HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1729-31
6. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether, following the recent settlement of the Polish and Hungarian minority questions in Czechoslovakia, Germany and Italy have given a guarantee to Czechoslovakia, as undertaken by them in the Annex to the Munich Agreement?

Mr. Butler

Although the new frontiers of Czechoslovakia have now been generally settled, they have not in all cases been finally delimited. The undertaking of Germany and Italy to guarantee Czechoslovakia has not yet taken effect, nor have there so far been any exchanges of views with these two Governments as to the manner in which the proposed guarantees should be combined and as to the conditions in which they should operate.

7. Mr. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether he can make a statement on the present situation in the Ruthenian districts of Czechoslovakia?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires at Prague recently reported that normal conditions prevailed in the interior of Ruthenia, but that there had been incidents with armed bands on the Polish and Hungarian frontiers.

Mr. Henderson

Does the moral guarantee which was given in this House by the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence recently apply to the present borders of Czechoslovakia, including this province of Ruthenia?

Mr. Butler

The position in this regard remains as stated by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence.

Mr. Benn

Can the Under-Secretary tell us what is the meaning of the guarantee which is morally in force, as stated by Ministers?

Mr. Butler

The right hon. Gentleman will have had an opportunity of studying the words of my right hon. Friend.

8. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister whether the conversations in Paris will include discussion of the guarantee of the new frontiers of Czechoslovakia; and whether it is considered that that guarantee is now practicable in view of the alterations which have occurred to the frontiers proposed by the Munich Agreement?

Sir J. Simon

As regards the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Jenkins) on 21st November. As regards the second part of the question, the Munich Agreement did not propose any definitive frontiers for Czechoslovakia.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Is it not a fact that the frontiers of Czechoslovakia which are now emerging are completely different from those that were envisaged, and have the Government received any reports from the Committee of Imperial Defence as to the practicability of defending the new frontiers?

Sir J. Simon

I cannot answer the last part of the supplementary question. In regard to the first part, the line of the frontiers is not definitive in connection with the Munich Agreement, and therefore the second part of the original question is as I have answered it.

Mr. Mander

Will the guarantee apply to the new motor road which is to go throughout the whole length of Czechoslovakia? May I have an answer, as it is an important matter?

Sir J. Simon

I regret I cannot answer the hon. Gentleman's question, because it does not seem to me to have any bearing on the question on the Paper.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher rose

Mr. Speaker

There are 99 questions on the Paper.