HC Deb 13 November 1940 vol 365 cc1677-8
1 and 2. Sir Malcolm Robertson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether the neutrality regulations of Brazil in regard to belligerent merchant shipping are the same as those which were enforced during the last war while Brazil was still a neutral country;

(2) whether, as the Brazilian Neutrality Regulations of 1914–15 effectively prevented the departure of belligerent merchantmen from Brazilian ports for the sole purpose of fuelling and provisioning belligerent men-of-war and commerce raiders, thus using those ports as bases for naval operations, any steps have been taken to induce neutral countries to adopt these or similar regulations during the present war?

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

The neutrality regulations promulgated by the Brazilian Government on the outbreak of the present war are not textually identical with those promulgated by the Brazilian Government on 4th August, 1914, but their provisions are similar. I am sending copies of both sets of regulations to my right hon. Friend. The neutrality regulations issued by other neutral Governments have generally followed the Thirteenth Hague Convention, Article 5 of which forbids belligerents to use neutral ports and waters as a base of naval operations. This is a matter to which His Majesty's Government have, of course, devoted, and will continue to devote the most careful attention, and any departure from the established rules of international law would no doubt form the subject of representations by His Majesty's Government. The provisions of the regulations issued by neutral Governments in the present war, have, generally speaking, been of a satisfactory nature in this respect.

Sir M. Robertson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that after the original neutrality regulations, issued on 4th August, 1914, Brazil issued subsequent regulations which effectively prevented any belligerent merchantman leaving a Brazilian port solely for the purpose of provisioning belligerent cruisers?

Mr. Butler

I am aware of the position, and I am sending my right hon. Friend copies of the two sets of regulations, so that be may be able to compare them and reach his own conclusions.

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