§ 3.28 p.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I beg to move,That, in the opinion of this House, the policy of His Majesty's Government with respect to defence is completely at variance with the spirit in which the League of Nations was created to establish a collective world peace, gravely jeopardises the prospect of any Disarmament Convention, and, so far from ensuring national safety, will lead to international competition and the insecurity thereby engendered and will ultimately lead to war.In the first place, I should like to express my regret that reasons of health, as I understand, prevent the Prime Minister from being present, and the hope that he may soon be restored to health. I am particularly sorry for his absence because it will be my duty, in the course of these remarks, to make certain strictures on the policy which he is putting forward in the White Paper recently issued. We are to consider this afternoon a very remarkable and, in my view, a very deplorable document, and certainly a very unusual document, which sets out the Government's defence policy, and before considering the actual policy contained therein, I think a few words are called for as to the occasion of its production and the form chosen for it. We have been told that a great effort was to be made to try to conclude a pact between this country, France, Belgium, and Germany on the subject of air armaments. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary was to go to Berlin, the proposal that he should go had been received with enthusiasm, and it seems an extraordinary thing that just when he was on the point of going, a paper in this form should have been issued.
I am not concerned at the moment whether the statements made in this paper with regard to German rearmament and to the war spirit in Germany are justified or not. I will deal with that a little later. But it does seem a peculiar thing that at one and the same time the Foreign Secretary should be going over for a friendly conversation and that there should be put forward a document like this which has necessarily caused some offence in Germany. I wonder whether he was consulted. I wonder because of the form of this document. It is most remarkable. It is issued, rather unusually, with initials, "J.R.M.", at the end. In looking at it and examin- 36 ing it, it does not seem to me to be a document that can have been before the Cabinet in its final form. If one applies the methods of the higher criticism to the document, one can trace more than one hand in its composition. It seems to me to be composed partly of memoranda from the Service Ministries and the Foreign Office, and partly of original composition by the Prime Minister. Just as in Biblical exegesis one can trace the different documents by the alternative use of the Hebrew words for God, such as Jehovah and Elohim, so in this document one traces the various hands by the use of the words "His Majesty's Government" and "National Government." I think that it is entirely without precedent for what we are told is a great State document to have in it a party reference like "National Government." Suppose this had read "Conservative Government," or "Liberal Government," or "Labour Government"? It is quite unusual. I traced besides a distinct difference of style in the various parts. I think that it leads off with the Prime Minister. I doubt whether anyone else could have produced such a platitude as that contained in paragraph 2:If war can be banished from the worid, these vast and world-wide interests will remain free from the dangers of attack.I should have thought that was sufficiently obvious. When one looks at the proposals for defence, one does not find a co-ordinated defence scheme. One sees the ordinary unconnected views of the Service Ministries. It looks to me as if there may have been some debate in the Cabinet over this document, and that finally a number of memoranda were handed to the Prime Minister with instructions to combine them in one document and to add a certain amount of talk about peace. I do not see how else to explain the strange lapses in terminology. It is a great injustice to the able officials of the Committee of Imperial Defence to suggest as has been suggested in the "Sunday Observer," that this White Paper emanated from their archives.
The statement opens with a relation of the efforts of His Majesty's Government in pursuit of peace, and it is right that that should be reviewed because defence policy depends on diplomatic policy. You cannot separate defence 37 from foreign affairs. The remarkable thing about the first section is not so much what is said as what is omitted. No one can call this a careful presentation of the history of what has been done to try and get security and disarmament in these last years. It is the making of a case by a lawyer, and I trace there the hand of the Foreign Secretary. It starts off by alleging the unswerving support of the League of Nations by His Majesty's Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, but what kind of League? How is the League defined? The League is a piece ofmachinery for promoting the preservation of peace by facilitating and regularising the means of international co-operation.That is the description of the League given to it by its opponents. There is no attempt to deal with the League as a great world-wide idea for building up a new world order and a system of collective security. There is no reference to the Covenant, to arbitration, to the renunciation of war as an instrument of policy, or to collective security. The League is reduced to a mere piece of machinery, a convenient sort of clearing house for foreign policies. It is not surprising that when the authors come to consider the various pacts and agreements that have been made there is no word whatever of the Covenant of the League of Nations. That is left out entirely. In fact, the first part of this document amounts to a repudiation of the League of Nation's idea. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, it is recognised as a convenient clearing house, but the basic ideas of the League are abandoned. In the next review I notice the modesty of the Prime Minister in leaving out all mention of the Geneva Protocol, but it proceeds to recite a large number of pacts—the Quadruple Pacific Treaty, the Nine-Power Treaty, and the rest. What is the use of reciting pacts when they have been broken? The statement says on page 4:It has been found that once action has been taken the existing international machinery…cannot be relied upon as a protection against an aggressor.I admire the detachment and impersonality of that reference. What it means is that when the testing time for the League came in the Sino-Japanese 38 dispute, when it had been determined that Japan was the aggressor, His Majesty's Government—or, should I say, the National Government—with other Governments defaulted on all their pledges. The Covenant, the Pacific Treaty, and the Nine-Power Treaty became scraps of paper. Of course, China is not Belgium. It is not one of those territories described in another page as on the other side of the Channel whose integrity is so important to our safety. Therefore, I suppose the pledges in this case could be disregarded. This failure to make the League effective is the real cause of the world being in the condition in which it is to-day and of there being talk of war and re-armament everywhere, whereas four years ago everyone was talking of peace and disarmament. In February, 1932, Mr. Stimson, in a communication to the League of Nations, pointed out that the Nine-Power Treaty, the Four-Power Treaty and the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty were interconnected, and that if Japan were suffered to violate China's territorial integrity and political independence a new naval race was inevitable and there would be a danger of war in the Pacific. As a matter of fact, the failure of this Government and other Governments to uphold the rule of law killed security throughout the world. From that moment re-armament became the order of the day, and the advocates of physical force all over the world were encouraged, including Hitler. The failure to make the League effective has raised up this Frankenstein that is now frightening the world. We shall be told, of course, that it is all due to the unwillingness of other countries to act. We are always told that. In international affairs our John is the only soldier in the regiment always in step. Equally false is the suggestion made later that His Majesty's Government have played the biggest part in bringing other nations into the League. As a matter of fact, it was France that brought in Russia; we only followed the French iniatitive.
Then we have the record of the Government in the Disarmament Conference. That has been dealt with at pretty great length. But there, again, we get this curious way of recounting affairs. The League meets on 2nd February, 1932, but the author of this document does not 39 mention anything till the l7th November of that year. What happened in the intervening eight months? Everybody knows that proposals were put forward by country after country—disarmament proposals by America, by Italy, by France, by Russia. Somehow or other we never managed to fall in with those plans. They were accepted, perhaps, in principle, but could not be worked out, and there never has been a whole-hearted support of the Disarmament Conference right up to this present time, when we have this Government objecting even to a very mild proposal by the United States of America dealing with the inspection of private armaments. The Government have always been against the control of private armaments. The declaration of Germany's rights is mentioned, but the failure to take any action to implement that declaration is not mentioned, and the whole dismal story of the failure of the Disarmament Conference is passed over.
We are told that we have set an example by unilateral disarmament. We have spent £1,500,000,000 on armaments when we have been practising, we are told, unilateral disarmament. It is suggested that the Government have postponed expenditure which was required if considered from the point of view of national defence alone. There is no absolute in national defence. National defence depends upon the circumstances of the time. It depends upon commitments, depends on whether a country is in an alliance or league of mutual assistance, or in isolation. What this sentence shows so plainly is that at the back of the minds of the Departments was no real belief that one could make a collective system of disarmament, and that they are all hungering to get back to the old idea of national defence.
Then we come to this statement with regard to re-armament. Germany is rearming and Japan has left the League. A pointed attack is made on Germany as re-arming and as one of those States, or, rather "the" State, which is preaching war and the war mentality, especially to her young people. Let there be no mistake. We on this side are utterly and entirely opposed to Hitlerism and the present rulers of Germany. We detest German militarism, we loathe militarism 40 in every form. But it would be a fairer statement to say that there are other countries which instruct their young in militarism. [HON. MEMBERS: "Russia!"] Yes, if in Russia, why not mention Russia? Why not mention Italy? The curious thing is the partiality with which certain countries are picked out. We on this side abominate the doctrines of Nazi Germany. We do not condone for a. moment breaches of treaty by Germany. We do not just pass by on one side, but we have from the beginning, in every discussion in this House, protested against the re-arming of Germany. But we have had a slippery slope in this matter. At the beginning of this Parliament we were talking disarmament, then they came down to the limitation of armaments, and then they came down to talking of re-armament. At the back of it all, do not forget, disarmament was to have been an all round affair. We on this side have asked that Germany should be disarmed and that we should all be disarmed at the same time. We have asked for world disarmament. Nothing that I say to-day can be construed as suggesting that we are palliating in any way Germany's action in leaving the League, Germany's re-arming or the preaching of war in Germany; but the question is, "How are you going to deal with that?" We believe that it must be dealt with not by a few nations but by the whole world. We believe in a League system in which the whole world should be ranged against an aggressor. If it is shown that someone is proposing to break the peace, let us bring the whole world opinion against her.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
We do not think that you can deal with national armaments by piling up national armaments in other countries. We do not think you can cast out Satan by Beelzebub. Here I would deal with a remarkable point, that we are adding to our armaments in order to carry out our international obligations under Locarno and other Treaties. The suggestion that greater armaments are required by Locarno was repudiated by the author of the Locarno Treaty. On the 18th November, 1925, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamber- 41 lain), in introducing that Treaty to the House, said:Not only did we do nothing at Locarno to make disarmament more difficult, but we did much to make it easier. The whole of our work must result in making that problem"—the problem of disarmament—one of greater immediate urgency and of practicability."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1925; col. 423, Vol. 188.]Locarno was to be the prelude to disarmament. What is the use of a Locarno pact if you are to have a competition in armaments among the signatories? If it be said that we are asked to increase our armaments under the Locarno Pact I would like to know who has asked us. If there were to be such a request, it should come from all the signatories to that Pact.
The Government demand an adequate standard of defence. Let me repeat that defence depends upon policy. There is no absolute in defence. The Government say that we must have adequate defenceto safeguard us against potential dangers.What are those potential dangers? They depend upon our commitments, and these depend upon our relationships with other Powers. If we are in a league of collective security we need only such forces as are necessary to meet, in conjunction with others, menace from an aggressor; if we are in a system of alliances, we have to equate the forces that are for us and the forces that are against us, but, if we propose to stand alone, we must be prepared to meet all comers. Which potentiality does this White Paper envisage? There is lip service to the League, and to Locarno, and to other pacts, and then there is a reference to increased armaments in Germany, Russia, Japan and the United States of America. Are the United States one of the potential menaces? Why is there no reference to France? Is France a potential menace? The armaments of those countries may be a protection or may be a menace; it depends upon what system you are trying to work. Are we to measure our navy in rivalry with France and the United States? Are the replacement programme and the new construction because of the menace of the United States of America or France? They are certainly not because of the menace of Germany on the seas.
42 What is the Government's standard of naval comparison? Or is this, as a matter of fact, only the old demand of a Department put forward again and again for a certain increase and a certain strength, without reference to what the situation is? The countries I have spoken of are the only countries mentioned, except Japan, and we know that the Government do not intend to take any steps against Japan, because when there was some case to take action against her under treaty, the Government, while not condoning, just noted the facts and left it at that. The section dealing with the Navy might have been written at any time before the air menace, and certainly at any time before there was a League of Nations. I do not believe that the Government stand for splendid isolation, but they have rejected the League system, and we are getting back to the old system of alliances. There is direct reference in the White Paper to the need for protecting the integrity of certain territories on the other side of the Channel. That is a very curious thing to be said by the Prime Minister. It is something new for him to realise that.
The Army increases are said to be merely to make up for certain deficiencies. I know there is to be about £2,000,000 worth of shells for guns; I do not know how many shells you will get for that money. It depends upon the prices charged by Messrs. Vickers and the rest, prices which vary very much. What is the potentiality for which we want this enormous reserve of shells for the Army?
We come to the section on the Air Force, and it opens with a most glaring mis-statement. It says:The Royal Air Force has, as its principal role, the protection of the United Kingdom … against air attack.We know from the Lord President's statement and from the statement made in regard to the Pact that there is no defence against air attack. It has been laid down that there is only the defence of counter-attack. I say to the Government "You are deceiving this country by saying that you are protecting it by setting up anti-aircraft guns or by instructing the people in anti-gas measures." I read the details of the examination of what was done by the committee set up by the League to consider gas warfare, bacterial warfare and 43 the whole matter of bombs, and the impossibility of dealing with such a menace. By protective organisation—I do not say that you cannot do something but—you cannot do anything effective. I am credibly informed that in a certain European country the proposal is that the capital should be evacuated immediately upon the declaration of war. The reality is that there is no protection against an air menace.
What is your standard to be, therefore, with regard to air forces? The air forces are being increased. You can fly in a day from one end of Europe to the other; are you going to have an air force to meet a potential gathering against us of all the air forces I If you want that you will have to adopt the lunatic logic of Lord Rothermere. If you believe in standing alone that is what you will have to do. We do not know what the proposal is in regard to air forces. We have this last suggestion of an Air Pact, which seems to show the bankruptcy of world statesmanship in which the greatest Powers of the race are to meet together and come to a pact, the basis of which is that any one of them in the civilised world may unexpectedly, suddenly and without warning, bomb the capital of another. The statement ends with another passage by the Prime Minister, which is hall-marked by the use of the words "National Government," and it says:….armaments cannot be dispensed with. They are required to preserve peace.What a contrast to his declaration:Arms have never yet saved a nation from war, nor have they given security to either strong or weak nations against attack.The old doctrine of si vis pacem, para bellum, is to be expected from a die hard Conservative, who believes in it, and he always has believed in it; but I cannot stand it from the Prime Minister. If he really believes that, the whole of his past career has been futile folly.
Let there be no mistake about this White Paper. It marks a complete change of policy. We are back in a pre war atmosphere. We are back in the system of alliances and rivalries and an armaments race. There has always been a strong force of opinion that has rejected the idea that you could make the League world-wide and that has always 44 wanted to have little separate pacts and little alliances, and the line of the Government has always been that you can have a pact here and a pact there, but that they must keep a free hand elsewhere. They have never really gone into the full spirit of the League of Nations. There is a new factor to-day, the air menace, and all talk of national defence is an illusion. The proposed pact on the air avowed that, and is founded upon the basis not of attack but counterattack. All your naval and military rivalries are useless if you cannot deal with the air menace. The section of this document dealing with the Navy merely mentions it, says that it is an increasing danger and brushes it aside. Then we have the old talk about the Navy being the first line of defence, and so forth. It is no good having a line of defence if the enemy can hop over it, and to-day we say the world has grown so small that there is no room in it for national armed forces, and particularly for national air forces and peace. You cannot have both to-day.
Weapons are too deadly to permit of the continuance of world anarchy, and it is to world anarchy that you are moving back. When you get away from the League system and collective security, you are getting back to anarchy in which every country claims to be judge in its own cause, every country claims complete sovereignty, and you are heading for the destruction of civilisation. Yet there is no doubt, I believe, that the peoples of the world are overwhelmingly in favour of peace. I do not think there can be any doubt about the people of this country. The expressions of opinion are tremendously strong. We have had the report on recruiting by the War Office. They point out the reasons for the falling off in recruiting. One reason why they cannot get recruits is because the old recruiting sergeant, "Poverty", has done his work too well, and so 60 per cent. of the would-be recruits are not fit. Over and above that they say it is due to peace sentiment—that peace sentiment which is overwhelming in this country. I believe that, despite their rulers, the masses of the people in all countries in the world are in favour of peace, but their rulers will call upon them to make sacrifices in another war, and those rulers will not make sacrifices in the cause of peace.
45 We say that you have got to sacrifice the greed and ambitions of nationalism and imperialism if you want world peace. The cause of the present unrest, we believe, has its roots in the economic situation. Everywhere are masses of people in distress, and their rulers are unable to satisfy them; therefore they preach a flamboyant nationalism, and try to hold out wonderful suggestions that just round the corner, if they will only draw in their belts and rally to the National Government, there is a wonderful time coming. That is how these masses are deluded, and at the present time we have that terrible breakdown of world economics. It was explained at the time of the World Economic Conference that disarmament and peace depended on the success of that Conference. That Conference was an utter failure, and now we are drifting back into the old ways again. We on this side are not prepared to go back to the old ways. We say that the only salvation is to look forward to a new world, and that means that we must give up our old ideas of complete national sovereignty, and that we must go forward to a united world. I believe that any time for the last four years, if the Government had really made an appeal, they would have had an immense response. After all, the people whose interests are in peace are far greater than those whose interests are in war, but they do not seem to be able to make their strength felt.
We are told in the White Paper that there is danger against which we have to guard ourselves. We do not think you can do it by national defence. We think you can only do it by moving forward to a new world—a world of law, the abolition of national armaments with a world force and a world economic system. I shall be told that that is quite impossible. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, but it is not as impossible as your policy. The nationalist and imperialist delusions that run through all this document are far more wild than any idealist dreams of the future that we hold. But we say that if there is this menace, it is not going to be met by any policy of alliances. It is not going to be met by attack. We loath and detest the military spirit, the tyrannical spirit which has shown itself all over the world. You will 46 never beat this by attack; you will only beat it by putting something far bigger in its place.
We in the Labour party have laid down the lines which we believe we should follow. We believe that the policy as outlined here is disastrous, and it is rattling back to war. The Lord President, in a memorable speech, said that the air menace must be dealt with by the young men, but if it is for the young men to deal with, he had better get out and give them a chance. Will he go to the country and ask what the young men think? I believe that the young people will reject it all over the world. This policy of the old men, this moving backwards to an anarchic world brought us to the war of 1914–1918, and will bring us to a far more terrible war unless the policy is entirely changed.
§ 4.9 p.m.
§ The LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL (Mr. Baldwin)
If the House expects me to-day to stand in a white sheet because of the White Paper, it will make a great mistake. I think that this document will be one of historic interest. It is one in which a democratic Government tells what it believes to be the truth to democracy, and I hope to show in my speech that one of the greatest perils that have met democracies in the past, and meet them to-day, is when their leaders have not the courage to tell them the truth. As I listened with great interest to the hon. Member who moved the Motion which is now before the House, I could not help thinking of some words of John Morley which always appealed to me, that the most ostentatious faith in humanity in general seems always to beget the sharpest mistrust of all human beings in particular. One so often notices that those who talk most about a new order ensuring peace—and it strikes a sympathetic chord throughout the House—are always those who exaggerate the virtues of those who do not happen to be our countrymen, and find fault with everything our own countrymen do.
The task that lies before us—and I will try to take no undue length over it—is to try to justify to the House, in view of this Motion, the issue of the White Paper and what it contains, and, incidentally, the occasion of its publication. That will necessitate my making 47 some observations about the League of Nations. I do deprecate being told that if we are making observations about the League of Nations of a friendly kind we are merely rendering lip-service. I take the view that British statesmen of all parties since the formation of the League have played their part, and more than their part, in maintaining it under conditions of extraordinary difficulty, against opposition from countries which have now left it, and they are still prepared to work, and are hopeful of working, through that League for the future. The Prime Minister both of this Government and when head of the Labour Government; my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), who is going to speak later in the Debate; my right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Lord Privy Seal, and, in a humble way, myself, have all struggled against difficulties that no one can realise who has not been face to face with them in a Government to work with, and through and for the League.
What we must remember, and what people so often forget when they talk airily about collective security and sanctions, the Covenant and so forth, is that the membership of the League is not universal. The collective system is, therefore, not complete. Two great Powers have given notice of withdrawal. They have dealt the collective system a heavy blow by so doing. One great country has never undertaken the obligations of the League at all. We desire with all our hearts the universality of the League. It is for this reason that we welcome the entry of the Soviet Union into the League. For this reason we have never ceased our efforts to try to persuade Germany to cancel her resolution, and to become once more a member of the League. Within the framework of the system, as it at present exists, we have collaborated in the promotion of reasonable security arrangements for consultation and mutual assistance. The hon. Member who spoke rather poured scorn on this. It is not a question in international politics of doing what is best—ideally best—but a question of doing what is best in the circumstances in which you work. There can be no one who, at the moment, and in the light of the facts of the last two years, can look in the immediate future for the disarma- 48 ment which we hoped could be achieved, and which we hoped would be found practicable only a few years ago.
It is difficult to look for a complete collective security in the present state of the League, and what else is left? Until a time, which we hope may come, when a system of collective security may be devised, what else is left but to try to secure this corner and that corner in the different parts of Europe until, so far as you can, you have put in the way of any possible aggressor at any future time deterrents—deterrents that may make all the difference as regards the unloosing of the dogs of war. With regard to what the hon. Member said about what he calls rearmament—a misleading term, as I shall show long before I have finished—it is not a question of the size of your armaments. We are not asking to-day, we are not proposing in this Paper, an increase in the size of our armaments except that increase in the Air Force which was fully debated last summer. What we do ask, and the necessity for which I hope to prove, is that those forces which we have, and with which we are satisfied, if the calf should come either to repel an aggressor or to fulfil obligations under pacts or under the Covenant—that those forces shall be as well equipped for the purpose they have in view as it is possible to equip them, and that they shall not be called upon either to defend a pact or to discharge their duties under the Covenant when they would be in a position that would make their task infinitely harder, their losses infinitely greater.
The House may remember a speech that I made in this Chamber, I think last November, when we discussed the question of German armaments; and I think they will remember that, although expression was given to the view that I had spoken with too great freedom, yet it is a fact that very shortly after that speech the European barometer rose, and there was a general feeling throughout Europe, not that it was set fair, but that finer weather might be expected. It was shortly after that that a great impression was created throughout Europe by the League deciding, largely with the help of our Government, on the despatch of the international force to the Saar. The result was that the plebiscite took place without the slightest disorder, without the slightest danger, 49 and a situation was relieved that was causing the greatest anxiety throughout Europe.
Almost simultaneously, and again owing to the British Government, a really alarming difficulty was solved between Yugoslavia and Hungary—a dangerous situation which had arisen out of the accusations made against Hungary on the occasion of the assassination of the King of Yugoslavia.
His Majesty's Government hoped to profit by the occasion of these settlements, agreements, or whatever you like to call them, by trying to open once more that thorniest of questions, the question of security and of armaments. For that purpose we gladly welcomed the visit of the French Prime Minister and of the French Foreign Secretary only in February. The joint communiqué issued after that visit expressed the hope of the two Governments that the progress made in the last two months would be continued. How? By means of the direct and effective co-operation of Germany. To that we adhere. The communiqué also noted with favour the suggestion for the conclusion of an air agreement among the Locarno Powers, designed to prevent the misuse of modern developments in the air—misuse which might lead to a sudden aerial aggression by one country upon another.
In the opinion of both Governments, the French and the British, the reference to the direct and effective co-operation of Germany was especially important, and we followed that up by making arrangements for a visit on the part of the Foreign Secretary to Berlin. That visit will take place in about a fortnight's time, and I should like to express the hope that by that time Herr Hitler will be in full possession of his normal strength. [Laughter.] It is a little ungenerous of hon. Members to laugh. In this weather, it is the easiest thing for the strongest of us to catch chills. I am speaking not with ease or comfort this afternoon, and the Prime Minister has really been quite unwell through neglecting a chill of this kind. He is in bed, and I am afraid may be there for a little time yet. Herr Hitler is a good deal younger man than I am, and I think that thereby he will shake it off sooner than I shall.
It is essential to remember that we all have our parts to play—the countries that 50 wish for some modifications of the existing treaties no less than those that are asked to concur in those modifications. If the former expect—and no one can complain of it—an understanding of their position and of the reasons for which they ask for modifications of the present situation, the latter may no less reasonably ask that the changes in which they are invited freely to concur should be accompanied by assurances which are essential to ensure tranquillity for all and security. That is why we thought it much better to be frank—frank in a constructive, and not in a destructive spirit. The White Paper was frank; it was not exclusive. It has been pretended in some quarters that Germany was the only country alluded to in it. That is far from the truth. The White Paper said nothing in substance which I did not say with general agreement last November. Its terms were set out, both as regards Germany and other countries, in no spirit but a friendly spirit, and in the belief that a frank understanding is the best, and, indeed, the only effective prelude to any kind of negotiation. I am more than ever convinced that we were right in the step which we took. Without frankness, no one would ever get to the beginning, much less to the end, of any effective agreement, and the sooner that stage is got over the better. I think we have got over it now, and I hope we are prepared to come to business. There is no reason why the negotiations begun in Paris and Rome, to be followed, as we hope, in other capitals, should not lead to a new era in Europe. We want them to do so; we are prepared to contribute our share to ensure that they shall do so. But the desire to create or magnify fictitious incidents, or failure to grasp facts, is no contribution at all. We cannot, indeed, hope to achieve success unless each one of us is prepared to do his share.
Those are the observations I wish to make about the League of Nations and the immediate situation in Europe. I want now to turn to the questions of armament which are contained in the White Paper. But before I do that I should like to make an observation to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is that I do not think they will help to produce that atmosphere in Europe which is so desirable by issuing papers of the nature of the papers that have been issued by the National Council of 51 Labour, headed "Hit[...] Let me ask if they think it [...] make our feelings better towards [...]gn country if they issued a [...]ent in that country headed "Lam Lansbury"? I have only mentioned it because there is one real danger that I see in that paper. I do not believe for one moment that it will make much impression in the country. The symbolic figure is nearly naked, and I would observe that this is a dangerous sentence:The economic boycott is the workers' weapon. Workers everywhere should use it against Germany.I think it is only fair to leave out the word "Germany." Let us just suppose that you are prepared to issue a notice of that kind in respect of any great country—I do not say a little country, but a great country. Suppose that you are in office, and suppose that that Government says, "If you do not withdraw that document, that is a casus belli." What is the answer to a workers' boycott? The answer is that you stand naked as that man stands there.
I wish now to say a few words about armaments abroad, before I speak of armaments at home. We are told in some newspapers, in resolutions, and in some of the correspondence which comes to Ministers, that we have destroyed the barrier against rearmament, that we are re-arming, that all the responsibility for rearmament is ours. I want the House to consider a few facts, and then try to discover where the responsibility lies, and whether it is our responsibility. But I wish to say this, that in mentioning certain facts I do so in the most impersonal way. It is not for me to award moral marks to any one country or another. A country has a perfect right to do what it thinks fit in these regards. We do not dispute it. I only give the facts, before I come to the facts about our own country.
The navies of the principal naval Powers to-day are limited by treaty, but our policy, ever since the Washington Treaty and the London Treaty were entered into, has been a policy of replacement, and not of expansion. I want the House to realise that we have not laid down blocks of tonnage to replace wartime ships. The result is that we have a considerable proportion of over-age tonnage—hon. Members opposite would per- 52 haps say of over-age statesmen, but certainly of over-age tonnage—and we shall have for some time, especially in the sphere of cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. We did that deliberately. We hoped that we, as perhaps the oldest and greatest—I am not afraid of those words—naval Power, might, by so acting, have set an example which would have had a steadying influence on foreign programmes. It has not had that steadying influence. In 1936, that is, next year, when the Treaty expires, we shall have a considerable amount of over-age tonnage. If you look at the principal partners in that Treaty, the Japanese naval personnel has increased in the four years ending 1931 from 72,000 to 88,000. We have no later figures, but we believe that the increase has been continuous. They have a far more modern navy than we have. The United States of America are building up to the Treaty limits, which we have not done, and, whereas in 1933 their naval estimates were 350,000,000 dollars, a figure at which I think they had been fairly constant up to then, they jumped to 492,000,000 dollars in the current year, and for next year they are to be 580,000,000 dollars. I just mention that in passing to show that even under a Treaty we have not found that, so far as strength goes, it has helped us to secure control. Japan, who has consistently built up to her limit, which as the House knows is a three-fifths limit at present and so far she has repudiated that for the next conference, will probably have a completely under-age fleet in 1936.
The situation has been complicated in Europe. Italy laid down two 35,000 ton capital ships last year, armed with 15-inch guns, and a notice appeared in the Press on 11th June last. They were laid down in October, and on 25th January the building by France of two 35,000 ton ships, as a reply to the two Italian ships, was forecast in the French Press. According to Press reports on 1st March, M. Pietri explained in the Naval Committee the reasons which compelled France to undertake the building of two 35,000 tons capital ships. I need hardly tell the House that that fact, which must have been familiar to everyone for months past, was announced in a London newspaper as being a repercussion of the White Paper. A large number of submarines and light cruisers 53 have been built by Powers who are not parties to that agreement, ample tonnage to enable us, had we so desired, to invoke the Article of that Treaty which permitted us to increase our tonnage, and again we took no steps to do that. We have tried all along to reduce sizes of battleships and cruisers and to abolish submarines, and we have had no support to speak of and have been utterly and entirely unable to bring about any change. We hoped when the Treaty was made that the cruisers would be limited—they were not limited in that Treaty, but we hoped they might be by agreement—to 7,000-ton cruisers with 6-inch guns, but the building by other Powers of 8,000-ton and 10,000-ton cruisers since 1931 has compelled us to increase the size, and consequently the cost, of our cruisers.
Then let us look at the land. Let us deal for a moment with Russia. There at least one might have thought, in a Government of the proletariat, we might have had an example set to the world. We find their regular army, which numbered 600,000 four years ago, has been brought up in the last four years to 940,000. The manufacture of tanks, machine guns, and heavy guns has been enormous. There were about 800 first-line aeroplanes in the air force of Russia in 1926. I mention that year particularly, because I am coming to it with regard to our requirements. To-day they number somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500. The budget estimate for this year is 1.5 billion roubles more than it was last. So far as the army goes, Japan's expenses have more than doubled in the last four years. In Italy also in the last few years, the air force has been increased by 25 per cent. and the United States estimate shows an increase of 39,000,000 dollars in the army and air arm, 76 per cent. of which goes in material.
There is one other important point the House ought to remember, and it is very important. It is this; a marked feature in many countries, and particularly in what I believe are called authoritarian countries—I believe that is the right expression—is the policy of self-sufficiency in war. That has led to comprehensive enactments for the mobilisation of the whole nation in time of war and all the great Powers in the world are engaged in preparations for industrial war mobilisation on the largest scale. That to my 54 mind is one of the least pleasant features of a very disturbing set of facts. I dislike that perhaps more than I dislike any of the features of which I have given the House information, but, if I may make one observation here, in all these cases I have detailed to the House, in no case has this country taken the lead in rearmament. That is a fact which is very important to get into our heads. Our Air Force is still only fifth among the air forces of the world. We do not seek equality with the largest. We adhere to the position which I have taken up more than once in this House, that is, equality with any Power which may be within striking distance. Apart from anti aircraft defence there is no question of any increase in the armed forces of the Navy or the Army. Other countries, in these increased estimates of which I have spoken, have during recent years been building up with alarming rapidity their reserves of every kind of war stores.
I want to say a word or two about what this country has done. I want to remind the House that in 1925—I take that year because at that time all the inflation of war service accounts left over from the War had been closed: it was the year of Locarno and we looked forward at that time to a normal time for defence—there were no particular anxieties, and I think we had then an Estimate which maintained the Forces which we had at a fairly satisfactory level. Since 1925 to two years ago the Defence Estimates decreased every year, and we spent a sum aggregating over those years of £66,000,000 less than we should have spent had the Estimates remained at the 1925 figure. In other words, that £66,000,000 has been gained at the expense of letting down our own efficiency. It was a risk that we took, that all Governments took—Unionist and Labour—with their eyes open. I ask you to contrast that sum with the figures I have given you in an earlier part of my speech. I am not going this afternoon into details of the Services, partly because of time and partly because the Service Estimates will all be before you for general discussion within the next 10 days. I will only make one or two remarks of a general nature.
I think the House ought to realise that in the Navy, a Service where personnel cannot he improvised, the personnel fell from 102,000 eight years ago to 89,000 55 two years ago, and the First Lord of the Admiralty, in introducing the Estimates, said that that was a lower figure of personnel than had existed in this country for 40 years. The replacement of battleships, if no agreement is come to by renewing the Washington Conference—or even if it is, and it is decided to keep battleships—is rapidly becoming urgent. By 1941, which is the first year by which the completed new battleships may come into existence, many of ours will be 30 years of age or over and in many respects the big ships of our fleet need bringing up-to-date and protection for anti-aircraft work that is being done rapidly both in the United States and in Japan.
Now lest hon. Members opposite should think that in anything I have been saying I have been exaggerating or alarmist, or that we are doing anything in this White Paper which we ought not to do or which might not have had to be done if they had been where we are, let me remind them of two or three observations made by their own Ministers when they were in office. First of all, the present Prime Minister in 1930, broadcasting to America and speaking about the reductions we had already made, said:We cannot go much further ahead alone. Indeed, if we cannot get an agreement we may be forced to expand.Mr. Stimson put the position most admirably before he left Washington:Too little importance to defence gives a nation a feeling of insecurity; too much gives its neighbours a feeling of insecurity.This is the kernel of the truth of the matter. And with regard to the Navy—and this is quite a short sentence—I would remind the House of what the First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. Alexander, said in February, 1931. Speaking at Newcastle on the Navy and on Disarmament, he said:I think you can go too quickly in this matter unless you can get other countries in Europe to go just as quickly as you. You will find a steady decline in our naval expenditure and a steady rise in almost every other country, and you begin to ask whether it is sane policy.Hon. Members may think that Mr. Alexander is an Imperialist. Let us come to Mr. Tom Shaw and see whether we can call him that when he spoke on 56 the Army Estimates also in 1931. I am afraid that his sentences are rather long:I stand at this Box with absolutely no reproaches as to the Government policy, but with a firm belief, based on the most careful study of the figures, based on the knowledge I have of the feelings of Socialist movements on the Continent of Europe, based on my knowledge gained from the reading of a fairly considerable slice of the journals of the Continent, based on information I have been able to get in my present office, that the only way to attain disarmament in this part of the world is by an international agreement, and that anything in the shape of a unilateral arrangement can never bring disarmament. Experience has definitely proved that example does not produce the results that I, for one, had hoped from it. I believed 10 years ago that, provided somebody set an example, that example would be immediately followed. In my opinion, the example was definitely shown, but the result did not come; and I cannot shut my eyes to the facts of life, because I hold a beautiful theory that ought to work out but does not."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th March, 1931; cols. 294–5, Vol. 250.]So much for Mr. Shaw. I wish indeed he were here to-day to take part in this Debate. The Army perhaps of which Mr. Shaw spoke so feelingly has probably suffered more than any other Service from the drastic cuts that have been made. In 1932 the annual training of the Territorials could not take place, and the field training for the Regular Army had to be cut down. What we always feel very much is that a great deal of work that is needed for such a time—and it is not militarist work but the modernisation of barracks and hutments—has had to be put back. These things, of course, will come in with this re-armament. But since 1914—and no one pretended that our Army was too large for pre-war needs, even since then nine cavalry regiments have been disbanded, 21 infantry battalions, 61 batteries and companies of artillery, 21 companies of engineers, 101 battalions of special reserve and three battalions of colonial and native troops, and the only increases have been six tank battalions and an air defence brigade, and we are told that we are rearming, and that it is our re-armament which is causing a race in armaments throughout the world, whereas in reserves and material, in equipment, in ammunition, we are insufficient. At the end of the War there were large surpluses and we have been living on these ever since.
57 What needs doing? New weapons to some extent, but all this can be discussed on the Army Vote; mechanism, coast defence which is essential for the protection of our ships and air defence in the United Kingdom. Let me say once more—and I have said it before in answer to an observation of the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee)—it is quite true that you cannot ensure immunity against air attack, but you can make it more and more difficult. That was the idea of a proposed air pact, to make it more difficult. There comes a point when attack is not worth while. We have to see that somehow or another you can make it not worth while throughout Europe. If the Army were called upon for major operations to-day, it is inadequately prepared, and no Government can put the Army or leave it in a position like that. Of the air, I do not think I need say anything. The Air Estimates are coming next week and we have debated the subject at some length only a short time ago. The House will remember how we delayed and delayed with a programme which was fixed in 1923 and how for two years—in 1932 and 1933—the whole proposition was in suspense pending the discussions at Geneva. What other country has held its hand, either in respect of air or any other armaments during the last four years? That is the story of armaments and rearmaments.
In conclusion, there are a few, a very few, observations I should like to make on the general situation. Since the War we have seen many changes, and many changes in the mentality not only of individuals but of nations. That growth of nationalism, of self-determination, or whatever you like to call it, has been very obvious, but there has been another feature which has struck me, and I think there is something in it. There is a word "status" which you hear used very often. Now I see my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) is pricking up his ears. I am serious in this matter. You did not hear much of it before the War, but just as the feelings of democracy in the heart of the individual man very often make him think more of his status, not from any conceited point of view, but from the feeling that his manhood is a thing of which to be proud and that men who do their duty in this world in whatever walk of life are all brothers and men together, all have 58 the same status, so status in national affairs has played a remarkable part. It is impossible to define it; we all know what it means. It is that feeling of status which led to that feeling throughout the Dominions, which led in its turn to the discussions with Lord Balfour—my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) appreciated it—at the time I was Prime Minister, and which led ultimately to the Statute of Westminster with all that that may involve us in years to come. This status whether you like it or not is the root of a vast amount of that discontent we are trying to meet in India. It is the question of status which makes great nations in the world want to be inferior in no degree in their armaments to any other great nation in the world. I am going to mention no names, but there it is, and the wisest statesman is he who recognises that feeling, that feeling for perfect freedom and equality between nations, where we discuss these matters with the responsibility that rests upon them. All those things are good, and we must bear them in mind in the discussions that lie ahead of us.
There is one other thing I would say, and it is this. The greatest mistake that ever was made after the War—I do not know whether anybody did say it definitely, but I know that the hope was expressed during the War, but if anybody after the War had said that the War had made the world safe for democracy, he made the greatest mistake of his life. The world has never been an unsafer place for democracy than it is to-day, and democracy is threatened sometimes from outside and sometimes from within. As I have sometimes told the House, and as I have often told meetings in the country, it is by far the most difficult form of government. It cannot function unless the whole people are sane and think and come to considered conclusions and are not swayed by propaganda and by sentiment. Believing that as firmly as I do, and believing it from my heart, I believe that this country will be the last country in the world to haul down that flag of democracy or to fail in any way. But that is all the more reason why our people should consider these problems that we are discussing to-day. It is the reason why I have always been in favour of putting the whole facts before the people, and I am perfectly certain that when they get the facts they will judge, 59 as our people always have done, sanely, wisely and rightly.
I am quite convinced of this, that if our people as a whole feel that even the modest demands of this Paper, merely making your forces that you have got efficient, no increase in the Army, no increase in the Navy, an increase to at least the nearest striking force in Air—if they are not willing to do that, then indeed I believe that the risks of our democracy perishing are great. I am confident that they will not perish and I am confident of this, that by carrying out what we have put in the White Paper, so far from being inimical to peace will help us in the times that are coming to make peace more secure. A country which shows itself unwilling to make what necessary preparations are requisite for its own defence will never have force, moral or material in this world. Let us give as near a unanimous vote as we may to-night, and let us all wish that our representatives who are going to these capitals in Europe during the next few weeks may be favoured and prosperous in their work and bring us nearer that security for which we have so long been struggling.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Sir HERBERT SAMUEL
For some years it has been urged that from time to time in this House on at least one day in the year there should be an opportunity of reviewing the Defence estimates as a whole. When Parliament takes a general survey of the situation of the country with regard to its armed forces, inevitably such a discussion must range even more widely than that. It must deal with foreign affairs in general, for it is an acknowledged and obvious fact that armaments must depend upon policy. My right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council, whose speech has been listened to, as always, with the most intense interest by the whole House, has necessarily had to deal with the general situation in Europe and in the world. We were glad to hear, in one of the earlier passages of his speech, that he did, in a very frank and outspoken declaration, renew his own faith in the League of Nations and the desirability of a collective system of security.
If I understood him aright—I had not the opportunity of taking down his words and I should be glad to be corrected if 60 I am wrong—I thought he said that at the present time no one could entertain the hope of securing an effective general reduction of armaments, and that we must proceed upon that basis. Does that mean that in the right hon. Gentleman's opinion and in the opinion of the Government the Disarmament Conference is now to be regarded as a failure—[HON. MEMBEES: "No."]—and that the curtain is to be rung down on that Conference—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—as it has been on the World Economic Conference? If not, I think it would be very desirable that the right hon. Gentleman, or the Foreign Secretary when he replies on the debate, should remove any misunderstanding on that point which may perhaps have arisen from that particular observation of my right hon. Friend, which might perhaps cause some apprehension in other countries as well as in our own.
There was one omission from the right hon. Gentleman's speech in urging the adoption of the proposals in the White Paper and an increase in all three of our Defence Services. He did not to-day pursue the line of argument which he pursued in our last debate in July on the Air Force, when he declared that it was essential to increase our armaments in order to enable us adequately to fulfil our international obligations.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
Armaments is an equivocal term. I may, unconsciously, have misled the right hon. Gentleman. I think, without looking at the context of my last speech, that I was referring to military equipment. When I said increased armaments, I did not mean increasing the size of armaments.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
The argument used on the last occasion but not used by my right hon. Friend to-day, was that it is really for the sake of fulfilling our obligations to the League that we must make ourselves strong on land, sea and air, and the White Paper in paragraph 5 states this very clearly. Also the Amendment which is to be moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), which I understand will be accepted by the Government, declares, in its final words, 61 that these increases are necessary for the discharge of our international obligations. That is a new feature of these great discussions on, defence, and it needs very careful examination by the House.
The powerful peace movement in this country has been vehemently opposed to increases in armaments, and the Government are aware of that fact. Hon. Members in their constituencies have evidence of that movement and of its strength. Branches of the League of Nations Union, the churches, women's organisations and members of all parties feel most deeply that peace is the supreme issue in the world to-day and that disarmament is essential as a means to peace. The Government, faced by that feeling, desire to turn it round the other way and would wish to secure that all that sentiment which forms part of this powerful peace movement shall acquiesce in and indeed approve of increases of armaments for the sake of fulfilling, as they say, international obligations. I can understand the Prime Minister, who in earlier days was an extreme pacifist, finding himself now the head of a Government which is proposing great increases of expenditure upon armaments—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—well, upon the Defence Forces—feeling himself greatly embarrassed in his own conscience in trying to find justifications for these increases which shall not be wholly inconsistent with his past career. Here we have the Government, in the concluding words of the Amendment that is to be moved, taking the view that we must make Britain strong in order to fulfil our obligations under the Covenant, although the Covenant itself, in Article 8, most distinctly declares that disarmament must be the road to peace. Every nation that signed that document has an obligation, for the sake of that Covenant, not to arm but to disarm.
Let the House realise where this proposition would lead us. If it can be said to be true for us it must be true for the other Powers. As my hon. Friend who moved the Motion indicated, if it is true for us it is true for Germany. If it be true that we, in order to fulfil our obligations under the League Covenant, under the Locarno Treaty, and under the new Air Pact, must have a great and powerful Air Force, it follows equally that Germany must do the same, because 62 she is a signatory of the Locarno Treaty and she is to be invited to join the Air Pact proposed by France and ourselves. Indeed, the mission of the Foreign Secretary is to be devoted to persuading her to do so. Let us see how this obligation is expressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the speech which he delivered a few days ago at Edgbaston:If we are to have the assistance of one of the great or several of the great continental air forces in case we are attacked, we must be in a position to give comparable assistance to them in case they are attacked. If we alone have no Air Force comparable to those of other nations, who would be the signatories to this treaty, then they would naturally decline to be bound to us if we could not fulfil what they would be prepared to do for us. It follows, therefore, as a corollary for mutual security that this country must have an adequate Air Force. It must have more, it must have adequate land forces and sea forces to make its Air Force truly effective.If that applies to us, clearly it applies to Germany and equally to Italy. Therefore, the contention that is being put forward by the Government is an invitation, indeed, it is a requirement of Germany, that she shall create an air force equal and comparable with our own, and supported by adequate land and sea forces. Consequently, we are reduced to this absurdity that the more aeroplanes Germany builds, possibly against France, the more aeroplanes France builds against Germany, or the more aeroplanes we build against either, under the requirements of the Locarno Treaty, the more we are all serving the cause of peace. It is a specious argument, a hypocritical argument to develop that the more we arm the more we are serving the cause of peace. I have no doubt that if some day this competitive race in armaments leads, as it has always led in the past, to war, if millions of young men are sent to agonising deaths, if we read of great ships being sunk, with all their crews, and of bombs bursting in the streets and children being gassed, and we ask why this has been done, we shall be told that it has been done in the sacred cause of peace.
Never will you get security along those lines. If any one country is enabled to feel itself secure by its own armaments, by that very fact its neighbours must feel themselves insecure. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because the absolute security 63 obtained by one country by armaments would in the event of hostilities be a threat against the others. You can never obtain complete security along that line, because the nearer you approach it the further away it moves. Not a general armament in order to fulfil obligations is needed, but a general disarmament. That is the only road to secure it. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Ministers say that it is necessary for us greatly to increase our Air Force in order to fulfil obligations under the Locarno Treaty, or under the proposed treaty for an air pact, they speak as though we have no force to contribute to the common pool that would be resisting an aggressor under one of these treaties. If so, we must be getting very bad value for the £113,000,000 which this country is spending year after year. We could contribute a Navy which is incomparably the strongest of any in Europe, and we could contribute in ease of need an Air Force which, though not the largest, is highly efficient, and a most devoted service.
The vast body of public opinion in this country which cares for peace as the supreme issue—and we believe that it is the vast majority of the people—the extent of whose feelings has been indicated by the Peace ballot, is not likely to be misled by the Government's argument and is not likely to be induced to consent to an armaments competition, to which no limit can be set except bankruptcy or war, out of devotion to the League or out of devotion to their own ideals. The only argument which can be considered seriously and might, in certain circumstances, command conviction, is that other Powers which are not members of the League are rapidly aiming and rearming and expanding their armaments and that this country might consequently be placed in a state of peril. That is the one argument to which this House might give serious attention. The White Paper, although it does incidentally mention some other countries, refers specifically to Germany, because it is known that there is proceeding in Germany a rapid and intensive rearmament in order that she may re-establish, as she thinks, her position in Europe by having an adequate force to support it. That that is true is known, I think, to all the Governments throughout Europe.
64 We have this strange position that, although that is a clear violation of the Treaty of Versailles, no one proposes to attempt to enforce the provisions of that Treaty. Even when this violation of the Treaty is referred to in the official White Paper, presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister, the White Paper does no more than say that it does not condone the violation of the Treaty. Why is it that although a Treaty, signed in this fashion after a great war, is being clearly violated no one intends effectively to attempt to intervene? For one reason, because all the other countries know that when Germany was disarmed they laid themselves under an obligation to Germany to follow that disarmament by a general disarmament. The treaty and the documents which accompanied it clearly laid down the obligation on other Powers to proceed along that line.
When it is said that we cannot afford unilateral disarmament the Germans claim all these arguments in their support for refusing to agree in permanence to their own unilateral disarmament in the presence of an armed Europe. We on these benches, and Members in other parts of the House, have no love for the present regime in Germany, a regime in which liberty, toleration and impartial justice are trodden underfoot and racial persecution rages. But it is not our business to attempt to deal with the internal government of Germany. Public opinion indeed may express itself and may have its influence, the public opinion of the whole world will undoubtedly have an influence on the course of events in Germany, but it would be a profound error for any Government or Parliament to attempt to pursue a foreign policy which is dictated by a like or dislike of the internal Government of some other Power.
For years before the War, when we had to deal with Russia, the Czarist regime was one which was regarded in many respects with detestation by large bodies of opinion in this country, particularly by Liberal opinion, but, nevertheless, when occasion required a Liberal Government felt itself constrained to enter into close relationship with Russia. Since the War the regime of the Soviets has also compelled condemnation from a moral aspect from many quarters in this country, but at the same time we believe that we must not for that reason 65 refuse to have political or commercial relations with Russia. So it is with regard to Germany. Each country has enough difficulty to manage its own internal affairs without undertaking the responsibility for attempting to manage or control the internal affairs of other countries. The comity of nations cannot work unless the principle is maintained that each country has to be accepted for what it is as a unit and dealt with as such. Therefore, in dealing with Germany if in this House opinions are expressed to the effect that Germany also has a case with regard to the question of disarmament, that must not be taken to mean any weakening in the force of our condemnation as individuals of certain measures which have been taken in that country.
Before this crisis arose, before Germany left the League of Nations, before the Nazi revolution in Germany, again and again in this House and elsewhere warnings were given that it was essential to lose no time to effect that general disarmament to which the nations were pledged at Versailles. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) again and again in the most emphatic and vehement terms warned France and our own country, and other countries of Europe, that it was impossible to maintain in perpetuity a situation in which one great State was disarmed in the presence of armed neighbours. Again and again he and others pointed out to the House, to the country and to the world, that the choice before Europe was between two courses, either a regulated and agreed decrease of armaments or an unregulated competitive increase of armaments. The first was not carried into effect, and now we are faced by the second. The consequence is that to-day we have this lamentable White Paper that has been presented to Parliament. I say lament able for one reason, because this aspect of the case is wholly omitted. Nothing is said as to the obligations of the powers under the Treaty of Versailles and the correspondence interchanged there to effect a disarmament of their own.
The whole blame is laid upon Germany. Germany has much to answer for; but she has an answer to that. She can give a reply to the accusation that the blame for the present situation rests upon her, and, as the White Paper appears to indi- 66 cate, rests upon her alone. Nothing is said of the failure of the Allied Powers to fulfil their obligations. And mark the moment that is chosen for issuing this White Paper. A more heavy-handed, clumsy-footed piece of diplomacy we have not experienced. Suppose the situation was reversed and that the German Foreign Secretary, Baron von Neurath, was on the point of coming to London to carry on difficult and delicate negotiations to arrive at an agreement on matters of European moment, and that a week before he arrived a German official paper was published to all the world with the initials A. H., which included an acid criticism of British foreign policy and a protest against what they regarded as an attempt to encircle Germany within a range of unfriendly Powers. What should we have said? We should has said, "That is another most unfortunate example of the inability of German diplomatists to understand the psychology of other people." Yet this grave error of diplomacy has been committed unhappily by our own Government. We are thankful, nevertheless, that the visit is to take place in the near future, and I hope that when the Foreign Secretary goes to Berlin he will take this message which I believe is the real feeling of the British people, that they are ready to co-operate with any country, no matter what it is, which makes for peace, and are not willing to co-operate with any country which makes for war.
The question which is put to us to-day as a nation is, "Will you vote this additional £10,000,000 or not?" That is the pith of this Debate; that is the situation with which the House of Commons is faced. I feel that we are caught in a cleft stick. If we do not consent to an increase in armament expenditure in the manner proposed by the Government, then it may be that we shall be exposing this country and the whole British Commonwealth to real danger. If the emergency did actually arise and our defences were caught in a state of unprepared ness, the nation would have short-shrift for those upon whom the responsibility would rest for that state of affairs. On the other hand, if we increase them, we are adding to the burdens on the taxpayer and to the impoverishment of the country, and placing ourselves on the slippery slope of competitive armaments 67 which in the long run has almost always led to war. Therefore, when we are asked this question, things being what they are "Will you vote for this increase or not?", we have first to present these other questions. Why are things as they are? How has this situation come about? Is this expenditure which is now proposed absolutely essential? Cannot the situation yet be redeemed in other ways?
The White Paper is a confession of the failure of the efforts of the Government as yet to achieve certain objects which, in common with the whole world, they had set before them. They must take some share of the blame for this failure. If they had been able to come to the House of Commons to-day and say, "We are glad to announce that the nations of Europe have agreed to a measure of disarmament and, as a consequence, the atmosphere has greatly improved in Europe, fears have been allayed and we are able through the Chancellor of the Exchequer to announce that our Defence Estimates can be reduced by £10,000,000 this year, and we can see further reductions in prospect so that poverty can be relieved and social measures pursued, the Government would have been entitled to claim great credit, and would have been given great credit. They would have earned the thanks of Parliament and the applause of the whole nation. There would have been an overwhelming and popular movement of relief and gratitude. [Interruption]. Certainly the Government would have claimed the credit. It would have been said that these measures had been achieved by the efforts of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, whose skilful, consistent, firm and conciliatory diplomacy had brought about this state of affairs.
Since the opposite has resulted, since there has been no agreement, since, in the words of the Lord Privy Seal, there has been an increase of nervousness in Europe, since the taxpayers are being asked to find £10,000,000 more, with further increases in prospect, then for precisely the same reasons the Government cannot escape some share of the responsibility for the situation in which we find ourselves. We have had three years of conferences and official visits, draft conventions and pacts, and at the end the result is seen in the White Paper 68 now before us. The nation can ill afford this further great sum to be devoted to the armed forces. It was hoped a few years ago that we were entering an era of reduced taxation and the prosecution of social reforms, urgently needed. Instead we find ourselves in a time of subsidies and increasing armaments. Next month when the Chancellor of the Exchequer presents his Budget to the House the effect of this will be seen in the account he must offer to Parliament. In the place of gifts or benefits to the people, which were anticipated, we have a £10,000,000 increase of expenditure on armaments. It reminds me of an observation made in one of our Dominion Parliaments by a speaker who was too eloquent. He said: "The Minister of Finance comes to this Table and opens his Pandora's box, and what comes out? The Trojan horse."
This expenditure must inevitably increase that feeling of discontent which is seething amongst the poorer classes of the population. They are told that the Government cannot afford this, that and the other for the benefit of these portions of the population, yet they will have the answer ready that the Government can find £10,000,000 easily enough for increased armaments. Let it not be said that this expenditure can be justified on the ground that it will give more employment, that it is one of the measures which can be taken which will give certain classes of people occupation. That, of course, is an obvious economic fallacy. It will reduce employment in one direction as much as it may increase it in another. A sum of £10,000,000 spent in the arsenals, dockyards and aeroplane factories is drawn from the taxpayers of the country, and means that they have £10,000,000 less to spend on commodities giving employment in other industries. This is not the end. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in a speech at Edgbaston said that we should see our expenditure upon the defence forces mounting up during the next two years. So that there he contemplates that the £10,000,000 to be found in the Budget this year, if the Government remain in office and he presents a Budget in 1936, is to be supplemented by further expenditure in the same direction.
In conclusion, I would refer briefly to the proposed expenditures themselves. As the right hon. Gentleman the Lord 69 President of the Council said, it is not possible on this occasion to attempt to go into details with regard to them, partly for lack of time and partly because other occasions will arise when each defence service in turn comes forward with its Estimates. When the right hon. Gentleman compares the expenditure in 1925 with the expenditure in 1935, he must, of course, in fairness point out that there has been an enormous fall in prices within that period of 10 years, and that consequently the whole scale of expenditure by Government Departments, as well as the scale of expenditure by industrial and other firms throughout the country, is on a very different footing, or should be. With regard to the three Services let us remember that the Naval expenditure is already £56,000,000, and that before the War, when, of course, prices were lower than now, we were adding vastly to our Naval expenditure on account of the menace from Germany, and the Government of which I had the honour to be a Member at the time, had to increase the Estimates by 60 per cent. in order to meet that menace. At the end of the War the German fleet had disappeared, and all that vast burden imposed on the taxpayer became no longer necessary. Yet we find that, while the Navy Estimates then were £51,000,000, they are already £56,000,000, and now it is proposed to put them up to £60,000,000.
Then with regard to the Army, I do not know why the Lord President should have quoted the increase in the Russian army, which really does not concern us, or the increase in the armies of Italy and France. The fact that other countries are increasing their armies has never been regarded as a reason why this country should do the same thing. Our Army is mainly required for Imperial purposes. As to its efficiency the White Paper declares that—During the years that all parties in this country have been seeking to carry out the policy outlined above, there has been a steady decline in the effective strength of our armaments by sea and land.The right hon. Gentleman said this afternoon that we had been letting down our efficiency with respect to the Army. That is contradicted by a very high authority, by the highest authority, by the Secretary of State for War, for only two years ago Lord Hailsham, who presented the Estimates for 1933 with the usual explanatory Memorandum which I 70 hold in my hand, paid a tribute to Field-Marshal Lord Milne, who was just retiring from the high office of Chief of the Imperial General Staff, in which he had served for seven years. This is what Lord Hailsham said:They have been years of extreme financial stringency, but although the Army Estimates are some £4,500,000 less than when he (Lord Milne) came to the War Office, the efficiency of the Army is higher. Good progress has been made in the policy of mechanisation, closer relations have been established between the Regular and Territorial Armies, and the strength of the Army is only slightly lower.That is in direct contradiction of the passage which I have read from the White Paper, which says that during recent years there has been a steady decline in the effective strength of our armaments by sea and land. It is a flat contradiction of what the Lord President has said with regard to letting down our efficiency. Since those Estimates were presented, and Lord Hailsham made that statement, the Army Estimates have been increased each year by £1,500,000, and now they are to be increased by £4,000,000—an increase of 20 per cent. in our Army Estimates in three years. That will require some fuller justification than that given to us this afternoon.
My last question is, cannot the present situation still be redeemed? Our duty in existing circumstances is not to despair of the League of Nations and of the system of collective control, but rather to strengthen the League and to use our utmost efforts to complete the system of collective control, settling questions as they arise one by one, as the question of the transfer of the Saar was settled, as the question of the quarrel between Hungary and Yugoslavia was settled; to encourage the formation of regional pacts, and not to abandon hope that even the Disarmament Conference itself may achieve results in various directions; above all at this moment to use all the influence of this country to arrive at a general agreement with regard to the control of the private manufacture of arms; and finally to guide our own public opinion and maintain strong in this country the spirit that seeks peace; to inoculate our own people against that most deadly and most infectious disease, to inoculate them in advance against war fever.
71 This White Paper and the whole policy on which it is based are an application of the old maxim "If you wish for peace, prepare for war." A great Conservative statesman, Sir Robert Peel, said that in the vocabulary of statesmanship there was no maxim that ought to be used with greater caution and reserve. There is one better maxim that it would be wise for this House to follow—"If you wish for peace, prepare for peace."
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Sir AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:this House, faithful to the obligations of the Country as a member of the League of Nations and desiring to secure the limitation of armaments by international agreement, recognises that these objects cannot be obtained by the method of unilateral disarmament, and approves the policy of His Majesty's Government as equally necessary for the defence of our own people and for the discharge of our international obligations.The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) about 10 minutes ago said that the question arose what he and his friends should do in respect of the expenditure now proposed. The question before us, he said, is really whether that expenditure should be Sanctioned by this House. I thought in my innocence, long as I have known the right hon. Gentleman, that before he sat down he would give an answer to that question. He sits now in a position of freedom and absence from responsibility comparable with my own. He takes full advantage of it to be critical. I have never heard him contribute a constructive idea. I have heard him say everything that he could to prejudice the consideration of the Government's case. He has not had the courage to say what action he would take in their place. The right hon. Gentleman is a very skilful debater, but he has become an even greater adept in another sport. He is so accustomed to running with the hare and hunting with the hounds that neither we nor anyone else can ever tell where to find him.
In moving the Amendment which stands in the name of myself and others, I desire to take the sense of the House upon it, and in doing so to challenge the whole basis of policy which has been proposed from the opposite side of the 72 House by the hon. Member who moved the original Motion, which was supported, as far as he supported anything, by the right hon. Member for Darwen. As I understand it, the clear contention of the hon. Member who moved the Motion is that we have no need of effective forces of our own, because we can rest our safety on a system of collective security. The right hon. Member for Darwen is never as precise as that, but he seemed to imply, if I understood him correctly, that any weakness or deficiency in our own forces at the present time was amply made up by the system of collective security, which was imperilled by any attempt to make our own forces more efficient or to increase any one of them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I have succeeded in stating his position correctly, and as the House bears witness by its cheers, that is no mean achievement.
I venture to challenge both those propositions. No one can pretend that the world at this moment is resting in comfortable security without fear of tomorrow, still more of the day after. What can collective security do, in the present state of national feeling and of world organisation? It can do a great deal. But you do not serve the interests of the League of Nations, that invaluable institution which, if it did not already exist, it would be the effort of all of us to bring into existence—you do not serve its interests by contending that it can do what it cannot do, by raising hope which it is bound to disappoint, with the consequent reaction that it is not even given credit for the contributions which it does make to the peace of the world.
Wars are of two sorts, very broadly speaking, and I think that the House should keep the classification in mind. There are the wars which I will call accidental; and there are the wars which are deliberate. There are the wars which arise out of some incident which touches the honour of a nation, which affects its flag, which inflames national passion and hurries two nations who the day before were not thinking of war with one another, into a conflict the limits of which, in these days of close communication and interaction of international affairs, it is difficult indeed to predict. That kind of war is not only rendered much more difficult by the existence of 73 the League of Nations, but the danger of it is enormously reduced. In the settlement of disputes between nations which, but for this great international court, might have led to war, or in the regulation of incidents which have occurred between one nation and another, perhaps over the crossing of a common frontier, or it may be on the high seas, the League has achieved a great success. Provided that neither of the nations concerned wants to go to war, there is no more potent instrument to their hands than the League of Nations for the settlement of any dispute which may arise and for the preservation of peace. It is easy for a disputant—and this is not one of the least of the advantages of the League—to make a concession to the assembled Powers at Geneva which national pride would not let it make to the other nation with which it was in dispute. I do not say that, even so, you have absolute security, but in the case of that class of war which I have described as accidental war the League offers you enormous security.
It is not, however, the fear of a war arising out of an incident of that kind that is disturbing the minds of men today and causing increased armaments in every country but our own—to some of which the Lord President of the Council alluded. It is the fear that there may come a time when some nation will make war, not by accident but of set purpose, in its own time, to achieve some object of national ambition, national aggrandisement or national revenge which it cannot satisfy by peaceful means. That is where the real danger lies. That is what causes unrest in the world to-day, and as against aggression of that kind it is untrue to say that the League does now, or can in any time which anyone can predict, guarantee the nation which is the victim of the attack or the world at large. By all means let us try to strengthen the collective system—I have performed my little part in past days in that direction—but do not let it be supposed that merely by multiplying pacts, by filling up what are called gaps in written documents, by defining an aggressor or by any other kind of penmanship you can prevent that kind of war from arising if ever there is a nation of that spirit which sees a good prospect of success if it throws the dice and 74 hazards the game of war. There is only one way in which you can prevent that, and it is by making clear to the would-be aggressor, whoever that may be, that in such case there will be massed against him such overwhelming force as will deny him any prospect of victory or of reaping reward from his wrong-doing.
How, then, are you to obtain that measure of security? My hon. Friend referred once again to the Covenant. The Covenant itself has shown that obligations which are universal are, in the nature of things, obligations which people are not very ready to fulfil. The hon. Gentleman once again denounced the Government for not having pursued a more active policy in the Far East when Japanese troops were sent into Manchuria. I believe that the Leader of the Opposition is going to speak in the course of the Debate. [HON., MEMBEBS: "No."] I understand then that it is the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) who is to speak, and as he is a master of clear thinking and lucid statement, I could not wish for any other speaker when he is available. I ask him to declare to this House explicitly what all these references to the Far East question mean? What was the action which this Government ought to have taken? Was it to propose at Geneva, with or without the co-operation of the United States, to enforce economic sanctions against Japan, and if that failed, or if that led to war, were the hon. and learned Gentleman and his friends prepared for that contingency? Did they mean this country to go to war? I hope we shall have a clear answer to that question.
There is a war going on in South America in defiance of the League. An embargo on the export of arms to either of the countries concerned was imposed, after much effort by His Majesty's Government. Subsequently, since one country was ready to conform to the advice and decisions of the League of Nations and the other country was not, that was reduced to an embargo against the other country only. I may say, in passing, that the history of that embargo shows not merely the diffculty of reaching international agreement, but the difficulty of being sure when you have reached agreement how all the parties will interpret it, and whether or not they will do what 75 you suppose them to have undertaken. But the embargo has failed to produce peace, and again I ask what is the conception of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite and his friends, or what is the conception of the right hon. Gentle man the Member for Darwen, of our duty in that respect? Are we to take economic steps again? They ought not to be necessary. We ought not to have to take any steps of that kind. Do they mean warlike intervention? You would not get this country, you would not get our people—it is not our governors, but our people—to consent to sending their sons out to die, for all those glorious phrases which the right hon. Gentleman opposite so used and so abused, in order to destroy Manchuquo or in order to enforce peace in South America. [HON. MEMBERS: "What does the Covenant mean?"] It is no good contending anything of the kind. If the Covenant meant that, the Covenant would be unworkable because the nations of the world, the peoples of the world, would not risk all that war means, for such a motive alone, where it is so little certain what the end of their intervention would be.
What then is the alternative? It is not to desert the Covenant; it is not to forsake the League. It is to underpin the general structure by agreements among nations in a particular region, whose fates are so knit one with another that they cannot be in different to what happens in that area and who on any aggression in that area will be found ready to help in the repression of the aggressor. That was the policy of Locarno. It is the policy of Locarno. It is the policy of the Eastern Pact which the Government are trying to promote at this moment. It is the policy followed in other regional agreements. It is not, either with Locarno or with the proposed Eastern Pact, the balance of power—though there is a good deal more to be said for the balance of power than it is popular to say to-day. It is not the balance of power, and it is not alliance. It is a mutual guarantee by countries affected by the same dangers in the same region to aid one another in keeping the peace and to help to protect one another, should the peace be broken. That is the most 76 effective way in which you can strengthen, the collective system—by concentrating forces sufficient to deter an aggressor, drawn from all the nations who are interested in the particular field of possible aggression so that no one doubts that they will act up to their obligations and will not try to explain them away when the time comes. It is on that basis that I come to the consideration of the White Paper, and of our own defence and of our international obligations.
What is our position to-day? We are still one of the Great Powers. As long as we have the will to use our power wisely and justly, we may have great influence. But if we are going to leave our own defence to other nations, what encouragement do we give them to undertake any international obligations? If we cannot make our contribution, whom do we expect to fill the gap in international security which we leave? Is Denmark to be asked to supplement the deficiencies of the British Navy, or Switzerland to make good our weakness in the air arm or Belgium to find the troops which we cannot find? I mention these small countries because the action of two of them—not Denmark, but the other two—and of the Netherlands, is perhaps more significant than the action of the Great Powers.
There are some people in this country who can swallow every criticism of our Government when it comes from foreign sources, but are extremely mealy-mouthed about any passage referring to a foreign nation in any proclamation issued by our Government. I agree with the Lord President that, provided you proceed with courtesy and with the respect due from one nation to another, no harm can come, and much good may follow, by speaking the truth. Does anyone pretend that our armaments are considered in any quarter of the world a menace? It is not because our Navy is a menace or our Army can reach the Alps that Switzerland is increasing her defence. It is not because of anything that we are doing, though it may be partly because of what we are not doing, that the Belgian Socialist party has withdrawn its opposition to the proposals of the Belgian Government for improving their national defence, and it is not from fear of any of our armaments that the Netherlands Government 77 are increasing their defences. Our Army has never been much more than a police force for the Empire, with a very small expeditionary force—I am talking of our Army in peace time, at its maximum in the years immediately before the War—for employment on the Continent of Europe in case of need or in distant fields when the defence of the British Empire was needed. Are you quite certain that if we could have doubled that expeditionary force in August, 1914, the whole struggle would not have been over in two years instead of four, that fewer lives would not have been lost, fewer hearths rendered desolate, fewer children made orphans, and fewer wives made widows, if we had been a little more alive to the dangers of the situation and made some greater preparations against them?
What is the position to-day? We could not send a similar force abroad. We could not send, I venture to say, six divisions, we could not send five, we could not send four, we could not send three, without prolonged delay. What is our position with regard to the air? I said that we are one of the Great Powers, but our Air Force is hardly more than that of a small Power. Are we still fifth among the air forces of the world? [HON. MEMBERS: "Sixth!"] I am not sure. No country is more exposed to danger than ours. We will all do our best, wherever we sit in this House, according to our lights, to preserve peace, but we can none of us guarantee it by fine phrases; we can none of us guarantee that the whole of the nations will combine in case of aggression. If war breaks out, if we become the victims of aggression or become involved in a struggle, and if the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) and his friends be sitting on the Government bench while London is bombed, do you think he will hold the language that he held to-day? Do you think that that is the defence he will make? If he does, he will be one of the first victims of the war, for he will be strung up by an angry, and a justifiably angry, populace to the nearest lamp-post. No, he will say, "All these deficiencies were left by our predecessors. You cannot conceive the state in which we found our defences. We have been doing what we could, but in the year which is all that we have had, we have been unable to repair the defects of five years of weak and inefficient 78 government." But it will not save you, if that is what you have got to face.
It is all very well for the hon. Member for Limehouse and the right hon. Member for Darwen to paint the horrors of war, or, rather, for the right hon. Member for Darwen—the hon. Member for Limehouse did not descend to that—to draw pictures of what you might do with the money that you could save if only you kept your Army in barracks in their present inadequate condition, if only you left your Air Force insufficient for the protection even of this capital, if only you left your Navy without any sort of protection against aircraft bombing. It is all very well to do that, but the country will not accept those excuses or those picas if the day of trial comes. It is the business of this House, of men of courage in it, to tell the country the truth, to call upon them to bear these sacrifices, to tell them that they are necessary for our own defence, and that our membership of the League of Nations, our promises to contribute to collective security, and our guarantees under Locarno, are worthless unless we put our forces in a proper condition and maintain a strength comparable to the dangers which we may have to meet.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Mr. COCKS
The right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) is always a very difficult speaker for any Member of this House to follow, and I always find it difficult to follow him for two reasons. The first is that I happen to have, and always have had, a very high regard and respect for his character, a respect and admiration which has been added to during my association with him in the past two years on a very important committee. The second is that at the same time I very strongly disagree with many of the views he utters, especially in the realm of foreign policy, and this is one of the occasions when that is the case. The right hon. Gentleman began his speech by praying us not to try the League of Nations too high. It was the kind of speech that he has made on many occasions during the last 10 years. He divided wars into two classes. First of all, he said, there were the incidental wars, which break out owing to some episode in which passions are suddenly inflamed, and in those cases, he said, the League can be of very great use in pre- 79 venting such a war spreading. Then he went on to say that there is another class of war, for more important than these incidental wars, a deliberate war, in which a nation had made up its mind to carry out an expansionist policy, for instance, and had prepared for war over many years. He said that such a war could not be prevented by the League.
I would remind the right hon. Gentle man that it is precisely to prevent wars of that kind that the Covenant of the League of Nations was drawn up. I have always understood that the Covenant was set up as an alternative to that kind of war. I have always under stood that, as a result of the last War, when so many millions of people were killed and such untold treasure was wasted, that the rulers of the States and the peoples behind them decided that some other method of settling quarrels must be set up; and it was because of these things and the danger of another great war of aggrandisement or revenge, that the Covenant of the League of Nations was established. If you abandon that hope, if you say that the League can never prevent such a war, you must abandon the hope of any disarmament whatever. There was a Clause in the Covenant of the League which said that there should be a reduction of the armaments of Germany as a prelude to general disarmament; but if you say that these wars cannot be prevented in that way, you will never get disarmament, because as long as that danger exists in the world, as long as there is danger of a nation making a deliberate war of aggression—
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
May I re mind the hon. Member of the words of Article VIII of the Covenant, in paragraph 1? They are as follows:The members of the League recognise that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.
§ Mr. COCKS
I am quite aware of that, and when I use the word "disarmament," I mean it in that sense, in the sense of disarmament to the lowest point necessary fornational safety and the enforcement by common, action of international obligations,80 which was the level, I imagine, to which Germany's arms were reduced. If you abandon that part of the League, if you say that the League is no use in the future to prevent such wars, you abandon any hope of disarmament at all, and all the time passed in dealing with these matters at Geneva has been absolutely wasted. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to another point. I may have missed a link in his argument, but it seemed to me rather inconsistent with what I have just repeated of his argument. He said that the only way by which a nation can be prevented from making a deliberate war is by bringing against that nation an overwhelming aggregation of force. How are we going to do that except through the League? It is the whole duty of the League of Nations to do that.
I feel that the Government have failed to work to strengthen the machinery of the League in such a way that when one nation, great or small, becomes the aggressor, breaks its treaties and launches its forces against another, the latter shall have the right to call to its assistance the forces of the other members of the League—in other words, an aggregation of forces shall be brought out in defence of law and order. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be inconsistent again here because he said that if you told the people of this country that their sons should fight on some remote soil in a quarrel not affecting the interests of this country, but only the wider interests of international law and peace, they would refuse to go. I have heard a lot of criticism of the Peace Ballot, but it does not seem to me that it gave any indication of that kind. I noticed an overwhelming majority of votes in favour of collective action, and although there was a larger majority for economic sanctions than for military sanctions there was a large majority for the latter. I will say to the right hon. Gentleman that if in future the people of this country get into such a state as to say that they will not send their sons to defend international order and peace, then, sooner or later, a war of another kind will be forced upon them against their will. The right hon. Gentleman has also spoken about Japan and I would like to say something about that in a few minutes.
81 I want to come to the White Paper. For most people, even supporters of the Government, and certainly for all those who are interested in international peace and disarmament and in the pursuit of a foreign policy for the betterment of the world, this is a sad and dismal occasion. It is an occasion which I have long foreseen because the White Paper is the logical conclusion of the complete failure of the Government's foreign policy. I say that with all respect for the Lord Privy Seal. During the last four years the Government have by their actions—but not deliberately—caused a weakening of the League and of the collective system, and they have by that means largely contributed to the unrest and the uncertainty that exists in Europe to-day. In the White Paper the Government say that it has been found that once action has been taken—they do not say what would happen if other action were taken before the act of aggression was committed—the existing international machinery for the maintenance of peace cannot be relied upon as a protection against an aggressor. Yet the Government have not only helped to weaken that machinery, but have steadily and consistently refused to strengthen the machinery by which the League can protect a country from aggression.
The whole trouble started with the rejection of the Geneva Protocol in 1925. That Protocol was the longest step the world has yet taken towards the organisation of peace. It was a great pity, and, worse than a pity, it was a great disaster that it was rejected. The Protocol was founded upon certain conclusions that were drawn up by the League of Nations after some years of investigation on the question of disarmament. They came to two main broad conclusions. The first was that no Government would ever disarm unless it could obtain security in exchange. The second was that that security could only be obtained by all nations entering into a general defensive agreement by which each of them would come to the aid of the others and that all would go to the aid of each if any one were unjustly attacked. Those were the two principles to which the mixed disarmament commission came and which the Council and the Assembly of the League adopted, and upon them the Geneva Protocol was founded. In my view those principles contain the whole 82 secret of this question; there is nothing more to be said beyond them. I believe that they are eternal truths, and that everything that has happened since the rejection of the Protocol has shown them to be true. Unless these principles are adopted and security brought about by agreement on the part of all nations to act against an aggressor, we shall not only get no general disarmament, but we shall not get any disarmament at all. If we reject those principles we reject the whole of disarmament. When that Protocol was rejected a great statesman said a remarkable thing. He was M. Briand, a great lover of peace whom I am certain the right hon. Member for West Birmingham admires. Ten years, ago M. Briand said:Only the adherence of the nations to a common protocol can induce them to renounce the competition in arms.He added that if the principles of the Protocol were abandoned the nations would gradually revert to their old habits and to the solution of their disputes by force. What is happening now ten years after? Does not that voice from the grave tell us what the reality is? It is because the Government have refused to agree to these principles and have refused to place this country behind them that the Disarmament Conference has broken down and a new armament race has begun. The Government of the French Republic have always been consistent in advocating these principles. In all the years that have passed they have never departed from them. Simultaneously, the British Government have been consistent in refusing to accept those principles. Therefore, there has been all along a complete deadlock. It existed when the Disarmament Conference opened in 1932, and with that dead lock existing there was never any hope, in spite of what some of my hon. Friends or what any Minister may say, of the Conference ever being a success. So long as the deadlock existed of one nation standing up for a security system and this country refusing to come into such a system, we could not get any disarmament. Looking back upon it I say, in spite of the heroic efforts of the President of the Conference, that it is perhaps a pity the Conference was ever held. A good many of the discussions that have taken place at Geneva have simply been not only mere word spinning, but a fraud 83 upon the hopes and aspirations of the people.
Before that Conference assembled a certain thing happened to which the right hon. Member for West Birmingham has alluded. That was the complete failure of the League and in particular of this Government in the Far East. Before that happened, in spite of the loss of the Protocol, there was still a belief in the minds of a great many people in all countries that if one member of the League were unjustly attacked the other nations would do something to assist it and come to its defence. The idea was blown to pieces by the events of 1931–32. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham and on a previous occasion the Foreign Secretary, have told the Opposition that our charge against the Government was of refusing to go to war with Japan in defence of the obligations of the Covenant and of the Nine-Power Treaty. That is not the charge. The charge against the Foreign Secretary is that when the Government could have made some effort to prevent Japanese aggression, in company, for example, with the United States of America, we deliberately refused to do so.
§ Mr. COCKS
When I had a passage of arms with the Lord Privy Seal on a previous occasion I had the document in my pocket. What I mean is that when the United States Government drew up a note in which they informed the Japanese Government that any territory annexed by her in defiance of the Covenant and the Nine-Power Treaty would never be recognised by her, it was understood we were approached to put our signature upon that agreement. Does the Lord Privy Seal take it upon himself to say that we were never approached? It has always been held that we were approached in that matter and refused to put our signature to that document, and that consequently the United States issued it by herself. What we did was to issue another note in which we said that as Japan had stated she was going to support the open door policy, 84 there was no need for us to take any action. That open divergence between the two Governments certainly strengthened the Japanese militarists.
§ Mr. COCKS
There was a lead, and we did not follow it. In fact, we took a contrary course and put America in an embarrassing position, because the reply to America issued by the Japanese Government was not in the ordinary diplomatic form. It was written in a rather ironical tone. As I am pressed, I will say that in reply to questions in the House with regard to Manchuria the Government did not say a word against that illegal invasion, and the whole tone of their replies was to encourage the Japanese. The Government's attitude was that they were indifferent to the matter and that there was nothing much to bother about. I have the questions here. I did not intend to use them, but, as I have been challenged, I will give the gist of them. On 8th February, 1932, I asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention had been called to the proclamation by the Japanese Commander-in-Chief in Manchuria that certain Provinces were to be independent. The Lord Privy Seal himself answered:I have no information beyond the Chinese note mentioned by the hon. Member, which I have seen, to confirm the idea that there is a Japanese proposal to form an independent State in Manchuria and Mongolia. The Chinese note itself referred to a statement, not to a proclamation. His Majesty's Government have made no representations on the subject to the Japanese Government.I then asked whether it would not be desirable to call the attention of the Japanese Government to the said declaration, and the Lord Privy Seal replied:The Japanese Government have given very definite assurances both to His Majesty's Government and to the League that they intend to maintain their responsibilities under the Nine-Power Treaty and also to maintain the open door in Manchuria."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th February, 1932; cols. 479–80, Vol. 261.]How odd that sounds now. On 17th February I asked whether we had any more information on the subject, and the Foreign Secretary replied:I have seen a report in this morning's Press, but I have, as yet, no official confirmation.85 I then asked:Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the Japanese Government that this country will not recognise the new State, as it would be contrary to the Nine-Power Treaty?The Foreign Secretary said:I must, of course, first make sure as to the question of fact.I asked further:Would it not be better that they should protest now rather than wait until they are faced with a fait accompli?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th February, 1932; col. 1612, Vol. 261.]On 22nd February I asked another question on the subject, and the Foreign Secretary replied:The latest information that I have received from His Majesty's Ambassador in Tokyo is that he has been officially informed that if, as is probably true, an -independent State of Manchuria has been proclaimed by the Chinese in Mukden, the Japanese Government was no more likely to recognise it than any other Government.I then asked:Seeing that the Government were warned for months about this being likely to happen, has the right hon. Gentleman taken no steps to protest against it happening?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1932; Col. 16, Vol. 262.]I would make the comment here that, seeing the Japanese Government had informed us they were no more likely to recognise this State than any other, that it was a pity our Government did not remind them of that statement when they did finally recognise the State. On 24th February the question was repeated with further details, and this was the reply given by the Lord Privy Seal:According to my information, a declaration of an independent State … was published in Mukden on the 18th February. An Administrative Council has been formed which is to formulate details of the organisation and constitution of the new Government. As regards the second part of the question—That was whether this was not against the Nine-Power Treaty—since this declaration has been made by the local Chinese authorities there does not appear to be any ground for action by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom under the Nine Power Treaty of 1922.I then asked:Is it not obvious that this State has been formed by Japan and will His Majesty's Government not take action?To this the Lord Privy Seal replied:This is not the first State that has been set up in China as an independent State, nor is it the first State since the Nine- 86 Power Treaty set up under the auspices of another Government."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th February, 1932; cols. 361–2, Vol. 262.]On 29th February we had half-an-hour's debate on the subject at the end of the day, in which I thought the Lord Privy Seal gave a very unsatisfactory reply. He said:I cannot agree that this particular action of the setting up of a Chinese Government in Manchuria would he in itself a reason for action by His Majesty's Government."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th February, 1932; col. 918, Vol. 262.]On 14th March, in reply to the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), who asked whether the Government were not prepared to recognise the new State, the Foreign Secretary replied:I did not say anything about not being prepared to recognise it, but that on present information it would be premature to take that action."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th March, 1932; col. 10, Vol. 263.]That answer seems to show that at that time he was actually contemplating the possibility that we might recognise a State set up by illegal methods. It is true that 12 months later, when the action of Japan had been condemned by the Assembly of the League of Nations, all thought of recognising Manchukuo passed from the mind of the British Government, but by that time the damage had been done. The Japanese militarists had been so encouraged that they had gone on. They had entrenched themselves so firmly that there is practically no prospect of getting them out, and now they are threatening to proclaim an overlordship of the Far East and have made claims for naval parity with this country and America which have practically wrecked the Naval Conference before it has started. We and the Government are now reaping the consequences of the weakness of the Foreign Office two years ago. I do not know whether this is usual in diplomacy, but even after Japan had been condemned by the League of Nations as an aggressor, the Foreign Secretary continued to speak fair, indeed loving, words to that foreign Government. In 1933 there was reported a speech which he made at the Anglo-Japanese Society after Japan had been condemned as an aggressor. In that speech he spoke of the continued happy relations between this country and Japan—a nation which had defied the League of Nations—and said:I will not call them relations, I want something much closer than friendly rela- 87 tions, friendly feelings, the feeling of comradeship, the feeling of co-operation in all the good work of the world.Including, I imagine, the setting-up of an independent State in Manchuria and the massacre in Shanghai. Speaking of the admiration he had always had for the Japanese he related this interesting anecdote:When returning from one of my Indian journeys—that is as near to Japan as I have ever got—when coming back from one of those pilgrimages, I endeavoured to improve my small list of foreign languages by getting a charming Japanese gentleman, to give me lessons, morning and afternoon, for a whole fortnight, in the Japanese language. On that P. & O. boat I learned to repeat, as clearly as a Westerner can hope to, little formulas like 'Ma, me mo.' and 'Ta, ti, to.' and to write it all down. On the last day, when my tutor and I were parting, he was good enough to entrust to me a Japanese dictionary, which I took as a prize for my diligence, and looked forward to improving my style. But on looking inside I failed to make out a single thing in it from the first page to the last, and my Japanese friend, observing my discomfiture, with infinite tact explained to me that all I had learned were the characters taught in Japan to children up to the age of six; after which they are abandoned in favour of characters more complicated. I can only say, therefore, that I have done my best to make myself acquainted with the Japanese language in preparation for my present task.In other words, in preparation for his present task he has learned the Japanese language of children up to the age of six, but I am afraid that Japanese diplomats and Ministers give their instructions to their agents in various countries in the adult language. It is as a result of the simplicity, if I may say so, of the right hon. Gentleman, of the "Ta, ti, to" side of his character, that the League has been defied, that the German Government has been inspired to follow the example of Tokio, and that we have to-day a White Paper on the armaments race which has started and which is bound in the end, I am afraid, to lead to tragic and terrible consequences. In my view the same criticism should be applied also to the methods by which the Government have dealt with Germany, and particularly the Nazi Government. It might have been possible, at the beginning of the Disarmament Conference, if the British Government had been willing to enter into a full system of collective security, to do some- 88 thing with the moderate Government of Dr. Bruening, but I do not see—I wish to speak with restraint, but to speak quite plainly—how it could have been possible to do anything with the Government of Germany ruled by the Nazi philosophy. Here we are in the English House of Commons, and we have a right to say these things as we believe and feel them. The Nazi philosophy is based upon force; Herr Hitler himself has told us that frankly. In a speech at Munich last March, after Germany had left the League and the Disarmament Conference, he said what the policy of Germany was to be. He said that the map of Germany had to be altered until the unification of the German people was completed. That is evident not only from his speeches, but the speeches of eminent leaders in Germany, and that is why, although I do not say the Government should not enter into these Berlin negotiations, I do not myself feel any confidence that they will lead to any good results, any more than any of the negotiations carried on with Germany over the last two years have led to any result.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
If that is the policy of Nazi Germany—if it is—what preparations would the hon. Member suggest we can take except to have adequate defence forces?
§ Mr. COCKS
I will come to that. I do not know whether the hon. Member was here when I started my speech. The way is to bring overwhelming forces on behalf of law against an aggressor. That is the principle of collective security. I do not agree with the Lord President, if I may say so with all due respect, when he expressed the view that the collective system can only be carried out when there is universality, that is to say when all the nations of the world come in. I think the mere fact that two great Powers are standing out at the present time makes it more imperative than ever to bring in the others, because the danger is so overwhelming and so concrete. I think it is for this country to take the lead, with all the other nations of the League, in strengthening that League in every possible way, and to say that we will bring our armies, navies and air forces to the defence of the League system, the defence of the system of collective security. By doing that I believe 89 it is possible not only that the danger will never come, but that the rulers of those two States, seeing they will not be able to carry out their designs by force—because any attempt would be visited not by action by one or two countries but by the massed countries of the League, of the world—will perhaps modify their policy and attempt to get by negotiation reason and argument what they will see they cannot secure by force, and eventually the militarist philosophy of those two Governments would vanish and with that the militarist philosophy in this country and Italy—
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
In the case of Japan and Manchuria, would the Socialist party have been prepared to exercise power under the Covenant of the League of Nations for collective security and have gone to war with Japan, in order to prevent her from pursuing the policy which she had every intention of carrying out in Manchuria?
§ Mr. COCKS
As a matter of fact, I do not think that it would ever have come to war in that case. [Laughter.] It is of no use for hon. Members to laugh at that. That is the view of most people. After all, are we such a small, paltry nation that the Japanese nation would want to go to war because we told her to keep the law? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I doubt it very much indeed. The prestige of this country is still high, thank God, and so is the power of this country. [Laughter.] Why do hon. Members laugh at that? If we have a strong collective system we should carry out that system despite threats that if you carry it out war will be the result. Should we refuse to go outside the door because to do so means the risk of being run over by a cab or a motor car? You have to be willing to carry out the principle of the League of Nations to the uttermost, or else as an instrument it will break in your hands for people will think you do not mean what you say.
About two years ago, a gentleman called Mr. Fisk, a bricklayer, was working on a building in South London. He was pursuing his lawful avocations when he suddenly saw an armed bandit trying to escape justice. Mr. Fisk did not say to himself, "I know there is a lawful obligation upon every citizen to go to the aid of the law, but surely it does not mean that an ordinary bricklayer 90 must encounter an armed bandit," nor did he wait until he was called, with all due formality, to aid the police in the King's name. Mr. Fisk was not a lawyer with long years of legal training behind him, he was simply a bricklayer; but he was a man of courage, resource, initiative and action. He went for his man, and in due course he received recognition in a leading article in the "Times," and I believe in a speech by the Lord President of the Council. Just as it is the duty of every citizen to go to the defence of law and order in this country, so it should be the duty of every nation in the civilised world to go to the defence of the law of the world, and for the preservation of the peace of the world, and to put its armies, navies and air forces without the slightest reluctance into the defence of law against the aggressor. By that means only shall we get peace, and by that means only can arms ever be reduced. I do not think that that will ever be done by the present Government. I am afraid it will have to be left to the Socialist Government, and I hope that it will not be too late.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
An hon. Friend sitting beside me reminded me that Mr. Fisk got a bullet in his leg for his pains, so perhaps the analogy is not quite so good as the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) thought. As I have listened to the speeches from the Labour and Liberal benches, the poverty of their argument has been borne home more and more. They have no case in regard to the White Paper, because they are on the horns of an impossible dilemma. On the one hand they advocate action against the transgressors of international law and the principle of collective security, and on the other they deny to the British Government the means of taking that action or any action, and when pressed on the crucial point as to whether they are prepared to recommend this country to go to war in the last resort against an aggressor—I took the case of Japan and Manchuria as a typical instance—they hedge every time. The hon. Member for Broxtowe said he did not believe Japan would go to war. His belief is very interesting, but we cannot be sure of that. Suppose Japan called his bluff; is he prepared 91 to send the battle fleet to Singapore to take on the Japanese battle fleet in a direct war?
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
There is no battle fleet in the world but our own in a position to take on the Japanese, because the United States of America are not members of the League of Nations and will not subscribe to it. Have we any reason to suppose that America would join us? [An HOST. MEMBER: "That is what we have to find out."] We might find out too late. That suggestion seems to me to be the last refuge of the argument. Have we to go to war with Japan in order to find out whether America would join us? On this side of the House we do not recommend that course to ourselves, to the Government or to our constituencies.
The only possible argument against the White Paper is that it was a little ill-timed, as it was issued immediately preceding the proposed visit to Berlin of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The facts had to be stated, and it is as well that they have been stated clearly to the whole world and are now out in the light. I believe that the discussions which will take place in Berlin will be more healthy, fruitful and profitable, now that these facts have been clearly stated to the people of this country and to the world. We have conceded equality of arms to Germany. We have to concede to her equality of status, as the Lord President of the Council stated. I cannot help regretting that we should have found it necessary to concede to force what for so many years we were not prepared to concede to reason. I was one who begged for a different and more generous treatment of Germany. At Cannes and at Genoa 12 years ago, Rathenau pleaded for one-tenth of what we are giving to Germany now, and begged in vain. We are assured now by the Rothermere Press that the only way to make peace in the world is to make further concessions to Germany by giving her more colonies, more armaments, and so forth. Not so long ago I remember reading in the "Daily Mail," under the slogan of "Hats off to 92 France" which lasted for several years, that we had to squeeze the last drop of reparations out of Germany, and that it would be an outrage if the occupation of the Rhineland ever came to an end.
It is right at this stage to remind ourselves that we are to some extent to blame for the situation which has arisen in Germany. I visited Germany regularly for 11 years in succession, after 1980, and I watched the steady disillusionment of the moderate forces and the equally steady rise of the Hitler party. Both seemed to be inevitable, and all the time the wretched reparations question was allowed to drag on and retard the whole economic recovery of the world. I am bound to say that I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), whose brilliant speech we admired this afternoon, was to some extent responsible by not following up the Treaty of Versailles and giving Herr Stresemann something which he could deliver to the German people. We cannot altogether forget Herr Stresemann's dying remark—this business killed him in the end—which he made to Mr. Bruce Lockhart:The youth of Germany, that we might both have won for peace, we have lost. That is my tragedy and your crime.We must remind ourselves of these things, because we have not been entirely without blame. If we have to concede complete equality of status to Germany, let us do it good and proper; let us take hold of the Treaty of Versailles and tear it up. Let us get down to the business and see what we have to face. We have, for better or worse, a foreign policy based upon the principle of collective security in some form, exercised through the League of Nations, but hon. Members of the Labour party disagree with hon. Members on this side of the House as to the details of the application of the principle. Hon. Members opposite want to make it wider and more comprehensive, while the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham and many of us on this side want to proceed more cautiously and by way of regional pacts and agreements to begin with, and ultimately to expand over the wider field; but we all have the same wide objective, the principle of collective security and the strengthening of the League of Nations.
93 I want to ask hon. Members opposite and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel): "Are you prepared in the last resort to defend the principle of collective security? Are you prepared to defend the League of Nations?" We have immense responsibilities in that direction, and we cannot leave other people to undertake those responsibilities, but we have a responsibility also as the centre of the British Empire. Every one of the Dominions is an ardent supporter of the League of Nations; whether you consider General Smuts, General Hertzog, Mr. Mackenzie King or Mr. Bennett, they are all supporters of the League of Nations. The British Empire is as one in this business, so far as foreign policy is concerned. We have to be prepared in the last resort to defend the League and the principle of collective security applied in o[...] form or another, but it seems to me [...]at the slogan of the Labour and the Liberal parties—I cannot but suspect that they are using it very largely at the present time for electoral purposes—is: "No expense and no responsibilities, so far as we are concerned. Leave it all at the present moment to Prance and Russia." We are to leave the fighting against the possible aggressor to France and Russia. That attitude is one of the reasons why, if I ever find myself impelled towards Socialism, I would rather become a Communist than a Socialist Member of Parliament, because they are so much more realistic and so much more honest in their policy.
Armaments are a symptom of conditions; they are not a cause of war. They are a symptom of the prevailing uneasiness, and when you remove the uneasiness that grips the world at the present time, then, and only then, will you bring about a substantial reduction in armaments. All I would say at this moment is that if those who believe in collective security through the League of Nations and in the freedom of the individual are not prepared in the last resort to defend their belief with force, assuredly they will be overwhelmed by those who do not believe in those things and who do believe in force, and then the civilisation that we have known, for what it is worth, will be swept away.
§ 6.58 p.m.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I always enter into debates on these matters with very great hesitancy and without that personal confidence which I like to have when I am addressing the House. On this occasion we are up against the problem that humanity has been up against since the very beginning, but what distresses me is that as successive Debates have taken place we seem to be further away from a solution. It seems as if we are slipping back. The issue of the White Paper and? the speeches we have beard from the Government side represent a very great confession of failure. This is the third big failure in the policy of the National Government. There was the failure to grapple effectively with the problem of unemployment and the failure to produce any results out of the international Economic Conference, and now there is the failure to make any headway with the establishment of security for this country and of peace throughout the world.
Those three things hang together, and the solution of one is only to be found in the solution of the three. The National Government have believed differently and have believed that each one of these things was to be met by small achievements here and small achievements there. The result is a complete failure all round and no achievements anywhere. Both the Lord President of the Council and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) said that unilateral disarmament has been proved a failure. Well, that is not the only thing that has been proved a failure, if it has been proved a failure, by our experiences to-day. The attempt to get disarmament by agreement has also proved a failure. The attempts along both roads have failed to produce results; so that we are facing a more menacing war situation this afternoon than at any time since 1918. And worse than facing a war situation we are facing a worse temper among the nations. I thought the most depressing and disturbing thing to-day was the overwhelming cheers that were accorded to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham when he sat down. One 95 would never begrudge the right hon. Gentleman cheers on account of his personality, or on account of his eloquence; but the cheers to-day were delivered on the content of the speech, and the content of the speech was a, war-mongering content. Perhaps that is going too far. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham is the last Member in this House to whom anybody would ever be unfair because he is so scrupulously fair himself. It is going too far to say that the content of his speech was warmongering. But the peroration, the thing that was applauded, was an appeal to the national fighting instinct.
I do not think that our foreign policy can be described as having suffered any grave change in its general tendencies by the change of one Government for the other. The failure of the present Government and their predecessors, as I see it, is due to the fact that they neither pursued honestly and courageously a policy of unilateral disarmament nor an attempt to get disarmament by agreement. There has not been any great act of unilateral disarmament in this country since the War. It is true that our Forces have gradually tended to go down. There has been a reduction in the Forces and each successive Government has contributed something to it. The actuating desire for most of the time was the desire to balance the Budget. Never was there in any one year an act of disarmament that could be taken as a sign to the nations that we were so anxious to get peace that we were ready to take big risks for peace. There never was such an indication. Although every year the expenditure on armaments tended to be reduced it was never done in any way that could give any of the nations any confidence about this nation's intentions.
After all, this nation has the greatest fighting history of all the nations. Do not let it be forgotten that if there is one nation in the world with a bellicose history it is Great Britain. I know that we have always gone into war unavoidably and always with great regret; we have been forced into it by circumstances over which we never had any control. But the fact remains that, however we got into it, we were in it more often than any other nation. When such a nation suddenly proposes to make a big 96 break with its past, a plain indication is needed. If the man who is a well-known tippler in the village is going to demonstrate to his fellows that he is a changed man he does not do it by only going into the "pub" on two nights of the week instead of seven; he has got to give it up altogether and probably, in addition, go to the street corner and announce his complete conversion to teetotalism. If a nation with our history and record wished to persuade the world that it was departing from the course it had believed to be good while building up its Empire and that it had undergone a complete change of heart, it would have to do something more than merely allow its armed forces to dribble away. We have not engaged in unilateral disarmament but merely in a policy of allowing our armed forces to deteriorate, and these are two entirely different and distinct things. Similarly, when we went to the League of Nations and to Disarmament Conferences it seemed to me that when we were getting towards something like agreement on some point it was always the British spokesman who found tremendous difficulties in getting to the final agreement. Never was there any whole hearted desire to go out and meet proposals—even supposing that minor objections to them were to be taken. Always a minor objection was sufficient to allow Great Britain to refrain from giving whole-hearted support.
The Lord President of the Council said something about complete frankness being necessary if you are running a democracy. I wish I could believe that the White Paper which we have before us and the various utterances upon it do show complete frankness. I would like to believe that we were hearing the whole story now. I would like to believe that the Cabinet in this matter is not being rushed by its Service representatives as has happened before. I would like to believe that the wiser and cooler heads of the Cabinet had not been rushed off their feet by the three Service Ministers, two of whom, unfortunately, we cannot get at directly here because they sit in another place. But I see the First Lord of the Admiralty present. We know his great pride in and his great affection for the Navy. We know that even if war were abolished altogether and there was no possible chance of war anywhere, he would still want to have a Navy— 97 just because he used to be in it when he was a boy and because he likes to see the ships! I would like to believe that the Cabinet have not been rushed by the Service Ministers in this matter. It seems to me that the clumsiness of the issue of the document and the clumsy nature of the document indicate that somewhere in the procedure there have been little difficulties among different sections in the Cabinet.
There is another thing I would like a little frankness about. I am not in the least enthusiastic about the Foreign Secretary's visit to Germany. But if we are going to have complete democracy and, if the Foreign Secretary is going to Germany to speak in our name and in my name, I would like to have some idea in advance of what he is going to say. I do not envy him his job. I would not like to have to go to interview Herr Hitler. [An HON. MEMBER: "Would you hit him?"] I am not being humorous. I do not know what Great Britain has to say to Herr Hitler at this moment, and I would like to know; because when the Foreign Secretary goes to Berlin he is representing Great Britain, and he is representing me. He will certainly claim that when he is over there. I want to know, or I should like to know, what he is going to say and I hope that some subsequent Government speaker will tell us what is the purpose of the Mission. What is Herr Hitler to be told?
I would like to go further. I have greater sympathies with Moscow and the Moscow visit, as most hon. Members know, and I would like very much to know what is going to be said there on our behalf. If we are going to have frankness and openness in foreign affairs and if the Lord President of the Council claims that this is essential to democracy, now is the time to let us have it—not after the event, but before it. I hope before this Debate concludes that we shall have some statement from the Government Front Bench as to the intentions of the Government concerning these two visits which are to take place, we understand, within the next week or two and practically simultaneously. Last night I was addressing a big meeting of unemployed and working people in the east end of Glasgow. As I was coming away from the meeting a man put a book into my hand and said: "Read that before you go into the Debate in the House of 98 Commons to-morrow." I obeyed his instructions. The title of the book was "Generals Die in Their Beds." I do not know whether that is statistically accurate or not, but I certainly do believe it to be a fact that politicians and statesmen do not make wars in the first line trenches. We sit here in physical comfort—
§ Mr. MAXTON
I hope that the hon. Member for North Tottenham (Mr. Doran) does not think that is an appropriate interjection as applied to me.
§ Mr. DORAN
The hon. Member made a reference to generals and others who lead from positions far away from the trenches. I have the right to use a similar parallel with regard to the unemployed. When the unemployed made their march on London the so-called leaders sheltered themselves in restaurants and left their followers to face the police alone. They were leaders who led from behind and had not the courage to face the consequences of their own folly.
§ Mr. MAXTON
So far as the last remarks are concerned I was in the very front line. The hon. Member must not have been listening. I quoted the title of a book which a working-man placed in my hands last night. The title was "Generals Die in Their Beds." I do not know whether there is a greater proportion of generals who die in their beds than there is of the rank and file; but, presumably, the general carries on operations in a little more physical comfort than the member of the rank and file. The only point I am making is not whether generals are braver than privates; but that politicians and statesmen do not make, war in the first line trenches. We are sitting here to-night in physical comfort and security, and we are expressing opinions and promulgating policies which, if they go to their logical conclusion, presume that we are going to send men into the trenches. Making that assumption, that book, which I read last night, recalled to me the reality of the private soldier's lot. It is insane; it cannot be defended on any basis of reason. When we are talking in terms of rearmament, we have to remember that it means that we are assuming that some fellow, if called upon, will have to 99 go out and face a rain of molten steel, or poison gas, or implements of destruction.
It is a terrible thing in 1935 for our leading statesmen, our National Government, to come to us and tell us that they are quite hopeless of making this impossible for the future, that disarmament is still a thing merely to be dreamt about, an ideal to be held but never to be achieved. It is a terrible and a frightening thing. I do not believe it. I believe that, along the lines of unilateral disarmament and international agreement, both boldly, courageously and fearlessly pursued to their logical conclusion, this nation above all the nations can show the world the way to peace and to a common-sense way of life. Nothing has been said here to-day to make us believe that the Government in this matter have done 100 per cent. of their duty. In both directions I believe they have been careless and slack. I believe that, although the right hon. Member for West Birmingham when he sat down was applauded for his views by the majority of the Members in the House, the fact that they have failed in this matter is regarded by most people outside as their major failure during their period of great power.
§ 7.18 p.m.
§ Mr. AMERY
I think it is unfortunate that, on the one day in the year which has been granted to the House for discussing the problem of defence as a whole, the co-ordination of the work of the different Services in relation to each other, and the urgent question of effective ministerial co-ordination of these problems, we should have been diverted on to another issue, even though that other issue is of supreme importance, and that it should not be in order to discuss anything outside it to-night. It is the issue whether we are ourselves to take an effective part in maintaining our own peace and, in so far as we can contribute to it, the peace of the world; or whether we are to leave that duty to other unspecified members of a non-existent system of collectively enforced security. On that issue the Government have done what I believe to be the wisest and most courageous thing that they have done in these last three years—they have told the nation the truth. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel), in 100 a speech that willed to wound but was afraid to strike, a speech dripping with unctuous rectitude, described the White Paper as a lamentable document. I am glad and proud that it is a document that puts an end to a great deal of make-believe, and frankly and clearly states the situation as the Government know it, and as everyone of any responsibility has known it for many years past.
The Government have acted courageously, because they knew how they were going to be misrepresented over this issue. They have acted wisely, even if their action has been long delayed, because what we are doing is the one way in which we can contribute effectively to our own safety, and I believe also to the discharge of those collective obligations by which alone it is possible to hope to make a contribution to the general peace. We are told that the Government have failed. They have not failed; but they have stated the fact that it would be premature to believe that you can create in the world as it is to-day the kind of organisation that many earnest and sincere people believe to be possible. They now say frankly that it is "a premature assumption" to believe that "international machinery can be relied upon as a protection against an aggressor." They now state equally frankly that, "in the present troubled state of the world, armaments cannot be dispensed with, but are required to preserve peace, to maintain security and to deter aggression." These are, to my mind, plain, self-evident facts, and it is only the atmosphere of make-believe in which the whole of this vital problem has been enveloped in recent years that has prevented these plain salutary facts from being stated before.
The hon. Member who moved the original Motion kept on referring to the collective system of enforced security as if it were something that existed. He reproached us for not taking our proper part in it. He said that we must give up to it our ideas of national sovereignty. Whom does he mean by "we"? What other nation has so far shown the slightest sign of being prepared to give up its national sovereignty to any super-State of that sort? The hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do, and as well as every Member of this House knows, that if we were the victims of 101 unprovoked aggression to-day we might as well call on the Man in the Moon for help as make a direct appeal to the League. Our only chance of safety lies in our own strength, and, perhaps, in the direct support of those who, being vitally interested in our security, have entered into definite pledges to come to our assistance, as we have entered into pledges to come to theirs. There is no such system of collective enforced security in the world to-day, and there is not likely to be in the lifetime of any of us.
The hon. Gentleman raised what I think is undoubtedly the main issue of this Debate when he asked, what kind of a league does the Government envisage? There is a real League of Nations in existence to-day. That League of Nations has done good work for the maintenance of peace, and it is capable of doing increasingly better work as it becomes an established institution. On that question no one spoke more eloquently than my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamber lain), and, indeed, no one has done more to contribute to strengthening it than he did in the days whe he was directly concerned with its work. That League has been defined, and very truly and correctly defined, in the White Paper as:essential machinery for promoting the preservation of peace by facilitating and regularising the means of international co-operation.It is the round table of the nations, the conference at which the nations can together and develop a mutual understanding and sympathy among the leading statesmen of the world, a public opinion of the world which, at many a critical moment, can just tip the balance on the right side, as it has done in more than one instance. There is also such a thing as the League of Make-believe, the Cloud Cuckoo Land, of the dreamers of a millenium which we are not likely to reach for many a long year to come—a league which is to maintain peace by going to war wherever peace is disturbed. I believe that that sort of league, if it could exist, would be a danger to the peace of the world, that it would multiply and extend wars rather than put an end to them. At any rate, dangerous or not, it does not exist, and to pretend that it does is sheer futility. That issue was put far better than I can put it in a speech delivered here in London not so many 102 months ago by General Smuts, who, after all, played no small part in the creation of the League. He said this—and it seems to me to put the whole issue which underlies the White Paper:I cannot visualise the League as a military machine. It was not conceived or built for that purpose; it is not equipped for such functions. And, if ever the attempt were made to transform it into a military machine, into a system to carry on war for the purpose of preventing war, I think its fate is sealed. I cannot conceive the Dominions, for instance, remaining in such a League and pledging themselves to fight the wars of the Old World; and, if the Dominions leave it, Great Britain is bound to follow. I cannot conceive anything more calculated to keep the United States of America for ever out of the League than its transformation into a fighting machine.…A conference of the nations the United States can, and eventually will, join; it can never join an international War Office.That is a statement which I think ought to command respect from all lovers of peace. Yet from beginning to end the speech of the hon. Gentleman who introduced the original Motion was based on the assumption that an armed league, an international War Office for the prevention of war, could exist and did exist. What is the good of bringing unrealities before the House?
§ Mr. AMERY
No; but what I do say is that there are interpretations of the Covenant of the League which lead us to futility, if not to disaster. The League exists to-day as an institution capable of doing great work, but not as an institution whose powers can be stretched to the utmost meaning that can be put into any of the Clauses of the Covenant by any enthusiast. The attitude of hon. and right hon. Members opposite in this connection surprises me. The Lord President of the Council has already drawn attention to a document in which the strong man of the Labour party appears under the heading; "Hit Hitler; boycott German goods; boycott German services." I am a little surprised that those who say we ought to do nothing except through and by the League of Nations are quite prepared to employ economic sanctions without any consultation with the League.
103 I also want to suggest another point. There is one kind of German service that you are not likely to be able to stop by a boycott, and that is the German military air service. There is one kind of German goods which you cannot deal with by a boycott, and that is a bomb that is dropped on your head. What is it that makes it possible to suggest a boycott of German goods in this country? I would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that China tried a boycott of Japanese goods not very long ago. The result was a Japanese landing in Shanghai. The only reason why it would be possible to carry out a boycott of German goods in this country is that the British Navy, the British Air Force and the British Army could prevent Germany from taking the retaliatory action which otherwise she would naturally take.
We are dealing to-night in a battle of cross-purposes between those who believe in unreality and those who try to face the facts of the world as they are, who want peace just as sincerely, just as earnestly, as any hon. Members opposite, but who take into account what is the temper, the attitude, the policy of other nations of the world, and, while working towards a better and a more peaceful world are not ready to drop everything and take the kind of risk which the hon. Member opposite, the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), would have us take. At any rate, his policy is an intelligent one; it is the logical conclusion which hon. Members opposite ought to adopt, but which they have not the courage to adopt. It seems to me that the Government have done the wise and courageous thing. They will be misrepresented up and down the breadth of the land. They must not underrate that danger. It is not enough for them simply to publish this White Paper and have it discussed in the House of Commons. It ought to be broadcast, it ought to be posted up as a poster on every wall in the country, it ought to be sent to every home that has had the well-intentioned but highly misleading questionnaire of the peace ballot sent to it, and every right hon. and hon. Member who believes that the Government are right will be failing in his duty if he does not devote all the time that he Can during the next two or three months to making plain to 104 his constituents what the real position of the world is and what the duty of Englishmen is in dealing with it.
If I may, I would say a word to some of my friends who on other matters differ from the Government, a difference inspired, I think, sometimes not so much, not purely, by differences on particular proposals, but by a fear that this Government has been inclined to be lax about its responsibility for Imperial strength and Imperial unity, a little too inclined to take the easy road of pandering to a widespread internationalism and pacifism. I hope that some of my friends who feel that may realise now that there is a very great issue before the nation, to my mind a greater issue than any other, an issue affecting the very existence and security of this Empire, as well as the part it can play towards the peace of the world. On this issue, underlying all others, besides which all others are nought, I do pray that we may stand united.
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
I have listened throughout this Debate to every speech that has been made. I very rarely intervene in debates on foreign policy, because I do not claim to be an authority on the subject. Nevertheless, I have felt, as I listened to the Debate, that there is an obligation resting on me to represent what I believe to be the views of my constituents in this House. We have been challenged by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain). He said: You tell us what you would do in certain circumstances. I would like to say to him that that is not the position. It may be good debating, but it is not good reasoning; there is a distinction. It is presenting the Socialist party with international circumstances created by a policy in which they do not believe, presenting them with the fait accompli, and saying: What do you propose to do in this situation. We are not going to accept that position.
I believe that the accession of a Socialist Government in Great Britain in charge of the affairs of this country and of the Empire would be an inter national event of first-class importance that would change the whole face of international affairs, and that in these 105 circumstances that Socialist Government would be called upon to pursue a policy entirely at variance with the one that is being pursued by the National Government. So unique—I am speaking now of a real Socialist Government, not of a sham one—would be the circumstances created that I defy anybody here to contemplate what reaction would be experienced from any other country by proffers made by that Government. I know that the right hon. Gentleman cannot prophesy it. I do not think that I can prophesy it myself. All we say is this: The international situation which would result would test our capacity for having a foreign policy which will promote peace; but we do not propose to be tested by the international situation created by our opponents.
The right hon. Gentleman, with his accustomed courtesy, has remained to listen to me, so I will say what I have to say about his speech so that he may be relieved. The right hon. Gentleman stated that we had to beware that, if we let the defences of this country fall into such disuse that when a war broke out men would lose their lives uselessly, an incensed and infuriated populace might hang some of us from the lamp posts. I want to suggest that he misreads the whole situation, and certainly he has not benefited from the results of the last War, because the greatest bulwark against war is the fear of the rulers of what will follow. The last War resulted in a revolution in Russia, and there would have been a revolution in Germany if it had not been for English and French bayonets. Many kings lost their crowns in the last War. Some of us might lose our heads; he and his class would certainly lose theirs. You were on the eve of an uprising here in 1919, in a victorious country, far greater than the Conservative Government had to face in 1926.
I put it in all seriousness that it is not the Socialist party that is on trial; it is not our foreign policy that is on trial. What is on trial is: How do you propose to carry on a foreign policy which will save the order in which you believe, because that order will never survive another first-class war? No one can say what order will follow it, because there are some pessimistic prophets who say that civilisation will sag and sag in a 106 series of wars and that the recuperative ness of civilisation will be so gravely weakened that no stable civilised order will emerge. But what is certain is that the social order in which hon. Members in most parts of this House believe will not survive another armed conflict. How then do you propose to protect this country from the possibility of war?
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) and the right hon. Member for West Birmingham proved too much in their speeches. They have at least succeeded in proving that they have no confidence that war can be prevented by any collectivist peace system in the world in which they believe. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook said that in his judgment a collectivist peace system carrying the obligation of coming to the assistance of any one of its members, taking action collectively against any outside aggressor or one in side, would promote more wars than it would prevent. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham gave us a new category of war which will pass down to history, because it is never likely to pass up. He distinguished between wars which are accidental and wars which are de liberately caused, and in order to minimise the value and importance of the League of Nations—
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
That is quite unfair. I have never minimised the importance of the League of Nations and did not do so. I have served it more faithfully and more effectively than a good many of those who use that kind of language.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I will stand within the recollection of Members of the House. He said that there were two classes of war, and, as a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman made his distinction in order to be able to come to the major point of his speech, that there is a nation deliberately carrying out a policy based on the inevitability of war, and that the only way to deal with that danger is to mass all possible strength 107 of as many nations as will agree against that nation, so that it will be so hopeless for her to fight that she will never deliberately commit an act of aggression. How does he distinguish between that situation and the collectivist peace system? I do not follow. Then he went on to take away all substance from his case by saying that the trouble of such alliances or arrangements was that no nation could rely on the others coming up to scratch when it was necessary. What does he mean by that? His speech was applauded in many parts of the House. Speaking from a purely selfish and personal point of view, I was very envious, because I thought for a fleeting moment how delightful it would be to be a member of the Tory party.
It is so easy to get lots of cheers for bad speeches, and that has been the experience this afternoon. I submit to the right hon. Gentleman, without wishing to be rude or discourteous, that if he examines his speech to-morrow morning he will find that no part of it will hang together with any other part. Did the right hon. Gentleman say "Nonsense"? He might have an opportunity of replying later on. If you are going to mass your strength against a possible aggressor, and if you cannot rely upon the nations honouring their obligations what is the use of a means of that kind? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook spoke of the utter inadequacy of the League of Nations as a means of protecting us against war, and the right hon. Gentleman proves the unreliability of any ad hoc alliances to protect us against war, so that two forms of collectivist protection collapse under the attacks of the defenders of the White Paper. What are we left with? We are left with a White Paper.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Yes, Sir, and I believe that the right hon. Gentleman will find that when the country reads his speech they will have finished with him too. What does the White Paper say in every line of it? It says that every other attempt made by the supporters of the existing social order to provide against war fails, and we are back to the stone age to protect ourselves against war by 108 piling up our arms as much as possible. That is all that is left. I submit to hon. Members in all parts of the House who have listened to this Debate that that is a fair description of what has happened. Everybody knows that if a nation is insecure it will have arms. Everybody admits that. We are not denying it here. We deny that arms will ever protect a country against war, but we do not deny that if there is insecurity and that if the people feel insecure, and flag-wagging and tub-thumping politicians will be able to get them to vote money for armaments, because in that feeling of insecurity they will demand the only thing they understand, and that is the power to hit back provided they are attacked.
Disarmament is the dower that is born from the soil of security, and if there is insecurity, disarmament dies, and there is no way at all of keeping it alive. The Disarmament Conference has failed, because there has been no security in Europe with a background with which it could have succeeded. If security has been established, the chief evidence of the existence of security is disarmament, and if disarmament does not take place the security so created is a sham. It does not matter what system we pursue, whether it be the League of Nations, ad hoc alliances or splendid isolation, in each situation armies grow up more and more. If it be a pact we must have more arms to support our obligation under the pact; if it be the League of Nations we must have more arms in order to support our obligations under the Covenant, and if it be splendid isolation we must have more arms than anybody else because they might use their arms against us, so that whoever languishes the armament firms flourish.
That is the policy which hon. Members who support the National Government are defending this afternoon. It does not matter how gracefully they may dress up their speeches, and how dramatic they may be, or how much they may quote from the speeches of ex-Cabinet Ministers who belong to this party, that is the position they are putting up to this country, and it is upon that the country will judge them. The Lord President of the Council made a most deplorable speech this afternoon. It was graceful as it always is, and unctuous. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen 109 (Sir H. Samuel) said that it dripped with unctuousness. There never was a more unctuous statesman than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin), He gets up and trots out pseudo philosophy as if it were the wisdom of the ages. Towards the end of his speech he said that if democracy will not face realities then democracy will go down. I have noted in many of his recent speeches the same sort of references. What does he mean by that? Does he feel that he is losing his ancient touch and that the party he represents will be turned out. What does he mean by it? That sentence in his speech reads oddly with the statements of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Dominions and the Minister of Agriculture. The other day they said that the life of Parliament might be prolonged. The right hon. Gentleman says that democracy might go down. What does he mean by democracy going down? If we do not voluntarily put ourselves under the orders of generals and admirals they will take democracy from us.
§ Major PROCTER
Does not the hon. Member mean that the danger to de mocracy to-day is one of being bribed by promises and of playing on the fears of the people in order to get votes?
§ Mr. BEVAN
I absolutely agree with the hon. and gallant Member. There is one great danger from which democracy suffers, and it was never more evident than it was in 1931. If ever there was an example of a party playing upon the fears of the population and stampeding their emotions by propaganda, it is that of the National Government whose supporters have been misrepresenting the nation for three and a-half years, and the hon. and gallant Member knows that very well. Our position in this matter is quite clear. We believe profoundly that there is only one guarantee for peace in this country and the world, and that is that the people of the world, and of this country in particular, shall turn away from those policies of economic expansion and exploitation which form the soil in which the state of war is always 110 seen. We believe that the reason why the one single instrument against war, the League of Nations, has been almost destroyed is that you cannot put a limit to Japan's economic imperialism in China and you cannot put an end to the war in Central America because of oil interests. We believe that the economic conference in London created or disclosed an international situation that made disarmament an impossible dream. Everybody knows that economic nationalism has for the last three years been increasing, and that the increase of economic nationalism has led to belligerency of nation after nation. In such circumstances peace is not possible, and the greatest indictment that we bring against this Government is the indictment of the ordinary people of this land who have no sort of interest in any of the schemes that we are discussing, and who desire merely to have peace. The indictment which they bring against the Government is that the policy they are pursuing makes war inevitable, and all we say to the people is that the present Government makes war inevitable because they represent a system of conomic exploitation which inevitably leads to war.
§ 7.56 p.m.
§ Sir M. SUETER
I was very sorry to hear the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) introduce the title of a book saying that generals die in their beds. I am sorry that the hon. Member is not in his place, because I think that it was rather unworthy of him to bring before this House such a title as that. Generals are just as brave as, and will risk themselves, if necessary, as much as their men. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) gave us a very interesting speech, with one part of which I agreed very much when he said that this country was a great nation but that we were a very small nation when we considered our defences and the air. I hope that the Government will mark that remark of the right hon. Gentleman.
The White Paper which we have before us is one of the greatest State documents on defence that we have had in my memory, and I should like to approach some of the items in it from a different angle from which they have been approached during the Debate. The 111 Socialists and the Pacifists in this country never consider how vulnerable we are. We have to guard our food ships. The ingredients of every three out of four of the loaves that we eat come from overseas. We have to guard our ships carrying raw materials and manufactured goods, and our tankers carrying oil. Whenever we consider any of the problems of what we require we have to remember oil, because without oil our transport cannot move in this country, many of our factories would stop, and the Navy, Army and Air Force efficiency would be impaired. It is vital to us to keep our pipe line of oil open. To guard all those great trade routes we are only allowed, under the Washington and London Agreements, some 50 cruisers—I am glad to see the First Lord of the Admiralty in his place—and I do not think that any sailor now afloat will agree that 50 cruisers are enough for guarding our great trade routes. We should, in the next conference we have with naval Powers, lay down the condition that we might require at least double that number—100 cruisers. It does not follow that we should build up to that number, but it would provide us with some 70 cruisers which Admiralty experts say are necessary. Some of these cruisers always want refitting and so on, and we ought to have a margin so that we can draw upon it if necessary. The Admiralty issued an admirable document in 1909 in which they stated that the danger to this country was not invasion but the danger to our trade ships and our mercantile marine.
§ Sir M. SUETER
The year 1909. I would point out to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that this is the point I want to make. It said that the strength of the Navy depended upon safeguarding our trade routes and our mercantile marine. It was an admirable document. We only want cruisers for protecting our trade routes and fast service craft and aircraft. The battleship does not come into the picture. I want to draw the attention of the House to what is said in the White Paper about the battleship. It says, in paragraph 16: 112The Main Fleet is the basis upon which our naval strategy rests.Paragraph 17 says:In the Main Fleet the capital ship remains the essential element upon which the whole structure of our naval strategy depends.That statement is open to question. There are two schools of thought with regard to battleships. There is one school which says that the battleship is the backbone of the fleet. I should like to quote from what the First Sea Lord said when he attended the ceremony of the launching of the Commonwealth cruiser "Australia."If the people of this country got it into their heads that the battleship was no longer of any use then the security of our trade routes and the Dominions would vanish.Admiral Chatfield is a very skilled gunnery officer of great experience, and his words carry weight. The First Lord of the Admiralty, when he was discussing the Naval Estimates not long ago produced an elaborate strategical argument to show how necessary battleships were to defeat a combination of cruisers against our own. He said:Our cruisers must necessarily be scattered, and only a British battle fleet in being could prevent a sudden concentration of cruisers in superior force against ours which would put the whole of our converging trade and, indeed, the whole country at an enemy's mercy.I cannot follow that argument about battleships being necessary as a screen for cruisers. If the cruisers of an enemy converged upon this country and were approaching these shores where were situated our battle squadron, they would send up a scouting aeroplane and find out where the battle fleet was, and they would not be likely to come within range of the battle fleet. If the battle fleet chased them it would not be able to overtake them, because cruisers are the faster vessels. I hope the First Lord will explain if he speaks to-night, or on the Navy Estimates. I could understand the argument that battleships are necessary to engage other battleships, but I cannot understand the argument that they are necessary for covering our cruisers. That looks as if we were using battleships for replacing cruisers, of which we are very short.
The school that does not believe in battleships says that the battleship was once the most forceful vessel of the Fleet. 113 It could go anywhere so long as it kept in navigable waters and did not get into shoal waters, but when the Whitehead torpedo was invented in 1872 and afterwards improved with the Heater torpedo and the gyroscope torpedo, which turned it into a long-range weapon of great accuracy, that was a nail in the battleship's coffin. We drove another nail into the battleship's coffin in 1902, when we fired for the first time in history a Whitehead torpedo from the submarine tube of a submarine running under water. We drove a third nail into the battleship's coffin when we dropped a Whitehead torpedo in 1914 from a seaplane off Calshot. We have other weapons that are used against battleships. We have submarines dropping mince, we have mine-layers, and we have fast craft, destroyers and other fast service craft, that can attack the battleship with a torpedo. We have also aircraft, seaplanes and aeroplanes, which can drop bombs on the battleship. There are all these weapons which can be used against the battleship, until her field of operations is so restricted that she has to be kept within sea walls, with great net protections, to make her safe.
We have to ask ourselves this question: Is the battleship vulnerable to the torpedo. At the battle of Jutland the Marlborough was hit by a Whitehead torpedo. Lord Jellicoe, in his great book on the War, is not certain whether that torpedo was fired from a surface ship or an underwater vessel, a submarine,
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
On a point of Order. Is not this a Naval Estimates argument that the hon. and gallant Member is using? It is not relevant to the White Paper.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)
The terms of the Motion are somewhat general, but I was thinking that the hon. and gallant Member's speech was more appropriate for the Estimates next Thursday.
§ Sir M. SUETER
I bow to your ruling, but I would point out that I referred particularly to page 7, paragraph 17, of the White Paper, which deals with capital ships and says that:In the Main Fleet the capital ship remains the essential element upon which the whole structure of our naval strategy depends.114 I was trying to prove that the battleship was vulnerable to one shot from a submarine or destroyer. Lord Jellicoe was uncertain whether a surface ship or an underwater vessel fired the torpedo that hit the "Marlborough" but he is perfectly certain that she was turned into a lame duck. Her speed had to be reduced from 17 to 12 knots, as there was so much pressure on the bulkheads after the torpedo had detonated, and finally Lord Jellicoe ordered her into port.
Are we to continue building battleships that are so vulnerable? The initial cost of a battleship is about £7,000,000. If you work it out in all the Votes it is about £8,000,000. If we have to replace 12 battleships by 1940 it means nearly £100,000,000. If we have to replace the whole of the 15 battleships in the programme under the Washington Convention it means that we shall have to expend £120,000,000 on these vulnerable vessels. In 1922 I introduced, under the ten minutes rule, a Minister of Defence (Creation) Bill. I wanted to establish a Minister of Defence who would look into all these matters, study them whole time and see which weapons we should go on with, which weapons we should retard and which we should scrap. I feel certain that if we had a Minister of Defence, or a Minister of Security, or a Minister of Empire Security, whatever you like to call him, the first thing that he would do would be to look into the battleship question. He would say to the First Lord: "Make good your case. Is it worth while expending £500,000 in reconditioning an old battleship that is never likely to be used in the fighting line; never likely to be used in war?" We want a thinker for the three fighting services to look over these important problems of defence. We have nobody now. The Prime Minister has not the leisure to do it and the Lord President has not the leisure to do it. It is a whole time job. We want somebody to study these great problems all the time.
If a Minister of Defence looked into the Estimates which are presented would he agree with them? He would say, "What is the weapon that can give us the knock-out blow?" Not the American battleship or the Japanese battleship or the two battleships that France is building, or the two battleships that Italy is building. It is not a foreign army, be- 115 cause we are told that there is no danger from invasion. It is the air weapon. That is the weapon that can give this country the knock-out blow. When he looked at the Estimates and he saw that out of £124,000,000, the Air Force only gets one-sixth, and that in regard to the extra money that is to be allowed the Air comes third, the Minister of Defence, in control, would say: "Out of the £124,000,000 in the Estimates for defence, is this great city of London protected? No. Portions of it could be blotted out We are only the fifth power in the Air. Are the other cities protected? No. Are our great industrial centres, with their factories, protected? No. Are our Royal Dockyards and our shipyards protected from air attack? No." Even our homes are not protected. The taxpayers are voting £124,000,000 for defence and their homes are not protected.
There is something wrong in the Air Estimates, and we want a Minister of Defence to see that the money is apportioned properly. We are thinking in terms of an army moving three miles an hour and of a navy with its 27 knot ships, when we ought to be thinking in terms of a weapon that can go 300 miles an hour and drop bombs on our homes, our shipyards, our cities our Royal dockyards. That is what we need to study in the next 10 years, and not to put money into repairing obsolete battleships. This matter needs to be gone into carefully. I would ask the Lord President of the Council to set up a committee to study the battleship problem and say whether or not we should go on with battleships. When we have the next Naval Conference we ought to go into it on equal terms with Japan and America. I am no believer in an Anglo-American pact against Japan, or an Anglo-America front line against Japan, or an Anglo-Japanese front line against America. We ought to go into that Conference on perfect equality with Japan. I am certain that if we did that they would probably agree to cut down the number of costly battleships. They might agree either to abolishing the battleships altogether or cutting down their displacement so that would not be so costly. I would ask the First Lord to tell the House that we shall go into that Conference with the idea of saving the taxpayers money, instead of putting 116 money into costly battleships that can be given a knock-out blow by one torpedo.
§ 8.13 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The gallant Admiral who has just spoken was my commanding officer, I am glad to say. I thank him for taking the discussion away from the dog fight that has been going on, into the region of common sense. Hitherto we have had hon. Members on the Front Bench on this side indicting hon. Members opposite for all that they have done and we have had hon. Members opposite speaking of the Labour party as if they were crawling little Englanders and pacifists. They are not. They are just as willing to fight against evil as anybody else in this House. The one part of the White Paper of which they thoroughly approve—I do not speak for them but I speak of what I know—is that part which speaks out and tells Germany frankly what the danger is and what we think is the truth. Why was the White Paper received with such a storm of indignation all over the country, and is that White Paper the best presentation of the case for this country? It evidently came as a shock and a surprise to the Government that there was that outburst of indignation. It certainly exceeded my expectation and I should have thought that it exceeded the expectations of the Government. The unfortunate Members of their back benches have been receiving telegrams by the dozen and letters by the shoal. Really the Government did not realise what they had done.
Most of the criticism of the Government is utterly wrong. In the first place, it is ridiculous to complain of the Government for saying the truth for once. We have been begging them to tell the truth all along, and although the friends of Germany opposite may complain I do not think that the people of this country should complain. A contributory stream therefore to the flood of indignation was that it was thought we had hurt the feelings of Herr Hitler. A second opposition came from those people who have been misled by the Government. Year after year they really have believed that the Disarmament Conference was coming off, that it was a practical policy to get disarmament without confidence. I do not blame hon. Members now opposite. The Prime Minister never gets up in this House to make a speech without saying 117 that disarmament is just round the corner and that everything will be well once we get everybody into a nice and amiable frame of mind. That tale has been going on for-four years. We knew there was nothing in it, but it came as a shock to the people of the country to find that the Government at last were abandoning the idea. Naturally it was a revelation to a great many people who like myself have been signing ballot papers by the score.
The third objection is my own objection—that is to the nature and contents of the White Paper. The Lord President of the Council is now on the Treasury bench and he shall have it straight. He was the first man to state openly in this House that the only means of defence against aeroplanes is offence. The whole gist of this White Paper is to find some form of static defence against this new peril. The circumstances have not changed since the Lord President of the Council made his speech. If they have changed at all it has been in favour of the air arm and against the anti-aircraft gun, and the other machinery provided in the White Paper for protecting this country against attack by air. This White Paper is a surrender to the old school. My hon. and gallant Friend, my commanding officer, will support me when I say that the first thing the Admiralty should desire is to get all sailors into the air.
Will the right hon. and gallant Member tell us what is the policy of the young school?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I cannot speak for the young school, can I. This is the real difficulty. You have the three branches of the defence services competing together as to who is to get the money. Everybody knows that the best defence against the new terror is the air arm, but only one-sixth of the money is going to the air arm and the rest to services which are as obsolete as the beefeaters in the Tower. Most of the money is not going to increase the size of the Services but to material which may increase our defence against air attack. Does the First Lord of the Admiralty believe that you can defend a battleship against bombs from the air by anti-aircraft guns? Has his expert body at the Admiralty ever faced what it means when 118 a new and improved living projectile can be dropped from 20,000 feet in ten seconds on to a battleship, from so high that you cannot see the aeroplane? What on earth is the service which anti-aircraft guns can render against that attack?
The antiquity of the school can be illustrated by the question of the big battleships. The First Lord is a notorious defender of the big battleship as against cruisers and smaller ships. He has defended them for two years running, but his defence gets thinner each year. I wonder what possible defence there can be for the creation of a battleship costing £8,000,000 which is so valuable that it dare not fight. During the War one of the biggest battleships was the "Queen Elizabeth," but directly a submarine came inside the Mediterranean the "Queen Elizabeth" ran away, not because the officers were afraid but because the ship was so valuable that you could not risk her. At the battle of Jutland we found that the ships were so costly that you could not expect any man to risk their loss, it might be irreparable, and, moreover, these big capital ships are given such importance that the rest of the fleet, cruisers, submarines and destroyers have to be reserved to protect them in Scapa Flow or the Falkland islands and cannot get on with their work of defending the British seas.
Let me turn to the other side of the White Paper. It is intimately linked with the question of defence as a whole, and particularly the defence of London. I and my colleagues on these benches are in favour of collective security. We think that for that collective security we have to provide our share of the police force. We are proposing now to implement our share of that force and to make collective security more immediate both to ourselves and to other people by entering into two pacts, by making Locarno an air pact as well as an obsolete land and sea pact, and to supplement the Locarno of the west by an eastern Locarno pact. We have discussed the question of security in the Labour party for at least 12 years. During the years we were in office we had the problem of the Protocol de Genève; should we or should we not make the Covenant of the League a solid instrument for policing the world by pledging ourselves to fight whenever there was an infraction of the Versailles treaties against any aggressor. 119 Whenever that problem came up I was always against it, and the right hon. Member for Clay Cross (Mr. A. Henderson) was always for it. Finally, I think that I carried the day, at any rate, the Labour party dropped the Protocol de Genève, as the Conservative party had dropped it before, because we felt that we should be taking a great many risks without materially protecting ourselves, and involving ourselves in wars connected with countries like Bessarabia and Transylvania without really having any advantage from the rest of the League of Nations, because we ourselves were in no danger.
Then came Locarno. At the time I opposed it. It was merely a small section of the Protocol de Genève, embracing England, Belgium, France and Germany. But it was the Protocol in small. It did imply definite responsibility, definite police action. I opposed it for the same reason as Lord Rothermere opposes it now. Why run into danger? Why pledge ourselves to maintain the Versailles Treaty when it was not our concern? Everyone who opposed it then is now in favour of it; we are all in favour of it. We believe that we are getting as much advantage out of it as France is or Germany is, that it is giving to us a certain degree of security, and that, therefore, there is something now to be said for it. It is no longer pure altruism but is something of value to Great Britain.
Now this air business has come along and shown us that war will not be like that of the old days, with lots of notice, with a formal declaration and mobilisation, but will come like a thief in the night from the air, and Locarno will be of no service unless it has an air counterpart. The Foreign Secretary is going to Berlin to see whether he can induce Germany to come into an extended Locarno dealing with the air and involving instant action instead of all the long preliminaries of co-operation. That is the principal, object of our foreign policy at the present time, I understand. It is to secure a Western air pact which will guarantee—I do not say any of these things the least offensively—that if Germans come over and bomb us without notice the French will go and bomb them without any hesitation. That is the basis of our idea; that is where we come in. In the same way if France is bombed 120 by Germany or Germany bombed by France, we go for the aggressor at once without bargaining or waiting. Obviously the great difficulty in any guarantee of that sort is that we cannot trust them and they cannot trust us. Perfide Albion will always be Perfide Albion to the French. Can we be sure that if we are wiped out in 24 hours the French will come in and help? That is where the beginnings of the international force might come in. I do not say that you can rely absolutely on an international force, but you can rely on it much better than obligations under a protocol. It is absolute faith that is required in order to make this gradual extension of collective security work. We must have confidence.
The suggestion I have to make—I hope it will not appear too wild—is that if we get this air pact we might have a British air force in France, of course outside the Saar, as part of the International force in France, and likewise have a French force here. It has been objected to me that that would mean having a German force here too. Well, I do not mind. I think we should do them more good than they would do harm to us. If we had here in England a mixed force of Belgians, Frenchmen, Germans and English, and similar mixed forces in all the four countries, you would have the beginning of that international air force at which passivists should aim. If you really think that an international police is worth having, begin somehow. This is a way to begin which would be appreciated more than anything else by those other Powers.
The Lord President is right in saying that this question is so much a question of status. If Germany understood that her air force would be here and ours in Germany, the Germans would welcome the idea. See the additional security it gives. What is the first object that would be bombed if we had an aggressor who was determined to act without notice? It would be the aerodromes and the petrol tanks, not London. If you had there, not your own nationals, but mixed nationals, the reaction would be more certain, and the reliance upon the reaction of the Governments concerned would be equally certain. That is one of the points I wanted to make clear. The White Paper is intolerable as a 121 concoction of the War Office and the Admiralty, but the use that may be made of it may be all right if we can give to Germany and to France and to Belgium the feeling, not that we are playing with this great danger, but that we are providing absolutely the best possible defence against a breach of the peace. I think that that will do some good.
It is the Lord Privy Seal who is going to do the most ticklish thing of all. He is going to Moscow. Of course, he will not commit us in the least, but it is right that he should know that those of us on this side of the House who have gone into this question would honestly like to see an Eastern air pact just as we have a Western pact. We know the risks involved, but to my mind if we do not have some form of Eastern pact the risks are greater still. It is no use drifting into war in the East by no one ever knowing what we shall do, above all, by never letting other people know what we shall do. It would be invidious to give illustrations, but obviously the Drang nach Osten is far greater than the Drang nach Westen. Memel, Lithuania, Latvia, the whole of the land which the Teutonic knights conquered in the fourteenth century, could be conquered again to-morrow if the junkers wished it. There is nothing to stop them, except of course the uncertainty as to what Russia would do or what France would do. It is the uncertainty which makes the real risk.
I hope that the Lord Privy Seal when he goes to Moscow will see at least what is required if security is to be given to Russia. It is hopeless to consider securing Russia's Eastern Empire. It is hopeless, not because it was not right to support Manchuria and the Chinese against the Japanese but because we dare not do so. The moment that the Japanese—and theirs is an authoritarian government with a vengeance—choose to do so they could strike at Hong Kong and blow the place to pieces and sink every ship we have east of Singapore. I give them the East. We cannot touch that. But we can let the Russians know and we can let Herr Hitler know with the same frankness as that which we have shown in the West, what we are prepared to do. Are we prepared to take the enormous risk of saying that we would pledge ourselves 122 for the Baltic States—which I do not love although I do not know much about them. They are all authoritarians now. If they were good sound free states it would be different. But what is the position to be? Are we to say "No" that we will not do this, or are we to join with the French and try to get Poland and Germany into such a pact? I think we might have from the Lord Privy Seal some idea as to how far he will go. We cannot expect him to be definite on such an indefinite position but I think he ought to show the whole world any commitment which is definitely decided upon because I believe that in this case, above all others, publicity is the secret of safety.
§ 8.37 p.m.
I am not going to follow the speech of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). It shows what a wonderful place the House of Commons is, when you can get a speech from the Front Bench of the Labour Opposition such as that to which we have just listened. It is no wonder that nobody in the world understands England. I agree with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that it would be a splendid thing if we could have an international police force. I think everybody in the world must want to see such a force, but I am sure the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is practical enough to realise that the world is not yet ready for it. I have heard people in Europe honestly express the view "We would not mind an international police force if the police were all Englishmen" but that is not practicable and we have to be practical in dealing with these questions. An hon. Member who spoke earlier said that armaments came through fear. He was referring to the present state of Europe and it is surely the case that the state of Europe to-day is worse than it was in 1914. Added to that, we have the Eastern question which is more acute to-day than it has ever been.
Peace is dear to the heart of every sane man and woman. It is particularly a woman's question, and that is why I feel called upon to speak about it this evening. When I hear people talk as the hon. and gallant Member for Hertford (Sir M. Sueter) talked just now, about what will have to be done in the next war, something sinks within me. 123 Since the War we have all been ardent pacifists. The League of Nations has had no greater backer in the world than England, and I think every right-thinking person to-day is a pacifist at heart. But that does not mean that we are in favour of peace at any price. It is ridiculous to talk about any nation being a nation of pacifists or of any party being a party of pacifists, and the Labour party of all parties ought to realise the fact that there is more discord within their own ranks probably than there is in any other party. I do not wish to be rude, but I think that one of the real troubles in the Labour movement is jealousy. Everybody knows it. There is jealousy of everyone in the movement who gets a little bit ahead and the rows that go on are terrific. I believe that the Prime Minister has never had such a good time in his life as he has had since he occupied his present position with a lot of men behind him who are loyal to him.
When hon. Members talk about international good will and understanding and peace and all that Socialism is going to do, I would like to remind them that we have already had some experience of Socialism. Germany had Socialism and it ended in Hitlerism. Italy had Socialism and it ended in Mussoliniism. and I believe if we had Socialism in this country it might end in Mosleyism, and that is why I do not want it. Socialism has not brought peace but autocracies. Even Communism in Russia has not brought peace but at least Communism is practical and faces the facts. Socialists do not seem to be able to face the facts. We have heard a tremendous row about this White Paper as though England were the only country preparing for war and all the other countries were preparing for peace. I would remind hon. Members of the position in those other countries especially as regards the views of women on this question. I believe that a great many women in England are getting all wrought up over the White Paper. I would remind them of the condition of women elsewhere in Europe to-day. In Russia if a woman dared to say anything about peace—well, she would not dare, so it is no use talking about it. In Germany, a woman who dared to raise her voice on this question would go to prison at once and in Italy 124 similarly women have not a word to say upon it.
In all those countries, under those autocratic Governments, women do not talk at all on these subjects. They are not allowed to do so. It is the women of England who have kept this country straight on this question since the War, but it is no use talking a lot of bunkum about peace when there is no peace within. We are living in an age of autocracy and persecution and we enjoy a freedom in this country which is not to be found in many other countries. That democratic Anglo-Saxon freedom which we enjoy, is not to be found in Germany, Italy or Russia to-day. But we have people here at home who will not face these facts and who do not seem to be able to realise that, not only are those countries well armed already but that they are continuing to arm and have been arming as much as possible ever since the War. I agree that the passage in the White Paper as to the teaching of the children, about which some hon. Members have been so cross, was probably tactless, but it was true of Italy and Russia and Germany. However I am not going to defend it, but as regards the criticism of the White Paper generally anybody would think that no other Government but this Government would have issued it. I am certain that if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) were in power he would have issued a similar paper.
Yes, we have many prominent members of the Liberal party in the National Government. I have never known of a Foreign Secretary since the War who has pleased the whole country and I am not saying that the present Foreign Secretary does so. I have never known one of recent years who has not been accused of blunders and mistakes and I think they have made mistakes and it is just because there have been mistakes that I think it positively dangerous at this time to make so much political capital out of this White 125 Paper. Indeed I am surprised at the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen. I did not think he would have done it, and I hope his party will not follow him in the line he has taken in this matter.
If a Socialist Government was in power, I am certain it would do this. The last Socialist Government had less authority over its civil servants even than the National Government has, and that is why the civil servants enjoyed having it. Everybody likes Ministers that he can pull about. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) said that when Socialism came in there would be a change throughout the world. Of course there would, but we all know what the change would be. It would not be for the better. To have them talk as if they were going to bring about peace is absurd. Everyone who really cares about peace and would make any sacrifice for it knows that. I represent a dockyard constituency, but I fought for the League of Nations and I fought for disarmament. I have never been afraid of doing that, because I think that peace ought to be the aim of every citizen of this country, and I am certain that it has been the aim of every Government since the War. But if we have not succeeded, you cannot blame us entirely. I think our very weak position as a country has been a positive menace, and I will tell you why. At Geneva someone was asked, "Why do you always take the part of France against England in these discussions?' He said, "Everyone knows that England goes pacifist after a war, and she has nothing to bargain with, and nothing will make her fight." That is not true, of course. I could get up a row in this House in three minutes if I wanted to, and if anyone thinks an Englishman is not always ready to fight, he does not understand us. People have misunderstood us because we have not gone on piling up armaments.
I will tell you another thing that may interest the Opposition. I recently saw a German pastor who had been turned out of Germany, and I was asking him about peace. He has gone to prison for his peace views, and he means it. He is not merely a talker. I said, "What more, in your view, can England do for peace? Do you think that if we went on leading 126 the way to disarmament, it would be a good thing?" He replied, "It hurts me to say so, but I, as a pacifist, think it would be the worst thing in the world for the peace of Europe if England were any weaker at this moment. In fact," he said, "I should like to see her stronger." When we back the White Paper it is not that we want war, but that we want peace, and I hope and pray that hon. Members, when they go out and fight against the White Paper, will remember not only party cries and elections, but the important place that England holds in the world to-day. If they went abroad, they would see it. So much in Europe depends on how we behave here in England, and it is no good belittling your country and trying to make out that war is started by capitalists and that Socialists are all peaceful people. What is a Socialist, and what is a capitalist? I take it that a capitalist is someone who wants something for himself and for his children. Every one of us is a capitalist, if it comes to that. As for Socialists, if they tell me, as the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) said, that you cannot cast out Beelzebub by Beelzebub, what has he got to cast it out with except Beelzebub?
I really feel strongly about this matter. It is no good our being hypocrites and talking as though we were a lot of Christians and appealing to a Christian nation. We want to be Christians, but you very rarely see a Christian, and I have never seen one yet in the House of Commons. I have seen those who would like to be, but I have not yet met one who is, and I am certain that the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale would not call himself one. There may be a fight in the country about the White Paper, but let it be an honest fight. Let the Labour party remember that they may come into power, and let them above all remember how we stand and not weaken the Government. Let them not bring despair to the people who are looking at England for a strong and a peaceful lead. It would be almost a wicked thing to do.
I hate too great an expenditure on defence. Naturally I do, when I see our social services suffering, but anything more meek and mild than the White Paper could scarcely be imagined, because all that it asks is sufficient to 127 keep our house in order. We have the fifth Air Force in the world at this moment, and it is a mad thing and unfair to represent this question as though the Socialists are such Christian people, in love with all mankind, and we are wicked capitalists. One of the worst things I found after the war, the thing which really hurt me most, was to find hon. Members going round trying to tell the men who came back from the war that the war was made by cruel capitalists, who did not mind sacrificing their sons so long as they got their money. They will not be able to tell the people that any longer, because they know now that nobody saved any money during or after the war; and may I remind you that war profiteers were not confined to any section or to any party in the country. The last war nearly ruined society as we knew it, and, as the Lord President of the Council said, the next war may ruin civilisation.
So we are going to do everything in the world to prevent it, and I am certain that if the people of the country could have it put to them in the right way and could know the truth about how far the Government is working for peace, they would be the last to go back on their country at this moment in what is really a world crisis. The Labour people used to talk about an economic blizzard, but that was only a squall compared with what the world is undergoing now. You have the whole of Europe in arms, under autocrats, and very difficult to deal with, and you have England backing the League of Nations and unable to get some countries to go into the League. You know very well that you cannot have collective peace until you have all countries in the League, but America is not in the League, Russia has only just joined, Germany is out, and Japan is out. So let us face facts in a manly way and not talk the same old tosh that we have heard for years, which has done no good but has done real harm, I think, to the cause of peace.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. MANDER
The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), speaking some time ago, put a question to us over here as to whether we were prepared to use whatever force might be necessary to support the Covenant of the League and 128 the principle of collective security. Of course we are. There can be no doubt about that. We are entirely opposed to unilateral disarmament, and, personally, I would be prepared to use any force that might be necessary to support the other nations of the world against an aggressor. But it is quite a different thing to think that the forces for which the present Government are asking are to be used in connection with collective security. If I thought or believed that, it would make a good deal of difference to me, but in all the evidence that we have had during the last four years, until quite recently, I have never noticed any anxiety or willingness or indication on their part that they are—[An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Saar?"] That was admirable, but I said "until quite recently," and I say that until then all that we have had have been suggestions from time to time by the Foreign Secretary that after all we must be the arbiters and that it remained for us to decide, which have created the impression abroad that England could not be relied upon to play her part in bringing about collective security I say, therefore, that for the Government to put forward as a reason for increased armaments their anxiety to contribute to and to participate in collective security is really hypocritical because I do not think they have shown any indication of doing so at all.
The Government give as one of the ways in which they have worked actively for the preservation of peace the Four-Power Pact in the Pacific and the Nine-Power Pact. It seems to me a considerable piece of audacity on their part to pray that in aid, because they allowed Japan to tear both those treaties into shreds before their eyes. They never breathed a word or lifted a finger to prevent it. If I am asked what I would have done, I would say that the Government might at least have consulted with America to see how far she was willing to participate in an economic boycott. If she had said that it did not interest her, the responsibility would have been clear to the world, but, as things are, a share of the responsibility rests upon us. If there had been co-operation for an economic boycott, the answer I would have given is that I would have faced that and all the consequences there might have been. That would have been a far 129 wiser and cheaper method of dealing with it than the appalling situation in the Far East and throughout the world which we have at the present time, largely as the result of that weakness in connection with Manchuria.
§ Mr. MANDER
I said I would have faced all the consequences, and if one of the consequences had been that Japan declared an attack on the whole world, we should have had to meet it. The Lord President seems to have persuaded himself that the issue of the White Paper was a very wise and defensible action. He may think so, but I do not think the country as a whole will think so. It is, I believe, universally recognised that it was an appalling blunder of statesmanship, however it may have occurred. It is one of the worst blunders the Government have committed, both as regards the time of publication and the matter it contains. The only people who are really openly delighted with it are the Diehards who never believed in the collective system and do not want it to operate. They are very pleased, because it gives them their whole case. On the other hand, the issue of the White Paper has been the cause, among other things, of the resignation of the only woman member of the British delegation to the Disarmament Conference. That is directly traceable to the publication of the Paper. I do not complain of the use of strong words in regard to Germany or any other country, and I can conceive that if more than a year ago, at the beginning of the Nazi regime, firm language, followed if necessary by strong action, had been used in co-operation with other countries, it might have been a wise thing to do. There are, however, times and occasions for all things, and to bring forward a critical and, up to a point, offensive, though true, document at the very moment when the Foreign Secretary was going to Berlin to try by conciliation and good will to get agreement, is surely the worst possible tactics, for it was bound to hit Germany on the raw.
One of the most lamentable features that arises out of the White Paper is its disclosure of what, I am afraid, is to a very large extent the real minds of the Government, namely, that they have long 130 given up all hope of disarmament and that they are back on the old principle of competition in national armaments which ended, as it was bound to end, in 1914. The Lord President quoted many figures as to the increasing armaments of other countries and the efforts that we I had made to reduce ours. All he proved was that there is an armaments race going on and that we are taking our part in it; and he proved also the urgent necessity of turning round and working in the direction of a collective system rather than perpetuating a system that is absolutely certain to lead to disaster. I would like to give another small example of the effect of the White Paper. The "Times" correspondent in Paris, in a message on 7th March referring to the discussion that is going on there about the raising of the period of service from one to two years, said:The British White Paper has greatly strengthened the hands of the Government as an argument in favour of the change. It is felt that all the reasons invoked for adequate defences apply with additional force to France.There, again, the White Paper has, as regards France, directly stimulated re armament and an increase in services. One wonders why this document was published and at this time. I cannot help thinking that whatever the Government may say—and the Lord President has very chivalrously to-day, as one expected, tried to defend it as being wise and timely—the real reason is lack of control in the higher command of the Government, and muddled thinking. I believe it is an example of the lack of co-ordination which it is only too clear, exists in certain Departments, and particularly in the higher command of the Government. May I call attention to one or two passages in the White Paper. On the first page it says:The course of events has rendered unavoidable an increase in the total Defence Estimates.I agree with that, but the course of events I have in mind is the failure of the. Government throughout their term of office effectively or energetically or sincerely as a whole at Geneva or else- where to press forward with disarmament and the working of the collective system. That to my mind is a very good reason for not entrusting them any further with the control of our national armaments. I am not so much concerned to vote against 131 the increases for which they are asking, because, in the circumstances, it may well be that with their policy we require them. But I do not care to entrust this Government with any of the Services at all, and that is a very good reason for voting against them in toto. The real position is not that the League of Nations or that the collective system has broken down, but that the will to use it, if it ever existed in the minds of His Majesty's advisers, has now completely broken down. The main objection to the White Paper is that it concentrates on a form of defence which is bound to fail, as all the teachings of history have shown us, and it says very little about a method of defence which is bound to succeed, namely, the collective method through the League. I venture to hope that the Government, just as they have given us at great length a disquisition in this White Paper on the case for national competitive armaments, will give us at equal length a memorandum or White Paper showing in detail just how they think the collective system can be made in practice effectively to work. If they are as sincere as they say in their will to make it work, they ought to tell us in more detail exactly how they are going to set about it.
But in spite of all that I have said about the White Paper I cannot think that the case of the Government is quite as bad as they themselves make out. I think they have done themselves a considerable injustice in publishing this paper, because not long ago they did seem to be getting on—after the success of the Saar, in which they had trembled to take action for fear of the opposition they might meet and then found that it was the most popular thing they had ever done in the realm of foreign affairs. Encouraged by that they went on with the proposals of the Air Pact and all that goes with it. I think that those proposals were admirable in their objective and in the particular manner in which they were brought forward. The Foreign Secretary, in his broadcast and in other ways, was most careful to have regard to the psychological situation in Berlin, and to make it quite clear that the Germans were being treated on all-fours with any other nation. All that effort of his, it is disappointing to find, has in large degree been upset by the 132 tactics of the White Paper. I hope that as soon as possible we shall get back to the atmosphere of 3rd February, and that the Foreign Secretary will go over to Berlin with the maximum of good will. It is 20 years since those responsible for foreign policy in Germany and in this country met on equal terms. It is a great moment, one of the great moments of history, and if the Foreign Secretary and the Government are able, taking this as a starting point, to carry through the whole policy, it will have resounding effects on the history of the world for many decades to come.
May I make one or two comments on the policy? It is quite clear, is it not, that the Air Pact is to be entirely mutual—England with France against Germany, England with Germany against France, or whatever the combination may be—and that there is no undertaking, at present at any rate, that unless that takes place there shall be simply an Anglo-French agreement to act against the other. That is very important, and I hope the Foreign Secretary will be able to say that no undertaking has been given to the French Government that whatever may happen over these negotiations they can rely on us to come on their side. Secondly, surely it is quite clear that the Air Pact must form part and parcel of a disarmament convention, that it is linked up with it. If that is so, then all this talk of increased armaments for the purpose of making the Pact effective is entirely beside the point. One of the documents the Government will doubtless have in mind in carrying through the negotiations will be the British Draft Convention. The Foreign Secretary, in reply to a question the other day, admitted to me that it would be a very relevant document. The Draft Convention envisages as soon as possible 500 aeroplanes for Great Britain, for France and for Italy, and I presume the same number will be allotted to Germany, as she is treated on an equality. The other member, Belgium? would be allotted 150 aeroplanes. That would be for the commencement of the arrangement. I take it we should be working to that end, and not simply for each country having as many aeroplanes as possible.
But that is only an interim arrangement, because under Article 35 of the British Government's own Draft Convention there is envisaged as soon as 133 possible a situation when military aviation will be abolished altogether and civil aviation will have been made international. So we are working—I hope it seems to follow—through the channel of the Air Pact towards, first, disarmament through a limited number of aeroplanes, and finally the abolition of military aviation. I hope that whoever replies for the Government will confirm that that is in general the outlook of the Government on the subject. I presume that those arrangements would involve Staff consultations between the British and the French, and the French and the Germans, that the Staffs would have to meet to consider the possibility of joint action, and that there may be joint manoeuvres. I cannot help thinking that something of that kind is essential if the scheme is really to work in practice. I see great difficulties, but those we shall have to face and endeavour to overcome. My own view is that we shall find in the long run that by far the easiest way of working out a system of mutual protection of this kind is to have one international aerial police force under the control of the League of Nations.
With regard to the Eastern Pact, which also forms an integral part of the arrangement, I gather that Germany is opposed to that through fear of Russia, but surely it is better, from Germany's point of view, to have Russia inside some kind of arrangement where she is at any rate under an obligation to come to Germany's assistance than outside. The Government have made it quite clear in the White Paper that we are not committed directly or indirectly. I must say that I am not much impressed with pacts or arrangements for the benefit of peace abroad in which this Country is to play no part even indirectly. I do hope the Government will keep an open mind on that question, and will if they feel they can at any stage usefully to make a success of the whole arrangement, go rather further than saying they have no interest direct or indirect, because they may be rendering a very real service, as it is to the interests of us all that every one should know that the aggressor is going to have everybody against him in one form or another.
134 I do not feel there is any real difficulty about the Danubian Pact, or the return of Germany to the League, provided the other matters are settled. I do hope that the Government will use their great opportunity to put this policy through. It requires courage and determination, and the same diplomatic activity which they were using in the month of January at the time of these negotiations. I am sure they would have the country behind them, because although little has been said about the National Peace Ballot it does give a very interesting indication, in a broad sense, of the feeling of the country. Through it 2,500,000 people have expressed their views. Of that number 97 per cent. have expressed general support for the League of Nations, and that means something; and what is perhaps even more significant 72 per cent., or 2 to 1, have expressed their willingness that if necessary, in the last resort, military force, acting' in a police sense, may be used for the peace of the world. While wishing the Government every success in their Air Pact policy and all that is linked with it, and hoping that this deplorable episode will soon be forgotten—although I do not think there is much chance of that—I intend to vote for this Vote of Censure to-night, because I believe every word of it to be true. It condemns a policy which is entirely inconsistent with the policy of 3rd February, and it has aroused and rightly aroused, alarm and indignation throughout the whole country.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ Brigadier-General SPEARS
I feel all the more hesitation in addressing the House this evening, because I belong to that class alluded to by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) as people who always die in their beds. I would remind the hon. Member that generals are not born as generals, but have to reach that position by a certain amount of work and by going through much the same experiences as everybody else before obtaining position. As a brigadier-general, I am hardly in a position to defend generals of a more superior type, but generals are not like dukes—they have to work their way up the scale.
I support the plea put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), who pointed out that to all intents and purposes this was a foreign affairs Debate, and that 135 there are important matters affecting the three Services which require debate. I hope that an opportunity will be found to enable that discussion to take place The Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Lady Astor) said something which, I thought, was extremely sensible; she declared that if a Socialist Government had been in office they would have had to produce exactly the same White Paper. They would have had to do so or resign. Their experts would have told them that unless certain increases took place they would resign. The experts, the responsible men in the Services, would refuse to remain responsible unless certain steps were taken to strengthen the Services. It is my contention that no Government could possibly disregard that, or could present Estimates to the House knowing that the Estimates had not the support of the experts.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and gallant Member, but he is preaching what is utterly unconstitutional. The experts in the various departments have never had the responsibility of deciding what shall be the strength of the national armament, and it is a very wrong thing that any Member of the House of Commons should endeavour to put that responsibility upon them. It always rests with Ministers, who are responsible to the House of Commons.
§ Brigadier-General SPEARS
I am not talking of the constitutional issue; I am talking of the practical one. We all know that when a Socialist Government was in power, the experts, that is to say, the responsible men in the different Services, declared that certain things had to be done, and that those things were done by the Socialist Government. That is common knowledge. It is generally admitted that our unilateral disarmament cannot go on and that our weakness has done a great dis-service to international peace, and has been a weakness to the League of Nations. Our measure of disarmament during the last 10 years has been of the greatest possible use and help to the taxpayers of this country, but the advantage which we have obtained has undoubtedly been at the expense of the League of Nations. I have just returned from a journey on the Continent, and I can assure the House 136 that the White Paper, far from causing alarm, as some people would wish to make out, has been welcomed, particularly among the smaller nations of Europe.
§ Brigadier-General SPEARS
And France, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia and a good many other places. Far from being a blow to the cause of peace the White Paper has on the contrary been accepted as very much in favour, and in support of the League of Nations.
I am afraid that the rapidity with which Germany has been rearming has caused, and is causing, the greatest possible anxiety in Europe. Let me take one example and one figure. I do not believe that I shall be contradicted from the Treasury Bench when I say that Germany is reputed to be building 300 field guns per month. Lately, I believe, the figure has gone up to 500. I attempted to get a corresponding figure for this country, and I found that what might be termed our leading armament firm was only capable of producing something like 400 guns per year.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
On what authority does the hon. and gallant Member base his information for that statement?
§ Brigadier-General SPEARS
I am afraid that I cannot specify the source of my information. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman believes the statement to be inaccurate, I will reply that I believe that the facts are correct, otherwise I would not have stated them. I cannot possibly disclose my source of information. It is a matter of common knowledge that although the industrial exports of Germany are falling and her consumption is unfortunately low, her armament firms in particular are working overtime. As the Lord President of the Council said a little while ago in this House, it is the secrecy shrouding the rearmament of Germany that is causing such fear. Quite apart from the anxiety caused by Germany's rearmament, I find that the question of Russia and the form which the Eastern Pact is to take is looming increasingly large on the European scene.
137 This matter is directly linked with the question of how strong the League is to be, and that question depends upon the strength and policy of this country more than upon any other factor. I, for one, am very glad to think that the Lord Privy Seal is going to Moscow. I believe that visit will do nothing but good. I am quite certain that he will be welcomed there, and that he will come back in a position to explain to us the Russian point of view. But the important point, as far as the present situation is concerned, is that Russia, strong as she is herself to-day, has demanded, and is demanding with insistence, a definite military understanding with France. That is simply because she feels that the security she derives as a member of the League of Nations is not alone sufficient to assure her sense of security in Europe. What is astonishing—and this was entirely news to me—is to find that the Little Entente is strongly supporting Russia in her demand for military alliance—nothing less than military alliance—with France to-day. And the only thing that makes France hesitate to grant that alliance is the fear of being misunderstood in this country. It is well known that we dislike military alliances. If it were the fact, which I fear it is not, that France and Russia were both satisfied that the collective system in Europe was ensured by a really strong League—which can only be obtained by the support of an adequately armed Great Britain—they would not seek security in military alliances. They would obtain under Article 16 of the Covenant all the security that they need. The great advantage of this solution is that the moment Germany rejoined the League she would find exactly the same security as Article 16 can be made to afford to every other nation.
While it seems to me that the present increase in our Service Estimates is in every way justified, I feel quite certain that the Government will not relax their efforts to secure reductions in the scale of armaments by international understanding. It would be fatal—and here I appeal to the Government, and I know that the whole House feels with me—if this were to be the first step in a new armaments competition. It is to be hoped that negotiations for the scaling down of armaments will be actively pursued; and. I hope if it is found that any nation by an obstructionist policy is making a 138 Disarmament Convention difficult, or is obstructing its progression, that His Majesty's Government will make it clear that they would consider such a policy on the part of any nation an unfriendly act.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ ADMIRAL of the FLEET (Sir Roger Keyes)
I would like to say a few words in support of the Government's Statement in Relation to Defence, which has been so hotly opposed by the Opposition both above and below the Gangway, and by a certain number of so-called pacifists in, the country. The Prime Minister for a long time has claimed credit for having allowed our defences to go down and down and down in order to show an example to other nations. Well, other nations have not followed the example, and their defences have gone up and up and up. I must congratulate the Prime Minister on having issued a statement which frankly acknowledges the folly of failing to provide adequate defences to ensure this country against attack from an aggressor, and to ensure co-operation in any form of collective security. I do not propose to follow my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hertford (Rear-Admiral Sir M. Sueter) in his speech about the value of battleships. I will leave the points he raised until we discuss the Navy Estimates. My hon. and gallant Friend deserves great credit for organising our first Naval Air Service, but since then he has been rather out of date. There have been great developments, and I assure him that the battleship to-day has nothing more to fear from aircraft than from the torpedoes of submarines or destroyers or the guns of its like. He told a story about the value of the torpedo in the Great War. I would remind him that in the whole course of the War only one capital ship, in the North Sea, was hit by one torpedo, and she remained in action at a speed of 17 knots until the action ended.
§ Sir M. SUETER
Will the gallant Admiral tell the House the orders that were given to the German submarine captains? They were told that every torpedo fired at a warship was wasted, and that they had to confine their attack to trade ships.
§ Sir R. KEYES
I do not want to interrupt my hon. and gallant Friend, but 139 it is a fact that there was a vast concentration of submarines outside our ports before the battle of Jutland, and before the next time that the German Fleet came out in August, 1916. The right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) gibed at the Navy for being so little air-minded. He cannot accuse me of that. I operated a considerable Air Force in the last year of the War, and fairly belligerently. I used an aeroplane to get about my command—across the Channel to visit the Headquarters of the Army and my command on the Belgian coast. I have flown on and off aircraft carriers, and quite recently I flew 5,000 miles at the rate of 200 miles an hour. Therefore, I have a fair sense of what the air means, and am in agreement with those who feel that a very considerable increase is required in our Air Force. But it is not fair to say that the Navy is not air-minded. I did not mean to touch on this subject to-day, but I have done so in answer to my hon. and gallant Friend. The Navy would be much more air-minded but for the dual control which was imposed upon it by the Conservative Government of which the Lord President was Prime Minister, and which has hampered our air development. I have seen a good deal of the American Navy lately, and I think if the British Navy had been free to develop its own air force, it would be just as air-minded as the American Navy, which is nearly 100 per cent. more so than ours.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hertford spoke about a Minister of Defence. I am now in agreement with that, though I did not always think it necessary. We have a committee of the three chiefs of staff who sit with representatives of the Treasury and the Foreign Office, and I would urge that that splendid committee, which works in great accord and in loyal co-operation, should be placed under a Minister of vision and foresight and charged with the defence of the country. I am sure that the advice on which the White Paper is based was advice jointly tendered by these three chiefs of staff, and I congratulate them and the Government, who have accepted their advice, on the very definite and valuable pronouncements in Part IV relating to naval de- 140 fence. The air has been thoroughly cleared of the propaganda which for a long time has been trying to provide sufficient air defence at the expense of the Army and Navy, and particularly of the Navy, which is declared to be obsolete and redundant. Part IV is a most valuable pronouncement, and paragraphs 16 and 17 are of paramount importance. I recommend the House to read them. Paragraph 16 says:The Main Fleet is the basis upon which our naval strategy rests";and paragraph 17 says:In the Main Fleet the capital ship remains the essential element upon which the whole structure of our naval strategy depends.I recommend the House to accept the advice of the present Admiralty in office in matters relating to the main Fleet and the capital ship. That advice is based, not only on the practical experience of naval officers who have held high commands in war and have borne great responsibilities, but of those who are responsible for the naval defence of the four other maritime powers—the United States, Japan, France and Italy.
The capital ship of to-morrow may be something quite different from the capital ship of to-day. Great Britain made every possible effort to reduce the size of the battleship of to-morrow, but with no success, and, as long as other maritime nations build 35,000-ton battleships mounting 15-inch and 16-inch guns, it would be sheer folly and waste of money to build anything that is not powerful enough to take them on; it would only be to court disaster, whatever anyone says to the contrary. The lessons of the War should be in the mind of everyone. At Coronel, two armoured cruisers were destroyed in a few minutes by two more powerful German armoured cruisers. Within a few weeks those two German armoured cruisers were destroyed by more powerful battlecruisers, and two German light cruisers were destroyed by somewhat more powerful British cruisers. The Lord President of the Council has told us this afternoon that, when these treaties come to an end, we shall be left with a great many ships that are obsolete and out of date, which will need to be replaced, but there are other things to be considered. I think it should be borne in mind that the personnel of the British Navy, who have to go to sea in 141 ships that are out of date, are being asked to face risks which they ought not to be asked to face in meeting other ships built by nations that have not been making these sacrifices.
I do not want to weary the House with details, but I recently had an object lesson on the relative value of ships. I had the honour to represent the Government at some celebrations in Canada, and there the British Navy was represented by the "Dragon," a comparatively small ship built during the War, quite obsolete according to modern standards, and utterly unfit to go into action with the American 10,000-ton cruiser, mounting 8-inch guns and equipped with aeroplanes which she met in those waters. Our Navy was also represented by the largest destroyer leader we were allowed to build under the Treaty, and alongside her was lying a French flotilla leader which was vastly more powerful, larger and faster than ours, a kind of vessel that France and Italy have been free to build without any of the restrictions of the London Treaty. I have mentioned these matters to emphasise the folly of unilateral disarmament under treaties which are not binding on all the maritime nations of the world.
It is very difficult to understand how any man or woman of our race can take exception to this White Paper. Its policy is reasonable and fair. If I had not read an account of the proceedings of the Socialists at their annual conference last year, it would be impossible to understand their point of view. Their programme included, besides the nationalisation of our key industries, banks, etc., an Act of Parliament to hand over the defence of the British Empire to the League of Nations. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clay Cross (Mr. A. Henderson), who recommended this procedure, declared that:The Socialist movement is international to the core. Its purpose is to abolish all national conflict. We Socialists have a burning faith in the brotherhood of man.The hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) explained the purpose and meaning of the proposed Act thus:We have abandoned the whole idea of the Nationalist order. We mean to put on the Statute Book a law that will make the people of this country citizens of the world before being citizens of this country.142 I do not believe that that is how the hon. Member felt when he was fighting in Gallipoli, and certainly it is not what was felt by the millions of men who came to our aid from all over the Empire when war was forced on us in 1914. We want to prevent war, and we believe that our way of preventing war is better than that of the Socialists. It is 80 years since the people of our race were engaged in civil war, and I would remind the House a civil war both sides entered upon practically disarmed. It is many generations since the Government executed their political opponents. It happened in Germany a few months ago. What is happening all over Europe to-day? Greek fights Greek, Spaniard fights Spaniard. In Austria there was civil war recently. And yet we are asked to trust to this brotherhood of nations to give security to this country. It is absolute folly, and I hope the Motion of the Socialists will be rejected with the contempt it deserves.
§ 9.47 p.m.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
The hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken has put before the House in the passage he has quoted the views that we hold and it is obvious that he holds different views. I want to try to put before the House on this very grave question which we are discussing to-night the views which we hold. The Lord President's speech did nothing to put any more cheerful aspect upon that Paper which I noticed the "Economist" in its leading article this week calls the Black Paper. At one time he stressed the necessity for increased efficiency in our armaments both in material and otherwise, and increased strength in our Air Force; and at another he seemed to point out that really this document was harmless because it did not mean any increased strength at all—something which no one need be in the least alarmed about because it was merely making good a few deficiencies and would make little alteration in our armament strength. He cannot have it both ways. He must base his argument either on the one or the other; either that it is necessary to have greater strength and its being provided or that it is not necessary to have greater strength and this extra expenditure does mean no greater strength at all.
We agree with what he said that in this matter every country must be its 143 own master, but it is just because in this matter every country must be its own master that leadership in the right direction in the international sphere is so vital. The figures he gave of the armaments of other countries as a comparison with our own, and the instance he gave of how France had replied to the two 35,000 ton battleships of Italy by building two herself, only proved that the action of every individual country in this sphere is bound to have its reaction in other countries. We cannot really adopt the attitude that because we are such a peace-loving people what we do as regards armaments will have no effect elsewhere. It always has had effect, and it always will have effect as long as people measure armaments by the comparative strength of nations.
Then he told us that he appreciated the desire there was for equality of status, and that that equality of status naturally led people to desire equality of armaments. Why should that equality not be on the basis of disarmament? Why must the equality be on the basis of armaments? We appreciate, as he does, that you cannot deny people an equality in their status as great nations, but we do not believe that that equality need be marked by massive armaments. There is no shadow of doubt that the object of those who set up the League of Nations was to get rid of armaments and that, indeed, has been the object of every pact, treaty and covenant that has been entered into since that time. Yet now these very pacts and covenants are brought forward as arguments to justify an increased expenditure on armaments. Not only do people want the status of nations to be equal among the great nations of the world, but we should also agree with the right hon. Gentleman that every nation wants a status in influence. That is to say, they want their voice to contribute—and forcefully contribute—to the general considerations and decisions which are taken by the nations of the world.
The right hon. Gentleman now tells us that it is only possible to make such a contribution if you are backed by a strong defence force. Surely that is the old, out-of-date, bankrupt idea of the pre-war era; the idea that has been afraid to show itself until very recent 144 times. When the memory of the tragedy of the last War was fresh in people's minds, that idea of building up power to protect oneself from opponents lapsed into the background and now, as the War becomes more ancient history, it is again showing its head. Unfortunately in this White Paper it shows itself as the official policy of the Government. Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary of what he said about that a few years ago:The ghastly fallacy, that 'if you wish peace you must prepare for war' has few-defenders to-day. The world has been taught better. What is the good of having guns to play with if they are never to be let off? What is the use of drilling soldiers if they are never to fight?We entirely endorse that view. We were sorry to notice that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) finally and definitely abandoned the League of Nations as a possible guarantee against a deliberate war. He said that the only way to prevent such a war was to mass such overwhelming force against the aggressor as to show him he could not win. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman how he proposes to mass that force against the aggressor when he does not know who the aggressr may be?'How oft the sight of means to doill-deedsMake ill-deeds done.'We watch this piling up of the means of destruction, but we know that instead of it building a sure bulwark for peace, it is really assembling fuel for a conflagration even more terrible than the last.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman asked me a question, and I presume he wants an answer—by regional Pacts on the Locarno model.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the regional pacts have shown themselves a worse failure than the League of Nations Covenant? Can he point to me any action taken under the regional pacts of the East, the Nine-Power Treaty or the Four-Power Pacific Treaty? When Japan went into Manchuria, what action was taken under the League of Nations Covenant and under the regional pacts? If there is any strength, that strength has proved to be, such as it was, the obtaining of a report and a decision as to who was the aggressor under the Covenant of the League of 145 Nations and not under the regional pact which was built up, as the right hon. Gentleman told us, in order to underpin the structure of the League of Nations. Why the right hon. Gentleman should feel that there is greater security in a regional pact than there is in the Covenant of the League of Nations I cannot understand. If the parties who signed these covenants intend to fulfil them, it matters not whether it is the Covenant of the League or a regional pact. The Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman has moved shows, I venture to suggest, a complete failure to realise and appreciate the actualities of international security, because in the last lines of his Amendment he suggests that the forces which His Majesty's Government should maintain are such as areequally necessary for the defence of our own people and for the discharge of our international obligations.It seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman is looking upon the obligations as being unilateral on our part; that is to say, he is considering that we alone must defend ourselves and, in addition, must carry out our obligations under pacts to help others. Are not we entitled to rely upon the obligations of others to help us in our defence? Is it because the right hon. Gentleman does not trust the others to come forward as readily to our assistance as we would to theirs, or is it because he does not really believe in the practicability of the whole conception of collective security? Unless we adopt the attitude that we can trust no one except ourselves, we must be entitled, if we are going in for any either regional or general pact of collective security and material assistance, to take that matter into account in deciding upon the forces that are necessary for the defence of our own people.
There can be no doubt, as has been said by many speakers, that this document is one of extreme importance not only to this country, but, indeed, to the rest of the world. It marks, I believe, the final realisation of the struggle that has been proceeding in the Cabinet ever since the National Government came into power. On the one side there are those who desire to assist and support the League of Nations and the idea of collective security, and on the other are 146 those who just as genuinely feel that that idea ought to be abandoned because it is futile and dangerous to the country, and that we should rely, not upon any collective agreements for our security, but rather upon the strength of our own right arm. The latter party still believe that safety and security for this nation will be found in the strength of our own individual armaments, and I believe that in this White Paper we find the final triumph of that idea, and the final abandonment, and the putting into cold storage, of the idea of collective security as an effective instrument of national security.
If the security of this country is to be based upon the comparative strength of our own national armaments, then I should have thought that it was very doubtful whether His Majesty's Government had taken sufficiently large steps to increase our forces. This state of affairs has gradually been developing over the last three years, and I believe that that is the reason why we have been so ineffective as a country in our leadership in the Disarmament Conferences. We have had any amount of vague and general propositions as regards the desirability of disarmament, which, I am sure, theoretically everybody desires to see. We have had many expressions of opinion as regards the desirability of international action through pacts, covenants and otherwise, but we have never been able to crystallise that general desirability into a concrete form, because those who all the time feel that we had to rely on our own national armaments were not prepared to give up any portion of those armaments in order to obtain international agreements.
It is useless to disguise, or to try to disguise, the fact that there is a deep-lying, fundamental difference in the two approaches to this problem. I agree with what the Lord President said as to the necessity of frankness with democracy—sometimes people seem to think that I am too frank—and it depends upon that frankness as to the possibility of the people of the country making up their minds on these great issues, and there can be no more important political issue in the political struggle to-day than the one we are discussing to-night. It is one upon which the people of this country will inevitably have to make up their 147 minds. The fundamental difference of approach arises, I believe, in this way. There are those who view the matter of national security as exclusively a matter for ourselves and our own determination, and as one in which we must always reserve to ourselves the untrammelled right of decision, whether it be in the matter of agreement to assist someone else or in the matter of the determination of what our own armaments should be. On the other hand, there are those who hold the view that, if each country in the world is to continue to adopt the view that they must act entirely on their own in these matters, there is no possibility of arriving at any basis for world peace or world security, and that any international agreements, covenants or pacts will inevitably break down if that point of view is preserved by the nations who enter into them.
The basis of security must be a willingness to subordinate national wishes and desires and interests to international good, and a preparedness in each nation to sacrifice some factor in their national armaments or national policy as a contribution to the security of the whole. It is not merely a question of how this or that negotiation may best be carried out; it is the complete difference in approach to the whole problem. The conception of the League of Nations in the White Paper as a body for promoting peace by facilitating and regularising the means of international co-operation, is fundamentally different from our conception of the League of Nations as an incipient world confederation of nations. We believe that if the League is looked upon merely as it is stated in the White Paper, there is no possibility of building up a structure of world security. We believe, too, that the history of the Disarmament Conference shows that very thing, that where it has been necessary for some real sacrifice to be made by one country or another, they have always had a reservation in their minds which has defeated the possibility of agreement on that particular point, such as our reservation as regards the bombing of out lying inhabitants. When other nations were prepared to get rid of military aviation, if we had been prepared to make that sacrifice, it might well have been to-day that military aviation would have 148 been abolished—[Laughter]—or would have been on its way towards abolition. Hon. and right hon. Members laugh. The great problem of to-day is what to do in face of the growing aerial armament of Europe. Surely, it is hardly a matter for laughter that there might have been a possibility of the abolition of military aviation. Quite clearly, that was a proposal which was most seriously put forward by very influential countries, and I can imagine no more convenient way of getting rid of what everyone regards as a present and imminent danger all over Europe than by abolishing the source of the danger.
I do not want to detain the House too long. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] If hon. Members opposite wish me to take the time of the Foreign Secretary, I will do it, certainly. There are one or two passages in the White Paper to which I wish to draw attention, particularly the one that deals with the reason why we are met with the danger with which we are dealing to-day. It states that the reason for these greater armaments is the fear of aggression, and that fear of aggression, it is stated, arises because other nations, firstly, have old vengeances to work off. In other words, old peace treaties are the source of the new wars and it does not seem likely that that type of difficulty will be overcome by increases of armaments. Secondly, and more important, because of these sources of friction or dispute are said to be "pressure occasioned by the increase of population," or the impulse of what nations conceive to be national necessity; in other words, the economic pressure within the nation itself. Surely, if this problem is to be tackled at all, it is idle to try to add weights to the safety valve to keep down that economic pressure. That can only result in an explosion such as we saw Japan had when she went into Manchuria and North China. The fundamental thing that has to be done is not to try to deal with the explosion when it happens, which is all that we are doing in the White Paper, but to try to obviate the reason for the explosion. That is to say, this problem must be tackled from the point of view of world economic cooperation. Until we can devise some method for sharing out the raw materials and markets of the world, it is idle to attempt to deal with the armaments 149 problem. Therefore, this White Paper itself demonstrates clearly that it is idle to try to eliminate war simply by dealing with the question of armaments.
May I come to the passage on page 5 which deals with the position as regards the Locarno Treaty and others? The White Paper says that our positionis being seriously weakened by the knowledge, shared by all the signatories, that our contribution, in case our obligation is clear to us—The House will notice that we are not bound to anything but that it is only "in case our obligation is clear to us"—could have little decisive effect. The same consideration would, of course, apply to any other method of collective security to which we might be parties.In my submission, that is a grossly false statement. It is treating our Army, Navy and Air Force as if they were contemptible. To suggest that in the present state of Europe our contribution with infinitely the largest Navy, a very efficient Air Force and an Expeditionary Force could have little decisive effect in the case of two other countries attacking one another, is to make a grossly untrue statement, and the object of making that statement is in order to try to persuade the people of this country that they are by this rearmament or extra expenditure on armaments contributing not to a race in armaments, as they are, but to some security pact. In my submission, it is no argument at all for an increase in armaments that we have entered these pacts, by which we have bound ourselves to act with others in order to secure either the safety of a country or of a region. If that argument is to be used, it is going to be a fresh incentive for the race in armaments that is already taking place. Every country will be able to come forward and justify an expansion of its armaments by saying: "We are only doing this in order that we may be more effective in the collective security pact into which we have entered." It seems to us that that is a most dangerous precedent, and a most dangerous suggestion to make.
While I am dealing with that point, may I answer a question which the right hon. Member for West Birmingham put to me? He asked what would we have done as regards the Sino-Japanese dispute. As I understand it, when we 150 signed the Covenant of the League of Nations we honestly meant to keep it. That was a multilateral Covenant in which we agreed with many other nations that in the event of certain things happening we would take certain action if we were called upon to do so. It was our duty, in co-operation with the other nations who were equally bound, to do our utmost immediately that aggression became apparent to take every possible step to stop the aggression, in the first place, no doubt, by recalling the ambassador, and if that failed, by economic pressure. If that failed then, in co-operation with other nations equally bound to take action, by armaments if necessary. [Interruption.] Certainly, and let me ask hon. Members who are so amused and jeering, what they propose to do under the Locarno Pact. Do they propose, if they are called upon to act under that Pact, to say, "Oh, it is not convenient for us to send an army across the seas," or do they propose to carry out the word they have given? That was the only question with regard to Japan, and there is no greater reason why we should dishonour our covenants because they are in the East than because they happen to be in the West. If hon. Members opposite really mean what they profess to mean as regards either regional or world pacts or covenants, they cannot get out of the implication, which must necessarily follow, that so long as others are prepared to co-operate with them, so long as the Covenant is not broken by the refusal of others to work, they must play their share, whatever it is, provided they have bound themselves to it beforehand. We find not the slightest difficulty in answering the question of the right hon. Gentleman.
One word as regards the paragraph which deals with Germany in this document. We agree entirely that the rearmament of Germany is most unfortunate and most undesirable, as is the rearmament of other countries. We should certainly be far more convinced, if we could be convinced, of the pacific intentions of the German Government if we saw them taking some action as regards these pacific intentions. For instance, by entering into the Air Locarno on the West, or, what would be more decisive, by entering into the Pact of Mutual Assistance on the East. If we saw these actual actions being taken by the German 151 Government we, and I think everybody else, would be more convinced than by mere speeches of the Fuhrer or any other member of the German Government. This policy of trying to enter into paper pacts, in which nobody really has any confidence because no country is prepared to sacrifice any part of its national sovereignty or its national interests in order to achieve what in our belief is infinitely more valuable, that is international security, is not going to lead this country or the world anywhere. If the Government had the courage to step out and offer to the world to give up either in the economic or in the armaments sphere some portion of our national rights, and subject those to some form of international authority or control, it might be that we should make a beginning of international security. If we do not do that we are merely reverting to the power policy before the last war, and the end of that policy will land us, just as certainly as it did then, in another war. We cannot rely, as the Foreign Secretary has told us, for our security upon piling up armaments, because we are merely piling up that which will become the means of our own destruction.
§ 10.20 p.m.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir John Simon)
In spite of the vigorous speech to which we have just listened, I think that most Members of the House who were here in the earlier part of the Debate will share my own feeling that the case for this Motion of Censure was really shattered by the facts which the Lord President laid before the House, and, I would add, by the devastating speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain). The right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) truly said that the real issue in this Debate is whether these increased Estimates for defence, together some £10,000,000, can be justified. I agree that that is the issue. I say now, and I believe that the vast majority of the House will confirm me in saying, that if we are prepared to face the facts as they are to-day no Government could take any other course. The Lord President pointed out the melancholy fact that rearmament, in spite of all the efforts we have made to give a lead the other way, is in fact going on all over the world. I 152 remember that my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) made the same point on the last occasion when he addressed the House. In contrast with that, as the Lord President pointed out with equal force, we have been maintaining what amounts to a progressive reduction in our own expenditure on defence over a series of years.
Let me observe, in passing, that I think it was a false point made by the right hon. Member for Darwen when he said, in effect, "Oh yes, your figures of comparative expenditure look very striking; they do show great reductions compared with 1925, but allowance must be made for the fall in prices." It is quite true that allowance must be made for the fall in prices in the expenditure of other countries too, and if you do make allowance for that fall in prices then the increase in armament expenditure elsewhere is all the more striking. The right hon. Member for Darwen himself is well acquainted with this point, for I recall that at the time when he, as a member of the Government, was also a member of the British Delegation at Geneva in the year 1932, he contributed a very valuable analysis of the figures in order to reinforce this very point. I would remind him of what he then said. This is what he said:On the basis of the figures published in the League Armaments Year Book it will be found that the expenditure of the United Kingdom on armaments has been reduced between the year 1925 and the year 1930 by 15 per cent. Since that date further reductions have been made which give a total reduction of 20 per cent. in seven years.My right hon. Friend, then a colleague of ours at Geneva, went on to point out how very unfair it would be, if it were found possible to devise a cut in armaments expenditure all over the world, if we were to be exposed to that cut in the same degree as other people. That is a fact which everyone who is prepared to face the facts has now to face and deal with. There is also the fact that we have for very good reasons largely allowed our provision for defence to fall much behind what it would be if we had kept that provision for defence up to date. It is no exaggeration to say that in some respects our provision for defence has actually fallen into decay and the expenditure of some £10,000,000 which is 153 the subject of this Vote of Censure is plainly money which is to be spent to cure obsolescence and make good deficiencies which have been increasing year by year. The assertion that we are engaged in a race in armaments can only be made in ignorance of the facts and once the facts are known the assertion of course is a manifest absurdity. It was in those circumstances that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen confessed to us most frankly just now that he found himself in a great difficulty. He said he was in a cleft stick.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I thought for the moment the right hon. Gentleman was referring also to his own position. On the one hand, the facts that have been stated by the Lord President of the Council cannot be gainsaid. On the other, there is the responsibility—and this is why I thought the right hon. Gentleman was referring to his own position—which rests upon him as well as others for denying necessary sums to make up deficiencies, to repair the instruments of defence which we have and even to provide our troops with better accommodation. That is a responsibility which attaches to everyone of us and not only to the Government. My right hon. Friend went on to say that he was standing on a slippery slope. In the exciting records of winter sports there can hardly be a more engaging image than that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen gingerly approaching a slippery slope provided with nothing better than a cleft stick. I felt very much relieved that he had not also observed in the background that fearsome beast a dilemma with two horns. He referred to the peace sentiment in the country which he rightly said was universal. As it is universal let us recognise it, and do our best to justify it and let none of us try to use it for any smaller purposes.
That peace sentiment is a sentiment that is shared by every one of us, not least by the supporters of the Government, and I have every reason to be conscious of the peace sentiment of the country, which associates so closely together those two ideas of peace and disarmament. Let me speak quite frankly. The reason, the real reason, why so many good people are 154 especially concerned about this White Paper is because, if they do not find closely knit together the two things of peace as your object and increasing disarmament as your method, they begin to doubt whether peace is still being pursued; and to deal with that situation courage is needed. I have known an occasion when rather more courage, it seemed to me, was shown by some hon. Members on the other side about that matter than to-day. I have here a statement which was made by the right hon. Member for Darwen in this House in June, 1931, when he showed great courage. He said:We are all agreed … that disarmament cannot possibly be merely one-sided.He went on to say, that we must resist the accusation that we were cynically sceptical of the assumed advantages and guarantees to be given by the League of Nations because we asserted that disarmament could not be one-sided, and then he said this:No doubt if everything went according to plan it might be safe to do that, but we can never be certain that everything will go according to plan. … The conditions of the British Empire are very different, and a disarmed British Empire in the presence of an armed world might expose other nations to temptations which they might find it exceedingly difficult to resist.And he went on to say:One may say, paraphrasing the old expression, that one-sided disarmament may be magnificent, but it is not peace."—[OFFICIAI, REPORT, 29th June, 1931; cols. 929–30; Vol. 254.]
§ Sir J. SIMON
Then I welcome him as the latest recruit in support of the policy of His Majesty's Government. While we none of us want to go into the details of this Estimate or that, it is convenient to take an instance to show how impossible it is to resist this conclusion. Take the increased Estimate for the Army—£4,000,000 in all. Would the House be good enough to allow me to state, under three or four heads, how a large part of that Estimate is built up, and then let us judge, all of us, how far it can be reasonably said by respon- 155 sible people that in putting that increased Estimate forward we are forgetting the League of Nations, or disregarding the interests of peace, or encouraging a race of armaments, or anything of the sort. While our Regular Army in 1914 consisted of 185,000 men, to-day it consists of 152,000. In 1914 the Territorial Army consisted of a peace establishment of 313,000, of whom 249,000 were on the strength; to-day the peace establishment of the Territorial Army is nominally 175,000, and there are only 130,000 men actually serving.
The fact is—and every serious person knows it—that our small Army has to maintain garrisons in the colonies and supplies in India, and the strength of the Regular Army is conditioned entirely by the number of men who are required to supply those garrisons and the necessary reliefs under the Cardwell system. Contrary to practice we have sent abroad from time to time as part of their regular routine a battalion of Guards. It is true that these Estimates are up by £4,000,000, but may I point out that that increased figure is £1,500,0000 less than the Army Estimates in the first year of the first Socialist Government? It is true that we have succeeded year by year in keeping the figure down, but only by the method of using up surplus stocks. A single item of this £4,000,000, amounting to £700,000, is due to nothing more than that 1936 is a leap year and that the cuts in pay and pensions were partially restored in the Budget of last year. What is the good of saying that expenditure of that sort is betraying the League of Nations?
Take the very substantial item which deals with construction and maintenance, and I invite hon. Gentlemen opposite to consider this. The inspectors of the Ministry of Health have nothing to do with military accommodation. The whole standard of the housing of the civilian population has been revolutionised since the War, thanks to the work of more parties than one. I am sorry that many of our soldiers to-day are living in huts and buildings which certainly would not be passed by the civilian authorities. We are not able to remedy that state of affairs all at once, but does the House realise that there are barracks now occupied by British soldiers that were built 100 years 156 ago, that there are wooden huts which were erected before the South African War, and that there are married quarters which nobody would regard as fit to pass modern civilian standards? What is the good of treating that sort of expenditure as though it were a threat to the peace of Europe? Of this additional Army vote, £750,000 is due for preparation for air defence in the strictest sense and the mechanisation of the Army.
I can understand the argument—although I disagree with it altogether—that the only way to peace is to deprive yourself of any army at all and to leave yourself at the mercy of the would-be aggressor, but I cannot understand how any humanitarian pacifist can desire that we should enlist soldiers for our defence and that we should not give them the equipment necessary for their own protection and the accommodation that is necessary to enable them to live according to modern standards of decency and comfort. Why, when that has been explained to the House, it should be regarded as some breach of the Covenant of the League of Nations, passes anybody's understanding. I said just now that I understand the view that we should have no army at all. Just now a right hon. Friend thought the Leader of the Opposition was going to wind up, and he was told that somebody else was to wind up. We know and respect the view taken by the Leader of the Opposition. He has appealed openly to young men to keep out of the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, and he stands by it, as we should expect of a man of his character and courage. He said afterwards when interviewed:I would close every recruiting station, I would disband the Army, dismantle the Navy and dismiss the Air Force. I would abolish the whole dreadful equipment of war, and say to the world 'Do your worst.'That is not the position of hon. Members opposite. Indeed, I remember that the right hon. Gentleman went on to say to his interviewer:Mind you, I speak only for myself. I am not fool enough to think that the whole Labour movement would agree with mo in that view.All the same, that is a logical view, and would thoroughly justify this Vote of Censure. What I find so difficult to understand is the intermediate view, the view of the hon. and gallant Member and others who apparently consider that we 157 are bound at any time and in any part of the world to be prepared to intervene with armed force, and to bring the curse of war upon this land in any quarrel which satisfies the conditions he defined, but which at the same time resists proposals to make our forces reasonably efficient, small as the army is, and which adds as an additional attraction "and any other war"—except the sort of war which the Labour party believes in—"we shall stop by means of a general strike."
I would ask the House to examine the propositions in this Motion. It suggests that the policy of this White Paper is at variance with the principles of the League of Nations. That is a serious charge and well worth a moment or two's consideration. Is it true? The main principle for this purpose is to be found in Article 8 of the Covenant, which recognises that national armaments are related to national safety. If one may use the language of a mathematician, national armaments are a function of national safety. If that is so, then evidently the extent of the armaments of a particular country must be related to a fair view of its national safety, which in its turn must be related to the extent of the armaments of other and neighbouring Powers. If that is right, how can it be said that the mere fact that our own expenditure on armaments is now to be somewhat increased, having regard to the deliberate way in which we have held back, proves that the principles of the League of Nations are being disregarded? The Motion asserts it, but there has not been the smallest attempt to prove that essential proposition in the whole course of this Debate. Is not national safety consistent with international peace, and must not the level of national armaments, as mentioned in the Covenant, have some relation to the armaments of others? I put this question because I have listened all day to hear whether the smallest attempt was made to produce any argument to support the first proposition in the Motion.
The real question is whether the policy disclosed in the White Paper indicates on the part of His Majesty's Government any weakening or abandonment of faith in the League of Nations or in our determination to join in working that system to the utmost of our power and influence. It is that suspicion which has aroused 158 anxiety in a good many minds in connection with this declaration of policy.
I wish to make, with the full authority of His Majesty's Government, a definite statement about that. The policy of His Majesty's Government is unalterably based upon their membership of the League of Nations. Every State in Europe, except one, is a member of the League of Nations and we are doing everything in our power to create a political basis upon which that State too may join effectively in the work of the League. So far from reverting to the method and the outlook which prevailed before the consultative system was established, the vital purpose of the negotiations upon which we are engaged, and in which my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal and I are shortly going on journeys, is to secure the conditions under which Germany may return to the League. We are determined to endeavour to secure this result because we are convinced, as much as any hon. Member in the House is convinced, that there is no security for the world comparable with the effective working of a real and universal League of Nations.
I was a little surprised that there should be in any quarter—in any reasonable and well-informed quarter—any doubt as to our intentions in that respect. After all, look at recent history. The devotion of this country to the League has been many times stated. Our contribution to the creation of a joint international force to maintain order and peace in the Saar: what is that but an effort to use in a particular instance the method of co-operation and collective action? Our wholehearted efforts, in which the Lord Privy Seal played so important a part, to assist the League of Nations to reach a settlement of the dispute between Yugoslavia and Hungary the other day; what is that but using the machinery of the League of Nations, under the leadership of this Government, in the most effective possible way? I could give other cases. The fact is that in the present condition, with the League not a universal League and with our own armaments for many years kept at so low a level in the face of increasing armaments abroad, we have to face it and deal with it as it is to be dealt with now.
159 We sometimes say that expenditure on national armaments is a premium of insurance; so it is, but it always seems to me that the insurance analogy may usefully be carried a little further. The operation of insurance commonly [...] volves a contribution of moderate size by a group of members in order that if the risk insured against should ever assail anyone of them the sum total of the contribution should be available. Insurance in that sense is voluntary, but it is an organised and effective sharing of the risk. You could not have a better example of that conception of international co-operation than the Air Pact which has been recently proposed and which it is one of the objects of the recent London conversations to promote. The hon. and learned Member for Bristol, East (Sir S. Cripps) was quite mistaken just now—hopelessly wrong—when he imagined that the difficulty in the way of carrying out at Geneva the abolition of military aviation was owing to some reservations on the part of this country. Nothing of the kind. It is high time everybody realised what the difficulty is, because it is a very important one. The difficulty is civil aviation. That is the problem which remains to be threshed out, and it has to be mastered. It will be perfect folly to pretend to be abolishing the dangers and horrors which may result from military aviation if you leave civil aviation untouched.
The hon. and learned Gentleman was good enough to quote some observations of mine. I would like to say here that I would be one of the very last to deny this proposition: that the indiscriminate piling up of armaments is no security for the peace of the world. I have never thought it was, and I have never pretended that it is. If anyone imagines that that is the effect of the declaration in the White Paper, he must be suffering from an hallucination. The effective working of a collective system would give far better security, but the fact is that though the League of Nations does undoubtedly provide the machinery necessary for the peaceful settlement of disputes, we have reluctantly to note that active membership of the League is not at present universal; and very great difficulties arise if you attempt to put 160 upon this new international instrument a burden bigger than it can bear.
May I, in a few concluding sentences, ask the House, before this Vote is taken, to get away from detailed criticism or justification of the smaller aspects of this problem, and to concentrate attention upon the fundamental issue, the fundamental object, for which I believe we are all striving. The House in a few minutes is going to give to the world the spectacle of an apparent division of opinion, but on this fundamental object we are all agreed. The object is the establishment throughout the world of peace on a permanent footing by cooperation and improved understanding between the nations. And in order that that end may be served, nothing is more important than the promotion of confidence and appeasement in Europe. It is this European settlement that we are seeking. Just five weeks ago, as the outcome of conversations between British and French Ministers here, there appeared what is known as the London Declaration. The manifest purpose of the London Declaration was to promote this cooperation and appeasement. The London Declaration was received with general aproval by all parties in this country.—and not only in this country. It also received very wide approval abroad, in Italy, France and Belgium, and in other countries. That London Declaration remains. The declared purpose of its authors has not changed. We were all glad to notice that the German Government welcomed its fair and friendly spirit.
Nothing that has been said here, and I trust nothing that has been said elsewhere, qualifies that situation in the least degree. It is in that spirit that the Lord Privy Seal and I are preparing to undertake our journeys to foreign capitals, and, as long as it is understood that those journeys are being undertaken in that spirit, a frank and candid statement of the anxieties which we feel for the future will do no harm. We are striving to reach, in a spirit of realism, the political basis upon which such anxieties may be relieved, European security may be strengthened, including the Eastern Pact or some counterpart of it, and our hopes of a general limitation of armaments may be justified. We are seeking that in 161 equal conference with all the States concerned.
We have now reached the end of this Debate, and, as I have said, a responsibility rests on each of us, and certainly a responsibility rests upon the Government here; and, while there may have been easier courses to take, yet facing the facts as we find them, and with the responsibilities that we have to discharge, not only to the people of this land and to the Empire but to the cause of peace as we see it, we can do no other than ask the House of Commons by an overwhelming majority to justify our policy.
§ 10.57 p.m.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
I rise, not to continue the Debate, but to ask a question of the Lord President. This was to have been a Debate on Imperial defence, but, owing to the vote of no confidence moved from the Front Opposition Bench, it has become very largely a Debate on foreign policy, and there has been very little opportunity of discussing the co-ordination of the Services or the other main problems of Imperial defence. The question that I wish to put to the Lord
§ President, in the minute that remains, is simply this: Would it not be possible to give the House an opportunity to have the Debate which was originally intended when this Debate was fixed, and to enable us to discuss those great problems of defence which have not been discussed to-day? Would it not be possible, for instance, to postpone the Navy Estimates on Thursday to a later date, and let us have a Debate on defence on Thursday? Or perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and those who are associated with him in opposing the Government of India Bill might be prepared to concede one day on the Committee stage of that Bill to enable us to have that very important Debate.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I have had no notice of my hon. and gallant Friend's question, and no possibility of considering it, but I cannot see any chance at present of giving another day for the Debate. The time-table simply will not allow of it.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 79; Noes, 424.165
|Division No. 87.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Maxton, James|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Milner. Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Banfield, John William||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Harris, Sir Percy||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hicks, Ernest George||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Buchanan, George||Holdsworth, Herbert||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Cape, Thomas||Janner, Barnett||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cleary, J. J.||Jenkins, Sir William||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Curry, A. C.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorne, William James|
|Daggar, George||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||West, F. R.|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Lawson, John James||White, Henry Graham|
|Dobbie, William||Leonard, William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Lunn, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wilmot, John|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||McGovern, John||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Mainwaring, William Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Mr. Groves and Mr. Paling.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Atholl, Duchess of|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Balley, Eric Alfred George|
|Alnsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Baillie. Sir Adrian W. M.|
|Alexander, Sir William||Aske, Sir Robert William||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Assheton, Ralph||Balfour, George (Hampstead)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)|
|Balniel, Lord||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerst, Yeovil)||Hume, Sir George Hopwood|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Davison, Sir William Henry||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Denville, Alfred||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Dixey, Arthur C. N.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Bernays, Robert||Doran, Edward||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Duggan, Hubert John||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Borodale, viscount.||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Bossom, A. C.||Dunglass, Lord||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Eady, George H.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vanslttart||Eales, John Frederick||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Eastwood, John Francis||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Edge, Sir William||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Edmondson, Major Sir James||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger|
|Bracken, Brendan||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Elmley, viscount||Knight, Holford|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Brown, Brig. -Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Lees-Jones, John|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Fermoy, Lord||Leigh, Sir John|
|Buchan, John||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Fox, Sir Gifford||Levy, Thomas|
|Burghley, Lord||Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Lewis, Oswald|
|Burnett, John George||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Ganzoni, Sir John||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Caine, G. R. Hall||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Gibson, Charles Granville||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Gledhill, Gilbert||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Cassels, James Dale||Glossop, C. W. H.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gluckstein, Louis Halie||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Goff, Sir Park||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Goldie, Noel B.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Mabane, William|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Gower, Sir Robert||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Greene, William P. C.||McConnell, Sir Joseph|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Grigg, Sir Edward||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Clarke, Frank||Grimston, R. V.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Gritten, W. G. Howard||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hanbury, Cecil||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Harbord, Arthur||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Cooke, Douglas||Hartington, Marquess of||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Cooper, A. Duft||Hartland, George A.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Copeland, Ida||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Courtauid, Major John Sewell||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Milne, Charles|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Crooke. J. Smedley||Hepworth, Joseph||Moore. Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Cross. R. H.||Hornby, Frank||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Horobin, Ian M.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Horsbrugh, Florence||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Morrison, William Shephard||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Moss, Captain H. J.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Runge, Norah Cecil||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Munro, Patrick||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Nall, Sir Joseph||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Templeton, William P.|
|Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Normand, Ht. Hon. Wilfrid||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Nunn, William||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Salmon, Sir Isldore||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Salt, Edward W.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Orr Ewing, I. L.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Train, John|
|Peake, Osbert||Scone, Lord||Tree, Ronald|
|Pearson, William G.||Selley, Harry R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Peat, Charles U.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Penny, Sir George||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Percy, Lord Eustace||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Shute, Colonel Sir John||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Petherick, M||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Peto, Geoffrey K (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Pike, Cecil F.||Smith, Sir J. Walker (Barrow-In-F.)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Potter, John||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Somerset, Thomas||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Pybus, Sir John||Somerville, Sir Donald||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Radford, E. A.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden. East)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Soper, Richard||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Rankin, Robert||Spens, William Patrick||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Reid, David D. (County Down)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. viscount|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Stewart. William J. (Belfast, S.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Stones, James||Worthington. Dr. John V.|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Storey, Samuel||Wragg, Herbert|
|Rickards, George William||Strauss, Edward A.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Robinson, John Roland||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Ropner, Colonel L.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ross, Ronald D.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.||Captain Margesson and Mr.|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Blindell.|
§ Question put, "That the proposed words be there added."166
§ The House divided: Ayes, 412; Noes, 78.169
|Division No. 88.]||AYES.||[11.15 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bernays, Robert||Burghley, Lord|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Burnett, John George|
|Alnsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Burton, Colonel Henry Walter|
|Alexander, Sir William||Blaker, Sir Reginald||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Boothby, Robert John Graham||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Borodale, Viscount||Caine, G. R. Hall-|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Bossom, A. C.||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Boulton, W. W.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Carver, Major William H.|
|Assheton, Ralph||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cassels, James Dale|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Boyce, H. Leslie||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Bracken, Brendan||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Brass, Captain Sir William||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Broadbent, Colonel John||Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Brown, Brig.-G en. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Clayton, Sir Christopher|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Browne, Captain A. C.||Clydesdale, Marquess of|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Buchan, John||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Colfox, Major William Philip|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hanbury, Cecil||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Harbord, Arthur||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hartington, Marquess of||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Milne, Charles|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Copeland, Ida||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mitcheson, G. G|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Melson, A. Hugh Eisdale|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Hepworth, Joseph||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hornby, Frank||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Horobin, Ian M.||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Cross, R. H.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Howard, Tom Forrest||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Munro, Patrick|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Nall, Sir Joseph|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Nunn, William|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Hurst, Sir Gerald B||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Denville, Alfred||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Doran, Edward||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hn. William G. A.|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)||Orr Ewing, 1. L.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||James, Wing-Corn. A. W. H.||Palmer Francis Noel|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Peake, Osbert|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Pearson, William G.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Peat, Charles U.|
|Eady, George H.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Penny, Sir George|
|Eales, John Frederick||Ker, J. Campbell||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Petherick, M.|
|Edge, Sir William||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir James||Kimball, Lawrence||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Knox, Sir Alfred||Potter, John|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)||Pybus, Sir John|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Radford, E. A.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Lees-Jones, John||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Leigh, Sir John||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Levy, Thomas||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Liddall, Walter S.||Rankin, Robert|
|Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Llewellin, Major John J.||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Gauit, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur u.|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Rickards, George William|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Robinson. John Roland|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Loftus, Pierce C.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward|
|Goff, Sir Park||Mabane, Willian||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Goldie, Noel B.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Gower, Sir Robert||McConnell. Sir Joseph||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Graves, Marjorie||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Greene, William P. C.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||McKie, John Hamilton||Salmon, Sir Isldore|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Salt, Edward W.|
|Grigg, Sir Edward||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Magnay, Thomas||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Scone, Lord|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Selley, Harry R.|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||Martin, Thomas B.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Strauss, Edward A.||Ward, LL-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Shute, Colonel Sir John||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Summersby, Charles H.||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Sutcliffe, Harold||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Smith, Sir J. Walker (Barrow-In-F.)||Tate, Mavis Constance||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)||Templeton, William P.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Smithers, Sir Waldron||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Somerset, Thomas||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Somervell, Sir Donald||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Thompson, Sir Luke||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Soper, Richard||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford).||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Spans, William Patrick||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Train, John||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)||Tree, Ronald||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthut||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wragg, Herbert|
|Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Tufnell, Lieut,-Commander R. L.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Stones, James||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Storey, Samuel||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)||Captain Margesson, and Mr.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Maxton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Milner, Major James|
|Banfield, John William||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Harris, Sir Percy||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Buchanan, George||Hicks, Ernest George||Roberts. Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cape, Thomas||Holdsworth, Herbert||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cleary, J. J.||Janner, Barnett||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Cove, William G.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Curry, A. C.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Thorne, William James|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Kirkwood, David||West, F. R.|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||White, Henry Graham|
|Dobble, William||Lawson, John James||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Leonard, William||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lunn, William||Wilmot, John|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||McGovern, John|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mainwaring, William Henry||Mr. Groves and Mr. Paling.|
§ Main Question, as amended, put.170
§ The House divided: Ayes, 397; Noes, 76.173
|Division No. 89.]||AYES.||[11.32 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Bracken, Brendan|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Alnsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Bateman, A. L.||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)|
|Alexander, Sir William||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Brass, Captain Sir William|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Broadbent, Colonel John|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bernays, Robert||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)|
|Assheton, Ralph||Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Browne, Captain A. C.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Borodale, viscount||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Bossom, A. C.||Burghley, Lord|
|Bailey, Erie Alfred George||Boulton, W. W.||Burnett, John George|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vanslttart||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Caine, G. R. Hall|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Boyce, H. Leslie||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)|
|Balniel, Lord||Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Goff, Sir Park||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Goldie, Noel B.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F,|
|Cassels, James Dale||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gower, Sir Robert||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||McLean, Dr. w. H. (Tradeston)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Cheater, City)||Greene, William P. C.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. (Birm., W)||Grigg, Sir Edward||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Grimston, R. V.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Meller, Sir Richard James|
|Clydesdale, Marquees of||Hammersley, Samuel S.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hanbury, Cecil||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hanley, Dennis A.||Milne, Charles|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Harberd, Arthur||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hartington, Marquess of||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Cooke, Douglas||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Copeland, Ida||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morgan, Robert H.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hepworth, Joseph||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Morrison, William Shephard|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hornby, Frank||Munro, Patrick|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Horobin, Ian M.||Nall, Sir Joseph|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Howard, Tom Forrest||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Cross, R. H.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Nunn, William|
|Crossley, A. C.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||O'Connor. Terence James|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Ormsby-Gore. Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Peake, Osbert|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth. C.)||Pearson, William G.|
|Denville, Alfred||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)||Peat, Charles U.|
|Doran, Edward||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Penny, Sir George|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Perkins. Walter R. D.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Petherick, M.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Jones. Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bllst'n)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Ker, J. Campbell||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Eady, George H.||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Potter, John|
|Eales, John Frederick||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Kimball, Lawrence||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Edge, Sir William||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Pybus, Sir John|
|Edmondson, Major Sir James||Knox, Sir Alfred||Radford, E. A.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M (Midlothian)|
|Elmley, Viscount||Law. Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Leigh, Sir John||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Leighton. Major B. E. P.||Rankin, Robert|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Levy, Thomas||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Llewellin, Major John J.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)||Rickards, George William|
|Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Robinson, John Roland|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Loftus, Pierce C.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Lumley, Captain Lawrence, R.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mabane. William||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Salmon, Sir Isldore||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Salt. Edward w.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).||Stewart. William J. (Belfast, S.)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Stones, James||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Storey, Samuel||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Savery, Samuel Servington||Strauss, Edward A.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Scone, Lord||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|Selley, Harry B.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour|
|Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Summersby, Charles H.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Shute, Colonel Sir John||Sutcliffe, Harold||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Tate, Mavis Constance||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)||Willoughby do Eresby, Lord|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Templeton, William P.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-ln-F.)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dlne, C.)||Thompson, Sir Luke||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Smithers, Sir Waldron||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Somerset, Thomas||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Soper, Richard||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Train, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Tree, Ronald||Captain Margesson and Mr.|
|Spens, William Patrick||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Blindell.|
|Stanley. Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Addlson, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Bannfield, John William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Buchanan, George||Harris, Sir Percy||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Cape, Thomas||Hicks, Ernest George||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Cleary, J. J.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Janner, Barnett||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cove, William G.||Jenkins, Sir William||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Curry, A. C.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, J. J. (West Ham. Silvertown)||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Kirkwood. David||West, F. R.|
|Dobble, William||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||White, Henry Graham|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lawson, John James||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Leonard, William||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lunn, William||Wilmot, John|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||McEntee, Valentine L.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||McGovern, John|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Groves and Mr. Paling.|
That this House, faithful to the obligations of the Country as a member of the League of Nations and desiring to secure the limitation of armaments by international agreement, recognises that these objects cannot be obtained by the method of unilateral disarmament, and approves the policy of His Majesty's Government as equally necessary for the defence of our own people and for the discharge of our international obligations.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ It being after Half-past Eleven of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Sixteen minutes before Twelve o'Clock.