asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government is aware of preparations alleged to have been made in France to mobilise troops to extend the occupation of German territory if reparations due are not paid by 31st May; if so, were they informed of these preparations by the French Government; if similar preparations are being made in Belgium; and, if His Majesty's Government have no information, will they make inquiries through the usual channels as to what preparations, if any, are being made?
His Majesty's Government is aware that it has been alleged that preparations have been made in France to mobilise troops to extend the occupation of German territory if reparations due are not paid by 31st May, but has reason to know that these allegations are untrue, and that no such preparations for the purpose alleged have been made either in France or Belgium. The answer to the second and third parts of the question is therefore in the negative.
asked the Prime Minister the terms and the date of the invitation that the French Government has been reluctant to accept to discuss what common action should be taken by the Allies through a default by Germany in the payment of reparations; and the reasons communicated by the French Government for their reluctance?
On the 26th April the Prime Minister made to M. Barthou a request that a meeting of the Allied States signatories of the Treaty of Versailles should be held at Genoa before the dispersal of the present Conference to consider the attitude to be taken towards Germany on 31st May. The French Government have indicated, in reply, that they would not take part in any conversations on this subject before 31st May, either at Genoa or elsewhere.
Cannot we have definite and precise details of this request by the Prime Minister? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of us view with a considerable amount of anxiety the growing tension between this country and France?
I do not know that I could make my information more specific than I have done. I have given the date at which the Prime Minister made the request and I have given the answer which M. Barthou, on behalf of the French Government, conveyed to the Prime Minister at Genoa. No documents were exchanged and the communications were verbal on both sides. I also view with anxiety and regret any failure to discuss freely agreements between us which may lead to estrangement or difficulty in critical circumstances.
Can we have an assurance that discussions will take place before any action of a military nature is taken against Germany?
Notice should be given of that question.