HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1736-7
22. Mr. Robert Gibson

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the recent attack on a Spanish ship off Cromer, he will take steps to prevent missiles from guns fired in similar circumstances causing death or injury to British subjects in the United Kingdom or destruction or damage to their property situated there?

Mr. Butler

My Noble Friend's information is that no British subject was killed or injured and no British property damaged in the course of the incident referred to. My Noble Friend does not, therefore, consider that any action is called for on the part of His Majesty's Government.

Mr. Gibson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that privateers are being fitted out in many German ports, and, in view of that fact, and also in view of the fact that His Majesty's Government have not seen fit to extend the three-mile limit, is this aspect of the question not now an acute menace to this country, and are the Government content to do nothing?

Mr. Butler

I do not accept the hon. Member's view that it is an acute menace to this country, but if he has any information not in our possession to bear out his contention, I shall be only too glad to examine it.

Mr. Alexander

Had it been arranged for British warships to be in attendance?

Mr. Butler

Two British warships proceeded immediately to the scene of the incident.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

Is it not the fact that the Socialist party want to go to war with everybody everywhere?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is not this illegal privateering a violation of the rules of international law and a grave menace to British shipping in time of peace and in time of war?

Mr. Butler

It would be advisable to examine each incident and find out whether it was a breach of international law or not.

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