HC Deb 10 April 1933 vol 276 cc2164-5
25. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether action to protect the Jewish minority in Upper Silesia is to be taken by the League of Nations under Article 11 of the Covenant; and whether, seeing that the right of the said Jewish minority to full equality is guaranteed under Articles 68 and 69 of the German-Polish Convention of 1922, which was communicated to the League, he will make a statement on the matter?


As the right hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware, the Council of the League has laid It down that the procedure under Article 11 of the Covenant should not normally be employed in cases relating to the protection of minorities under the Treaties, and—I am quoting now— should only be invoked in grave cases which produce the feeling that facts exist which might effectively menace the maintenance of peace between nations. It is doubtful, therefore, whether Article 11 could be properly invoked in connection with the protection of the Jewish minority in Upper Silesia. As regards the German-Polish Convention of 1922 regarding Upper Silesia, I am not aware that any appeal has been made to the League Council on the ground that the Jewish minority has been deprived of the rights secured by it under that convention.


If action is taken, either under Article 11 or under the Polish-German Treaty, by any party, will that action be made public, and is not the present situation between Poland and Germany sufficiently grave to make it desirable that such action should be taken?


I do not know very precisely the form which the procedure would take, but I think that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman might be assured that, if action were taken under Article 11 to bring the question before the League, the matter would be public.


In view of the fact that a considerable amount of anxiety is at present prevailing with regard to the position of 600,000 Jewish people in Germany, could not the right hon. Gentleman see his way to consider whether this question could not be raised by himself or by somebody in conjunction with him?


The whole subject of the position of Jews in Germany is one which is receiving a, great deal of public attention, and, as I have already informed the House, I am myself already making inquiries.