§ 1. Mr. FENBY
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in making his reply to the petition in favour of the acceptance of the optional Clause of the permanent Court, organised by the League of Nations Union and the National Council for the Prevention of War, in which he stated that the question of accepting the Clause had been decided against by every British Government since the Court was founded, he had in mind the decision of the Labour Government, announced by the then Prime Minister at Geneva in September, 1924, that it was their desire to sign the Clause; and whether, in view of this, he wishes to revise his reply?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson)
On looking up the passage in the speech to which I assume that the hon. Member is referring, I find that it contained the qualification that it would be proper that the Clause, before it were accepted by His Majesty's Government, should be amended in the sense of being made more precise. I cannot, therefore, accept the view that the words used constituted an announcement of a decision by the late Government of their desire to sign the optional Clause as it then stood, and still stands.
§ Mr. FENBY
Has the hon. Gentleman seen a reference to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) rather detracting from the specific statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary that every British 2260 Government had decided against this and showing that the answer of the right hon. Gentleman needed some qualification?