§ Order for Second Reading read.
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
I think there will be general agreement that no detailed statement is necessary in order to show to the House and the country how reluctantly we feel compelled to introduce this Bill. On Monday last I endeavoured to give to the House the history of the negotiations between the Irish Free State and this country. However wide was the breach at the onset, however much we may have felt resentment at the method and manner in which negotiations were conducted on the other side without regard to us, no one, I feel sure, will deny that the Government up to that moment, and, I may say, as I shall endeavour to show, up to this moment, were and are genuinely and sincerely anxious for a peaceful solution of this difference. But the Bill, probably unprecedented in Parliamentary history, and taking, as I quite frankly admit, unlimited and drastic powers, is, I submit, the only alternative left to the Government in these circumstances.
I say that it is the only alternative because, throughout the Debate on Monday and the previous Debate, no one challenged for one moment the fact that in the Budget of the year there were included millions of pounds that we had the right to expect would be paid to us, and, although there were, and are to-day, criticisms of our action, no one in any quarter of the House suggested any alternative; no one has said to us, "We,can give you a better means of obtaining 528 this money." Therefore, I want to emphasise clearly and definitely that, so far as the Government are concerned, we object and we refuse to call upon the ratepayers and taxpayers of this country, who are already very heavily burdened, to shoulder a further burden which, we are satisfied, they ought not to be asked to bear. On that simple issue, those who object to this Bill must, I submit, either show an alternative way of obtaining the money—must tell us exactly what they would do other than the course we propose—or face the responsibility of admitting that in their judgment the British taxpayer must meet this obligation. We do not intend that that should be done if we can avoid it.
The object of the Bill is to provide the amount of default; that is to say, whatever be the figure due to us for the Land Annuities, or any subsequent figure which only a few days ago for the first time we heard was challenged, whatever may be the amount due under this legally and morally binding agreement, we intend by this Bill to recoup it if we can. We are not desirous of continuing to operate the Act a moment after we receive our just dues or arrive at any other means of settling this unfortunate dispute. The Bill is so framed that it gives the Government absolute power to collect the amount in the manner least inconvenient to trade and to the consumers in this country. I am not going to pretend that we are not fully alive to the inconvenience, and I am not going to disguise from the House for a moment that the powers which are asked for, and which will be exercised if it is necessary to exercise them, include everything that is imported into this country from the Irish Free State. It is only fair that I should leave the House in no doubt upon that point. I do not propose to differentiate between the value of one commodity and another. I do not propose to argue the merits of livestock or foodstuffs. Being reluctantly driven to take the necessary steps to recoup ourselves, I ask the House of Commons frankly, boldly and with confidence to trust us that we will not in any way abuse the powers conferred by the Bill.
On Monday certain suggestion were made with a view to making our position clearer and less open to doubtful interpretation. The hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), for instance, drew 529 attention to the fact that the word "loss," unless it was more specifically defined, could be held to apply to anything outside the particular dispute. We have no desire whatever to introduce into our action anything outside the immediate matters in dispute. I have, therefore, included the expression "direct loss" in order to meet that point. The hon. Member for Bothwell (Mr. Lunn) also drew attention to a very important point. He said, in substance, that, while the Bill left the power in the Treasury's hands, there were many Government Departments other than the Dominions Office whose advice and experience ought to be supplied to the Government. Again, I have met that point and the necessary change is made to include all the Government Departments that are likely to be affected.
The hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) raised a very important constitutional point, namely the prerogative right of the House of Commons to challenge any matter at any time. We have endeavoured to meet that point also. We were, therefore, not blind to what I might call legitimate Parliamentary points. We have endeavoured to meet criticism which we assumed was genuinely intended to improve the Bill and not to hamper us. The right hon. Gentleman opposite says we have not met his point. It is impossible to meet his point. It is impossible, in submitting legislation of this kind, to do other than indicate in the most clear and definite way that is open to Parliament the Government's view of what they believe to be the wishes of the mass of the British people. One of the Dominion States, having repudiated their solemn obligation, having intimated that they propose withholding moneys that we believe to be legally and morally due, we say, "Although we feel that our claim is unanswerable, although your predecessors have without question accepted that liability, we, with a single-minded desire at this time above all others that there should be no further friction, offer you arbitration." I, having striven probably more than anyone else to avoid this breach, and being still anxious to avoid it, cannot understand the mentality of people who feel as keenly and as strongly that they are right as I feel that I am right. We refuse to believe that within 530 the British Commonwealth of Nations there are not people competent, impartial and honest enough to arrive at a decision which everyone would be compelled to accept.
It will not be suggested that there has been any delay on my side in putting forward what I put to the other side. Although the despatch was received only on Monday morning, the reply of the Government is at this moment on its way to Ireland. In that reply I draw attention to the fact that on the question of the Land Annuities the issue is now reduced to the simple one of the form of arbitration. In our judgment, the tribunal should be that unanimously recommended and agreed to by the Imperial Conference of 1930. I say "unanimously" because it included the chosen representative of the Irish Free State. In his last despatch Mr. de Valera included other items than the Land Annuities, and I read out to the House on Monday a large number of other financial items that he traversed. I gather from conversations with him that his objection to these other items is not on the merits of the particular items. They are items which, he says, were not specifically brought for ratification before the Irish Free State Parliament. I think that that is a fair statement of his objection. I am not entering into the wisdom of that objection, except to observe that every Member of this House will know perfectly well that Governments not only can but do make all manner of agreements which cannot possibly always be brought to the House of Commons. But there is always a Parliamentary method by which they can be questioned or challenged. Indeed, in regard to the particular items—and to which I drew Mr. de Valera's attention—to my personal knowledge those items have been challenged in the Dail and there has been a General Election upon them. But that is his case. Curiously enough, the recommendation of the Imperial Conference upon this, what I call for short, Imperial tribunal—the tribunal which I, on behalf of the Government, have offered to the Irish Free State—was before both the Dail and the Senate and unanimously adopted. In other words, the specific recommendation of the Empire tribunal, whatever may be the merits of those other matters which were challenged be- 531 cause they were not ratified, was unanimously adopted by the Dail and the Senate.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The point was that while a form of tribunal was set up which would be the one to be used if the two parties wanted to go to arbitration, it was not obligatory upon two members of the Commonwealth who had a dispute to go to that tribunal.
My hon. Friend, apparently, is not following my argument. I have not come within miles of that yet. Do follow the point I am making now. The point I have endeavoured to make is that I understood Mr. de Valera's objection to some, if not all, of these items was on the ground that they had not been submitted for ratification to his Parliament. All that I am pointing out now is that the Imperial Conference recommendations were submitted to and approved by the Irish Parliament.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The point I was making to the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly relevant. He was saying that a certain thing was submitted to the Dail and approved, but the only point I made was that it was an agreement not for obligatory but for voluntary arbitration, which is quite another point.
That being so, we need not lose temper at all, but I respectfully submit to the hon. Gentleman that the point he raises at the moment is not the point with which I am dealing. I will come to the question later as to whether it was obligatory or not. I am showing that Mr. de Valera's first objection to the other items was on the ground that they had not been submitted to Parliament, and I am now saying to the House that this particular item, namely, the Imperial Conference recommendation, was submitted to and ratified by both Parliaments. I will give the point that it is not obligatory, but in my experience of the trade union movement and of all industrial negotiations, I have 532 often come to a general meeting and to a delegate meeting and said, "It is not obligatory on your part, but it is a recommendation of those who negotiated for you."
That is the commonsense of the situation. When it is boiled down we know perfectly well that, while it was not binding, the recommendation meant that in the judgment of those who made the recommendation, or the Government of the day, that in their view was the fairest way of dealing with the situation. I do not put it any higher than that. [Interruption.] Very well, if they did not ratify it, it meant that they had no confidence in the judgment of those who recommended it. In this case they showed that flu had confidence by both Houses of Parliament adopting it. That is the answer. In order that there shall be no doubt and no obstacle in regard to this point, in the despatch which is on its way to Dublin at this moment I have intimated, on behalf of the Government, that on the question of Land Annuities and on the question of arbitration in respect of Land Annuities, although there was a unanimous recommendation of the Imperial Conference we, the British Government, are ready now to consider any variation in this form acceptable to the Irish Free State, with the only one, final and definite qualification that the representatives must be drawn from within the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Let me put to the House and to the country what that means. We do not ask that there should be so many British and so many Irish and others. We do not say the numbers, or whence they shall be drawn. We even go beyond the recommendations of the Imperial Conference, and I have intimated to Mr. de Valera that even at this moment we will vary even the Imperial Conference recommendations. But from the one essential I repeat—and let us have no ambiguity on this—there will be no departure as far as the British Government are concerned. We have gone to the limit. We will do everything we can, but we will not be a party to any foreign tribunal to settle what is essentially a domestic matter and ask anyone outside the British Commonwealth to determine our differences. That being so, I ask the House, as I have asked the Irish Free 533 State Government in my latest despatch to them, "Could we go further than that?"
Is there anyone in this House genuinely and sincerely anxious for peace, but also anxious to preserve the sanctity of agreements and what is fundamental in business life, yes, and is essential in good government—who thinks that any Government would have gone to a further length than that to which we have gone in our anxiety to find a peaceful solution? [An HON. MEMBER: "Too far!"] No, it is never too far to make a real effort for peace. I entirely repudiate the suggestion that there are any sections of our people who welcome this conflict. I do not believe that they do. I do not believe for a moment that on that side of the House or on this or outside this House there is anybody worth calling a citizen who would not genuinely and sincerely desire peace. Therefore, I will not for one moment admit that in the steps we are taking—or have already taken—we are doing other than what we ought to do—to strive until the last moment for a peaceful solution.
That was the issue with regard to Land Annuities. Let the House observe, as I said at the onset, the remarkable difficulty under which we are placed. The first intimation of the difference in regard to Land Annuities was not conveyed to me in a despatch. It was made in a speech in Dublin.
To his own people, I know, but I should rather resent an employer writing to other employers and saying, "I am going to withhold the dues of my workmen." It would be his own people, but I should object to it. It was not made to us. It was not made to the British Government who were signatories to the Agreement; it was made in Dublin. I put that point in order to emphasise the second point which is as follows: Although our first despatches were dated 22nd March, it was only in the despatch on Monday last, 4th July, that I received an intimation of all those other matters. There was no reason given and no statement as to why they were withholding payment. We were not told whether it was for this, that or the other reason. There was just the bald 534 statement that that was their intention. Again—and I say this with a view of emphasising what I want the Opposition to keep in mind—we could have resented that method. That is not customary between foreign countries, but we do not resent it, and in my despatch that has gone to Mr. de Valera to-day I make it clear. I say:With regard to the further payments referred to in Mr. de Valera's latest despatch, we still do not know the grounds on which the liability of the Irish Free State is disputed. If, however, the Irish Free State Government will indicate the grounds on which the agreements relating to these payments are challenged, and they are considered suitable for reference to arbitration, we on our part, in order to show our desire for a friendly settlement of the financial questions, will consider the advisability of agreeing to arbitration on those questions on the same basis and by the same tribunal as we have already proposed in the case of the land annuities.Never mind thinking of the matter from the standpoint of the Government or of the Opposition. Let us view it from the standpoint of those returned to the House of Commons to do the right thing, to do the honest thing, and to do the thing that we are satisfied will redound to our credit. Could any Government do more than we have done and could any Government have gone to the limit for peace more than we have gone? I put it quite clearly to the House that, having considered every means and every avenue open to us, no one has yet suggested any other course than the one we are pursuing. That is apparently challenged, and I can only assume that it is challenged on the alternative that the House is called upon to consider tonight by the Opposition Amendment. The Amendment says:That this House, taking note of the fact that the Government of the Irish Free State are paying disputed funds into a suspense account pending arbitration"—I make no comment on the remarkable way in which that intimation was given to the House. I only observe that when it was given I did not hesitate to seize the opportunity of saying that if it provided a, bridge I was ready to take it. Seeing that the Opposition have put that point on paper as the basis of their official Amendment, they might at least have taken the trouble to ascertain the facts. It is not English law that deals with this matter: it is Irish Free State legislation. I am sure that the Opposi- 535 tion cannot have observed that the Irish Free State—not the English—Land Act of 1923 makes it compulsory by statute law that this money shall be paid into-a suspense account. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite do not seem to observe the point. Up to now I have been dealing with the Irish Land Act. Up to last Monday the only dispute with the Irish Free State on the financial side—I am not bringing in the Oath—was in regard to the Irish Land Annuities. Do not let hon. Members forget the importance of that fact.
It was only last Monday that the other issues became issues. Up to that stage I was dealing on these financial matters with the land annuities alone, and the land annuities are by statute compelled to be placed to a suspense account. On Monday we received an intimation with regard to the other disputed points, but in the letter of Mr. Dulanty it was stated quite clearly that that was done because they were not compelled to pay these moneys into a suspense account. They were compelled by their own statute law to place the land annuities in a suspense account, but they were not compelled to place the other funds in any special suspense account. The importance of that fact is this, that it gave a clear indication that so far as they were concerned, I put it no higher, they had in mind arbitration. I think that is a fair statement of the case. That being so, I stated straight away that that narrowed the issue. The Amendment emphasises how narrow is the difference on that particular point, and goes on to say:and realising that the free association of nations within the British Commonwealth depends upon the maintenance of good will, declines to assent, etc.No Member of this House on either side will challenge the wording of that Amendment, namely:That the free association of nations within the British Commonwealth depends upon the maintenance of good will.Am I putting it too high when I say that good will ought to have following it, if it is to be honest and clear, the observance of agreements? You cannot have good will within the British Commonwealth or anywhere else unless the principle of the observance of agreements is frankly recognised. I regret 536 the circumstances that have compelled me to move the Second Reading of this Bill. Just as in my appeal to Mr. de Valera to-day on behalf of the Government, I have made one final effort to urge and plead with him, as I plead now, to recognise the facts of the situation, so equally I say to the House of Commons, desirous and anxious for peace as we are, that we are left with no alternative to the course that we now propose.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words:this House, taking note of the fact that the Government of the Irish Free State are paying disputed funds into a suspense account pending arbitration, and realising that the free association of nations within the British Commonwealth depends upon the maintenance of good will, declines to assent to the Second Reading of a Bill for the precipitate adoption of economic reprisals against the Irish Free State.The Secretary of State for the Dominions when he reads his speech tomorrow morning in the OFFICIAL REPORT will probably agree that some portions of it are rather over-emphatic. He has been at great pains to tell us how firm the Government are and that they are not going to budge on certain propositions. In his long experience he must have heard similar speeches many a time and have seen the persons who have made such speeches climb clown many a time. However firm and determined the Government are I am quite sure, unless the Irish Free State is determined to break right away, that some means will be found to solve the difficulty which faces us. When the right hon. Gentleman says that the Government have gone to the limit of concessions, as a matter of fact on one point upon which the Irish Free State is standing out the Government have made no concessions whatever and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman really ought not to talk about concessions. I want to call the attention of the House to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has admitted our case in regard to what happened at the Imperial Conference. The essential thing to remember is that there was disagreement as to the setting up of this tribunal, and the Statute of Westminster was passed in this country and in other Dominions without any tribunal. If agreement could have been found to refer all disputes within the 537 Commonwealth of Nations to a Commonwealth Tribunal the method of appointing it would have appeared in the Statute of Westminster, and would have been ratified by the Dominion Parliaments and ourselves.
On his own showing to-night this Parliament never ratified even a voluntary agreement, and, therefore, it is not fair to continually bring it up as if the Irish Free State Government was repudiating something to which they had agreed. They agreed to a perfectly voluntary arrangement, if the parties could agree. That was our case; and the right hon. Gentleman to-night has conceded it. (Interruption.] If hon. Members will read the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow they will find that the right hon. Gentleman has told the House that it is not obligatory, and was not accepted as obligatory, that differences between the Dominions must go to a Dominion tribunal. I am glad that that matter has been cleared out of the way. We are as conscious as the right hon. Gentleman that the British nation will have to find this money if the abitration goes against us. We are conscious also that if the Lausanne Conference is successful and the American Government does not forgive us what we owe them that the British taxpayer will have to pay a considerable sum each year which we get out of reparations. Rather than keep up the business of reparations we are forgoing them. Sometimes it is better not to collect, but to forgive. We do not want to impose new burdens on our people if we can find other means of securing justice and fair play between ourselves and the Irish Free State.
We take up the attitude we do to-night because we believe that the policy of the Government will lead to harm more than to anything else. The right hon. Gentle- man continually takes the point that here is a fair tribunal and that because we say it somebody else who disagrees with us ought to accept it. In his long experience he has many a time fallen out with the personnel of a tribunal, and it is not good enough for him to say to us or to the Irish Free State: "Are you going to say that you cannot get half-a- dozen just men within the British Commonwealth of Nations?" That is not enough. Mr. de Valera may say: "Are there not one or two men in the world 538 outside the British Commonwealth that you can trust?" That sort of argument leads nowhere, and I am rather surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should use it. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the Amendment. We are asking the House to take note of the fact that the money in dispute is not being used. When this matter has been discussed in the House and in Committee the assumption has been that the Irish Free State were getting away with this money, were acting dishonourably and doing something which put them outside the pale of ordinary civilised States. The right hon. Gentleman has told us tonight that he and his advisers apparently knew that under Irish Free State law this money must go into a suspense fund. If he had that information the other night I do not see why we should not have had it also.
The right hon. Gentleman must bear this difference in mind. The Land Annuities by Statute must go into a suspense account; but it was the other matters which were challenged for the first time to which I drew attention.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The point I want to make is that when we heard of this, and we only heard of it through the discussions with Mr. Norton, we thought that it was well to have it brought out and stated in this House. I have seen a statement in the Press to-day that the other moneys are being paid into a suspense account. The Irish Government are not taking it for granted that arbitration when it takes place will be in their favour. They are taking it for granted that they may have to pay the money, and in the dispatch of the 5th of April, sent to this Government by Mr. de Valera, he says quite clearly:The Government of the Irish Free State is not aware of any such undertaking"—That is an undertaking to pay the money in —but the British Government can rest assured that any just and lawful claims of Great Britain or of any creditor of the Irish Free State will be scrupulously honoured by its Government.The fact that this money was going into a suspense account—if the Press reports are correct other money that is being withheld is also being put into a suspense account—proves conclusively that the Irish Free State, instead of wanting to rob us of this money, is simply saying: 539 "We dissent from you as to our legal obligation to pay this money, and until that dispute is settled we are putting the money into a suspense fund." I do not think that anyone can for a minute grumble or complain, or charge the Free State with dishonesty. In any dispute between two firms who are going to court the money is put on one side till the judgment is delivered. It is no use any of us saying that because one Government in the Free State has said that this money should be saved, a new Government should not take the other view. I do not intend to argue the merits, but so far as I can judge the Free State case is that their own Parliament has not ratified the agreement that was made between the right hon. Member for Ripon (Major Hills) and the representative of the Irish Government.
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has raised that, because it is the very point. But do let my right hon. Friend observe that it is not a new point. I put it specifically to Mr. de Valera myself and it was not challenged. This agreement that is in dispute, on the Land Annuities, was challenged in the Dail on two occasions, and then a general election took place, and Mr. Cosgrave was returned after having made his appeal.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I really must not give way any more, because the right hon. Gentleman has not met the point at all. He has admitted now, quite incidentally, not categorically, that the agreement made between the right hon. Member for Ripon and the representative of the Irish Free State was not ratified by the Irish Parliament either under Mr. Cosgrave or under the present Government. It is equally true, I believe, that it never came before this House. I call attention to these facts, because it is that kind of question that the Free State Government asks shall be arbitrated upon. It is no use our thinking that this is a dishonest dispute. I do not know who it was, but during the last Debate one hon. Member pointed out that ever since the Revolution was settled in Ireland by the treaty there has been more or less civil war in that country. Everyone knows that the party represented by Mr. de Valera has always challenged certain of the agreements that were made at that time, and have always said that if they came 540 to power they would challenge the right of those who made the agreements. We must try to put ourselves in their shoes, as it were.
The Dominions Secretary is not tired of telling us again and again how he has striven in the industrial world for peace, and how often he has felt himself up against a brick wall. I will tell the right hon. Gentleman what I have said behind his back, and that is that in my judgment the reason for any success he has had in negotiations has been the fact that he has been able to see the point of view of those with whom he was arguing. I am not stating anything unfairly when I say that the Tight hon. Gentleman in negotiating a railway settlement has always been able to see the position of the shareholders and the directors, and the whole case, as it were, with which he had to deal. I want him to do the same with the people of Ireland, at least that portion of the people of Ireland for whom Mr. de Valera speaks, and he speaks for a considerable number.
Mr. de Valera comes to us and says: "These things are burdensome to us. These are matters to which we never agreed, and after 10 years' fight we are in power and we are going to have them settled." From the beginning he has not said a single word to indicate that he would not have arbitration. I want the Dominions Secretary and the House to remember that there are many men, relatives of those who are backing Mr. de Valera to-day, many hundreds of whom gave their lives in this business—[Interruption.] Many of them certainly did. The hon. Member opposite who smiles could not give anything to anybody. I cannot imagine anyone scorning those who give their lives for a cause, however mistaken they may be. These men sacrificed blood and treasure. I am trying to make this House understand that this business in connection with this money is only incidental, that there are many people in Ireland who for years have fought and struggled to get into the position in which they are now. I want the House to realise that, and to realise the background of all this business. Few of us will agree that bloodshed and that sort of thing are of any real ultimate service to mankind, yet you must take into account the fact that it is Ireland, and that these men and women have sacrificed what they believed was the very 541 best. This dispute is an honest dispute; it is not a mere question of money. It is a question of the Irish people believing that they have been unjustly dealt with, and now that they are in a majority they want to get the matter settled in a satisfactory way to themselves. If we were in their place and had the same feeling, there is not one of us who would not struggle for the same end. Englishmen, so far as I know anything about them, are good fighters.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Then the hon. Member must really be quiet for a minute or two. I want this dispute to be settled on lines of good will. You must first of all appreciate the other man's point of view. When you are given a guarantee of good faith you must stop all talk about dishonesty. We have to treat the Irish as equals. [Interruption.] Certainly. We have to treat them in exactly the same way as the Dominions Secretary would treat a board of directors. He treated them as people who were worthy to negotiate with. The representatives of the Irish Free State have a right to be treated in the same fashion as a board of directors or anyone representing those with whom the Dominions Secretary wanted to negotiate a wage agreement. I object altogether to this situation being treated as a. deadlock. If the right hon. Gentleman or whoever takes up the threads of this business when he leaves the country is going to treat the matter as having been brought to a finish, as one on which there is no more to be said, then I think we are in for a very bad time—this country as well as any other country. I mean Ireland or anywhere else in regard to which you put up a similar set of propositions.
I repeat that the, right hon. Gentleman ought to consider how long it has taken the nations of Europe to deal with what is, of course, a much more difficult position. I often think of the Prime Minister and of the other Foreign Secretaries who have wrestled with the problem of reparations and debts. I think of the months and the years which they have 542 given to the problem when Germany has broken her pledged word—when she has not kept her pledged word because she could not do so. Time after time it has looked as if the whole business would break down. Even within the last fortnight, day after day, the consideration of that problem has gone on, and apparently the Prime Minister has said, "I am not going to let go. I am going to keep on whatever the difficulties are." He has made no threats. He has not talked of dishonesty though Germany is defaulting, though she is breaking her pledged word and doing everything that people say the Free State is going to do. Yet the leading statesmen of Europe are wrestling with the problem and trying to find a settlement. It may be said that the two cases are not on all fours, but they are exactly on all fours. The Germans signed certain documents. It may be said that they signed those documents under duress. Mr. de Valera says that the documents in this case were signed under duress, or that they did not understand them, and he says, "Let us have them inquired into. Let us have an arbitration upon them."
That is exactly on all fours with the other case in regard to which the statesmen of Europe are endeavouring to find a way out. We ought not to deny the same sort of treatment to the Irish people. This is not a question of the right hon. Gentleman and Mr. de Valera. It is a question of our people here and the people of Ireland and if the right hon. Gentleman or anyone else thinks that you can penalise the Irish people by these taxes and collect something from them to which they say you have no night, I say that you will not do it in that way. You will pay as much as they will pay. In the end you will beggar one another, no doubt. The miners will lose another coal customer; the people who feed store cattle will be hit, and the people who have to sell or to buy Guinness's beer will be penalised also. So it will be right through the whole business. Our view of that is that it is not worth while.
There is much more to be said on this subject but in conclusion I may recall that I have listened to Debates here on the Irish question for the last 40 years. I heard all the big speeches on it from 1880 and even earlier down to the present time. Believe me, the same vein 543 has run through them all—the suggestion that, in some way the Irish people are different from other people, that they will be provocative, that they will have their own way and so forth. Nature makes us all different from each other but somehow or other we have to live together. We have all to be in this world together. Does anyone think that the method proposed in this Bill will bring peace? Does anybody here believe that you are going to win out by this method? I do not believe that there are two people in the country who believe that the right hon. Gentleman will succeed. Years ago, a great Irish orator, Shiel, standing in the old House of Commons called attention to the fact that on the field of Waterloo, Irishmen, Scotsmen and Englishmen fell together—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
And Welshmen. I have a memory and the right hon. Gentleman opposite I am sure has it too, of two men in this House—one, a grandson of Mr. Gladstone, and the other Willie Redmond, who was one of the choicest souls that was ever on this earth. Those two were sacrificed on the fields of Flanders with thousands of others—Irishmen who were Home Rulers and Irishmen who were Protestants and against Home Rule, Englishmen who were for it, and Englishmen who were against it. They all fought, as they thought, for freedom. Now, years after the War, the sort of thing which Willie Redmond imagined he was helping to obliterate and blot out for ever by joining up, is springing up again. It is a most terrible thing I think for this House to visualise and it is no use saying that it is Mr. de Valera's fault. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] It is no use saying who did it. There it is; there is the problem, there is the difficulty that has to be solved. In this House, whether we are Irishmen, Scotsmen, Welshmen or Englishmen it makes no difference in our relation one with another. We tolerate each other and we enjoy each other's company. We know that the Irish race as well as every other race in the world has given its contribution to art and science and all that goes to the building up of human society. Yet this House to-night is going to pass a piece of penal legislation which can only engender hatred and bitterness. If I 544 thought any appeal was any good I would make it, but I feel it is almost useless. Yet on the simple narrow issue of who shall arbitrate and who the chairman shall be, I challenge whoever is going to reply to say, if South Africa and Canada had a dispute, would anyone dare to stand at that Box and declare that, if they chose to go outside the Empire the British Government could prevent them?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Then, right away, that knocks the bottom out of all of this argument about breaking up the Empire by going outside it. If South Africa has the right, if Canada has the right, so has Great Britain and so has Ireland. I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman, finally, that when history comes to record what is being done to-night it will be said that a strong and powerful nation, with good will on its lips, embarked on the enterprise of trying to coerce and crush a weaker nation into submission.
For the purpose of correcting only, because it is very important not to allow any misunderstanding, I answered in the affirmative to my right hon. Friend's question if South Africa or Canada claimed that they wanted to go outside the Empire—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
No, you are so impatient. What I said was that if there was a dispute between Canada and South Africa, and they chose to go outside the Empire for a tribunal to arbitrate it, neither you, Mr. Secretary of State for the Dominions, nor the Prime Minister, nor this House has any power to prevent them; and, therefore, that smashes the idea that there is any moral or obligatory right to keep it within the Empire.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
It would be a very unfortunate thing if the parties in this country were to array themselves along the lines of the parties in Ireland. I do not think we are ever going to find any solution of our difficulties if the sort of party lines are going to be re-echoed here that find themselves in Ireland. To-night we have listened to almost legal quibbles, and the House of Commons never likes legal quibbles, especially when they are indulged in by people who are not lawyers. I should like to get a little further than that on this 545 question. I am half English and hat Irish, and I suppose there are almost millions in this country who have the same feelings as I have on this subject and who love each country as mush as the other.
When the Treaty took place we all hoped that all those disputes between this country and Ireland were over and that in future politics in Ireland, although perhaps just as violent, were going to be questions of internal policy and of that alone. We handed over to gentlemen in Ireland the Government of Ireland, and I confess that we did not think much of them at the time. They were revolutionaries and gunmen, but, from the point of view of their country, nobody did better than they did for 12 years. Nobody at that time thought that such devotion and such building-up of the country would take place. But people get tired of the best of Governments. I do not think the Treasury Bench there, in spite of all the wonderful Things which they do, will not one day become unpopular; and so it was with Mr. Cosgrave's Government, not because Mr. de Valera put forward to the country anything attractive. His two points were the Oath and the Land Annuities, two trivial points.
I am quite a typical Irishman, in that I am hopelessly illogical. I am quite prepared to give my miserable life for the country if they want it, but I loathe taking off my hat to the colours of a regiment as they walk down the street. It is a funny idea, but I hate doing it. I take my hat off because other people dislike my not doing it, but it annoys me. I know people in this House of Commons who loathe taking off their hats to the Cenotaph. I do not mind doing that. I do not know why, but it is the funniest sort of psychological peculiarity, and all this talk that we have had in former De-hates on the Oath leaves me quite cold. People can be as loyal as anyone, and yet not want to take the Oath. But please notice the trap that Mr. de Valera has set. Mr. de Valera is a true revolutionary, a man with no sense of humour, but how he must laugh at the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Dominions, who falls into his trap every time. He has two points, both of which are anti-English, and, if he is ever to get into power again, he roust stir up all the anti-English feel- 546 ing in his own party. And who is helping him to do that but the right hon. Gentleman, with all his pompous speeches and all this making into a big issue of what is not a very big point? He is stirring up all those old animosities which we hoped had died down for ever. I cannot really go back to Ireland and face those people who are trying to do their best for Ireland, to create wealth, and breed cattle, and make trade, when those very people, the friends not only of this country but of their own country, are hit by a Bill like this. What is going to be the reaction on them? Are they going to blame Mr. de Valera, or are they going to blame the English? The right hon. Gentleman cannot tell us which way that is going to swing. We may, by this legislation, just be pushing the people of Ireland into the de Valera camp. We know how divided the country is to-day, and the issue at the next election in Ireland may he a whole Republic or nothing. It all depends on the votes of 100,000 people which way that result will swing. If it swings towards a Republic, the right hon. Gentleman is more responsible than anybody else. [HON. MEMBERS: "No"] Well, I refuse to go to Ireland and tell them that I voted for a penal piece of legislation against those who are trying to create wealth in Ireland, who are trying to keep the peace and trying to trade with this country. I will not vote against the Government, but I really cannot support them in this matter.
§ Mr. HEALY
I should like to recall the House to the point. This dispute has arisen out of the Treaty, and the Treaty was registered at Geneva. When Mr. de Valera, therefore, asks for an impartial arbitration, he is on perfectly good constitutional ground. This is a dispute between two nations. That they are two nations in the British Commonwealth does not matter. Mr. de Valera's point with regard to the acceptance of a neutral tribunal is dictated by his experience of the action of another tribunal set up under the Treaty, known as the Boundary Commission. The words in regard to the Boundary Commission were as specific as they could possibly be. It was said that the wishes of the inhabitants should be consulted. The wishes of the inhabitants were not consulted, but the chairman of the Boundary Commission, who was a dis- 547 tinguished colonial judge, took it upon himself to say that he was not obliged to interpret that as the wishes of the inhabitants, and he said he interpreted it as being the wishes of the Boundary Commission, which in reality meant his own wishes. Mr. de Valera has a memory of that time, and the Irish people ought to be very chary of accepting any colonial tribune.
The Dominions Secretary, in introducing the Money Resolution on Monday, spoke of the liberality of this country in the matter of Irish land purchase. Let me sketch in brief a little of the background of that liberality. The landlords who owned the land in Ireland, from whom the Land Acts sought to transfer it to peasant proprietors, were the descendants of people who went to that country as followers of Cromwell or in Elizabethan expeditions. They were soldiers who, in default of receiving pensions or remuneration from the Exchequer in this country, received the land of the people. In the usual way pensions terminate with the life of the holder, but the pensions of these crusaders went on for ever—at all events, they would have gone on for ever if the people had not risen and endeavoured to regain the land from which their forefathers had been dispossessed. What really occurred, therefore, was that when the Government saw that the issue between the peasants of Ireland and their faithful garrison in the country was going to result in a victory for the peasantry, they hurriedly introduced legislation.
The effect of that legislation, as the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs said, was to transfer from the landed proprietors to the peasantry the land of the country. From the Irish point of view that was no gesture of generosity. It was a question of necessity. The Election last year in Ireland was fought on two issues—the question of the Oath, which the Irish people regard as a purely domestic question; and the question of the Land Annuities, which they hold they are not legally bound to pay. The Treaty of 1921 assumed that Ireland would be responsible for a share of the public debt, but there was to be a set-off against it. The words in Article 5 are:Having regard to any just claims on the part of Ireland by way of set-off and counter claim.548 That counter claim arose in this way. The Childer's Commission of 1896, which was a British Royal Commission, unanimously held, after taking evidence over a long period, that Ireland had been overtaxed to the extent of £2,000,000. The Irish negotiators therefore had that point in mind when Article 5 was put into the Treaty. The Dominions Secretary has pointed out two matters only, namely, the letters of agreement of 1923 and 1926. I would point out that neither of the agreements on which he is basing his claim were made by Ministers who had the approval of either the Parliament in Dublin or the Parliament here, and they remained unratified. The main issue and the main agreement is the one of 1925, which really repealed the agreement of 1923 on which Great Britain is now relying. The agreement of 1925 said that it was an agreement drawn up by Ministers on both sides, and that:The Irish Free State is hereby released from the obligations under Article 5 of the said Articles of Agreement to assume the liability mentioned therein.In other words, Ireland was absolved from paying any sums towards the National Debt. Therefore, the Irish people logically held that they were not bound to pay the Land Annuities, because up to 1924 they formed part of the National Debt. The Treasury was responsible for the flotation of the loan; the Consolidated Fund was responsible for the loss; and the stockholders looked, not to the peasant proprietors, or to the Land Commission, but to the English Government for recoupment. I should like, in passing, to refer a little more to the agreement of 1925. The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs in his correspondence with Dublin has deliberately omitted all reference to it. Why should he omit reference to something which has had the approval of the Dail and of this Parliament, and refer, on the other hand, to two agremeents, one of which is expressly repealed by the ratified agreement of 1925, and the other of which is not even signed on behalf of the respective Governments? Article 5 of the Treaty presupposed that Ireland had a claim still on this country, because it must not be assumed that this country was bankrupt at the time of the Treaty, nor was she bankrupt in 1925. All that Ireland got under the Treaty were debts and liabilities. She received no assets. Nay more, the Post Office 549 buildings and the Government buildings in Dublin were actually charged against the Free State. On the other hand, the Free State had no right to any of the buildings in this country and to none of the assets of the British Empire in which she had been a partner and to which she had been a contributor over such a long period of years.
§ Mr. HEALY
They certainly were a liability and not an asset. If you think they are an asset, you can have them still. It may be contended, of course, that the Land Annuities stock forms part of the National Debt of Ireland, but inasmuch as it consists of guaranteed stock, which was brought into the accounts from time to time, I think there can be no doubt that from the stockholders' point of view, and from the Irish point of view, the land stock did and does form part of the National Debt of this country. If there be any hon. Members who have any doubt about that, I would refer them to the evidence taken by the Primrose Committee in 1912. The Controller of the National Debt was asked there by the Chairman why there was so little difference and what was the explanation of it. The Controller said:The explanation is that the Land Stock is a stock which has been watered, as we say. If you keep on increasing the supply the price is hound to go down, and if the supply exceeds the demand, whereas with Consols there is no addition to these.Then the Chairman said: "I do not quite see why it should be." and the reply was:It is guaranteed by the British Government. It is as good as Consols as regards security.There is no question, therefore, that the Land Stock formed part of the National Debt when the Treaty was drawn up. There is no question, either, that the Agreement of 1925 absolved the Free State from contributing anything to the National Debt. Therefore, the Land Annuities, being part of the National Debt, they went with everything else.
Let me point out the relative position of Ireland under the 1920 Act and the position under the Treaty. Under the 1920 Act Northern Ireland was obliged to contribute £7,000,000 to the Imperial Exchequer and the Irish Free State about 550 £9,000,000. Northern Ireland has not contributed anything of the kind. Her contributions have been insignificant in comparison with the amount mentioned. I cannot better illustrate it than by giving the figures which the Secretary to the Treasury gave to an hon. Member in this House last week. The contributions to Northern Ireland from Great Britain in 1928–1929–1930–1931 and 1932—five years—amounted to £6,291,013, but the contributions from Northern Ireland, which were an Imperial contribution, amounted in the aggregate to only £4,000,000 odd.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Major Elliot)
Will my hon. Friend finish reading the answer which I gave?
§ Major ELLIOT
Will my hon. Friend also add that Northern Ireland paid £300,000 a year in addition to those sums?
§ Mr. HEALY
The last part of his reply was:Northern Ireland makes payments, by way of deduction from the Northern Ireland share of reserved taxes, for certain services other than the costs of the current administration of the reserved services, namely, for the Judicial Civil and Royal Irish Constabulary pensions, repayments to the Local Loans Fund and Excess and Bonus land stocks."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1932; col. 1483, Vol, 267.]The Irish Free State have been making contributions under those heads, too, for the same period, and therefore the argument the right hon. Gentleman seeks to point does not apply. The Free State has made contributions toward the Royal Irish Constabulary Pension Fund, to the Local Loans Fund and borne other charges. That the Government here regarded the Land Annuities as part of the National Debt is shown by tin 1920 Act, which says in Section 26 Sub-section (2):In each year a sum equal to the amount payable in that year in respect of purchase annuities shall be paid into the Irish Land Purchase Fund.That is in order to recoup the stockholders for the amount of £600,000 which Northern Ireland is retaining. It is a part of the annuities under the 1920 Act. 551 Therefore, this curious anomaly arises. Ireland was supposed to have got off scot free from an Imperial contribution by the agreement of 1925 and the Treaty, but she has been sending over to this Exchequer £5,000,000, while Northern Ireland, which was supposed to bear an Imperial contribution of £7,000,000, has actually been receiving in the last five years a net amount of £2,000,000. That is an illogical position. Therefore, the Irish people do not believe, I do not believe and the Free State Government, which has had the best legal advice possible, do not believe that they can legally be called upon to pay this sum. Therefore, why should not the matter be referred to arbitration? Five counsel, some of whom are not in political agreement with Mr. de Valera, have given a reasoned opinion in which they say they do not believe that the Irish Free State is liable to send those Land Annuities here.
Can it be said that you are going to make war upon a peasant people, a little nation, with which you have so many connections, and so much trade for a small sum of £3,000,000 a year, while there are thousands of millions owing by some of the greatest countries in the world as to which not a single word is said about repayment? It looks to me as if the old, bitter prejudice against Ireland is easily awakened, particularly on the benches behind the present Government. Are you going to let loose the dogs of war on Ireland? That is a question I put to you seriously. You may not trust de Valera, but there is a certain chivalry amongst the Irish people, and if they see this Government deliberately attempting to crush Mr. de Valera when he is standing up for the national rights it may have the effect of rallying behind him all the youth and every man of generous impulse in the whole country. I think, sometimes, that this Government was as much responsible for the failure of Mr. Cosgrave as any other circumstance. They were continually saying what a very skilful negotiator he was while he was making these bargains about annuities and other matters for which there was no legal justification.
You are asking the Irish Free State to send one-fifth of their whole revenue to you without legal justification, because the agreements upon which these claims 552 are made have never been submitted to the Parliament in Dublin nor has one of them ever been submitted to this House. From 1923–32 the agreement on which the Dominions Secretary is now relying lay in the archives of his office and in the pigeon-holes of the Ministry of Finance in Dublin until we were able to bring it to light. I see no reason why that should have been done unless there was something to conceal and something that the Irish people would have resented. Why did not they publish this document like every other document? I went to the Library here when the discussion began and tried to obtain a copy of this document, but I could not secure it. Most unusually, it had never even been printed and did not form a part of the records of this House. There must have been some reason for that, and the real reason for its concealment was that the Treasury officials knew they had driven a good bargain with the negotiator from Dublin. They were unwilling to put him in jeopardy by allowing the Irish people to know what had been done. Therefore, it was the Treasury officials as much as anybody who put Mr. de Valera in the position which he now occupies. The Government praised Mr. Cosgrave for doing such things as I have indicated.
The repercussion of this matter will probably be far wider than you imagine. You are anxious to secure the good will of America. As a matter of fact, I think you are anxious to secure some remission of your own debt and that is considerably more than £3,000,000. Do you think it is likely to help you to go about and stir up a dispute with the Irish people, not only in Ireland but in other countries? We have been told in a recent communication from America what the repercussions are going to be there. Do not you think you are throwing away a salmon to catch a sprat? I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that the one thing necessary in a matter of this kind is good will. There is a tremendous volume of trade between this country and Ireland, and it is not merely a coal trade but a trade which permeates every part of the national life. There is a vast sum coming from Ireland to insurance offices in this country. Any feeling that they are being victimised and that it is a national matter will produce such a revulsion of feeling in Ireland that one does not know at the 553 moment where exactly it will end. It may be that the Irish people will suffer. I do not see why they should. It may be that the people in this country will suffer, but I think it is likely, at all events, to have such a world repercussion that you should hesitate seriously before you embark on a policy so unwise.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
I do not speak on this matter without a sense of responsibility, for when we deal with our domestic questions the effect is only on our own country where our problems are understood and therefore not liable to misinterpretation. Whenever the Irish question has been dealt with by this House the effect has been far wider than the relations between this country and Ireland. The Liberal party has always been intimately associated with the principle of self-government for Ireland and has always insisted on the policy of trust in the Irish people. For 20 years between 1885 and 1905, the Liberals made it the principal plank in their platform. Mr. Gladstone made it the primary purpose of his career to try and solve the Irish question. We are justified in that attitude by our experience in other parts of the Empire. The experiment in Canada which was very much doubted at the time because it gave self-government to the French-Canadians with their different history, different language and different religion, was one of the principal justifications of our case for fighting the cause of Ireland. If any vindication for our policy is wanted, there is the lead in Empire policy given by that great Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
The last thing I want to do is to go back to ancient history. We have something very much nearer home—the great experiment in South Africa. It was a great gesture, and there was a good deal of criticism of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman at that time, for handing over responsible self-government to South Africa after the long and bitter struggle which had taken place. Then we had the wonderful sight, which astonished the world, of General Botha, followed by General Smuts, our recent enemies in the battlefield, heading the Government in South Africa and becoming part of our integral system of Empire. There is even a more marvellous example, that of General Hertzog who was then not con- 554 verted to the principle of remaining part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Our people were very nervous when he became head of the South African Government. The experience of to-day in Ireland is very much that of South Africa. Difficulties arose, and there was nervousness between South Africa and this country when Hertzog, whose attitude in the War was not to our liking, became the head of the State, but by conciliation, good will and tact on the part of the negotiators, we now find south Africa as much part of the Commonwealth of Nations as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
When the great experiment in Ireland took place in 1922 our people viewed with the fear and trepidation what would happen. The prophets of ill saw dangers ahead. Then after a cruel civil war we saw the country under President Cosgrave becoming a State, showing that the Irish people could govern themselves, tints justifying the principle which the Liberals had preached for so many years. [Interruption.] Yes, for 10 years. Economically, socially and politically, progress was remarkable in that period, and goodwill between this country and Ireland was growing year by year. But there has always been some evil genius that has caused friction between the two countries.
The economic blizzard which has caused misery right throughout the world, has not only affected us and every European country, but has reached Ireland, and distress has been pressing upon the agricultural community. In every democratic country, people need an alternative government. In Ireland there was only one alternative government to that of President Cosgrave, and that was the opposition led by Mr. de Valera. Let us be realists in the matter. To understand is to forgive. To realise a situation, is to find a cure. Mr. de Valera—it is dangerous to make comparisons—has been the General Hertzog of Irish politics. He has been the no-compromiser. He has been the last to surrender and the last to accept the new state of affairs. It was a great triumph for the experiment that Mr. de Valera did give up his revolutionary attitude, and that he took up his position in the new Parliament, adopting constitutional action and constitutional opposition. What has happened is the result of that. His alternative Government has assumed power, 555 after a bitter election, when pledges were made. We have had some experience of election pledges, of policies made to the electors in our own country, by long experience and during a long experiment in self-government, centuries old. It is not surprising that Mr. de Valera committed himself to policies which every thoughtful person saw at the time were bound to lead to friction between the two countries.
Now I will refer to the question of collecting the revenue of the land bonds. I represent a working-class constituency typical of many working-class districts in the country. It is terribly over-taxed. The burdens of taxation and distress are enormous. I put it to every hon. Member, am I justified in relieving Ireland of its liability'? I once represented an agricultural constituency. There the rent problem and the agricultural question were very real and live. My constituents had not had the chance, by means of land bonds, of buying their own holdings. Are we justified—and it is a very simple question to ask—however good the cause of Ireland is, and however anxious we are to get the good will of Ireland, in asking our own over-taxed people to carry the whole of this burden, without our making some reasonable attempt to put the burden where it rightly should lie I might put another question. This country is suffering from a terrible burden of debt. I do not think that any fair-minded person would question that Ireland made a very good bargain in getting out of her share of the National Debt. You may say that, owing to the fact that she did not have her share—or she had her share but she did not accept our Parliamentary system—she was not liable, but still, it is a great thing for a country, starting on a new basis to find itself free from any National Debt, except a liability for which she has immense assets in the ownership by her peasants of their own land.
I take the line that we have to look after the interests of our own people. I do not think that can be doubted by any reasonable man. On the other hand, I do not like the proposals in this Bill. This is from an English point of view. I recognise the point made so well by the Dominions Secretary, that we who object to this system ought to put forward alternatives. We do not know exactly what the proposals are. They are 556 left in the sky, and in the clouds. A few years ago such a state of affairs would have been impossible, but we have learned methods of doing things by means of Treasury Orders. I suggest that if the Government feel that they have a strong case to collect this money, and they cannot do it by arbitration in the right way, they should place their cards on the table, take the House of Commons and the people of England into their confidence, and say exactly what they propose to do and what food they propose to tax, so that the nation that has to find the money, through the House of Commons, should know upon what policy we have embarked. That is not an unreasonable proposal. We have made some progress in that direction, in that if the taxes are imposed they are now to be subject to the approval of the House of Commons within 28 Parliamentary days. We are going into the Recess. I think that before we part with this Bill the Government ought to make clear what they are going to tax, and how they are going to raise the money.
It is disputed as to whether these taxes will be paid by the exporter or whether, as old-fashioned people like myself believe, they will, in the long run, be paid by the importer. When you analyse, as has been done in recent Debates in this House, the imports from Ireland, it is found that they are practically all either foodstuffs or livestock. There is £16,000,000 worth of livestock imported from Ireland every year. That gives an immense amount of labour in this country. I happened to represent a part of Leicestershire for two or three years in the House of Commons. The farmers of Leicestershire earned their living by fattening Irish stock and by buying store cattle. The same is the case in South Scotland. Livestock is going to be subject to taxation, and that not only means injury to our own farmers but must be reflected in an increase in the price of fresh meat. I know that it is arguable, but I suggest that it is not a, very sound argument, that there are other sources of supply. That is open to question. While we import £16,000,000 worth of livestock from Ireland, we import only £500,000 worth from Canada. Canada is a long way off. The cost of carrying cattle from Canada to Great Britain must be heavy, and the cattle deteriorate in the course of carriage.
557 I suggest that, before we pass this Bill, it would be fairer to this country, to Ireland, and to everyone concerned, that the exact form of taxation proposed should be told us—whether it is to be a high tax or a low tax, whether there is to be a general tariff on all articles imported, whether it is going to include livestock, or what particular commodities are to be covered. I would remind the House, also, that, while we import these important commodities from Ireland, and while Ireland is very vulnerable to taxation from this country on her goods, we are equally vulnerable from Ireland. In 1930 we bought from Ireland goods to the amount of some £42,000,000, and we sent to Ireland £44,000,000 worth. It is true that, owing to their tariff policy, there has been a fall in our trade with Ireland, but, undoubtedly, if we engage in a tariff war as a result of these duties, we are open to as much damage as Ireland is. One hundred per cent. is a long sword with which to fight a fellow-member of what I would like to regard as the family of nations making up the Commonwealth of the British Empire. I still think it would be wiser for us to make quite clear what we propose to do, so that Ireland may know exactly where she is.
The dispute now is narrowed to comparatively small limits. As I understand it, the tribunal recommended by the Imperial Conference has been accepted, save for one small but very important exception, namely, the limitation of its membership to the British Empire. Mr. de Valera objects, to use his own words, to its being solely formed of citizens of the British Empire. I suggest, that, if t he Irish people realise what the British Commonwealth consists of, they must see that they are more likely to get justice and a sound decision from a tribunal drawn from the Empire, because it seems to be forgotten that the Irish themselves played a big part in building up this Empire. Whether you go to Canada, to Australia., to New Zealand or to South Africa, hundreds of thousands of Irishmen, recognising still their Irish origin and history, are to be found, taking their part in the institutions of those countries—in Parliament, the Government, the Civil Service, the police, and every branch of industry and trade. Surely, therefore, someone could be found, say in South Africa or Canada, who have recently had to deal with the 558 same problems and to face the same issues, who could be accepted and trusted both by this country and by Ireland.
§ Mr. SOMERVELL
I, like, I think, everyone who has spoken in this Debate, regret the circumstances which have forced the Government to take the action which they have taken. I still hope that the powers which they are asking the House to confer upon them may lead to this dispute being settled in an amicable way on the conditions laid down, rightly it my opinion, by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. Those conditions are wholly reasonable, and it is always difficult to convince oneself that wholly reasonable conditions will not he accepted. I regret, also, that the conciliatory and straightforward manner in which, in my opinion, the Government have handled this matter, is not going to receive, as I understand, the unanimous support of all parties in this House, and I have some difficulty in following the connection between the general principles which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite lay down and the conclusions and the actions which, apparently, they base on those principles. The Amendment which they have on the Paper says that it is based on a realisationthat the free association of nations within the British Commonwealth depends upon the maintenance of good will;and one naturally asks oneself what are the necessary conditions in a matter of this kind upon which good will can be maintained. One essential condition of the maintenance of good will between nations freely associated is that, in disputes and in matters of common interest and difference, there is one method and one method only—that of discussion, negotiation, and co-operation. It would be out of order, I understand, to make more than a passing reference to the attitude of the present Irish Government on the question of the Oath, but I think that that passing reference is relevant. because, in considering the action which this House is being asked to take to-night, I think it is right that we should bear in mind the attitude which the Irish Government have taken up on both of these questions during the last few months. I suggest to the House and to the Members of the Opposition that when, over the 559 question of the Oath, Mr. de Valera said at the outset:There is no obligation on us to consult Great Britain with respect to the action that we are taking,he was putting forward a proposition which is quite inconsistent with the maintenance of good will between nations freely associated.
I come, rather more expressly, to the question of the Annuities. I am not sure whether the Secretary of State for the Dominions would welcome a compliment on his legal attainments or his legal opinions but reference has been made by several speakers to the two conflicting and complicated opinions which have been written in Ireland on this matter of the Annuities, and I venture to suggest that the Dominion Secretary's first Note contained a shorter, better, and more relevant opinion on the legal aspects of this matter than is contained in the other more complicated opinions which considered it from a different aspect. He said:The Irish Free State Government are bound by the most formal and explicit undertaking to continue to pay the Land Annuities to the National Debt Commissioners.I believe that that is the beginning and the end of the legal question involved. But let me assume for a moment that I am wrong about that, and that there are questions which lawyers can properly debate, and on which Mr. de Valera believes he can base a case on arguable legal issues. What in fact has be done? We know that these Annuities have been paid for 10 years by the Irish Government. If they believed that they were under an obligation to pay, that, I should have thought, at any rate raises a presumption that there is an obligation to pay. The present Irish Government, in advance of any settlement and in advance of any decision that these Annuities are not payable to the National Debt Commissioners, have retained them, and in that way they have, as I understand it, forced the Government of this country to find, out of the revenues of this country, money which for 10 years past has been found by the transfer of these Annuities. There has been much talk above the Gangway about precipitancy. That talk had better be addressed to those who, in advance of any settlement or any arbitral 560 decision, have retained money which has been paid over for 10 years under what both parties regarded as an agreement and a settlement of the matter. I was a little surprised to read this passage in the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S Cripps):The suggestion that we make is that some form of arbitration must precede that decision by the Treasury."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th July, 1932; col. 115, Vol. 268.]It might be said with even greater force to Mr. de Valera, that some form of arbitration should precede a disturbance of the status quo.
May I say a word or two as to Mr. de Valera's reply on the question of arbitration. Members of the Opposition have been at some pains in this and the previous Debates to demonstrate that, in Mr. de Valera's own language, the recommendations set out at the Imperial Conference of 1930 were permissive and not mandatory. Be it so for the purposes of the argument. It seems to me to have really very little relevance. What the House has to consider is the reason that the Irish Government give for not adopting those recommendations. I think it is not unfair to say that that objection can only mean that they are asking the Government to accede to this proposition, that in the whole Commonwealth there is not one just man who can be found to whom a dispute of this kind can be entrusted. It is not in the least a question of two Dominions finding a suitable person to arbitrate on some particular dispute. Nor is it in the least a, question of our suggesting that there are none suitable in the rest of the world. It is a fundamental matter that one cannot remain in the Commonwealth and at the same time take up an attitude which, it seems to me, is saying that there is no one in the Commonwealth fit to be appointed arbitrator or umpire in a dispute of this kind. The Opposition have made their attitude clear. In taking the line that they are going to take they will not be forwarding the principle that conciliation, negotiation and co-operation are the necessary basis not only as between independent nations but even more so between component parts of the Empire. They will, no doubt, follow that action to the end, but I believe the action that the Government are taking, and the 561 powers that they are asking the House to give them, will receive the overwhelming support not only of this House but of the country.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I wish to make it plain that I and my friends, while supporting the reasoned Amendment of the official Opposition, will vote for the complete rejection of the Bill as a mark of our complete antagonism to the policy which the Government have adopted on this issue from the commencement. I think Mr. de Valera and the Irish people, if they have fully thought out their way of life for their nation in the future, are perfectly entitled to take the step which they are taking and I presume, having regard to Mr. de Valera's political record, that he knows perfectly well what he is doing and is prepared to deal with any difficulty that may arise. I pay him that tribute. There are two statements that have been made by the Dominions Secretary in these discussions. He has repeated again and again that he has shown no resentment at various things that have happened. I cannot see that he has done anything else but show resentment. From the very first day there was a hoity-toitiness, an offended dignity, an attempt to enlarge the issue into one of the greatest magnitude, and a spirit which seemed to me entirely out of proportion to the importance of the issue involved, and certainly out of keeping with the allegation that Ireland is a part of the. British Empire, and that we desire it to be part of the British Empire.
The other point that I wish to refer to is his reiteration that he has gone to the absolute limit of compromise. From the beginning I took upon myself the responsibility of questioning him on this issue and pressing for a Debate on the subject. He has said to-night precisely the same things as he said to the very earliest question I put him. [Interruption.] I will sit down to permit any hon. Member standing up and telling me what the Dominions Secretary has offered to-night that is different in any respect from what he said at the very beginning.
§ Mr. JANNER
I think the hon. Member will recollect that a big advance was made in the statement that we were prepared at this stage to offer arbitration irrespective of the conditions laid down, entirely apart from the one question of the arbitrators being citizens of the 562 Commonwealth. It was agreed at the Imperial Conference that there were to be two arbitrators on each side. That apparently is to be foregone, and certainly in the opinion of everyone an advance of a very substantial nature was made.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I congratulate my hon. Friend on his perspicacity, but what the right hon. Gentleman from the very earliest point was prepared to offer was a Dominions arbitration, and to-night what he is prepared to offer to Ireland is a Dominions tribunal. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is wrong with that?"] I will tell the hon. Member in a minute what is wrong with it. The point with which I am dealing is that the Dominions Secretary has said to-night that he has gone to the very limit of concession. The point I am making is that his statement to-night shows absolutely not one scrap of concession or compromise as compared with the first statement he made in the House. The hon. Member across the way tries to make me believe that he is very free and easy about the personnel, and would go a long way to meet Ireland's demands. That is not my contention, because at the beginning that issue was never raised. What the Dominions Secretary said at the beginning was an Empire tribunal. What he says to-night is an Empire tribunal. The good Conservatives in the House whose view the right hon. Gentleman is speaking are satisfied that that is the case. [An HON. MEMBER: "And Liberals, too!"] Other Liberals who may not be quite as good are very anxious to try to get something which seems to indicate a Liberal and not a Conservative attitude on this particular question. [Interruption.]
The first point is that the right hon. Gentleman and the House have shown resentment of this issue from the start, a touchiness, and—if I may use the word—a pettiness which seem to stand out in very bad colour as compared with the utterances which the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and others have been making on the Continent. Very large statements are being made, and very large views are being taken. All the talk is of friendship, good feeling, the wiping out of the sores and the debts of the past. Next week they go to Ottawa, and again the big sweep, the large scope, the world way of looking at things; but here, 563 narrowness, pettiness, and anything but friendly feelings. My second point is that no compromise of any description has been made. No concession has been made. In fact, the popularity of the policy of the Dominions Secretary with the large majority of the Government's supporters lies in the fact of no compromise. It is the strong man's policy. I regret for the first time that it is the right hon. Gentleman who is Dominions Secretary, because I think that if a Conservative held that office he would not have felt it necessary to be so strong. The right hon. Gentleman has thought it necessary to be strong since he does not, or did not, share the political philosophy of the majority who sit behind him. I think that a Conservative Minister could quite safely have made compromises and concessions on this issue without having been regarded by the majority over there as being weak.
The right hon. Gentleman up to now has a reputation for being a strong man, and is to-night earning the cheers of what I regard as the most reactionary political view in this House. He has used, and others have used, parallels from trade union and Labour party experience. He has again and again repeated the question, "Are there not three honest men in the Empire who can be trusted to deal with the situation"? Let me put to him a domestic problem which I am sure he will appreciate. There is a very big difference between him and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen sitting across the Gangway, just as there is a very big difference between the people above the Gangway and myself. Would he agree that the rightness or wrongness of his conduct on Labour matters in recent months, and of my conduct in recent months, should be submitted to a tribunal appointed by the Trades Union Congress or the British Labour party? Neither he nor I would say for one minute that the British Labour party cannot find three honest men, though I admit that it is more difficult since he and I have gone out of it.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Admitted that there are three honest men to be found in the British Labour party, would he submit to 564 a tribunal chosen by them a consideration of his conduct from the Labour point of view during the last six months? If he would, I certainly would not dream of submitting my conduct as a Labour representative to a tribunal appointed by the party above the Gangway, or to any tribunal. I should be much more ready to submit it to a tribunal of men of political experience coming from different places, from different parties and from different countries than those who, though perfectly honest, have a particular interest in the matter. And that is the case of Mr. de Valera against submitting this matter to an Empire tribunal. No Empire tribunal is capable, because of its organic connection with the British Empire and with Ireland, of standing completely apart and taking a completely detached view, because every one is well aware that a dispute which may be Ireland's or Britain's dispute to-day may be some other Dominion's dispute tomorrow. It is a case of considering things not on the immediate merits of the case but on precedents and things which have been established. I think that if the British Government wanted to do two things to make peace with Ireland and to raise the whole principle of arbitration as a method of settling disputes between nation and nation, they would not make a petty quibble about having a purely Empire tribunal. They would say, "Yes, we are confident of the rightness of our case." Because that is the case of the Government. They are confident that their case is absolutely watertight in every respect. They would say: "We are so confident in the rightness of our case that we will submit it to any tribunal in the world, and fear nothing." But the right hon. Gentleman and his Conservative supporters are afraid to do that, because they are afraid that such a tribunal would have the dice loaded against them. I have never yet heard any reason put forward in favour of an Empire tribunal as against a world tribunal, except the one that we will not have it.
I have nearly broken my word, but not quite, and I will sit down without having said all that I might say on this subject. I hope to say something more on the further stages of the Bill. This Bill gives the Minister tremendous power. It gives him power to determine when he is going to impose the duties—this month, next 565 month or not at all. I understand that no date is fixed. No way is fixed as to how he must operate. In the previous Debate we raised the question of the effect that this Bill would have upon people in our own land and upon certain industries in which I and my colleagues have special interest in our own part of the country, which we believe will be injuriously affected. Will the Minister who replies for the Government say how it is proposed to operate the duty, at least to the extent of saying what care they are going to take to see that the weapon that is to be used against Ireland shall be merely a revenue collector and not an injurious weapon against various citizens within our own borders. What machinery do they propose to set up for seeing that the tariff does precisely what it is 'required to do under this Measure, and does not do something else that would be objected to by very large sections in this House? I sit down saying that I propose to support the Amendment that has been moved from above the Gangway and also to move the rejection of the Bill.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
Much play has been made by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) in regard to the further concessions that have been made by the Dominions Secretary to-night. I have been rather concerned as to the length that those concessions have gone. The right hon. Gentleman has advanced to such an extent in meeting Mr. de Valera that he is willing to have a tribunal appointed from within the Empire, and from any part of it. Does that mean that the whole of the members of the tribunal would be appointed from the Irish Free State? That seems to me the obvious conclusion, and it is one that I hope will be cleared up before the Debate closes.
I will clear it up at once, because a large number of hon. Members are now present who were not in the House when I made the statement. The Imperial Conference made a recommendation of a certain form of tribunal which I had indicated previously to Mr. de Valera as being acceptable to us, but in the despatch sent to-day to Mr. de Valera I have raised that point on behalf of the Government and have agreed to another form of tribunal, with one reservation and that is that the personnel must be limited to the British Empire.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
That is exactly what I adduced from the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman. Therefore, the whole composition of the tribunal might come from the Irish Free State. That is a, point which the House should note. When I met Mr. de Valera last, some 10 years ago, there was a certain amount of ill feeling between us. It was a personal matter with me, because two of his minions had tried to shoot me. They failed; but they took my car. Mr. de Valera gave me back the car, showing, I suppose, that he is an honest man, but not for some little time, and afterwards I understood the reason; that there were some rather pressing murders which had to be carried out and he kept my car until they were completed. While my attitude towards him was one of some hostility then, I must confess that it is now one of commiseration because of the protagonists who have selected themselves to represent him and his opinions in this House.
We have the two hon. Members on the Front Opposition Bench. We have the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) who tries to weave a web of casuistry in order to cover up a case which he knows to be indefensible. Then there is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) who must have lost something of his abilities during the few months we have been deprived of his presence, because he utterly failed to convince anyone in the House that Mr. de Valera has any case at all. Then there is the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) who, most unusual for him, has submitted a mass of inaccuracies, showing a complete ignorance of the subject. For instance, he said that for 10 years Mr. de Valera, has pursued a constitutional democratic method of advocating his policy. What actually happened? Mr. de Valera has carried out his constitutional policy, as it is alleged to be by the hon. Member for Bridgeton, by a policy of murder. Mr. Kevin O'Higgins was murdered after Mr. de Valera started his constitutional policy. I should never accept the hon. Member for Bridgeton as the spokesman of a constitutional policy if that is his idea of a constitutional policy.
All the speeches which have been made by those who have selected themselves 567 as the representatives of Mr. de Valera and his policy in this House have been made for one purpose only, and that is to cloak the obvious intentions of Mr. de Valera, who hopes by bringing in the foreign element into the arbitration to emphasise the gulf which he proposes to fix between this country and Southern Ireland, and thereby to pave the way for a Republic. I have tried on four occasions to intervene in these Irish Debates. I suppose it is my misfortune to represent a Scottish constituency, but I have some little knowledge of the country in which I was born, Ireland, north and south.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
I claim to have a unique knowledge of the country. I have studied the country at first hand and watched the political developments which have taken place during the last few years. I happened to be there when the Sinn Fein Society was started as a cultural poetical society, but which was later on seized upon by Jim Larkin, the syndicalist, who acquired it for the purpose of furthering his political aims. I went with Sir John Maxwell to Ireland when the Rebellion broke out, and I was stationed there in 1921 when the evacuation took place. Therefore, I have had an opportunity of studying the position at first hand, and I thought that during these discussions it might be possible for me to offer some little contribution which might help in the solution of this very difficult problem.
The chief difficulty, as I believe the House will agree, in settling the Irish problem, has always been that Englishmen were in charge of the job. That has been the trouble. There is a singular lack of imagination about Englishmen, a singular lack of understanding, a singular lack of sympathy with that peculiar temperament that especially the Southern Irishman possesses. It is very odd that the people who came nearest to solving the Irish problem were Welshmen. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) might have done it but for the fact that he had so much time to spend on conferences abroad and was so frightened of American opinion. He had the guts, but he cer- 568 tainly had not the time or the inclination in the end to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. My right hon. Friend the Dominions Secretary, I must say, has shown every indication of doing well. He has made mistakes, which I propose to point out to him. But at the same time I think that while those mistakes might have led us into almost an impossible trouble, he has been checked in time either by has colleagues or by his own good sense, and for the moment I think he is on safe and steady ground.
As I have often tried to point out, if you take on a fight with an Irishman you have to beat him first before making friends. That you can take as an axiom. You must not make friends first; beat him first and then give him the hand of welcome, and he will be the first man to appreciate it. If you make friends first he looks upon it as weakness and cowardice and will treat you exactly as you deserve to be treated. That is one thing always to he borne in mind. Unfortunately when England took on this fight with Ireland in 1922 she forgot that. But equally fortunately she had men of strength and courage and bigness like Collins, like Griffith, like Cosgrave, men who were above taking advantage of our asinine stupidity and played the game, and so for 10 years she got away with it, in spite of the fact that Cosgrave was being daily attacked because of his English loyalties. The result of that was the trouble in 1921 and the trouble that we are faced with again in 1932.
In spite of the many lessons that England has got, she is still behaving exactly the same, without any thought of prudence and dignity, without any thought of loyalty to Cosgrave, who stood by his word and bond so faithfully with us for 11 difficult years. You have got this man, the present head of the Irish Free State, who played the traitor to his own colleagues in 1920–21, you have that man who has been temporarily elevated by a disgruntled community, and you immediately have, hot foot, hat in hand, two British Secretaries of State sent to wait on his doorstep. That was no loyalty to Cosgrave or to the dignity of our country. What has it achieved? In my opinion it has achieved nothing.
We have to remember that, of course, as the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) said the other day, there is no question ever of this country 569 going to war. Some of my Socialist friends here have talked about making war. No such idea has ever entered into the heads of either Ireland or this country. We know that perfectly well. But I do see that there is something behind the Government's point of view and in what is guiding my right hon. Friend and his colleagues in their action on the matter. They see that just as their policy of over-conciliation in India gained them the sympathy and the support and the confidence of the world, and thereby enabled them to go back to the firm government which they should never have departed from, so they may act in this case. They say, "We will treat Mr. de Valera as we treated Gandhi." It is obvious that they gave 10.30 p.m. Gandhi rope to hang himself and he hanged himself. "Now," they say, "give de Valera an equally long rope and let him find a scaffold for himself." I believe that it may be a very wise and a very successful policy. Certainly, if the Government are arguing from that point of view, they deserve every credit for thinking out such a long-sighted policy. One has to remember that the traditional movement in Irish politics has always been "agin' the Government" and the traditional enemy has always been Great Britain. If hon. Members have those fundamentals, they can follow what has happened since. Mr. de Valera has always been clever enough to stress the association of Mr. Cosgrave with Britain, and he has gained tremendous success in that way. He alienated many thousands of supporters from Mr. Cosgrave when it came to the election, by stressing that point. But that attitude was dying, was passing away—that association or linking up of Mr. Cosgrave with Great Britain—and people were beginning to see that Mr. Cosgrave was standing on his own feet—
I intervene merely because someone who is speaking as an Irishman—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The hon. and gallant Member says that be has a connection with Ireland and I must, on behalf of the Government, protest against his assumption that Mr. Cosgrave is in any way connected with the Government's policy. I hope that the hon. and gallant Member will realise that this is a serious Debate. The British Government's case is based upon 570 their conception of what their duty is, and I want to make it plain to him, if he has any sense of responsibility in associating Mr. Cosgrave with this matter, that he at least ought to have the decency to keep Mr. Cosgrave's name out of it.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
I protest against what the right hon. Gentleman has said. I never for one minute insinuated that Mr. Cosgrave had any connection with. British policy or the British Government. I did say that Mr. de Valera had alienated a number of Mr. Cosgrave's supporters by suggesting to the people of Ireland that Mr. Cosgrave was allied to our policy. That was a very deep-laid scheme of Mr. de Valera's to win the election last year. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will not suggest that I was making an accusation which would be the last thing in the world that I would endeavour to convey or wish to convey. I hesitate now to go on with what I was about to say, lest the right hon. Gentleman might take it as a personal matter. [An HON. MEMBER: "You are not obeying his orders!"] I, for one, am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has taken the attitude which he has taken during the last few months. I think it would have been better to have kept aloof entirely from the position in Ireland. I think the attitude of the Government strengthened Mr. de Valera's hand at that time by restoring him to a position in the country which otherwise he was quickly losing. He gained a certain position at the election and the Eucharistic Congress rather added to that position. [HON. MEMBERS: "Keep that out of it!"] I am not going to say anything about it. I merely say that it happened and that it rather added to Mr. de Valera's position. When the British Government recognised Mr. de Valera by sending two Secretaries of State to see him and by taking so much notice of his attitude, everyone must have known what the result must have been immediately, especially in Ireland. It immediately diverts in his favour people who will get behind a man in those circumstances if they think that he is being attacked. I would have preferred that the Government had left the matter alone, confident that they always had a 571 weapon in their hands, namely, the economic weapon.
I would like to ask my right hon. Friend, who thinks it is his duty to get back the amount of money which the Free State are failing to pay us, to remember that there are 400,000 Southern Irish loyalists who may be hurt by this policy, and Ulster also may be hurt. I would, therefore, ask him to carry out his promise, made the other day, that he would cease the duties once the necessary amount of money had been collected. It is a point that matters very much to our friends in Southern Ireland, in Ulster, and here. Anything which increases the cost of living to the people of any country must be of great concern to that country, and we have all those faithful friends of ours in Southern Ireland whom we would not like to harm, and, above all, we have our old and most loyal friend, Ulster. I am an Ulsterman, and I think the Government are adopting the right and the only policy, to which they have been driven by the conduct of a man who, had he considered the real good of his country, would never have embarked on such a course. He has forced the Government to take action, which they have sorely regretted to take, but whatever action may be taken in the future, I hope they will remember the loyalty that Ulster has shown to this country, which is above price, and I hope they will repay that loyalty with something equally fine. I am sorry if I hurt my right hon. Friend's feelings. There was no intention to do so on my part.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I think the House must have wondered why the hon. and gallant Gentleman who.has just sat down rose and made that pantomime speech. I was trying to visualise what the purpose of it was. He commenced with a character sketch of his life and gallantry and went on with character sketches of other people. I was greatly struck by the tragic incident which he described in the earlier part of his speech, when he told us how he was seized by Mr. de Valera, that he was held as a hostage, that there was a tribunal called together to know what was to be done with him, and that Mr. de Valera was considerably worried as to whether he would murder the hon. and gallant Gentleman or seize his motor car. Mr. de Valera, as we can gather 572 from this controversy, being not only an idealist Irish patriot but a very practical man, came to the conclusion that he would keep the motor car and give the hon. and gallant Gentleman as an asset to the Parliamentary representation of this country. That, I think, was an exceedingly happy arrangement, by which the forces of revolution were strengthened by the hon. and gallant Gentleman's motor car and the forces of intellectual power and development got free play in the Imperial Parliament.
He also told us, or he tried to tell us, where he was born. He did not make it quite clear whether he was born in the North or in the South, but I take it without any further attestation that he was born somewhere. He is an Irishman, born either in the South or in the North, who represents a Scottish constituency and who is here as a spokesman for Ulster. Has the House of Commons ever seen such a demonstration of personal capacity as that manifested by the speech and the presence of the hon. and gallant Gentleman? I should have thought that, as an Irishman, he might have ceased to make these gross attacks upon his own country. His performance to-day is not new to me. I have listened to him in all the Debates on Ireland, I have watched his performances on the platform, and I have followed his itineries in this business. He has never had a good word to say about his own country—
§ Mr. DEVLIN
—and I am not surprised that he has come here to-night to take up the attitude that he has done. He should have confined himself to the issue involved in this matter and have saved the House of Commons from that demonstration which made an Irish poet once declare:
Unprized are her sons until they 'have learned to betray.I have risen for the purpose of making a short contribution to this Debate. I think that we may take it for granted that the whole of this question has now been reduced to a matter of arbitration. We have discussed the merits and demerits of it. I believe that Southern Ireland is not entitled to pay. I understand that in 1925 there was an arrange- 573 ment between the Free State and the British Government that the Free State should bear no financial burden in connection with the National Debt, that the Land Annuities were a portion of the National Debt, and that therefore Southern Ireland was not entitled to pay a single farthing of these annuities. It has been declared on that side of the House, for the most extraordinary reason that I ever heard in my life, that because Southern Ireland over a series of years has made this contribution—Northern Ireland does not pay a single farthing in Land Annuities—they must continue to pay it. The Dominions Secretary has been congratulated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman on the great legal acumen which he has shown in this matter. It is rather strange that, although we have had a declaration of the most eminent lawyers in Ireland that Ireland is not entitled to pay these annuities, and that it does not owe them to the British Exchequer, we have not had quoted to us the view of any legal authority in this country that Ireland is entitled to pay.
The Attorney-General is sitting there. He is no silent member of the Ministry. He made the finest speech I have ever heard on the Prayer Book, and I heard him distinguish himself on the opening of picture-houses on Sunday. It will not create any mental or physical revolution in the country whether the Prayer Book is right or wrong. The opening of picture-houses in this country may be a very interesting, but it is not a very vital matter. The Empire does not depend on it. But the Empire depends on this £3,000,000 of annuities. I want to know if the Attorney-General was consulted as to whether England is entitled to receive a farthing of these annuities. No, he is silent. The spokesman of the Prayer Book, the protagonist of the closing of cinema houses in England on Sundays, is silent upon the one matter which is ringing throughout England, from the Press, the platform, and in Parliament, namely, the payment of these annuities. We have not had a single expression of legal view from him throughout these Debates. Therefore I say that, forming my own judgment, and from my exploration of this whole situation, I have come to the conclusion that Southern Ireland is not bound to pay a single farthing of these annuities. But suppose that the 574 Attorney-General says we are entitled to pay. He has not said it yet, though I have tried three times to draw an opinion from him. I would pay a portion of the annuities as a, fee for his opinion, if lie gave it. We have not got his opinion of it yet, and therefore we have no legal opinion on the British side that the Free State are legally responsible to pay these annuities to the Imperial Exchequer. But since the overwhelming legal opinion in Ireland is that Ireland should not pay, then I say that for myself, and apart from Mr. de Valera, my opinion is that Ireland ought not to pay.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
While the hon. Gentleman was engaged as an agent of the Anti-Socialist League I was engaged in the humble pursuit of minding my own business at home.
§ Mr. HOWARD
I am rather surprised that the hon. Gentleman denies it, but I have always understood that he has been a Member of this House for at least the last 10 years.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
No. The hon. Gentleman was so busy with his anti-Socialist propaganda that. he had no time to watch my performances in other pursuits. I have told the House what is my opinion, but we come now to the question of whether, even if the legal opinion that has been expressed is against these annuities—[Interruption.] Would the Liberal party keep quiet? I have a great feeling of commiseration for the Liberal party, when I listen to these Debates and remember that the Liberal leader was once a man who not only fought Ireland's cause but consecrated the closing years of a great and noble life to doing justice to Ireland, and then hear the speeches from those Gentlemen there, with their half-dozen leaders, against Ireland, and I come to the conclusion that it is indeed a humiliation that the Liberal party have come down from the leadership of Gladstone to the leadership of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot).
I say that, even if there has been a strong consensus of opinion on the one side that Southern Ireland ought to pay the annuities and a strong consensus of opinion on the other side that she should 575 not, I am not satisfied with the tribunal which has been suggested by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, and I will tell him why. Once bitten, twice shy, and, if that is true in ordinary life, it is profoundly true in Ireland, because I remember, when the partition of Ireland was about to take place and when it was decided to set up a Commission in Ireland to determine how Ireland was to be divided, there was one of the most cruel national crimes ever committed by one country against another. We owe a great deal of the present position of Irish affairs to the partition of Ireland. You divided the country, and that has roused passions and hatred among all parties, and left sullen and angry even the moderate elements in the country. When you proceeded to discharge that task, how was it discharged? You appointed your Imperialist to be your Commissioner to represent you. He got his instructions from the Treaty that the division of territory was to be determined by the aspirations and voice of the people. We asked him to take a plebiscite, but he refused. We asked him to lay down some rules by which the partition of these territories should be determined, and he refused. Although the Treaty stated that this division ought to be determined by the popular will, as expressed in some form of plebiscite, two vast areas of Nationalist Ulster were put into Northern Ireland. He took two counties with an overwhelming majority in favour of being put in the Free State and put them into Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
They were there already, and the biggest crime ever committed was to take them away from where they belonged. What are the facts? You divide the country, but do not divide it honestly.
The hon. Member's argument may be used as an illustration but it must not be carried too far.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I merely mentioned it. I was so moved by the memories of it that I wanted to give the House my experience of it. I wanted to tell and enlighten Members of the House, because, although I differ from the majority 576 of hon. Members, I must pay a tribute, as an old Member, not only to the intellectual powers I have seen manifested in the House, but of the desire on all sides, as far as I can see, to approach questions of this character with an impartial consideration and a lack of prejudice. I am not a revolutionist or a supporter of Mr. de Valera. I have always been a constitutionalist; that is why I am alone in this House. You destroyed the constitutional movement and killed the constitutional party, and you refuse to listen to the constitutional voice. This is what you have got for it. All I have to say is, if I were giving Mr. de Valera advice—and I am the last person he would go to—I would not trust your Commission any more than he does, because, as I have said, the treatment accorded to us by your Commission in regard to the boundaries was such an outrage on every sense on justice and fairplay and popular feeling that no man ever again would trust a Commission of that sort.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
The attitude of the hon. Member appears to be that if a tribunal decides against Ireland it must be corrupt and unjust.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
That is not my point of view. My point of view is that if there is a tribunal, and if I am a consenting party to it, I want it to be a tribunal in which we can place confidence and the result of which will be just to both sides. It was not just, and nobody can defend it, in the case of the boundary. [Interruption.] If it is to be defended, it must be by some greater genius than the hon. and gallant Gentleman who is to reply. I do not want to go into the merits of this question at all. [Interruption.] I do not want to go into the general question. I know perfectly well what I am talking about. I can prove by facts and figures that Southern Ireland is no more entitled to pay these annuities to the British Exchequer than is Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland retains the annuities for herself, and she is quite right. I am an Ulster representative. The only thing in common between the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) and myself being a northern Irishman and he being a Scotsman, is that we do not believe in payment. I am quite convinced that Northern Ireland is quite right to retain these annuities. Southern Ireland 577 has an equal right to retain the annuities, upon the sole ground that, according to the 1925 arrangement, those annuities are to be part of the National Debt, and Ireland was relieved from any responsibility for payments into the National Debt.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ayr Burghs (Lieut.-Colonel Moore) has talked about Ulster and the loyalty of Ulster. Let me tell him this. This is loyal Ulster. When it was decided that she was to have a Parliament and a Constitution of her own, it was agreed that she should pay £7,000,000 as a contribution to the British Exchequer. She is paying nothing at all. She is getting contributions from the British Exchequer, although millions have been paid by Southern Ireland in the Free State, to the British Exchequer. So the less we talk about that sort of loyalty the better. It is not the sort of loyalty that would appeal to my hon. Friend from Scotland on the other side. The less said about Northern Ireland the better.
I come to another point as to what was said about the Liberals. I noticed that it was a curious thing that the first Vote given in this House in favour of food taxes was given by the Liberal party. I do not know who was the leader in that campaign but I know that Sir John Simon and Sir Herbert Samuel —[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] Well, I forget what they represent. The first Vote that was given by those gentlemen in regard to food taxes was in order that they might carry on reprisals against Ireland. That is a rather strange position for the Liberal party to take up. Throughout all these controversies they have shown far greater bitterness and far greater anti-Irish feeling than any of the Conservative party. I notice a certain feeling of responsibility on the part of Conservative Members, and a manifestation of a rather sane spirit of hope that there may be some means out of this difficulty. You may put your taxes upon Irish food and raise your £3,500,000, and then Mr. de Valera will call his Dail together, and he will put on taxes against you. [HON. MEMBERS: "He has done it already!"] He will put on fresh taxes—[Interruption.]
If there is going to be a war of this character, neither nation will benefit. 578 The only result of it will be that it will make the essential commodities of people, the food-stuffs of the people of England, dearer for the English working classes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] You are going to put on a stomach tax that you may grapple in the fiscal sphere in Ireland. A more insolent piece of political folly I have never heard of. You are holding conferences throughout Europe to consider what is to be done with countless millions of money. Debts are to be forgiven, reparations are to disappear, the finances of the world are to be readjusted. Here, in the midst of all this, when your most important Ministers and representatives are attending European conferences, this mighty Imperial Parliament is discussing here how best we can wage war upon a pacific nation of agriculturists. [Interruption.] I do not say that that is what you intend, but I say flat that is what it really means. If I were satisfied that you would be satisfied that this was a desirable thing from any point of view, I would see some justification for it.
I have given some warnings in my time in this House. If some of them had been heeded, things might have been different. We advised you to settle the Irish question 40 years ago. If you had done so, the world would have been saved from misery and some of the chaos that exists to-day. We advised you to listen to Mr. John Redmond, who made the noblest speech ever delivered in this House in a most fateful moment of Imperial emergency. I stood by his side and helped to gather recruits to your Army in the time of your Imperial difficulty, until, without conscription, more recruits came from my constituency than from any other place in these Islands. We advised you then to meet John Redmond and to treat with him as a constitutional leader. You discarded his policy and you broke his heart; you destroyed his party; and you then started to settle with other men. The language you have used towards Mr. de Valera, you used about Cosgrave and Arthur Griffith and all the rest. It is the same old story, The hon. Member said one thing that is true. He said, "You Englishmen do not understand Ireland," and that is true. But, worse than not understanding, you have never listened to those who would be your best friends and who have given you advice. I beg of 579 you to think, not once, but twice, before you start this war upon this little cousin people, who, no doubt, are not very strong and prosperous. Perhaps you think you can beat them; I do not know; but it will not add to the glory of your Empire, your strength in the world, your capacity for appealing for more considerate and generous treatment from America and other nations, if you pursue this policy.
It would be a noble act to say, "Let this £3,500,000 go"—[Interruption.] It would be a noble act, and it would be the least expensive thing you ever did. Because it would be a noble act, I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will do what I suggested to-day, that is to say, withdraw this Bill and try to come by some other method to some agreement, or at all events, to agree to the proposition in favour of arbitration which has been made, by allowing someone to be selected as has been suggested by Mr. de Valera. If you have a good case, what need you be afraid of? People who are in the right need not be afraid of tribunals. [Interruption.] It is only a question of personnel according to the right hon. Gentleman. For myself, if you want my opinion, I would trust the honour and the sense of impartiality of men within the Empire as soon as I would trust outsiders, but you have to remember previous performances and experiences, and that is why they are suspicious in Ireland to-day. I trust that the Dominions Secretary, having gone so far—I admit that he has gone very far—will, in the spirit that has moved him in past difficult negotiations, try to come to an understanding that will bring about a friendlier feeling and a better understanding between the two peoples.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I want to recall the two main points that are before the House. There is, first of all, the point as to how best we can come to a settlement of the matter, and, second, the question, which has been almost entirely neglected in the Debate, is whether what the Government are doing is necessary and whether it is good or bad. I want to recall to the Dominions Secretary part of a phrase that is a very favourite one with him. I am sure he will not resent it. It is the word "humbug." I thought the way he opened the Debate was the biggest 580 humbug I had ever heard. He told the House that the really vital thing in this was that the Government must balance their Budget and-get this £5,000,000, and he asked us what was our alternative way of getting it. That comes from a Member of the Government which has a Budget in which they deliberately made no provision whatever for meeting their own debts to the United States. They have left it entirely open, and their representatives are at this moment bargaining on the Continent with other nations on the assumption that they are going to be let off their debts, and will not have to bring that amount in. The right hon. Gentleman said this was urgent, because, if they did not get this £5,000,000, the Budget would be unbalanced, as if Budgets had not been unbalanced before. Older Members will remember that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) had singular ill-fortune in balancing his Budget. He was more than £5,000,000 out. We are not sure yet whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer will balance his Budget, because it depends on what happens with regard to the American debt. [Interruption.] I recommend the right hon. Gentleman not to holloa until he is out of the European wood.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
This happens to be a point on which the Dominions Secretary laid himself open to criticism. I am sure the Financial Secretary would not have put forward a weak point like that. The Dominions Secretary challenged the Opposition to say how they would balance the Budget. That is not our business. We do not prescribe until we are called in. That is really not the main matter. Only about one speaker in the Debate has dealt seriously with what the Government are doing. He is an Irishman and gave us extraordinarily cold common sense. We get common sense very often from the Irishman as against the sentimental Englishman. He implored us not to break up the conditions of trade between this country and Ireland. Very little attention has been given to what is actually being done under the Bill, which is really opening up a tariff war. It is going to be a double-edged weapon which will hurt the people of this country as well. There 581 was a, dubious amount of support given by the hon. Member for South West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), who was temporarily leading on behalf of the Liberal party. He gave an interesting disquisition on Gladstonian Liberalism, and ended up by deciding to support this proposal. But he could not solve the problem as to how much of the amount of taxation would really come from the people of Ireland and how much would come from this country.
Let me come to the root of the matter which is how to get the matter settled. I was surprised at the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Crewe (Mr. Somervell). He gave us a number of legal points, but he seemed to run away from the big point about arbitration. It is no good getting up and saying you have a wonderful arbitral court if the other people will not accept it. The whole point of arbitration is that you must have a court which is accepted by the two sides. Will the hon. and gallant Member also remember that the key note of the speech of his leader the Secretary of State for the Dominions was, "I am prepared to go all the way with the ex- ception of the one thing the other side want." Of course Mr. de Valera can play that game and say "I am prepared to arbitrate on this matter with the exception of one point." It is useless to talk about arbitration, and then to say "I have given away everything" when the whole point of arbitration is agreement.
We have suggested a possibility in this matter. I think that the right hon. Gentleman, for reasons which have been given already by other speakers in the Debate, has played up too much to the need of beating the Imperial drum all the way. He has taken high lines, and the great Imperial Conference! Because a recommendation was made by the Imperial Conference he believes that anyone who differs from it is going against the Conference and everything else. The right hon. Gentleman has put it forward as if it were a question on the one side of accepting the tribunal from the Empire, and, on the other side, a question of going to the League of Nations. That is not the point at issue. The point is whether members of the British Commonwealth of Nations should agree to leave it open as to what the personnel of the arbitral body should be. That is quite a narrow point, and it is a great mistake to try to elevate 582 it into something with which if you do not agree you are breaking up the Empire. It has been suggested that everyone who has spoken from this side has spoken for Mr. de Valera. We have not taken a side in this matter.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I think the hon. Member had better wait until he has been a Member of this House for a longer period before he interrupts in that way. Everyone who has spoken from the Labour Benches has explicitly said that we are not passing judgment on the merits of the case. We have not said that Mr. de Valera is bound to pay, or that he is not bound to pay. We have dealt entirely with the question of the tribunal. [Interruption.] If the hon. Member doubts it he can look at the OFFICIAL REPORT. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has spoken, the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) has spoken and I have spoken. If the hon. Member can show me anything in which we have passed judgment on the merits of the case, I will confess my fault. We have taken the ground that this is a justiciable dispute and that it should be brought to arbitration. Here are two people, the Dominions Secretary and Mr. de Valera, each with a point of view which keeps them apart. One object of statesmanship is to get over these difficult points between Mr. de Valera and the National Government. A suggestion has been put forward for getting over the difficulty. The House should try to look at this matter in the light of the conditions of the world to-day. However persuaded you may be of the justice and rightness of your case, you have to remember that it will not be necessarily accepted by everyone throughout the world.
It may be said that you are standing on the letter of your bond with Ireland, and that at the same time you are asking to be let off the letter of your bond somewhere else. You may think it worth while to set the whole of your creditor country, the United States, against you by the way you deal with a situation when your debtor is Ireland. I am not arguing whether it is right or wrong for us to pay America, but that is a question which may come up in time. If the 583 right hon. Gentleman was dealing with the question of reparations he would not proclaim his absolute faith that one side was wholly right, and yet his Government are trying to persuade other nations not to stand on the letter of the band. They are trying to persuade France not to insist upon the full letter of her bond in relation to Germany. That kind of work has to be done in the atmosphere of give and take and conciliation, to try to get a practical solution which is in the best interests of the peace of the world. I know that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that he is perfectly right, but he knows that in a conference other people do not take the view which we take of ourselves. It may be that by running a quarrel of this description to the lengths
§ the Government are doing that you may ruin the chance of settling far wider issues. We believe that the line taken by the Government is short sighted. It is not absolutely vital to get this money to balance the Budget, nor is this the only alternative, the only way. A. little more time and thought, a, little more consultation with the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, would, we believe, lead to wiser counsels on both sides and would settle the matter, but if we are going to engage in this form of economic warfare it augurs ill for the future of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 321; Noes, 41.585
|Division No. 292.]||AYES||[11.22 p.m|
|Acland-Troyte. Lieut.-Colonel||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Ford, Sir Patrick.J.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Albery, Irving James||Chamberlain, Rt.Hon.SirJ.A.(Birm.,W)||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Allen, Sir.J. Sandeman (Liverp'I, W.)||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Fremantle, Sir Francis|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Christie, James Archibald||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Clayton, Dr. George C.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Colfax, Major William Philip||Gledhill, Gilbert|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Collins, Sir Godfrey||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Colman, N. C. D.||Glucksteln, Louis Halle|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Colville, John||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.|
|Balnlel, Lord||Conant, R. J. E.||Goldie, Noel B.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Cook, Thomas A.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cooke, Douglas||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Cooper, A. Duff||Greaves-Lord. Sir Walter|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Copeland, Ida||Greene, William P. C.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Cranborne, Viscount||Grimston, R. V.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B, (Portsm'th,C.)||Craven-Ellis, William||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.|
|Bernays, Robert||Crooke, J. Smedley||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Sklpton)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cuiverwell, Cyril Tom||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vanslttart||Curry, A. C.||Hartland, George A.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenningt'n)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Braithwaite, Maj, A. N. (Yorks, E.R.)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Davison, Sir William Henry||Heilgers. Captain F. F. A.|
|Briant, Frank||Dickle, John P.||Heneage. Lieut.Colonel Arthur P.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)|
|Brown,Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Donner, P. W.||Hornby. Frank|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Brown, Brig,Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Dunglass, Lord||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Edge, Sir William||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N.)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Burnett, John George||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Waiter E.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Caine, G. R. Hall-||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Elmley, Viscount||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth. C.)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Erskine-Bolsi, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Janner, Barnett|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Jennings, Roland|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, Citv)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Jenson, Major Thomas E.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Fermoy, Lord||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Morris Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Moss, Captain H. J.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Munro, Patrick||Slater, John|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Nall, Sir Joseph||Smiles, Lieut-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Kimball, Lawrence||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Normand, Wiltrid Guild||Smith, B. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)|
|Knebworth, Viscount||North, Captain Edward T.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Nunn, William||Smithers, Waldron|
|Latham. Sir Herbert Paul||O'Connor, Terence James||Somerset, Thomas|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Leckie, J. A.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Ormiston, Thomas||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Palmer, Francis Noel||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Levy, Thomas||Patrick, Colin M.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Liddall, Waiter S.||Penny, Sir George||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Percy, Lord Eustace||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Stones, James|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Storey, Samuel|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Pete, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n.Bilston)||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Locker-Lampoon, Rt. Hn.G.(Wd.Gr'n)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Pike, Cecil F.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Potter, John||Sueter. Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|McConnell, Sir Joseph||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Ramsbotham,Herwald||Templeton, William P.|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassctlaw)||Rankin, Robert||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Darby)|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Rea, Walter Russell||Thompson, Luke|
|McKeag, William||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Maciay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|McLean, Major Alan||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Romer, John R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Magnay, Thomas||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Wallace, Captain D. E.(Hornsey)|
|Malialieu, Edward Lancelot||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecciesall)||(Hornsey) Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Robinson, John Roland||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Manningham- Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Rosbotham, S. T.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Ross, Ronald D.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Viledderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Martin, Thomas B.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Runge, Norah Cecil||White, Henry Graham|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Millar, Sir James Duncan||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Salmon, Major Isidore||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Mills, Major.J. D. (New Forest)||Salt, Edward W.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Milne, Charles||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Womersley, Walter James|
|Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw-||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Mitcheson, G. G.||Savory, Samuel Servington|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Selley, Harry R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Sir Frederick Thomson and Mr. Blindell.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Healy, Cahir||Maxton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hicks, Ernest George||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, George Henry||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Jones, J, J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Price, Gabriel|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorne, William James|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lawson, John James||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Daggar, George||Leonard, William||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lunn, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mc Entee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McGovern, John||Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
Lords Amendments considered accordingly, and agreed to.