HC Deb 03 February 1944 vol 396 cc1393-4
46. Commander Sir Archibald Southby

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to a speech made by Lord Halifax in Washington on 28th January, in which he stated that if the people of India established an agreed constitution after the war and then decided not to remain in the British Commonwealth, we had undertaken not to overrule such a decision; and if this speech represents the policy of the Government.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

Lord Halifax's speech involves no new pronouncement on behalf of His Majesty's Government, whose declarations on this and other matters are upon record.

Sir A. Southby

Could my right hon. Friend say by whom this undertaking was given, observing that his efforts to keep India within the Empire have always met with general support throughout the country? Who gave this undertaking?

The Prime Minister

All the declarations on this subject have been made in this House.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of a statement made by an hon. Member yesterday to the effect that there was a desire in some parts of the House to attack Lord Halifax, may I say that there is no such desire at all? We merely desire to enable the House to express its opinion on matters of this kind.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

The House will recollect that I never suggested that the source of these attacks was in this House.

Mr. Granville

Is it not a fact that our Ambassador in Washington was merely repeating the sentiments and principles of the Prime Minister's Mansion House speech?

The Prime Minister

I have not read in detail the text of the speech which Lord Halifax delivered, and I prefer for the moment to let it rest there.