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Friday, 15 May 1931

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon W Kingsmill - The honorable senator has not raised a point of order; he has made a personal explanation. I do not know why he interrupted Senator McLachlan, whose remarks were quite in order. I ask the honorable senator not to rise to make a personal explanation in future while another honorable senator is speaking, unless such action is absolutely necessary to correct a wrong statement, but to wait until there is a pause in the proceedings.

Senator McLACHLAN - I do not desire to diffuse any heat in this discussion. Indeed, on a subject so important as that now before us that would be unwise. We should discuss this matter calmly and analyse the position carefully. It is obvious that the reason why European nations are not engaging in further disarmament is the existence of an armed Soviet republic, which is desirous of forcing its will on the rest of the world. Other nations feel that they would indeed be ill-advised to place themselves in a position in which they would be at the mercy of the machinations of Soviet Russia. It has been claimed this morning that the cause of the dispute was Russia's desire to obtain seaports in warmer waters, but those who have studied the position day by day realize that Russia's position to-day is neither better nor worse than it has ever been in that regard, and that this contention on its part is all so much hot air ; because it really is the ground upon which some day the Russian Republic will base its attack upon "Western Europe. But while these differences do arise between the various nations, we must realize that so far as European conditions are concerned, the non-accession of the Soviet Republic to the League of Nations is a stumbling block to peace. I noticed the other day that Russia proposes to attend some conference at Geneva reserving the right to withdraw in the event of the determination of the particular committee with which it was associating itself not being to its liking. The high minded gentlemen comprising that committee are now functioning, I understand, in the absence of the representatives of that republic. Another stumbling block to peace is the absence from the League of Nations of that great country - the United States of America. While Russia and the United States of America still stand out of the ring, the League can do nothing but propaganda work, or the work referred to by Senator Payne and so graphically described in the language of the league itself as intellectual co-operation. Whilst I realize that even under this accession to the general act difficulties will arise, particularly under the exemption clauses, I think it is all to the good that we, as a people who have proved ourselves powerful in war, so far as our resources go, should accede to something which the nations of the world believe is in the interests of the promotion of peace. On those grounds, and knowing something of the atmosphere which prevails at Geneva, the weaknesses and strength that characterizes the organization, and the devotion to world peace that induces some of the best minds in Europe to attend the sittings of the League, whatever may be said of the others, I sub scribe fully to the motion that has, been moved by the Leader of the Government in this chamber.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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