HC Deb 16 February 1938 vol 331 cc1862-3
II. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that the integrity and independence of Austria are declared objects of British policy, he has any official information concerning the weekend conversations between the Austrian and German Chancellors; and, if not, will he ask to be informed of the purport of those conversations?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. I understand that the working of the Austro-German Agreement of July, 1936, has for some time past been under consideration by the German and Austrian Governments. A meeting was eventually held at Berchtesgaden on Saturday last between the Austrian and German Chancellors, and, as a result, a new agreement has been reached between the Austrian and German Governments. This new agreement has not yet been published, but a communique was issued early this morning outlining what passed: and the reorganisation of the Austrian Government has been announced in accordance, so I understand, with the undertakings reached at Berchtesgaden. There is reason to believe that other provisions of the agreement contain undertakings by both Governments on a variety of subjects, but until the actual text of the agreement is published, I am not in a position to make any further statement. His Majesty's Government are meanwhile closely following developments.

Mr. Bellenger

While not seeking to press the right hon. Gentleman at the moment, may I ask him whether he would give an assurance that the policy of His Majesty's Government in relation to the integrity and independence of Austria remains the same as that stated by him on a previous occasion in this House?

Mr. Eden

My recollection is that what I said then was that His Majesty's Government desired in Central Europe, as elsewhere, peace and good understanding. That certainly is our policy.

Mr. A. Henderson

Will His Majesty's Government stand by the joint declaration of February, 1934, to the effect that they re-affirmed the interest of this country in the integrity and independence of Austria?

Mr. Eden

I take it that the hon. Member is referring to the Stresa Declaration. That is quite true. Of course, that was a declaration by three Governments—Britain, France and Italy. Italy has not, as yet, consulted His Majesty's Government on the matter.