HC Deb 09 February 1931 vol 248 cc9-10

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any communications from the Soviet Government as to the proceedings and arrangements for the forthcoming disarmament conference; and whether he will state their purport to the House?

The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Arthur Henderson)

Yes, Sir. Just before my departure for Geneva in January I received a communication from the Soviet Ambassador in London on the subject of the Disarmament Conference. This communication was to the effect that, in the opinion of the Soviet Government, the conference would be of great international importance, and the preservation of peace would depend to a considerable extent upon its results. The Soviet Government had repeatedly expressed their view that disarmament, or the maximum reduction of armaments, was the only guarantee for peace, and they, therefore, took special interest in the success of the conference, and were ready to take an active part in its work. It then proceeded to express the view of the Soviet Government that the Chairman of the Disarmament Conference should be chosen by the conference itself when it meets and not in advance by the Council of the League of Nations, and also that it would be undesirable that the conference should be held at Geneva.


Is it not a fact that the Soviet Government objected to all the arrangements that are being made in regard to this conference?


Do they propose to take part in the conference if it takes place in Geneva?


I cannot say.


Will the right hon. Gentleman reply to my question whether it is a fact that the Soviet Government objected to all the arrangements?


I do not think they objected to all of them. I have enumerated the points on which they raised objection.

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