HC Deb 22 June 1927 vol 207 cc1827-8
10. Mr. HARRIS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the attitude of the Government to the proposal of Germany and other countries that the Council of the League of Nations should recommend their respective countries to take action on the Report of the recent Economic Conference at Geneva in favour of a general reduction in tariffs?


The British representative at the Council of the League stated that His Majesty's Government had been favourably impressed by a first but rather hasty study of the conclusions of the Conference, and he thought he could say that probably it was in agreement with by far the greater number of them, if not with all. In view, however, of the importance and number of the recommendations made by the Conference, His Majesty's Government considered that the Report required careful study before it would be safe for a country, which did not wish to pledge its word and afterwards qualify it, to give unqualified assent. He therefore proposed that the Report should be recommended to the favourable consideration of the Governments concerned.


Does this unsympathetic reply rather suggest that the Government do not think that much good will come out of this Conference, and does not the hon. Gentleman realise how urgent the matter is, with the cost of living raised all over Europe?


I should like to ask whether it is an unsympathetic reply?


That is exactly what I was going to say. I should have thought my answer was very sympathetic, and if the hon. Gentleman will read it over, I think he will see that it is sympathetic.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Has the sympathetic reply been sent to the President of the Board of Trade?


I suppose my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will see it.


Will my hon. Friend continue to give most careful attention to this change of heart, and will he do everything in his power to emphasise the disastrous effects of these increasingly Protective tariffs on the Continent of Europe?