HC Deb 16 January 1945 vol 407 cc31-2
49. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that the recent statement of President Roosevelt has cast doubt on the genuineness of the Atlantic Charter, he will make a statement on the subject.

The Prime Minister

Far from any doubt having been cast on the genuineness of the Atlantic Charter, I note that President Roosevelt is reported to have declared on 22nd December last that its objectives are just as valid to-day as they were in 1941. However, he then went on to indicate that all the objectives of the Charter were not likely to be attained immediately. I am in agreement with these statements.

Mr. Davies

Is there not a different interpretation put on the provisions of the Atlantic Charter in America from the one that the right hon. Gentleman has put on it in this country, that it does not apply to one-half the human race?

The Prime Minister

Immediately on returning, I made a statement about the application of the Atlantic Charter to the British Empire and India which was the result of very careful Cabinet discussion, and which has in no way been departed from, to the effect that the object and purpose and the principles of the Atlantic Charter were already being achieved by the process of extending self-government, which has long been in operation.

Mr. Martin

Will the right hon. Gentleman take an early opportunity of telling the House what parts of the Charter are valid immediately?

The Prime Minister

I really do not think there is any need to go into that. It has been very well described by the President as a standard of aims and an indication of the direction in which we are proceeding. It is not a law.