HC Deb 06 April 1933 vol 276 cc1933-95

3.53 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, at the beginning, to insert the words: During the period of one month from the commencement of this Act. The discussion yesterday on this Bill left the House in doubt upon two matters of outstanding importance: First, the nature of the demands which we propose to make upon the Russian Government, that is to say, the nature of the treatment we expect the Government of Russia to deal out to the men who are now on trial; and, second, the objects for which the Bill is designed. At the conclusion of the Debate last night the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) addressed a question to the President of the Board of Trade which has a direct bearing on the Amendment. He asked whether the purpose of the Bill was to deal with trade relations generally with Russia or whether its use was to be confined to dealing with the men in prison. The President of the Board of Trade found it impossible to give a direct reply and said: No one can say what is the sole object. We are bound to take powers in the widest form, and they will be mainly dealing with our fellow countrymen who are at present under arrest in Russia."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1933, col. 1886, Vol. 276.] If the last part of the answer is to be taken for what it is worth, and if we are to ignore the first part, we have to assume that the sole purpose of these powers is to try and secure the treatment for these men in Russia which the Government require, and, therefore, there is no need why the powers should remain in the hands of the Government for an indefinite period. Yesterday the Foreign Secretary and the President of the Board of Trade spoke of no other purpose, used no other argument, but that these powers were necessary in order to secure what is considered to be fair treat- ment for British subjects in Russia and, consequently, if they are going to be used for a wider purpose, then the House has had no opportunity of discussing that aspect of the matter. Everyone will agree that the discussion yesterday did not turn upon the economic consequences of the use of these powers. Hon. Members were prepared to face the economic consequences involved in order to secure what they considered to be fair treatment for our people there. Therefore, it would be a gross violation of the practices of this House if these powers were used for purposes which never emerged in the discussion, and it would be dishonourable on the part of the Government if they put forward the alleged bad treatment of our people in Russia as a cloak under which to obtain powers for other purposes which were not disclosed.

We desire to limit these powers to one month. If the Government do not exercise them within one month, they should lapse. It would not be proper to argue against the use of the embargo; the Second Reading decided that point. It would not be proper to argue against the effects of the embargo. This Amendment is not directed against that, but it is put forward in order to minimise the great uncertainty which will otherwise exist if these powers are kept in reserve and may be used at any moment by the Government to stop our trade with Russia. In such circumstances great uncertainty would be introduced, and uncertainty is only next in gravity to the exercise of the embargo itself.

Russia is carrying on a trade with this-country of something like £32,000,000, and we export something in the nature-of £2,000,000 to £3,000,000 worth of goods. With other exports included there is a total trade of something between £40,000,000 and £50,000,000. The timber importing industry feels very deeply the uncertainty which exists as a consequence of the reservation of these powers. Indeed, unless the powers terminate at an early date it will he quite impossible to place any forward contracts with Russia; it will be impossible in view of the possibility of these powers being used for purposes entirely unrelated to trade. It would he disastrous in the extreme to industries if these powers were reserved all the time. The "Financial News" the other day had a leading article on this matter, in which it was Pointed out that the trade with this country is of great importance, that the Government had underwritten something like £10,000,000 of credit for the Russian trade, of which £7,000,000 would fall upon the Treasury if the Russian Government failed to meet its commitments, and that any fall in Russian trade to this country must have financial repercussions.

I have been told that a great deal of the £50,000,000 which is frozen in Germany was lent by this country at something like 8 per cent., and was re-lent to the Russians at 15 per cent., and that any collapse of the Russian export trade would affect the chance of getting that money repaid. Russia owes Germany something like £250,000,000. She owes America a great deal of money also. She was making use of the unfavourableness of the balance of trade between Russia and Britain in order to make her payments to Germany and America. [Laughter.] I expected that hon. Members would laugh at that remark. But that state of affairs existed before the War, and there is nothing new about it. We have an unfavourable balance of trade with Russia merely because we needed the goods that Russia was able to sell, and she did not need in the same quantities the goods that we made.

It is absurd for hon. Members to argue that there is any injustice in an unfavourable balance of trade as between one country and another. Indeed, if we are to maintain our position as a creditor nation we must have, in terms of goods, an unfavourable balance of trade with most of the nations of the world. I wish, therefore, that lion. Members opposite would drop their jeers, which are an indication of juvenile intelligence. The point has been dealt with so often that it is difficult to express oneself with the ordinary courtesies of Parliamentary language. Some hon. Members say that there is something terrible in Russia selling more 'to us than we sell to Russia. The President of the Board of Trade informed us yesterday that there was every hope that that gap would be filled up. It is very necessary that such gaps should be filled up. But at the moment the point at issue is that, as long as these powers are possessed by the Government and are not used, they introduce an atmosphere of uncertainty into Russian trade relations; they make it difficult for contracts to be placed with firms in this country; they imperil the contracts which already exist; and they render possible a complete collapse of Russian foreign credit, to the ultimate disadvantage of this country in its financial and industrial aspects.

Therefore I submit that the powers which are being asked for in the Bill should have as limited a period as possible, and should be ended as soon as the immediate purpose for which they are being sought has been accomplished. There is no need to widen the argument at all. The issue is perfectly simple. It has a purely economic consequence. If the Government do not intend to use these powers in order to coerce Russia into giving a more favourable trade agreement, if the purposes of the Bill are merely to secure justice for our people in Russia, one month's powers are adequate for the purpose. If Russia fails to give satisfaction to the Government within one month there will be no difficulty, with such an overwhelming and docile majority, in securing a continuation of the powers. But it surely would be in the best interest of British trade that financiers, bankers and industrialists and workmen up and down the country should know that these powers are to come to an end within one month, and that they have no relation at all to the permanent trade relations between this country and Russia.

There are Members of the Conservative party who look upon these powers not merely as a means of obtaining justice for our people in Russia, but as a means of carrying to a successful conclusion an anti-Russian vendetta that has been running in this House and the country for many years. I do not believe that the vast majority of citizens in this country are anxious to engage in a vendetta against the Russians. Decent people in this country would be outraged by the idea that the difficulties, the necessities, the misfortunes and the perils of our people in Russia are being exploited for subversive reasons. It may be said that that is not so. Then those who say it is not so do not need these powers for any longer period than is necessary to secure the desired end.

We submit that a month is enough. If it proves to be inadequate the Government can get the powers renewed. But we do say that in the interests of British workpeople who are at work on Russian contracts, in the interests of international commerce which is suffering so grievously from uncertainties of this character, in the interests of the trade stability of the world, and in the interests of the honour of Great Britain, we should limit the powers as much as possible. If an extension of the powers is required later the President of the Board of Trade and the Foreign Secretary have only to stand at the Treasury Box, to beat the big drum and wave the Union Jack, and the powers will be given by the docile majority behind them. We, therefore, submit that if the commerce of Great Britain is not to be sacrificed to the jingoism of the Conservative party, the House of Commons should limit the powers for which the Government now ask.

4.1 p.m.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

I think it will be for the convenience of the House, Captain Bourne, if we may ascertain at this stage what is your view with regard to the course of the discussion. The Amendments which are on the Order Paper cover mainly two or three points, hut the first two are closely woven together—that of the period during which the Proclamation shall remain in force, and the subject of Parliamentary control. I do not know how far it would come within the Ruling which you might care to give, but I would submit that it might be for the convenience of the House that we should know whether we might discuss these two subjects at the same time. If we might do so on this Amendment, it might facilitate our proceedings. I would ask, therefore, if we might have your view on the subject.

4.2 p.m.


I am, of course, in the hands of the Committee. The Amendments to Clause 1 cover three points: First, the continuance of the Act itself; secondly, the length of time the Proclamation conferring these powers might remain in force; and, thirdly, what opportunities this House or Parliament would have of discussing or dealing with any proclama- tion that might be issued. If it is the will of the Committee, I do not see why we should not have a general discussion on those three points upon this Amendment, on the strict understanding that the discussion is not repeated when I put the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," and that any subsequent Amendment it is desired to move may be moved briefly, and a Division taken, if desired. If that is the feeling of the House, I do not see why we should not take a general discussion on this Amendment.


Would it not have been much more proper if the point had been put by the President of the Board of Trade before the discussion started, rather than that the Amendment should have been moved in certain restricted terms, and then be extended to cover other Amendments?


I understand that, according to the Rules of Order, it is quite open to me to address the Committee a second time, if necessary. I have the assistance of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General at my side, and he, no doubt, will be able to deal with the intricate arguments put by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan). But, on the general subject, I think we might very usefully take advantage of the latitude which you, Captain Bourne, suggest and deal with the Amendments which are foreshadowed.


On the point of Order. You, Captain Bourne, will see that my name is attached to one of the Amendments to which you referred. You made the suggestion that we might take a discussion on all three points. So far as I am personally concerned, I have no objection to that, but I would ask whether I was correct in assuming from your remarks, that although we might have a discussion on all those three points and separate Divisions if we liked, that in itself debars us from having any discussion on the question: "That the Clause stand part of the Bill"? It is the practice, I suggest respectfully, that in such circumstances we are not precluded from having a word to say on that Question of the Clause standing part.


That was the point to which I was also desirous of directing your attention, Captain Bourne, when you said that you hoped the discussion would not be repeated on the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." I would respectfully concur, but it may be that on that Motion there would be other and minor points raised which could not be dealt with conveniently, or, indeed, according to the Rules of Order on any of these specific Amendments, and it would not be assumed from what you said, that the discussion on the Clause standing part should necessarily be very brief, that it should not cover the wider ground if the course you suggest is adopted.


Obviously, it is impossible for me to foretell what will be covered if we have a general discussion now. My only point was that if we have a general discussion covering the three points suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, the discussion raised on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" should not cover ground which has been already covered. Other points will possibly arise, and it would be, of course, quite unreasonable to suggest that they should not be dealt with, but arguments already addressed to the Committee should not be repeated.


I am sorry I was not in at the beginning, but there is a manuscript Amendment to be moved, I understand, which contains propositions dealing with Parliamentary control, and so on. Can that come into the discussion now? If it does, I think that in all probability, in the discussion on the Clause standing part, points would be raised, but we would not want to go over ground that had been already fully covered.


If I may say so, I think that that is a perfectly reasonable suggestion. We have been dealing with the subject, and in order that the Committee might have before it the exact terms of the Amendment which the Government themselves will propose, we have had 200 or 300 copies struck off, and these can be obtained in the Vote Office now. I believe that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General hag supplied them. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, they can be obtained in the Vote Office where I, myself, have obtained them. I know that they are available.


If we had known beforehand that the Amendments now on the Paper were to be covered by the Government's manuscript Amendment, the whole discussion from the beginning would have been changed. That is why a protest is made. But I entirely concur with the right hon. Gentleman that if the Government are going to cover these points, it is desirable for the discussion that we should know the Government's intentions as early as possible.


I have taken the earliest opportunity of replying, and I think I can tell the hon. Member now exactly what we propose.


Perhaps it is as well to be quite clear about this point. I have before me a copy of the Government's Amendment, which covers the three points mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman and, obviously, this reason might be put forward by the Government for resisting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. That being the case, I think the Committee will agree that it will be to the general convenience if we take a discussion on all three points on the Amendment, but I can only agree to that if the Committee will not repeat the discussion on subsequent Amendments.


I understand that we take a discussion now on the three points you have mentioned and which will be met by the Amendment. On the other hand, on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," there is the general operative effect of the Clause which can be discussed?


Certainly I do not wish in any way to limit the discussion on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," but only as to repetition.

4.9 p.m.


In the course of the discussion yesterday I was asked whether the Government would agree to a time limit for the proposals in this Bill, and I promised the House that before reaching the Committee stage we would look into that point in its various aspects, and, if necessary, make proposals. We have fulfilled that pledge. We have gone into the matter with great care. We have remembered the views which were expressed in various parts of the House and other considerations which are germane, and we have come to the conclusion that it is right and proper that the Bill should be amended in the terms of the manuscript Amendment with which, I hope, Members are now supplied. But if I may, I will read it through in order that it may be clear that it covers the points of the discussion yesterday and is on the lines raised to-day. In lieu of the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) and others on the same subject, we would prefer to insert, in page 2, line 27, at the end, the words: (7) A proclamation under this Act, other than a proclamation revoking a previous proclamation, shall cease to have effect at the expiration of three months from the making thereof; but, if before the expiration of the said period of three months a resolution is passed by each House of Parliament praying that the proclamation be continued in force, either for such period as may be specified in the resolution or until a further resolution praying that it be revoked is passed by each House, it shall he lawful for His Majesty by further proclamation to continue it in force in accordance with the terms of the resolution, but without prejudice to his power to revoke it at any time: Provided that in reckoning any such period of three months as aforesaid, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days. The last paragraph which I have read out may be regarded as common form. The substantial parts of the Amendment are to be found in the first three-quarters of it. We cannot accept the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale of one month. Obviously, in the circumstances of the day, it would be quite inadequate; but we do provide for a time limit for, if I may say so, the more reasonable period of three months.


Is there any provision in the Bill for the Proclamation being communicated to Parliament, or is it covered by the Amendment which is now being proposed?


Yes, it is inherent in the Amendment which I have read.


It does not say so.


It does not necessarily say so, but I can assure the hon. Member that it is inherent in the Amendment. It does give control over the extension of the Proclamation after three months or before the expiration of three months. It is also provided—


I am sorry to intervene, but we have not the advantage just now of any legal advice on this matter, and some of my hon. Friends and a friend outside the House are of opinion that the power of Parliament, as expressed by the right hon. Gentleman, is not here. I would like to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General if he would give us his opinion?


I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to make my speech, and then I know that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will be only too glad to give him the full advantage of his advice. If we are in agreement, as I hope we are, that, first of all, there should be a limitation of time, and, secondly, that a reasonable period is three months, we have made some progress towards unity of feeling. The next provision that appears here is: if before the expiration of the said period of three months a resolution is passed by each House of Parliament praying that the proclamation be continued in forcex2026; it shall be lawful and so on. That brings under the control of both House of Parliament the extension of the period of prohibition, and that, I know, is the view which has been advocated not only in various quarters of the House but in other quarters as well. We have endeavoured to meet that view, and I hope that this will take out of the way any controversies as to detail, leaving the larger points of principle to be dealt with at the appropriate time. I only make these introductory remarks in order to make it clear that we are anxious to conform to the general view of the Committee. We have taken into consideration the points raised yesterday, and have done our best under legal advice to put into our Amendment all that is requisite to carry out the intention of the Committee. If there are any points of legal interpretation or drafting or points such as that raised by the Leader of the Opposition, my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will be only too delighted to deal with them.

4.16 p.m.


May I put one question before the right hon. Gentleman concludes? These powers are now to be limited to three months, under this proposal, but, if the Proclamation were issued at the end of three months, would it be allowed to run for a further three months? I think that the three months period dates from the issue of the Proclamation and not from the date of the obtaining of the powers. My Amendment limits the power to issue the Proclamation to one month from 18th April, but the Amendment indicated by the right hon. Gentleman would give power to issue a Proclamation at any time within three months, which means that a Proclamation might be in force six months after the passage of the Bill.

4.17 p.m.

The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)

I think the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) has not quite appreciated the scope of the Amendment suggested by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. The Amendment moved by the hon. Member was to limit the operation of the Act to a period of one month. That is to say, at the end of one month there would be no power to make any new Proclamation and the validity of the then existing Proclamation would die with the Act, which had brought it into being. That is an Amendment which my right hon. Friend has said the Government are not in the circumstances prepared to accept. It would obviously rob the Measure of that very validity and efficacy which the Committee, I think, intend that it should have, in the circumstances for which it is designed. Then the question arises as to whether Parliament should not have some control as to the length of time for which a Proclamation once made under this Measure shall operate. The Amendment suggested by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is designed to provide that such Proclamation shall be effectual for three months. If Parliament does not then make some further provision, the Proclamation shall cease to have effect, but the Amendment provides machinery by which Parliament shall, if it thinks fit, authorise or allow a Proclamation to be made extending the existing Proclamation for such further period as may be prescribed. That, of course, is a different method from that suggested by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale who desires the Act only to be in existence for one month. Assuming that the Act will continue in existence, our proposal is that the power of making a Proclamation under the Act shall only be the power to make a Proclamation for three months, in the first instance, unless, in the meantime, Parliament gives fresh power to make an extension of that same Proclamation.

4.19 p.m.


As far as I am concerned, I think the Attorney-General has made the position under the suggested Amendment perfectly clear and, in regard to the point immediately raised by the question of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), the answer given on behalf of the Government entirely satisfies me. But another question was raised by the hon. Gentleman which was, indeed, asked yesterday, and to which I do not yet know the answer of the Government, and I venture to ask for a little more enlightenment from them before we proceed to vote on this Question. For what purpose is this Bill introduced? I understand that the occasion of the Bill is the treatment of certain British subjects in Russia. I do not say that the methods employed in connection with that question, for which power is taken in this Bill, might not possibly be required in a different connection and to deal with a different subject. I do not, like some hon. Members, exclude the prohibition of imports except under licence as a means of negotiation, or even an arm of negotiation for a trade agreement. But I think it very important that, in the particular circumstances in Which this Bill is introduced, there should be no such complication.

There is no doubt about it in our minds that this Bill is being introduced because, as we think—as we fear—the lives of certain British subjects are in peril. If their lives are not in peril, at any rate we are profoundly anxious as to whether they will receive justice. I do not think that any other issue should be allowed to complicate that clear and simple issue. I therefore beg the President of the Board of Trade, or whoever will speak again for the Government, to assure us that, as far as the Measure which we are passing to-day is concerned, it shall be used only for the purpose for which it has been introduced, and that, if they need similar powers for any other purpose, they will come to the House for them and treat them as an entirely independent issue. I make this appeal, because I think a favourable response from the Government would have a great effect upon the unanimity of the Committee and, therefore, would be a great reinforcement of the representations which the Government are making. If you allow it to be said that under cover of your anxiety for these British citizens, now in peril, you are pursuing any other aim, you weaken your case, damage your influence, and lay yourself open to grave misconstruction. I assure my right hon. Friends that this appeal comes from a friend. I beg them to consider it in the friendly spirit in which it is offered.

4.23 p.m.


Everyone will realise the cogency of the appeal which has been made by the right hon. Gentleman, not only because of his long service in the House of Commons but because of the position which he occupied for many years with great distinction representing this country. His speech exactly points the reason for the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan). What we are offered in the Amendment suggested by the Government is a method whereby the House of Commons will keep control over the operation of Proclamations under this Measure, by which, from time to time, imports will be stopped or lessened or restrained or allowed to come in as the case may be. That does not meet the essential point. Whether one thinks that the period should be one, two or three months, the essential point of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale is the limitation in time of this Measure for a specific purpose. It may be said that one month is not enough and that the period ought to be two or three months, but there is in this Amendment the essential principle that a protest on a matter, involving the rights of British subjects, must be kept distinct from any question of trade negotiations.

I am sure the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) was speaking the mind of the whole Committee in saying that, while we may be absolutely certain in our own minds, no person in any other country should have cause for even the suspicion that we were using the danger of our fellow-subjects as a pawn in the game of trade negotiations. We know that the Government with the majority which they have in the House of Commons can act quickly in an emergency in passing legislation, and there seems to be no reason why the Government should not accept the principle of my hon. Friend's Amendment. The detail of time is a matter for adjustment, but the effective principle is that the actual operation of this Measure and the powers which it confers on the Government, shall be strictly limited in time and shall not be powers which can be held in terrorem for an indefinite period and for a purpose, not related to the question of the rights of these particular British subjects, but related to trade negotiations.

4.26 p.m.


The Committee ought to be deeply grateful for the intervention of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain). He has expressed in a most cogent and forcible manner what is in the minds of many of us. This Bill was commended to the House by the Foreign Secretary and the President of the Board of Trade yesterday, solely on the ground that the Government needed powers which would enable them to intervene effectively on behalf of British subjects now in peril in Russia, and the House of Commons yesterday was prepared to give those powers for that purpose. If it had been intended to use those powers for purposes of trade negotiations, I submit that it was the clear duty of those two right hon. Gentlemen to have said so definitely, in order that we should know that, and not, having secured the acceptance by the House of Commons of this Bill for one purpose, afterwards to say: "It was not limited in terms to that purpose, and we are free to continue this Measure for entirely different purposes," even though the question of the trial of these men had been satisfactorily settled.

That was the point which I made specifically in my speech yesterday. I put it to the Government and asked for a reply to it—that point and no other. My hon. Friends and myself were placed in a most invidious position last night by the fact that the right hon. Gentleman, first ignored my question entirely, and, afterwards, when I pressed it, gave a reply which, if I may respectfully say so, was an evasion. We were prepared to vote for the Bill. We had intended to vote for the Bill; we had distinctly declared that we were willing to give these powers in order to help to secure the safety of these British subjects in Russia. We came to the House expecting to find ourselves in the Lobby with the right hon. Gentleman and the Government. We never for a moment anticipated that there could be any doubt that the Government would say that the Bill was for this one purpose. We were amazed when the right hon. Gentleman, first, did not deal with the question at all in his speech, and afterwards, when pressed, gave an answer which, in effect, was that the Bill might well be used for other purposes than that for which it was being commended to the House. For that reason, I am most grateful for the intervention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. The point which he has made is precisely that which we made yesterday, and, if it had received yesterday the response which I hope and feel confident it will receive to-day, we without hesitation, would have voted for the Second Reading of the Bill.

4.30 p.m.


It is rather good to see the Government now prepared to admit that a time limit is needed in connection with this Proclamation, but why three months? We are told that the trial in Moscow is going to begin on the 10th April, but this Bill will not come into force until the 18th April, so that if the Government accepted the Amendment of my colleague, limiting it to one month, that would mean five weeks in effect. I submit that five weeks would be sufficiently long for a Proclamation prevent- ing trade between this country and Russia to remain in force. Such a Proclamation ought to be in force for as short a time as possible. But why treat Britishers in Moscow differently from Britishers in this country? If there was a danger to Britishers in this country, a Proclamation under the Emergency Powers Act could only be in force for one month, and then the Government would have to come back to this House every month to have the Proclamation renewed. If there was a danger in this country of our people not being able to get their food supply or their water, or if there was danger to their life, the Government would not have power under the Emergency Powers Act to issue a Proclamation for more than one month, and if such a Proclamation is good enough for Britishers in this country, surely it is good enough for Britishers in Moscow. I wish the Government had not put in the three months, because one wants this dislocation of trade limited as much as possible. If necessary, at the end of one month, they could come back to this House for emergency powers as they did during 1926, when we had the General Strike and the coal lock-out.

4.33 p.m.


I very much hope that the Government will adhere to their Amendment, and I am quite unable to understand the point that was made by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel), and others. Why should we confine this Bill to the particular six or seven men who are now under arrest? They are not the only British citizens in Russia, and what is to prevent a similar thing happening in a week, 10 days, or a month's time. Why should we not have this power, which can be brought into operation if any similar thing should occur? For the life of me, I cannot understand it, quite apart from anything to do with trade, but even on the trade side it can only place this country in exactly the same position as Russia occupies at the moment. I base the argument, however, on the protection of our own citizens. It is most desirable that we should have this power in reserve, which can be called up by a Proclamation at any time in the event of a similar thing occurring in the future, and why this House should strip itself of this power and limit the power to a month, six weeks, two months, or three months I am at a loss to understand. I hope the Government will adhere to their Amendment, which would give this Parliament the power to protect our citizens in a similar way if anything of the same kind were to occur again.

4.35 p.m.


I know the bitter feeling which the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) generally shows, and I thought I saw almost the same in the Foreign Secretary's speech yesterday, but the point about which I am most concerned is the control of this House over legislation. My name is attached, with other names, to an Amendment at the bottom of the first page of the Order Paper, providing that Parliamentary control shall be retained. The Amendment submitted by the Government contains no provision that the Proclamation shall be brought to this House, and no powers whatever within Parliament to deal with this matter until the end of three months. I want to ask the learned Attorney-General to make it quite clear whether the meaning of the first words of my Amendment, which say: Where a proclamation has been made, the occasion thereof shall forthwith be communicated to Parliament, is or is not included in the Government's Amendment. If he looks at the Emergency Powers Act of 1920, Section 1, Sub-section (2), he will see that provision is made in that Act, which was no more important than this, that Parliamentary control should be retained in the matter. Fearing as I do, as I see the Government removing the powers of Parliament and giving them outside the House to other bodies in nearly everything they do, and doing it glaringly in the Bill as it stood yesterday, I fear that this House is not being allowed to consider what will be the effect of its legislation. I put this question in order to have it made clear whether or not we shall have Parliamentary control or have it taken away absolutely by the Government's Amendment.

4.38 p.m.


Our Amendment limits the lifetime of the powers them- selves to one month after they are given, but the Amendment of the Government now before the House simply limits the lifetime of the Proclamation, and the powers remain in existence indefinitely. All that the Government's Amendment does is to limit the extent of the Proclamation, and there is nothing to prevent the Government making a Proclamation, without consulting the House of Commons, which lives for three months. If, in the course of the three months, the House of Commons does not authorise its continuation, it dies, but there is nothing to prevent the Government a week later or the next day issuing another Proclamation for a further three months. I submit, therefore, that to say that this Amendment meets our case almost amounts to Parliamentary sharp practice. The impression has been given that the Amendments on the Paper are being met by the Government's manuscript Amendment, but the powers for which the Government are now asking will still exist indefinitely if the Amendment is accepted, and the point of view of the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) is met. The Government will always have the power, and the only limitation upon it will be that imports can only be stopped for three months at a time. I submit that that is an accurate interpretation of the Amendment.

4.40 p.m.


The hon. Member stated in the earlier part of his observations, what I tried to say, and hoped I said, clearly enough earlier in the afternoon, that the Amendment which my right hon. Friend suggested was addressed to the duration of a Proclamation. Now the hon. Gentleman has suggested that, notwithstanding the terms of the Amendment, which quite clearly suppose that a first Proclamation shall die a natural death unless both Houses of Parliament have authorised its extension, this House and the other House would tolerate what I cannot help thinking would be a gross piece of cunning and deception; that is to say, they would seek to use the powers to make a fresh Proclamation and pretend that it was a first Proclamation, instead of using the powers which the Section confers upon the Houses of Parliament to extend the first Proclamation if the Houses of Parliament think fit. All that I can say is that the hon. Gentleman is a little too astute. I cannot believe that any House would tolerate such cunning and deception as to abuse this provision in the way which he has suggested. The obvious intention of it is that once a Proclamation is made, it shall not be continued unless both Houses of Parliament have approved its continuation. I hope the hon. Gentleman will accept that explicit assurance, and I cannot imagine any withdrawal from it on the part of this Government now that I have stated the position.

4.42 p.m.


The hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) introduced rather a new consideration into the Debate when he spoke of the prospect of further incidents of this kind occurring in Russia after a period of a month or two or three months, but if we could have an assurance that the Bill or the Act was to be used for the purpose, and for the purpose only, of protecting British citizens in Russia, I do not think that we on these benches would want to insist upon a time limit. The first three Amendments on the Paper, one of which stands in my name and in the names of some of my hon. Friends, are designed, however, not so much to effect a time limit for its own sake as to bring before the Committee the point that was raised a few minutes ago by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain); and the main object of all those Amendments is to secure, by means of a time limit, that the powers under this Bill shall be used for one purpose alone. We venture to ask for a rather more definite assurance from the Government than has yet been given, and I think the necessity for some assurance of that kind is shown in a passage which appears in the "Times" newspaper this morning, at the end of the first leading article, which reads: By passing the Bill now before the House of Commons Parliament will enable the Government after April 17th to negotiate with the Soviet on an equal footing so far as trade relations are concerned. It goes on to say: It will also give the Government a means of applying pressure on behalf of the British victims of the Ogpu—a means which everyone hopes may not need to be used, but of which the energetic use in case of need will be supported by the whole force of public opinion. I submit that anyone reading that passage in the "Times," who had not heard or read the Debate in this House yesterday, would be given the impression that the first object of this Bill was to regulate our commercial relations with Russia, and that the protection of the victims of the Ogpu was simply a secondary object of the Bill. We on these benches feel very strongly that this Bill should be used for one purpose, and for one purpose alone, and we are not alone in that feeling. There were two very important speeches delivered in the Debate yesterday, one by the hon. and learned Member for Central Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) and the other by the hon. and gallant Member for Gains-borough (Captain Crookshank), both of whom stressed this very point from the Conservative benches. It is quite clear that there is a good deal of anxiety on this point in all quarters of the House. Speaking as I do from these benches, there is one thing which I should like to say in reference to the reply given at the end of the Debate last night by the President of the Board of Trade. The right hon. Gentleman said that there would be no attempt to use this Bill in any infringement of Free Trade principles. On a question like this, I am not in the least concerned with Free Trade principles. I do not think that either Free Trade principles or, for that matter, Protectionist principles ought to enter in any way into our consideration of this matter. I suggest that our fiscal views, whatever they may be, ought to weigh merely as dust in the balance beside the paramount consideration of securing a measure of substantial justice for our fellow citizens in Moscow.

I want to suggest in all seriousness that we may actually prejudice the interests of these men in Moscow if we permit any ambiguity about the purpose of this Bill to remain. The object of the Bill, as it was explained yesterday by Government speakers, and as we all understood it, is to be able to say to the Russian Government in the event of any denial to these men of substantial justice, that we will cut off trade relations. It is obvious that that is a very strong position. In the present economic state of Russia it must offer a strong inducement to the Soviet Government to see that substantial justice is done. If, however, the Soviet Government have any reason to suspect, through any answer that is given or any speech that is made in the House, that even if these men are released, or after the trial are acquitted, the powers under this Bill may still be used for an entirely different purpose, surely we have destroyed a very large part of the inducement that we are holding out to the Soviet Government.

How much stronger would be the position of His Majesty's Government if they said clearly: "Refuse substantial justice to these men, and we shall use the powers given to us under this Bill; deal fairly with them, and these powers will be withdrawn or will lapse automatically." I submit to the Committee that we shall blunt this weapon if there is any doubt about the purpose for which it is to be used. If the Government want powers in order to regulate our trade relations with Russia, the proper course is to come to the House and ask for them. We on these benches are just as much concerned about this matter as hon. Members in any other part of the Committee, and I appeal to the Government and to the Committee to make it clear that the Bill is not being passed with any arrière pensée, with any kind of mixed motive, but for the one purpose alone of securing substantial justice to our fellow countrymen who are in such grave peril in Russia.

4.49 p.m.


The appeal that has been made to the Government carries weight with us. It is in connection with the primary consideration which weighed with the Government, and, I believe, with the House yesterday and to-day; that is, the fate of our fellow countrymen in Russia. It is from that point of view alone that I am prepared to say anything this afternoon. I am not going to enter into fiscal controversy with my friends below the Gangway; that can wait. This is a far graver matter, and, if there is any suggestion that the powers for which we are asking under this Bill with the object of aiding those who are in peril are to be whittled down or diluted by the suspicion that they are to be mixed with our fiscal controversy. I say at once that, so far as I am concerned, the prime consideration with me is the life and liberty of these men. I will at once, therefore, give an under- taking on behalf of the Government that we shall not use these powers for any other purpose.

4.51 p.m.


Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to clear up a point that troubles us on this side? Am I right in putting the position in connection with the Amendment in this way? Although the period covered by the Proclamation will come to an end, this Bill will still remain in force, and can remain in force for many years or for ever, and Proclamations can still be issued under it at any time. May I put my question in another form? Am I right in assuming that this Bill will continue for many years to come until it is repealed, but that a Proclamation can be issued under it for any period of time and for any purpose whatever?


The Bill when it becomes an Act will remain in force until it is repealed. The undertaking which was given by my right hon. Friend in unequivocal terms, was an undertaking that it would be used solely for the purpose which he stated.

4.52 p.m.


In view of what the President of the Board of Trade has said, there is now evidently complete agreement between the Government and those who have put these Amendments on the Paper with a view to the limitation of the operation of these Orders to periods of three months and the like. There is also complete agreement that this Bill will be used for one purpose only, that is, as far as possible, to ensure the safety of our fellow citizens in Russia. It is important, however, that we should not limit the Bill to such an extent that it will not be an effective weapon. I think that we may probably run the risk of getting a little mixed up at this point, because the limitations that have been put down are with a view to maintaining Parliamentary control at frequent intervals for any Orders that are issued are put down on the assumption that the Bill was to be used with a view to taking fiscal action generally with regard to trade with Russia. As we do not desire that it is important that we shall have something that will have an effective influence on the Soviet Government.

I ask the Committee to consider whether the restriction of any imports from Russia for so short a period as three months—although I admit that by a further Proclamation it can be extended—is likely to be effective or as effective as we can make it. What is the reason now, in view of the unanimity in the Committee as to the purpose for which the Bill is to be used, in having such an absurdly short limitation of the restriction of imports? The effect on the main imports from Russia of an embargo for only three months would be nothing whatever. They could be held back, even in the case of perishable goods such as eggs and the like. They do not come over here at such frequent intervals and so wonderfully fresh that a large part of them cannot be held back until the end of the three months and then shipped forward. With regard to timber, oil and things of that kind, a restriction of imports lasting only three months would be no penalty whatever. Therefore, I suggest that in view of the use to which this Bill is to be put, we should bear in mind what the President of the Board of Trade told us towards the end of his speech last night. He was speaking about the suggestion that was made to withdraw the Ambassador from Moscow, and said: At all events, the withdrawal of the British Ambassador to Moscow would not have touched the Russian Government on any sensitive spot. If you ask me whether this touches them on a sensitive spot I say that it does; and, what is more, it is the only spot we can reach. He said further: What we are entitled to do, and what we are now attempting to do, is to take action, and take action that is understood." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1933; cols. 1887–8, Vol. 276.] I venture to suggest that the limitation of the embargo on Russian goods to three months will certainly not arm the Government with any weapon, to use the term of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Dingle Foot), with whom I do not agree on fiscal matters. He spoke of this as a weapon, and said that he and his friends would like to see it used for the purpose for which they were agreed that it should be used, namely, for the protection of our fellow citizens. Therefore, I think there will be agreement on all side of the Committee that we should make this weapon reasonably effective. I do not think that three months limitation is sufficient.

4.56 p.m.


The Committee will be grateful for the climb down of the Government from the position that was taken up yesterday. We are discussing this Amendment in quite a different atmosphere. I am afraid that the atmosphere yesterday was such as to stampede the House and the country. We are not prepared to accept the statement of the Attorney-General with regard to the powers and the length of time that the Government will operate this Bill. It is strange that when this Bill was introduced we were told definitely that it was for no other purpose than the protection of British lives in Russia. There is no opposition from any part of the House to giving reasonable protection to British subjects, either in Russia or anywhere else, but the speech of the President of the Board of Trade last night made it perfectly clear that behind his mind and the minds of the Government was the idea that this Bill will be used not only for the protection of British subjects, but for other purposes. Many of us have that doubt even now. Russia is not the first country to which protest has had to be made about the treatment of British subjects. There is a country now which is under a dictatorship—not the same as Russia, I agree—where there is any amount of room for protests from the House of Commons with regard to British and other subjects, but nothing is done.

It is rather strange that the Government should want this Bill placed permanently in their hands. If we find at the end of the trial of these men that justice has been done, as we hope we shall, why should this Bill be hung up and held in readiness? Why are we preparing for Russia alone? It will be fair to assume, and I think that we shall see at the end of the trial, that these men will be justly dealt with. Therefore, we are afraid that the President of the Board of Trade, who at one time was the prophet of Free Trade, is endeavouring to use this position in order to support the Government's general policy of Protection and tariffs. If not, why should we give to the Government the power to use this weapon for three months at a time on Proclamation, and also leave in their hands for as long as they like, the power to use it on future occasions? A Proclamation could be issued against Russia without the Government coming to this House, and we might have British trade permanently interfered with. If, however, that is not the Government's intention, why should they not make it clear in the Bill, and use the Bill only for the purpose for which it has been introduced?

Yesterday there was a lot of cheering over the statements made by the introducer of the Bill, but to-day, when questions have been put not only from this side of the House but from supporters of the Government who have been looking upon the Bill with a suspicious eye, and giving good reasons for their views, we find a different tone prevailing in the House. I want to add my plea to others which have been advanced that if the Government intend what they say they should word the Amendment to mean that this Proclamation will be enforced only so far as the lives of these men are in peril, and that when this affair is terminated they will abandon this power, so that trade negotiations can proceed with Russia undisturbed by bias and prejudice, of which there is a lot behind this Bill. There are people in this House who would vote for any kind of legislation which interfered with the general development of Russia, simply because they are against the Constitution of Russia—I do not say that I am in favour of it. I object to any Member of the Cabinet bringing before this House a Bill which purports to be for a special purpose when the Government have at the back of their minds a restriction of trade such as would affect thousands, aye millions, of working men and women in this country and in Russia.

Therefore, we appeal to the Government to specify very clearly what they mean, and we ask for the powers to be limited as proposed in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), because then they will be sufficient to do all the Government say they want to do. I trust that before the Debate is ended the Treasury Bench will change their mind once again, that is, for the third time, and make a good job of it. They should let the country see that the only power they want is a power to defend the lives of British subjects in Russia, and that when that diffi- culty is out of the way ordinary trade relationships can proceed.

5.3 p.m.


In intervening for a moment I would say, incidentally, that I think the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Mr. Price) is a little unreasonable in not accepting the formal undertaking which the President of the Board of Trade has just given us. He gave it in response to a very firm appeal by a most important Member of this House, and he gave it in terms which were quite unequivocal, and if that is not good enough for hon. Members opposite I do not know what is. The only reason why I rose was to express my gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman for the way in which he has met any criticisms which I may have made. By his clear undertaking as to the limited scope of this Measure and his promise of the Amendment to be moved later, he has met the point that the control of Parliament must be borne in mind by those who draft Measures which are to receive general support in this House. He has done that very handsomely, and in the circumstances I shall not, of course, move any of the Amendments which stand in my name. Because he has granted that measure of Parliamentary control and because of the undertaking he has given, I should like again to make an appeal to the Opposition to bear in mind that we are dealing with a situation of very grave anxiety to certain British subjects in Russia, and ask them whether it would not be as well to curtail the Debate as much as possible and to let the Third Reading of the Bill be passed with unanimity.

5.5 p.m.


The statement of the right hon. Gentleman just now was certainly a, very full and adequate one as affecting the points raised by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) and the hon. and gallant Member behind, but I do not yet understand quite clearly what is the nature of the promise the Minister was making. As I understand it, he promised in very definite terms that this power shall not be used for general fiscal purposes, but, there is the point that, the powers obtained by the Government now to deal with the case of these arrested engineers may be brought into active life again subsequently should a British subject be arrested in Russia for any crime. That makes trade between this country and Russia quite impossible. I do not need to remind the right bon. Gentleman that trade is always a two-sided business, that there is always the buyer and the seller, and I ask him, as a much more experienced business man than I am, whether he would enter into any long-term bargain with anyone under conditions which would allow that bargain to be interrupted at any moment by a Proclamation from this House? It may be, as is reiterated again and again—on what grounds I do not know—that these men are absolutely innocent of any crime. I hope that is true, but it has still to be demonstrated.

What guarantee have we that in the course of another month or two some British subject in Russia may not be arrested by the Russian Government with a really genuine case against him? In the interval some perfectly legitimate bargain may have been entered into, not between the British Government and the Russian Government but between some trader in Britain and the Russian Government. The British trader has expended money, he has taken commitments upon himself on the assumption that the contract is going to be fulfilled, and then finds, not because of any trading act in Russia, nor any default on his part, but by reason of a state of public excitement in this country and in this House, that his contract is liable to be cut short by Proclamation. No intelligent business man is going to attempt to carry on business under such conditions. Before I withdraw my support from the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) I want the right hon. Gentleman to tell me just exactly why, if this Bill is not wanted in the future for the regulation of business relations between the two countries, he is retaining it. I do not know whether this is going to work as a diplomatic instrument on this occasion, I do not know whether the Government have any information as to whether this kind of pressure on the Russian Government will compel the Russians to declare all these men innocent in advance of the trial; but of this I am sure, that though an instrument of this description may be used once for this purpose that once will be the only time when it could be effective.

Because of the impossibility of trading under conditions such as these, and because I do not believe a continuance of these powers can have any effect on the immediate case before us, and must have a diminishing influence on any future case, I want the right hon. Gentleman to tell the Committee why, since he has stated very categorically that he does not want these powers for general fiscal purposes, does not want them for general trade purposes and does not want them even as an instrument for bargaining for a new trade agreement, he wishes to retain them in the future. Is this Bill to be retained as a new diplomatic instrument; and if it is retained as a new diplomatic instrument against Russia, are we to look forward to its speedy extension as a diplomatic instrument in our relations with other countries where difficulties of a similar sort may arise? I should be very glad to have answers to these questions.

5.11 p.m.


Instead of the attempted confusions which we have just heard, I think it would have been better if some alternative scheme to the prososal put forward by the Government had been indicated, if any exists. I hope hon. Members will not forget that it was said yesterday, with all the authority which a statement from the Foreign Secretary carries, that the position was a grave one. It is not the case, as was suggested just now by an hon. Member opposite, that we want every British subject declared to be innocent of any crime, but if he has to be tried we want him to have a system of trial which is somewhat in accord with decent notions of justice. We are satisfied, and there can be no question about it, that every attempt has been made to deny decent justice to a number of our own citizens in Russia. Those men have been treated in a manner which can only be described as being offensive to any ideas of justice we may have, and it is necessary, as was conceded from all sides yesterday, to take some action to try to help them in the position of very grave danger in which they find themselves. The Foreign Secretary asked yesterday if there was anything else that we could do except give the Government this power which they are seeking. I ask the House if there is nothing else that we can do to help British subjects who are in peril, to at least do this—to give the Government and the country to which they belong, and to which they look, this authority, and to trust us to use it in their interests and in the interests of the State."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1933; col. 1784, Vol. 276.] I think it is absolutely essential that in this moment of gravity and peril such action should be taken as will show the Russian Government that this country is not only behind these particular individuals in the denial to them of substantial justice, but is behind any of our citizens who may be treated in a manner which completely offends against all ideas of substantial justice. This is not a question of fiscal adjustment. We are dealing with a position of acute emergency. How it can be said that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has given general support to the principle of tariffs in face of the express undertaking he was good enough to give I cannot think, and I am sure that I am voicing the feelings of almost every Member in this House when I say that we accept the statement he made without any reservation whatsoever. To say that this Bill should be made as effective as possible is to put the position quite mildly, and I associate myself with the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) when he said that these men, placed as they are in a position of extreme delicacy, through no fault of their own, were entitled to demand that the whole weight of this House should be behind them. I hope the Government will see that the action taken through the medium of this Bill provides them with a weapon which is going to be effective and which has the authority of Britain. To say, as was suggested by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), that it will be unfortunate if, as soon as a British subject is arrested on any future occasion, a Proclamation under this Bill will put the machinery into force, is in my humble submission incomprehensible. When we are trying to prevent a country, which hon. Members of the Opposition like to claim as all-high, from offending against every notion of justice, we must have a Measure which is effective and quick. We appreciate the circumstances of gravity in which the Bill was intro- duced. I hope that the action which is taken by the Government will be taken quickly, and in such a manner as to show the accused men that the House of Commons is behind them in their endeavour to assert their right to justice.

5.16 p.m.


I would not have intervened at this stage had it not been for the remarks of the hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Lyons), and on account especially of the speech delivered by the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crook-shank). The burden of both speeches was, I think, that we should accept as made in good faith the promise of the Government that they will not use the powers of this Bill when it becomes an Act of Parliament except for this particular trial in Moscow. We are told that we are not fair in not accepting that very definite promise made by the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon. I would not charge the right hon. Gentleman and the Government with insincerity. I think that the Government will adhere to the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman; but I ask the Committee to remember that events are stronger than Governments, and that occasions may arise in our relations with Russia that will literally blow a promise of that kind to the winds.

Suppose there was a case in Russia in six months time of a British subject being murdered. The Government with the support of hon. Members would be bound to take some action. They would let loose the forces of reaction at once. If hon. Members of the Liberal party below the Gangway will pardon my saying so, it is quite as reactionary not to vote at all as it is to vote for the Government. A man ought to have a mind either one way or the other on this issue. It would be a very low charge indeed to challenge the honesty of the right hon. Gentleman in the statement that has been made, but while we do not challenge that statement, I repeat that events in international affairs are so very terrible on occasions that the Government would be acquitted by 80 per cent. of the present Parliament if they broke the promise that has been made this afternoon. We have to bear that in mind. May I say, without being offensive, that many pledges have already been broken by this Government.


Surely the hon. Member does not suggest that the Prime Minister has broken pledges?


I do not select individual Members of the Government.


That is all right.


I am dealing with the Government as a whole. I am very distressed to see what is happening in connection with this Bill. If the Committee will bear with me, I would like to make one or two observations on Clause 1 and the Amendments to it, with which we are dealing. I have no hesitation in saying what I have always said about dictatorships of all kinds. Whether they are of the Left or of the Right they are reversions to barbarism. Dictatorships of the Centre fall into the same category. Wherever there is a dictatorship of the Centre, the Right or the Left, these things are bound to happen. A dictatorship is all right provided that you are the dictator, but if anyone challenges him he must take the consequences.

This is probably the first time in the history of this country where the fiscal weapon has been used for a purpose of this kind. I am not sufficiently learned in the history of our land to be sure of that, but I do not recollect reading anywhere that a British Government has used the fiscal weapon for purposes of intervention in this type of case. I am, therefore, distressed that we have reached a stage which, up to 18 months ago, would have been absolutely unthinkable. We are faced with an entirely new proposal, and if this kind of thing is to happen between nations I see no use for the League of Nations. If nations, as soon as one of their nationals gets into trouble abroad, use this sort of weapon in order to support those nationals, we might as well scrap the League of Nations and all our international relationships. This is part and parcel of a new diplomacy which cuts across all our previous arrangements in diplomatic affairs.

The President of the Board of Trade was very anxious to assure the Committee that this Bill is a temporary Measure, but I would impress upon the Committee two or three points. It will be remembered that it was understood that this Bill first of all had nothing to do with the trial in Moscow. Later on we were told that the Bill was necessary because of that trial. Later on still we were told that the Bill only dealt with the specific purpose of the Moscow trial. Now it has been suggested that Proclamations will only be issued to deal with cases relating to justice to our nationals in Russia. One thing troubles me in connection with this Clause. Although Proclamations will come to an end after they have been issued, the Bill will remain an Act of Parliament, and Proclamations may continue to be issued under it so long as it remains upon the Statute Book. So far as I understand the temper of this Parliament, I am as positive as I stand here that if anything untoward happens between ourselves and Russia later, either in regard to trading or to safeguarding our nationals, the pressure that can be brought to bear from the extreme Tory wing of the National Government is such that Proclamations under this Bill will be issued, in spite of the promises that have been made from the Government Front Bench to-day. For that reason, and without imputing any dishonesty to the right hon. Gentlemen, who have made that promise, I say very definitely, from my experience of political life in this country, that events compel Governments sometimes to break their promises. It will be easier for them to break their promises in this respect than in almost any other connection.

5.25 p.m.


The hon. Gentleman was Under-Secretary for Home Affairs in the late Labour Administration.


No, I was not. It was in the first Labour Government.


I withdraw. The hon. Gentleman was very lucky to have missed that. I do not wish to strike a discordant note, or to detain the Committee for more than a minute, but I cannot allow this Clause to go without saying that I listened to the President of the Board of Trade with a good deal of dismay when he practically pledged the Government to use this Measure solely for the purpose of obtaining decent treatment for those poor prisoners—or primarily for that purpose. I am one of the few people who have never been entirely happy about the methods that have been used, no doubt with the best intentions, by the Government, in dealing with this matter from the start. I am very doubtful, with some hon. Gentlemen of the Opposition, of the use of an economic weapon to remedy what is admittedly a political grievance. I do not think that it is the right way of tackling the sort of difficulty which confronted us, and I wish that I could feel as sure as some of my hon. Friends that this Bill will secure what we should regard as fair judicial treatment for the four British prisoners in Moscow. I do not feel at all certain that it will; in fact, I think that it is highly improbable. I do not think that anybody is likely to secure what we should regard as fair judicial treatment in Soviet Russia, because they do not go in for fair judicial treatment there. It is not the sort of thing that they believe in, and they openly say so. I doubt whether this Bill will achieve the objective that we have in view.

I think that it is wanted, and urgently, and that it has been wanted for some months past as a matter of general principle. I do not see how we are ever to negotiate a satisfactory trade agreement with the Soviet Government until we possess the very necessary powers, which they themselves possess, of prohibiting the entry of subsidised goods into the country. That is a view that many hon. Members on the Conservative benches have long taken, and it is a view which some hon. Members, who in the past have advocated import control boards as a matter of principle, would be prepared to accept.


But we always associated with it the principle of State trading.


I am not arguing about that particular aspect of the question. I am merely saying that in accepting the principle of import control boards hon. Members have also accepted the principle that the State ought to possess the power of regulating the entry of subsidised goods into the country, particularly since I have often heard hon. Members say that certain goods were produced under conditions of sweated labour abroad. I doubt the efficacy of this Bill for this purpose, and I doubt if it will help those poor prisoners, but I hoped, and still hope, that it might help some of the farmers and fishermen whom I represent in the North of Scotland. I was aghast to hear the President of the Board of Trade announce to the Committee, in response, it appears, to an irrelevant request on behalf of the very diminutive Liberal party, that the Government only propose to use these powers for the specific purpose. It is not a proper weapon to use. I very much doubt the use of an economic weapon to achieve a political end; I always have doubted. You can only hope that it will be effective from that point of view, and any hon. Member is entitled to express his anxieties on that point. The Government themselves are not sure that it is going to be successful.

I hope that the events to which the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) referred, which would make this Bill continue in operation for months to come, will occur, but I hope that the conditions will not be similar to those of recent events and will not involve the imprisonment of British citizens. I think, however, that economic events may well take place which will induce the Government to realise the advisability of retaining the power for which they are asking at the present time, in the interests of our own people and of negotiating a good trade agreement, and that they may find it desirable —indeed I think they will be compelled —to exercise these powers, not only in respect of Russia, but in respect of other countries in Europe.


Is the hon. Member suggesting that the Government would break the pledge which they have given this afternoon?


No, I am only hoping so.

5.31 p.m.


One is compelled to conclude, from the speech of the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), that his interpretation of the statements made by the President of the Board of Trade and the Attorney-General is that, so long as injustice of any kind to any person obtains in Russia, this economic weapon must continue to be applied. I intended to put the very pertinent question which has just been addressed to the hon. Member as to whether he desires that injustices should continue to be perpetrated in Russia in order that the fishermen in his constituency may be helped. Apparently he thinks that this economic weapon is desirable, not so much for the purpose of helping the engineers who are directly affected in Russia, but because of the effect that Russian trade has on his constituents. I do not desire to do him an injustice, but there is a grave contradiction between his remarks and the speeches which have been made on behalf of the Government.

It is very difficult to understand the reason for the appeal which has been made by the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). Yesterday he delivered a speech which delighted me, as did that of the hon. and learned Member for Central Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor). Those speeches certainly indicated that, although the hon. Members were supporters of the Government, they were not prepared to get into the state of frenzy that we saw here yesterday afternoon after the Foreign Secretary had delivered his speech. That speech was of the kind that one often hears from solicitors in police courts, and certainly it was not substantially higher than some of those speeches. There could be no case for many of the remarks that he made about the Russian Government. The weight of evidence contained in his speech was based upon material obtained from one side only, namely, from the British Ambassador. After all, an eminent legal authority like the Foreign Secretary ought to have had the evidence from both sides.


On a point of Order. Is it in order for a right hon. Gentleman to read a great national newspaper on the Treasury Bench?


I believe that there is a Rule against the reading of newspapers in the House, and I am sure it will be respected.


I did not know that the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway was interposing on my account. I had a piece of duty to discharge with reference to this particular newspaper, and, out of courtesy to the hon. Member opposite, I remained in the House rather than withdraw; but I will gladly withdraw in order to comply with the views of the hon. Gentleman.


With the Rules of the House.


Is it not a question of the Rules of the House, and not of the views of an hon. Member?


He can do no wrong.


I am interested to hear these friendly references as between Liberal Members. It would seem that they are more concerned about points of Order than about the real, vital issues that are being discussed. I was about to say that, if the Foreign Secretary, who is an eminent lawyer, had obtained evidence of the Russian view of the situation, he would not have made that one-sided speech yesterday. All that has been said about Russia and its method of either justice or injustice can be said against the right hon. Gentleman for his speech yesterday. It was entirely based upon one-sided evidence obtained from our own Ambassador, who should have been impartial, but whose honour certainly could be questioned when he made such remarks as are contained in telegram No. 27.


I have been looking again at the Government Amendment, and I see that it goes further than I originally thought, but I do not think we can discuss the White Paper on this Amendment.


I accept your Ruling. Our interpretation of this Amendment is that for three months it will be possible for the Government to continue to issue a Proclamation. Under the Bill they obtain power to issue a Proclamation every three months if they so desire, and so long as injustice, as conceived by the Government, is meted out to any British national—not merely the persons now involved, but any British national for any length of time—the Government, according to our interpretation of the Amendment, will have the power to issue a Proclamation.


I must intervene to correct the hon. Member's impression, if I understood his remarks aright. The Government, to use his expression, will have the power, or rather, there will be the power, to issue a Proclamation without the intervention or control of Parliament in the first instance but the Government will not have the power to extend that Proclamation without the approval of Parliament. Therefore, it is not accurate to say, as the hon. Member said in unqualified terms, that the Government can make a Proclamation for three months as often as they like. Parliament can, but the Government cannot without Parliament.


I accept the literal rendering of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but it is a positive fact that the Government can come back to the House at the end of three months and seek powers to issue a Proclamation for another three months, or for any time. I accept his statement that they have to come to Parliament before they can issue a new Proclamation, and that Parliament must decide.


That certainly is the case, and it is precisely what would be provided by some of the Amendments which stand on the Paper in the names of hon. Members who are not supporters of the Government.


There has been no statement from the other side of the House, or from persons who disagree with our view, which would indicate any justification for the continuance of these powers for longer than one month. We are informed that the trial of the engineers in Russia is to commence on 10th of this month. The powers sought in the Bill will not commence to apply until the 18th. If one month were allowed to elapse after the commencement of the powers sought in the Bill, practically six weeks would elapse altogether, and then, if the trial were not over, and if, as conceived by the Government or by Parliament, a semblance of injustice prevailed, it would be possible to seek powers for another month, or for any period that Parliament might desire. Nothing has been said, so far as I have been able to gather, by any of the spokesmen in opposition to our Amendment which would indicate that one month is not ample in the circumstances, and certainly it would impair our trade substantially less than the three months proposed in the Government Amendment.

We know what this would mean to the mining industry in particular. Any cessation a trade with Russia would tend to increase that industry's costs fairly substantially, owing to the fact that Denmark and Sweden would obtain almost a complete monopoly of the import of timber into this country. In South Wales a substantial quantity of timber from Russia is being consumed in our collieries, and anything which would tend to continue these powers for longer than we consider to be absolutely necessary, namely, one month, would tend, if anything, to create unemployment, would materially affect forward contracts that have to be fixed, and would prejudice anything like the slight revival that may now be taking place in some of the small collieries in the South Wales area. We have to presume that this would apply, not only to South Wales, but to other parts of the country as well, and the number of men that would be affected would be substantially greater than the number of fishermen who would be affected in the constituency of the hon. Member for East Aberdeen. Our proposal, therefore, ought to be supported by him and others if they are considering the question of trade and the people who may be affected in this country.

We would like the President of the Board of Trade to face up to the Amendment that we have put on the Paper. As far as we can see, a period of three months would be absolutely unnecessary. It must substantially affect our trade, and it cannot possibly help the persons who are in peril in Russia. Everyone in the House to whom I have spoken since last night has admitted that, since the Second Reading of this Measure, they would not, whatever the circumstances might have been before, now be in the shoes of the engineers in Russia, that their case will be considered less dispassionately than it was before, and that the use of an economic weapon of this kind must of itself create, not dispassionate-mindedness, but irritation, and, instead of helping the persons in Russia, which apparently is the concern of all Members of the House, would imperil their position substantially. We hope, therefore, that the Government will not imperil trade, and will realise that practically £40,000,000 of trade as between Russia and ourselves is involved, and all that that means to the country. Further, Members should not allow themselves to be influenced by political prejudice against a system in which they do not believe. We can never expect any system of jurisprudence in Russia, America or Germany to conform precisely to our own. I could refer to Tammany Hall. There was Thomas Moody in prison for 15 years.


The hon. Member is now making a Second Reading speech.


Recent speeches have dealt with the question of justice. The purpose of the Bill, we understand, is to give the Government power to institute, as far as possible, the semblance of British justice in Russia. British justice is not instituted in any other country. Protestations have been made in the House against the treatment meted out to persons in Germany, and no action here has been taken about it. Reference has been made to British subjects in India, in America, and all over the world, who are suffering injustice and have been subject to something that we would not think akin to British jurisprudence, but not a single protest has been made. We cannot establish our conception of British justice in Russia by methods of this kind. We think that British justice is founded on private property, and the moment private property was removed a new type of justice would have to be established. The Russian people have abolished private property. Am I to presume that, if someone in this country tried to blow up a gasometer, he would not be treated as a criminal?


The hon. Member must confine himself more closely to the Amendment.


I do not desire to continue. Apparently the reason for my getting out of order is that most of what I 'have had to say has been following other speeches that have been made. I trust that the Government will realise how they are imperilling the coal trade and other trades, and are imperilling the lives of the people whom, apparently, they think to safeguard, and that, upon reflection, they will accept the Amendment.

5.50 p.m.


The statement of the President of the Board of Trade has made the Measure a very much better one. At the same time, I feel very doubtful whether we are really going to serve the interests of these unfortunate men whom we are all so anxious to assist. I trust that it may be so, but one cannot help having doubts about it. I think it would still be very desirable that there should be some time-limit to the operation of the Bill, and that it should cease to have effect altogether at the end of three or six months, or something of that kind. Although the Government have given a very specific pledge—and I am sure they mean to keep it—it may well be that pressure will be put upon them. We have seen the fierce indignation at the promise that has been made to the hon. Member opposite not to use it, in the interest of his constituents, and they may well find themselves in a difficult position later on.

There is another reason for limiting the operation of the Bill. I think there is very definitely a case for using the economic weapon in political affairs, but it ought to be dealt with on an international basis. Instead of having a Measure brought forward in a tremendous hurry, the Government ought to have an opportunity of bringing forward a Measure on a much wider scale applicable, when they think fit, to all nations by general agreement among nations. Recently they were considering internationally dealing with an emabrgo in the Far East. One can draw this satisfaction out of this Debate, that it is coming to be realised that the economic weapon can be effectively used in political affairs. I only wish the Government had acted with similar enthusiasm when 80,000 Chinese were slaughtered by Japan.


The hon. Member is now getting right away from the Bill.


I appreciated that you might say that, Captain Bourne, but I was giving a reason why there should be a time limit to the operation of the Bill in order that the Government might have an opportunity to study the question internationally and bring forward a Measure, say, in a year's time, applicable to all countries in the world. If they were to consider it from that point of view and accept an Amendment on these lines, it would enable them to propose a, Measure next year which would deal with Japan, Germany and, possibly, other countries that require attention on the same lines.

6.53 p.m.


I cannot see the reason for the Government resisting an Amendment limiting the Bill to a very specific purpose and to a given time. Probably they have in view that they might be compelled to use it again at some future date, or it may be that they believe it will be essential to use it periodically. I do not know whether these men in Russia will be given a fair or an unfair trial. I know nothing at all about the system in Russia. But, if I could be assured that the Government only intend to see that the men have a fair opportunity to present their defence, I should be inclined to support the Bill, because I think subjects of this country are entitled to claim the protection of the Government. I have no fault to find with that at all and, if men are arrested in another country and the Government come to their aid and say, "We are going to see that you have a fair trial and a fair opportunity of defence and of presenting your case in a proper atmosphere," that is a very laudable object and one which no reasonable person would condemn. If the Government are convinced that there is no chance of these men getting a fair trial, they are entitled to pursue the matter as strongly as they desire. On the other hand, if they are satisfied that there is no opportunity of a fair trial for any British subject in Russia, the better thing to do is to withdraw completely and sever all communication with the country if they have no faith at all in their system or their actions.

There is another point here that appeals to me. No Government should succumb to the demonstrations of antagonism which are continually created in the House and in the country even in connection with this case. We are entitled to say that justice should be done, but it is another matter, in my estimation, to say, as has been said in the House, that these men are perfectly innocent and could not be guilty of any crime at all. I think the limita- tion of time proposed would serve a very useful purpose by seeing that they were given a proper opportunity of defence. It would mean that, if the Government of Russia succumbed to influences of that character, a big stick would be placed in the hands of almost any country to dictate terms to Russia and to dictate whether people should be tried for an offence or liberated. That is not a proper attitude for any Government which is hoping itself to treat persons of criminal intent, who may be foreigners, in a proper manner. Every minority is entitled to a proper opportunity to defend itself.

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Major Hills), in reply to an interjection by me last night, said that I was pro-Russian. I deny that I am pro-Russian in the sense that I am prepared to back Russia in carrying out any form of injustice on British or any other subjects. I resent any suggestion of that kind. I have stood continually against the domination of people who have taken their orders from Russia and have always stood, in the House and in the country, for the free expression of opinion and for the creation in this country of a movement which would not be dominated by outside forces. I object to dictation from Russia or any other country in a political sense, but I am also bound to object to complete dictation by this House and by the country as to the way they shall conduct their own affairs. It may be true that a period of national emergency such as Russia has undergone may produce a change of mind, and that they may see in every action a desire to overthrow the ruling force or to create a counter-revolutionary movement. It may be true that men get into a state of prejudice and passion—


I think the hon. Member, like several others, is now getting very far away from the Amendment.


I only wish to add, if I may, that in that state of mind men may be driven to various things which are not reasonable. I am not going to suggest that reason only applies to Russia, or that it only applies to this country. If the Government were intending to use the Bill for the purpose for which, I believe, they are entitled to use it, to safeguard the rights and liberties of their fellow-subjects in Russia who have been arrested and to see that they have a fair trial and a proper defence, I would support the Bill in every shape and form. But if the Bill is to be used to carry out a continual method of pin-pricks against Russia, as has been pointed out by some hon. Members to-night, I shall be bound to oppose the Measure in every shape and form. There are sections in the Committee who are regarding the Bill altogether from the point of view of a dire hatred of Russia and its political system, and we have to be careful that those points are not exercised. The Government are entitled to take proper measures for the defence of their subjects and to secure a fair trial. But if those subjects are, after a fair trial, found guilty, they should bear the consequences as aliens would have to bear them in this country.

6.2 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir WILLIAM ALLEN

I suppose that the Committee will wonder why an Irishman should intervene on this occasion. When I crossed over from my own country this morning and opened the newspapers, at first blush I was astounded at the action of the Liberal party. I did not understand the situation, as I had not been present at the Debate. A great deal of explanation, which was evidently required not only by my folk at home but, I believe, by the people of England and Scotland, has been given this afternoon as to why the Liberals abstained from voting last night. It may be through inability or lack of faculties on our part, but we in Northern Ireland never could understand the Liberal mind. When I saw what had occurred this morning all that I could say was, "Those Liberals again!" I really think there has been a great deal too much ado about nothing this afternoon. What the President of the Board of Trade said at the close of the Debate last night would have satisfied me, but it certainly did not satisfy the Liberal mind. I can assure my right hon. Friend that there will be no attempt to use this as any infringement of Free Trade principles or anything of that kind. That fact does not enter into our calculations at all. The main object is connected with the way in which our fellow countrymen have been treated in Russia. If I had been the Leader of the Liberal party I would have got up in my place and said, "On the distinct understanding that that is the limitation of this Bill, we will vote for it."


That is what we did say in the afternoon.


But you did not carry it out.


Will my hon. and gallant Friend kindly read on to the next words?


The right hon. Gentleman said: Is that the sole object? The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade replied: No one can say what is the sole object. We are bound to take powers in the widest form, and they will be mainly dealing with our fellow-countrymen who are at present under arrest in Russia."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1933; cols. 1187–8, Vol. 276.] It was up to the right hon. Gentleman to get up in his place and to say definitely that they would support the Bill, if they were given such an assurance, while the Bill was going through Committee. It would be an English gentleman's way of doing it. I rise to explain to the Committee that there is a real point at issue for Ulstermen in this connection, and that is the production of Russian flax.


There can be no doubt that the subject does not arise on the Amendment.


I was under the impression that a great deal of argument had been used this afternoon as to why the Bill could only apply to the individuals who had been in prison, and should not apply to the question of Free Trade or Protection. That was my understanding, and a great deal was said about the possibility of using the Bill for the purposes of Free Trade. I wanted to put my point of view briefly.


The question as to whether there should be any limitation does arise on the Amendment.


That is exactly the point to which I was coming. My point is that the position should be definite and distinct, because it is of importance to us that we should have the use of Russian flax, otherwise our trade will suffer. I wish to put our standpoint, but, no matter what it may cost, the Ulster people are prepared to stand by the Government to see that justice is done.



6.8 p.m.


I had not intended to take part in this Debate, and in spite of the interjections of some of my hon. Friends I have no doubt I can make as useful a contribution to it as most of them. I want to detain the Committee very briefly indeed, because the discussion has taken a turn in regard to which I think that I shall make a small contribution. First of all, I do not approach this question with any animus towards Russia or Russian trade. I have during the past few years attended innumerable meetings of manufacturers in this country, and I have constantly directed them, when the occasion seemed good, to try to extend their trade in Russia, and' to get some of the work which is going into other countries. I have badgered the Department of the right hon. Gentleman, not once, but many times, feeling, as I did now and again, that our Government were not taking quite so liberal and broad a view of their chances of extending business with Russia as they might have done.

Having, I hope, made my general position on the question clear, where does one find oneself now? I have personally great sympathy with those men now in prison, for although I do not know them, I know their business associates personally. It may interest the Committee to know what the feeling is in regard to those Englishmen who are in prison. Some of them have been in Russia for a long time. They are all regarded by the men who know them best in this country, not only as not being enemies of Russia, but, through their association with the Russian people, as having a definite Russian complex. They are working for the Russian Government. They are doing the best of work in pursuance of their normal occupation. They want to do their job well, and all that they desired was to make good M. that country. Therefore it has come with special amazement to all men who know them in this country that a situation of this kind should have arisen. The indignation which is being felt, not only in the trade of engineering, but, in my experience, among the rank and file up and down the country, is not so much due to the fact that these men have been arrested and put upon trial. One gets the impression listening to speeches here that that is the grievance which we have on the Government side. It is not. If in Russia there were a judicial system, tried and proved, which had the respect of the world as has our judicial system, the Government would never have thought for a moment of intervention. They would have believed that that system of jurisprudence would have applied to those men, and that if not found guilty they would have actually been discharged.

The fear, based on the history and practice of the Russian system, is that the men will not get a fair trial, and that our fellow-citizens indirectly will suffer hardship because we here had not the courage to intervene on their behalf. That is the issue. The Committee this afternoon have been discussing at considerable length, not so much as to whether the economic weapon should be used in the political support of our countrymen, but the length of time during which that weapon should be used. I want to put a point to the Committee, and it was really my reason for getting up, because it is a new point. If you consider the history of our trade relations with Russia for the past 10 years, you find that consistently we have been buying from them a great deal more than they have been buying from us, in some years creating a credit cash balance of not less than £23,000,000 a year which they have been spending elsewhere. [An HON. MEMBER: "And so have other countries."] For 10 years the trade between Russia and America has created a credit balance for America of £100,000,000.


I am afraid that the hon. Member is getting rather far away from the Amendment.


I was going to make my submission, and I think that when I have been allowed to make it, you will probably find that I am not getting away from the Amendment at all. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh!"] If I have said anything which I should not have said, I sincerely apologise, but I am just coming to my point. I have heard a Russian Ambassador in this country address manufacturers not once but several times in tones of patronage, telling them what they must do to extend their trade with Russia. My point is, that the peril in which our fellow-citizens find themselves to-day is the result of our economic complaisance in our relations with the Russian people. If we had stood out for a measure of economic justice much more strongly and forcibly than we have done, they would have respected us more, and,

in my judgment, this position would never have arisen. Therefore, in my view, the Government in assuming this weapon, should not cripple their future action too much. The Russian people will respect them far more when they know that the people of Britain are able to hit back, and having assumed this weapon I take it that we shall not be too willing to hand it away, believing that if we can assert our dignity, intelligence and strength in relation to the Russian people that, indeed, will be the surest safeguard of peace and harmony in the future.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 40; Noes, 306.

Division No. 123.] AYES. [6.15 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McGovern, John
Attlee, Clement Richard Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Banfield, John William Grundy, Thomas W. Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Milner, Major James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Price, Gabriel
Buchanan, George Hicks, Ernest George Thorne, William James
Cape, Thomas Hirst, George Henry Tinker, John Joseph
Cooke, Frederick Seymour Jenkins, Sir William Wallhead, Richard C.
Cove, William G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Daggar, George Kirkwood, David Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Edwards, Charles Lunn, William
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Mr. Groves and Mr. John.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y) Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Davison, Sir William Henry
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh) Burnett, John George Dawson, Sir Philip
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Denman, Hon. R. D.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Butler, Richard Austen Denville, Alfred
Aske, Sir Robert William Cadogan, Hon. Edward Dickie, John P.
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Donner, P. W.
Atkinson, Cyril Caporn, Arthur Cecil Doran, Edward
Balley, Eric Alfred George Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Drewe, Cedric
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Duckworth, George A. V.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cazatet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Eden, Robert Anthony
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Chamberlain, Rt.Hon.SirJ.A.(Birm.,W) Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Chanman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Elliston, Captain George Sampson
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th.C.) Clarke, Frank Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool)
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Clayton, Dr. George C. Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Cobb, Sir Cyril Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Fermoy, Lord
Bernays, Robert Conant, R. J. E. Foot, Dingle (Dundee)
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Cooke, Douglas Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Copeland, Ida Fox, Sir Gilford
Blindell, James Courtauld, Major John Sewell Fremantle, Sir Francis
Boothby, Robert John Graham Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Fuller, Captain A. Q.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Cowan, D. M. Gillett, Sir George Masterman
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Boyce, H. Leslie Cranborne, Viscount Glossop, C. W. H.
Bracken, Brendan Craven-Ellis, William Goff, Sir Park
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Goodman, Colonel Albert W.
Briant, Frank Crooke, J. Smedley Gower, Sir Robert
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)
Broadbent, Colonel John Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Cross, R. H. Grstton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbre',W.) McLean, Dr. w. H. (Tradesten) Salt, Edward W.
Grimston, R. V. Magnay, Thomas Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Maitland, Adam Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Hales, Harold K. Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Savery, Samuel Servington
Hanbury, Cecil Marsden, Commander Arthur Scone, Lard
Hanley, Dennis A. Martin, Thomas B. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Harbord, Arthur Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Creydon, N.) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Harris, Sir Percy Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Hartington, Marquess of Meller, Richard James Skelton, Archibald Noel
Hartland, George A. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Milne, Charles Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Mitcheson, G. G. Smithers, Waldron
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Soper, Richard
Hepworth, Joseph Moreing, Adrian C. Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. Q. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Holdsworth, Herbert Morrison, William Shepherd Stevenson, James
Hopkinson, Austin Moss, Captain H. J. Storey, Samuel
Hornby, Frank Muirhead, Major A. J. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Horobin, Ian M. Munro, Patrick Strauss, Edward A.
Horsbrugh, Florence Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald Strickland, Captain W. F.
Howard, Tom Forrest Nathan, Major H. L. Stuart, Lord C Crichton-
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N.) Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Summersby, Charles H.
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Sutcliffe, Harold
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Patersf'ld) Tate, Mavis Constance
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Nunn, William Templeton, William P.
Hunt, Sir Gerald B. O'Connor, Terence James Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Palmer, Francis Noel Thompson. Luke
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Patrick, Colin M. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Peaks, Captain Osbert Thorp, Linton Theodore
Jennings, Roland Pearson, William G. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Peat, Charles U. Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Ker, J. Campbell Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple) Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Kerr, Hamilton W. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Kimball, Lawrence Pickering, Ernest H. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Knight, Holford Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Potter, John Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Pownall, Sir Assheton Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Law, Sir Alfred Procter, Major Henry Adam Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Wayland, Sir William A.
Leckie, J. A. Ramsden, Sir Eugene Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Rankin, Robert Wells, Sydney Richard
Levy, Thomas Ray, Sir William Weymouth, Viscount
Liddall, Walter S. Rea, Walter Russell White, Henry Graham
Lindsay, Noel Ker Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Whiteside. Borras Noel H.
Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunllffe- Reid, William Allan (Derby) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Roberts, Sir Samuel (Eeclesall) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Lloyd, Geoffrey Ropner, Colonel L. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Rosbotham, Sir Samuel Wiss, Wilfrid D.
Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Ross, Ronald D. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Lyons, Abraham Montagu Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Wise, Alfred R.
Mabane, William Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Runge, Norah Cecil Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
McCorquodale, M. S. Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Worthington, Dr. John V.
MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaharn) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Young, Rt. Hon.Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
McKie, John Hamilton Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Sir George Penny and Lord Erskine.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 6, to leave out the words "His Majesty by Proclamation," and to insert instead thereof the words "the Board of Trade by order."


I beg to support the Amendment, which stands in my name and in the names of two of my comrades. We move this Amendment because as Socialists we view with alarm the part that is being played so far as this portion of the Bill is concerned. We think that the proposal which we wish to amend is a new departure. While it may be right to issue a Proclamation, we wish to register an emphatic protest against the way in which it is proposed to be done. We do not, however, wish to delay the Committee, because we have other serious Amendments to discuss.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 310; Noes, 42.

Division No. 124.] AYES. [6.29 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Denville, Alfred Lambert, Rt. Hon. George
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Dickie, John P. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Donner, P. W. Law, Sir Alfred
Alexander, Sir William Drewe, Cedric Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh) Duckworth, George A. V. Leckie, J. A.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Dunglass, Lord Levy, Thomas
Aske, Sir Robert William Eden, Robert Anthony Liddall, Walter S.
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Lindsay, Noel Ker
Atholl, Duchess of Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest
Atkinson, Cyril Elliston, Captain George Sampson Lloyd, Geoffrey
Balley, Eric Alfred George Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Loder, Captain J. de Vere
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Ersklne-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Falle, Sir Bertram G. Lyons, Abraham Montagu
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Mabane, William
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kalsey Fox, Sir Glfford McCorquodale, M. S.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Fremantle, Sir Francis Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.) Fuller, Captain A. G. McKie, John Hamilton
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Gillett, Sir George Masterman McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Magnay, Thomas
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Glossop, C. W. H. Maitland, Adam
Bernays, Robert Gluckstein, Louis Halle Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Goff, Sir Park Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Blindell, James Gower, Sir Robert Marsden, Commander Arthur
Boothby, Robert John Graham Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Martin, Thomas B.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)
Boyce, H. Leslie Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Bracken, Brendan Griffith. F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'.W.) Meller, Richard James
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Grimston, R. V. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Briant, Frank Guinness, Thomas L. E, B. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Gunston, Captain D. W. Milne, Charles
Broadbent, Colonel John Guy, J. C. Morrison Mitcheson, G. G.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hales, Harold K. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y) Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Z'tl'nd) Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Buchan-Hepburn, p. G. T. Hanbury, Cecil Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Hanley, Dennis A. Moreing, Adrian C.
Burnett, John George Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Harbord, Arthur Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Butler, Richard Austen Harris, Sir Percy Morrison, William Shephard
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hartington, Marquess of Moss, Captain H. J.
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hartland, George A. Muirhead, Major A. J.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Munro, Patrick
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hellgers, Captain F F. A. Newton, Sir Douglas George C.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm.,W) Hepworth, Joseph Nicholson. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston) Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Nunn, William
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh,S.) Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller O'Connor, Terence James
Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Holdsworth, Herbert Palmer, Francis Noel
Clarke, Frank Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Patrick, Colin M,
Clayton, Dr. George C. Hopkinson, Austin Peake, Captain Osbert
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hornby, Frank Pearson, William G.
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Horobin, Ian M. Peat, Charles U.
Conant, R. J. E. Horsbrugh, Florence Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Cooke, Douglas Howard, Tom Forrest Peto, Geoffrey K (Wverh'pt'n, Bilston)
Copeland, Ida Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Pickering, Ernest H.
Courtauld, Major John Sewell Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Potter, John
Cowan, D. M. Hume, Sir George Hopwood Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Cranborne, Viscount Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Pybus, Percy John
Crooke, J. Smedley Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Jennings, Roland Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Cross, R. H, Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Ker, J, Campbell Rankin, Robert
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Kerr, Hamilton W. Ray, Sir William
Davison, Sir William Henry Kimball, Lawrence Rea, Walter Russell
Dawson, Sir Philip Knight, Holford Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Danman, Hon. R. D. Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Remer, John R. Smithers, Waldron Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor) Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Ropner, Colonel L. Soper, Richard Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Rosbotham, Sir Samuel Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Ross, Ronald D. Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Spens, William Patrick Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde) Wayland, Sir William A.
Runge, Norah Cecil Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Stevenson, James Wells, Sydney Richard
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Stones, James Weymouth, Viscount
Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Storey, Samuel White, Henry Graham
Rutherford, John (Edmonton) Stourton, Hon. John J. Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l) Strauss, Edward A. Whyte, Jardine Bell
Salmon, Sir Isidore, Strickland, Captain W. F. Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Salt, Edward W. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Wills, Wilfrid D.
Samuel, Rt. Hon, Sir H. (Darwon) Summersby, Charles H. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Sutcliffe, Harold Wise, Alfred R.
Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Tate, Mavis Constance Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Savery, Samuel Servington Templeton, William P. Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Scone, Lord Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford) Worthington, Dr. John V.
Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Thompson, Luke Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Thorp, Linton Theodore
Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Skelton, Archibald Noel Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.) Sir George Penny and Lord
Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.) Touche, Gordon Cosmo Erskine.
Smith-Carington, Neville W. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Groves, Thomas E. Maxton, James
Attlee, Clement Richard Grundy, Thomas W. Milner, Major James
Banfield, John William Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Nathan, Major H. L.
Batey, Joseph Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Price, Gabriel
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hicks, Ernest George Salter, Dr. Alfred
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Thorne, William James
Cape, Thomas Jenkins, Sir William Tinker, John Joseph
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Wallhead, Richard C.
Cove, William G. Kirkwood, David Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Daggar, George Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Edwards, Charles McEntee, Valentine L.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McGovern, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.

I beg to move, in page 1. line 11, at the end, to insert the words: (2) Where a proclamation has been made the occasion thereof shall forthwith be communicated to Parliament and, if Parliament is then separated by such adjournment or prorogation as will not expire within five days, a proclamation shall be issued for the meeting of Parliament within five days, and Parliament shall accordingly meet and sit upon the day appointed by that proclamation, and shall continue to sit and act in like manner as if it had stood adjourned or prorogued to the same day.

In my opinion the proposals in this Bill abrogate the powers of Parliament in this matter, and I feel that the Amendment which is to be submitted by the Government does not meet the situation in anything like the same way as this Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 41; Noes, 284.

Division No. 125.] AYES. [6.41 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grundy, Thomas W. Milner, Major James
Attlee, Clement Richard Halt, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Nathan, Major H. L.
Banfield, John William Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Price, Gabriel
Batey, Joseph Hicks, Ernest George Salter, Dr. Alfred
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hirst, George Henry Thorne, William James
Buchanan, George Jenkins, Sir William Tinker, John Joseph
Cape, Thomas John, William Wallhead, Richard C.
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Williams. David (Swansea, East)
Cove, William G. Kirkwood, David Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Daggar, George Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William
Edwards, Charles McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Mr. Groves and Mr. D. Graham.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maxton, James
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles Ford, Sir Patrick J. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M. Forestier-Walker, Sir Leolin Marsden, Commander Arthur
Alexander, Sir William Fox, Sir Gifford Martin, Thomas B.
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh) Fremantle, Sir Franc[...]s Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Fuller, Captain A. G. Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Gillett, Sir George Masterman Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Aske, Sir Robert William Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Meller, Richard James
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Glossop, C. W. H. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Atholl, Duchess of Gluckstein, Louis Halle Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Atkinson, Cyril Goff, Sir Park Milne, Charles
Balley, Eric Alfred George Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mitcheson, G. G.
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Gower, Sir Robert Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Moreing, Adrian C.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'.W.) Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Grimston, R. V. Morrison, William Shepherd
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th.C.) Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Moss, Captain H. J.
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Gunston, Captain D. W. Muirhead, Major A. J.
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Guy, J. C. Morrison Munro, Patrick
Bernays, Robert Hales, Harold K. Nall-Cain, Hon. Ronald
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Blindell, James Hanbury, Cecil Newton, Sir Douglas George C.
Boothby, Robert John Graham Hanley, Dennis A. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Harbord, Arthur Nunn, William
Boyce, H. Leslie Harris, Sir Percy Palmer, Francis Noel
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hartington, Marquess of Patrick, Colin M.
Briant, Frank Hartland, George A. Peake, Captain Osbert
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Hastam, Henry (Horncastle) Pearson, William G.
Broadbent, Colonel John Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Peat, Charles U.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'ptn, Bilston)
Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.{Berks.,Newb'y) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Pickering, Ernest H.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Potter, John
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Hepworth, Joseph Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Burnett, John George Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Procter, Major Henry Adam
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Holdsworth, Herbert Pybus, Percy John
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hope. Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hopkinson, Austin Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Hornby, Frank Ramsay, T. B. w. (Western Isles)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Horobin, Ian M. Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Horsbrugh, Florence Ray, Sir William
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm.,W) Howard, Tom Forrest Rea, Walter Russell
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.) Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Clarke, Frank Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Remer, John R.
Clayton, Dr. George C. Hume, Sir George Hopwood Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ropner, Colonel L.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Ross, Ronald D.
Conant, R. J. E. Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Cooke, Douglas James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Copeland, Ida Jennings, Roland Runge, Norah Cecil
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Cowan, D. M. Ker, J. Campbell Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cranborne, Viscount Knight, Holford Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Crooke, J. Smedley Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Law, Sir Alfred Salmon, Sir Isidore
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Leckie, J. A. Salt, Edward W.
Cross, R. H. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Liddall, Walter S. Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil) Lindsay, Noel Ker Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Dawson, Sir Philip Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Savery, Samuel Servington
Denville, Alfred Lloyd, Geoffrey Scone, Lord
Dickie, John P. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Donner, P. W. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Drewe, Cedric Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Duckworth, George A. V. Lyons, Abraham Montagu Skelton, Archibald Noel
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Mabane, William Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-In-F.)
Eastwood, John Francis MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Eden, Robert Anthony McCorquodale, M. S. Smithers, Waldron
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham) Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (O. of W.) Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard McKie, John Hamilton Soper, Richard
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) Magnay, Thomas Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Maitland, Adam Spens, William Patrick
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Thorp, Linton Theodore Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Stevenson, James Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Stones, James Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Strauss, Edward A. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Strickland, Captain W. F. Turton, Robert Hugh Wise, Alfred R.
Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Wallace, John (Dunfermline) Worthington, Dr. John V.
Summersby, Charles H. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Sutcliffe, Harold Wells, Sydney Richard Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Tate, Mavis Constance Weymouth, Viscount
Templeton, William p. White, Henry Graham TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford) Whiteside, Borras Noel H. Sir George Penny and Lieut-
Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Whyte, Jardine Bell Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

6.52 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 2, line 27, at the end, to add the words: (7) A proclamation under this Act, other than a proclamation revoking a previous proclamation, shall cease to have effect at the expiration of three months from the making thereof; hut, if before the expiration of the said period of three months a Resolution is passed by each House of Parliament praying that the proclamation be continued in force, either for such period as may be specified in the Resolution or until a further Resolution praying that it be revoked is passed by each House, it shall be lawful for His Majesty by further proclamation to continue it in force in accordance with the terms of the Resolution, but without prejudice to his power to revoke it at any time: Provided that in reckoning any such period of three months as aforesaid, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days. This is an Amendment which my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade indicated was one which the Government would propose. I do not think I need add to any observations that have already been made in order to commend the Amendment to the Committee.

6.54 p.m.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 6, to leave out the word "either."

This Amendment is the first of three which we propose to move. I am grateful to the Government for moving their Amendment. It is agreed that there shall be a period of three months, after which this House must again be seized of the matter. It seems logical that the further period be three months; otherwise the Government might get an extension which is quite unlimited. Drastic legislation such as this should be kept under the control of the House. I do not think it would cause any serious difficulty to the Government to accept our Amendment to the proposed Amendment. It provides that an extension of the Order can last for only three months, with provision made with regard to the House being dissolved or prorogued. I do not want to elaborate the point.

6.55 p.m.


The effect of this Amendment to the Government Amendment, coupled with two later Amendments which would be consequential to it, would be to authorise the making of a Proclamation for a period which in all could not possibly exceed six months; that is to say the Proclamation originally made under the Bill would be, for a period of three months, and then, if the Amendment to the proposed Amendment were accepted, it could be extended as the result of votes of both Houses of Parliament for a further period of three months. That is the object of the Amendment to the proposed Amendment. It is obvious that if the Bill is required for the purposes for which it is designed and for which it is now solely intended to be used, there must be no doubt about the efficacy of the weapon, no doubt about the efficacy of the Act for the purpose for which it is designed; and if it were known that no Resolution, no Proclamation could be efficacious for more than a period of six months in all, it is quite easy to see that the weapon would be less potent than if the Houses of Parliament were in a position to extend the length of time by Proclamation to any extent necessary to effect the purpose in view. One can see quite easily that prisoners might be kept in custody and proceedings might be prolonged so as to tide a trial over a, period of six months, and then the powers under this Bill would be exhausted. That would baulk the intention of Parliament in bringing forward the Bill. For these reasons, the Government are unable to accept the Amendment to the Amendment.

6.57 p.m.


In the first place I would express my thanks to the Government for proposing this Amendment, which we very cordially welcome. I think that the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment to the proposed Amendment has a sound point, but he has not expressed it in the right way, and he has laid himself open to the complete reply from the Attorney-General which we have just received. The Amendment of the Government will have the effect that a Proclamation can be made by His Majesty on the advice of his Ministers and it will be valid for three months and no longer, but before the expiration of the three months the Government can come to Parliament and get Resolutions from both Houses, and those Resolutions may be for an indefinite term. The hon. Member for Limehouse says: "That is wrong; limit it to three months." The Attorney-General replies that the effect would be that the whole procedure would terminate at the end of six months, and then another Act would be needed.

Assuming for the purposes of this discussion that this Bill is necessary, assuming that a Proclamation has to be made, it is not desirable in the circumstances which we envisage to cut the whole procedure off at the end of six months. A proposal that I was going to make was that Parliament should retain power to review the matter at intervals of three months. The powers that have been conferred by this Bill are tremendous—an absolute embargo—and I can see the Government coming forward and saying, not in respect of the whole of Russian trade but of one particular part of it, perhaps timber, that the Proclamation is to terminate at the end of three months and they must get a Resolution from the House of Commons. That Resolution might have no term in it at all; it would not come up automatically for review. It might go on year after year, possibly until some Government with a different point of view came forward and moved to revoke it, or a Proclamation was issued revoking it.

I would suggest that the two points of view should be combined. The Proclamation should run for three months and no longer, but, if the Government agree that it is desirable, it should come up for review. If Parliament passes a Resolution, let that Resolution be for three months, with power of renewal for subsequent periods of three months, if it is found by the House of Commons and House of Lords that it is desirable to do so. I have suggested a form of words and handed them to the Attorney-General. I do not know whether he will be able to accept them straight away, but if he would give an undertaking that this matter would be considered on the Report stage, which is to be taken quite soon, or that in another place the right form of words would be found to achieve the purpose, I, for one, would be well content.


Is the right hon. Gentleman correct in saying that if my Amendment were accepted the whole Act would come to an end? Would it not be possible for the Government to have a new Proclamation?


Strictly speaking I have no doubt there could be a new Proclamation under the Act after the original Proclamation had come to an end, but it would not be quite right to start off at the end of six months with a new Proclamation, and in that way avoid the intention of Parliament.

7.3 p.m.


I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) will not press his Amendment. I intervened at an earlier point to secure from the Government an assurance that this Bill, introduced in special circumstances, and for a special purpose, should be used only for that purpose. The Committee received from the President of the Board of Trade a most explicit engagement to that effect. That satisfied me that the Bill will only be used for that purpose. Let us make the Bill as effective for that purpose as possible. Just let us consider the case. We have not got satisfaction; therefore the first Proclamation is issued. We hope that the passage of this Bill will bring home to the Soviet Government how strong is the feeling in this country. We hope it may not be necessary to take action under the Bill; that the right thing will be done, and all cause of complaints removed. But if that does not take place, the first Proclamation is made. That Proclamation endures for three months. If in that time we have not brought home to the Soviet Government the strength of our feeling, and have not got satisfaction from them, then I am in favour of prolonging the Act indefinitely—as indefinitely as the action is prolonged against which we protest. I think that after three months' experience, if we have then to issue a new Proclamation, it ought not to be limited in time. In the instance we are considering—the Proclamation having been made, and we not having got the satisfaction we desire during the period of three months—it is Lot merely a new Proclamation which is required, but other steps as well.

7.5 p.m.


Would the right hon. Gentleman suggest that if, during the extended period after three months had expired, the conditions were met the Proclamation would lapse immediately, or would the Proclamation continue after the conditions had been met?


The Bill is for the particular purpose of securing justice for certain British people. There is power taken by the Government to revoke a Proclamation when made, if they have got that which is the whole purpose of the Bill. Assume it to be in three months, or one month, or four months, they will revoke the Proclamation. You use the argument of force to meet conduct of force. The whole purpose of reprisal is to cause certain action to cease. I assume that a Proclamation to revoke a previous Proclamation would be issued at the end of four months, six months, or one month, as soon as satisfaction is obtained.

7.7 p.m.


I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) will not press his Amendment. It does not commend itself to the Government. The right hon. Gentleman is anxious that the Houses of Parliament should retain complete control. Before the original three months can be extended, Parliament will have to decide upon the question. Parliament may extend the period for two or three months or, as the right hon. Gentleman says, indefinitely. Parliament may pass such a Resolution, but it does not thereby set going a machine which it has no power to stop. Parliament will always retain power to revoke a Proclamation, even although made for an indefinite period. That is explicity provided for in the Government's Amendment. It is not accurate to suggest that, if a Proclamation is made for an indefinite period, the House of Commons and the House of Lords are deprived of effective control over the position. The right hon. Gentleman is anxious to have every three months a fresh decision by the Houses of Parliament on this question. I am bound to say that might leave the Government in a less powerful position vis à vis the Soviet administration. It seems to me very like the game of cat-and-mouse. The Soviet Government, if the prolongation of a Proclamation for three months was obtained, might hope for some change in the House of Commons, but if they knew that the Parliament in session at that time had power to make an indefinite extension of a Proclamation, they would be likely to pay more attention when they knew it would remain in force until Parliament saw fit to revoke it. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see that we have gone far enough.

7.9 p.m.


I do not concur in all the arguments of the Attorney-General. I think it would be useful if Parliament had to review the matter from time to time. In view, however, of what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), who has rendered such excellent service to the main object we have in view, and having regard also to what has been said by the Attorney-General when first moving the Amendment, bearing out another point to which we attach great importance, I will not, in deference to the views expressed by them, move the Amendment.

7.10 p.m.


In the event of there being a long Recess, could the Executive revoke a Proclamation in the meantime?


The Executive would not have the power to revoke a Proclamation that had been made by Parliament for an indefinite period. Parliament alone could revoke it.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.

Clauses 2 (Provisions as to licences) and 3 (Relief in case of non-fulfilment of contract due to existence of Proclamation vender Act) ordered to stand part of the Bill.