HC Deb 16 May 1938 vol 336 cc3-5
6. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Prime Minister whether he can make any statement on the proposals as regards minorities protection embodied in the proposed minorities statute in Czechoslovakia; and whether he will invite the League of Nations Council to consider the application of the same principles to the minorities question in other countries?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)

The proposals to which the hon. Member refers are, I understand, still under consideration by the Czechoslovak Government. I am, therefore, unable to make any statement on the subject or to give an answer to the second part of the question.

Mr. Davies

In view of the fact that similar problems arise in Poland and Italy, will His Majesty's Government see that the same sort of principle is applied to both those countries?

20. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister what representations His Majesty's Government have recently addressed to the Government of Czechoslovakia with regard to the concessions to be given to the Sudeten Germans; and whether he will give an assurance that no support will be given by His Majesty's Government to any concession which would destroy any of the effective defences of Czechoslovakia against the Germans?

22 and 23. Mr. Vyvyan Adams

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he will make it clear that the Government of the United Kingdom cannot support the Henlein demands to the Prague Government, since they are incompatible with the sovereign status of Czechoslovakia, and since they would, if granted, impair the security of that country;

(2) whether he has any statement to make about negotiations for the settlement of the Sudeten Deutsch problem in Czechoslovakia?

25. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now able to make any statement concerning the representations made by His Majesty's representatives in Berlin and Prague concerning the German minorities in Czechoslovakia?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's representative in Prague has had conversations with the Czechoslovak President of the Council and Minister for Foreign Affairs about this question. His Majesty's Government have not suggested to the Czechoslovak Government any particular measures or concessions, but have urged the desirability, with which the Czechoslovak Government is in full agreement, of doing everything in their power to further an agreed settlement of the problem. A discussion has also taken place between the German Foreign Minister and His Majesty's Ambassador in Berlin. Matters have not yet reached a stage when I can usefully make a further statement.

Mr. A. Henderson

Will the hon. Gentleman give the assurance asked for in the latter part of my question, that His Majesty's Government will give no support to any concessions which will destroy the effective defence of Czechoslovakia?

Mr. Butler

As I said in my reply, we have not suggested to Czechoslovakia any particular measures or concessions.

Mr. V. Adams

Do not His Majesty's Government resist the claim of the minority in Czechoslovakia to dictate to the Czechoslovakian Government the nature of their foreign policy?

Mr. Butler

I am afraid that at this stage I cannot add to the statement I have made.

Sir Archibald Sinclair

Do the Government realise that, in making these representations to the Czechoslovakian Government, they are assuming a heavy moral responsibility?

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the visit of Herr Henlein here during the week-end, does the Minister now admit that there is no such thing as an undesirable alien?

24. Mr. V. Adams

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that Herr Henlein, the Nazi leader of the dissident German-speaking minority in Czechoslovakia, is visiting this country; whether this visit has any diplomatic significance; whether interviews with responsible Ministers in His Majesty's Government are being accorded to Herr Henlein; and what is the alleged purpose of this visit?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I am aware that Herr Henlein has paid a visit to this country. The visit was, I understand, a purely private one, and Herr Henlein has not been received by any Member of His Majesty's Government. I may add, in particular, that the report of a meeting between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Dominions and Herr Henlein is without foundation.

Mr. Adams

Was he received at the Foreign Office at all?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir.

Mr. Shinwell

Was he seen by Sir Robert Vansittart?

Mr. Butler

I understand that Herr Henlein met Sir Robert Vansittart, with whom he was already acquainted, on a private occasion.

Sir A. Knox

Is it true that Herr Henlein met an obscure group of backbenchers during the weekend?