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Commons Chamber

Volume 154: debated on Wednesday 31 May 1922

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House Of Commons

wednesday, 31st May, 1922.

The House met at Eleven of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.

Private Business

Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 6) Bill,

Pilotage Provisional Orders (No. 3) Bill,

Read the Third time, and passed.

Land Drainage Provisional Order (No. 2) Bill,

Tramway Provisional Order Bill,

As amended, considered; to be read the Third time upon Monday, 12th June.

Oral Answers To Questions

Italy And Russia


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether a commercial accord has been signed at Genoa between the Russian and Italian Governments; whether he can state the terms or lay a Paper upon the Table on the subject; and if he is aware of any other commercial or other agreements signed between Russia and other nations, or under negotiation, since the commencement of the Genoa Conference other than the Italian and German Agreements?

In answer to the first two parts of the question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for East Leyton yesterday. I understand that negotiations are in course for a trading agreement between Russia and Czechoslovakia and Norway.

Will the hon. Gentleman inform the House when the terms are received?

Yes, I will consider that. It depends upon when we receive the terms.

Immigration Cards


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether and where the cards are stored which are taken from British subjects returning to England via Dover and Calais what use is made of these cards; and whether the railway companies concerned have borne the whole of the expense of their distribution, collection, and storage?

My hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. These cards have been stored at the Immigration Office in Dover for one month, for the purpose of reference in case of need. The railway companies have distributed the cards; the immigration officers have collected and stored them, but, as I stated in my answer of the 24th May, this has involved no cost to public funds.

Does that not involve a great waste of time when the traveller comes home, and is it not a fact that when these cards are handed in they cannot be of any possible use at all? Are they ever referred to?

The difficulty is to discriminate between alien and British subjects in the distribution of cards. The railway companies are now making other arrangements.

Egypt (Mr Keown Boyd)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Mr. Keown Boyd still holds the office of Oriental secretary to Lord Allenby at Cairo; if not, whether he has been appointed in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in what capacity; if not, whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to request the Egyptian Government to give this gentleman a post in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and who pays his salary at present if he receives any, if he no longer holds the post of Oriental secretary to Lord Allenby?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Mr. Keown Boyd's salary is at present paid out of the Diplomatic and Consular Vote. The remainder of the question does not, therefore, arise.

Royal Navy

Exhibition, Brazil


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what would be the estimated cost for fuel to send the battle-cruisers "Hood" and "Repulse" to Rio de Janeiro for the forthcoming exhibition?

The cost of fuel additional to what would he required for normal duties would be £50,800.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Japanese are going to send a large squadron to Rio de Janeiro for this Exhibition?

Officers (Voluntary Retirement)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if his attention has been drawn to the cases of those officers who availed themselves of the scheme of voluntary retirement promulgated at the beginning of the year 1920 and who now find themselves in a very unfavourable position as compared with officers of the same service who have deferred their retirement until the present time: and what steps the Admiralty are taking to remove the anomalies created by this state of affairs?

The Admiralty recognise that in certain cases officers who retire under the present retirement scheme are at an advantage over officers who retired under the scheme of 1920, and still more at an advantage over officers who retired voluntarily under the ordinary Regulations. This difference of treatment, however, is inherent in any special scheme of retirement, the terms of which must depend upon the circumstances existing at the time it is brought into force, and it has never been the practice to allow officers to participate in a scheme which has come into operation after they have retired or applied to retire.

Unemployment Benefit


asked the Minister of Labour the total number of unemployed persons who became disqualified for unemployment benefit after the expiration of the first five weeks of uncovenanted benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1922?

The number of persons who up to the 15th May had received uncovenanted benefit for five weeks since 5th April and were, therefore, disqualified under the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1922, for further benefit for five weeks was about 281,000. As I have already stated, for those who exhausted their previous benefit on 10th May—the first possible date—the next period of eligibility for uncovenanted benefit will begin on Thursday, 15th June, and arrangements are being made so that a half-week's benefit may be paid on Saturday, 17th June.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise now the enormous number, probably amounting to a quarter of a million, who are not in receipt of unemployment benefit at all?

This deals with uncovenanted or free benefit, and 57 weeks of the total allowed by the Act have been paid since the depression came along, and I have 15 weeks now. That is the best I can do, and I am reserving 22 weeks.


asked the Minister of Labour how many unemployed persons were in receipt of unemployment benefit upon each of the first six weeks from 17th April for the area covered by the Nottingham Employment Exchange?

The number of persons in receipt of unemployment benefit at the Nottingham Employment Exchange in respect of total unemployment or short time were as follow:

18th April8,619
25th April9,001
1st May8,714
8th May8,588
15th May6,422
22nd May5,775
While undoubtedly there has been an improvement in local employment conditions, the decrease on 15th May and 22nd May was largely due to the temporary exhaustion of uncovenanted benefit.


asked the Minister of Health what action has been taken in regard to men who have discharged themselves from a workhouse or workhouses, have obtained the unemployment dole, and re-entered the workhouse or workhouses after spending the money; how many boards of guardians have reported this matter to him; and what information has been given to any such board or boards?

No boards of guardians have made representations to me on this subject, and I have not had occasion to take any action in the matter.


Local Authorities' Accounts


asked the Minister of Health whether he will give the names of the members of the Advisory Committee of representatives of local authorities which considered the subject of the Order and Memorandum issued by the Minister of Health in December, 1921, in reference to the form of accounts presented by local education authorities and whether he is aware that the representatives of the Association of Education Committees asked to be allowed to see the proposed form of the new annual statement of accounts and were not allowed to do so?

The members of the Advisory Committee whom I consulted were:

  • Mr. E. Darnell,
  • Mr. F. O. Whiteley,
  • Mr. W. Bateson
  • Mr. J. W. Forster,
  • Mr. H. J. Hoare,
  • Mr. W. A. Davies,
representing the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants, and
  • Mr. F. H. Owers,
representing the County Accountants' Society.

As regards the second part of the question, the omission to consult the representatives of the local education authorities was due to a misunderstanding which my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education much regrets.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there was a direct request by the Association of Education Committees to see the new form, and that that request was not complied with?

I have said in my answer that they were not consulted owing to a misunderstanding on the part of the Board of Education.

Would it not be possible even now to consult the association so as to see that this new form does meet the needs of the case?

The question should be addressed to the President of the Board of Education. It is a Board of Education matter.

Continuation Schools, London


asked the President of the Board of Education whether a date has yet been fixed for the closing of the continuation schools in London, and, if not, who is responsible for the delay; and what is the monthly cost of these schools?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Legislation will be introduced to relieve the London County Council of their statutory obligation to continue to maintain these schools. The cost of maintaining the schools was estimated at, approximately, £400,000 for the year 1922–23.

Is the President of the Board of Education considering what steps, if any, are to be taken to deal with the large number of adolescents who are idle at this most critical period of their lives? How does the right hon. Gentleman propose to deal with the situation?

Housing (Rates)


asked the Minister of Health if he is yet in a position to state the results of his investigations into the desirability of adopting the principle, current in certain parts of the United States, of exempting newly-built houses from the payment of rates for a period in order to encourage new building?

I would refer to the reply which I gave on 16th May to a similar question by the hon. and gallant Member for Stirling and Clackmannan (Major Glyn).



asked the Minister of Health whether legislation is proposed to secure clean milk; if so, whether such legislation will involve any important char we in the machinery and plant at present in use in large numbers of dairies; and, if so, will he arrange for adequate notice to be given of such change and for a reasonable period to be provided after the date of the proposed legislation to enable owners of dairies to make suitable arrangements without being involved in heavy losses?

Yes, Sir. I hope that it will be possible to introduce a Bill on this subject at an early date, and I will certainly bear in mind the point raised in the question.

Hong Kong (Treatment Of Children)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, by treaty, convention, or other instrument, any express or implied obligation lies upon the Government of Hong Kong to respect the customs and customary law of the Chinese?

By a Proclamation dated the 1st of February, 1841, the Chinese inhabitants of Hong Kong were secured in the free exercise of their religious rites, ceremonies and social customs. I am not aware of any similar provision in any treaty or convention, and in fact the Treaty of Nanking, 1842, ceded Hong Kong to be governed by such laws and regulations as Her Majesty the Queen should see fit to direct.

As the British are barely between ½ and 1 per cent. of the population, is not the recent Proclamation of the Governor regarding the Little Sisters (mui tsai) an exceedingly spirited negation of self-determination?

I think that is a supplementary question which would be justified on its own showing.

Does the right hon. Gentleman know what is the percentage of the British in Madras?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in 1842 there was no Chinese population at Hong Kong?

I really do not see why I should be asked to engage in a Debate on this matter.


Public Servants


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the promise recently given by the Government that during the passage through the House of the Bill for conferring the Free State Constitution the House will have power to consider and, if desired, to amend the terms and conditions on which public servants in Ireland will retire or be discharged and pensioned, he will give the House an assurance that the amendment by the House of these terms and conditions will not of itself involve the rejection of that Bill?

I can add nothing to the statement to which the hon. and learned Baronet refers, namely that made by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary in reply to questions by the hon. and learned Baronet on 27th April last.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Chief Secretary did not reply to the last part of my question, namely, whether he will give the House an assurance that the Amendment by the House of these terms and conditions will not of itself involve the rejection of that Bill?

I was advised that it had been dealt with, and I have not been furnished with any further information than that given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary. If, therefore, the question has not been answered, perhaps my hon. and learned Friend will put it down again.

Malicious Injuries (Compensation)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the delay in payment of the compensation awarded and payable for malicious injuries in Ireland, both in defended and undefended cases, and of the serious financial difficulties in which many of the sufferers are consequently placed, he will make arrangements whereby interest on the capital sums awarded and, if possible, a proportion of the capital sum, shall at once be paid to those entitled?

Decrees in regard to injuries to property awarded by the Courts in defended cases are payable by the Provisional Government, and application in all such cases should be made to them. In view of the specific arrangements made between the two Governments, I regret that I do not see my way to adopt the suggestion made by the hon. and learned Member, but if he will forward to me details of any case of exceptional hardship, I will see whether arrangements can be made for its early hearing by the Compensation Commission.

In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman asked me for any details of any case of exceptional hardship, and that I have already given them, can he kindly say what. further steps will be taken?

I have said that if the hon. and learned Member will give the details of any case we will see whether arrangements can be made for its early hearing by the Compensation Committee.

Post Office Clerks (Irish Language)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether men who have been for many years post. office clerks in Southern Ireland are now being required as a term of their employment by the Provisional Government to learn the Irish language; and whether, seeing that in many cases this is a practical impossibility at their age, these old civil servants of the British Government will, on their discharge or compulsory retirement owing to their inability to learn the Irish language, receive compensation under Article 10 of the Treaty?

I have no information regarding the first part of this question. In reply to the remainder of the question, the provisions of Article 7 of the Transfer of Functions Order, and of Article 10 of the Treaty provide for the payment of compensation to all public servants discharged by the Provisional or Free State Government, or who retire in consequence of the change of Government. These provisions appear to me to be free from ambiguity.



asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been called to the report of the proceedings of the Probate Court in Ireland on 16th May, when, as proof of the death of Constable Michael Dennehy, a record was produced from the depart-merit of defence of Dad Eireann stating that Constable Dennehy, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, had been executed by order of that department, after an alleged trial on a charge of espionage whether the department of defence is still in existence; if Mr. Mulcahy, a member of the Irish Provisional Government, is at present the controller; and what steps he intends to take to prevent the department of defence of Dail Eireann from executing more of the servants of the Crown?

The question has reference to one of the numerous deplorable tragedies which occurred before the Truce of last July, and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by re-opening the discussion of those events at the present moment.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there have been murders, called executions, and that the last part of the question refers to communications to the Provisional Government? Have any such communications been made?

I am quite certain that, according to all the information in my possession, no reprisals or murders have been conducted.

Has not the right hon. Gentleman heard of the three officers and men who were executed in Macroom as a reprisal, and after being tried as so-called spies?

I also know that every effort was made by the Provisional Government to find out the guilty parties.

Could the right hon. Gentleman say what was the result of their inquiries?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that Gunner James Rolfe, an unarmed British soldier, was murdered on 12th May in Bachelor's Walk, Dublin; that at the inquest the coroner addressed the jury to bring in a verdict of wilful murder; and that the jury refused to bring in such a verdict; and what steps he intends to take to ensure that the assassination of British subjects in Ireland will be treated as murder and the perpetrators dealt with according to law?

The answer to the first and second part of the question is in the affirmative. In reply to the third part, while I fully share the hon. and gallant Member's feelings with regard to the verdict of this Coroner's jury which can only he described as a wilful perversion of justice, there are no steps which either His Majesty's Government or the Provisional Government can or ought to take to compel a jury to return a particular verdict.

Is not the simple and obvious course to withdraw the troops from Dublin, where they are not allowed to defend themselves?

I am not at all sure that, if I followed the advice of my hon. and gallant Friend I should be adopting the course best calculated to secure the interests of this country.

Is the right bon. Gentleman aware that these malicious murders are causing such intense feeling among the troops that it is only on account of the loyalty of the men and the appeals made to them by their officers that they are prevented making serious reprisals?

I am fully aware of the great strain on the troops both in Cork and in Dublin through these events. It is very remarkable that the officers should have been able as, to their honour, they hitherto have been to restrain their men from vindicating their outraged feelings.

Hon. and right hon. Members continually suggest that no steps are being taken. It is not right to say so. I am shortly to make a general statement to the House, and hon. Members Rill then be able to judge as to what is being done.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any information has been received as to the fate of Henry Horn-brook, J.P., of Valley Groman House, Ovens, near Cork, who with his son Samuel and his nephew, Herbert Woods, were kidnapped on the morning of 24th April, when one of the raiders, Michael O'Neil, was killed; whether there is reason to believe that the kidnapped men were murdered; and, if so, whether inquiries will be made as to the disposal of their bodies?

I have no information as to the fate of these men, but, having regard to the time which has elapsed since they were kidnapped, and to the fact that the murder of a number of other Protestants in County Cork took place about that time, I fear it must be presumed that they are dead. It is obvious, however, that until some definite information as to their murder, and as to the persons by whom it was committed is forthcoming, the inquiries suggested in the last part of the question cannot be made.

Election (Leaflet)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has seen an official leaflet issued to Irish voters by the election department of the Free State calling upon them to support the Treaty candidates on the ground that they can get a republic for all Ireland through the safe and short road of the Treaty; and will he call the attention of the Provisional Government to this violation of the terms of the Treaty with the British Government?

I have not seen the leaflet referred to, but I am assured that no such leaflet has been issued by or with the authority of the Provisional Government.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consent to receive a copy of this leaflet?

I shall be very grateful to the hon. and gallant Gentleman if he will send it to me.

Will the right hon. Gentleman approach the Provisional Government with a view to their repudiating this leaflet?

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask them to publicly repudiate it, as it has been issued broadcast?

I think my answer in this House will perhaps be sufficient repudiation.

But will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Provisional Government to repudiate it?

There are much too serious issues now between His Majesty's Government, and the Provisional Government for us to go off trying to make a serious question of whether they will or will not repudiate a particular leaflet which they say has been published without their authority.

British Troops (Arms)


asked the Secretary of State for War why and by whose orders do British soldiers in Ireland leave barracks unarmed; if he is aware that the British military police in Ireland are constantly seen without arms; that there have recently been murders and woundings of British soldiers in Ireland; and if he will give instructions under present conditions that British soldiers in Ireland should carry arms for self-defence?

I am aware that soldiers in Ireland generally speaking carry arms only on the occasions on which they do so in this country. This rule has been deliberately and advisedly laid down by the Commander-in-Chief, who feels sure from experience that the risk to which such soldiers are exposed would not be guarded against, and might be enhanced, by arming them. Men armed with rifles in the streets are no match for murderers armed with pistols or automatics, and it was found that when men carried rifles when walking out, the result was that the men were disarmed and the rifles fell into the hands of the rebels.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give instructions that these troops when walking out in Ireland, should at least be furnished with side arms, which are customary at many stations.

I think I am right in leaving it to the discretion of the Commander-in Chief.

Customs Duties


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if any steps have been taken to ensure that the British Customs duties as prevailing in Great Britain are levied in Irish ports; and if foreign goods imported into Ireland may be transshipped into Great Britain free of Customs duty?

The rates of Customs duty in Ireland are the same as in Great Britain, and the methods of collection have not been altered. As regard the second part of the question, special arrangements are in force for adjustment of revenue where goods are duty-paid in Southern Ireland and consumed in Great Briain, andvice versâ.

Admiralty Property, Queenstown

(by Private Notice) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether the Admiralty have handed over all Admiralty property at Queenstown to the Irish Republican Army who do not acknowledge the authority of the Provisional Government, and whether he can state what has been handed over now, and the approximate value?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The second part does not, therefore, arise.

Armed Persons, Great Britain

(by Private Notice) asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that men armed with revolvers are entering Great Britain from Ireland, and whether any orders have been or will be issued to prevent unauthorised persons carrying arms from entering Great Britain from Ireland?

It is the duty of the police to take all practicable steps to prevent the infringement of the provisions of the Firearms Act, and they have ample powers for this purpose. If my hon. and gallant Friend has specific information as to the fact stated, it would be of assistance if he would pass it on to me.

Has the hon. Baronet made any inquiry for himself as to whether this is the case? It seems to be the custom now for Ministers to wait for information to be given to them.

This Private Notice question only reached my right hon. Friend last night.

As I have indicated in my answer, the Act is being enforced, and the police have ample powers. If specific instances can be given which Faye not come to our notice, it will, as I have said, be of assistance to us, but we are not. waiting to receive that information before we act.

Is the hon. Baronet aware that I asked this question on Monday last, so that the Home Secretary has had plenty of notice, and will he take special steps to warn the police to look out for these men?

I think my hon. and gallant Friend will see, if he refers to the previous answer, that my right hon. Friend stated that the Act was being enforced.



asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the conclusion of the Treaty between His Majesty's Government and King Feisal is being delayed owing to the objection of King Feisal to the mandatory principle; if so, what steps the British Government propose to take to safeguard the contracts of the British officers now employed in Iraq and to obtain compensation for them in case of the premature termination of those contracts; and, in the event of it being decided to evacuate Iraq, what protection will be granted to the people of Basra who last year requested to be brought under a British protectorate independent of the rest of Iraq?

The negotiations with King Feisal are still proceeding. I should prefer not to make any statement at the present juncture on the points raised by the hon. and gallant Baronet.

Agriculture (Development)


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to Article 19 of the recommendation of the Third Commission (Economic) at Genoa in which States are advised to encourage the development of agricultural production in every way; and what steps he proposes to take to carry out this recommendation in our own counry?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, it is already the Government's policy to encourage by every means in its power the development of agricultural production, and I would remind the hon. and gallant Member that with this object in view an additional sum of £1,000,000 was voted last year for agricultural education and research.

What is the best way to encourage agricultural production? Is it not to give security of tenure to the tenant farmers?

We have already, in Part II of the Agriculture Act, given a measure of security to tenant farmers never before enjoyed in this country.

British Dyestuffs Corporation


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Government representatives on the Board of Directors of the British Dyestuffs Corporation are in agreement with the present policy of the directorate; whether he is aware that it has been stated by Dr. Levenstein that the policy will fail to effect, both to the dye users and to the country, the services for which the corporation was formed; will he state who the Government representatives are; and whether they are persons equipped with expert knowledge and practical experience of the technical side of this complicated scientific industry?

The Government directors of the British Dyestuffs Corporation are Lord Ashfield and Sir Henry Birchenough, both of whom have much experience in the direction of large commercial and industrial undertakings. I do not regard detailed technical knowledge as necessary in the case of Government directors, and I understand that they are in full agreement with the policy of the board of the Corporation. I have seen certain Press statements attributed to the gentleman named in the question, but I do not know how far they correctly represent his views.

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the fact that, although the nation has £1,750,000 invested in this concern, it has already lost about £125,000?

Has the right hon. Gentleman had a report as to the reasons for the resignation of Dr. Levenstein?

Was it necessary for Dr. Levenstein to remain a director of this concern, seeing that he has no more ability—

May I press for an answer to my question? After I put it, an hon. Member blanketed it with another question. Is that in order?

I am investigating this matter. I must remind the House that highly technical qualifications are not necessary for the administration of large companies. Often a technical man is a most indifferent administrator.

After the statement on such a very high authority as Dr. Levenstein, will the right hon. Gentleman say that this Act is fulfilling the purpose for which it was passed?

In business, as in politics, when a man ceases to cooperate with his colleagues, he is very apt to think they cannot get on without him.

Has the right hon. Gentleman had a report from these directors as to the reasons for the resignation of Dr. Levenstein, and, if not, will he inquire?

Germany (British Claims)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that numerous admitted commercial claims against the German Government are still outstanding and that the nonpayment of such debts is causing great inconvenience and hardship to firms and individuals in this country; and whether it is possible to bring pressure upon the German Government with a view to fixing a final date for the settlement of such debts under the Treaty of Versailles?

With regard to the first part of the question, I would refer to the reply given to the hon. Member for Chelsea on the 7th March. With regard to the last part of the question, it is not practicable to substitute the procedure proposed by the hon. Member for that provided for by the Treaty, namely, the reference of the claims to the mixed arbitral tribunal.

Loss Of Ss "Egypt"


asked the President of the Board of Trade, whether any authentic information has reached him in respect of the alleged misconduct of the lascars of the ss. "Egypt"; and whether he will publish the facts in justice to a class which has always been distinguished for good conduct and good seamanship?

The formal investigation into the loss of the "Egypt" will cover all material points affecting the loss of the ship and the loss of life, and the report of the investigation will be published. A note has been made of the point raised by my hon. Friend, but at is not desirable to make any statement on specific points pending the inquiry.

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the compensation paid to the dependents of the lascar crew is equal to that paid to the dependents of the white crew?

Lace (Import Duties, United States)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the great injury threatening the Nottingham lace trade from the proposed alterations in the import duties into the United States, he can give the House any information on the subject before it rises for Whitsuntide?

At present I cannot add anything to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Stockport on 25th May. As my hon. Friend may be aware, I have arranged that a deputation representing the Nottingham lace trade should be received at the Board of Trade.

Will my right hon. Friend remember that the fortunes of 50,000 employés and the prosperity of Nottingham are deeply involved in this matter?

Woolwich Arsenal


asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the reduction in armaments now required and of the valuable spaces and factories thus rendered vacant at Woolwich, and the large amount of unemployment in the district occasioned by the discharges from the Arsenal, he will consider the advisability of setting up a committee to consider the future status of Woolwich?

I have it in contemplation to set up a committee to consider the future of Woolwich Arsenal, in the light of the changed conditions which now obtain.

Ex-Service Men

Temporary Civil Servants (Pay)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether it is proposed to make a further reduction in the pay of ex-service temporary civil servants; and, if so, will he state the reason?

The agreements governing the current rates of remuneration of the temporary clerical and manipulative grades to which the hon. Member probably refers expire today. The question of fixing appropriate rates for a further period is accordingly under discussion by Whitley procedure, but no decision has yet been reached.

Protection Certificates


asked the Prime Minister whether ho is aware that, in connection with the reduction of industrial staffs in the various Government Departments, a man who during the War received a protection certificate through the instrumentality of the Department now employing him usually ranks as an ex-service man, whilst, for instance, a man who received a protection certificate under the Ministry of Munitions, and afterwards was employed in the Office of Works on anti-aircraft work, for which he would also be entitled to a protection certificate, is not now regarded as an ex-service man by the Office of Works; whether this discrimination is in accordance with the general policy of the Government; and, if so, whether he will give instructions that all men who received protection certificates because of the importance of their work during the War, and who were therefore called upon to remain in their employment and not to join the Army, shall be treated uniformly?

The considered policy of the Government is to regard as ex-service men only those who have actually served with His Majesty's Forces. When reductions in staff are being effected, the cases of men who received protection certificates are reviewed on their merits.

Is the policy of the Office of Works in this matter similar to that of other Government Departments?

The policy corresponds in the Office of Works with that which I have described, but, as I have said in my answer, the review of certificates is on the merits of the particular case.

Souteneurs (Sentences)


asked the Home Secretary whether, since the sentence of six months' hard labour is the maximum which can be imposed in the case of men convicted for existing on the immoral earnings of the women with whom they live, he will inquire whether the magistrates regard the sentence as adequate; and will he consider the desirability of introducing legislation whenever possible to increase the penalty?

If such offenders are convicted on indictment, they can be punished by imprisonment up to two years and a whipping. My right hon. Friend does not propose to initiate any legislation for increasing the powers of Courts of Summary Jurisdiction in the matter.

Income Tax (Assessments)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the following comparative particulars for 1913, 1917 and 1921, respecting the aggregate assessment for Schedule A of the Income Tax: aggregate assessment, England and Wales; aggregate assessment, Scotland; and aggregate assessments in the County of London, in Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast; showing further the percentage increase in each case since 1913?

The gross income Schedule A for 1921–22 for England, Scotland, Ireland and the United Kingdom respectively was stated in my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's reply to my hon. Friend's question on the 16th instant. Corresponding information for 1913–14 and 1917–18 will be found in Tables 102 and 11 on pages 104 and 13 of the 58th and 62nd Reports of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue respectively (Cmd. 8116 and Cmd. 502). I regret that this information is not available for separate counties or cities, except for counties including the Metropolis for 1913–14. The latter information is shown in Table 104 on page 105 of the 58th Inland Revenue Report.

Near East (Atrocities)

I have received a Private Notice question from the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), which I think was covered in the hon. Member's speech last night.

I made no allusion to the facts which I now desire to elicit. I wish to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the telegram from Archbishop Meletios, of Constantinople, stating that during the last fortnight Turkish troops, gendarmes and bands of irregulars have burned down fourteen villages in the Vilayet of Trebizond, the inhabitants being killed, women and children outraged, and houses and shops looted; also that these same Turks have attacked Livera, the scat of the Metropolitan of Rodopolis, incarcerated the inhabitants, putting under arrest the Metropolitan Kyrillos; seven Christians having been decapitated and their heads exposed for many days on spikes in the market place of Dzevizlik; and whether any action is being taken by the British Government in the matter?

Would the hon. Gentleman at the same time state whether he has received a report by two ladies of the Anatolian Mission regarding the atrocities committed by the Greeks upon the Turks, which has only just been published?

I have not seen the report referred to by the hon. Baronet, and I have only seen the telegram in question in the Press. His Majesty's Government have, however, received a report from an independent witness who has just left Trebizond, from which it is clear that acts of great barbarity are still being committed by the Turks in the Trebizond district against the surviving Greeks. The report states that by orders from Angora even little boys of Greek race are now being collected in dungeons and compounds and allowed to die of starvation. As my hon. Friend is aware, His Majesty's Government are doing all in their power to accelerate the despatch of the proposed Commission of inquiry, but no further action can be taken until the reply of the United States Government is received.

Has the attention of the hon. Gentleman been drawn to the statement of Major Jacquith, the head of the Near Eastern American organisation at Constantinople, that many of these reports are exaggerated, and to the fact that he gives a direct denial of some of the charges; and will the hon. Gentleman accept those charges with reservations until this Committee has made a formal investigation?

Will the fact that the House was unexpectedly adjourned at Eight o'clock last night, and this question was unexpectedly discussed, rule it out of to-day's Debate?

The House was not adjourned at Eight o'clock. I was here myself till 11.30.

Can the hon. Gentleman give any indication as to how soon he expects to receive the reply of the American Government? Is anything being done to hasten that reply?

I hope it will arrive to-day. It is expected either to-day or to-morrow.

Business Of The House

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That this day Government business do have precedence."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]

This Motion represents a further infringement of the rights of private Members of this House, and, as many of us think that this process of gagging small minorities in the House has gone on long enough, we desire to make a protest against this Motion. We shall divide against it, and, when the next. Motion on the Paper is moved, we shall raise other questions germane to this same issue. I may point out that a ballot is held in the Lobby, and we go through the solemn farce of balloting for the right to introduce private Members Motions. When Members are successful, their Motions are announced or put on the Paper, and then the Government come, quite unnecessarily, and put down a Motion excluding the possibility of those hon. Members' Motions being taken. We represent a very small party indeed. I am speaking of the House of Commons. We are not in the least ashamed of the smallness of our numbers. The duty falls upon us of attempting to protect the rights of minorities. It is conceivable that hon. Members who now enjoy an enormous majority may one day find themselves in a small minority and they will be grateful to us for raising this protest on behalf of hon. Members who have too little opportunity of performing what is after all a useful part of the work of Parliament. I therefore oppose this Motion, and I hope my Friends will support me in the Division Lobby.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman observed that the party for which he spoke was not numerous. At least, I may say for them that their sense of grievance is in inverse ratio to their numbers. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has so fine a nose for a grievance that it is almost impossible to do anything without affording him cause for complaint. But, after all, this is a matter for the House at large, and I put it to the House at large that I have consulted their convenience in the Motion which I have put upon the Paper. We are proposing to adjourn for the Whitsuntide Recess. Suppose the very important discussions which we shall have to-day on the Motion for the Adjournment be not finished at 8.15, are we then to interrupt them to take private Members' Motions? I observe that of the four private Members who have places this evening, the first three have shown that they did not desire to proceed, for they have put no Motion on the Paper.

The fourth alone appears on the Paper, but I do not see the hon. and gallant Gentleman in his place, although, of course, he may be proposing to return at 8.15. I submit that in this matter I am the friend of the majority of the House who, irrespective of party, want to have sufficient time for the very serious discussions we have to take to-day, and when they have had that time, will be glad to adjourn.

The right hon. Gentleman has altogether misrepresented the state of affairs, which is not without precedent from that Bench. Do the Government intend to take any Government business that is on the Order Paper? There are no fewer than 10 starred Orders. The Government, directly these Motions are disposed of, propose to move the Adjournment of the House, in order that the Colonial Secretary may make his long awaited statement. They are not going to take any of those 10 Orders at all. Therefore, it is quite unnecessary, and it is an encroachment on the few limited occasions left to the private Member, to move this Motion. This will become a precedent. The Motion that follows this was established during the War with the assent of all parties. It is now being carried on after the War, with the active assent of at least one party in the House.

The hon. and gallant Member must not debate the second Motion until we reach it.

I was only referring to it as an example how, if once we allow the Government a

Division No. 129.]


[11.45 a.m.

Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.Cobb, Sir CyrilHannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Adkins, Sir William Ryland DentCohen, Major J. BrunelHarmsworth, C. B. (Bedlord, Luton)
Amery, Leopold C. M. S.Colvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeHarris, Sir Henry Percy
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel MartinCope, Major WilliamHaslam, Lewis
Armstrong, Henry BruceCourthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)
Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryHilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.Curzon, Captain ViscountHolbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Atkey, A. R.Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)
Baird, Sir John LawrenceDean, Commander P. T.Hopkins, John W. W.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyEdge, Captain Sir WilliamHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)Home, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithHunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Hurd, Percy A.
Barlow, Sir MontagueFalcon, Captain MichaelIrving, Dan
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)Falle, Major Sir Bertram GodfrayJackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.
Barnston, Major HarryFell, Sir ArthurJames, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Barrand, A. R.Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.Jellett, William Morgan
Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund RobertFitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.Jesson, C.
Beauchamp, Sir EdwardFlannery, Sir James FortescueJodrell, Neville Paul
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Forestier-Walker, L.John, William (Rhondda, West)
Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Foxcroft, Captain Charles TalbotJohnstone, Joseph
Bennett, Sir Thomas JewellFremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Galbraith, SamuelJoynson-Hicks, Sir William
Betterton, Henry B.Gardner, ErnestKellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George
Biglaind, AlfredGee, Captain RobertKelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)
Blades, Sir George RowlandGeorge, Rt. Hon. David LloydKennedy, Thomas
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. GriffithGibbs, Colonel George AbrahamKenyon, Barnet
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.Gilbert, James DanielKing, Captain Henry Douglas
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir JohnKinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGlyn, Major RalphLane-Fox, G. R.
Brittain, Sir HarryGoff, Sir R. ParkLaw, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)
Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Gregory, HolmanLewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)
Burdon, Colonel RowlandGretton, Colonel JohnLindsay, William Arthur
Butcher, Sir John GeorgeGriffiths, T, (Monmouth, Pontypool)Lloyd, George Butler
Cairns, JohnGuest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)Gwynne, Rupert S.Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)Hailwood, AugustineLorden, John William
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)Loseby, Captain C. E.
Cheyne, Sir William WatsonHalls, WalterMacdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray
Clough, Sir RobertHamilton, Major C. G. C.Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)

certain amount of rope, they will try to hang themselves. The right hon. Gentleman points to the fact that three hon. Members who won places in the Ballot have not tabled their Motions. How does he know that that was not in order to give an opportunity to the Motion in the name of the, hon. Member for Bournemouth (Lieut.-Colonel Croft)? Do not the Government wish to have this Motion discussed? Is it not of interest to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury? Is it not of interest to the Prime Minister himself? Hon. Members who wish to preserve in future Parliaments, when they may be in a minority, the rights of private Members should divide against this Motion. I admit that the chances of private Members' Motions coming on to-night are meagre, hut that does not detract from the importance of not allowing the Government to take away still further from the limited rights of private Members. I ask hon. Members to support us.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 220; Noes, 25.

Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Rankin, Captain James StuartWard-Jackson, Major C. L.
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Rawlinson, John Frederick PeelWard, William Dudley (Southampton)
Mallaby-Deeley, HarryRees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)Waring, Major Walter
Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.
Marriott, John Arthur RansomeRoberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Mason, RobertRoyce, William StapletonWeston, Colonel John Wakefield
Mildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.Royds, Lieut.-Colonel EdmundWheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Mitchell, Sir William LaneSamuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Wignall, James
Morris, RichardSanders, Colonel Sir Robert ArthurWilliams, C. (Tavistock)
Munro, Rt. Hon. RobertSassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud
Neal, ArthurScott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.
Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)Seddon, J. A.Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Newson, Sir Percy WilsonSeely, Major-General Rt. Hon. JohnWindsor, Viscount
Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)Sharman-Crawford, Robert G.Winterton, Earl
Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)Shaw, William T. (Forfar)Wise, Frederick
Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)Wolmer, Viscount
Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir JohnSimm, M. T.Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Oman, Sir Charles William C.Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamSprot, Colonel Sir AlexanderWood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)Woods, Sir Robert
Parker, JamesStephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.Woolcock, William James U.
Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas HenrySueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserWorthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Pearce, Sir WilliamSugden, W. H.Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Pennefather, De FonblanqueSurtees, Brigadier-General H. C.Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Sutherland, Sir WilliamYoung, sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Phillpps, Gen. Sir I. (Southampton)Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Phillpps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)Thomson, sir w. Mitchell- (Maryhlll)Younger, Sir George
Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel CharlesTownley, Maximilian G.
Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest MurrayTownshend, Sir Charles Vere FerrersTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Poison, Sir Thomas A.Tryon, Major George ClementColonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Pratt, John WilliamWallace, J.McCurdy.
Raeburn, Sir William H.Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)


Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Bramsdon, Sir ThomasMalone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)Wintringham, Margaret
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)Mills, John EdmundWood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Mosley, Oswald
Davies, David (Montgomery)Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hayday, ArthurMurray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy and
Hayward, EvanO'Connor, Thomas P.Mr. Foot.
Hogge, James MylesRaffan, Peter Wilson

Whitsuntide Recess (Adjournment)

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That this House, at its rising tins day, do adjourn until Monday, 12th June."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]

As I said on the occasion of the previous Motion, Members of this House consider that the time has arrived when some protest should be made against the practice of putting down a Motion in this form, which has the effect of depriving private Members, unless they belong to a party which has a quorum, or which can induce enough Members to form a quorum, of one of the few opportunities which remain to private Members of bringing their grievances to the attention of Members of the Government. This Motion, which has been put on the Paper from year to year, is a very shrewd device, because it is framed in such a way as to narrow very much the range of Debate. It is impossible on a Motion of this kind to discuss general topics with the same freedom as we could on the general Motion that the House do now adjourn. As I understand it, the limits set are somewhat as follows: first of all there is the effect which a Motion of this kind has upon the rights and privileges and opportunities of private Members, and then there is the question of the day selected in the Motion for the re-assembling of the House. It is quite clear that the day on which we decide to re-assemble, or, rather, the length of the holiday which we prescribe for ourselves, is a determining factor in regard to our power to complete or not to complete the legislative programme of the Session.

We have to ask ourselves upon this Motion, first, what available time is there before the Prorogation or the Dissolution of this Parliament; and, secondly, what is the business to which the Government is pledged either in the introduction and the initial stages of Measures, or by promises given to Members of this House, or to their supporters in the country? I take it that on a Motion of this kind we are entitled to ask whether there are not some matters of such extreme urgency that it is unwise for the House to separate for so long a period before they have been fully dealt with. These are the some what strait limits set in the discussion which I am initiating. On the last point, I shall have something to say at the end of the few remarks I intend to make. I apologise for detaining the House. (Hon. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!") Hon. Members must realise that we are not responsible for putting this Motion on the Paper. We are called upon to discuss the Motions when they are put down by the Leader of the House, and any inconvenience which I regret hon. Members have to suffer is not our fault. On the question of the form of the Motion and of the effect which it has on the rights of private Members to raise individual grievances and difficulties, I may say that I have been a Member of this House 15 or 16 years, and it requires an industrious Member to find out what vestiges of privilege are left to private Members. The Adjournment Motion is one of the very few opportunities on which the private Member is able to bring forward these matters without the fear that he may be out of order and without the fear that the process of the count may cut out his speech. So far from its being a cause of legitimate grievance, as the Leader of the House seems to think, or a discredit to the reputation of the House, that private Members should exercise their privileges, it is one of the most important and valuable features of Parliamentary government.

That question does not snow arise. The only question which can arise is whether the House should adjourn for some shorter period, or some longer period.

12 N.

On that point of Order. This matter was raised on the 12th April of this year, and the discussion which took place was in regard to the effect which a Motion of this kind would have upon the opportunities given to private Members to debate questions in this House. I am going to show that the form of the Motion in effect gags the private Members of this House because of the count which will follow if this Motion is passed whenever the Government or the Members of the House think it advisable to count. In that Debate the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) traversed the ground I am touching upon. The Leader of the House dealt with it very fully, and the only point of Order put to you, Mr. Speaker, was put by the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil) as to whether a general discussion could take place, and on that you ruled that it could not take place. I submit that the remarks which I am about to make will, as I proceed, appear to be in order.

I will take care to refrain from any general discussion on the rights of private Members, and will simply point out that this Motion, if passed, will deprive Members of many opportunities of Debate which otherwise they would have. We shall pass this Motion, I assume. Then, when a certain number of questions have been asked and replies made by the Government, there will appear a most remarkable spontaneity in the House, by which the desire of the Government to terminate the Debate will coincide with the desire of hon. Members to fulfil other engagements. It would be improper for me to say more that that, but if we have the spectacle of Members who were apparently interested in the Debate suddenly leaving the Chamber, and even peacefully picketting at the doors to prevent hon. Members returning, when some hon. Members desire to do so, also in a most spontaneous manner—

I was very careful to say that all these matters would be entirely spontaneous. I do not suggest that any pressure of any kind will be put on them. I am merely describing a scene which is all too familiar to private Members of this House who belong to a small minority and endeavour to bring forward subjects in which their constituents are interested. The Government reply is that they cannot keep 100 Members in the House in order to apply the old-fashioned weapon of the Closure. Why cannot they keep 100 Members? The Government have 491 supporters at the present moment, and they say that they cannot maintain a 25 per cent. attendance and must needs adopt this means, which involves a further invasion of the rights of private Members, and this is only in addition to many invasions, as the Standing Orders will show. I think that the date specified in this Motion should be altered from the 12th of June to the 7th. This will give us an additional week for the purpose of discussing the business which has to be disposed of.

Leaving out of account the programme which the Leader of the House has outlined for the first week after we return from the Whitsuntide holiday, I calculate that we have two weeks in June, four weeks in July and two weeks in August, if the House adjourn on 12th August. That is 36 Parliamentary days. We have in that time to dispose of the Finance Bill, and the Irish Free State Bill. Then there are ten or twelve days for Supply, an Irish Indemnity Bill, the Electricity (Supply) Bill, the National Health Insurance Bill, the Law of Property Bill, the Consolidated Fund Bill and the Teachers' Superannuation Bill. If properly debated, these Bills will require at least 36 Parliamentary days, which will absorb all the time left to us by the Government if this Motion be carried. But, in addition, the Government have promised other Bills. A promise was made by the Home Secretary that a Bill dealing with Workmen's Compensation will be passed, following a Report by a Committee over which an hon. Member of this House presided. There are also an Allotments Bill and a Milk Bill and a large number of small Measures which, being anxious to economise time, I will not mention. There is also a large number of small Orders on the Paper which have to be disposed of, and which should receive full, free and unfettered debate in this House.

If we pass this Motion we shall find at the end of the Session the Leader of the House coming down and explaining: "I am very sorry, but we must take 10 Orders to-night, and suppress all those safeguards which the House, by great labour over a series of centuries, has built up for the control of public expenditure. We must pass the Finance Bill through all its stages to-day and take the consecutive stages of our Money Resolution." That happened the other night. There is the question of time. Hon. Members want to go—[HON. MEMBERS: "We do!"]—and nobody will be able to deny that there is no time. All the Bills must be passed. Therefore, we shall be faced with accepting, after some feeble and ineffective, because illogical, protest, some time table or some guillotine arrangement which will reduce this House to a condition of contemptibility as to which the Leader of the House himself has uttered many vigorous and, as I think now, convincing protests.

The time to protest against guillotine Resolutions and time tables is now. If we say that we will not adjourn until the 12th, but will adjourn for a week, then we shall be in a position to see that the Debates on these important matters are carried out with the dignity due to this. House, and also find time to discuss many of the subjects as to which the Leader of the House has given the most definite pledges that there shall be debate. I have spoken of Bills of the first importance which form part of the programme of the Government as it is to-day, but there are many other subjects which will come up from day to day and will demand instant attention. For instance, when the Hague Conference begins there is no provision for discussing its result. Is that a desirable thing? Suppose hon. Members wish to raise a Motion for Adjournment, there is no provision for that in the time table. A Scottish Member who is present has had a definite pledge that time will be found to discuss the embargo on Canadian cattle. I do not speak for all the Members of my party, but I happen to agree cordially with the hon. Member.

Every time we ask for this discussion we are told, "Yes, you shall have a discussion, but you can see for yourself that we have not got enough time to complete the programme which is before us.' If this pledge is to be redeemed and time is to be found for a discussion, as it should be, for reasons of great urgency with regard to feeling in the Dominions and otherwise, then I appeal confidently to the hon. Member and other Members to support me in the demand that this holiday should be curtailed to allow such discussion. I am well aware that the merits of any of these Bills cannot be discussed on this Motion, but the time that will be consumed in discussing them is precisely the point involved. I ask the Leader of the House what about constitutional reform? If we adjourn until the 12th June, will he still be able to give a full opportunity for a discussion on this matter?

Division No. 130.]


[12.15 P.m.

Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.Gould, James C.Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.
Adkins, Sir William Ryland DentGreen, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)Parker, James
Amery, Leopold C. M. S.Gregory, HolmanParry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel MartinGuest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.Pearce, Sir William
Armstrong, Henry BruceGuinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.Gwynne, Rupert S.Philipps, Gen. sir I. (Southampton)
Atkey, A. R.Hallwood, AugustinePhilipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)
Bagley, Captain E. AshtonHall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles
Baird, Sir John LawrenceHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyHarmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)Polson, Sir Thomas A.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Harris, Sir Henry PercyPratt, John William
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-Haslam, LewisRaeburn, Sir William H.
Barlow, Sir MontagueHenderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel FrankRoberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Barnston, Major HarryHoare, Lieut.-Colonel sir S. J. G.Rose, Frank H.
Barrand, A. R.Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardRoyds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund
Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund RobertHope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Beauchamp, Sir EdwardHopkins, John W. W.Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon WHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Bennett, Sir Thomas JewellHunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
Betterton, Henry B.Hurd, Percy A.Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John
Bigland, AlfredIrving, DanSharman-Crawford, Robert G.
Blades, Sir George RowlandJackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertShaw, William T. (Forfar)
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.Jellett, William MorganShortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveJesson, C.Simm, M. T.
Brittain, Sir HarryJodrell, Neville PaulSmith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Joynson-Hicks, Sir WilliamStanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)
Burdon, Colonel RowlandKellaway, Rt. Hon Fredk. GeorgeStephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Butcher, Sir John GeorgeKelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Cairns, JohnKennedy, ThomasSugden, W. H.
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.King, Captain Henry DouglasSurtees, Brigadier-General H. C.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSutherland, Sir William
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.)Lane-Fox, G. R.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Cheyne, Sir William WatsonLewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)Townley, Maximilian G.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers
Clough, Sir RobertLindsay, William ArthurTryon, Major George Clement
Cobb, Sir CyrilLloyd, George ButlerWallace, J.
Cohen, Major J. BrunelLloyd-Greame, Sir P.Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeLocker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)
Cope, Major WilliamLorden, John WilliamWaring, Major Walter
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.Loseby, Captain C. E.Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryMacdonald, Rt. Hon. John MurrayWeston, Colonel John Wakefield
Curzon, Captain ViscountMackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Dean, Commander P. T.Mallaby-Deeley, HarryWills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.
Edge, Captain Sir WilliamMalone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)Marriott, John Arthur RansomeWindsor, Viscount
Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)Mason, RobertWinterton, Earl
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.Wise, Frederick
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Mitchell, Sir William LaneWolmer, Viscount
Falcon, Captain MichaelMond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred MoritzWood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Falle, Major Sir Bertram GodfrayMoore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Fell, Sir ArthurMorden, Col. W. GrantWood, Sir J. (Stalybrldge & Hyde)
Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.Moreing, Captain Algernon H.Wood, Major Sir S. Hill-(High Peak)
FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.Morris, RichardWoods, Sir Robert
Flannery, Sir James FortescueMunro, Rt. Hon. RobertWoolcock, William James U.
Forestier-Walker, L.Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Neal, ArthurYate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Gardiner, JamesNewman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Gardner, ErnestNewson, Sir Percy WilsonYoung, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Gee, Captain RobertNicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Gibbs, Colonel George AbrahamNicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)Younger, Sir George
Gilbert, James DanielNicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir JohnNorton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir JohnTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Glyn, Major RalphOman, Sir Charles William C.Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.

rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 39.


Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamHayward, EvanO'Connor, Thomas P.
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick GJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Rattan, Peter Wilson
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.Royce, William Stapleton
Bramsdon, Sir ThomasLambert, Rt. Hon. GeorgeShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Davies, David (Montgomery)Malone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Foot, IsaacMills, John EdmundWignall, James
Foxcroft, Captain Charles TalbotMosley, OswaldWintringham, Margaret
Galbraith, SamuelMurray, Hon, A. C. (Aberdeen)Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)
Halls, WalterMyers, ThomasTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hayday, ArthurNaylor, Thomas EllisMr. Hogge and Mr. G. Thorne.

Question put accordingly.

Division No. 131.]


[12.20 p.m.

Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.France, Gerald AshburnerMalone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)
Adkins, Sir William Ryland DentFremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Marriott, John Arthur Ransome
Amery, Leopold C. M. S.Galbraith, SamuelMason, Robert
Archer-Shee, Lieut-Colonel MartinGardiner, JamesMildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.
Armstrong, Henry BruceGardner, ErnestMitchell, Sir William Lane
Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.Gee, Captain RobertMond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.Gibbs, Colonel George AbrahamMoore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Atkey, A. R.Gilbert, James DanielMorden, Col. W. Grant
Bagley, Captain E. AshtonGilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir JohnMoreing, Captain Algernon H.
Baird, Sir John LawrenceGlyn, Major RalphMorris, Richard
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGould, James C.Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)Neal, Arthur
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-Gregory, HolmanNewman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)
Barlow, Sir MontagueGuest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Barnston, Major HarryHallwood, AugustineNicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)
Barrand, A. R.Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund RobertHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryNorton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Beauchamp, Sir EdwardHarmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Harris, Sir Henry PercyPalmer, Brigadier-General G. L.
Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Haslam, LewisParker, James
Bennett, Sir Thomas JewellHenderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)Pearce, Sir William
Betterton, Henry B.Herbert Dennis (Hertford, Watford)Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Bigland, AlfredHilder, Lieut.-Colonel FrankPercy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Blades, Sir George RowlandHoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.Philipps, Gen. Sir I. (Southampton)
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardPinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.Hopkins, John W. W.Poison, Sir Thomas A.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Pratt, John William
Brittain, Sir HarryHome, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)Prescott, Major Sir W. H.
Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)Raeburn, Sir William H.
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Hurd, Percy A.Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)
Burdon, Colonel RowlandIrving, DanRichardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Cairns, JohnJackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertRose, Frank H.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)Jellett, William MorganRoyce, William Stapleton
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.)Jodrell, Neville PaulRoyds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)John, William (Rhondda, West)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cheyne, Sir William WatsonJones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustavo D.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.Joynson-Hicks, Sir WilliamScott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Clough, Sir RobertKellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. GeorgeScott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
Cobb, Sir CyrilKelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John
Cohen, Major J. BrunelKennedy, ThomasSharman-Crawford, Robert G.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeKenyon, BarnetShaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Cope, Major WilliamKing, Captain Henry DouglasShaw, William T. (Forfar)
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementShortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryLambert Rt. Hon. GeorgeSimm, M. T.
Curzon, Captain ViscourtLane-Fox, G. R.Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)
Dean, Commander P. T.Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Edge, Captain Sir WilliamLindsay, William ArthurSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)Lloyd, George ButlerSugden, W. H.
Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithLocker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Sutherland, Sir William
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tlngd'n)Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Falcon, Captain MichaelLorden, John WilliamThomson, Sir W Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Falle, Major Sir Bertram GodfrayLoseby, Captain C. E.Townley, Maximillan G.
Fell, Sir ArthurMacdonald, Rt. Hon. John MurrayTownshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers
Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)Tryon, Major George Clement
FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Wallace, J.
Flannery, Sir James FortescueMacpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Forestier-Walker, L.Mallaby-Deeley, HarryWard-Jackson, Major C. L.

The House divided: Ayes, 215: Noes, 28.

Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Waring, Major WalterWindsor, ViscountYate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Watson, Captain John BertrandWinterton, EarlYoung, E. H. (Norwich)
Weston, Colonel John WakefieldWise, FrederickYoung, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.Wolmer, ViscountYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Wignall, JamesWood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)Younger, Sir George
Williams, C. (Tavistock)Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)Wood, Sir J. (Stalybrldge & Hyde)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. ClaudWood, Major Sir S. Hill-(High Peak)Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.Woolcock, William James U.McCurdy.
Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn]


Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamHogge, James MylesShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Bramsdon, Sir ThomasMalone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)Mills, John EdmundWintringham, Margaret
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Mosley, OswaldWood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Davies, David (Montgomery)Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth. Pontypool)Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Halls, WalterNaylor, Thomas EllisLieut.-Commander Kenworthy and
Hayday, ArthurO'Connor, Thomas P.Mr. Foot.
Hayward, EvanRaffan, Peter Wilson

Resolved, "That this House, at its rising this day, do adjourn until Monday, 12th June."

Message From The Lords

That they have agreed to,

Empire Settlement Bill, without Amendment.

That they have passed a Bill, intituled, "An Act to amend the Naval Discipline Act." [Naval Discipline Bill [ Lords.]

Naval Discipline Bill Lords

Read the First time; to be read a Second time upon Monday, 12th June, and to be printed. [Bill 147.]

Whitsuntide Recess (Adjournment)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[ Mr. Chamberlain.]


Mr Churchill's Statement

I promised the House a week ago I would make a full statement about Ireland before we separated for the Whitsuntide Recess. I will make a full statement, but it will only be an interim statement. It will, I hope, be a plain statement, yet it cannot be a complete statement. I will give the best appreciation I can to the House, at the moment, of the situation.

Until 10 days ago we were entitled to look forward across the disappointments, vexations, misgivings and perplexities of the Irish situation to a great and hopeful event. A General Election was to be held in Southern Ireland, at which we had a. right to expect that the Irish people would have the opportunity of giving their decision upon the generous and sincere offer of Dominion Home Rule embodied in the Treaty made with this country. The Irish people would thus have been free to reject or accept our offer with their eyes open. Had they rejected it and returned a Parliament pledged to set up a Republic, an issue would immediately have been raised comparable to that which arose in the American Civil War between the States of the American Union and the seceding Confederate States. But we were assured on every hand that there was not much chance of this—indeed, that there was no chance, at all of it. From every source of Irish information the same tale comes, that the Irish people, if allowed freely to express their wishes and convictions, would, by an overwhelming majority, accept in good faith and in goodwill the great Treaty of reconciliation which gives Ireland her own freedom, her place in the world, and the hope of the final unity of Ireland itself.

No one has disputed for a moment, and no one now disputes for a moment, that that was, and is, the wish of the Irish people. It is common ground in the Dail Eireann between Republicans and Free Staters. It is common ground between regulars and irregulars in the Irish Republican Army. It is common ground between Catholics and Protestants, between landlords and tenants, between Unionists and Nationalists from one end of Ireland to the other, that the wish and the will of the Irish people is to take the Treaty, work it honourably, and restore under its aegis the dignity and prosperity of Irish life. So sure were Mr. de Valera and his supporters of what the will of the Irish people would be that they openly declared their intention of forbidding its expression by means of terrorism and violence. Every offer by the Provisional Government to ascertain the will of the people was passionately refused by the anti-Treaty men. They refused to allow an election because they said the register was incomplete and the suffrage was not sufficiently extensive. When they were offered a plebiscite at which everyone could vote, they refused that with even greater indignation. Up to 10 days ago the leaders of the Provisional Government—with the growing support of public opinion and the increasing adherence to their own side of men who had hitherto been extreme Republicans—appeared resolved to march steadily forward to a free election and to do their best to put down, if necessary by force, all armed persons who tried to prevent it. It was in this spirit that Mr. Griffith on the 19th of this month told the Republicans in the Dail that in their violent courses they did not represent 2 per cent. of the people of Ireland and that the course they were pursuing placed them on the level of the worst traitors in Irish history, namely, those who by their actions were rendering the return of the English troops inevitable. The very next day, to the astonishment of everyone, to the dismay of many supporters of the Provisional Government and to the joy of every enemy of Irish freedom and Irish unity, wherever they may be, in this country or in the North or in the South of Ireland, a compact was signed between Mr. de Valera and Mr. Collins.

The compact, as the House is no doubt aware, comprised an agreement that the Republican anti-Treaty men—whom Mr. Griffith had declared a day before to be not representing 2 per cent. of the Irish people—were to have 57 seats in the new Parliament, as against 64 for the supporters of the Treaty, so far, that is to say, as the Provisional Government was concerned. They were not to be opposed by the Provisional Government to the extent of 57 seats—in other words, the existing balance on the question of accepting or rejecting the Treaty should be preserved in the new Parliament, and should not be disturbed by any contests between members of the Sinn Fein party. Secondly, this compact prescribed that, after this election or so-called election, a Coalition Government should be formed—

Let me take this opportunity of saying that the issues with which we have to deal are too tragic for the introduction of cheap scores and sneers of a party kind, for which there is plenty of scope and opportunity on other occasions. This agreement prescribes, in the second place, that after the election there should be a Coalition Government formed, consisting of five pro-Treaty Ministers and four anti-Treaty Ministers, with the President of the Assembly and the Minister at the head of the army additional. It was added that every other interest in Ireland would be free to proceed to the poll and challenge the candidates on the national Sinn Fein panel.

The consequences of this agreement are very serious. It seems probable, as far as we can judge, that the Irish people will not be able to give free expression to their views. It is almost certain that they will not be able to say in any way that is intelligible whether they accept or reject the Treaty offered by Great Britain. A certain number of Labour or Independent candidates may, it is true, no doubt secure election, but it is difficult to see how the Parliament resulting from the election, and the Government to be based on that Parliament, after the election, can have either representative or democratic quality or authority, as it is usually understood, and it is certain that it will he a Parliament arbitrarily divided without reference to the national will upon the supreme, urgent, vital issue of whether a Republic should be set up or the Treaty should be accepted. It may be argued quite properly that these are matters, whether of agreement or of division, which primarily concern Irishmen and Ireland, and that is quite true, but in so far as they affect the faithful carrying out of the Treaty, they concern us. We are not in the least disposed to relax our vigilance and responsibility in regard to it.

The agreement, for instance, that Republican anti-Treaty men will be included in the Government after the election, strikes directly at the provisions of the Treaty. In making the Treaty, we did not wish, during the provisional period which we saw was inevitable, to put any difficulty that could be avoided, to put any unnecessary stumbling-block in the path of those who were setting up the new Government and the new Constitution. We did not, therefore, demand that the members of the Provisional Parliament, either of this present Parliament or the new Provisional Parliament, that we contemplated being elected before the Free State was brought into existence—we did not demand that the members of the Parliament should take the oath which is prescribed in the Treaty for the Free State Parliament when it is finally constituted. We were content with the provision inserted in Article 17 of the Treaty that members of the Government should in this interim period sign a declaration of adherence to the Treaty, which has hitherto been signed most willingly by all members of the Provisional Government. If Mr. de Valera and his three anti-Treaty men, or whoever the Ministers are to be who are to come into the Government after the election—if they are willing to sign that declaration in abonâ fide manner, we have no ground of complaint on this score. But if they become members of the Government without signing that declaration, the Treaty is broken by that very fact at that very moment, and the Imperial Government resumes such liberty of action, whether in regard to the resumption of powers which have been transferred or the re-occupation of territory, as we may think appropriate and proportionate to the gravity of the breach. I must make it clear to the House that we shall not in any circumstances agree to deviate from the Treaty either in the strict letter or the honest spirit.

I must now, in fairness, set out the reasons which I understand led or forced the Provisional Government, formed expressly to carry out the Treaty, to enter into this compact with those who are fundamentally opposed to the Treaty. They declare that the conditions in Southern Ireland were degenerating so rapidly, that they had not got the power to hold a freely contested election—a free election that was at the same time a vigorously contested election—that sporadic fighting would have resulted in many parts of Southern Ireland; that ballot boxes would have been burned or ballot papers destroyed by vitriol; that persons would have been intimidated—that candidates would have been intimidated—or prevented from reaching the polling stations or otherwise taking part in the election, and that no coherent expression of the national will would have resulted from an election held in these circumstances.

If that be true, it is a very terrible reflection upon the Irish people and on their capacity to use the democratic institutions to which they have so long and so loftily proclaimed their devotion, and it is also, I think, a reflection upon the Government which, while urging and pressing for us continuously to withdraw our forces from the country, in order to make the whole Irish people see that we were acting in strictbona fides, have not been able, in the whole six months that have elapsed, with all the resources which are at their disposal and with all the resources which we would have placed at their disposal, to organise an efficient adequate police force capable of maintaining the Treaty position.

When we are told that 20 determined pistoleers could prevent the citizens of a whole county from exercising their constitutional rights, one sees quite clearly to what a low level at the present moment civic courage and manhood in Ireland must have fallen. However, that is the first reason which is given that a free expression of the public will could not in any circumstances have been obtained at the present time. If the democracies of Britain, of France, of the United States, had been of so meek and poor a spirit in regard to the management of their own affairs, the liberties of those nations would never have been attained or, having been attained, would never have been preserved.

But there was a second reason which Actuated at least some of the Provisional Government, and which certainly should carry all due weight with the House. The progress of disorder, of lawlessness, of social degeneration, had been so rapid and extensive in the 26 counties since the departure of the British troops and the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary, that the Provisional Government could not possibly guarantee the ordinary security of life and property, if these securities were challenged by an active, ardent, violent, Republican minority. This Republican minority, it is explained, consists mainly of a comparatively small number of armed men, violent in method, fanatical in temper, but in many cases disinterested or impersonal in motive. But behind these, strengthening these, multiplying these, disgracing these, are a larger number of common, sordid ruffians and brigands, robbing, murdering, pillaging, for their personal gain or for private revenge, or creating disorder and confusion out of pure love for disorder and confusion. These bandits—for they are nothing else—pursue their devastating course under the so-called glamour of the Republic and are inextricably intermingled withbonâ fide Republican visionaries.

The Provisional Government declare that they found themselves unable to deal with these bandits, while at the same time they were engaged in armed struggles withbonâ fide Republicans. They declare that the Agreement into which they have entered with the Republicans would isolate the brigands and would enable these brigands to be struck at and suppressed, that a greater measure of liberty and security would immediately be restored, and that such conditions are an indispensable preliminary to any free expression of the political will of the Irish people, to which they look forward at an early date. They say, further, that it is in the power of the extreme minority in Ireland, by murdering British soldiers, or ex-soldiers, or Royal Irish Constabulary men who have retired from the Constabulary, or Protestants in the South, or by disturbing Ulster, to produce a series of episodes which, if prolonged and multiplied, would, in fact, destroy the relationship between Great Britain and Ireland and render the carrying through of the Treaty impossible on both sides.

I am bound to say that I can see there is great force in that. They point out that if, as they have frequently done, they give protection to 50 or 100 persons who are menaced and apply to them, and one person in another district is murdered, they get no credit for the efforts they have made with their limited forces to give the protection to the 50, and the blame and discredit of the murder of the one is naturally and legitimately assigned to them. On these grounds, therefore, the Provisional Government declare, and on other grounds which they will no doubt state in their own way—I am placing the House in possession of their views as far as I have been able to assimilate them; I am not holding them responsible for the actual language I have used, but I am trying to show their point of view—on these grounds, therefore, the Provisional Government felt themselves compelled to enter into the compact to which I have referred.

I am not concealing from the House the grave, possibly fatal, disadvantages of such a compact. If, however, it were attended by any marked and immediate improvement in the conditions of social order throughout the 26 counties, by a cessation of all attacks on Ulster or outrages from the Irish Republican Army within Ulster, by a cessation of the murders of ex-servants of the Crown, or of Protestants in the South, or of British soldiers, then I say that these would be great advantages which might well be set off against the disadvantages of the increased delay in ascertaining the true, free will of the Irish people in respect of the Treaty offer which has been made by Great Britain. It is too early to say now whether any of these compensating advantages will be gained. Some of the positions occupied by the mutineers, by the irregulars, or whatever they are called, in Dublin have been given up, and I am assured by the representatives of the Provisional Government that the general position is much easier. No doubt it will be for the moment. On the other hand, two or three most cruel and atrocious murders have been committed in Dublin itself, apparently for political motives, and I shall have to deal with those which have occurred in Ulster in a moment. Unless this compact which I have described to the House is followed by a general restoration of peace and order throughout the 26 counties, and by a cessation of the violence which has disturbed Ulster, so far as it comes from one side, the obvious, lamentable disadvantages of the compact will be unrelieved by any compensating advantages.

I need scarcely say that the situation in Ulster has been seriously affected by this compact. The House will remember the Agreement which was signed on the 31st March by Sir James Craig and Mr. Collins. This Agreement, unhappily, broke down to a very large extent almost as soon as it was signed. Before Sir James Craig could get back to Belfast several murders, some of Catholics, others of policemen, were committed before he could put the case to his own people and take the steps for putting the Agreement into operation. The demand of the Provisional Government for the investigation of these cases under the Agreement, a demand which in the letter seems to have been correct, led to a long dispute between the two Governments as to whether the investigation should date from the signing of the Agreement or only from the period when Sir James Craig was really able to get back to his people and begin to take effective charge of the situation.

At the same time that this discussion was going forward, the members of the Irish Republican Army in the six counties—I should say the so-called Irish Republican Army, because, although I use it for short, it is clearly understood that we at no time recognise such an expression—the members of this army in the six counties, under the control of Mr. de Valera and out of the control of the Provisional Government, were stimulated by him, or by others behind him, into a series of outrages designed to break down the Agreement and bring about a hopeless situation. The Ulster boycott was renewed by Mr. de Valera's followers and by the irregular Irish Republican Army men with the utmost violence. It had never been so complete as it was a fortnight after this Agreement had been signed. Only slow and partial progress was made by the Northern Government in carrying out their part of the Agreement. They did a great deal, but at the same time the progress was partial, and neither side lacked material or opportunity for complaint against the other.

So, while these recriminations were proceeding, the Collins-de Valera Agreement was published and, at the same time, a most violent series of outrages and in- cendiarism, not only in Belfast, but in some of the most peaceful parts of Northern Ireland, were initiated by irregular Republicans. In consequence of these, the Agreement is for the time being largely inoperative, largely in suspense. The Northern Government have declared that now that Mr. Collins and Mr. de Valera are to be members of the same Administration they cannot have any dealings with them such as were contemplated in the agreement previously reached.

Therefore, while all the hopes of Ireland depend upon friendly co-operation between the Northern and Southern Governments, this compact that was made 10 clays ago has rendered all such cooperation doubly difficult and has driven the parties further apart than they ever were before. At the same time it must be admitted that the disturbances which have been going on in Ulster for so many months, and the cruel warfare between Catholics and Protestants which is being waged in the streets of Belfast, have undoubtedly played their part in making the position of the Provisional Government in Ireland difficult, in exasperating the Catholic majority throughout Southern Ireland, and increasing the supporters of Mr. de Valera and the extremists who follow him. Mr. de Valera and his followers have, of course, been fully aware of this. One of their surest means of fighting against the Provisional Government and against the Treaty has been to excite outrage in the Northern area and so provoke counter-action of as violent or a still more violent kind, which they in turn use to arouse passions in the South.

I stand here to-day in the presence of a recent and very grave incident which has occurred on the frontiers of Ulster. We are informed that the townships of Belleek and Pettigo have been seized and occupied by the Irish Republican forces. Belleek is in Northern territory—in the territory of the Northern Government—and Pettigo lies astride the border.

Immediately I received this information, which I did by telegram sent off late last night—as soon as I was able to consider this information—I reported it to the Prime Minister and my colleagues, including the Secretary of State for War, and we invited the representatives of the Irish Provisional Government, who were here in London, to visit us at Downing Street. We told them the reports which had reached us, we told them that, of course, we were sending Imperial officers to ascertain, on the impartial authority of the Imperial Government, whether the facts were strictly correct as they had been reported to us, whether these townships in the Northern territory were in fact in the occupation of the Republican forces, and we asked them, assuming that this was correct, had these forces any authority from them or were they in any degree responsible? They immediately gave us the most unqualified assurance that they were in no way responsible, that they repudiated the action of these forces in the strongest possible manner, and, of course, that they had no information.

1.0 P.M.

That being so, the matter passed obviously into another sphere, and I am not prepared to give the House any in formation—I am sure the House will support me in declining to give them any information—of any measures or movements which may be necessary in consequence, if it has occurred, of a violation of the territory of the Northern Government. It is at this stage, and in a situation already sombre and critical, that the Constitution of the Irish Free State, which is being prepared by the Provisional Government, appears upon the scene. This Constitution is to be framed by the Provisional Government in accordance with the usual Dominion practice. It is to be published by them before the election. The election is to be held on the 16th June—a fortnight from now—-and the Constitution is to he submitted immediately as the first task of the Provisional Parliament resulting from the election. The Provisional Government promised Mr. de Valera that the Constitution should be before the electors in good time for the election. The Provisional Government also promised us that we should have an opportunity of seeing it before it was made public. This promise they have kept, and the British signatories of the Treaty, with their legal and technical advisers, have now had an opportunity of examining the Constitution. We are entitled to examine it from two points of view only. First, we are entitled to examine it in order to ascertain whether it is in full and true accord with the Treaty, and, secondly, from the point of view of the assurances which have been given to the Southern Unionists at the time the Treaty was signed. Those are the two standpoints from which we are entitled to examine the Constitution. So far as the Government of the interior of Southern Ireland is concerned, the methods of government that prevail there, the constitutional system which is involved, the electoral system—all those are Irish matters far outside any scope which we intend to claim for ourselves. But, on these two points, we are not only entitled, but bound to examine the Constitution.

Our examination of the Constitution at this stage is informal and confidential. A Dominion framing a Constitution would not necessarily show it to Imperial Ministers beforehand, although no doubt it would be a practical, a useful, and a friendly thing to do. It has been done in this case, but our examination of it at this stage is informal and confidential. I am not prepared to make any disclosure to the House about it, and I ask their support, in not doing so, as it would be a breach of confidence at this stage. I must, therefore, refuse to answer any question about it, or give the House any information upon it. But the House will not have long to wait. Probably in a week, or at the outside 10 days, from now, and certainly before we return from our holidays—if we get any holidays—the House will be in a position, and the country will be in a position, to judge the Constitution for themselves, which will then have been published in the form in which it is to be submitted by the Irish Provisional Government to the Irish people. Everyone will be able to judge then whether or not it faithfully conforms to the provisions and spirit of the Treaty entered into between the two countries. The House, therefore, will be in a position, after Whitsuntide, to take a far more searching and decisive view of the situation than is possible at the present time. I strongly deprecate, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, any premature judgment given now in the absence of essential and vital facts.

I hope I shall not keep the House very long, but I would ask them to allow me to deal with the subject as fully as possible. Let me now direct the attention of the House to the prospect, so far as it can he surveyed, which would lie before us if anything went forward without being interrupted by any violent events. After the Constitution has been published, and after the election has taken place, the Constitution will be submitted to the Provisional Parliament, such as it is, resulting from the election, and, after it has been passed through that Provisional Parliament in Dublin, it will be sent to us over here for confirmation, and for the final ratification of the Treaty. Not until we have passed another Act of Parliament confirming the Constitution, and finally ratifying the Treaty, does the Irish Free State obtain its full juridical status, nor does that month begin to run during which Ulster may exercise her option of contracting out, and not until that option has been exercised does the Boundary Commission, which has been the cause of so much heart-burning, come into being or into operation.

How fortunate it is that we did not yield to the repeated demands of those in this House, and at the other end of the passage who, when the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act was passing through its various stages, repeatedly called upon us to make the Ulster month, and subsequent Boundary Commission, date from the passage of that Measure. If we had hearkened to their counsel, we should have lost all Constitutional and Parliamentary control over the final stages of these serious events; whereas now—I hope the House will bear this in mind—if the Constitution is not in accordance with the Treaty, if the Treaty is broken by any act such as the inclusion of Ministers in an Irish Government who have not signed the Declaration under Article 17, if the election is such that it cannot be said, in reasonable common sense, to have any effective validity, if the Constitution, as it emerges from the Provisional Parliament, is amended in such a way as to be no fulfilment of the Treaty—in any of these events, we are perfectly free to withhold the assent of Parliament to the final Measure of ratification, to withhold that assent until these defects have been made good, and these complaints have been set right. And until, and unless, a thoroughly satisfactory fulfilment of the Treaty conditions has been presented by Southern Ireland, there is no obligation upon us to proceed with the Boundary Commission, or call in question in any way the existing frontiers of Ulster.

I must now speak of the conditions prevailing in Southern Ireland. I was specially asked a question, I think, by an hon. Member behind me. They are, in many respects, lamentable. They have not been attended with serious loss of life or limb. Far fewer persons have been killed and wounded throughout the whole of Southern Ireland in any given month since the Treaty was made than in the City of Belfast alone. When six Protestants in County Cork were murdered three weeks ago, the condemnation of these murders was universal, and every group and section in Irish political life denounced them. I am sure the Provisional Government have done everything in their power to prevent such murders taking place, and to prevent such attacks on property and liberty throughout the 26 counties as have become numerous. The condition of things ought not to he exaggerated, but it is undoubtedly very had. There is a universal feeling of insecurity both of person and property. There is a whole crop of petty tyrannies and illegal exactions. Protestants, unionists, Loyalists, ex-servants of the Crown, suffer persecution and oppression, mostly of a minor kind, but menaces of a very serious kind. In some cases they have received very serious injuries, and in all eases they are in great distress and anxiety. They suffer these injuries and menaces, let me point out, although they have in no case given any provocation themselves, although they only ask to be allowed to support the Treaty and Free State, and make their own contribution to the life and prosperity of their own country. There is no comparison betwm'n the position of the Protestants, Loyalists or Unionists, in Southern Ireland and that of the Catholics in Northern Ireland, because a most vehement and combative campaign is going on there. I am not saying who began it, or on whom the greater amount of blame rests, but, undoubtedly, a very active combat is going on there, with many killed and wounded on both sides; whereas throughout the South all the 300,000 or 400,000 Protestants—persons of weight, ability and education—have been, and are now, ready to throw in all their weight and aid on the side of the Treaty and the Free State Constitution arising from the Treaty.

I say, as a consequence of this insecurity, prosperity has been seriously affected. Banking and business are curtailed; industry and agriculture are languishing; revenue is only coming in with increasingly laggard steps; credit is drying up; railways are slowing down; stagnation and impoverishment are overtaking the productive life of Ireland; the inexorable shadow of famine is already cast on some of its poorer districts. Will the lesson be learned in time, and will the remedies be applied before it is too late? Or will Ireland, amid the stony indifference of the world—for that is what it would be—have to wander down those chasms which have already engulfed the great Russian people? This is the question which the next few months will answer. Already there is a trickle—only a trickle—but it may broaden into a stream, from Ireland to this country, of refugees from the Loyalist or Unionist. population. We may also be confronted with a very considerable exodus of the poorer people, who will be unemployed and in great distress in Ireland, and who will seek entrance to the already congested labour market of this country, and that is a matter which may require special measures. In so far as the Loyalists who are driven out by persecution are concerned, the attitude of the Provisional Government has been perfectly correct. I will read an extract from their official letter on this subject, and, if the House desires it., I will lay the document from which I quote. I wrote an official letter, pointing out what was happening, and that we were taking certain measures through the Committee of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare), and that we considered that it was their duty to bear the expense. They replied on the 18th May. I will quote only the relevant part:
"The Provisional Government of Ireland have given careful consideration to your letter of the 13th inst. in which you intimate that His Majesty's Government have established machinery for affording pecuniary relief to a number of persons who have arrived in Great Britain, having been driven from their homes in Ireland by intimidation or actual violence at the hands of disaffected persons, and in which you ask that the Provisional Government will admit the immediate financial liability which is thus being incurred, as well as the ultimate responsibility for the restoration of these people to their homes, and for compensation for loss or damage to their property. My Government regret that a certain small number of law-abiding citizens have been recently obliged to flee from their homes in this country under threat of violence, and they are aware that some of these people have left for England. In so far as these persons are concerned, the Provisional Government fully realise the necessity of making provision for relieving their distress, and they appreciate the prompt action of His Majesty's Government to that end. They have no hesitation in giving the desired assurance that they accept liability for the expenditure incurred in providing such relief inbona, fide cases."
Then the letter goes on to say that they hope that the case will not be looked at from any political point of view or aim, and further states that the Provisional Government are themselves suffering from an incursion of Catholics who are fleeing and taking refuge from what is going on in Ulster, and they raise the point on whom the responsibility lies for provision in regard to these poor people. I quote that letter to the House because it is a dignified document emanating from this Government and shows that they are adopting a perfectly proper attitude in regard to this lamentable situation.

Although I have criticised quite unreservedly to-day—I think it is much better we should be outspoken and candid—the course adopted by the Provisional Government, firstly, in postponing the elections so long, and, secondly, in entering into this extremely questionable compact with the opponents of the Treaty, I do not believe that the members of the Provisional Government are acting in bad faith. I do not believe, as is repeatedly suggested, that they are working hand in glove with their Republican opponents with the intent by an act of treachery to betray British confidence and Ireland's good name. I am sure they are not doing that. They may not have taken the wisest course, or the strongest course, of the shortest course, but they, and a majority of Dail Eireann who steadfastly support them and support the Treaty are I sincerely believe, animated by an earnest desire and resolve to carry out the Treaty. Not only Mr. Griffith and Mr. Collins, the two leading men on whose good faith we took this memorable departure, but the other Ministers who are in this country, Mr. Cosgrave, Mr. Kevin O'Higgins and others have repeatedly declared their adherence to the Treaty and have renewed their personal assurances while they have been here with us in the strongest manner. They have argued vehemently that the course they are taking—questionable and doubtful as it appears to British eyes—as it must necessarily appear to almost any eyes—they have argued that the course they have taken is the surest way, and indeed the only way open to them of bringing the Treaty into permanent effect. Whether their policy and methods are right may be questioned. Whether they will succeed or not is open to doubt. But that they are still trying to do their best to march forward on that path which alone can save Ireland from hideous disaster we firmly believe. Some here may think us wrong. Some here may think we are being deceived and hoodwinked, and by being deceived ourselves are deceiving others.

If we are wrong, if we are deceived, the essential strength of the Imperial position will be in no wise diminished, while the honour and reputation of Ireland will be fatally aspersed, I say to the House, whether you trust or whether you mistrust at this moment, equally you can afford to wait. We have done our part, we are doing our part with the utmost loyalty before all the world. We have disbanded our police. We have withdrawn our armies. We have liberated our prisoners. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hoar, hear!"] Yes, I say it, and I boast it! We have transferred the powers of government and the whole of the revenues of Ireland to the Irish Ministry responsible to the Irish Parliament. We have done this on the faith of the Treaty, solemnly signed by duly accredited plenipotentiaries—for such they were—of the Irish nation, and subsequently endorsed by a majority of the Irish Parliament. This great act of faith on the part of the stronger power will not, I believe, be brought to mockery by the Irish people. If it were, the strength of the Empire will survive the disappointment, but the Irish name will not soon recover from the disgrace.

Let us on our part be very careful that we do all we have to do in scrupulous and meticulous good faith—in scrupulous, meticulous, and even—if I may dare the word—in credulous good faith. Let us not be led by impatience, by prejudice, by vexation, by anxiety into courses which would lay us open to charges of fickleness or levity in dealing with these issues so long lasting as the relation between the two islands. Let us so direct our steps that, in spite of every disappointment, we give this Treaty arrangement every possible chance of becoming the true act of reconciliation. By so doing we may yet succeed But if we fail, if we fail in spite of all our efforts and forbearance, then by these efforts and that very forbearance we shall have placed ourselves upon the strongest ground, and in the strongest position, and with the largest moral resources, both throughout the Empire and throughout the world, to encounter whatever events may be coming towards us.

I have listened as the House has listened, I think, with unqualified admiration, and, as far as I myself am concerned, almost with complete agreement, to the very weighty and important explanation that the right hon. Gentleman has given us of a situation which in all its aspects is not only embarrassing and serious, but even formidable. I believe anyone with any sense of responsibility can best do his duty on this occasion by using the fewest and most carefully chosen words. I am not going to say more than half-a-dozen sentences. The picture which the right hon. Gentleman has drawn, without any exaggeration or over-colouring, of the present state of Ireland is a very disquieting one, and to people, whose faith is not deeply-rooted, it may cause not unreasonable feelings of serious mistrust for the future. I believe the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly right when he said in an eloquent sentence towards the conclusion of his speech that it is only by continued trust, and still more by continued patience and forbearance, that you can hope to straighten out this tangled web, which, after all, is not the creation of to-day or yesterday, but an inheritance from a long and troublous past. It is only by patience, forbearance, and faith that you get out of the twilight into the light of day.

Amid all the unsatisfactory features of the case which the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned, there is one, I think, most encouraging fact, and that is that in the anarchical condition of things over a very large part of Ireland, the Provisional Government cannot be held responsible for what has been going on. I do not say they have always been wise or prompt, but upon the whole, as the right hon. Gentleman told us, both as regards outrages in the South, and as regards these border forays on the Northern frontier, the Provisional Government has done, and is doing, in good faith, all it can to prevent and detect crime. That is a very satisfactory feature, and shows that they have undertaken this most onerous and complicated task in the spirit which breathes through the Treaty itself. I will only say one word about the so-called compact. I quite agree with the right. hon. Gentleman that although under normal conditions, certainly when Dominion status has been completed or achieved in Ireland, we should concern ourselves as little as possible, indeed not at all, with the internal administration of the country. Let them make what experiments they please, legislative, administrative, fiscal, or otherwise, so long as our Imperial interests are not touched.

I agree with my right hon. Friend in the hope that that will be the situation as soon as the new Constitution is in full working order. At present we are in an intermediate stage with the Treaty as the governing instrument, and to that Treaty the people and the Parliament of this country have formally made themselves partners. We clearly, therefore, are within our rights—I am not saying for the moment how far and at what point those technical and Treaty rights ought to be pushed—but clearly we are within our rights in commenting upon, and even objecting to, these arrangements, and saying that however convenient they may be in themselves from the internal point of view of Ireland, they are not consistent with good faith in the observance of the Treaty. I confess, like everybody else, that from the democratic point of view I was a little shocked about this compact on its merits. To start a consultation with people with whom you disagree, and with to all intents and purpose a pre-arranged Parliament, is not in consonance with democratic procedure, but I do not think it is desirable or expedient to go into these matters at this moment.

Ireland is really in such a state as regards the maintenance of order that it, is very difficult to see how a free election, as we understand it, can at this moment be conducted. I hope the difficulties will turn out in practice much less than they appear to an outsider. At any rate, whatever may be the ultimate fate of this corn-pact, whether it is allowed to go through or not, it can only give rise to a provisional state of things, because it is quite clear that a Parliament elected like this, what I call a pre-arranged one, cannot ultimately, and will not, be regarded by the Irish people themselves as a free and representative organ of the expression of their opinions and safeguard of their interests. Therefore I do not think that necessarily the situation is quite so serious as would appear. I hope that consideration will be borne in mind. The sum and substance of the matter is this. We are at the most critical stage in the history of a great and generous experiment—that is the sum and substance of it. Let us in this House do nothing that it is in our power to avoid to increase the difficulties, to envenom and embitter feelings which are very sensitive, or to prevent the attainment of what I believe nine out of 10 of us here believe to he the only possible solution of the real problem of the future government of Ireland.

I have listened to the statement which has just been made by the Colonial Secretary with profound disappointment. He has said much and revealed very little, and he has not told the House what are the real causes of the difficulties which lie before the Provisional Government and His Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman has made some remarkable admissions as to the real state of things prevailing in Ireland. He admits that the whole position in Ireland is profoundly disquieting, and he also admits that the agreement between Mr. Collins on behalf of the Provisional Government and Mr. de Valera representing the Republican party has created an entirely new situation.

would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he still adheres to the repeated statement which he has made in this House and elsewhere, that under no circumstances will he or the Government recognise the setting up of a Republic in Southern Ireland?

Yes, certainly. I say so in the strongest possible way. The setting up of a Republic in Southern Ireland would raise an issue comparable with that which arose between the Union and the Federal States of America, when civil war broke out. We should no more recognise it than the Northern States of America recognised secession.


: I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for emphasising that point. I would like to know, however, what has been modified and given away by the pact entered into between Mr. Collins and Mr. de Valera? Has Mr. Collins adopted the Republican principles which Mr. de Valera, as representing the Republican party, has frequently proclaimed, or has Mr. de Valera abandoned his previous position? Mr. Michael Collins himself on many occasions has made statements on this very subject since the so-called Treaty was arranged in London. Of course he began in a comparatively mild form. On one occasion he said:

"Let us realise that a free Ireland is the greatest common measure of freedom obtainable now."

In the Dail Eireann on the 3rd of March last Mr. Collins is reported as follows:

"Mr. Collins once more denied that he had been a traitor to the Irish cause. He reminded them that the Treaty was only a step towards a Republic, but added that he had not withdrawn that statement, and he was still as much a republican as Mr. de. Valera."

This is a matter of great importance. I want to know what. assurances and guarantees Mr. Michael Collins has given that such statements as I have read, which have been made publicly, have been made only for Irish consumption. Are the true statements those which are made in London and not those which he makes in Ireland? There is another matter which arises out of the pact made between the two parties in the Dail Eireann. The Colonial Secretary dealt with the fact that five members of the new Government are to be retained as representatives of the Provisional Government and four are to belong to Mr. de Valera's party. Two members are to be added, namely, the President and the Minister of Defence.

It is in regard to the Minister of Defence that I want to make a few remarks. This Minister will have control of arms and munitions in Southern Ireland, and therefore it is clear that he ought to be responsible to Parliament.

He is to be elected, I am informed, not by the suffrages of the electors, but by the gunmen and the armed forces in Ireland. He has not to be elected by any Parliamentary constituency, but he has to represent the armed forces of the Government. He has to sit in the Cabinet, not because he is in sympathy with the policy of the Cabinet, but simply because he is the nominee of the armed forces. I want to have this point definitely cleared up.

In regard to the pact, it provides machinery for the formation of a Ministry and a Parliament for Southern Ireland, but there it stops. What is the policy and the line of action which has been agreed to, and to which this machinery is going to be applied? Clearly you are setting up a machine without describing how it is to be used. You cannot imagine that people with the experience of Mr. Michael Collins and Mr. Griffith have not discussed the line of policy to be adopted by the Coalition. We know quite definitely that all parties in Southern Ireland have agreed on one particular idea, which is that there should be one Ireland and not a divided Ireland. That view has constantly been expressed and defended by members of both the Republic and the Free State party. What does that involve? It involves an attack upon Ulster. It is remarkable that the armed attacks on the Ulster border and the outrages committed within that border have increased since this pact was made. I come back to the point at which I began, which is that both Mr. Michael Collins and Mr. de Valera in their most recent utterances have declared themselves to be republicans.

I now turn for a moment to the position with regard to Northern Ireland, where these attacks are being made. There was a state of war made by somebody's orders upon the border of Ulster. That matter was discussed in this House yesterday as a subject of Parliamentary procedure. We were then told that the Northern Government was responsible for order, and it was decided by the ruling of the Speaker that the Government were only employing the forces of the Crown when they were called in by the civil power. It is the responsibility of His Majesty's Government to decide whether the state of martial law ought not to be proclaimed and the armed forces of the Crown brought in to protect Northern Ireland against invasion. The Government

cannot escape their responsibility. They have repeatedly declared their intention of protecting Northern Ireland, but they have not shown as yet any signs of carrying out that undertaking, except by sending some small naval units to Ireland.

On this point they have put us off, and they have given us no information, and their general attitude is such as would lead one to believe that they are timid and afraid to act, and that they are not fit and proper guardians of the honour and the word of the British people. The Colonial Secretary has admitted that the state of Southern Ireland is appalling. There is in that part of Ireland at present chaos, outrages and murder going on, business is gradually slacking down, the farming industry is depressed, and the railways are not working efficiently, and how long is this kind of thing to go on? The Free State, I take it, even when it is set up by this long, tedious and interrupted process, will still be under the British flag. How can it be endured that under the British flag this state of things should continue to exist. Hon. Members make complaints about Turkey and Armenia, and matters of that kind, and urge us to interfere in what, after all, are the,affairs of foreign countries and for which we are only partially responsible with other nations. In Southern Ireland we are entirely responsible. The British Government is responsible for handing over Southern Ireland to this feeble, incompetent Provisional Government without adequate organisation and administration, and without powers and authority to suppress disorder. The consequence is that no man's life is safe, no man's property is inviolate, and no woman's honour can be sworn to be preserved from day to day. It is useless to say that the Government means well. This Government no doubt means well; all Governments, no doubt, at some time or other in their career, mean well. It is what they do, and it is by what they do that they must be judged.

Surely the time is coming when this long-continued series of ghastly experiments, made at the cost not of the hon. and right hon. Members who sit comfortably in their seats in this House, but of poor people living in that country, the majority of whom cannot get away, and who will be sacrificed to the political theories and fancies and errors of the

Government, should come to an end. We have not learned even yet when they are,going to stop it and when some action may be taken to better this state of things. One of the excuses for the Pact was that a Coalition in Ireland was necessary to establish order. I have here lists of disorders and outrages of all kinds and description published each week since the Pact was signed. They do not diminish, either in horror or in,number, but go on from day to day, while a very great deal happens which never gets into the Press at all. I am not alluding to private information which can be got in private letters, but a number of these outrages are reported casually in the current Press, and vary from 25 to 36 each week-end—murders of ex-soldiers, murders of ex-policemen, murders of individuals, the seizing of farms, the robbery of banks, and so forth.

What is going to be done? The only advice we get from both the Front Benches is the advice which led to the downfall of the first Coalition during the War, the old policy of "Wait and see." I urge upon the Government, with such force as I can command, that the time has come when, in common humanity and common fairness to every man, woman, and child of all parties and sections of the people in Ireland, His Majesty's Government ought to state definitely what their policy is and when they intend to act. The difficulty is that there have been so many changes, so many vaccilations and surrenders in Ireland that the Irish people believe that they have beaten His Majesty's Government to its knees. They believe they have defeated the British people and driven them out of Ireland. They believe, and it will take something to shake that belief, that nothing will induce the present Government of this country boldly to face any situation, but that it will find sonic means of dodging round the corner or of turning the fact., and that whatever audacity they may devise, whatever bluff they may put forward, it will succeed, because there is no heart in the Government to uphold the safety of the subjects of the British Crown and the honour of the British people.

Captain CRAIG

: have listened during my Parliamentary career to many statements on the subject of

Ireland, but I confess I never heard anything so pathetically hopeless as the statement of the Colonial Secretary this morning, I wish more hon. Members were present at this moment, and particularly on my own side of the House. I would ask them as a body whether, if they had been able to foresee what has happened during the six months since the passing of this Irish Free State Agreement Act, they would have confirmed that Treaty? I say a hundred times, no. We who come from Ireland, and who know the conditions there, foresaw what would happen. We foresaw that all the statements by the signatories of the Treaty as to their desire not to go beyond the terms of the Treaty—that is to say that they would be satisfied with the constitution they have got under this Treaty, and would not endeavour to obtain a republic—were all nonsense. They were bound to be. With the best will in the world, Mr. Collins could not prevent himself from being pushed forward by the republicans in Ireland. Indeed, it was only a short time after the passing of the Treaty Bill that, on being asked whether the Treaty was to be the last step towards the liberty of Ireland, he frankly said no, but that it was only a step in the direction of a republic. Yet to-day we have the Colonial Secretary telling the House of Commons that, under no circumstances, would this country ever recognise a republic in Ireland. That is trifling with the House of Commons.

We had been told on many occasions that the House of Commons would never tolerate a position in which any section of Ireland would be allowed to have an army of its own, and that this House would never tolerate a number of things which are actually provided for in the Treaty. Yet in those days, if we remonstrated with the Government, they proclaimed, apparently just as sincerely as they have have done to-day, that such things as these were impossible. Those of us who want to see a better state of affairs in Ireland need not look to the Government. The people to whom we have to look are the unofficial Members of the House of Commons. I am glad to say that during the last few weeks we have seen every evidence of the fact that the House of Commons is becoming daily more disgusted with the condition of affairs in Ireland

and with the Government's handling of them.

We have all looked forward with a considerable degree of anxiety, mingled with curiosity, to the position that would be taken up by the Government with regard to the Pact lately come to between Mr. Collins and Mr. de Valera. The House will remember that when the Treaty Bill was before it, we were told by the Government, time after time, that no alteration of any sort or description could be made in that Treaty. The House will remember how we from Ulster, in particular, fought for the excision of the Clause dealing with the Boundary Commission. We pointed out that the continued inclusion of that Clause in the Treaty would lead to civil war; a statement which I repeat to-day. If that Clause is enforced, and if it is sought to take any considerable portion of Northern territory from the Government of Northern Ireland without its consent, it can only be done at the cost of civil war. We pressed that upon the House of Commons, but, while professing sympathy with us, the Government informed us that the Clause could not be touched in any way for the reason that it was a Treaty which must be accepted in its entirety or thrown out altogether. The Government, although they refused modifications of the Treaty to Ulster Members on the ground that no modification of any sort could be made in it, proceeded, at the request of Mr. Collins and his friends, to modify the Treaty. To-day we have a second violation of the Treaty, in this Pact between Mr. Collins and Mr. de Valera, and we have been told by the Colonial Secretary that at present, and until it is seen what effect that breach of the Treaty is going to have, no adverse action will be taken.

2.0 P.M.

That is a position of which the Government ought to be thoroughly ashamed. It is only one more instance of the deplorable manner in which the Government has given way during the last 10 years to force and threats in Ireland. The history of Ireland during late years shows one long surrender by the Government to the worst passions in the country. It is by this continued surrender that the present position has arisen. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) said the Irish people at the pre-

sent moment are under the impression, and perfectly rightly so, that they have brought the British people to their knees and that Great Britain will never be able to enforce her rule and influence in Ireland again. That is the effect produced by the continued surrenders of this country during the last eight or 10 years. There was the refusal to apply conscription. That was the beginning or the most important in the series of surrenders to Ireland, and has been responsible for a great deal of what Ireland is now suffering. So far as we in Ulster are now concerned—and I have primarily to look at, all these questions from the Ulster point of view—this Pact, serious as it is, is not so serious as other matters connected with the Irish situation. After all, if this Pact brought about a greater degree of contentment in the South, and a cessation of murder, confiscation and the hundred and one wickednesses which are going on there at the present time, I do not know that the North of Ireland would make any great complaint because the Government did wait a little. As I have not however the faintest ghost of a hope that such a happy condition of affairs will result from the acquiescence of the Government in this pact I do not think I need labour the point. I hold it will not make the slightest difference in the position in Ireland. Murders and confiscation of property are going on exactly the same as before. The two points with which Ulster is particularly concerned are these. We are first and foremost concerned with the safety and good government of Northern Ireland. We are almost equally concerned with the position of our unfortunate Unionist fellow-countrymen in the South of Ireland.

The most conspicuous thing about the Colonial Secretary's speech this afternoon was that he did not deal with the position of the unfortunate people in the South of Ireland, but, on the contrary, he rather led us to believe that their condition was not so bad as we suppose, it to be. I say the position of the Loyalists in the South of Ireland i3 a thousand times worse than the House knows. It is not realised that these people, are living under dreadful conditions. They are fearing from day to day death or confiscation of their entire property, and that state of affairs is not known to or

realised by the people of this country. I submit that any Government, and especially a Government which claims to be so great and so powerful that it can afford to do these things should have said to Mr. Collins that for every loss sustained, for every stick or stone removed or confiscated, there shall be compensation paid.

Think of what, is going on in the South of Ireland at the present time Who is going to pay for it? I believe that the people of Great Britain will have to pay, in the first instance, and right well they deserve to have to pay for it. I believe that when the country realises the present disgraceful state of affairs, when it realises how people are despoiled of their property simply because they are ordinary loyal subjects of the community, then it will insist that compensation shall be paid. The Government should have taken a strong line. It should have told whoever was responsible for these confiscation of property and these burnings of houses in Southern Ireland and for driving people out of the country, it should have made it clear that all these things must be paid for, and would, in the first instance, be paid for by this country and at a later date exacted from Ireland itself.

I think it would be quite easy to do so. There is barely one pennyworth of Irish exports which does not come into this country, and it would be quite easy to put a tax on them. I believe if we insist that the destruction of the property of the citizens of Ireland shall be paid for, if we tell the Irish people that this country will see that every penny of compensation necessary shall sooner or later be taken out of their own pockets, the destruction and confiscation of property could quite easily be put a stop to. I submit to the House that the story of how this Government has allowed, ever since the passing of this Treaty, unfortunate innocent men, women and children, to be pillaged or killed, or driven out of the country is one of the most sordid and horrible stories ever known. There was no necessity for it. If the House will only take matters into its own hands, and will tell the Government that they must deal with this question drastically, it can easly be done. No one would blame the Government for one moment for taking such action. As it is, it is making itself an object of disgust to every right minded man in the world. It may be suggested that by taking such action it would be offending the people of America or of some other country. Far from it. At the present moment America is full of surprise and shame at the way in which the Government of this country is abandoning its old friends in order to placate the enemy.

As regards Northern Ireland, I want to know from the Government why they have not told the authorities in Ireland, be they Mr. De Valera or Mr. Collins. or any one of the hundred and one people who appear to be able to lead insurrectionary bands on their own account, that they will have to pay for all the damage done, and that the cost will sooner or later fall on their own heads. It could easily be done in the same manner as I have said it could be done in the case of property damaged or injury done in Southern Ireland. How long are we in the North of Ireland to go on tolerating these incursions over our borders—these perpetual shootings and murders which are going on in Belfast and the surrounding districts, this damage to property in its latest form, and this intimidation which they are exercising? How long are we to tolerate it? It is quite evident that unless we have greater co-operation between the military forces in Ulster and the Ulster Government, these things will continue. We asked a question yesterday or the day before in regard to the concentration of so-called Irish Republican troops on the borders of County Derry. A definite question was asked whether, if the military authorities think the correct way of dealing with that concentration of forces is to attack them and disperse them, the troops will be allowed to cross the border for such a purpose? The answer was that the matter was of such grave importance that it would have to be considered by the Cabinet.

I say that such a state of affairs is ridiculous. Here we are told that on the borders of Derry there is a concentration of troops. We know they are well organised and that they are in possession of a large fleet of motor cars—some of which are armoured. These people can only be there for the purpose of raiding and attacking Northern Irish territory. They cannot be there for the purpose of repelling an attack from Northern Ireland, because no one believes there is the slightest intention on the part of anyone in Ulster of making any incursion into Southern Ireland. Therefore they are there only to attack us, and our military are so tied by the restrictions imposed upon them by the Government that they must wait and allow themselves to be bombarded and shot at until it pleases the Government to give them permission to go forward and attack the enemy. From every point of view, from the point of view of common-sense, military strategy, and the prestige of the Government, that is a ridiculous position, and it is also one extremely exasperating to the people in the North of Ireland.

I hope that whoever is going to reply on this Debate will tell us what is the position of the military forces in Northern Ireland in relation to the Northern Government. We ought to be told what powers the Officer Commanding troops in Ulster has. At present the connection between the troops and the Government of Northern Ireland is very unsatisfactory. The troops do not appear to have any power to attack the armed bands to which I have referred except with the consent of the Cabinet, which we know is negotiating with Mr. Collins and is exploring avenues which will enable them to do nothing. Therefore, the consent of the Cabinet to simple ordinary military precautions is the very last thing for which we can hope.

For the reason I have given. You are pursuing a policy which is utterly futile, and we cannot hope to do anything in the circumstances. I should like to appeal to hon. Members to back us up in our demands in this direction. We ought to be allowed the command of the military forces, to the extent of carrying out simple military operations without having to ask the permission of the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of his speech, said several things which I feel bound to contradict. Among other things he told us that we could afford to wait, instead of insisting on the Government immediately taking drastic action in order to bring things to a better state. Can we go on like this? We have waited a good many years already. For a year or two before the Treaty was signed, we were led to believe that a really serious attempt was being made to deal with the Irish question, and to bring to submission the forces arrayed against the Crown. Now we know no serious attempt was made, and that, instead of it being made, there were underhand efforts to encourage the people in exactly an opposite direction. When the Treaty was brought before this House we were told that from then onwards peace was going to prevail in Ireland.

That is six months ago, and what is the condition of Ireland now? I say without hesitation that it is worse than it was when the Treaty was signed. In Ulster a ruthless campaign is being waged by our enemies. The right hon. Gentleman will tell me that Mr. Collins has nothing to do with them, but I gravely doubt that. I do not believe that all the people who are operating in Ulster are doing so against the express wishes and commands of Mr. Collins. But, whoever is doing it, the fact remains that a most determined campaign is being pursued in Ulster, the object of which is to make the Government of Northern Ireland impossible. I say that the right bon. Gentleman should have told Mr. Collins and the world at large what should be the cardinal points of his policy in Ireland. There should be two. One should be that the Unionists of Southern Ireland should be absolutely protected, and that, where they are killed, or their property is destroyed, the fullest compensation must be made. The second cardinal point should be that Ulster should be given every chance to work out her own salvation, and, where she is attacked by forces from Southern Ireland, no matter who they may be, the Government of this country will do everything in its power to defeat any attempts on the part of those people from outside the Ulster borders to render the Government of that part of Ireland impossible.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say he has done those two things? He certainly did not deal with them in his statement this morning. He dealt simply with the position of Mr. de Valera as against that of Mr. Collins, and a very pretty state of affairs he disclosed. He says that Mr. Griffith told him that the people who are creating all the trouble in Ireland amount to no more than 2 per cent. of the population. I submit to the House that that is ridiculous. The moral courage of the South of Ireland is, I know, at a low ebb, but it is not so low that, if there be only 2 per cent. of the population to crush, it is not sufficient for that purpose. There is a very much larger section of the people in Southern Ireland who are against Mr. Collins. That is obvious to anyone. If they were only 2 per cent., or even only 10 per cent., what have we to say to a man who claims to be the head of the Provisional Government when he cannot even govern Dublin, the part of Ireland where he has more supporters than anywhere else? Actually, the regular Courts of the Free State, owing to the fact that the Four Courts were captured by some irresponsible Republican, have had to sit in another building, and Mr. Collins has not the force at his back to re-take the Four Courts. Worse than that, not only are the regular Free State Courts, as I suppose they must be called, compelled to sit in another building than their own home, but Republican Courts are sitting all over Dublin, and are issuing their decrees and having these decrees executed by their own officers. Mr. Collins, the head of the Provisional Government, is not able to stop that. What possible hope is there of his ever being able to govern Ireland if he cannot even carry out these simple elementary acts of government in his own stronghold of Dublin?

And yet the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies tells us that we can afford to wait. He tells us that we may yet succeed. Was there ever such a brilliant hope put forward? After all that has gone before, after all the hopes that were held out at the time of the signing of the Treaty, after the telegrams that were sent to the ends of the world saying that peace had at last come to Ireland, all that the right hon. Gentleman can tell us, six months later, is that we can afford to wait, that we may yet succeed. As an Irishman, I cannot restrain my language when I think of the desperate mess into which this country has got Ireland. I do not blame the Government altogether; I blame the House of Commons. The House of Commons, against the experience of everyone who knew anything about Ireland, allowed the Treaty to go through without amending it in the slightest degree. They allowed the Government to take the troops and police out of Ireland, and that has been responsible for nine-tenths of the disorders that have since occurred. One would have thought that anyone with any knowledge of Ireland would have known that the trouble which has come about in connection with the proposed election was bound to come if the guardians of order were taken out of the country. The only thing that could ensure a free and fair election in Ireland, and the only thing which now can ensure it, is the presence of the strong arm of some law, whether that of this country or that of someone else. The only thing that can ensure a fair election is a police and military force which will guard every ballot-box and every polling-place, and can see that the people are allowed to come and record their votes as they wish. That is the very first necessity, and yet the very first thing the Government did after passing this Treaty was to take away every one of those guardians of peace and order from the country, thus ensuring that the party of Mr. de Valera should be able to make it quite clear that such a thing as a fair election could not possibly be held.

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, or whoever is going to reply to the speeches on this subject, if he cannot give us some hope? Goodness knows, the position is black enough, but can he not give us some hope that these unfortunate loyalists in the South and West will get some protection? Will he not give us a definite promise that, if they lose their property, as they are doing by the hundred in the South of Ireland, the Government will undertake to see that they are compensated? I do not ask them to bind themselves as to how that is going to be done, but sooner or later the sense of honour and justice of this country will make it absolutely necessary. If the right hon. Gentleman would now say definitely that that. compensation will be paid, and that the Government of this country will exact that compensation from Ireland itself, it would do a great deal to stop these confiscations, burnings, and destruction of property which are going on at the present time.

I have dealt with the position at Derry, and with the question of the Boundary Commission. As to the position at Pettigoe and Belleek, the right hon. Gentleman has said something, but, there again, I hope I have only to appeal to the House of Commons to ensure that in regard to territory which was handed over to us by the House of Commons only 18 months ago, and which is now in the possession of troops of a State which does not belong to us, steps should be taken by the Government, in conjunction with the Northern Parliament, to eject these marauders. The condition of affairs there is such that the anger and resentment of the people of Northern Ireland generally is rising day by day, and there is no doubt that the breaking point will come sooner or later.

Belfast has been held up to a good deal of obloquy in this House from lime to time, but I utterly deny that it deserves that obloquy, and I say, with all the emphasis at my command, that all the trouble there, all the bloodshed and destruction of property, is entirely and absolutely due to the Sinn Fein party. It was they who began this thing. It is a vile slander on Belfast to say that we want to get rid of the Catholics of that town. It is also ridiculous to say that, because, in many of the trades upon which Belfast depends for its prosperity, the whole of the workers are Roman Catholics. The workers in the spinning trade, for instance, are very largely Roman Catholics, and so in other branches of the linen trade. To say that we want to get rid of the Catholics in Belfast is absurd; we could not get on without them. I would ask the House to remember that the so-called expulsion of workers from the shipyards and other places in Belfast only took place after a long series of outrages, not only on the people of Belfast, but on loyalists in other parts of Ireland, culminating, as has been often explained to the House, in the horrible murder of a certain Major Smith in Cork. Up to that time, the people of Belfast had tolerated an immense amount of goading and provocation, but you can provoke a person once too often, and the point is bound to come when their patience and forbearance must give way. That is what happened in Belfast.

As things got worse, particularly in the early days, when the people of Belfast saw that the Government of this country, then responsible for order in Ireland, could not ensure good order in Belfast, they took the law into their own hands. We know, of course, that there have been many reprisals, and I am sorry to say that those reprisals are continuing to this day. But it is absolutely untrue to say that there is an attempt on behalf of the Protestants of Belfast, or of any part of Northern Ireland, to get rid of the Catholics. The trouble arose, in the first instance, from the action of Sinn Feiners, and is kept going by the desire and intention of the Republicans and Sinn Feiners to make the government of Northern Ireland by the Northern Irish Government impossible.

Let me remind the House that at this moment, or until the other day, when the Irish Republican Army was proclaimed, there were actually two divisions of the Irish Republican Army acting in Northern Ireland. No decent, self-respecting Government or man could tolerate that for a moment. I have it on good authority that one of these divisions is in charge of the City of Belfast and the Counties of Antrim and Down, while the other—I think it was the third division—had charge of the other four counties of the Northern area. It is these men who have been carrying out this campaign of murder and unrest in Belfast, and, until they are eradicated, or until they find that it pays better to be law-abiding citizens, these disturbances will go on. I say, as my last word, that I repudiate absolutely the charge which has been made, not only in this House, but largely in the Press of this country, that the unfortunate events which have happened in Belfast are the fault of the Protestants; and much more do I repudiate that they are in any way acquiesced in by the Northern Government, The Northern Government desires peace; every decent citizen desires peace in that town; and the idea that a community wants to have a continuation of a state of affairs in which innocent citizens walking along the street are liable to receive a bullet in their head is so absurd on the face of it that its absurdity should not require to be demonstrated in this House. I do hope that the ordinary unofficial Member of this House will express very plainly his entire dissatisfaction with the statement of the right hon. Gentleman to-day.

I approach his question from a different angle from that taken by my two hon. Friends who have just spoken. Unlike them, I have always supported the Treaty, and I have done everything in my power to make it as easy as possible for the Treaty to be carried out. None the less, I should not be honest with the House did I not say that I feel very anxious at the present moment, and that my anxieties have not been entirely removed by the speech of the Colonial Secretary. I am well aware that it is very difficult for any Provisional Government, or indeed, for any new Government in a country, to establish its authority and make its power felt. We have had many examples of that in Europe. We had the example a century ago of the difficulties with which the American Government was faced after the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, with those lessons before us, I am sure the whole House would desire to make every possible allowance for the Provisional Government in the difficult task with which it has been confronted. None the less it seems to me well that the House should face the facts. Let them look, making that full allowance for the difficulties of the Provisional Government, at what has happened since the Treaty was ratified by this House last December. Take first the action of the British Government and the British Parliament. I do not believe there has ever been an example in history which can compare with the generosity and the sincerity with which we have carried out our part of the Treaty since last winter. We have withdrawn the British troops. We have disbanded the Royal Irish Constabulary. We have handed over Dublin Castle and all that it stands for to the Provisional Government. We have given a political amnesty to the Sinn Fein prisoners. We have given the Provisional Government £1,500,000 and a full call on the rates and taxes with which to carry on their administration. In view of those facts no one can say that we have not carried out in the letter and in the spirit our part of the Treaty that we ratified last December. So much for our side of the bargain.

Now let us look at what has been happening in Ireland since the Treaty. Let the House follow the chain of events which have taken place. First of all, there was the long delay in the ratification of the Treaty—a delay that went on for nearly a month. Then, on 21st January, there was a ray of light which came about as the result of the agreement entered into between Sir James Craig and Mr. Collins. What was the history of that agreement? In a very few days, owing to the interpretation, in my view the altogether false interpretation, which was placed upon the boundary Clause by Mr. Michael Collins, that agreement came to an end. Anyone impartially regarding what then happened cannot but come to the conclusion that that agreement came to an end because of the action of Mr. Michael Collins. A few weeks afterwards the Provisional Government offered publicly an amnesty to the men who had opposed them. Let the House consider how that amnesty has been carried out. I can speak from some personal experience. I know from the kind of case that is brought before the Irish Distress Committee that there are many men, ex-service men, members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, ex-civil servants in our service in Ireland, who so far from receiving the benefit of that amnesty, cannot return to Ireland. As to the enforcement of law and order, I do not think I need say anything. So many cases have been brought up during the last few weeks that it is quite unnecessary for me to do more than allude to the fact that week after week the enforcement of law and order has become worse in Southern Ireland. Finally, we thought that a General Election was going to bring about a better state of affairs. When we agreed to the Treaty last December we were under the impression that a General Election was going to take place at once. Instead of that, for reasons into which I need not go, the election was postponed for two months. We accepted the postponement because we were assured that it would bring about a better state of affairs and make it more possible for a fair and free election to he held. What happened? Instead of a better atmosphere being created for a free and fair election to be held, we are confronted with the Pact of 21st May between Mr. Collins and Mr. de Valera, a pact which was signed within 24 hours of a statement made by Mr. Arthur Griffith that 98 per cent. of the country were in favour of the Treaty. Let hon. Members study the facts, and they cannot but come to the conclusion that its terms strike a fundamental blow at the basis of the Treaty of last December—the fact that a free election is not to be held, the fact that almost half the places in the Government are to be given to men whose avowed intention is to set up a Republic, the fact that, as it seems, members are still to be returned for the Ulster constituencies. Conditions of that kind, even though one makes full allowance for the Provisional Government and for the difficulties in which they have been placed, drive one to the conclusion that the Pact of 21st May is destroying the whole basis of the December Treaty.

What conclusion do I, a friend and supporter of the Treaty, draw from this long course of disastrous events? First, it seems to me that Mr. Collins is either afraid to fight his opponents, as General Smuts fought General Hertzog in South Africa, or that, for political reasons, he feels it expedient to make a political bargain with him. Secondly, it seems to me that Coalitions formed in these conditions will try to do what of all things is the most dangerous from the point of view of this country and allow things to drift so that day after day and hour after hour ade facto Republic will be set up in Southern Ireland. Thirdly, I believe that if the Coalition between Mr. Collins and Mr. de Valera continues the common bond which will unite them will be a policy of hostility to Ulster. I hope I am wrong in drawing those conclusions, but certainly, looking at the course of events as impartially as I can and telling the House quite frankly what is in my mind, I find it very difficult to draw any other conclusion. If my conclusions are right it seems to me it is the duty of the Government not to allow things to drift, but to bring matters to an issue and to tell Mr. Collins quite definitely that we have said the last word, that we have made our final concession in the Treaty, and that we refuse to have it abrogated either in the letter or in the spirit. Let Mr. Collins be told quite definitely that there is no party in this country that is going a single inch beyond the Treaty of last December, and let it also be made quite clear to him that while we have been prepared to give his Government every chance, while we have been prepared to make for it every conceivable allowance, we cannot allow things to drift, and that in the course of the next few weeks he must make it quite clear to this House and this country upon which side he is. If the Election is a sham the Treaty falls to the ground, and the responsibility for the destruction of the Treaty will not be upon our shoulders. The men who have destroyed it will not be ourselves, and the result of it will be that they will not get the Treaty, and they will certainly not get a Republic.

I congratulate my hon. Friend (Sir S. Hoare) on the very interesting and frank speech he has made, and particularly do I congratulate him on the courage with which he has looked facts in the face. Incidentally, he has reviewed the history of the last three months much more eloquently and brilliantly than I could possibly hope to do, as I had intended, and I will confine my remarks merely to asking the Government one or two questions on which I think we are entitled to an answer. I am very glad the Colonial Secretary has returned to his place. I could not help being struck by the contempt with which the Government treated the House during the speech of the Leader of the Ulster party There was not a. single Cabinet Minister on the Treasury Bench except for very rare intervals and not a single member of the Liberal or Labour party present.

Not all the time. We now have the Colonial Secretary here, and I am sure we are very grateful. I would ask him if he can give the House any idea as to what the Government intend to do and I want to ask my hon. Friends opposite who normally support the Government, and have supported their Irish policy throughout, what they intend to do. I take it from what my hon. and gallant Friend has just said that he, at any rate, is not going to have what he calls ade facto Republic. I do not believe that the Secretary of State for the Colonies would agree to that. I wish I felt equally sure about the Prime Minister and other Members of the Government. I want to ask them when and where are they going to draw the line. How long are we going to slip down the slippery slope? No one could possibly have heard the review of facts just given by my hon. and gallant Friend without realising how entirely the situation has shifted imperceptibly week by week and month by month, until we are now faced with a situation which not one single supporter of the Government contemplated when they agreed to the Treaty last December. If they have doubts on that, I would ask them to re-read the letter which the Prime Minister addressed to Mr. de Valera on 20th July, 1921, where he laid down the six vital conditions of a Treaty between England and Ireland. I would ask hon. Members to re-read that letter, and then re-read the articles of the Treaty, and see how fundamentally the position has shifted between the dates on which those two documents were drawn up, and how fundamentally it has again shifted from the time of the Treaty to where we stand to-day.

We are now faced with the appalling situation—there is no other word to describe it—which the Colonial Secretary dealt with in his speech. Southern Ireland has become a second Russia. The right hon. Gentleman practically said so. That is because the British Government have abrogated the functions of Government. It is because the men who were responsible for the maintenance of law and order washed their hands of that responsibility, and on their shoulders rests the appalling responsibility for the murders and outrages and the present situation in Southern Ireland. I ask my hon. Friends opposite how much longer they are going to allow this state of affairs to continue. Are they going to wait until the munition factories in Dublin have completed their work? Are they going to wait until the last loyalist has been butchered, or the last Protestant family in the South of Ireland has been driven out of its home?

How long are they going to stand by? I applaud the hon. and gallant Member's demand on the Government that they should declare to the whole world now what their intentions are, and where they draw the line. I ask the Government to issue what is in effect an ultimatum to the Irish people, and stick to that ultimatum, and, if necessary, go to the people of this country and get their sanction and authority at a General Election to enforce that ultimatum. That is the only policy that can succeed, and I hope that my hon. Friends opposite will insist that if the Irish show they are unable to govern themselves according to the canons of decent and civilised peoples, we shall resume our trust for the government of Ireland ourselves, and that we shall return to the old Unionist policy, the policy of Pitt, Disraeli, Salisbury and Joseph Chamberlain: the only policy that has ever been successful in Ireland, and the only policy whose opponents have had to admit that it did produce peace, prosperity and contentment—

There will be no population left if my hon. Friend and his friends have their way much longer. The policy of the Unionist party, of 20 years' resolute government, was such that the late Mr. John Redmond said that Ireland had never been more prosperous than she was in 1905. Mr. Birrell said that she had never been more peaceful, and Lord Bryce said that she had never been more contented. On the irrefutable authority of three of the greatest. Home Rulers of the day, the Unionist policy of 20 years' resolute government was justified. I beg and beseech hon. Members who support the Government not to think that that result can be achieved without the most appalling calamity, and without the most appalling sacrifices and hardship on the part of both nations. It is not a matter to be discussed lightly, or in the spirit or language of party controversy, and I apologise if I was betrayed into that line of argument in the last few minutes.

We have to realise that the situation has got into such a terrible mess that nothing but the most desperate measures can retrieve it. I ask my hon. Friends to realise that nothing good can be accomplished, that only evil can result, by trying to coerce Ireland by the method of blockade. Of all possible courses open to the Government that would be the most fatal course. A naval blockade may be used with great effect against an organised enemy as we used it against Germany in the War, but we have not to deal with that now. We have to deal, by the confession of the Colonial Secretary and by the confession of Mr. Michael Collins, with a band of assassins who are terrorising and coercing the rest of the population, because they have not the capacity to govern themselves and run a democratic form of government. There is no hope of coercing a band of assassins of ten thousand, twenty thousand, fifty thousand, or whatever number they may be, by an economic blockade. You may ruin Guinness's, you may ruin the farmers, but you will not touch the assassins. They are the last people who will go under. They are the last people who will suffer. They will be able to maintain warfare against you for months, even for years, on the basis of an economic blockade, because Ireland is practically self-supporting so far as food supplies are concerned. Therefore I do not see what possible issue there can be from the appalling situation into which the Government have brought us by the abrogating of the elementary functions of government except the terrible issue of reconquering Ireland, and I want to ask the Government whether they are prepared to face that issue, and, if so, when and where they will draw the line, and what pledge they can give us that their word can be taken, and that it will not be broken as it has been so many times in the past.

I shall not detain the House many minutes, because almost everything that can be said has been said; but there are one or two questions I want to put to the Colonial Secretary and a few observations I desire to make. On the showing of the Secretary of State for War the troops in Dublin have at this moment got themselves into such a parlous condition that it is not safe for them to go about the street armed, and the troops, therefore, are ordered to go about unarmed. The men, then, are murdered. I want to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, what are the troops doing in Dublin? They are not there to keep order, because they are not allowed to keep order. They are not there at the request of Mr. Collins, for the right hon. Gentleman has said so. They are not there at the request of the War Office, because the War Office has said so. They are not there because they cannot be taken away. What are they doing in Dublin? Is it fair to put troops into a town which is in such a condition that the poor men are ordered to go about unarmed, because it is not safe for them to be armed, according to what the War Minister has said, and then keep them there and have them shot down in the streets of Dublin? What are the troops doing in Dublin? I should like an answer.

The troops in Dublin are remaining in the positions they hold, which I am assured are militarily completely secure, waiting upon eventualities.

I have been asked by hon. Members who are in agreement with the hon. and gallant Member for North Down (Sir H. Wilson) whether we will tolerate the setting up of a Republic. I have been asked to give an assurance on that point. I have said, "No. We will not do so." In the event of the setting up of a Republic, it would be the intention of the Government to hold Dublin as one of the preliminary and essential steps in military operations.

3.0 P.M.

Now we know that the troops in Dublin are being kept in Dublin in order to go to war with the Republic if a Republic be established. We quite understand now. The right hon. Gentleman opened his speech by saying that he was going to make a statement which, so far as I could hear, he said was both incomplete and inconclusive. Many of us will agree with that definition because was not the whole speech from end to end an admission that every single element of the Irish problem has been miscalculated? It has always seemed to me to be an amazing thing that the Government should hand over three and a half millions of people to a body of men who—let us grant for a moment that they were willing to do their best—had no administrative or governing experience, and before that body of men could get going to withdraw the whole of your army and to disband the whole of the police. How any Government could imagine that four or five or six men, be their intentions ever so good, without an army and without police, could govern and keep order in a country with 3½ million people, where they themselves had taught over a period of three years that the only way to get anything was by murder, and that they would get successful results from that policy and a peaceful, happy, and contented Ireland, has always passed my understanding. We have come to this, that the Colonial Secretary told us to-day that Mr. Griffith said that there were only 2 per cent. of people in Ireland who were opposed to the Free State. With 98 per cent. on his side he is unable to knock out the 2 per cent. I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member behind me, that those figures are not quite correct. If those figures are correct, then, beyond all question, they prove that the Provisional Government are totally incapable of governing, and, finding that they are totally incapable of governing, they make friends with their enemies and take into the Government half of their enemies. Now we are told that this plan of governing by a Coalition of two sets of enemies is going to give peace to Ireland. The Colonial Secretary says we can wait. Can we? All this time murders are going on at the rate of, I should say, about six or seven a day. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] All over Ireland. [HON. MEMBERS: "Belfast."]

I think that there were only three or four murders in Southern Ireland during the last 10 days. The number has been larger in Northern Ireland.

So far as I can see there is no possible way of stopping it. Can we wait?

The alternative would be to reimpose the Union, and it is apparently now clear that the Colonial Secretary contemplates that that may have to be done. I would like also to ask the Colonial Secretary whether he can give any guarantee at all for the Southern Loyalists in the 26 counties? I am one of them. I do not ask him to give me any. I do not want to go into any military details. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I do not think it wise in the face of the enemy to disclose these facts, but if serious trouble arise on the Frontier between the six counties and the 26 counties, I hope that the Government will not restrain the military from crossing the frontier in their own self-defence. I wonder when the moment will come when the Government will have the honesty and truthfulness to come to this House and to say, "We have miscalculated every single element in the Irish problem. We are exceedingly sorry for all the terrible things that have happened owing to our action. We beg leave to retire to private life, and never to appear again."

I do not think that there is any Member of this House, however humble his position, who takes part in this Debate but must do so with a full sense of the responsibility that rests upon him lest anything which he may say or do will aggravate the seriousness of the position with which we are faced. There is a great danger in taking part in this Debate in being misunderstood as to the attitude which one takes towards the present position. But I am sure that the right, lion. Gentleman who has spoken on behalf of the Government, and the Government themselves, will acquit me of any desire to embarrass them in the extremely difficult position in which they are placed at the present time. But I do not think it would be right if we did not offer one word of warning at this particular moment as to the feeling of a large number of Members of this House, and more so of large sections of the people of this country, that this policy of the Government is developing into a policy of drift.

I have consistently, I hope, supported the Government in their policy from the beginning with regard to the Treaty with Ireland, and I am not afraid to justify the attitude I have taken with regard to that Treaty. I think that the attitude of the Government and of those who supported them with regard to this Treaty can be amply justified. Now is obviously not the occasion on which to go into the remarkable sequence of events which led up to the deplorable position in which Ireland has stood for the last two or three years. All Members of this House know very well the sequence of events which led up to that situation. Many of us were much influenced in the line which we took by the feeling that our reputation, not only with the rest of the civilised world, and especially in our own Dominions, was at stake, and that there was a danger, at any rate, that the way in which we were dealing with Ireland would be seriously misunderstood. Consequently the Government were fully justified, in my belief, in the action which they took with regard to the Treaty. But in spite of all that, the Treaty was then and must remain now an experiment. That experiment has now been tried for six months, and those of us who supported the experiment, I must say, have been disappointed—