HC Deb 28 June 1935 vol 303 cc1416-7

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is in a position to make any statement in regard to the visit of the Minister without Portfolio to Rome and Paris?


I only had the right hon. Gentleman's question shown to me a few moments ago, though I make no complaint of that. I have no specific statement to make. I have not yet had an opportunity of seeing the Minister for League of Nations Affairs, but I hope to be able to make a statement on Monday if the right hon. Gentleman will put down a question for Monday. The Minister for League of Nations Affairs only arrived last night, and I have not yet had an opportunity of discussing with him the many questions that must be discussed.


I will, of course, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, put another question on Monday, but I asked your permission and that of the right hon. Gentleman, and I did my best to give him more notice, but circumstances prevented my reaching him. I did so, if he will allow me to say so, because of the statements that have already appeared in the Press as to what has happened both in Rome and in Paris. We have had occasion to complain previously of the fact that these statements are published, officially and semi-officially, and I thought that as this is the week-end it would have been well if some statement could have been made, authoritatively, here in the British Parliament. I am bound to accept the right hon. Gentleman's statement that he is unable to say anything to-day, but I do hope that we shall have an official statement at the very earliest possible moment.


I am most anxious that the House should always have the first communication, if a statement has to be made, on occasions of this kind. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the Government have made no communication to the Press, official or semiofficial. The only communication that has been made was the communiqué made by Monsieur Laval in Paris. I am told that it is in accordance with precedents that a communiqué of that kind is always made in the capital of the country in which the discussion has taken place. If the discussion had taken place here, no doubt the first communiqué would have been made here, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that there is no intention whatever of issuing communications elsewhere than in this House on the first occasion. I hope to be in a position to make some answer—I cannot undertake to say that it will be a detailed answer—on Monday.