HC Deb 30 November 1938 vol 342 cc387-9
7. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Prime Minister for what purpose he intends to visit Italy in the near future?

10. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether he proposes to accept the invitation of the Italian Government to visit Signor Mussolini in Rome in the near future?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

I have gladly accepted this opportunity of following up and maintaining the personal contact which I recently made with Signor Mussolini at Munich.

Mr. Bellenger

Am I right in assuming that the right hon. Gentleman does not propose taking this House into his confidence before he embarks on this journey?

Hon. Members


Mr. Bellenger

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman this question: Will he give the House the assurance that on this visit substantial British interests will not be bartered and exchanged for his appeasement policy?

Mr. Attlee

Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to visit Signor Mussolini before there has been a cessation of intervention in Spain and of attacks by Italian airmen on British ships?

The Prime Minister

The date of the visit has not yet been fixed.

Mr. Attlee

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that is a consideration he is bearing in mind, and whether he thinks that to promote appeasement he should visit Signor Mussolini until there has been some sign of appeasement on that side?

The Prime Minister

I think that it might have a beneficial effect.

Mr. A. Henderson

In view of the fact that the Italian Prime Minister stated that he accepted in principle the intention of the Prime Minister to visit Italy, may I ask the Prime Minister, first, what he understands by "in principle," and, secondly, whether the invitation to visit Rome emanated from Signor Mussolini or from His Majesty's Government?

The Prime Minister

In answer to the first part of the question, the acceptance "in principle" meant subject to the fixing of a date: and with regard to the second part, Signor Mussolini spoke to me about a visit to Rome when I was in Munich.

Mr. Mander

Can the Prime Minister say whether he proposes to pay a visit to Burgos on the way back?