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Friday, 19 February 1932

Mr LATHAM (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) (Attorney-General) - It is inadvisable to make any statement in this Parliament concerning the possibility of aggression by a nation which is now friendly to us. I repeat my statement of yesterday that the Government is doing everything within its power - a very limited power in such matters - to bring about a peaceful settlement of the present unfortunate trouble in the Far East.

Mr BEASLEY - The British Government is reported to have sent to Japan, through the League of Nations, a very strong note of protest. Nevertheless, yesterday members of the House of Commons were informed by the Secretary for Overseas Trade that licences had been issued for the export of arms to Japan in order that it might continue to make war upon China. In these circumstances, T. ask the Minister for External Affairs what his attitude will be at the Disarmament Conference?

Mr LATHAM - To the best of my recollection, the cablegram published in the newspapers stated that licenses had been issued by the British Government for the export of arms to both China and Japan. A convention for the control of the private manufacture and sale of arms has long been under consideration, but no effective result has yet been achieved. However, it would not be proper for the Commonwealth Government to attempt to dictate to any other government in the Empire regarding action such as that to which the honorable member has referred.

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