HC Deb 22 February 1939 vol 344 cc354-6
5. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the official statement made by the Foreign Office on 26th September last, that Great Britain would stand by France and Russia in the event of German aggression against Czecho-Slovakia, it remains the policy of the British Government to resist aggression jointly with these two countries; and what steps have been taken since September to promote the necessary contacts?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)

The statement, the terms of which were not exactly as the hon. Member describes, was directed to a particular contingency which happily did not occur.

Mr. Mander

Has there been any change since then in the willingness of the British Government to co-operate with the Russian Government against aggression?

Sir J. Simon

I think the hon. Member will see that a general question of policy cannot be adequately dealt with in a supplementary answer.

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, before his conversations do take place, he will seek- definite proof from the Soviet Government that Soviet revolutionary aggression has definitely ceased against the British Empire?

Captain McEwen

Is it not the fact that Russia is apt to be more dangerous as a friend than an enemy?

Mr. Thurtle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that nowadays we want all the friends we can get?

Mr. Wise

Will my right hon. Friend inquire from the hon. Member of which countries the hon. Member would like Russia to violate the neutrality in order to come to the help of Czecho-Slovakia?

10. Sir Percy Harris

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the Czech Government have been told they must hand over to the German interests 70 per cent. of the shares of the Wilko-witz Ironworks, near Teschen; that share majorities are also demanded in the Skoda Works, the Brno Works, where the Bren machine-guns are made, and the Oerlikon Works, where anti-aircraft guns are produced; and what steps he proposes to take to put a stop to this interference in the internal affairs of Czecho-Slovakia, which is contrary to the Munich Agreement?

Mr. Butler

The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the negative. The last part does not, therefore, arise.

Sir P. Harris

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that these figures have appeared in a paper which supports the Government and has a very large circulation, and that there is every reason to believe that these facts are correct? Will he inquire, so as to be able to give me the information: and will he make it quite clear that the Government do not countenance any interference with the internal, political and economic affairs of Czecho-Slovakia?

Mr. Butler

I have no reason to believe that the information contained in the question of the hon. Gentleman is correct, but if he has any detailed information to give me I will certainly consider it carefully.

Mr. Kirkwood

Is the Minister aware that we were getting armour-plate from Czecho-Slovakia before Germany entered that country, and that we are not getting, it now, and cannot get it?