HC Deb 16 December 1929 vol 233 cc964-5
46. Mr. AYLES

asked the Prime Minister whether Britain has any commitments either to the League of Nations or to the British Empire that prevent the House of Commons coming to any conclusion it desires with regard to disarmament; and, if so, whether he can state precisely what those commitments are and the extent to which they limit the action of this House?


Article 8 of the Covenant of the League of Nations enjoins on all Member States and consequently on His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the reduction of their armaments "to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations," whist Article 16 imposes obligations upon us to join in action for the common enforcement of certain undertakings. Their commitments, as regards the British Empire, are dictated by the needs of self-defence.


May I ask whether His Majesty's Government believe, so far as our own armaments are concerned, that there is still a margin whereby we can reduce to what the Prime Minister has said to be the level of national safety, and, if not, may I ask why should we go into this Disarmament Conference?


It is because there may be that margin discovered only by international agreement that we are going into the five-Power Conference.