HC Deb 26 June 1933 vol 279 cc1161-2

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now reconsider the decision to retain in the draft disarmament convention the reservation respecting police bombing in certain outlying districts?


asked the Prime Minister if the Government will, in view of the fact that the continued free use of aircraft is in existing circumstances the sole economical means available of discharging our treaty obligations in certain territories, maintain their refusal to assent to any proposals which may be made at Geneva for rendering impossible the fulfilment of these obligations without reversion to older forms of ground warfare involving heavier casualties?


My right hon. Friend can only refer my hon. Friends to the answers given by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council to similar questions on the 31st May last and also to the reply which he gave to the right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition, on the 30th May. The present position of this question was further explained to the House by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary in the Debate on the 13th June last and my right hon. Friend can add nothing to these statements.


While thanking my right hon. Friend for his exhaustive answer, may I ask him two questions? First, does that reservation represent the opinion of the Foreign Secretary, and, in the second place, will he ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that this reservation, however immediately convenient it may be to us, is widely viewed throughout the country not only with repugnance but also with great apprehension?


Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would ask my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary for his opinion?

Wing-Commander JAMES

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether the expression "police bombing," as applied to territories which we neither administer nor police, is not a misnomer, and would not the expression "preventive bombing" be more applicable to this method of preserving the peace in certain areas?


I will see that the point of view of the hon. and gallant Member is conveyed to my right hon. Friend.


In view of the decision announced over the week-end of Germany to build police aeroplanes, is it not all the more important that Great Britain should take action on the lines suggested at Geneva?