HC Deb 15 February 1937 vol 320 cc815-6

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:

6. Mr. Vyvyan Adams

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, to dispel ill-founded German expectancy, he will state in unmistakable terms that His Majesty's Government cannot contemplate the cession to Nazi Germany of any territory whatsoever under British political control?

Lieut.-Colonel Moore

Before this question is asked, may I ask whether it is correct and in order to put adjectives into questions such as "ill-founded"? After all, it is an expression of opinion?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member who asks the question makes himself responsible for these statements.

Viscount Cranborne

As has been previously stated, His Majesty's Government have not considered and are not considering such a transfer.

Mr. Adams

Have discussions been proceeding on the matter?

Viscount Cranborne

That is inherent in my answer. I have said it is not under discussion.

Mr. Adams

May I conclude from that answer that newspaper reports that the matter is open to discussion are ill-founded?

20. Commander Locker-Lampson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can now announce the result of the negotiations between his representative and Herr Ribbentrop; and whether he will undertake that no return of Colonies or offer of overseas commercial opportunities are made without debate in this House?

Viscount Cranborne

As regards the first part of the question, my hon. and gallant Friend is under a misapprehension. The recent conversation between the Lord Privy Seal and the German Ambassador was in no sense a negotiation but merely an exchange of views on a number of topics of interest to the two Governments, such as takes place in the ordinary course of events from time to time. As regards the second part, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the concluding words of the reply given by the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. H. G. Williams) on 27th April last.

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

Is the Noble Lord aware that in the Sunday Press there appeared a statement that Britain is going to cede territory to Germany?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member cannot be answerable for what appears in the papers.

Mr. Sandys

Is my Noble Friend aware with what satisfaction the country will learn that, in spite of the many German pronouncements on the colonial question. His Majesty's Government have not yet thought it so much as necessary to consider the matter?

Sir H. Croft

Can the Noble Lord give an assurance that steps will be taken to prevent the spreading of reports which do not represent His Majesty's Government's intention or policy?

Viscount Cranborne

That is not a question which should be addressed to me.

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