HC Deb 06 July 1944 vol 401 cc1308-10
47. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Prime Minister whether consideration has at any time been given by His Majesty's Government or any of its Allies of the advisability of informing the German people that if the present Nazi Government is displaced and a democratic régime emerged in the Reich in which the Allies could have faith the way would be opened for an approach towards a settlement of the problems that caused the present conflict in Europe on the basis of the principles set forth in the Atlantic Charter; and, if so, with what results.

Mr. Attlee

So far as His Majesty's Government are concerned, it has repeatedly been made clear in public statements that we shall fight on until Germany has been forced to capitulate and until Nazism is extirpated. It is for the German people to draw the logical conclusion. If any section of them really wants to see a return to a régime based on respect for international law and for the rights of the individual, they must understand that no one will believe them until they have themselves taken active steps to rid themselves of their present régime. The longer they continue to support and to tolerate their present rulers, the heavier grows their own direct responsibility for the destruction that is being wrought throughout the world, and not least in their own country.

Mr. Davies

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman this in all seriousness? Do I take it from his answer that His Majesty's Government and their Allies would not be unwilling to consider an approach for a settlement of this conflict with a democratically minded German Government; and will not His Majesty's Government, with all their vast power and wide experience of diplomacy, take the lead to do something to relieve mankind of its misery?

Mr. Attlee

His Majesty's Government's position is as I have stated and I suggest that my hon. Friend should consider that even the German people themselves must show some signs first.

Mr. Hynd

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will convey to these anti-Nazi Germans the same warnings as have been conveyed to anti-Nazis in occupied countries, that they should not take precipitate action which might prejudice the results of that action?

Mr. Woodburn

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to have his answer conveyed by wireless to the German people, so that they may be informed about the matter?

Mr. Quintin Hogg

Is not the suggestion contained in this Question a direct invitation to the German General Staff to perpetrate exactly the same elaborate fraud as they did the last time?

Mr. John Dugdale

Will the right hon. Gentleman make it quite clear that, in whatever dealings we have with any democratic elements in Germany, if they exist—[HON. MEMBERS: "If"]—we do not intend to have similar dealings with Goering to those we have had with Badoglio?

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Are we to understand from that answer that the first step the enemy must take is to abolish Socialism and introduce democracy?

Mr. Attlee

Before Germany can abolish Socialism, they must first have it.

Mr. Stokes

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether the Government intend, in the near future, to make clear to the German people the kind of treatment they will receive from the Allies when they have overthrown their Nazi elements; and does he not think that such a statement would assist them in doing so and possibly speed the end?

Sir A. Southby

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that when they thought it paid them the German people were solidly behind the Nazi regime; and will he further bear in mind that Nazism means National Socialism, and is the best example of complete State control?

Mr. Shinwell

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he appreciates that this is a most inopportune time to raise an issue of this kind and that indeed the whole Question and the answer are based on a hypothesis?

Mr. Attlee

I agree.

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