HC Deb 14 May 1934 vol 289 cc1434-6

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will take steps to prevent the exportation of aero-engines or other parts of aircraft liable to be converted to military use into countries prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles from the possession of military aircraft; and, further, whether endeavours are being made to secure an air limitation convention for providing control over the use of such material?


The obligations of Germany with regard to the import of aeroplanes and aeronautical material are defined in Article 198 of the Treaty of Versailles and in the Paris Air Agreement of the 22nd May, 1926. Under these obligations Germany undertakes to prevent the import of aircraft, armoured or pro- tected in any way or equipped to receive any engine of war or apparatus for the sighting or discharge of engines of war : these obligations do not therefore affect the import of engines or other aircraft parts in general. The sort of steps suggested by my hon. Friend, even if practicable in themselves, cannot be effectively taken by one country alone. On the other hand, His Majesty's Government will continue to use their best endeavours to see that no export of material from this country conflicts with the relevant provisions of the treaties to which they are parties. The answer to the second part of the question is that the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to air limitation by convention is laid down in paragraph 15 of their Memorandum of the 29th January last.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in view of the reported uneasiness of the French Government at the large amount of aircraft material said to be going into Germany, he will consider the advisability of making a statement to the House saying exactly what steps are being taken to ensure that the material so imported is not for conversion into military aircraft?


Is it not a fact that this air material is of the same type that has been used by Imperial Airways for many years?

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

Is not the export of this material of very great benefit to the aeroplane industry in this country?


I think there is a question on the Order Paper with regard to Armstrong-Siddeley engines.

21. Mr. COCKS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a German order has been placed in this country for 80 Armstrong-Siddeley aeroplane engines; whether any representations have been made by the French Government on the subject and with what result; and whether His Majesty's Government propose to take any action in the matter?


I understand that an order from a German firm for these engines was placed with Messrs. Armstrong-Siddeley. The French Ambas- sador recently drew attention, in correspondence with my Department, to Press reports of the placing of the order in question. The fulfilment of the order does not, however, conflict with the terms of the relevant international instruments. It is proposed to point this out to the French Ambassador when replying to his above-mentioned communications.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these engines are for machines of the most powerful long-distance type, to be used to bomb London? In view of that, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his decision?


Is it not a fact that this order means a considerable increase in the volume of employment in this country?


In reply to the first supplementary question, I cannot deal with these matters, but I must repeat that the order itself is for a form of aeroplane engine which it is perfectly lawful for a German firm to order.


Is it not a fact that French firms also competed for this order?

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