HC Deb 08 June 1939 vol 348 cc633-4W
Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to recent official declarations in Germany that Great Britain is planning the destruction of German trade and of all the bases of German existence with a view to achieving the political and physical extinction of the German people; and whether, in the interests of good relations between the two countries, he will arrange for an expression of the aims of British policy to be broadcast in German which makes it clear that such statements are in every way incorrect and misleading?

The Prime Minister

Yes Sir. I have observed with great regret that such allegations continue to be made, in spite of many positive declarations by myself and my Noble Friend to the contrary. In my speech at the Albert Hall on May 12th and in my speech during the Debate on the 19th May I stated that any suggestions that we wished to isolate Germany or to stand in the way of the natural and legitimate extension of her trade in Central and South-Eastern Europe or to plan some combination against her with the idea of making war upon her were fantastic.

On 12th May I made it clear that it was still our firm desire that our two peoples should never go to war with one another again and that we did not desire to enter into unbridled competition with Germany either in armaments or economics.

On 19th May I said that we would not refuse to discuss any methods by which reasonable aspirations on the part of other nations could be satisfied, even if this meant some adjustment of the existing state of things, but I insisted that such discussion could only take place in an atmosphere of mutual confidence. I can only repeat my regret that declarations, whether official or otherwise, should be made in Germany which do nothing to assist in creating such an atmosphere.

I understand that the B.B.C. normally include in their German news bulletins any important statement of. the policy of His Majesty's Government towards Germany and I have no doubt that they will do so in the case of my present reply.