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331 Mr M. MacDonald, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 120 LONDON, 7 December 1938, 2.12 p.m.

Your telegram 6th December. [1] Following question was addressed
to the Prime Minister [2] in the House of Commons on 5th
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he is aware of the recent
declaration of General Hertzog, the Prime Minister of South
Africa, that His Majesty's Government had taken up the attitude
that if any Dominion is attacked this country would go to its aid,
but if this country is involved in a war, each Dominion would do
as it liked; and whether this is the policy of His Majesty's

The Prime Minister gave the following reply:-(begins)

I have only seen a brief Press report of the statement to which I
expect the Honourable Member refers. The general position is that
it is a matter for each member of the British Commonwealth to
decide the extent to which it will participate in any war in which
another member of the Commonwealth may be engaged. But I am sure I
shall be rightly interpreting the wishes of the people of this
country if I say that, if any other part of the British
Commonwealth were attacked, we should without hesitation go to its
aid. (ends)

No supplementary questions were asked.

1 Document 326.

2 Neville Chamberlain.

[AA : A1608, 051/1/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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