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Tuesday, 15 May 1928

Mr BRUCE (Flinders) (Prime Minister, Minister for External Affairs, and Minister for Trade and Customs) . - I move -

That the House do now adjourn:

At question time to-day the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) asked . me if I could give to the. House any information with respect to the" present position in connexion with what is known as the Treaty, for the'Outlawry of War. I then.- promised that I would make a short statement at a later stage.

T do not . think that it is. necessary . for me to traverse the history of this . matter. In June of last year the French Government suggested to the Government of the United States of America" that a treaty should be entered into between the two Powers which would have two fundamental principles^ (1) That the two countries should condemn recourse to war and renounce it as an instrument of their national policy towards each other ; ' and (2) that all disputes between the two countries, df whatever origin, should be settled -by pacific means. In December -of -last year the Government of the . United States of America, in reply . to the . French Government, accepted- the principles that were laid down, . but suggested . that, instead of a treaty between . those two. Powers, a general treaty should be concluded in which the principles that the -French Government . had enunciated would be embodied and to which . the principal . Powers -of the world should be invited to . become parties. In February of the present year theGovernment of the United States. 'of America specifically proposed that Germany, 'Italy, Japan, ..Great Britain, Erance, and the United' States shouldcoiielude such a treaty ietweeh them,.a'nd'that it should be open to subsequent. adherence by any other Power. After an exchange of correspondence between the Governments of the United States of America and.France, into,the details. of is not necessary to enter at this -moment, the

Government of the United States of America- communicated' the text of a draft multi-lateral treaty for. the consideration of, the British Government. This -draft; except that it provides for a general treaty- instead of a purely bilateraltreaty} embodies the two principles that' were contained in the French draftto which I have already referred. The proposed, treaty provides that - (1)-The parties declare that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international disputes, and they, renounce war as an instrument- of. national policy in their relations with one another.

(2)   The parties agree that the settlement of all disputes of whatsoever nature or origin arising among them shall never be soughtexcept by pacific means.

The whole of these details have beenforwarded to the Commonwealth Government, and at the end of last week we expressed to the British Government pur entire sympathy with the proposal and our cordial endorsement of the principles which underlie it: We also expressed the hope that it will materialize, and that all recourse to war will be banished from the law of nations-. France, Germany, and Great Britain have all indicated their adherence to the principle. There are certain questions still to be dealt with, such as the position of a nation- when it is the subject of attackand its right, to self defence, together with obligations- which nations may already have entered into, such as those under, the Locarno- treaties and the Covenant, of the League of Nations. It is to be hoped that there will be a satisfactory removal of any difficulty which may exist, and I- think that there is every prospect of concrete results arising from these proposals for a treaty for the outlawry of war. I repeat, that the Commonwealth Government has expressed its entire sympathy with the principles, and its desire to be associated with any treaty of such a character should it be entered into.

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