HC Deb 29 November 1938 vol 342 cc240-1
48. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister whether he will initiate discussions between the British and French General Staffs on the decisions taken at Paris in regard to Defence matters?

The Prime Minister

As regards the Paris conversations I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my replies to the hon. Members for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) and for South West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) yesterday. As was stated in the communique issued on 29th April after the visit of the French Ministers to London, the two Govern- ments then decided to continue, as might be necessary, the contacts between their General Staffs established under the arrangement reached in London on 19th March, 1936. This still represents the position.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Is it the case that the General Staffs will meet at an early date specifically to consider matters discussed in Paris in regard to Defence?

The Prime Minister

I have said that the contacts between the General Staffs which have been established will be continued.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Does that mean that no special consultations will take place between the General Staffs?

The Prime Minister

No—no special conversations.

Mr. Mander

Is it intended to hold Staff consultations with other countries with which we have contractual obligations?

66. Mr. Price

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the discussions with French Ministers in Paris, the prospect was discussed of negotiating a new commercial arrangement between France and this country along the lines of the Anglo-American Treaty?

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

No, Sir.

Mr. Price

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether conversations of any kind took place with regard to the commercial relations between the two countries?

Mr. Butler

It was not thought necessary, since the latest commercial agreement with France dates from 1934 and is regarded as satisfactory.