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German Manufacturers Of War Munitions

Volume 52: debated on Thursday 24 April 1913

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I beg to ask the Prime Minister a question, of which I have given him private notice, whether his attention has been called to the allegations made in the German Reichstag on Friday and Saturday last to the effect that certain manufacturers of munitions of war systematically endeavour through the Press and otherwise, to influence public opinion in favour of increased warlike armaments, thereby endangering the peace of the world for their own pecuniary profit; and whether, to guard against a similar danger in this country, he will consider the advisability of nationalising on fair terms all existing establishments for the manufacture of munitions of war and of making such manufacture for the future a Government monopoly?

I have seen what has appeared on this subject in the public Press. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Great Britain alone there are four armament firms with a capital of £23,000,000, and therefore is not the danger indicated by my hon. Friend a very real one? Have the Government no answer to that?