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Great Britain (Liabilities)

Volume 237: debated on Monday 24 March 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that under Article 16 of the Covenant as it stands Great Britain is bound to sever financial and commercial intercourse with any State which goes to war without submitting the dispute to report by the Council of the League or thereafter acts against the unanimous recommendation of the Council, and that under the proposed amendment to Article 16 Great Britain will be bound to sever relations with any State which goes to war in any circum- stances, he will state whether this increase in our liabilities has the approval of His Majesty's Government?

The Committee for the amendment of the Covenant proposed no amendment to Article 16. The Committee, a copy of whose Report is available in the Library, expressed the view that the effect of their amendments would be to reduce the chances of war and therefore the possibility of sanctions. The Committee's Report is at present under consideration.

Will these possible amendments to the Covenant be communicated to the American Government and shall we consider their views prior to committing ourselves?

I do not see that I am under any obligation to communicate these amendments to the American Government or to non-members of the League.

Is it not a fact that the amendments are due to the Kellogg Pact, and is it not also the fact that the risks we incur will be due to America taking a different view from ourselves of our liabilities under the Covenant of the League?