HC Deb 02 December 1912 vol 44 c1903W

asked the Prime Minister if the effect of the Foreign Enlistment Bill now before the House will be, if passed, to authorise His Majesty's Government to ratify The Hague Convention No. 13, which by Article 6 declares that a neutral is not bound to prohibit the export or transit for either belligerent of arms, munitions of war, or in general of anything which could be of use to an army or a fleet; which, while by Articles 12 and 13 it forbids a belligerent warship to be entertained in a neutral port for more than twenty-four hours, yet allows that entertainment for a longer period at the will of the neutral Power; which, by Article 15, fixes at three the number of belligerent warships to be allowed at the same time in one of the ports or roadsteads of a neutral, but permits the number to be extended by the neutral Power at will; which, by Article 19, enlarges the right of the belligerent to take in a neutral port during war coal to fill up its bunkers to a full normal of peace time; and, which, by Article 23, makes any neutral port a place of secure detention for any prizes taken by a naval belligerent unable to secure their passage to its own ports by investing a neutral Power with the right to sequester such prizes; and, seeing that many of the rules in this Convention would diminish the sea power of this country and are officially declared to be entirely new, will he undertake to give to this House an opportunity of debating the Convention before any steps are taken to ratify it on behalf of this country?


The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the negative. The second question therefore does not arise.