HC Deb 19 October 1949 vol 468 cc532-3
13. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the United Kingdom has yet signed the United Nations convention on genocide; and when it is intended that this convention shall be ratified.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

No, Sir. The exact implications of accession, from the point of view of United Kingdom law, are being studied.

Mr. Janner

Would my right hon. Friend state whether he cannot consider this very important matter between now and United Nations Day next week, so that we might show our goodwill towards the United Nations and the adoption of this convention? This is a very horrible crime, and the convention has now been agreed to by all concerned in the United Nations.

Mr. Bevin

I will look into it, but I cannot do it between now and next week. There are Departmental views concerning the application of this law which I must study.

Mr. Wyatt

May I ask my right hon. Friend in what way United Kingdom laws conflict with the convention on race murder? I cannot think of any of our laws which permit race murder in this country.

Mr. Bevin

I think it is the application of the law in relation to our practice, but I will give an answer later.

Mr. Eden

Could not we find a word which better expresses our thought than this horrible word "genocide"?

Mr. Henry Strauss

Could the right hon. Gentleman, who is himself innocent in this matter, say who invented this horribly illiterate word "genocide," and whether the United Nations proposes to continue to use it?

Mr. Bevin

I am glad to hear someone in the House say that I am innocent of something.