HC Deb 30 November 1937 vol 329 cc1875-6
46. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give an assurance that the Government, in basing their policy on the Covenant of the League of Nations, including Articles 16 and 19, adheres to the interpretation of Article 16 given in Annex F to the Treaty of Locarno, to the effect that each State member of the League is bound to cooperate loyally and effectively in support of the Covenant and in resistance to any act of aggression to an extent which is compatible with its military situation and takes its geographical position into account?

The Prime Minister

I am certainly not prepared to offer any fresh interpretation of Article 16 of the Covenant.

Mr. Mander

Does the Prime Minister adhere to the statement made by the Foreign Secretary some months ago, that the British Government does accept that interpretation?

The Prime Minister

When we wish to depart from any policy that we have already expressed, we shall duly give notice of it.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider initiating proposals for strengthening the economic machinery of the League, so that economic sanctions arising out of Article 16 could be planned in advance, and not improvised when it is too late to do so with any hope of success?

The Prime Minister

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will put that question down.