§ MR. ARTHUR LEE (Hampshire, Fareham)
I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the report of a Resolution, recently passed by the signatories to the Memorial on Reduction of Armaments, in which, apparently as the result of private communications with the Prime Minister, the signatories profess to have obtained justification for the hope that he will shortly make a public announcement modifying the statements which he recently made in this House on the subject of the two-Power standard, to ask him further whether the Report in question has been published with his authority, and whether there is any justification for the suggestion that the views of the Government have undergone a change since his public announcements on 13th and 23rd November.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
The views of the Government have not undergone any change, nor have I any intention of modifying the statements which I have made. My Answer to which the hon. Gentleman refers, did not announce any change of policy, but the intentions of the Government to continue to pursue a policy which has now been followed for a number of years. I indicated to some of my hon. friends my willingness to make a fuller statement on the whole subject than is possible within the limits of an Answer to a Question, and I rather deprecate these important matters being discussed in the form of Question and Answer. When the proper opportunity comes I shall hope to make a fuller statement.
§ MR. ARTHUR LEE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there would have been no disposition on this side of the House to put down Questions on this subject but for the Resolution passed by a section of his own supporters?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I do not make any complaint against anybody, but I do think that in matters of so much gravity and delicacy as the question of the two-Power standard, it is not altogether desirable that a Minister should be compelled, probably in answer to a supplementary Question, on the spur of the moment to use language which, however carefully chosen, may always be liable to a certain amount of misinterpretation.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN) Worcestershire, E.
May we understand from the right hon. Gentleman that the opportunity to which he looks forward of making a statement will be in this House?