under the Pact we do guarantee certain boundaries on the West. How can he consistently ask us to vote for the Amendment proposed by the Socialist party? I have no doubt he can reconcile the difference between himself and his leader, but it seems to me wholly inconsistent. I thought this was a kind of back-bench resolution which the leaders of the party did not support.

What are the arguments advanced? We have heard a great deal about Moscow or Russia—I call it Moscow for convenience. You know that is at the back of their minds. The Leader of the Opposition has said something in regard to what was said about Russia being out in the cold. What reason have we to consider that on this occasion? This is a treaty, and does not concern Russia in the least.


Hear, hear!


The hon. Member for Row and Bromley agrees with me. I am glad to have him in agreement with me for the first time in his life. He says it does not concern Russia. I quite agree. Where do they come in? Why are they left out in the cold? They are just where they were. The leaders of the Socialist element are always bringing in this question of Russia. I think I quite follow what is your idea. At the back of your minds is: socialise by communistic principles or otherwise the whole of Europe, and then we shall get peace, and that is the only remedy. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I thought I had got you.


Wisdom while you wait.


That is scarcely practicable. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley—I have grave doubts and suspicions of him.


Nothing like what I have got of you!


I thought he was a pillar of the Church, and supported the Church, and was put on the Church Assembly Bill Committee. What do we find? The other day he would not take the oath in the ordinary way, but claimed to affirm. Pillar of the Church, you are fallen! I listened to the somewhat confused speech of the right hon. Gentleman who last spoke. I quite understand the idea of the Socialist party, who are all at sixes and sevens. The Front Bench do not keep in step now and again with their Back Bench. I quite follow that. It may be quite satisfactory to them. Then I listened to the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle). I have a great respect for him, as, indeed, I have for all the Socialist party, although I do not agree with their policy. He tells us that everything will come about without any Pact at all. I think he said the evacuation of the Ruhr would have come about in six months, and I think something else was to come about in 10 years. Well, you know, I may be gone by then! The hon. Member for Shoreditch has greater hopes of life than I have. I thought this Socialist party was greatly anxious on the question of unemployment. It really is a very important matter. There, the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley will applaud that!


I really did not catch it. Say it again.


It is of very great importance. The proposal, as I understand it, of the hon. Member for Shore-ditch—the argument is quite clear; they chuck their leader absolutely; they would not vote for their leader, though he was at the head of the Foreign Office, even on the Front Bench—the idea is that we should postpone this for an indefinite period. When you say things are coming about in 10 years it is all nonsense. It may be 20 years. Everybody knows, I suppose, that there are obvious dangers and difficulties in the Pact, but it is a great step forward. That nobody can doubt. Dangers and difficulties are one thing, but we have surmounted that. When the hon. Member for Shoreditch talks about an increased armament, we were, if I may respectfully say so, the only nation in Europe that was disarmed when the War began. [Laughter.] Yes.


We had the best Fleet in the world.


We were the only nation that was disarmed.




Rubbish is merely the pillar of the Church. You are the pillar; you are all rubbish! Do you not think we may be trusted to safeguard ourselves? I see no increase in armaments proposed. On the contrary, it is true to say we were the only nation that has disarmed to the extent that we have done. There is no question of our sincere desire to disarm and keep down armaments. I see no danger in that if once we get this Pact. Germany agrees with it. We are told that she came in by virtue of the iron heel, and all that sort of nonsense, but I wonder what the iron heel would have been in this country if the War had gone the other way. They would have called to Russia, and she would not have heard. I wonder what they would have done. What advance are we getting? It is true that the occupation of the Ruhr is wrong to those who have ever studied the matter. Having read the Treaty, I say that those who say so are quite wrong in this respect. You have only to look at the stages of evacuation in the Treaty of Versailles to see that the occupation of the Ruhr was right under the Treaty. That is given up as from the 1st December. What will that mean? It will mean that our soldiers will be brought home, and we shall further increase our military forces. Further than that, the frontier is guaranteed. That is a reason for being even in more friendly relations with Germany. I am not prepared to say that the Germans are not more sincere or not as nice a people as the French, but that is what has happened under this Pact. The result of this Pact is, that we enable a return to industrial life in Germany which is vital to us, in view of the unemployment here. You have got a free circulation of trade throughout Europe and throughout the world. Are we really seriously to be asked to postpone this for a period of 10 or 20 years? I think this is a great advance. We have accomplished what we might have accomplished in six months or 10 years, which is only speculative, by this Pact. One would have thought that those responsible for the Labour party in the last Parliament would have been delighted to have accomplished this Pact. I wish they had. I wish well of my country. I do not want to keep my country down and to keep people unemployed. I want employment and the circulation of trade. If the Labour party had proposed to us this Pact, we should not have voted for any amendment which would destroy it. We, should have voted loyally for the Pact. Those who vote against the ratification of the Pact and vote for this Amendment are enemies to their country. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!"] Yes. If there are errors in this Pact they can be rectified. It is not impossible to rectify them. Germany is to enter the League of Nations, and if she represents that something is in the Pact which is operating against her, it can be considered by the League of Nations. Is there any hon. Member who does not want Germany to enter the League? I would be glad to see Russia in the League, but that is another question and does not arise now.

This Pact is hopeful for Germany, and she think so herself. It is hopeful for France and Belgium, and it is hopeful for us. We are to evacuate Cologne and to bring back our soldiers. We believe in disarmament. We shall be able to reduce our expenditure. Hon. Members opposite wish to postpone this matter to the Greek Kalends. In my humble judg- ment, every member of the Labour party who votes for this Amendment is voting against the Pact. The language of the Amendment is perfectly clear, because of the obligation undertaken. What is our obligation under this Pact? It only relates to the frontiers on the West. We are not involved in the frontiers on the East. I regard this Pact as the greatest piece of statesmanship that has been accomplished since the War. I sincerely trust that hon. Members opposite will consider what will be the effect of their vote. What will be its influence in Germany? What influence will it have upon the Nationalists there in their attitude towards this Pact? I beg hon. Members to support the Pact, which is supported not only throughout Europe but throughout America and the world. I hope hon. Members will not vote for the Amendment. I can only conceive that if they vote for the Amendment it is with a desire to keep alive the unrest of the world in the interests of Moscow.


I desire to associate myself with those who are opposed to this Pact. I hope the House will believe me when I say that I am as keenly desirous of maintaining peace in Europe as any Member of this House. It is not a question of our opposing the establishment of peace. The record of some of my colleagues and of myself are good enough to establish that; our bona-fides on that account are, we claim, beyond suspicion. There are one or two points which are well worthy of consideration. I have been a Member of this House for some considerable time since the War, and I have heard from the benches opposite many charges made against Germany with regard to her illicit army, and demands made that systematic searches and investigations should be carried out as to whether or not Germany had too many pop-guns. Hon. Members opposite were not satisfied with the Versailles Treaty. They were not satisfied when they were told by their own officials and generals that the idea of Germany arming under the Versailles Treaty was absurd.

Hon. Members opposite expressed such fear of Germany that they were constantly urging that there was a danger of Germany having too many aeroplanes, rifles and guns. Since this Pact has been under discussion that argument seems to have disappeared entirely from the speeches of Conservative Members, and it brings us to the point raised by the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle). In the new dispensation, or the new disposition, which has arisen, will hon. Members opposite take upon themselves the defence of a disarmed Germany against an enormously armed France? That is a question to be discussed. It is a liability which hon. Members opposite are taking upon themselves by the acceptance of this Pact. France is the greatest military force in the world to-day. She is in alliance with Belgium and she has other alliances. We guarantee to go to the assistance of France against a disarmed Germany. It is ludicrous. It is perfectly unnecessary to take that upon ourselves or for France to ask it, so long as the Versailles Treaty is observed.

We also guarantee Germany against aggression. Are we going to guarantee Germany against aggression by France and her allies, with Germany utterly disarmed under the Versailles Treaty, and are we to stand practically alone against the greatest military force in Europe? I cannot believe that the military and naval advisers of the Government will be prepared to accept so preposterous a position as that. I expect that before very long we shall hear arguments from the other side that the conditions of the Versailles Treaty ought to be mitigated and that Germany ought to be allowed to increase her army and her naval preparations, because she must be prepared to arm and take her part under the Covenant of the League and under this Pact. We are justified in saying that that is a risk which we ought not to run, and if for nothing else it is a reason why this Pact should be opposed.

There is this further point, that we are entering into commitments which pledge this country for many years ahead. We are not simply committing our own generation to anything that may happen, but we are committing future generations to these dangers. We went into the War in 1914 largely because of a bond of honour existing in a Treaty that was 80 years old. It may be that 80 years from now a future generation in this country will be committed to the bloodiest fight in the history of the world because of what we are doing to-night. I am not prepared to accept a responsibility of that character. I want to know whether the nations who are signatory to this Pact, notably France and ourselves, are prepared to put themselves to the test. The Foreign Secretary has told us that this Pact is an inculcation of a new spirit. I attribute to him that sincerity that was attributed to him by the hon. Member for Shoreditch. He believes that he doing a very good work. I hope he will grant to me the same sincerity in the line I am taking. But I may suggest that there will be a test of the sincerity of the signatories to this Pact. If this Pact means the new brotherhood of nations, if it can be represented in terms of the loving cup which you exchanged with the German Ambassador, will you, upon ratification, advise France to, and will you yourselves, evacuate at once the Rhine-land and the Saar Valley? If Germany has became our blood brother, if you believe in the sincerity of the thing, will you grant Germany some slight advantage to help her to bear her burdens? Will you evacuate the Rhineland and the Saar Valley, because we believe that the danger, to moot which they were taken up, has entirely disappeared? That is one way of testing your sincerity.

Again, if danger disappears, will France give up her right to advance troops through Germany? We are chidden because sometimes we raise the question of Russia, because we have said that this Pact appears, according to speeches which have been made, to be directed against Russia. Hon. Members appear to think that Russia can be kept out of account. Russia, economically, is growing rapidly. She is growing more powerful. Week by week, and month by month she is becoming a less negligible quantity in the affairs of Europe, and she cannot be ignored or left out of account. Her population is 150,000,000 and her Government believe, rightly or wrongly, that there is reason to believe that this Pact is directed against her, that it is an attempt to create a bulk alliance against her Government which no other Government in Europe really likes. They are aware of that. But you can only overturn them by war, and if you are not prepared for war the sooner you make peace with them the better. Rightly or wrongly the Russians believe this, and one of the first effects of this Pact is that the Russian Government have increased their expenditure upon armaments; an ominous welcome to this Pact, an ominous rendering of the new spirit that is supposed to be provoked by this Pact. [Laughter.] The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Herbert Williams) laughs. The possibility of universal war is not a laughing matter. It is not something to be jeered at. Surely we have had quite enough of that.

Russia has reason for her attitude of suspicion. The Soviet Government is not a very ancient one, and the biggest part of its history has been taken up with military conflict. So far as we in this country are concerned, we have interfered in her affairs for years. There was the problem in 1923, when the ultimatum was presented by the late Lord Curzon, and Russia has ample cause for the fear which she has expressed, because she knows the animosity expressed towards her. It may be that I am not a very distinguished person, but at any rate I have grounds for saying that the Russian Foreign Office declares that from London to Peking she feels the animosity of the position of the British Foreign Office. That is the statement of the Russian Foreign Secretary. You may think that it is strange that so humble a person as myself should know that. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The Russian Foreign Office or its Foreign Secretary does not regard it from such a lofty point of view as some people in this country would suppose.

That is a fact which is declared by the Russian Government, and as long as that remains it means that there is a strong ground for the suspicion which they feel. Therefore, I suggest, as one result of this Pact, that some attempt is made to come to a settlement, and to reach a basis upon which peace can be established and to settle not only the question of the western frontier of Russia, but the eastern relationship of this country with Russia. If such a settlement were brought about then there might be some chance of seeing Russia coming into the League of Nations, and joining in this Pact, and we would then have more to say for its value than we have at the present moment. We at least are not yet convinced, in spite of all that has been said, that this Pact will do all that has been claimed for it. I shall vote against it because I object to making myself responsible for the possibility of evoking the gods of war 80 years hence by reason of what we do in this House to-night.


If I rise now, it is not because I wish to exclude anyone from taking part in this Debate, but because I wish to be quite certain of allowing the spokesman for the Opposition full time for any speech which he may wish to deliver. The hon. Member who has just spoken said that he was quite prepared to recognise my sincerity, and that in the declarations which he made he hoped that I would recognise his. It is my frankest conviction that Members of this House speak with sincerity, and I always act upon that assumption, and I should never question without grave reason the sincerity of any speaker. Indeed I do not know how the business of this House could be conducted upon any other basis than that of recognising the desire of all parties to serve the interests of their country.

I have no reason to be otherwise than satisfied with the course of this Debate, except from the fact that certain matters which, I think, would have been better debated separately, have been introduced into the discussion, which, if confined to the matter actually before us, would certainly have raised no difficulties and might have been allowed to pass without any Amendment being proposed and with general approval. There are some questions, and questions of importance, which have been raised, but I do not think that they directly affect the policy of the British Government in advising His Majesty to ratify the Treaty of Locarno. They are subsidiary to it, complementary to it, supplementary to it, but they are not in a form which makes them a material part of the criticism which has been made.

The first question to which I wish to refer is one which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition lifted from the Amendment of the Liberal party, and developed for himself and left for further development to my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). I deeply regret that the circumstances of the different Governments of the Empire made it impossible for His Majesty's present advisers, before they entered into any negotiations with foreign countries, to have a conference with the Dominion Governments. I cannot say how much importance I attached to the hope of such a conference in advance, or how much I feel I should have been aided throughout my negotiations if it had been possible to enter into personal conference with the representatives of the Dominions before I had to declare a policy on behalf of the Government. It was not for want of good will on our part. It was not for want of desire on our part to act, not merely in the full knowledge of the Dominion Governments but in complete accordance with them, that such conference did not take place.


You threw over the only means open.


I am afraid that I do not understand that interruption.


We had already taken the necessary steps to invite the Dominions to discuss a means by which this could be brought about. The present Secretary of State for the Colonies, immediately on taking office, announced that he did not propose to give effect to our suggestion.


No. My right hon. Friend, if he will permit me to call him so, really misjudges the Government on a matter which is not a party matter, but a matter which is of controversy. We did seek a conference with the Dominions and India before we announced our policy with respect to the Protocol, and that not merely for the purpose of deciding what was to be done with the Protocol, about which all the Governments of the Empire were in agreement, but because we simply could not turn down the Protocol and leave nothing in its place, and because there must be an alternative policy which we must adopt. I do not for one moment criticise the Dominion Governments which were unable at a moment's notice to come and meet us in conference. But the affairs: of the world do not stand still. The world stood in peril. When we reached office, we were faced with a situation which had faced our predecessors and of which they were well aware—a situation in which, if I may so express myself, all the feelings of war persisted after the signing of peace, a situation in which Europe was arrayed in hostile camps, which were becoming not less, but more hostile as time passed, and a situation the mere continuance of which was perilous not only to European peace but to the safety of this country and the British Empire. We were bound to have a conference. We were bound to take some action.

10.0 P.M.

I could not go, as the representative of His Majesty's Government, to meeting after meeting of the League of Nations, to conference after conference with the representatives of foreign countries, and say, "Great Britain is without a policy. We have not yet been able to meet all the Governments of the Empire, and we can do nothing." That might be possible for an Empire wholly removed from Europe, which existed in a different hemisphere. It was not possible for an Empire the heart of which lies in Europe and next door to the Continent of Europe, and where every peril to the peace of Europe jeopardised the peace of this country. No man—I think I can appeal to the House to allow me that personal allusion —no man more than my father's son, on taking up the duties of a Foreign Secretary, desired to pursue a policy not merely in close consultation with, but in full harmony and accord and agreement at every stage with the Dominion Governments. Such is my desire to-day and such will always be my desire. But the circumstances of this particular case were circumstances which did not allow us to remain without a policy, lest Europe should be so embedded in the quarrels of the past that the British Empire should inevitably be involved in some new struggle to which we were going against the will of everyone because the Governments or nations appeared unable to get themselves out of the rut in which they were engaged.

I would have welcomed, and no man more, the assistance at every stage of these negotiations, before Locarno and at Locarno, of authorised representatives of the Dominion Governments. That was not possible in the circumstances of the case. All that His Majesty's Government could do was to follow the precedent set at the Peace negotiations, when their representatives were present, and to em- body in this Treaty the Clause which was embodied in the Anglo-French Treaty of Guarantee, reserving to the Dominion Governments the right to adhere or not to adhere. That we have done. They cannot be committed to obligations without their assent. But I earnestly hope that, not only may this negotiation not be an obstacle to future co-operation, but that it may excite in all of us, in every Government of the Empire, a keener desire to find machinery by which our foreign policy can become in every act and at every hour the foreign policy of the Empire and not the foreign policy of this country only.

Another great issue has been raised, this time, as I think, less relevant to the particular purpose of this Agreement. It is the position of the Russian Government in relation to Locarno. If the hon. Gentleman the late Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs will permit me to say so, it is not any supposed indiscretions of my colleagues that embarrass me, it is the perversity of the interpretations which he and some of his friends put upon every act of the Government. There is not one shadow of foundation for the suspicion that at any time since His Majesty's present Government assumed office, they have endeavoured to engage any nation, and still less every nation, in a league against Russia. We are confident that in what concerns ourselves we can protect our own interests. We think that sooner or later Russia will find out that an attitude of hostility to the constitution of society in every other part of the world does not serve the interests of Russia itself. Whenever they are willing to meet us in the spirit in which every other nation meets us, we shall be willing to meet them, and we shall hope that we may arrange satisfactory relations between our countries.

The late Under-Secretary referred to a trifle which I am almost ashamed to introduce or refer to in this Debate—the question of whether somebody on my behalf, somebody representing, not myself in a personal way, but the Foreign Secretary, attended the anniversary-celebration of the establishment of the Soviet Republic, held at the Russian Embassy, and whether somebody on my behalf greeted the Russian chargé d'affaires on his departure from London to take up his new post as Ambassador of the Soviet Republic in France. I only deprecate questions and speeches of this kind because they tend to create the appearance of a sense of hostility on the part of the British Government towards the Soviet Government, which does not exist. In both these matters I have acted, and my subordinates have acted, exactly as we should act to any other national anniversary celebration held in an Embassy in this capital, or to the departure of any other chargé d'affaires. It is not the practice for the Foreign Secretary or the Foreign Office to be represented at these anniversary celebrations. It is not the practice for the Foreign Secretary to send anyone to the station to greet the departure of a Minister or a chargé d'affaires, and what the hon. Gentleman in fact asked us to do, what he says, or implies, I ought to have done, is to treat the Soviet Government in both these respects in a way in which neither I nor my predecesors have been accustomed to treat the Governments of France, United States, Germany or any other country.

Again, the hon. Gentleman says Locarno has the air of being the establishment of a new balance of power and a more dangerous one; that it is not a balance of power between countries but a balance of power of Europe against Asia. Surely only a perverted ingenuity on the part of one who, I frankly recognise, desires peace could inspire the hon. Gentleman with such an argument. After all, Eastern nations are members of the League as much as Western nations. Japan, with whom, happily, we are on terms, not merely of correct relations, but of close and intimate friendship and co-operation, is a member of the Council. What does the hon. Gentleman really mean? Does he mean that no British Minister may attempt to put our relations with Germany on a better footing unless he has first received the sanction of the Soviet Government? If the hon. Gentleman thinks it out he will see that either he meant that or meant nothing. I know he did not mean that, and I therefore think his processes of thought were imperfect at the time when he gave utterance to that statement.


The right hon. Gentleman is attributing to my personal opinion an opinion which has been quoted in the papers and is largely held. He is attributing to my personal opinion a tendency, which I said was justifiable, to recognise in the division of Powers that the isolation of Russia was contemplated by this Pact. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is fair in accusing me of talking nonsense for myself. I was only expressing an opinion which has appeared, as he knows, elsewhere, and for which I think there is some justification.


Then the hon. Gentleman was not talking his own nonsense but the nonsense of other people. I really cannot get at the hon. Gentleman's own explanation of his thoughts. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition made one comment on the Treaty of Locarno—if it was intended as such—which I find it difficult to understand. He said no Treaty should be concluded except under the auspices and in the presence of the League. No Treaty could be more conformable to and in the spirit of the League and the Covenant, than the Treaty of Locarno and its subsidiary documents, but I am a little puzzled to know what the right hon. Gentleman means. Did he summon the League and invite the League to London to help him in the Dawes Agreement? Indeed he did not, and I venture to think he will agree with me when I say that his success would have been rendered doubtful if he had attempted to conduct the negotiations of the London Conference in the midst of the Assembly of the League. All I can say is that no Treaty was ever framed with a greater care for the authority of the League, with greater respect for the provisions of the Covenant, or with so large a measure of approbation in advance from the League as the Treaty of Locarno. The whole idea was before the last Assembly, and the Assembly: taking note of what had passed in regard to the Protocol, convinced that the most urgent need of the present time is the re-establishment of mutual confidence between nations, declaring that a war of aggression should be regarded as an international crime, regards favourably the effort made by certain nations to attain these objects by concluding Arbitration Conventions and Treaties of Mutual Security conceived in the spirit of the Covenant of the League of Nations and in harmony with the principles of the Protocol—arbitration, security and disarmament. Why, Sir, I am ready to say at once, without any amour propre, without any vanité d'auteur, that the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who said to-day that he invented the term "arbitration, security, disarmament," is the true and sole begetter of the Treaty of Locarno, which I had the honour of initialling.


I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for attributing to me the paternity of this document. It is in reference to the question of the London Agreement that I wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. The question of reparation and the application of the Versailles Treaty was specifically and definitely excluded from the League of Nations. If it had been part and parcel of the League of Nations work, I certainly should have risked the disadvantages of having the League represented so that they might have been present at the negotiations that took place. I had not observed the Resolution that the right hon. Gentleman has quoted, but the Resolution being in existence justifies the observation that I made.


I was not criticising the right hon. Gentleman's action in regard to the Dawes Report and the London Agreement. He rendered a great service to the peace of Europe, and he prepared the way for a work which it was not given to him to complete by what he did then. I only say that what he could not do then, and what he would not have been wise to do then, we have done at Locarno. We have brought our work into connection with the League and the Covenant in a way he could not bring his contribution to the peace of the world into immediate connection with them.

I want to answer the quite specific questions that were put during the Debate, and to answer them as specifically and as plainly as the questions themselves were put. I think the questions were most clearly put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. They were partly covered, but only partly, by questions put to me either by the Leader of the Opposition or by other Gentlemen who have spoken, but if I take the specific questions of my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, I shall really be answering the questions put both from below the Gangway and from above. The first question was as to the scope of the Arbitration Agreements which are the necessary concomitants of the Treaty of Locarno, and upon which that Treaty rests. Every dispute between France and Germany, between Belgium and Germany, or, I may say, between Poland and Germany and Czechoslovakia and Germany, is referable to arbitration, understanding arbitration in the wide sense, that it means not only judicial examination but conciliatory proceedings. No dispute, broadly speaking, is excluded. Every dispute is referable to arbitration or conciliation.

The second statement I make, in answer to another specific question, is that the interpretation of Treaties, including the Treaty of Versailles, is referable to judicial determination. The Treaties themselves are part of the public law of Europe, which the Court has to determine. It is not for a judicial tribunal to decide whether two nations ought or ought not to have signed a particular Treaty. What will be for them to determine is, that Treaty having been signed, what are the obligations of the respective parties to it? Then my right hon. Friend drew attention to a Clause, not in the Treaty itself, but in the Arbitration Convention, which says: This provision does not apply to disputes arising out of events prior to the present convention, and belonging to the past. That is a terminology on which all the Powers represented were agreed as expressing what they intend. Take a specific case. We did not intend that it should be open to any of the nations concerned to reopen the quarrels of the past and to bring them up as a subject of arbitration. What we intended to do was, leaving the past behind us, to prepare a better future and prevent quarrels arising in the future. We could not come to agreement on the basis that all the past disputed acts of an unhappy time of conflict and animosity should be arbitrated upon. The only thing to do was to draw down the curtain on the past, and, insofar as events belong to the past and not to the present and future, they are done with, and we leave them behind. That is the meaning of that Clause. It is a Clause the wording of which was worked out between the representatives of every one concerned, and agreed to by them all.

Then my right hon. Friend and others ask whether boundary questions ware excluded from arbitration. The boundaries established are part of the public law of Europe. The best exposition of the position which I can give is by calling the attention of the House to the Preamble of the Treaty of Arbitration between Germany and Poland, and between Germany and Czechoslovakia of which we had cognisance before we issued the Treaty of Locarno, but to which we were not parties. Let us see what the Governments state as between themselves, Great Britain holding, as it were, a watching brief, but being no party, and undertaking no obligations. The President of the German Empire and the President of the Polish Republic equally resolved to maintain peace between Germany and Poland by assuring the peaceful settlement of differences which might. arise between the two countries. Also, Declaring that respect for the rights established by Treaty, or resulting from the law of nations is obligatory for international tribunals, agreeing to recognise that the rights of a State cannot be modified save with its consent, and considering that sincere observance of methods of peaceful settlement of international disputes permits of resolving, without recourse to force, questions which may become the cause of divisions between States…. What exactly is the position? To no judicial tribunal can you submit the question that this or that Treaty is other than what it is. You can only submit a question of what are the obligations of the other party under the Treaty which both have signed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), referring to this particular subject, said that the provisions of the Covenant, which were referred to, and indeed which underlay the letter which M. Clemenceau, on behalf of the Allied Governments, addressed to the German delegation at Versailles had a certain effect. It in no way detracts from the provisions of the Covenant under the Treaty of Versailles. What these Treaties do is to say that the public law of Europe and the Treaty law of Europe which is part of the public law can only be altered by consent, by methods of peaceful settlement. The Covenant remains unimpaired in that respect. This contention that the Treaties can only be altered by the con- sent of the parties has been a principle of British policy.

One other question was put to me. What is the meaning of Article 6 and above all, of the explanation which was issued by my authority, by the Foreign Office? Article 6 of the Treaty of Locarno says: The provisions of the present Treaty do not affect the rights and obligations of the high contracting parties under the Treaty of Versailles or under arrangements supplementary thereto, including the agreements signed in London on the 30th August, 1924. That is to say, these new agreements are based upon the public law of Europe as it exists; that is to say that, and nothing else. My right hon. Friend says: "Does it authorise a new incursion by one Power, ourselves or another, into the Ruhr?" His Majesty's Government have always held that there was no authority for that occupation of the Ruhr. The circumstances which led to that would, under those new Treaties, be the subject of arbitration, the right of any Government to take such action would be the subject of judicial determination, and isolated action which might be provocative of war is prevented by the assent of all the parties under the Treaty signed at Locarno and under the subsidiary agreements.


Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether it can or not?


I really have endeavoured to explain the position quite frankly. You cannot under these Treaties take to a Court the question: Ought the Treaty of Versailles to be what it is? You can take it, and you must take it to the Court of Arbitration, wherever it is a judicial question, and to Conciliation where it is not a judicial question, as to whether, the Treaty being what it is, it is the right of this or that. Power to do this or that thing. That is an immense acquisition for the pence of Europe and for good relations amongst nations.

I only desire, in one or two sentences, to repeat to the House my conviction of the peril in which we lay and the peril from which. I hope, the Agreements of Locarno have set us free. The right hon. Gentleman opposite knows that when he left office, and when I succeeded him, fear brooded over the whole of Europe, suspicion inflamed the minds and inspired the acts of every Government. Instead of moving away from the animosities of war, they were getting confirmed and embittered. I and my colleagues came into office with the conviction that unless we could lift Europe out of this condition of suspicion and fear and distrust, and unless we could do it soon, so that the young people who are growing up could grow up in an atmosphere of peace and goodwill, the world would be moving to a new catastrophe; and whether we took obligations or whether we tried to isolate ourselves, once that catastrophe broke out, all civilisation, and ourselves included, would be involved in it.

We have changed that situation. The right hon. Gentleman says it is Couéism. Why, all the Governments have found a way of doing what all the nations desire. That is the secret of the success of Locarno. All I say as my last word is what I said when I left London, "Wish us well, but do not expect too much." Because we have done something, all is not accomplished. Because we have smoothed away some difficulties we have not removed them all. Do not lose courage or lose heart, do not lose confidence and hope, because, presently, we are going to be faced with difficulties, presently the first flush of our enthusiasm will have gone. I believe that Europe has started on a new path. I draw my convictions from the spirit in which the representatives of every nation at Locarno worked at Locarno, and from the immediate reaction of the results of Locarno on the policy of those countries; and I beg my countrymen, I beg this House, to lend their aid to this great work of pacification and appeasement, secure in the knowledge that the influence and authority of the British Government, wherever and whenever it can be exercised, will be used to serve the cause of peace and goodwill among the nations of the world.


The Amendment put forward by the Labour party proposes to accept the ratification of the Locarno Treaty, but it is critical of the situation which may arise in the future. No other Amendment could possibly represent the views of the Labour party. We have doubts, fears and anxieties, but we accept the great hope that lies in the Locarno Pact. We are trying to express that view; and the views of this House would not be correctly represented if we did not try to bring forward both of those aspects. The first great hope we see in this Pact is the end of the penal period for the German people. The Labour party has never approved of the economic oppression of the German workers which followed the signing of the Peace Treaty after the War. We have had since to watch the German workers starve, we have seen them overworked, and we have seen their standards lowered, their wages decreased, and their hours increased, and we have also found all this has had its reaction on ourselves. We are actually now being told that the hours of the British worker must be increased and their standards lowered to the level that has been reached in Germany.

Another reason why we adopt this course is because we see a chance again for Central Europe recovering itself after the end of the War. Perhaps it may be that the gesture of the Guildhall Loving Cup was the inauguration of a new era in Europe. At any rate, we feel that it is a great gain that German and French relations are to be established on a more friendly basis. It is a great gain to have a repudiation of war by both those nations, and an agreement between them to have a peaceful settlement of all questions arising between the French and German people. It is even a greater thing to have Germany in the League of Nations. But we cannot do nothing except applaud. We have causes for discontent and hesitation about the Pact. The first is that it is a pale reflection of what might have been if only the policy of last year had been pursued. The right hon. Gentleman has just said that he was impressed with the intense peril at the beginning of this year, when the Conservative Government came into office. The peril was there, but the period of greatest peril has already passed. It had been passed when, under the lead of Great Britain, under the inspiration of my right hon. Friend the late Foreign Secretary, the nations of the world met together and were preparing and plotting a system under which all disputes would have been brought under arbitration, and in which all nations in the League of Nations would have participated, and not only the three or four who come under the Locarno Pact. Our first complaint is that the Locarno Pact is a lesser thing than we might have obtained; and it is not as if the attitude of the other nations had changed; that is far from being the case. It was the attitude of the present British Government which rejected the Protocol; but the other nations would still have been as ready for it.

I have here the Reports of the recent Assembly of the League of Nations, and here is the Report of M. Rolin, the reporter of the first Committee. I will read his Report: At the moment when the declarations of certain Governments have shown that an early entry into force of the Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes is not to be expected "— those Governments, of course, mean our own, primarily; but for the British Government no other Government would have been heard of— several delegations have been anxious to affirm the fidelity and unanimity with which the Members of the League remain attached to the triple object underlying that draft treaty, namely, arbitration, security and disarmament. And, in presenting the Report, he said: The discussions which had taken place in the Committees of the Assembly were not in the nature of funereal speeches, but rather were a summons to resurrection, like the Voice which cried, 'Lazarus, come forth!' That is to say, if only the present Government had continued on the lines of the late Government, there is every chance that to-day, instead of discussing a limiting Pact which most of us are compelled, as far as it goes, to approve, we should have boon discussing the far larger Pact or Protocol which would have included all the nations.

What was the other great advantage of the Protocol over the Pact? It was that in the case of the Protocol disarmament was an integral part of it. The provisions of the Protocol included one for the calling of a disarmament conference, which would have been held by now if the new policy had not been initiated. Then follows this provision: If within such a period a plan for the reduction of armaments as shall be fixed by the said conference has not been carried out, the Council shall make a declaration to that effect, and this declaration shall render the present Protocol null and void. That is to say that so important a part of the Protocol was disarmament that it was to stand or fall on the success of disarmament. In the case of this Pact there is, it is true, a kindly declaration that the nations undertake to give their sincere co-operation to the work relating to disarmament already undertaken by the League of Nations and to seek the realisation thereof in a general settlement. I do not say that disarmament will not be realised under the Locarno Pact, but the test of the Pact is whether it will be realised. Let us give it twelve months. Let us give it longer if you like to see whether disarmament is going to begin, and if it does not begin then it will be the brand of the failure of the Pact that we are discussing. Let no one say we are altogether unreasonable in our scepticism as to whether disarmament is going so rapidly to follow. I have not heard our present Government say there is going to be a reduction of armaments here. I do not say there will not be, but we have not heard of any, and when the right hon. Gentleman says we hope to have a disarmament conference and that other nations will have to be failed in to the disarmament conference, good, but when the other nations were discussing disarmament under the Protocol they had the security which the Protocol was going to give them. Now, when they came into the disarmament conference, they come in without any special security. There are only four or five nations who are in the Pact who have the security, and the others will come in without any of that security to drive them into disarmament. It is only all-round security that can give the impetus to disarm, and that has been, unfortunately, definitely repulsed by the policy of the Government, at any rate for a time.

I should like to say another word about the latter part of the Amendment of the Labour party. The hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Duff Cooper) expressed almost exactly the view which a great many of us here hold. There is really m, very appreciable danger of war in Western Europe for a very long time. That is the feeling of many of us, I should not have thought it was very seriously disputed that the nations of the West are so war-weary, quite apart from the disarmament of Germany, that the central fear for the future is not really the Western situation. I agree with the general attitude of the hon. Member for Oldham, who made such an admirable speech earlier in the Debate, that the danger is in the East.

It is no use saying that the Pact does not increase uneasiness in the East. I am not saying, I do not say for an instant, that the views expressed by the Undersecretary for the Colonies have ever been in the minds of the framers of the Locarno Pact at all. We had an admirable and complete declaration about it to-day from the Foreign Secretary, and indeed, if I had been speaking earlier in this Debate, I should have said that I knew that solemn declarations had been made before by the French, German and British Ministers that the Locarno Pact was not directed against Russia. These are valuable repudiations of the point of view of the Undersecretary for the Colonies. But surely the fact that things like that were said shows that they were in somebody's mind, a person who is not a nobody, and the unorthodox reflections of an Undersecretary may become party policy to-morrow. Grant that there is no chance of that kind of attitude being adopted; the intentions of the framers of an instrument do not always govern its results. It is not quite time to say that the Pact is not directed against Russia. Let us look at it this way. The Pact Russia made to settle its Asiatic difficulties before the War was not directed against Germany, but it facilitated the new alignment of Powers which eventually made the situation of 1914 possible, and it is impossible to ignore what may happen.

It is impossible to ignore that the Rusian Government is anxious about the results of the Pact, or to ignore the fact that all the Socialist and Labour parties of Europe are anxious about it. What we say is that you ought to take this situation, and realise that anxiety, and you ought to see that now is the moment, when we are turning over a new leaf in the West, you ought to seize to approach Russia. It is the moment for a friendly approach. It is perfectly true what the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary said, that we all know that Russia would not join in the League at the present moment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why should she not?"] I will tell you. A year or two ago Germany would not join the League. Germany announced that she would not join the League. Why? Because it was not going to join a League as, if I may use the phrase, a tolerated pariah, a League which it knew was hostile to it, and where it was not going to get an equal chance among the nations. Now, when it knows it is going to have its equal chance among nations, Germany is readily joining the League. Therefore, I am entitled to say that we do not know that a year or two hence Russia would not be ready to join the League if the attitude of Western nations were to change towards her. I am entitled to say that we have to approach the thing, not perhaps by asking Russia whether at this moment she will join the League, but by treating Russia on the basis of being one of the nations which should be in the League and which would be wanted in the League if she chose to join.

This is the moment when Russia ought to be approached, and I think the suggestion of the hon. Member for North Southwark (Dr. H. Guest) is an extremely good one. I see no reason why, if there is to be a disarmament conference, Russia should not be asked to go into that conference. Whatever may be said about Russia, this can be said, that the army of Russia to-day is proportionately very much smaller, infinitely smaller to the population than the armies of many other great countries in Europe, and there is no reason to suppose that if Russia could get the additional security which a more friendly attitude of the Western nations would give her that she would not be as ready as other nations to show her acceptance of that security by agreeing to further disarmament. That ought to be tried. We will wait.

The test of the success of this Pact is going to be whether a year hence or a year and a half hence there will be disarmament beginning in Europe, and whether the East and the West are going to come together as well as the West, and are made secure by this Pact. I have expressed the criticisms as well as the approval and the hopes of the Labour party. I hope that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will accept from us congratulations on what he has accomplished. We are the first to hope that even the largest expectations may be realised from the Pact, but we must be allowed to express our doubts, our anxieties and our fears.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 332; Noes, 130.

Division No. 365.] AVES. [11.0 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Dalkeith, Earl of Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney. N.)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
Albery, Irving James Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Hume, Sir G. H.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton) Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Hurd, Percy A.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Dawson, Sir Philip Hurst, Gerald B.
Apsley, Lord Dean, Arthur Wellesley Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midl'n & Peebles)
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Dixey, A. C. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander, F. W. Doyle, Sir N. Grattan Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.
Atholl, Duchess of Drewe, C. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Duckworth, John Jacob, A. E.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Edmondson, Major A. J. Jephcott, A. R.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Elliot, Captain Walter E. Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry England, Colonel A. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Kindersley, Major G. M.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Everard, W. Lindsay King, Captain Henry Douglas
Bennett, A. J. Fairfax, Captain J. G. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Bethell, A. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Knox, Sir Alfred
Betterton, Henry B. Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Lamb, J. Q.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Fielden, E. B. Lane-Fox, Colonel George R.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Finburgh, S. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L. Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Blades, Sir George Rowland Fleming D. P. Little, Dr. E. Graham
Blundell, F. N. Ford, P. J. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart Forrest W. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)
Brass, Captain W. Foster, Sir Harry S. Loder, J. de V.
Briant, Frank Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Lougher, L.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Fraser, Captain Ian Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Briggs, J. Harold Frece, Sir Walter de Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Lumley, L. R.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Lynn, Sir Robert J.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Ganzoni, Sir John MacAndrew, Charles Glen
Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Gates, Percy Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Buckingham, Sir H. Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Burman, J. B. Glyn, Major R. G. C. Macintyre, Ian
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Gower, Sir Robert McLean, Major A.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Grace, John Macmillan, Captain H.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Grant, J. A. Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Campbell, E. T. Greene, W. P. Crawford McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Cassels, J. D. Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E) Macquisten, F. A.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Grotrian, H. Brent MacRobert, Alexander M.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.) Gunston, Captain D. W. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Malone, Major P. B.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R.(Eastbourne) Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Birm., W.) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Margesson, Captain D.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hammersley, S. S. Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Chapman, Sir S. Hanbury, C. Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Merriman, F. B.
Chilcott, Sir Warden Harland, A. Meyer, Sir Frank
Christie, J. A. Harrison, G. J. C. Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Hartington, Marquess of Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)
Clarry, Reginald George Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Clayton, G. C. Haslam, Henry C. Moles, Thomas
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hawke, John Anthony Moore, Sir Newton J.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Morden, Col. W. Grant
Cohen, Major J. Brunel Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) Moreing, Captain A. H.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Conway, Sir W. Martin Henn, Sir Sydney H. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Cooper, A. Duff Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Murchison, C. K.
Cope, Major William Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph
Couper, J. B. Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by) Nelson, Sir Frank
Courtauld, Major J. S. Hilton, Cecil Neville, R. J.
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hon. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)
Crawfurd, H. E. Holland, Sir Arthur Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Crook, C. W. Holt, Captain H. P. Nuttall, Ellis
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Homan, C. W. J. Oakley, T.
Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Curzon, Captain Viscount Howard, Captain Hon. Donald Owen, Major G.
Penny, Frederick George Savory, S. S. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange) Turton, Edmund Russborough
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W) Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Perring, William George Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y) Wallace, Captain D. E.
Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Shepperson, E. W. Warrender, Sir Victor
Philipson, Mabel Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Pilcher, G. Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Skelton, A. N. Watts, Dr. T.
Preston, William Slaney, Major P. Kenyon White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple
Price, Major C. W. M. Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Wiggins, William Martin
Radford, E. A. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Raine, W. Smithers, Waldron Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Ramsden, E. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel Spender Clay, Colonel H. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Rawson, Alfred Cooper Sprot, Sir Alexander Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Rees, Sir Beddoe Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E.) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Reid, D. D. (County Down) Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Winby, Colonel L. P.
Rentoul, G. S. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Steel, Major Samuel Strang Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Rice, Sir Frederick Storry Deans, R. Wise, Sir Fredric
Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Wolmer, Viscount
Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C. Womersley, W. J.
Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Rye, F. G. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Salmon, Major I. Templeton, W. P. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey) Wragg, Herbert
Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Sandeman, A. Stewart Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Sanderson, Sir Frank Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell- TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Sandon, Lord Tinne, J. A. Commander B. Eyres Monsell and
Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Colonel Gibbs.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Sitch, Charles H.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hardle, George D. Siesser, Sir Henry H.
Ammon, Charles George Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Smillie, Robert
Attlee, Clement Richard Hayday, Arthur Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hayes, John Henry Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)
Baker, Walter Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Snell, Harry
Barnes, A. Hirst, G. H. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Barr, J. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Batey, Joseph Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Stamford, T. W.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) John, William (Rhondda, West) Stephen, Campbell
Broad, F. A. Kelly, W. T. Taylor, R. A.
Bromfield, William Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Bromley, J. Lansbury, George Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Lawson, John James Thurtle, E.
Buchanan, G. Lowth, T. Tinker, John Joseph
Cape, Thomas Lunn, William Townend, A. E.
Charleton, H. C. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Clowes, S. Mackinder, W. Varley, Frank B.
Cluse, W. S. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Viant, S. P.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. March, S. Wallhead, Richard C.
Compton, Joseph Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Connolly, M. Montague, Frederick Warne, G. H.
Cove, W. G. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Dalton, Hugh Murnin, H. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Naylor, T. E. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Oliver, George Harold Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Day, Colonel Harry Palin, John Henry Weir, L. M.
Dennison, R. Paling, W. Welsh, J. C.
Duncan, C. Ponsonby, Arthur Westwood, J.
Dunnico, H. Potts, John S. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Whiteley, W.
Gibbins, Joseph Riley, Ben Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Gillett, George M. Ritson, J. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Eiland) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Rose, Frank H. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenall, T. Saklatvala, Shapurji Windsor, Walter
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Salter, Dr. Alfred Wright, W.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Scrymgeour, E. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Scurr, John
Groves, T. Sexton, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Grundy, T. W. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Mr. T. Kennedy and Mr. Allen Parkinson.
Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)

Question put, That this House approves the ratification of the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee, initialled at Locarno on 16th October, 1925,

and annexed to the Final Protocol signed on that date."

The House divided: Ayes, 375; Noes, 13.

Division No. 366.] AYES. [11.12 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Haslam, Henry C.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hawke, John Anthony
Albery, Irving James Crawfurd, H. E. Hayday, Arthur
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Crook, C. W. Hayes, John Henry
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Hcadlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)
Ammon, Charles George Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Apsley, Lord Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Curzon, Captain Viscount Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Dalkeith, Earl of Henn, Sir Sydney H.
Atholl, Duchess of Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
Baker, Walter Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Herbert Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton) Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Hilton, Cecil
Barnes, A. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Hirst, G. H.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Dawson, Sir Philip Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Day, Colonel Harry Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Dean, Arthur Wellesley Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Dixey, A. C. Holland, Sir Arthur
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Doyle, Sir N. Grattan Holt, Captain H. P.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Drewe, C. Homan, C. W. J.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Duckworth, John Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)
Bennett, A. J. Duncan, C. Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)
Bethell, A. Edmondson, Major A. J. Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.
Betterton, Henry B. Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Howard, Captain Hon. Donald
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Elliot, Captain Walter E. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) England, Colonel A. Hudson, R. S (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Hume, Sir G. H.
Blades, Sir George Rowland Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Hurd, Percy A.
Blundell, F. N. Everard, W. Lindsay Hurst, Gerald B.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Fairfax, Captain J. G. Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)
Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart Falle, Sir Bertram G. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Brass, Captain W. Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.
Briant, Frank Fielden, E. B. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Finburgh, S. Jacob, A. E.
Briggs, J. Harold Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Broad, F. A. Fleming, D. P. Jephcott, A. R.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Ford. P. J. John, William (Rhondda, West)
Bromfield, William Forestier-Walker Sir L. Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Forrest, W. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Brown, Maj. D. C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham) Fraser, Captain Ian Kennedy, T.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Frece, Sir Walter de Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Buckingham, Sir H. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
Burman, J. B. Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Kindersley, Major G. M.
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Ganzoni, Sir John King, Captain Henry Douglas
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Gates, Percy Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Campbell, E. T. Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Knox, Sir Alfred
Cape, Thomas Gibbins, Joseph Lamb, J. Q.
Cassels, J. D. Gillett, George M. Lawson, John James
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Glyn, Major R. G. C. Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Gower, Sir Robert Little, Dr. E. Graham
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Grace, John Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.) Greene, W. P. Crawford Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)
Chapman, Sir S. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Loder, J. de V.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Grotrlan, H. Brent Lougher, L.
Chilcott, Sir Warden Greves, T. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Christie, J. A. Grundy, T. W. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.) Lumley, L. R.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Gunston, Captain D. W. Lunn, William
Clarry, Reginald George Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Lynn, Sir R. J.
Clayton, G. C. Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) MacAndrew, Charles Glen
Cluse, W. S. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hammersley, S. S. McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Cohen, Major J. Brunel Hanbury, C. Macintyre, Ian
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Mackinder, W.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Harland, A. McLean, Major A.
Cooper, A. Duff Harrison, G. J. C. Macmillan, Captain H.
Cope, Major William Hartington, Marquess of Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Couper, J. B. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Courtauld, Major J. S. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Macquisten, F. A.
MacRobert, Alexander M. Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Rawson, Alfred Cooper Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Malone, Major P. B. Rees, Sir Beddoe Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Reid, D. D. (County Down) Templeton, W. P.
Margesson, Captain D. Rentoul, G. S. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K. Rice, Sir Frederick Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Merriman, F. B. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Meyer, Sir Frank Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)
Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford) Tinker, John Joseph
Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Rose, Frank H. Townend, A. E.
Moles, Thomas Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Varley, Frank B.
Montague, Frederick Rye, F. G. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Moore, Sir Newton J. Salmon, Major I. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Salter, Dr. Alfred Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Morden, Colonel W. Grant Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Warne, G. H.
Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Sandeman, A. Stewart Warrender, Sir Victor
Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Sanderson, Sir Frank Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Naylor, T. E. Sandon, Lord Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Nelson, Sir Frank Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Watts, Dr. T.
Neville, R. J. Savery, S. S. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Sexton, James Weir, L. M.
Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew. W) White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple
Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hon. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Wiggins, William Martin
Nuttall, Ellis Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y) Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Oakley, T. Shepperson, E. W. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Shiels, Dr. Drummond Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness) Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Owen, Major G. Sitch, Charles H. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Palin, John Henry Skelton, A. N. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Winby, Colonel L. P.
Penny, Frederick George Slesser, Sir Henry H. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Wise, Sir Fredric
Perring, William George Smithers, Waldron Wolmer, Viscount
Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Womersley, W. J.
Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Philipson, Mabel Spender Clay, Colonel H. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Pilcher, G. Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Potts, John S. Stamford, T. W. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.) Wragg, Herbert
Preston, William Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Price, Major C. W. M. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Radford, E. A. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Raine, W. Storry Deans, R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Ramsden, E. Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Commander B. Eyres Monsell and
Colonel Gibbs.
Bromley, J. Hore-Belisha, Leslie Wallhead, Richard C.
Buchanan, G. Lansbury, George Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Connolly, M. Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Windsor, Walter
Cove, W. G. Saklatvala, Shapurji
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Scurr, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Thurtle and Mr. Dunnico.

Question put, and agreed to.

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