HC Deb 15 February 1927 vol 202 cc745-6
45. Mr. J. HUDSON

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the recommendation of the League of Nations Disarmament Commission that all subsidies, both to private and official laboratories promoting research in poison gases, be abolished, the British Government is prepared to give a lead in this matter; and whether the Government is prepared, in accordance with the further recommendation of the same Commission, to introduce legislation forbidding anyone, civilian or military, to perform exercises in the use of poisons and bacteria?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

Until such time as a definite assurance can be obtained that all Powers are willing to adopt measures of prohibition in regard to poisons and bacteria, His Majesty's Government must take steps to be in a position to defend itself against such attacks. For this purpose research work must be continued. In regard to the second part of the question, as long as our nationals might be exposed to attacks of this nature, it is the bounden duty of His Majesty's Government to take steps to provide protection for them.


Would the right hon. Gentleman consider that if some step were taken in the direction suggested in the question, it might inspire the action of other countries and secure the result which is desired?


Will there be an opportunity at the proper time to include an appropriate clause in the revised Prayer Book?


Have any other Powers adopted the recommendation of the League of Nations?


I could not answer that question. With regard to the other points, the difficulty in all these questions is this: No one would rejoice more than I if the whole question of poison gas and so forth could be scrapped. But not all the nations of the world, and among them one or two of the largest and most important, are vet members of the League of Nations; and the work of the League is very much circumscribed, as it must be, in these matters, until there is a universal League of which every nation will be a member.

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