HC Deb 03 April 1939 vol 345 cc2424-8
7. Mr. Price

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that Germany is to provide land armaments to Rumania under the German-Rumanian Treaty, he has considered entering into negotiations with Rumania with a view to strengthening her naval forces, and particularly armed flotillas on the Danube?

Mr. Butler

His Majesty's Government are prepared at all times to give sympathetic consideration to the possibility of meeting the armament requirements of the Rumanian Government, as well in the naval as in other spheres.

11. Mr. Arthur Henderson

asked the Prime Minister what reports have been received by His Majesty's Government as to the presence of German troops and warplanes in Italy?

Mr. Butler

The reports received by my Noble Friend do not confirm the rumours to which the hon. and learned Member refers.

Mr. G. Strauss

Does that also apply to Libya?

Mr. Butler

That is another question, of which I should require notice.

15. Lieut.-Colonel Macnamara

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the Nazi activities in Denmark and Iceland; and whether he will make it clear that the independence of the kingdom of Iceland is viewed by ourselves in the same light as the independence of France?

Mr. Butler

Various reports on this subject have been received from His Majesty's representatives. My Noble Friend does not find it possible to accept the comparison as set forth in my hon. and gallant Friend's question, but His Majesty's Government attach great importance to their relations with Iceland.

Lieut.-Colonel Macnamara

Is not the independence of Iceland a necessity to our Navy?

19. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister the present position at Danzig; and what reports have recently been sent to the League of Nations from the High Commissioner?

Mr. Butler

The question of Danzig will, no doubt, come up in the course of the discussions with the Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs, who arrives in London to-day. In these circumstances I feel sure that hon. Members will agree that a statement at this moment would be inappropriate. His Majesty's Government have not so far received from the Secretary-General of the League of Nations any fresh report from the High Commissioner on the position at Danzig.

Mr. Mander

Is it not the case that no change could take place in the status of Danzig without the consent of the League of Nations?

Mr. Butler

I should require notice of that question.

Mr. Mander

Is it not a perfectly obvious question? The answer is clear.

Mr. Boothby

Could my right hon. Friend give an assurance that there is no truth in the suggestion contained in a leading article of the "Times" on Saturday that the undertaking of the British Government does not cover the existing frontier?

Mr. Butler

The official statement issued by the Foreign Office may be taken as giving the official view.

Mr. A. Henderson

Is it not a fact that the present constitution operating in Danzig has been guaranteed by the League?

Mr. Butler

I am not prepared to make a statement to-day. If the hon. and learned Member puts down a specific question, I will give him a specific answer.

Mr. Bellenger

Is it not the fact that the League High Commissioner has been absent from his post in Danzig for some time past; and is it intended that he shall remain away from Danzig permanently?

Mr. Butler

All that I can say is that the League High Commissioner is at present at Geneva.

Mr. Mander

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance, at any rate, that the Government are not contemplating any bilateral arrangement for the exclusion of the League with regard to Danzig?

20. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister the future intentions of the Government with regard to the maintenance of the British Legation at Prague and the recognition of the German acts of aggression in Czecho-Slovakia and Memel?

Mr. Butler

No decision has yet been reached about the future of the British Legation at Prague. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the Prime Minister's reply to the hon. and learned Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) on 20th March. This statement also applies in the case of Memel.

46. Mr. Price

asked the Prime Minister whether it is proposed to initiate naval and military staff conversations between this country and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) on 22nd March last, to which I have nothing to add.

Mr. Price

Can the Prime Minister say whether the sensitiveness of the Polish Government constitutes a difficulty in initiating the conversations indicated in my question.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I could not attempt to answer that question.

Colonel Wedgwood

May I ask whether the question of staff talks with Russia is one of the matters which will be raised with Colonel Beck?

The Prime Minister

It does not sound like a matter to be raised with Colonel Beck.

47. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered the resolution from the Ashton-under-Lyne branch of the National Youth Peace Campaign on the international situation calling for a policy of collective security to be pursued, and withholding support from the National Service scheme until they are assured that such a policy is being pursued; and what answer has been returned to it?

The Prime Minister

The resolution referred to by the hon. Member has been received and a formal acknowledgement has been sent of its receipt.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Prime Minister aware of the very deep feeling among the youth of the country on this point, and will be recognise that there can be no National Service unless they get a Government which they can trust, and which is based on collective security? Is the Prime Minister aware of that?

Mr. Simpson

Is the Prime Minister aware that one of the signatories to the declaration referred to has disassociated himself from standing out against voluntary service for civil defence and while committing himself to the comments about collective security commends the schemes of civil defence on a voluntary basis, and furthermore, while I know that the hon. Member for West Fyfe (Mr. Gallacher) has his eyes on the ends of the earth might he not leave the representation of this bit of England to me?

Mr. Gallacher

On a point of Order. I want to ask whether in view of the consideration that has been given to the hon. Member the same consideration will be given to me?

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