HC Deb 29 July 1936 vol 315 cc1496-7

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Heligoland was restored to Germany after the War on the condition, accepted by Germany, that in no circumstances would the island be re-fortified, the old fortifications having been destroyed by Great Britain; that, notwithstanding this agreement on the part of Germany, the island is being rapidly re-fortified for a naval air base and submarine harbour; what representations have been made to Germany on the matter; and what reply has been received?


My Noble Friend stated on 13th July, in reply to a question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Handsworth (Commander Locker-Lampson), that inquiries had been made and that it was understood that the island of Heligoland was being fortified. The action of the German Government in this matter, as my Noble Friend clearly indicated, is unilateral, and if the matter were now to be dealt with separately, His Majesty's Government would require to formulate the most express reserves with regard to that action. My hon. Friend will, however, be aware, from what I said in the course of last Monday's Debate, that negotiations have been set on foot which, it is hoped, may lead to a fresh effort at European settlement, in which Germany would play her full part. I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friend will agree with His Majesty's Government in feeling that individual matters of this kind, though they cannot pass unobserved, should not be raised at a moment and in a manner which might react unfavourably on the negotiations to which I have referred, and thus prejudice the general settlement which we all hope may be reached.


Does my right hon. Friend really consider that the negotiations for a general settlement will be facilitated by the British Government ignoring to make representations to Germany on a matter vitally affecting British safety, which Germany had agreed should not be done?


Have not the British Government already condoned the naval rearmament of Germany by the Anglo-German Naval Treaty, and in what position are they, therefore, to protest against the provision of bases for ships?

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