The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
I beg to move:That the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Order, 1932, dated the twelfth day of July, nineteen hundred and thirty-two, made by the Treasury under the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the said twelfth day of July, be approved.I am quite sure that the House will readily accept the difficulty of turning from the Debate dealing with the problem of unemployment to the consideration of a subject which, it must be frankly admitted, whether we agree with the Government's policy or not, does not tend to further employment. This evening it is my duty to give some explanation to the House not only in regard to the old Order, but to the new, that becomes operative at 12 o'clock to-night. The Govern- 266 ment deeply deplore the circumstances responsible for this action. When it was necessary some few months ago to ask Parliament to give us the necessary powers and authority to impose these restrictions, I said, speaking on behalf of the Government, that we would welcome any and every opportunity that might present itself for discussion or negotiation that would bring this unfortunate dispute to an end. I emphasised then, and I emphasise now, what our attitude is, to make it clear to the House and to the country.
Agreement having been made between representatives of two Governments, after days and weeks of negotiation, and solemnly ratified and proclaimed to the world as a final financial agreement, we had no reason to believe then, and we have no reason to assume now, that those agreements were not legally and morally binding. We took the view, and we take the view to-day, that whatever may be said about the political history as between the Irish Free State and this country, the overwhelming mass of the people of this country and, we still believe, a majority of the people in the Irish Free State, believed when that Treaty was made, that that was the end of the political feud between the two nations. No one can deny, and I do not believe anyone can challenge, the statement that I now make, that every Government since that Treaty was made, no matter what their political complexion may have been, honourably observed their side of the agreement. As a member of the Governments of 1924 and 1929, I would say that those Governments were not only anxious and willing to bury the differences between the Irish Free State and this country, but gave every evidence of that desire. When the challenge came, I want the House to observe that the agreement with regard to the land annuities was an agreement made between the Government of the Irish Free State and this country.
Quite true. I do not gather that we have reached the stage in political history or constitutional government where we are to assume that the representatives of one Government can be repudiated by another. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] That may be a doctrine that will be practised by my hon. Friends if ever they get the opportunity, 267 but it is equally certain that the wish will be father to the thought, and they will never get that chance. [Interruption.] I am speaking of what I call the normal, constitutional, honest practice between peoples. Therefore, having entered into that agreement, and the British Government being entitled to a sum of about £5,000,000 per annum, which was due to the British taxpayer, it was, as I have indicated, somewhat of a shock to find the Irish Free State repudiating their obligation.
The Government faced the situation quite frankly. They said, "If there are any just or valid reasons why this money should be withheld, we are prepared to consider them." We examined every aspect of the question; we turned up every agreement that was made; we examined every document; and we came to the conclusion that this money was due. The money was withheld, and Mr. de Valera said quite frankly, without any attempt either to disguise his feelings or his intentions, "So far as we are concerned, we not only intend to withhold this money, but we believe that there is money due to us." That was a quite clear and straightforward explanation of his side of the case, and, having said that, he did not hesitate to express his views and give his reasons. We examined his side of the case, and we came to the conclusion that he could not justify that position. Therefore, having decided that we were entitled to this sum of money, having budgeted in our own national balance sheet for this money, and having ourselves undertaken the responsibility and liability of paying those who had loaned the money, we said, "We intend to take all the steps that are open to us to obtain what we believe is due to us."
We were then faced with dm question of the ways and means of doing it, and we came, very reluctantly, I repeat, to the conclusion that the only means open to us was to impose a tax upon certain imports coming into this country. When I introduced the Bill to the House, I explained that it was not intended as a vindictive policy. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I explained to the House that, the moment we secured the amounts due to us, we would take off the duty. But I also made it perfectly clear that we would shirk no task, however unpleasant 268 it might be, in obtaining the money. I made that absolutely clear to the House when introducing the Bill. As a result of the Order of the 12th July, we imposed a 20 per cent. duty on live animals for food, animals not for food, butter, eggs, cream, bacon, pork, poultry and game, and other meat of all kinds—
At all events, I may summarise my enumeration by saying that 50 per cent. of the total value of the imports from the Irish Free State in the year 1930 could be included in the category of live animals. The effect of the imposition of those duties can be summarised roughly as follows. The total amount collected, up to the 29th October, was £674,000.
That is a period of 15 weeks up to the 29th October, or an average of, roughly, £44,000 per week over the 15 weeks from the institution of the Order. But for the last four weeks the average receipts have jumped from £44,000 to £74,000 per week.
The hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity. I want to explain to the House the reason for this increase from £44,000 to £74,000 per week. The explanation is that the Irish Free State Government, while denying their liability to us, while proclaiming to their people that they were not legally or morally liable, while saying to their people, "We intend to resist the action of the British Government," proceeded at once to give a bounty to their people on exports to this country. I ask the House and the country to observe this fact. Here is a people who say, "We deny absolutely our liability morally and legally; there is no claim." That, shortly, is their position. We replied by saying, "Not only are we morally and legally entitled to this money, but we intend to get this money and to impose 269 duties." They replied by saying to their own people, whom they were telling that they were neither legally or morally responsible, and whom they were persuading to repudiate the Agreement, "But we will give you a bounty to contribute to this illegal thing which we are telling you ought not to exist." I put it to the House that if, during a period of 15 weeks, our receipts were £44,000 per week, the action that the Irish Free State Government themselves took in giving a bounty to their own people was the factor responsible for increasing that amount.
I am asked, "If that be so, why increase it?" I will answer that question. I intimated, both on the introduction of the Measure and in answer to questions in the House, that the Government were determined to obtain this money. The amount involved was over £5,000,000. The receipts that I have already indicated to the House show conclusively that we were not likely to get that amount, and, therefore, if we were justified by the verdict of this House in saying that we intended to get the money, it was our duty to adopt every means at our disposal to obtain it. I want the House to assume for the moment that that was the Government's intention. It may be argued from the opposite side of the House that it was wrong, but I am putting the proposition that, the Government having made up their minds definitely and clearly to say that the British taxpayer shall not bear this burden—because that is the alternative—it was their responsibility to take the necessary steps to obtain the amount. Therefore, we were faced with this position. I had decided, in consultation with the Government, to examine very closely, not only the receipts that I have indicated this evening, but any other figures with a view to obtaining additional revenue, on the basis, as I. have said, that our intention was to obtain the £5,000,000. If, as seemed probable, a new Order was imposed some time before the end of this week, we should probably be accused—and, indeed, the suggestion may have been made—that we deliberately imposed these additional duties before the House itself had had an opportunity of judging the whole situation. I should have been subjected 270 to that charge. In other words, if I had imposed the new Order at the end of this week I might easily have been accused of shirking the responsibility of telling the full facts to the House to-night. Therefore, the House is called upon to endorse not only the previous Order but the new Order which becomes operative at 12 o'clock. Retaliation, which was inevitable, which I foresaw, and which I did not attempt to disguise from the House, has taken place. The Irish Free State Government have by retaliatory duties not only inflicted hardship and inconvenience but, I frankly admit, caused unemployment in this country, and it would be not only idle for me to deny it but it would be unfair. In coal and in other commodities the retaliation of the Irish Free State has unquestionably adversely affected our people. That is a fair statement of the situation. [An HON. MEMBER: "You did not question that at the time."] I do not think the hon. Member could turn up any word of mine—
It is no good to say, "Hear, hear." It would be a surprise to me if you could find any indication in my speeches that from the moment I dealt with this question I was not alive not only to the possibility but to the certainty that our trade would be affected. The problem that faces the House is this. If they believe, as the Government believe, and as the great overwhelming mass of the people in the Irish Free State believe—[Interruption.] You may doubt it, but you cannot ignore the Debates in the Dail. You may doubt it, but you cannot change the representations made in the Free State Parliament by those who are as representative of Irish opinion as you are. It is idle to pretend that members of the Dail are not as representative of Irish opinion as you are. [Interruption.] I know that perfectly well, but the interjection that was made was in reply to my statement that there were in the Irish Free State large masses of people—
Then I will say that in the Irish Free State itself there is a large mass of people who not only realise that these agreements were made on their behalf, but who believe that it is unwise as well as dangerous to repudiate obligations made solemnly on their behalf. Believing, as we do, that the British taxpayer should not be called upon to bear this liability, what other means are open to us than the course we have adopted? If we believe that we are entitled to this money, what other course is suggested by which we could obtain it? Over and above all that there is the fundamental fact that nothing would be more dangerous to the interests of this country or of the Irish Free State than the repudiation of agreements solemnly made. I deplore the necessity. I regret the circumstances. No one can accuse the Government of not availing themselves of every opportunity for a very full and frank discussion of the whole situation. We do not close the door even at this stage, but, in taking this step and in asking for the endorsement of the House, we say to the House and to the country that we will not be a party to the tearing up of agreements, we will not be a party to the repudiation of liabilities, and, however, unpleasant it may be, and however hard it may be to our own people, we believe that in the interests of good government in this country and in the Irish Free State the action we now take is the only one that we can honourably adopt.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I have listened with very great care to the right hon. Gentleman's speech and I make haste to tell him here and now that I listened to him with growing apprehension. I think when he comes to reflect upon it, especially certain passages of it, and reads it to-morrow, having regard to his great responsibility, he will regret having used some of the expressions that he did use. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why? "] If I am called immediately to give an illustration of what I mean, I will recall the fact that he felt called upon to discuss what opinion was in the Irish Dail. He would be much more appropriately engaged in considering what the opinion is in Britain concerning this grave problem. We have had it brought before 272 the House on several occasions, and I will do him this justice, for it is no less than justice. He has spoken of it very gravely, I admit. He left the House under no misapprehension concerning his feelings as to the seriousness of the action which he called upon it to take some few weeks or months ago. But the problem has become graver and it is becoming progressively worse as the months roll by.
I am not quite sure that I should be wrong if I said that the Government from the very beginning of this business have erred in that they have seemed to rely too exclusively upon their numerical strength in the House, to back up their opinions and their actions. In point of fact what the right hon. Gentleman invites us to do is to take another very grave step in developing an economic war between this country and our neighbour beyond the seas. It is war. There is no doubt about that. There are no shells except economic shells, but the right hon. Gentleman has already indicated that in this economic war, as in more physical war, both sides are already beginning to suffer. His last sentence was that, so far from confining the effects of this warfare to the Irish side of the channel, the effects are to be found here in unemployment among our own people. You have that accompaniment of warfare of any sort, and both sides are inevitably brought within the vortex of discomfort, to say the least of it.
Some of us, when this policy was first propounded, told the right hon. Gentleman—he told us he was not unaware of it himself—that the inevitable consequence of this policy would be reprisals. Let the House recall a passage from his speech to-night. It was something like this. We said so and so. They replied so and so. We did this. They retorted. We proposed this. They replied. It is just pull Devil, pull baker. One side equally with the other, I regret to say, has determined not to give way one inch in regard to the fundamental problem that is involved. I should really like to ask the right hon. Gentleman where he supposes this policy is to end. He really must face up to it. He cannot go on in this grave way, embittering feelings on both sides of the Channel and producing such a situation as will in the long run make a final peace be- 273 tween the two peoples almost impossible. It is a very grave policy which the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of the Government, has embarked upon, and I invite him—not for the purpose of scoring off the Government I assure him, because I. am too keenly appreciative of the dangerous pass to which we have been brought in our relationships, the one side with the other—I ask him where is this policy to lead?
Every Member in the House is as desirous as I am, and the right hon. Gentleman is desirous, of seeing an end to this business. I am going to attempt to make a contribution, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman whose remark reached me will allow me to say that to-morrow morning I shall be prepared to let my contribution be put beside that of the right hon. Gentleman. I ask, since we are all of a common will and desire to bring this matter to a reasonable conclusion, is it not time for us to pause rather than to carry on with this policy in this futile kind of way? It is easier to start upon a career such as this than it is to stop, as the right hon. Gentleman no doubt by to-night is very acutely aware. The right hon. Gentleman never objects to people being frank with him, and I am certainly going to be frank with him to-night, for we are concerned with oar own Government in this House. The Irish will deal with theirs. I say to the right hon. Gentleman deliberately that I cannot conceive such a grave issue as this being so mishandled in the initial stages as was this issue. When I heard the right hon. Gentleman some months ago announce with all pomp and circumstance that the Government were going to take this line and that line in relation to the Irish Government, I had a feeling that the right hon. Gentleman was strutting a little too jauntily before the footlights.
§ Mr. JONES
Really, this is not a problem in which we must fancy ourselves as great actors in a drama. Our main duty, and especially the duty of the right hon. Gentleman as I conceive it, was to try to prevent this problem from becoming of such immense proportions as it has now become. While I consider that the right hon. Gentleman was very much to 274 blame for the way in which he dramatised it in the early stages, I think that throughout this controversy the right hon. Gentleman has thoroughly believed in the position of the Government. Of that I have no doubt for a moment, but it is one of the tragedies of the whole problem. Just as the right hon. Gentleman himself has thoroughly believed in his side of the case, so have the Irish people believed equally thoroughly in their side of the case. So keenly do the respective sides feel the rightness of their case that neither is prepared to yield a single inch.
I would recall to the House this fact. There are some four instruments of agreement which are related to the particular problem with which we are concerned tonight. There is the instrument called the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Then there is the instrument which is well known as the Hills-Cosgrave Agreement of 1923, the one which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) signed on behalf of the Government. The Agreement of 1923 has been specially relied on by the Government in this controversy, but, after reading the Debates which have taken place recently upon the matter, it is well worth recalling to the House that the Agreement to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ripon attached his signature was not, as the right hon. Gentleman said in the course of his opening speech, proclaimed to the world. In point of fact the Agreement was presented to this House, if my memory serves me aright, in April of this year, and it was the cardinal part of the case put by the Irish people that the Hills-Cosgrave Agreement has never yet been presented to the Irish Free State Parliament for ratification.
Mr. J. H. THOMAS
My hon. Friend will not desire to score a debating point, but it is imperative, with so many people attaching importance to and affected by it that the fact should he stated, arid my hon. Friend does not desire, I know, to withhold facts. The 1923 Agreement was not only endorsed in the Dail, but a general election in Ireland followed it, and those who made the Agreement were returned. What greater evidence is there of the people endorsing it than that?
§ Mr. JONES
I will take my stand upon the first paragraph of Mr. de Valera's recent document. [Interruption.] I am 275 not going to allow the right hon. Gentleman to get away with it like that. I am quoting the case which was held as sincerely on the Irish side as the right hon. Gentleman holds the case on his side.
§ Mr. JONES
I am putting what Mr. de Valera called the facts, and a fact is just as much a fact in the de Valera statement as is a fact in the case of the right hon. Gentleman.As indicated in its dispatches, the Government of the Irish Free State declines to recognise that there is binding force in certain instruments upon which the British Government rely.In the next sentence he said the instrument of the 12th February is not a binding instrument because, amongst other reasons, it was not submitted to the Dail for ratification. I am not a Member of the Dail; Mr. de Valera is. He has access to official information, and I take it that he would not commit himself to a statement of that sort without reason, because that sort of statement is open to examination by anyone who cares to make inquiry. Yet in paragraph 1 Mr. de Valera says, with all the appearance of authority—that is all I can say about it—that the Agreement of 1923 was never submitted to the Dail for ratification. That is Mr. de Valera's case. He says that that Agreement, upon which the Secretary o! State for Dominion Affairs so much relies, never has been submitted to the Dail for ratification. Whether he is right or wrong does not concern me for the sake of my argument. The point I am making is, that one side believes in its case just as sincerely as does the other. It is a tragedy therefore that such a situation as now exists should be allowed to develop.
The next Agreement is the Ireland (Confirmation of Agreement) Act, of December, 1925. That was made after the Boundary Commission controversy.
§ Mr. JONES
I do not mind who appointed it. The question is, that it was carried. It was discussed by the Lord President of the Council, the right hon. 276 Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), the late Lord Birkenhead, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), and the late Sir William Joynson-Hicks. On the Irish side were Mr. Cosgrave, Mr. Blythe and Mr. O'Higgins. That Agreement was submitted to this House, quite properly, for ratification, but within a few months, in March, 1926, another Agreement was entered into, called the Blythe-Churchill Agreement. The Blythe-Churchill Agreement was discussed between two Ministers of the Government on both sides. It is the case of the Irishmen that this particular Agreement again was never submitted for ratification to either Parliament, certainly not to the Irish Parliament.
This question of ratification is therefore acquiring a special importance because the Irish place more and more emphasis on the fact as to whether a particular instrument or agreement was or was not ratified. We are not now in the region of controversy where ordinary laymen like myself can with assurance express an opinion. We are now in a region of controversy where only people of legal training can say whether a legal instrument is or is not of binding authority. The right hon. Gentleman, in one of his documents, claims quite boldly—I daresay on the advice of the Lao Officers of the Crown—that the Blythe-Churchill Agreement is a binding agreement. That is the advice that he gets, Hit the advice that Mr. de Valera gets is that it is not a binding agreement. Who is going to decide a controversy of that sort?
§ Mr. JONES
I am much obliged for that intervention. The right hon. Gentleman may go on saying: "You are bound till kingdom come." Mr. de Valera may go on saying: "No, I am not bound." The point is that you get no nearer settlement of the problem. Therefore, the question arises what ways and means can we find for settling this difficult legalistic controversy? The only way that I have heard of settling it is by arbitration. The right hon. Gentleman—I say this in his defence, if he requires defence from me—says, "I am prepared to accept the submission of this problem to the arbitrament of arbitration." So I understand does Mr. de Valera. Then a new crisis arises, that new crisis being, "What shall be the tribunal; who shall 277 compose it?" The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Surely, it has been a very vital controversy as to whether the tribunal shall be confined to members inside the Empire or whether it shall have an extra-Empire membership. Upon that rock the ship seems to have foundered. Because the parties have failed to arrive at an agreement on a point of that kind—I will not say that it is an unimportant point, in fact it is a point of substance to a vast area like the British Empire—surely it is not a sufficiently important point to justify the prolongation of a difficulty such as exists, with both sides embarking on recriminations and instruments of reprisal, with the inevitable consequence that unless a bridge can be built between the two sides soon, no peace will be found possible.
The right hon. Gentleman and his friends are acutely conscious of the rightness of their case. I spent the week-end trying to read up as much of the documents as I could so as to be able to understand the other side as well as ours, and I confess as a layman, speaking without any legal knowledge, that I am convinced that the Irishmen have a case to put to arbitration. More than that I will not say. Let me show how you can, by omission, unintentional no doubt, present in an official document a wrong statement of a case. I invite the right hon. Gentleman to look at page 11 of the White Paper, 4184. He quotes, or alleges that he is quoting, Article 5 of the Treaty.
§ Mr. JONES
The Treaty of 1921. Let me read the two passages. The White Paper says:Article 5 provides that the Irish Free State should assume liability for the services of the public debt of the United Kingdom"—The remainder is in inverted commas—'in such proportion as may be fair and equitable, having regard to any just claims on the part of Ireland by way of set-off or counter-claim.'Reading that passage, one would inevitably conclude that the words in inverted commas only referred to the public debt. What is the actual passage in the Treaty?The Irish Free State shall assume liability for the service of the public debt of the United Kingdom as existing at the date hereof, and towards the payment of war 278 pensions as existing at that date, in such proportion as may be fair and equitable.The whole of the reference to pensions is kept out of the White Paper. If anyone reads the passage in the Treaty he is entitled to have some doubt as to whether the words, "in such proportion as may be fair and equitable," refer to the public debt or to pensions.
§ Mr. JONES
That is not my point at all. The point I am making is this. Here is a document which purports to give Article 5 of the Treaty, and I repeat, I challenge contradiction, that the quotation from Article 5 of the Treaty as given in this White document does not give exactly the sense of the passage in Article 5 as it appears in the text of the Treaty. It shows how easy it is for hon. Members on both sides of the House, listening to the case as put by the right hon. Gentleman and as put in official documents, to feel that there is absolutely no case at all to be put on the other side. I say, whether it is agreeable or not, that anyone who reads this story must come to the conclusion that there is a strong case to be put on the other side and that it can only be put to some tribunal in which both sides have complete confidence. That is all I want to say in order to prevent any misunderstanding.
I appreciate the objection of the right hon. Gentleman to a representative outside the Empire, I see the point, but I say that in my judgment either the right hon. Gentleman must, as an exceptional measure if you like, concede a representative outside the Empire as the Chairman of such a tribunal or—and this I should much prefer—he must say to the Irish people, cannot we as reasonable people arrive at a settlement of the amount, taking it as a final settlement of a business transaction, rather than allow this miserable quarrel to drag on to the detriment of both sides. Therefore, I say to the Government that they have to make up their minds as to whether they 279 want to use this instrument as a means of revenue or as a political instrument. I hope not the latter.
If it is a revenue-producing instrument what do these extra duties mean? They mean that the confident hope which the right hon. Gentleman held out to the House some weeks ago, that 20 per cent. would enable the Government to be recouped for any loss, has miserably failed. To-night you are doubling the duties, and you have no more guarantee to-night than you had three months ago that this will succeed. But this the Government can be very sure about; although they may double their duties and possibly get their money they will create such a situation of bitterness and animosity that a final settlement will be almost impossible. The right hon. Gentleman is too good a negotiator to forget the value of keeping some measure of good will on both sides when there is to be a prospective discussion. I will not discuss the details of these Orders because they are of small account compared with the vast issues involved. I ask the right hon. Gentleman, and through him the Government, to pause, to reflect, to think again and yet again, before he lands us as well as the people beyond the seas in a situation from which it will be difficult indeed to extricate ourselves later on.
May I ask the hon. Member this question, because it is very important and I did not want to interrupt his speech? I gather that he is speaking for his party. I want to ask him this specific question; do I gather that although we offered arbitration, and still offer arbitration, that although the late Labour Government were responsible for the Motion at Geneva that all arbitration within the Empire ought to be determined by an Empire tribunal, that the hon. Member, speaking for his party, now stands for Empire matters going outside the Empire?
Do I gather now that speaking for his party the hon. Gentleman throws over, on behalf of his party, an Empire tribunal for Empire matters?
§ Mr. JONES
When I made the suggestion I told the right hon. Gentleman that I knew it was a, big thing to ask, I said that quite frankly; but I said that as a very exceptional measure it might well be worth while making the concession of an extra Empire representative as chairman of the tribunal to get rid of a difficulty which otherwise may not be settled at all.
I do not want there to be any misunderstanding. Do I gather now that, speaking quite officially as he has done, the hon. Member now throws over—[Interruption.]—at any rate that he agrees that Empire matters shall be taken outside the Empire?
That being so, do I gather that my hon. Friend now subscribes to the policy that as an exceptional measure the Irish Free State difficulty should be referred to a, tribunal outside the Empire?
§ Major HILLS
We now have an admission that this is a difference which hon. Members want to have referred to a tribunal outside the Empire. I can conceive no reason why, if the hon. Member still considers Ireland part of the Empire, there should be exceptional treatment for Ireland. There is no reason whatever. From first to last the hon. Member put, the Irish case. He never attempted to stand aside and judge the matter impartially, or still less to put the case of Britain and the British taxpayer. All his thunder and his thumpings on that Box were to reinforce points made by Mr. de Valera. All his attack on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was directed to that end. He told my right hon. 281 Friend that the problem was becoming graver, that it had been mishandled, that it could not go on, and that his policy was leading nowhere. Does he not realise that we who speak, I think impartially, but also for the British taxpayer, appreciate that my right hon. Friend went to the very limit of concessions. First of all he offered arbitration and he offered the apt tribunal for inter-Imperial disputes, an Empire tribunal. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Oh, yes, he did. He offered arbitration.
§ Major HILLS
I know they did not. But that is the point between us. What is the good of repeating the point that divides us. Hon. Members opposite think that this dispute ought to go to someone, I do not know who, and that as long as it is someone outside the Empire it does not matter to whom it goes. We say that it ought to be treated as all matters of inter-Imperial quarrel are treated and. as everyone of standing, until to-night, agreed they should be treated. Now an exception is to be made in the case of Ireland and a special tribunal of a different kind is to be set up.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
South Africa did not agree either. The right hon. Gentleman speaks as if this was something agreed to by the Dominions. South Africa and the Irish Free State did not agree to this proposal. When the right hon. Gentleman says that it is an apt tribunal, that only his idea.
§ Major HILLS
I have never mentioned a Dominion at all. I say that if there is any dispute that ought to go to an Empire tribunal, here is a dispute that should do so. That is the point that divides us. We hold that that is an essential point that ought never to be given away. There is a second essential point. I had the honour to negotiate and sign that Agreement with Mr. Cosgrave. The hon. Gentleman made some play on two points. First of all, if I understood him aright, he contrasted the 1923 Agreement with the 1926 Agreement, to the advantage of the latter, on the ground that the latter Agreement at least was made between two Ministers.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I was quite aware that the right hon. Gentleman was a Minister at the time, that he was Financial Secretary to the Treasury. But that was not my point. My point of contrast was that the 1923 agreement, it is held by Mr. de Valera, was never ratified by the Irish Parliament. In the case of the 1925 Act there was the ratification of an agreement, and the point I made was that the idea of ratification was becoming increasingly important.
§ Major HILLS
Very well, then. I want to deal with that in spite of what the hon. Gentleman has said. The conference that led up to the agreement was arranged in dispatches to the Governor-General of the Free State, and I had the honour to be the representative of the British Government. Mr. Cosgrave was the representative of the Irish Government. I shall deal with the question of secrecy in a minute. I want first to clear away a few of the many misconceptions which have been spread about this case. Mr. Cosgrave was accompanied by Mr. Hogan, his Minister of Agriculture; by Mr. Kennedy, the Attorney-General; and on one day by Mr. Justice Wylie. We sat for some time and the, matter was very carefully discussed. It was a compromise. Both sides put their case, and anyone who thinks that the Irish case was not strongly put knows very little of Mr. Cosgrave. I saw quite a good deal of Mr. Cosgrave. I recognise, as everyone does, that Mr. Cosgrave is a man of very strong will, and has an intimate knowledge of the facts of the case which we discussed. So much for the official charater of the agreement of 1923. I mention it because, although it was not mentioned by the hon. Member, he did throw a good deal of discredit on that agreement and treated it as if it were something outside the ordinary ambit of inter-Imperial relations. As a matter of fact it was made between authorised representatives and was a bargain on both sides.
Now as to secrecy. The agreement was taken back to Ireland. It was mentioned by Mr. Cosgrave in the Dail a short time afterwards. It was acted on. These land annuities were paid and were included in the public accounts of the Irish Free State. How can you call that a secret agreement? It was carried out in the way that such agreements are carried out. It was not a secret agreement and 283 public action was taken upon it. Now I will come to the next step. The agreement was not ratified. That is common knowledge. Neither Parliament ratified it. But it did not require ratification. It was carried through by authorised representatives of the peoples. It was acted on for years without any protest. Now there are all these people springing up, statesmen some of them, two or them senators. Where were their eyes when the accounts of the Free State were published? I suppose they scrutinised those accounts, and when they saw the land annuities paid why did they not query the payment? So far as I know no one queried the payment because they knew the annuities were due under the agreement. There is no sort of dispute about it. It was a legal agreement. The only real point against it is that it was not ratified. I say it did not require ratification.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
There is the other reason given, that this payment never was properly due to be made by the Irish people, apart altogether from ratification.
§ Major HILLS
If two Governments through their authorised representatives agree to make a payment, and if that payment is openly and publicly made, I say that that is a payment and the agreement under which the payment is made ought to stand. I stand on the simple legality of the agreement.
§ Major HILLS
My answer is that a proper tribunal to settle this difference has been proposed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Dominions. It is also said that Mr. Cosgrave was rushed into this Agreement. There has been so much misrepresentation upon this matter that it is time the case was put properly. Mr. Cosgrave came here accompanied by two of his colleagues and they were assisted by two distinguished public servants—civil servants. 284 The Agreement was drawn up under the auspices of his own Attorney-General. The discussion lasted some time before the document was drafted and, when the document was drafted, it was considered, it was amended, it was agreed to and it was finally signed. I ask the House: If an Agreement of that sort is not to be treated as binding then what agreement is binding It is no use saying that because you do not like an agreement you will not abide by it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite do not like this Agreement. They want to place this charge on the British taxpayer, quite apart from the agreement. Their argument in effect is in favour of charging on the British taxpayer these annuities which are the repayments by the Irish farmers of the advances with which they bought their land.
I do not deal with that question. That is not my business to-night but I wish to put before the House the simple position that this Agreement was made between two parties, both understanding their case well and both putting their case well. It was a fair compromise and all the concessions were not on one side. We gave very big concessions and as the right hon. Gentleman has just said we gave a still further concession a few years later. Our conduct in the matter is proper and right. The Agreement; was legally arrived at and it cannot be broken without a breach of a bargain that ought to be maintained, and if this bargain is not to stand I do not know of any international bargain that can stand. The hon. Member opposite has said that there is a strong case on the other side. Let those who believe in that case put it to an Empire tribunal. I will not prophesy the result, but I believe that the hon. Gentleman opposite, with all the force which he put behind his speech, has not advanced the case at all. The only point he made against the Agreement was that of secrecy, and I think I have sufficiently dealt with that. The right hon. Gentleman the Dominions Secretary has gone to the very limits of concession.
I do not like to quarrel. I prefer to settle disputes, if possible, in a reasonable way. It is we who have been reasonable in this case and it is the Irish people who have been unreasonable. When the hon. Gentleman opposite tells my right hon. Friend that he will have 285 to arrive at a settlement with the Irish people, I say that the right hon. Gentleman has gone the best way about it and that, without giving up everything and without surrendering all the rights of Great Britain and the British taxpayer, he can go no further.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
We had a long discussion on these matters when the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Act was before the House. That Act is on the Statute Book and to-night we are discussing not the principles of that Act, not the question of the Treaty—because the discussion on the Treaty in relation to these Duties took place on that Act—but the collecting of revenue under that Act. With great respect to the Secretary of State for the Dominions I think he was not as clear as he usually is in regard to the second Order. No one regrets more than I do that the Government have found it necessary to collect these annuities through the machinery of the Customs. I think myself that they have a very strong case for collecting the revenue, somehow, but I regard the machinery which has been adopted as most unfortunate from the point of view of our own country. What I said upon this matter in our previous discussion has proved true. The inevitable result of a policy of this character has been retaliation and, as was foreseen by some hon. Members, we are now engaged in what is more or less a tariff war. The attack on the trade and agriculture of the Irish Free State has been met by an attack on our industry, on our coal, on our manufactures, and, at the very time when we can least afford it, we have one of our best markets more or less closed to us. Undoubtedly this is doing the Irish consumer an immense amount of harm, but at the same time it is causing immense hardship to a. great number of our manufacturers and producers who depended largely on the Irish trade. I was speaking the other day to a big merchant in the City of London who carries on a large trade in Southern Ireland and he told me that the whole of that trade is disorganised and dislocated as a result of these duties.
I am not for a moment questioning the first Order, but I do not understand the second Order, and that is the mystery which the right hon. Gentleman did not 286 explain. He told us that as a result of the bonus system established in the Irish Free State the figures have jumped up from £44,000 to £74,000. What more does he want? He made it clear that the only purpose of this machinery was the collection of revenue to meet the obligations of the Irish Free State Government, and that, as soon as that revenue was forthcoming, the machinery would be abandoned. I have often heard hon. Members with tariff reform leanings express the belief that the foreigner can be made to pay a tax of this kind. Here is a practical example of the Irishman being made to pay the tax by the machinery of our duties, through the direct assistance given by the Irish Free State Government in regard to the bonus.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
The Irish taxpayer. But what more do we want? Now the Government propose to raise this duty to the prohibitive rate of 40 per cent., and the purpose undoubtedly is that of stopping the coming into this country of the whole of the cattle that Ireland exports to us. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that 50 per cent. of the articles affected were livestock, a very important trade that not only helps the South of Scotland but gives a large amount of employment in the Midlands and also in Birkenhead. I assume that the purpose of this duty being raised to 40 per cent. is to prohibit and destroy this trade altogether.
On the contrary. The hon. Member will remember that. when I introduced the original Bill I said the purpose of the Bill was to collect £3,000,000, having regard to the then circumstances in Ireland. They have also withheld other money since then. It is now £5,000,000, and I have therefore to obtain, not £3,000,000, but £5,000,000. Hence my action.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
Does the right hon. Gentleman really believe that a 40 percent. duty on this trade can go on? He knows very well that the first effect of the duty will be to stop the trade altogether.
I want to make it quite clear to the House and to the country that this is not a punitive measure on my part. [Interruption.] I know that nothing that I say will convince my hon. Friends below the Gangway opposite, but at least I hope to convince my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris). Therefore, I want to say to him quite clearly that if the Irish Free State Government, who deny their liability to us, can give a bounty to their people to compete with us on a 20 per cent. duty, I see no reason why they should not pay a bounty on a 40 per cent. duty.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I think it is most unlikely. If the right hon. Gentleman is right, I agree, he will achieve his purpose, but I maintain that a 40 per cent. duty is tantamount to prohibition. I wanted to be assured, and I have the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman, which is some satisfaction; that is the purpose for which I rose. I am concerned about the consumer in this country and the important cattle industry in the South of Scotland and in the Midlands. Time will show, but my own fear is that this has all the appearance of prohibition. If I am wrong, I am willing to be convinced, but I cannot help suspecting that these duties are a part of the agricultural policy of the Government. I hope I am wrong, but it may be that there is here part of this policy of stimulating a certain section only of the cattle industry in this country, because obviously it would handicap the graziers of Southern Scotland and the Midlands.
It is very unfortunate, anyhow, that for the first time in our history we have levied a duty of 40 per cent. on essential foodstuffs coming from a part of the Dominions of the British Empire. It is a terrible tragedy. Even with Russia, we have never used these punitive measures, but have always been prepared to buy their commodities without any punitive taxation. I am afraid this will have a very bad effect on Ireland. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that there is a large section, if not a majority, of the Irish people who are anxious to put an end to this unfortunate controversy, but I am afraid that this action on the part of the Government will have a bad effect on some of our best friends in 288 Ireland. I think the right hon. Gentleman, with all his ingenuity and skill, and with the desire to collect this revenue, could have found a better way than a prohibitive duty of 40 per cent. An hon. Member opposite suggested, probably as a joke, that there was an article called stout. I agree that there are large British interests engaged in the production of stout, but I think the right hon. Genetleman might have taxed something else without singling out the cattle industry and the essential food products contained in the list included in the Order. It is a very unfortunate way for the right hon. Gentleman to carry out his policy, assuming that the object is purely to collect revenue.
My last word is that I still hope that a way may be found to find a tribunal that will be satisfactory both to this country and to the Dominion of Ireland. I have a great deal of sympathy with the idea that we should have an Empire tribunal, but there will have to be a compromise, and I think a little ingenuity might be used. I would make a suggestion which will save both our face and the face of the Irish Government. Why should not The Hague Tribunal appoint this proposed tribunal from jurists drawn from the Commonwealth of Nations? Jurists from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are well known to The Hague Tribunal and they are impartial, and that might be a way out.
I want the House and the country to know the facts, and I want to make it perfectly clear that not only at the outset, but in the last negotiations with Mr. de Valera I said, on behalf of the Government. "We are not wedded to the form of the tribunal; we do not even care that we are represented oil the tribunal—that is England—but any tribunal the composition of which is limited to the British Empire, or, as it is called, the British Commonwealth of Nations, we will accept." I do not want the House to be under any misapprehension on that point. The only condition I made was the British Commonwealth of Nations, and I put it to the House that no one could have gone farther.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
I suggest that it might be a way out, even at the eleventh hour, that a tribunal so composed should be appointed by The Hague Tribunal. I do not know if that suggestion has been 289 made to Mr. de Valera, but it is a possible way of saving their face and at the same time of maintaining the principle to which the right hon. Gentleman and his Government, quite rightly, adhere.
That proposal has not been made, but I want to assure my hon. Friends, so that they should be under no misapprehension, that we said, on behalf of the Government, to Mr. de Valera, "The form of the tribunal, whether it is British, or Irish, or Canadian, or Australian, makes no difference, if it is within the British Empire." We have made it quite clear, and that is the limit.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I was very interested in the ease that the right hon. Gentleman made to-night. He comes down to ask this House to consent to the doubling of the duties which he assured us some months ago would be sufficient to collect this debt from Ireland. He now comes and tells us that that policy has been a complete failure. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] That is what I deducted from the right hon. Gentleman's statement to-night, in so far as getting near the possibility of collecting the £5,000,000 inside the 12 months when that £5,000,000 is due is concerned.
When I first introduced the Bill, the difference between us was the land annuities amounting to £3,000,000—
§ Mr. MAXTON
When the last Order was before the House, I specifically asked the right hon. Gentleman if the taxes were to be limited to the question of the land annuities or if they were to include the other things concerned; and he said that they were to include them all, and that the total amount was £5,000,000. Now he comes here and tells us that the rate of tax which, according to the best advice of his experts four or five months ago, would raise £5,000,000, is now proving—℔[Interruption].I wish the right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) would not interrupt; it is most disconcerting when he shakes his 290 head and contradicts his Leader on the Front Bench. I am not giving my view, but stating what the right hon. Gentleman says, and to see a loyal follower like the right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon dissenting from his Leader is distressing to me. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the 20 per cent, tariffs imposed a few months ago could not look at the collection of a £5,000,000 debt, and therefore he comes forward and asks us to increase the amount to 40 per cent.
I want to put it to the right hon. Gentleman that more than his financial estimate has gone wrong. His political estimate of this situation has also gone wrong. He and his colleagues imagined that by adopting this attitude towards Mr. de Valera in Ireland they would create such a furore over Mr. de Valera that, seated in a somewhat insecure Governmental position, he would speedily be unseated, and the National Government would get back again to the old position where the British Government could act harmoniously with Mr. Cosgrave, who w as responsible for the original treaties and the subsequent agreements arising out of them. In dealing with this matter in the House I have always taken my stand, not on the question of what kind of tribunal should adjudicate, or on what was the proper amount due, or on what was said in the agreements of 1921 or 1923; I have taken my stand on the fact that a Government in any country, elected to do certain things, are entitled to go ahead and to do those things. Mr. de Valera was elected in Ireland on a specific mandate, part of which was that if returned to power he would discontinue the payment of the land annuities. He was returned to power, not a very complete piece of power, not a power like hon. Gentlemen have on the other side of the House; but to anyone who is watching events in Ireland since the National Government started this punitive, hostile method of tax collection against Ireland it is evident that Mr. de Valera's position in Governmental power is infinitely stronger than it was before the taxes were put on.
§ Mr. THOMAS indicated dissent.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The right hon. Gentleman knows what appeared about Mr. Cosgrave in the week-end papers, in the 291 same papers that contained the delightful pictures of the right hon. Gentleman at the christening of his two grandsons, James Henry and Henry James; those pictures delighted all our hearts and made it impossible for us to believe that this beautiful picture of domestic bliss could really occur in the home of the harsh Irish tyrant. In that paper we read about Mr. Cosgrave endeavouring to address a meeting in some part of Ireland and having to escape through a back door. [Interruption.] I know other places where it has happened, and it is usually taken as indicating that the person who is shooting the moon, or whatever the technical phrase is, has not behind him the majority of the population of the place where he is so treated. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman that part of the calculation of the National Government when they took this action was that it would assist to overturn Mr. de Valera and his power in Ireland, but the exact contrary has proved to be the case.
A lot of this talk about the sanctity of treaties gets perilously near humbug. There must be some limit to that general theory about the sanctity of the contracts of one Government being observed by its successors. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the previous Government had contracted with the unemployed of this country to pay them 17s. a week. Its successor broke that contract and reduced the amount to 15s. 3d. That was a definite change of policy as between one Government and its successor, and therefore the right hon. Gentleman cannot seriously maintain that the actions of one Government must be endorsed, accepted and continued by its successors. Indeed, it makes all Parliamentary Government ludicrous if it is not possible for one Government to change the policy of its predecessor. It may be said that this matter is different, that it does not matter what you do with your own unemployed; they are your own citizens, and you can treat them as dirtily as you please. A contract with them is not binding in honour, but when you enter into a contract as between two different countries, then that takes on a peculiar sanctity and no Government has the right to break it. During the last three weeks, however, the right hon. Gentle- 292 man has come back from Ottawa and has told us that, in order that we might operate the new Treaties, we must begin to repudiate a whole lot of treaties in different parts of the world.
§ Mr. THOMAS indicated dissent.
§ Mr. MAXTON
The right hon. Gentleman must not shake his head, for he knows that that is perfectly true. Previous treaties that have been accepted by this Government and previous Governments have been denounced in order that the Ottawa Agreements may be made effective. Therefore, it is possible and necessary that the treaties of one Government at one time may be altered, changed, and denounced by subsequent Governments. Mr. de Valera stands for an independent Irish Republic. The right hon. Gentleman told us that Mr. de Valera did not hide that fact in his conversations in London, and that he also said that so far from a £5,000,000 debt being the only issue between Ireland and Britain he could go back over the whole history of the Irish associations with Great Britain and claim amounts totalling £400,000,000. While the right hon. Gentleman does not think that that is just, I want to tell him this that in Scotland, where people are much less hot headed and much less nationalistic than they are in Ireland, there is a growing movement for Scottish independence, and a large portion of the case which those striving for Scottish independence are making is that, throughout the whole alliance of Scotland with England, Scotland has never received its proportion of what it has paid into the National Exchequer. I am not entering into the controversy here. I am merely saying that should history prove that these people are thrown into power, and Scotland secures independence and self-government, you may take it that the Scottish people, having secured their independence, will absolutely decline to continue payment to what they would regard as a foreign nation.
I would say this: Any Government which takes power in revolutionary circumstances deliberately by its accession to power makes a definite break with the past—with the trading methods, financial methods and land-owning methods of the past, and has a perfect right to cut off every agreement and arrangement re- 293 lating to the past; starting with an absolutely clean sheet and only agreeing to those payments which it itself can regard as just. Those who find themselves aggrieved must adopt what remedies they think fit. Somebody says Russia. Russia is a very fine case in point. Russia achieved a revolution which was a complete break with the past and stated to the whole world that it was starting on a new basis. Russia repudiated its debts and, although many Governments have sat on that Treasury Bench which were definitely anti-Russian, no Government has attempted to collect those debts from Russia. Ireland, yes. They are our own kith and kin, and we can bully and drive them, but we do not take action against Russia and Germany and against the hundred and one countries of the world owing Great Britain money; and we have no intention of doing it. But here are the Irish people who say: "Why should we pay tribute for our own soil?" That is a most irksome payment which can be asked of any man with a love of country in him. That is what we are asking the Irish people to do—to pay tribute, not even to another nation but individual citizens of another nation, in order that they may have the right to till their own soil. There can be no more humiliating thing imposed on any nation, and no more just cause for refusing to make such payments.
I hope the right hon. Gentleman realises, in bringing forward his proposals to-night, that his previous proposals have failed. His bringing of them forward is a recognition of their failure. I hope he realises that the new ones he is bringing forward will meet with as little measure of success as the previous ones. As an hon. Gentleman speaking for the official Opposition said, all you will get out of this is increased bitterness between the two nations. Some serious difficulties are imposed on certain sections of our population.
The right hon. Gentleman makes play with the fact that the Irish Government are paying a bounty on Irish exports. The people of the West of Scotland, who need these cattle, are also helping to pay the bounty to enable the British Government to pay the interest of the holders of Land Annuities. The whole thing is one ludicrous, vicious circle, and the right 294 hon. Gentleman may come to us in another three months and say: "Forty per cent. is not bringing in my £5,000,000, give me power to make it 80 per cent." And he may come in a further three months and say: "Give me power to make it 160 per cent." All the time he will be driving the Irish people more and more back on themselves and, in attempting to compel them into the British Empire, he may take the very steps to drive them out.
§ Major PROCTER
I am speaking on this Irish question, first, because my ancestry is from Ireland and, secondly, because it was my duty in the Sinn Fein trouble to act for the repression of that rebellion which ultimately culminated in the surrender of English rule in Ireland. When the first Treaty was made, we all imagined that at long last we had made an honourable truce with Ireland; that we would no longer hear Irish grievances not only in Ireland but in this House. For over 10 years Southern Ireland under her own Government achieved a certain measure of prosperity. They honourably kept their word, and we honourably kept ours. A new situation arises because with the change of Government there was one wise man who nursed all the old-time animosities, and would rather have the harp that, was once in Tara's halls than any modern grand piano. He was surrounded by innumerable young gunmen who wanted to die for Ireland without actually doing it. He was pushed by that blind, venomous hatred of this country, and supported by a proportion of the people who, from their earliest childhood, had been taught to hate this country. The policy of denouncing this Treaty, and trying to get through an honourable arrangement by chicanery, has revived the old and ancient issue of a Republic for Ireland. In my opinion, if we were to settle this question now; if we were to renounce the annuities to which we are justly entitled, it would be the beginning of some fresh demands. This, in my opinion, is a mere step nearer to the larger issue.
If you read Irish history—I am not speaking of past days because I must admit that things were done in Ireland, especially against religion of which we are rightly ashamed at this time, but for the last thirty years, in the generation of the people of to-day—has not the desire of England been to meet every 295 legitimate request and demand of Ireland? When there was a demand for lower rents, this Parliament gave the right to the Irishman to go and get his land court. He went and got his land court, and, when the land court assessed his improvements and gave him a lower rent, he said: "Thank you very much, we still want Home Rule." Again, in order to keep them quiet we said: "Your housing is very bad, we will put cottages all over Ireland, and you can have them, with half-an-acre of land, at a rent of 1s. a week." They said: "Thank you very much—but we still want Home Rule!" Then we tried to satisfy them by passing an Act the generosity of which has been unequalled in the British Empire. We gave them the land at practially half the rent they were paying, and if they paid just one half the rent in the form of these annuities it meant that their land was theirs for ever. And they said: "Thank you very much—but we still want Home Rule!" The present position is that, having got the land, they want the money too.
I am of the opinion that you will never satisfy Ireland's grievance until we give her the greatest of all grievances, and thrust her out of this Empire. So long as they can make it appear as though we want them in our Empire for the good we get out of them, so long will they think there is some ulterior motive behind. What we ought to say to the agitators over there and to these hot-headed people in Ireland, is what the devil is supposed to have said to a very well known agitator: "Here, take this shovel and lump of coal, and go and make a hell of your own." In Australia, in Canada and on the Clydeside there are Irish centres of sedition which are the ulcer, the cancer, in the Empire, arid the sooner we get rid of them the better. [Interruption.] Clydeside is full of them, and when this idea of mine is carried out they will go back instead of drawing the dole here.
§ Major PROCTER
I have no need to take it. I commend the policy of the Government for its firmness. Any other would be regarded as a sign of weakness. They are twisting our tail, they are carrying on the policy of their fathers 296 before them, and it is for us to keep firm. If it is a question of arbitration, let us have an arbitrator appointed from the Empire from those who are Empire-minded. We do not care who they are as long as they are Empire-minded. If they do not want some Power or people that sympathise with our own ideas, let them choose the chairman from the Clydeside, if they wish. In my opinion it would be disastrous to give in to them. We should be regarded as a puny people and a puny Government. It is in times like this that I am thankful we have a National Government to deal with the situation in the way they are and not the way in which my hon. Friends opposite would treat de Valera and all the rest of the anti-Empire people.
§ Mr. HEALY
The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, when he opened this Debate to-night, expressed his good feelings towards the Irish Free State and the Irish people, but he soon made it plain that very different feelings actuate him, because I have never heard a more vindictive speech delivered from the benches opposite than was his speech towards its close, and this present Order is just as vindictive as his speech. The history of this country and Ireland has had many turning points. I will mention three. The first was when this House rejected the Home Rule Bill of Mr. Gladstone, largely at the dictates of people like my hon. and gallant Friend who spoke last. The second occasion was when Mr. John Redmond made his moving appeal to this House on the eve of the War. The third occasion is the introduction of these duties. I am afraid there are still in this House many people who entertain bitter memories of Ireland. You have made your peace with Germany, you have gone to allied nations and endeavoured to make new agreements with them about duties and armaments, you have almost made your peace with Russia. Ireland is to be the political Cinderella. You are going to make no peace with Ireland.
If you can for a moment divest your minds of the prejudice which you have towards Ireland, and look at the matter dispassionately, you will see that the Irish Free State and the Irish people have a much stronger case than the one which has been presented by the Secretary of State for the Dominions. First 297 of all you should recognise what this quarrel with the Irish means. Ireland is your best customer. You have been rushing to the Colonies and abroad making agreements and creating tariffs in the hope of improving the unemployment position in this country, but while you are doing that you are literally shaking your fist in the face of your best customer and your kindliest neighbour. Let me give the House some figures with regard to the exports from this country to the Irish Free State during the year ended December, 1931. The exports to the Irish Free State from this country were greater than the exports to India, Germany, France or the United States. They were three times greater than your exports to New Zealand, and one and a-half times more than your exports to Canada. In fact, excepting South Africa, the Irish Free State was the only country of considerable size with which you had a favourable balance of trade. Now you are going to throw this huge trade away because the Secretary of State for the Dominions cannot agree with Mr. de Valera upon the appointment of an umpire in this dispute.
You are going to throw more people out of work. It is well known that the ports and the railways of this country are largely employed in dealing with merchandise from Ireland. What is to happen to the large body of people thus employed when, in the near future, the trade which now shows a diminishing revenue is wiped out altogether? There has been a hurt to the Imperial pride. I will not venture into the merits of the quarrel. Any hon. Member who reads the White Paper will see what is the Free State ease and what is the British case, too. I would point out that the Irish people and the Irish Government were fortified by the best legal advice they could find in Ireland. Up to this moment, I have not heard that the British Government has had the legal advice of the Law Officers of the Crown upon the matter.
Mr. J. H. THOMAS
The hon. Member will be reported in Northern Ireland, so that I had better correct him at once by saying that I have taken the advice not only of the present Law Officers of the Crown, but of the last Law Officers of the Crown, who were equally satisfied that the claim is valid. Everything I 298 have done has been absolutely in accordance with the Law Officers' advice. He must know that at once.
§ Mr. HEALY
The Free State Government have made public the opinion of their lawyers. This is the first time that I have heard that the Law Officers of the Crown have even been consulted. The Agreement of 1923 ought to have been ratified, because it was an Amendment of the Treaty, yet not only was it not ratified, but it was never published. Up to within three weeks of the first discussion in this House, it was not available in the Library, and applications to the Dominions Secretary himself showed that it was not procurable. What was there to hide about the 1923 Agreement? The 1923 Agreement was published, as well as what is called the "ultimate financial settlement" of 1926. The 1923 Agreement, it is true, was made between the right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) and Mr. Cosgrave, but it needed ratification as much as the 1925 Agreement, because it was an Amendment of the Treaty. I could not find a copy of the 1923 Agreement four weeks before the discussion in this House. We can therefore realise how secret it was kept. We can imagine the reasons for that secrecy.
I must intervene again. The hon. Member is challenging not only the veracity but the integrity of Mr. Cosgrave. Mr. Cosgrave is an official politician in Ireland. I cannot allow the suggestion that he deliberately suppressed something to go without a correction. It is unfair, because the hon. Gentleman knows the difficulty in Ireland. Whatever our political views we must do nothing that creates a difficulty. I want to tell the hon. Member that Mr. Cosgrave was not only challenged on that Agreement but went to an election. If the Opposition do not know how to conduct an election it is not our business.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Hon. Members who talk about interruption have interrupted during the whole evening. Some hon. Members have not been here, and yet the hon. Member who is speaking has 299 been here for the whole of the time. The Dominions Secretary objects strenuously to the hon. Gentleman saying anything about Mr. Cosgrave, but he himself can use any kind of language about the other side in Irish politics. He has no right to object, after the way in which he has treated the other side.
I have not objected in the least to any statement of fact, and I have only corrected where it was necessary to bring out the facts. I have repeated to the hon. Gentleman that the Agreement which WAS made with the British Government was challenged in the Dail, and that an election followed in which the electorate endorsed the action of Mr. Cosgrave. That is all that I have said, and it is in fairness to Mr. Cosgrave and his colleagues that I have said it.
§ Mr. HEALY
The Irish people were in complete ignorance of the 1923 Agreement up to 1932. No facts about it could have been put before the electorate to have influenced the majority. The Irish public believed that they were released from the public Debt under the Agreement of 1925, and that it included the Land Stock. The Land Stock was issued by the Treasury. If the tenants failed to pay the annuities, the loss would have to come on to the Treasury. The Free State Government do not repudiate their debts. The Minister this afternoon has said almost in so many many words that the Free State Government repudiate their debt. They do not. Mr. de Valera has said that if the British Government can establish that the Free State is liable for the land annuities, he will pay them, but neither he nor the people of Ireland believe that there is a legal liability.
The whole question turns upon the appointment of the umpire in this dispute, and is as to whether the umpire is to be a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, or an outsider. I would like the House to bear in mind that the Free State Government have not said anywhere that they will not accept a member of the British Empire. What they have said—and, I think, rightly said—is that they would not allow the field of selection to be narrowed down by one of the parties to the dispute. That is a very different matter. The objection of the Free State to the narrowing down 300 of the choice of umpire to a particular portion of country is not on that ground. It is an objection that is not unreasonable in the circumstances. If hon. Members will allow their minds to go back a few years to another matter, namely the Boundary Commission, they will remember that the chairman of the Boundary Commission was selected from the British Empire. The vital matter to be ascertained there was the "wishes of the inhabitants" of a particular area. The wishes of the inhabitants were never ascertained, and in that respect the nationality of the six counties claim that the Treaty was never carried out. Indeed, a prominent member of the late Free State Administration has said that, if they had understood that you were not going to carry out the intention and purpose of Article 12, they never would have implemented the Treaty. Having in view an example of that kind, of what they would receive if they consented to the appointment of an Empire Tribunal, it is perfectly natural that the Free State should be very suspicious of another appointment on the same lines. Indeed, I think the Free State Government would be responsible for a betrayal of the national trust if they walked into the same pit again.
There is another reason why the Free State cannot, even if they were disposed to do so, pay the large amount of land annuities and other sums involved in the £5,000,000 a year. What does it mean? It means one-fifth of the revenue of the Irish Free State, and there is no State in the world that could export one-fifth of its revenue to another country without meeting with financial ruin. Your own payments to the United States are a case in point. Moreover, the Irish Free State have never collected the land annuities which they passed on to this -country. There were many cases in the poorer districts where the farmers were unable to pay owing to depression, and the county councils were asked to refund out of their agricultural grants the sums that were unpaid. In that way the ratepayers were obliged to pay twice over—first in respect of their own annuities, and next in respect of the unpaid annuities in the poorer districts. Indeed, it was the injustice of that fact that was, as much as anything else, responsible for driving the Cosgrave Government out of office.
301 Consider for a moment what this payment of £5,000,000 a year means to the Free State. We can better realise it by comparing it with the Imperial contribution from Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has received the land annuities for purposes of administration, but, against that, Northern Ireland pays an Imperial contribution. The total Imperial contribution which Northern Ireland has paid since 1921 is approximately £6,000,000. In that period the Free State has paid £51,000,000. Could there be a greater contrast between the indebtedness of two parts of the country whose relative capacity was originally fixed at 11 to 14? I am not making the point that. Northern Ireland should have paid any more than £6,000,000; I think it is the utmost amount that she could have paid. What I am saying is that, if Northern Ireland pays a contribution of £6,000,000, the total payment from the Irish Free State ought to be in the neighbourhood, not of £51,000,000, but of £8,000,000.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir WALTER SMILES
May I ask the hon. Member a question? Does he know the amount of Income Tax that is paid by Ulster to the Imperial Government?
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. HEALY
I know it is not a large sum, but I cannot remember what it is. There arises out of this question, however, a very curious circumstance. Under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, if Ulster had remained in the Free State, she could have kept the land annuities. If Ulster had remained in the Free State she would have regained the land annuities—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I am afraid that we cannot go into that question now. It does not arise on the Motion that is before the House.
§ Mr. HEALY
If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that his loyalty to the last Free State Government precludes him from agreeing to the reasonable demand of the present. Government, I think he is making a tremendous mistake. The Irish people resent coercion, as the right hon. Gentleman must have discovered a good time ago, and they will gladly suffer on an issue of this kind, especially when it is presented to them by one whom they regard as an old enemy. If there is anything that is worse than an old 302 enemy, it is a new enemy, and I am afraid that that is how many people in Ireland will be regarding this Administration in a short time. I am not going to make an appeal on national or sentimental grounds, but as matter of business. It is not a wise policy to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, especially to-day. The balance of trade, up to the end of 1931, was in favour of this country, and, therefore, it is pretty evident that the gain is entirely on the side of Great Britain. When once you have destroyed a trade, it is almost impossible to re-establish it within a generation. This is a trade war. The right hon. Gentleman and the Government, by their tactics and their action, have thrown the whole question of Ireland into the melting pot again. When you come to the final conference that is going to decide, not only this matter but the whole question of Ireland, it will not be on the basis of partition; it will be on the basis of a united Government for the whole country. Nothing short of that will be acceptable to the people. To-night you are sending to Ireland a message of war it will be so interpreted in every part of the Free State. It is a terrible responsibility that you are incurring; it is a terrible burden that you are taking upon your shoulders; you may well be described yet as "the man who lost Ireland."
§ Mr. ROSS
I always enjoy listening to a speech from my Member—for, although he very imperfectly represents my views, the hon. Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh (Mr. Healy) is one of my Members. I only regret that his colleague is not here. I must congratulate the last speaker on the fact that he always rises to speak comparatively early in a Debate if he can, while that venerable patriot, the senior Member for the constituency, always speaks so late that nobody else has an opportunity of answering him. Unfortunately, however, he is not in his place to-night; he is exhausted, I suppose, by his efforts in giving his reasons in writing for not being able to assist the Northern Ireland Government at the opening ceremony at Stormont. A milder speech than that of the last speaker I have never heard from him or his colleague. As a rule, their speeches are very definite and not altogether friendly, but to-night we had a plea for concilia- 303 tion, and that, in itself, I think, is rather a tribute to the policy of the Government towards Southern Ireland. The hon. Member has complained that there are bitter memories towards Ireland. Having some slight knowledge of what is being said in Southern Ireland at the moment about England, I should say that the bitter remarks are not all on one side; I think they are very much more from Southern Ireland than they have ever been from here, and I do not want bitter remarks to be made between one part of the United Kingdom and another. We have never, however, been spared bitter remarks from Southern Ireland; we have never been left alone. Southern Ireland and Irish republicans have never ceased their aggression towards the United Kingdom, and, in particular, towards the part of it which I have the honour to represent.
The hon. Member said the United Kingdom has had a favourable trade balance with Southern Ireland. Of course it has, and it still has. It has a more favourable trade balance now than it ever had in the past and I think it will have an increasingly favourable trade balance in the future when these duties are put on. It is a curious thing that, although I have listened to the hon. Member on several occasions, I have never once heard him raise his voice on behalf of his own constituents who have had duties put on against them by the Irish Free State. His whole interest is on behalf of Mr. de Valera's Government and the Irish Free State and how shameful it is to put duties on against the inhabitants of Southern Ireland. As one of his constituents, I protest that he has never used his weight and influence with Mr. de Valera—I am sure it is very great—to secure fairer terms for his own constituents and the people who suffer by the Irish Free State duties. He will recall that those duties were put on long before there were any duties against the Irish Free State. The partition of Ireland was a line along the boundary of counties until the Irish Free State began to put duties on that line. Those duties became heavier and heavier. A lot of extra duties were put on in January last by Mr. Cosgrave's Government and a lot more have been put on by Mr. de Valera's Government. I do not think there is anything that they could put a 304 duty on that they have not put a duty on. His constituents in Strabane and Inniskilling are suffering, but when have we heard him raise his voice in their defence? He is far too busy supporting Mr. de Valera and the Irish Free State.
He has referred to the Boundary Commission. He has a very queer idea of the Boundary Commission. It was a Commission on which the Irish Free State was represented by one of its most distinguished sons. Its president was a South African judge of unblemished reputation and impartiality, Northern Ireland was represented by a nominated member who was not a representative of the Northern Ireland Government. Because that Commission, after due and careful and impartial consideration, decided against the case of Southern Ireland and proposed a just boundary for Northern Ireland, which Northern Ireland had never had, it has always been denounced by the hon. Member and people of his way of thinking as an outrage. [Interruption.] No, but he knew what the award was going to be. He knows also that the Free State Commissioner was disowned by the Irish Free State because he agreed with the award that was going to be published. He knows that, in order to accept the boundary, which was much better than they deserved, they were let off their proportion of the National Debt, which the hon. Member has tried to say was really rather a grievance for Southern Ireland. The boundary is there and everything that the hon. Member and his friends have done for the last 10 years has made it more marked, and it will remain.
The hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) demanded a compromise with Southern Ireland. There was once an occasion when a man had a controversy with his wife as to where they should go for the summer. She wished to go to Brighton and he wished to go to Eastbourne, so they effected a compromise and went to Brighton. That is the hon. Member's solution. Then there was the speech of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones). He gave us a very fine representation of Mr. de Valera's case and read out a large portion of his argument. Then he says that he is not a member of the Dail. I hope that, in view of to-night's performance, he will be made an honorary member of that 305 body. He thoroughly deserves the distinction. The situation has not been brought about by the action of this country. The last thing that we want in Northern Ireland is controversy. If Southern Ireland would only leave us alone, instead of this constant aggression, and would try to behave rationally, everything in Ireland would be far happier and far better. As to the present situation, it is a matter for the Government of this country. Discussion has been suggested. Discussion has been tried. The only other suggestions I have heard have been suggestions of surrender. I think the Government are sticking to the phrase, which is not unfamiliar in my constituency, of "No surrender."
§ Mr. LUNN
I think it would be very unbecoming in me to enter into an argument between constituent and Member because, if many of us had constituents who differed so much from us as the constituent of my hon. Friend differs from him, not many of us would be here. So I leave them to settle their dispute. We opposed these Orders in July for many reasons. We believed they would create bitterness between this country and. Ireland, and if that could be avoided it should be avoided. We opposed them because we believed there would be retaliation, and there has been retaliation. We opposed them because we believed they would create unemployment, and the right hon. Gentleman has admitted that there has been unemployment in this country as the result of them. We opposed them because we believed our people would have to pay more for their food, as it was food upon which the duties were being placed. We have opposed them all the way and we oppose this new Order. We believe there should have been common sense applied to this business rather than this bitter feeling and this imposition of taxation. I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), that we will let every country off except those who are near and dear to us. I will never believe that this country should be the mulch cow for every nation on earth, but we have let foreign countries off many of the debts they owe us far greater than is owed to us by Southern Ireland. I believe we ought to have insisted on what was our 306 due more than we did. I have felt all the time that we had justice on our side in this case. I said it on the last occasion and I will not run away or quibble in anything that I have to say. I feel, as a layman—not as a lawyer—that our case was a justifiable case. I had no fears about going to arbitration. In fact the right hon. Gentleman said that they would welsome discussion at any time in order to settle the dispute. A dispute is admitted by the Government of Great Britain. It has been admitted for months in the discussions and the conferences which have taken place, and as there is a dispute the Government of Great Britain are prepared to go to arbitration, so they say. And so is the Prime Minister of the Irish Free State. I will quote from his letter which was published by the Dominions Office on 5th April, 1932, in which he stated: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.That position has not been changed, as far as I know, up to this moment, because in the Debate which took place in July we were told pretty clearly that, although they disputed our rights to the annuities and other payments, they were going to retain them in a. suspense account until the matter was settled. We have accepted that, and have said that it ought to be settled by some tribunal. I want to challenge the right hon. Gentleman. I want to say that I have never seen an agreement nor had any evidence that any agreement was arrived at in any way that all Empire questions should go to an Empire tribunal. Where is there such an agreement? If there is one, the right hon. Gentleman should produce it. He has argued that there is one, and he ought to produce it. I call attention to the answer which he gave in this House on 27th January, 1931. That was in his better days when he was a member of the Labour party. The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander):asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what steps have been taken for the setting up of a commonwealth tribunal, arising out of the decisions of the Imperial Conference?He was under the impression that such a decision had been reached. The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs said: 307The object of the recommendations of the Imperial Conference of 1930 in regard to a Commonwealth Tribunal was, as stated on page 23 of Command Paper 3717 to:'facilitate resort'to an arbitral tribunal'by providing for the machinery whereby a tribunal could in any given case be brought into existence.'It is not, therefore, necessary for any further steps to be taken unless and until a difference of the nature contemplated by the Conference should unfortunately arise between Members of the British Commonwealth when the machinery recommended by the Conference could be brought into operation by agreement between the parties to the dispute.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th January, 1931; cols. 766–7, Vol. 247.]I call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the fact that that is the nearest approach to any agreement. I wished as did the right hon. Gentleman himself, an Empire tribunal to be agreed on by all parts of the Empire. It was one of the strong points of the Labour Government as represented in the Imperial Conference that we should do our utmost to establish a tribunal within the Empire to which all disputes could be sent. Now we know parties who disagree to the setting up of such a tribunal, and we know, as I said, in reply to the question, that there was no agreement to have a tribunal, and that the only understanding is that a conference could be brought into operation by agreement between the parties to the dispute. The Government of Great Britain and the Government of the Irish Free State do not agree on the question of an Empire tribunal. Hence the dispute which we have at the present time. Therefore, we cannot get the tribunal that most of us would desire to see brought into operation.
I believe that the duties that are being imposed will injure our trade and create unemployment, and that they will make greater difficulties for our own people as well as for the people of Southern Ireland. I hold no brief for Southern Ireland. I am an Englishman, but I am trying to look at the matter as fairly as I possibly can, and I believe that there is an alternative. The right hon. Gentleman asks: "What alternative is there to the present position?" Why should the Government of the United Kingdom always use the big stick upon 308 any other party? If we believe in the justice of our case, as the right hon. Gentleman believed, and as I believe, I would not mind going to any tribunal. Although I favour an Empire tribunal, and would like to see one established for the settlement of this dispute, believing as I do in the justice of our case, as the Government believes, I would have accepted immediately the suggestion of Mr. de Valera and would have gone to the tribunal of the kind he suggested. It would be better for both sides if we were to accept the tribunal suggested by the Irish Free State than to continue this policy of bitterness and hatred, and to continue the economic war that now exists from which we shall continue to suffer. We have only to have a Debate on Ireland to get some idea of what the Debates used to be in days gone by.
If this feeling continues, we shall have trouble for a. long time to come. There is a possibility of making a settlement of the matter. It should be brought about by arbitration. The question will have to be peaceably settled some time. Why not now? I do not believe that these duties are the best means of dealing with the matter. I do not believe that they were necessary. If commonsense had prevailed there would have been no reason for them. We have to pay dearly for this sort of thing. We have to pay for the duties which are being imposed by the Government upon nearly everything we use. The "Daily Herald" yesterday morning and this morning has opened a discussion on a matter about which we shall hear a great deal in the future, and that is that we are getting too much muck instead of the good produce that we ought to have in our shops. The Empire Marketing Board has tried to improve the quality of the produce that comes from the overseas parts of the Empire. The Empire Marketing Board might have done more. There is certainly a good deal to be done to improve the quality of produce that is sold in this country. We shall not get any improvement through import duties. Rather, we shall find that instead of having good food we shall get things, for the sake of making profit, that we ought not to get.
I understand that in the Irish Free State there are reprisals such as this: "Boycott British goods." We have spent 309 a lot of money in urging people to buy British goods. If we had carried on our policy of trying to be friendly with the Irish Free State, we ought to have avoided the present dispute. I do not regard the right hon. Gentleman as having succeeded in his negotiations. His reputation, which has been a good one in the past, as a negotiator has suffered. He is allowing us to go in in this way. By putting on duties the people will have to pay dearly for everything they need. He and I come from working class homes. Our fathers had to work hard for a living. There are millions of people similarly situated and they are going to pay the penalty for what the Government are doing by these import duties, of which these Orders seem to be the crowning point, making this a protectionist country, to which I, personally, am strongly opposed.
Mr. J. H. THOMAS
The closing words of the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) I appreciate and accept. He and I have been engaged all our lives in a struggle to secure justice and we have never shirked either the responsibilities or the consequences of obtaining justice. Therefore, it is an amazing situation which he and the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) occupy this evening. I tried to ascertain from the hon. Member for Caerphilly an answer to this simple question. When he made the suggestion that we should depart from an Empire tribunal, did he speak authoritatively on behalf of his party? The hon. Member tried to evade it and did not clearly and specifically answer the point.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
The right hon. Gentleman when he asked me that question also asked whether I repudiated what had been done in the past; and that is why I hesitated to give him a plain answer.
Without asking the hon. Member to repudiate anything, may I now take it that when he spoke to-night he spoke for the Labour party?
That endorses my view that so far as the Irish dispute is concerned the Labour party would go outside the British Empire as a tribunal. Very well, we have that clear. I want 310 to remind the House of the difference between hon. Members opposite and hon. Members below the Gangway. Hon. Members below the Gangway say quite clearly, at least the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) says that as far as he is concerned he is quite indifferent to any agreement which anybody makes. The only observation I have to make on that is that it is quite a consistent policy to which the hon. Member will never be called upon to give effect.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I do not mind a joke at my expense, but I was trying to put Mr. de Valera's position. What I said was that Mr. de Valera is only entitled to take responsibility for agreements that are in conformity with his own principles and made by himself.
§ 10.30 p.m.
In other words, that we should define our principles at a given moment. I now come to the position of my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly. The same question that was put to him by me to-night I dealt with in July, when this dispute first arose, and another hon. Member put the question specifically to the right hon. Gentleman who is the Leader of the Opposition. The suggestion was made from this side of the House by the hon. Member for White-chapel (Mr. Janner) that the Leader of the Opposition had suggested a tribunal outside the Empire. The Leader of the Opposition, in order to put himself right at once with the country—
Very well. In other words, in order that he should think aloud—it would be so loud that everyone else would know—the right hon. Gentleman said this in answer to the question put by the hon. Member for Whitechapel:I think the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, when the hon. Member reads it, will convince him that none of us have said that we want Mr. de Valera to have a tribunal outside the Commonwealth."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th July, 1932; col. 135, Vol. 268.]That being so, in July of this year the Leader of the Opposition, in answer to a clear and specific question, said in effect, on behalf of his party, "So far as we of the Labour party are concerned we believe in an Empire tribunal."
We want Mr. de Valera to have a Commonwealth tribunal. The position we are in this evening is this: In July that view was not only expressed, but the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. Member for Bothwell (Mr. Lunn) were a party to a proviso made at Geneva that arbitration, so far as Dominion matters were concerned, must be by a tribunal within the British Commonwealth. Both of them were parties to it. Therefore I submit that they are not entitled this evening to go back on that declaration. No alternative policy is suggested. I have indicated quite clearly that we intend to obtain the money. I have indicated that we believe that, legally and morally, we are entitled to the money. No speaker has yet indicated any other method than the one we have adopted.
Yes, but it would be just as reasonable for me to go to the hon. Member's constituency and tell them what I thought about him. No speaker has yet indicated any alternative to the Government's policy. Hon. Members have merely said: "Why not take the common-sense view and go to arbitration?" We answer by saying that we have offered to go to arbitration—
The difference between my hon. Friend's view and our view is that in saying that we should "cut the loss," he means that we should bear it. As far as we are concerned, we have made up our minds that we are not going to bear it, and as for "cutting the loss" is concerned, that is cut out. Therefore, keeping that fact clearly in mind I repeat to the House that we offered on the last occasion to go to arbitration. Speaking now, before the Division is taken, on behalf of the Government I repeat our desire to submit this matter to arbitration, but the arbitration must be within the British 312 Commonwealth of Nations. I made that condition before and I make it now and in our desire and our anxiety and our determination to obtain what we believe we are justly entitled to, we see no alternative to the proposals which we now submit to the House.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I had not intended to take part in this discussion, but the right hon. Gentleman has done what apparently the Government always do when they are in a corner, and that is to call in aid their late colleagues. The right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to quote something which I said some months ago in answer to the hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Janner). I call the attention of the House to the fact that on that occasion I was speaking to an Amendment moved by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) which was to insert words as follows:in the event of the Secretary of State for the Dominions certifying that there has been a decision of a court of arbitration set up by agreement between His Majesty's Governments for the United Kingdom and the Irish Free State or, failing such agreement, appointed by representatives of the Dominions assembled in Imperial Conference, that the Irish Free State have failed to implement, etc.The point is that we were suggesting that, as you could not agree to the appointment of a tribunal and as you were going to Ottawa, the question should be referred to the Ottawa Conference for consideration there. That Amendment was lost on a Division but during the discussion the hon. Member for Whitechapel raised the question of our position in regard to an Empire tribunal and I said:I think the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow when the hon. Member reads it will convince him that none of us have said that we want Mr. de Valera to have a tribunal outside the Commonwealth.Later on someone else said something on the matter and following the genial example of the right hon. Gentleman opposite I interrupted and said:I am sorry my hon. and learned Friend is not here at the moment, but the point that I understood him to make and which I should have tried to make if I had spoken on the subject was that it should be a tribunal within the British Empire. Mr. de Valera does not agree with that and as I understand it he takes his stand upon the fact that it is not obligatory even according to the statements made in the Summary of Proceedings from which the 313 hon. Member quotes that the tribunal should be within the Empire."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th July, 1932; cols. 135–136, Vol. 268.]That is the point which the right hon. Gentleman has just made. The right hon. Gentleman, during the last Debates on this subject, when I asked him specifically whether the Irish Free State had ever agreed that in the case of a dispute between themselves and other Dominions it should go to an Empire tribunal, himself answered me, "No, that was not so." I put it to him that if there was a dispute between the Irish Free State and South Africa, could anyone prevent those two States taking this to a court outside the British Empire? The right hon. Gentleman said that nobody could. [HON. MEMBERS: "By agreement."] Well, they could not do it without agreement obviously. The same evening I said—and I am quoting this because the right hon. Gentleman referred to what I said; I am very pleased he thinks that what I have said is so important:I am not a lawyer.…I understood that this matter came up for discussion today, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, because there was disagreement in the Imperial Conference as to this particular business, and because of that disagreement no definite decision was arrived at."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th July, 1932; col. 138, Vol. 268.]I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman will challenge that. He stands there and says what I know, as a Member of the Cabinet, I agreed to. I agreed that, so far as the British Government were concerned, we wanted a tribunal within the British Empire, but the Irish Free State has never agreed to that, and the right hon. Gentleman knows it, and we cannot impose it upon the Irish Free State. That being so—[Interruption.] The amazing thing to me is the levity with which people are entering on a tariff war with people, within 10 hours' journey of this place, who have been associated with us for centuries, and yet this matter is treated as a joke. You are going to inflict untold sufferings on thousands of people in this country and in Ireland, and that is a matter, not for joking, but for getting the facts clear. It is no use saying that the Irish Free State has ever agreed to an Empire tribunal on this matter. If the right hon. Gentleman challenges that, I will undertake tomorrow, if Mr. Speaker will allow me, to read out his categorical answer to my categorical question to him.
314 First, is it a fact that Ireland and South Africa can take a dispute to an outside tribunal? Does the right hon. Gentleman say that that cannot be done? [HON. MEMBERS: "By agreement."] If that is true, then it is true that this country, by agreement, can do the same thing with Mr. de Valera. [HON. MEMBERS: "We do not agree."] I know you do not, and that is where we disagree with the right hon. Gentleman. It is not a question of what I said or thought yesterday. I think now that it would be better if this business could be settled between ourselves within the Empire, but because the Irish Free State will not accept that, I think we, being the stronger Power, being the more wealthy Power, might meet the situation and say, as was said by my hon. Friend, "We will let the case go to a tribunal of the kind for which you ask." We are strong enough and wealthy enough to do it, and if I am charged with something that I agreed to in the late Government, I am only in the same position as the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who has changed a thousand of his opinions within the last 12 months. But I am not; I still want that done, but as it cannot be done, I am not in favour of starving either the Irish people or the people in our own country.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
My justification for taking part in this Debate at this late hour is that I have sat here since 7 o'clock in order to say a word on a subject on which I feel strongly. The Leader of the Opposition did his party justice when he rose so late to try and counter what was rather a cheap debating point on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of State for the Dominions. We do expect in a full House to have a little more argument and a slightly different type of speech from that which we got from the right hon. Gentleman in his winding up. All he was thinking of was scoring rather cheap points off the Opposition. I complain of the right hon. Gentleman right from the beginning of these negotiations. I look upon him as a very desirable member of the Government who, however, lives a sort of Jekyll and Hyde existence from my point of view. In everything he does except Ireland he is admirable, but mention the word Ireland, and he changes entirely the whole complexion of life. Look at him 315 during this Debate, in which scarcely a soul has had a free hand in speaking because of his interruptions. Why does he not let the Under-Secretary say a word on this subject occasionally? It may be that by being associated with bad friends he gets into bad ways. I can quite understand that when he negotiates with Mr. de Valera he gets into one of those intransigent moods in which it is impossible to negotiate on either side, and as Mr. de Valera becomes impossible, our representatives become more impossible as the negotiations proceed.
The right hon. Gentleman must realise that the Irish are a very proud and curious people. You have only to mention Ireland in these Debates and the speeches instantly go back to Cromwell, and generally develop into war between North and South. Happily, we have been saved a good deal of that to-night, but it very nearly got on to it. The question of history is always present in an Irishman's thoughts, and it was unfair of the right hon. Gentleman the other day, when he made a statement about his negotiations with de Valera, to bring up what to the ordinary English mind is a perfectly fantastic claim, but which to the Irishman is a very real one. When we were negotiating with France about debts, did anyone, in order to get a cheap laugh, bring up the question of France asking us to pay rent for our own trenches? Nobody did. But the right hon. Gentleman will employ anything that is meant to disparage and make fools of the Irish. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The people of that country are realising more than they ever have how dependent economically they are upon this country. The whole feeling and
§ realisation in Ireland is towards the strong linkage there is between Ireland and this country. In fact, I think that you can make a pro-English speech in Ireland without being thrown off your platform. That is a very remarkable thing. Is the imposition of this impossible tariff going to have an effect upon that or not? That is one of the difficulties of this situation.
§ I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman knows what repercussions this Order will have. He says that he is putting this extra tariff on because he wants more money, but he knows that if you put tariffs on beyond a certain level you will not get more money. We had an illustration of that in the champagne duty, and to-night we are asked to pass what is absolutely prohibitive taxation. Who is going to be bit? It is not this time the big man but all those small farmers up and down Ireland who produce their turkey or sell their goose. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman has been to the West of Ireland. Possibly the poorest people live there under the most distressing conditions, and those are the people we are going to hit to-night. I am afraid I am not one of those politicians who can always agree with my own side. If I were, I might be sitting on the Treasury Bench. I say I might, and I have said that before. I have disapproved of the policies both of the Opposition and, sometimes, of my own friends, but until to-night I have never felt ashamed of a British Government as I do by the imposition of these penal duties.
§ Question put,
§ The House divided: Ayes, 256; Noes, 37.317
|Division No. 356.]||AYES||[10.52 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Albery, Irving James||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.)||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Conant, R. J. E.|
|Apsley, Lord||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Cook, Thomas A.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Browne, Captain A. C.||Copeland, Ida|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Burnett, John George||Craven-Ellis, William|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Crooke, J. Smedley|
|Bateman, A. L.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcoim||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Crossley, A. C.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Carver, Major William H.||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Bernays, Robert||Castlereagh, Viscount||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Dickle, John P.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Donner, P. W.|
|Drewe, Cedric||Knox, Sir Alfred||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Leckie, J. A.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lees-Jones, John||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Liddall, Walter S.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Elmley, Viscount||Liewellin, Major John J.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Saimon, Major Isidore|
|Entwistle, Cyrll Fullard||Lymington, Viscount||Salt, Edward W.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||McCorquodale, M. S.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||McKie, John Hamilton||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Fremantie, Sir Francis||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Magnay, Thomas||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Martin, Thomas B.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Somarvell, Donald Bradley|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Greene, William P. C.||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Soper, Richard|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Mitcheson, G. G.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro,' W).||Moreing, Adrian C.||Stones, James|
|Grimston, R. V.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Storey, Samuel|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Munro, Patrick||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nalrn)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Nall, Sir Joseph||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Normand, Wilfrid Guild||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Harbord, Arthur||North, Captain Edward T.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Harris, Sir Percy||Nunn, William||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Hartington, Marquess of||O'Connor, Terence James||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ormlston, Thomas||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Train, John|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Patrick, Colin M.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Peake, Captain Osbert||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Hopkinson, Austin||Penny, Sir George||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Hornby, Frank||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Petherick, M.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n,Bilston)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N.)||Pike, Cecil F.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Pybus, Percy John||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Bring)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-colonel George|
|Janner, Bernett||Ramsden, E.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Jennings, Roland||Rankin, Robert||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ray, Sir William||Wragg, Herbert|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Rea, Walter Russell||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Commander Southby and Dr.|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Remer, John R.||Morris Jones.|
|Knebworth, Viscount||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Maxton, James|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Healy, Cahir||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Jenkins, Sir William||Price, Gabriel|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Daggar, George||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Leonard, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lunn, William|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McGovern, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Crones and Mr. D. Graham.|
That the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Order, 1932, dated the twelfth day of July, nineteen hundred and thirty-two, made by the Treasury under the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the said twelfth day of July, be approved.
§ Motion made, and Question put,320
§ "That the Irish Free State (Special Duties) (No. 2) Order, 1932, dated the seventh day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-two, made by the Treasury under the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the said seventh day of November, be approved."—[Mr. J. H. Thomas.]
§ The House divided: Ayes, 250; Noes, 38.321
|Division No. 357.]||AYES.||[11.1 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Entwistie, Cyrll Fullard||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Albery, Irving James||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Apsley, Lord||Forestler-Walker, Sir Leolln||Malialieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Fox, Sir Gifford||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Fraser, Captain Ian||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chlsw'k)|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Gledhill, Gilbert||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Bateman, A. L.||Glossop, C. W. H.||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Greene, William P. C.||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Blindell, James||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Munro, Patrick|
|Bossom, A. C.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Grimston, R. V.||Nall, Sir Joseph|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Normand, Wilfrid Guild|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hanbury, Cecil||Nunn, William|
|Brown.Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Hanley, Dennis A.||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Harbord, Arthur||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hartington, Marquess of||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ormiston, Thomas|
|Burnett, John George||Henderson, Sir Vivlan L. (Chelmsford)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey division)||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Penny, Sir George|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hopkinson, Austin||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Petherick, M.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hornby, Frank||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n,Bilston)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Howard, Tom Forrest||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Ramsden, E.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Rankin, Robert|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Jennings. Roland||Ray, Sir William|
|Copeland, Ida||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Ker, J. Campbell||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Remer, John R.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Knebworth, Viscount||Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Dalkelth, Earl of||Leckie, J. A.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Lees-Jones, John||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Dickie, John P.||Liddall, Walter S.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Donner, P. W.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Drewe, Cedric||Liewellin, Major John J.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Salt, Edward W.|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Lymington, Viscount||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||McCorquodale, M. S.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Elmley, Viscount||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)||Sutcliffe, Harold||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Tate, Mavis Constance||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Klnc'dlne, C.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Somervell, Donald Bradley||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-colonel George|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Womersley, Waiter James|
|Soper, Richard||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J||Train, John||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Stones, James||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Storey, Samuel||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|Stourton, Hon. John J.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||and Lord Erskine.|
|Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wardiaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Maxton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Milner, Major James|
|Banfield, John William||Harris, Sir Percy||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Healy, Cahir||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Jenkins, Sir William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Buchanan, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kirkwood, David||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Daggar, George||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Leonard, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Edwards, Charles||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McGovern, John||Mr. Groves and Mr. D. Graham.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
That the Irish Free State (Special Duties) (No. 2) Order, 1932, dated the seventh day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-two, made by the Treasury under the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Act, 1932, a copy of which was presented to this House on the said seventh day of November, be approved.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.