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Baron Ponsonby: "I may have said 'grave suspicions,' but in any event you cannot legislate on suspicions. During the last year His Majesty's Government has done more toward bringing about an amicable spirit in Europe than had been done before in many years. One of the elements which we consider necessary for this peace is to bring Russia within the comity of nations. Therefore I very much regret that these occasions are taken constantly to make insulting remarks about a government with which we officially are on friendly terms."
Viscount Hailsham, rising to get the last word in the debate for his party (Conservative): "I doubt if there has ever been made in this House a speech more equivocal, inconsistent, unsatisfactory and deliberately evasive as that just delivered by Lord Ponsonby!"
Blue Book, A collection of Soviet decrees, presumably gathered in Russia by the British Embassy, has been published as a "Blue Book" entitled Russia, No. 1 1931 by the MacDonald government.
It contains no information about "prison camps." It does tell much concerning the extraordinary powers which the Soviet State unquestionably exercises over all Russian labor. For example the Soviet de cree of Oct. 9, 1930 ordered "immediate despatch of all unemployed to work and the cessation of unemployment benefits. . . . The unemployed are to be drafted not only for work in their own trades but to other work. . . . No excuse for refusal to work, with the exception of illness, sup ported by a medical certificate, should be considered." In other words martial-industrial law.
In Moscow last week the Commissariat for Labor took action against two Russian engineers who had refused to do work as signed them in the Siberian Kuznetsk coal fields. It was decreed that no one in Russia shall employ these "deserters" for the next six months, and that their food cards be canceled. If they do not starve to death clandestine charity will be to blame. In the Soviet mind, Russia is now fighting an ''economic war," and it is pointed out that in other kinds of wars deserters are shot. Thus, Moscovites argue, the Soviet State is "more merciful" than are capitalist States.