HC Deb 29 March 1944 vol 398 cc1408-9
2 and 4. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) if he will issue a White Paper dealing with the consultations and negotiations that took place between this country and Germany during three years prior to the war and stating who took part;

(2) whether he has any statement to make regarding the publication of documents relating to British foreign policy in the years before the outbreak of the present war.

Mr. Eden

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have decided to publish the most important documents in the Foreign Office archives relating to British foreign policy between 1919 and 1939. The documents will be published in a series of volumes which will be issued one by one as and when they are ready. The volumes will form a continuous chronological series, but in order to make available as soon as possible documents dealing with events most relevant to the outbreak of the present war, it is proposed, for purposes of publication, to divide the work into two parts; the first part to begin with the year 1919, and the second part to begin with the year 1930. The preparation of each part will be undertaken simultaneously.

Mr. Smith

That is very good as far as it goes but will the right hon. Gentleman have another look at my second Question? He will find that what I am getting at is whether he will consider issuing a White Paper in order that people may know who were engaged in the loan negotiations that took place.

Mr. Eden

That is a specific question. What I am dealing with here is giving the country full information. I do not know whether it would be wise or proper to draw up one particular White Paper.

Mr. Riley

Will the second volume, carrying it down to 1930, be published first or second?

Mr. Eden

There will be more than two volumes, I am afraid. The position is that the documents will be published simultaneously, beginning at 1919 and at 1930.