HC Deb 19 May 1952 vol 501 cc15-6
12. Mr. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now ratify the Genocide Convention.

22. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will now ratify the Genocide Convention.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Her Majesty's Government have continued to give careful study to this matter which is complicated by the fact that, as I am advised, the obligations which we should assume by accession would require that our domestic law should be brought into accord therewith. This would, in other words, involve the introduction of legislation. I will undertake, however, to do my best to secure a decision in the matter as soon as possible.

Mr. Janner

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that this question was first raised by myself in 1950, and that the last occasion on which I raised it was on 30th January? There have been as many as 36 ratifications or accessions to this particular Convention, and an assurance was given, in these exact words, on 30th January by the Foreign Secretary that: His Majesty's Government hope shortly to reach a decision on this question."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 169.] Will he do his best to see that a favourable decision is arrived at, and will he use his utmost endeavours to see that we are not, in consequence of our delay, placed in a very awkward position, to say the least of it, in relation to other people who have acceded to the Convention?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that we are placed in an awkward position because of our delay in this matter. I should have thought that the record of this country in these matters was such as to absolve us from any criticism. So far as accession is concerned, there are complicated legal matters involved because we do not believe in acceding to a convention unless we believe we can comply meticulously with its provisions, and that is a matter which has caused delay to my predecessor and myself.

Mr. Janner

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take into consideration that this matter has been considered by the International Court and that they have given a decision on the matter in which reservations could be applied? It looks very bad when we, who were a party to the original Convention itself, are not now prepared to ratify it.

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