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Wednesday, 24 February 1932

Mr LATHAM (Kooyong) (Minister for External Affairs) . - by leave - I take this opportunity to make a short statement to the House regarding the forthcoming Disarmament Conference at which I shall represent the Commonwealth Government. The conference has before it tho draft convention prepared by the Preparatory Commission of the League of Nations, a copy of which I shall later lay on the table of the Library. The Commonwealth Government accepts the draft as generally satisfactory, and its delegation will endeavour to have figures inserted in the tables contained in it which will secure not only the limitation, but also the substantial reduction of armaments. The delegation will support the abolition of submarines, the prohibition of gas and chemical warfare, reduction in the permissible size of ships of war and tho calibre of naval guns, the prohibition of large land guns, and the limitation of conscription by agreement. At tho same time it will bear in mind the interests of Australia, which necessitate that its very slender defensive provisions can be limited only if other nations agree to reduction, j'

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