HC Deb 01 February 1944 vol 396 cc1124-5
38. Sir Alfred Beit

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether the United Kingdom is, or will be, a party to the agreement signed between Australia and New Zealand, in which questions of defence and security play an important part; and whether the full text will be made available to hon. Members.

The Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Emrys-Evans)

I am arranging for the text of the Agreement, as received by telegram, to be placed in the Library. As my hon. Friend will see, the Agreement is one between Australia and New Zealand and is designed to provide for closer co-operation between the two Dominions. As my Noble Friend has stated in another place, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom welcome the decision to hold this Conference and are glad that they will have the opportunity at the forthcoming meeting here with Dominion Prime Ministers of discussing the conclusions reached.

Sir A. Beit

In view of the fact that this is the first agreement under the proposed regionalisation arrangement, is it not desirable that this country should be a party to any agreement in which matters of defence are involved, in view of our greater population, industrial and other categories than other parts of the Empire?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

This matter will be discussed at the meeting of Prime Ministers.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the Minister say whether at any stage His Majesty's Government were consulted, as this is a matter which profoundly affects the position of this country?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

No, Sir, it is an agreement between two Dominions and His Majesty's Government are not concerned.