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Thursday, 14 June 1928

Mr BRUCE (Flinders) (Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs) .- (By leave.)- Imove-

That the proposal made by the United States of America that the nations of the world solemnly renounce by treaty all recourse to war as an instrument of their national policy is one with which this House has full and complete sympathy.

The fundamental principle contained in the proposal which the Government of the United States of America has submitted to the powers of the world for their concurrence is that all civilized nations shall publicly declare that they subscribe to the view that recourse to war as an instrument of national policy shall be banned. With that principle I feel that all honorable members will agree, and so, also, will the people of Australia. The treaty which has been submitted for our consideration consists of only two clauses, which, in many respects, is both wonderful and significant. It shows that the conscience of the world has been stirred during recent years, and that a new ideal of international morality has been developed. There is, I feel, nothing that we could more appropriately discuss than the great fundamental principle" which the treaty embodies. Of course, there are certain subsidiary questions which will have to be earnestly considered before this great ideal can be consummated.

There is the problem of the maintenance of the right of self defence of a party to the treaty in the event of direct and deliberate aggression; the problem of the obligations of certain nations - in the case of Australia, those more particularly in relation to the covenant of the League of Nations; and also, in the case of Great Britain, those connected with the Locarno treaties, and the guarantees which the British Government has given under them.

At this stage it is undesirable that we should deal with any such problems. It is sufficient now to affirm the principle embodied in the proposals which the Government of the United States of America has submitted to the other nations of the world. I believe that this Parliament should subscribe upon that basis to the resolution which I have sub mitted. In doing so, we express our sincere hope that there may be a realization of this ideal, and that the present negotiations may be consummated in a treaty which will give effect to those great fundamental principles which all of us desire to see introduced into the international relations of the world.

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