HC Deb 24 October 1935 vol 305 cc327-8

(by Private Notice) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can make any statement in regard to the holding of a Naval Conference this year?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Sir Bolton Eyres Monsell)

As the House is aware, bilateral conversations have been proceeding between representatives of the signatory Powers of the Washington and London Naval Treaties to prepare the way for a Naval Conference. Both the treaties contain articles, the effect of which is that those Powers must meet in conference during the present year. This country has so far taken the initiative in arranging for the bilateral discussions, and, in view of this, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have to-day addressed communications to the Governments of the United States, France, Italy and Japan inquiring whether they are prepared to be represented at a conference to meet in London on the 2nd December. His Majesty's Government are also in touch with His Majesty's Governments in the Dominions on the subject.

The purpose of the conference would be to secure agreement on as many aspects of naval limitation as possible, with a view to the conclusion of an international treaty which would take the place of the two naval treaties expiring at the end of 1936. It is hoped, once agreement between the representatives of the signatory Powers is in sight, to extend the scope of the conference so as to include representatives of other naval Powers.