HC Deb 08 March 1933 vol 275 cc1155-7

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the present position with regard to the export of arms to Bolivia and Paraguay and Peru and Colombia; and whether it is proposed to take the same individual action by this country as in the case of China and Japan?


Following upon consultations between the Delegations at Geneva of the United Kingdom, France and Italy, a memorandum was submitted to the Council of the League of Nations on the 27th February, suggesting that steps should be taken under the terms of Article XI of the Covenant to recommend Governments to impose an embargo on the export to Bolivia and Paraguay of arms and war material. The Council of the League is now considering this question. This embargo would not become operative until certain States which are not Members of the League, including the United States of America, impose and apply a similar prohibition of export. As regards the dispute between Peru and Colombia, I would remind my hon. Friend that the League is now endeavouring to effect a settlement under the terms of Article XV of the Covenant. Hostilities have ceased, and no question of an arms embargo arises. The answer to the last part of this question is in the negative.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is able to state the extent, character, and value of the existing contracts for the supply of arms to Japan and China, respectively?

Lieut.-Colonel J. COLVILLE (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

I am unable to supply the desired information. There is no regulation which requires arms manufacturers and merchants to advise my Department immediately a foreign contract for arms has been secured. The jurisdiction of the Board of Trade commences only when application is made for an export licence.

39. Mr. NUNN

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the terms of the embargo on the export of aeroplanes to China from this country; and whether it extends to aeroplanes designed to be used for civil and commercial purposes?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

The embargo on the exportation of war material from this country to China and Japan does not apply to aircraft of any kind. While it is true that aircraft and aircraft engines are mentioned in the Arms Export Prohibition Order, 1931, an open general licence was issued on 1st June, 1931, authorising the exportation of aircraft and aircraft engines to all destinations other than Abyssinia. This open general licence still remains in force.


Why is Abyssinia excluded?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

As the result of international agreement, which I can hardly explain in answer to a question.


Do we understand that it is permissible to export aeroplanes to Japan without licence?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

Yes, any country except Abyssinia.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the suggestions made to the League of Nations' Council by the committee of three which was set up on the question of Bolivia and Paraguay as regards the type of arms on which an embargo to these two States should be placed; and whether such suggestions are being made use of in the negotiations concerning a League embargo against Japan and China?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part I have no doubt that if there was any indication of general agreement these suggestions would be borne in mind.