HC Deb 02 August 1904 vol 139 cc605-49

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £2,960, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the Year ending on the 31st day of March, 1905, for the Expenses in respect of the Committee of Imperial Defence, in the Department of His Majesty's Treasury."


continuing his speech, said he had already drawn attention to the beneficial effect of this Committee to record and collect information so that the Prime Ministers of future times could have the broad concrete facts brought before them. There was another advantage which would be to the advantage of the House itself,namely, that the main principles would now have an opportunity of being heard and discussed in this House, and in that way and from that fact it would percolate down. Thus there was a hope that, in the future, public opinion would be formed on a true basis and broad issues, and from that we might hope for continuity of policy based on facts. He emphasised the great importance of the step taken by the Government. There had been no greater intellect in this House than that of the late Mr. Gladstone, yet what happened to him for want of such a Committee as this? When this country was alarmed in 1870 that we might be invaded what did Mr. Gladstone say? He tried to allay the feeling of alarm in the country by proclaiming that while the ironclad fleets of other nations could circle round our shores at fifteen miles an hour the Volunteers could get from point to point at twenty or thirty miles an hour. That showed that he had not had the salient points of the British position brought before him as a whole. Had this Committee been in existence Mr. Gladstone could not have put forward such a false view of our situation as that. Then with regard to the garrisoning of our coaling stations, our coal was distributed all over the world without any protection at all. He (Sir John) for years had pleaded for moderate defence for it, and then came the Carnarvon Commission to inquire into the matter. If this Committee of Defence had been in existence they would have had reasonable protection given to our coaling stations and there would not have been this exaggeration of fortifications necessitating gigantic garrisons as a protective force. One of the questions to be considered by the Committee was the excessive garrisoning of our coaling stations. He had said so much about this matter in the past that it was not necessary now to go into details, but if he knew anything at all he knew something of the manifold difficulties which had to be faced by the Defence Committee owing to the total absence of principle on our part, through which we had got into a position of wastefulness that it would. take us a long time to escape from.

He believed that the new advisory machinery now set up would enable us to get clear of our military confusion, but it would take a long time before its full fruits were reaped, though every day we should be gaining something. He looked upon the discussion in Parliament on this Vote as bringing the country and the Government to a position of being able to form a sound judgment on sound principles. He remembered being quite startled in one of the Committee-rooms upstairs, when Lord Randolph Churchill was presiding over the inquiry into our naval and military expenditure. He remembered a representative of the War Office calmly stating that if our Fleet was damaged or inefficient for the space of three weeks there would be no difficulty in the way of France throwing 150,000 men upon our shores, and when he saw Lord Randolph Churchill swallow such a statement as that without question he wondered how long this sort of thing was going to continue. He should have thought that the question, if the Defence Committee had been in existence, would have been how were they to get over? He mentioned this fact because he thought that anyone who claimed to be a statesman could not and ought not to accept a statement like that without seeing whether it was a feasible statement or not. It was a question of ports, harbours, and means of transport, a maritime and not a military problem. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean would remember perfectly well the most unseemly wrangle which occurred in this House between the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for War on the question of transport and of the possibility of France being able to do what the War Office asserted, and it was perfectly obvious that had Ministers had an opportunity of studying both sides of the question by means of such a Committee as this such a wrangle would never have occurred, because they would have weighed both the naval and military aspects in the balance and a true solution would have been found.

He felt most strongly that the question of the defence of this Empire was not so much a question for experts as for statesmen. Every hour that he had lived he had been more impressed with the fact that one must not follow blindly the opinion of experts in high policy. It was a question for statesmanship, and the effect of this Committee was that it was a step forward and that all future statesmen would be able to examine both sides of the question. They knew the resources they had at their command and that they would have to study not only efficiency in defence but economy as well, and as time went on we should have more and more a rational and continuous system based on some sort of principle. Ministries would pass away, and Members of this House would pass away before the enormous advantages of the step taken by the formation of this Committee of Defence would be realised by the country. What was stated by the Norfolk Commission with regard to the possibility of France being able to collect troops at the ports of that country in a short period was no doubt true, but how were they to come over? How were they going to collect their transport? The collection of transport necessary to enable them to land upon these shores in military form would be a matter not of hours, nor of days, but of months. The advantage he saw in the step which had been taken was great, and he felt that the Government deserved infinite credit for having initiated something upon which could be built up a continuous system upon settled principles. They had to look at the Empire as a whole, and they had to apply to it reasonable principles. The defence of the Empire was the biggest problem man ever had to solve, and it could only be solved by the application of proper principles. Successful war depended on two things; to be at the right place at the right time, and the vital question to settle was the question of distribution. Organisation is subservient to distribution. Reeasonable probability pointed to where our forces, and the nature and amount of our forces were required then, and not till then, should we approach the question of organisation. He saw already in the scheme presented to the House the beginning of the education of that House in studying the operations of the Defence Committee. For the first time in our Army scheme a principle had been laid down, and hereafter he had great hopes that the application of the principle would be extended. His right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War had a better chance in this matter than any Minister ever had before for the reason given by Lord Wolseley who went up and down the country saying, "Before the military authorities are called upon to provide an Army they ought to be informed clearly and distinctly what kind of Army the country want. If that were done there would be no difficulty in providing the force required." Nobody then was prepared to tell Lord Wolseley what kind of Army was wanted. The Committee of Defence could now tell the military authorities what kind of an Army was wanted. He most warmly approved of the step that had been taken by the Prime Minister in this matter.

CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)

said he welcomed the reconstruction of the Defence Committee. The hon. Baronet who had just spoken had not in the least exaggerated the value it would be to the country in the future. They should now congratulate themselves on the fact that the defence of this country was a matter for which the Prime Minister of the country was directly responsible. The right hon. Gentleman would have behind him a body supplying him with all the information he required in order that he might treat the question in a statesmanlike manner. In past days Prime Ministers had to fish up information from all sorts of holes and corners and had nobody to give them the assistance they required. It was, in his opinion, a very great advantage that this Committee should have been started in a humble manner in order that as things grew it might be added to. He did not suppose as time went on that two sections would be the limit. This Committee would have to carry out duties analagous to those carried out by the principal committee of the Prussian army. It was well known that it took the German staff, not a certain number of months or years, but decades to get that general staff to the high state of efficiency at which it at present stood. We had a more difficult task to perform, and he presumed that little by little this staff would be increased. No doubt in the future there would be one representative for India and someone, if not actually deputed by the Colonies, who would have colonial experience, who would be in touch with our great Colonies, and who would be able to point out, in case of emergency, what those Colonies would be able to do and what amount of support they would be able to rely on from the mother country.

The Prime Minister had stated in May or June of this year that one of the difficult duties falling on such a body as this would he questions of this nature, questions which could not be dealt with in this House as they related in a certain measure to Army and Navy. In reference to the Navy alone it would be a question for them to decide what cruisers formed a proper complement to a fighting fleet and what number of cruisers would be required to patrol the seas for the protection of our commerce. The question of coaling stations was more important still, and on this particular question there was a lamentable spectacle of the naval and military authorities almost fighting over this matter. The Navy objected to take over the coaling stations because it clearly saw that it would entail an increased naval force, a larger Marine force, and that would entail a larger Vote, and they foresaw that in the future, in consequence, they might have to go short in the matter of guns or the building fund. On the other hand the military authorities objected to have their units broken up in order to defend the coaling stations, as it impaired the quality of the units as a fighting force. He himself had always been in favour of garrisoning the coaling stations with Marine forces. The Marine was far more suited to this work than the ordinary soldier. Now that we had this Committee of Defence it would be possible for the Prime Minister to lay down precisely what proportion of the defence was to be undertaken by the Navy and what by the Army.

There were those who held the view that at any moment we might be called upon to fight in the Indian Empire, and those who had specially studied this question knew that the great Power which we dreaded in India could only make an attack on the Indian Empire after several stages. It was not a contingency we were now called on to face, but one which we might be called on to face, but there were other contingencies which we had been called on to face more than once. On several occasions we had sent from India bodies of troops, and had lowered the garrisons of that Empire, but the time might come when it would not be wise to draw any body of troops from India without replacing them from here. The Defence Committee would place themselves in the position of the German staff, and they would have plans of campaign drawn up to meet those various contingencies, and we should not then see what we had seen for centuries. an attempt to provide for the Army and the Navy without knowing what the value of one or the other was. That was why they had two Army Corps schemes, very different in their nature. First the House was told that three Arms Corps would be required in order that they might be landed on other shores if necessary, and now they were told that only 15,000 or 16,000 men were wanted for home defence. The present. Secretary of State for War did not say so.


Yes, I do.


said the right hon. Gentleman would perhaps point out next Monday what force he had in addition to the 16,000 men prepared at any moment to go abroad. He did not think he could do that without going for complete mobilisation. In the last two years there had been two different schemes put before the country. He was not blaming the present Secretary for War or his predecessor. They were doing their best to act up to the demand of the country. His opinion was that the Defence Committee would enable them to avoid all these difficulties. That body would lay down exactly what was needed in the way of naval and military defence, whether for home, India, or the Colonies. For these reasons he heartily supported the construction of the Committee.

*MAJOR EVANS GORDON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

said the Secretary of State for War, in his speech the other day, and also in the Memorandum which had been circulated, said that the recommendations of the Committee of three had been adopted verbatim et literatim. They all rejoiced to hear that. However they might differ on points of detail, broadly speaking the recommendations were of enormous value to the Army, the defences of the country, and the Empire generally. But the Estimates before the House did not embody the recommendations of the Committee with regard to what was called the "permanent nucleus." He should like to quote exactly what the Committee suggested. They said— Before proceeding to discuss the reconstruction of the War Office we are impelled to urge the immediate provision of what is in actual fact the corner stone of the needed edifice of reform. The permanent nucleus of the Defence Committee should consist of:— I. A Permanent Secretary, who should be appointed for five years, renewable at pleasure. II. Under this official, two naval officers, selected by the Admiralty, two military officers chosen by the War Office, and two Indian officers, nominated by the Viceroy, with, if possible, one or more representatives of the Colonies. These officers should not be of high rank, and the question of their appointment should be limited to two years. The duties of the permanent nucleus of the Defence Committee would be:—

  1. "A. To consider all questions of Imperial Defence from the point of view of the Navy, the Military Forces, India, and the Colonies.
  2. "B. To obtain and collate information from the Admiralty, War Office, India Office, Colonial Office, and other Departments of State.
  3. "C. To prepare any documents required by the Prime Minister and the Defence Committee, anticipating their needs as far as possible.
  4. "D. To furnish such advice as the Committee may ask for in regard to defence questions involving more than one Department of State.
  5. "E. To keep adequate records for the use of the Cabinet of the day and its successors."

Those duties were of enormous extent' and it seemed to him that the staff proposed, perhaps it might be as a commencement, was insufficient to perform the duties placed upon them. The Prime Minister was good enough to say that hon. Members might ask Questions. That was a matter on which the right hon. Gentleman might reply. As far as he himself was concerned, he should be rather glad if the recommendations of the Committee of three were not very closely followed in this direction, because it seemed to him that, if the permanent nucleus which was referred to as the corner stone was made too strong, there was very considerable risk of the work they were doing, or would do, overlapping with the work which should he performed by the general staff of the Army. In this discussion to-night the fact that a general staff had been or was about to be set up at the War Office had been somewhat left out of sight. He had never been able to understand how it came about that the Committee of throe referred to this permanent nucleus as a general staff. They said it was to— Fulfil the main functions of a general staff as they are now understood all over the civilised world by statesmen who have considered the necessities and conditione of Empire.

It did not seem to him that they had anything whatever in common with a general staff such as was known in connection with foreign armies. He supposed that the German staff was a kind of model, but there was no separate Committee of this kind connected with the German organisation. He saw great necessity for having a Defence Committee, but he rather feared if it was made too strong it would be apt to set up a division of responsibility. Division of responsibility was one of the principal reasons for the breakdown of our system at the start of the war in 1899. At that time, as was well known, the Commander-in-Chief was entrusted with the duty of preparing strategical schemes, but the Secretary of State had the advantage or the disadvantage of four other advisers. That was the principal cause, he thought, of some of our great failures. There were too many advisers, and it was always possible to say So-and-so advised this and So-and-so advised that, and consequently when anything went wrong the soldiers were blamed, or the War Office was blamed, for what was really the result of our false system. He thought every safeguard should be taken now when they were laying the foundation of a valuable structure. There should not be any overlapping of that kind in future, no division of responsibility, no conflicting advice, which always must lead to disaster. In this case, according to the recommendations of the Committee of three, the Prime Minister had really what was a general staff of his own. The Secretary of State had also a and it seemed quite possible that there might arise a serious conflict of opinion between those two bodies, and in the end when they tried to fix responsibility no one would know who was responsible. The general staff had many functions, but the principal function was to provide the Government, when asked for it, with a thoroughly thought-out and complete strategical plan for any military situation which might arise. That was done two years before the war broke out between Germany and Denmark. Von Roon wrote to his friend Moltke asking whether he had thought of the possibility of a collision with Denmark. He replied in the affirmative, stating that so many men and guns would be required, and enclosing a sketch for the first act. That was really general staff work. In Japan at the present time they had an illustration of how splendidly the general staff had come to the assistance of the nation in time of war. Where would the Japanese Govern- ment have been if they had had two or three different bodies advising them, and two or three different systems of obtaining advice? He felt sure that they would have fallen to the ground. He had put these points forward in the hope that some discussion would follow. While strongly supporting the Government in all they were doing now, and feeling that a great step was being taken in advance, he hoped that the danger of conflict between the general staff attached to the Prime Minister and the general staff of the War Office might be avoided, and that as much responsibility as possible should he thrown on one or other of these bodies.

*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

said the hon. and gallant Gentleman had complained that the staff of the new secretariat was insufficient. He could not but think that it would be possible for the secretariat to call in any staff that might be necessary. What the Committee had to deal with was the permanent staff of the Department, and he considered that ample for the permanent work. They could turn to the Intelligence Department of the Admiralty, or the Intelligence Department of the War Office, to work out any plan or details they required to have before them. The present proposal was the fourth form which the Cabinet Committee of Defence had taken. The first was that initiated by Lord Rosebery in the latter days of the Government over which he presided. Then came the announcement made by time new Government of 1895–1896 as to the new and extended form they had given to the Cabinet Committee. That second Committee was a failure. That it was a failure could be proved by the public statements that had been made. There was, for instance, the Colonial Conference, the documents laid before which body constituted a public scandal, and which threw back possibly for ever that Kriegsverein of which the House heard something the previous night. In addition to this, there was the evidence laid before the Duke of Norfolk's Coma-mission in January of this year. The third form, which the Cabinet Committee adopted late in 1903, was announced by the Prime Minister, and now the House had the fourth form. In the interests of economy as well as of efficiency he strongly advocated the collation of the views of the two services. It was the only way to reduce expenditure and also of getting the best value for the money spent on the two services. Within the last few years there had admittedly been a great waste in our national expenditure. It was understood that the invasion theory of this country had been abandoned. The Secretary of State for India said a few days ago that one of the chief critics of expenditure during the earlier years of the Government was now responsible for the War Office. He further stated that many critics had urged a reduction of Army expenditure, but that no one had supplied a scheme by which that reduction could be effected.


said that what he pointed out was that the Prime Minister. by placing his right hon. friend at the War Office, had given the best security for the reduction of expenditure. On that occasion he went on to say, pointing to the Opposition side of the House, that the critics of the Government had not yet shown that they had any plan in their minds, and that his right hon. friend had stated that reduction of expenditure could be accomplished mainly by the reduction of the number of men.


said he heartily desired to see carried out the policy which the Government had announced in regard to a reduction of the Regular Army, which had been largely kept up on the basis of the invasion doctrine now repudiated. There was another invasion bogey which had to some extent taken the place of that they had succeeded in killing. It was the supposed need for Army Corps to reinforce the defence of the Indian frontier. The Government had continued to be impressed by the difficulty which the defence of India against invasion presented, and they had not solved that difficulty. They were defending their expeditionary force across the sea by the necessity of having large reinforcements for the Indian frontier, and Lord Curzon the other day said that if we had the misfortune to go to war with Russia we should have to attack Russia on the Indian frontier. That was as complete a bogey as the invasion theory of our own shores. Russia was not in a position rapidly to strike against India, because the transport difficulties were such that it would be years before it would become necessary to repel an invasion of India. The Government, however, were not clear in their views on that subject. He trusted that the Prime Minister and the civilian members of the Committee would exercise their own intelligence on this problem, and would not allow themselves to be guided entirely by expert opinion. It was notorious that the whole of the expert advisers of the Government had at one time believed that we could fight Russia in the Caucasus. A dream more wild to those who knew the facts and the country never entered into the mind of man. Therefore he hoped that the Prime Minister would subject this doctrine to as rigid a scrutiny as he had subjected the doctrines of invasion connected with this country.

There were other important questions which could not be settled by the Admiralty and the War Office, but by the Cabinet and the Prime Minister. There was our position in the Mediterranean. It was all right at present, but obviously the time was coming when the development of the submarine would affect the whole course of operations in that part of the world. They could not trust that question to the Admiralty alone, because it involved great political considerations connected with Malta, Egypt, the subject of alliances, and other political considerations. There was also the question as to the best places for our naval bases. These rested largely on policy, and partly on the development of invention and future changes in the Channel in time of war. It was extremely probable that we should be driven more and more to use bases in the Irish Channel or on the east coast of Scotland; and the question must be considered by the Prime Minister in conjunction with the Treasury. He was quite sure, if he could make his hon. friend understand the views which he held. that the hon. Gentleman would be at one with him in saying that that was the only sound way of reducing expenditure. Of course, there were similar questions which would obviously come continually before a body of this kind. There was a most interesting subject suggested the other day by the Secretary of State for War, and there was also the whole question of the defence of our secondary naval bases. There was in every fortress in modern times a book which showed why it was defended and how best it was to be defended. What was wanted by this Committee was that some record should be kept which should show the reason for every step that had been taken for the defence of the Empire. In that way only would it be possible to secure a continuous policy and prevent the present gross and scandalous waste of effort and money.


If I reply now it will prevent me speaking again. I may say at once that I have heard the encomiums paid to this Defence Committee by confident critics, who rightly regard it, as I emphatically desire the country to regard it, as being at present only in a tentative and relatively embryonic stage. I should write myself down a fool if I suggested for a moment that I am confident that we have reached the acme of organisation or that no additions or modifications were required in our arrangements. But that the Committee has done and is doing work which seems to me to he of the utmost value I can assure the House confidently, and when in due course our successors come into office and have the opportunity of seeing the records which we have left, whether they agree with our conclusions or not, they will feel that a great deal of work has been done by the Committee which, without the Committee, could never have been done at all. I must say how much in this matter we owe to the late Secretary of State for War, the present Secretary for India, and to the First Lord of the Admiralty. I do not say that the idea of this reform of the Committee originated wholly with them, because in matters of this kind almost every good invention has several legitimate fathers. But in a Cabinet Memorandum which they circulated they did more than any other two persons to start the movement upon a sound basis and whenever any one speaks with gratitude of the work of the Committee, they will not forget the names of the two Ministers of the Crown who deserve so much of the praise.

The hon. Member for Stepney asked me about the German general staff. I have never agreed with that phrase. While we have a great deal to learn from all the great military Powers on the Continent, it would be perfect folly on our part to try to model our arrangements on theirs. Our circumstances are different. Our Empire is different. Our whole political constitution is different. But while we ought to have our eyes and ears open to anything which they can teach us, a blind mechanical imitation would be the pro-foundest mistake which we could make. I do not contemplate that the Defence Committee can ever resemble the German general staff, partly because that staff is, if not wholly occupied with Army matters, at all events to the extent of 90 per cent. of its work so concerned. I think that my hon. friend need not fear that the Defence Committee will in any sense trench upon the responsibilities which properly lie in the first place with the Admiralty or the Army Department, and in the second remove with the Cabinet as a whole. In truth, I think that one of the great merits of the Defence Committee is that it has no executive authority at all. It has no power to give an order to the humblest soldier in His Majesty's Army or the most powerless sloop under the control of the Admiralty. I think that that is especially valuable from a point of view not yet touched upon—namely, the relations between the Defence Committee and those self-governing Colonies of the Empire over which no office in this country has any control at all. I hope that when any problem of defence which touches them nearly comes up, and even when they take a closer interest in the problems of Imperial defence as a whole, we may have the advantage of their assistance in our councils. But. I am certain that the self-governing Colonies will never allow any representative of theirs to come to the Defence Committee if the Defence Committee with that addition had the smallest authority to impose obligations, financial, political, military, or naval, on the colonies which they represent. But we are so constituted that the only thing the Defence Committee may give, either to a Department at home or to the Cabinet or to the Colonial Governments, is advice.

It is quite true that, so far as the Home Departments are concerned, advice from a Committee which contains the Prime Minister, and which practically never meets without having the assistance of the Secretary of State for War, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the head of the Army general staff, the head of the Army Intelligence Department, the First Sea Lord, and the head of the Naval Intelligence Department—it is, I say, practically certain that a Committee so constituted is likely to have its advice taken by the Departments; but we have a great many functions to perform which go outside the jurisdiction of any of those offices. There are the self-governing Colonies, and anything they can do or are ready to do for Imperial defence. There is India. It is, no doubt, intimately connected with the problem of defence and with the Government of this country, but the Cabinet cannot give orders to India in the same sense, or with the same facility, or, indeed, in any way corresponding to the way in which they give orders to the First Lord of the Admiralty or the Secretary for War. It is, therefore, from that point of view of the very first importance that our functions should be so restricted that we cannot interfere with administration in any way either at home or abroad. It is only by thus strictly limiting our functions that we can have that authority which I hope we shall more and more gain in the general scheme of Imperial defence, and that our opinions will carry that weight which will be all the more effective because there is behind them no power of coercive authority.

It must be remembered—I make this remark, which, perhaps, is almost parenthetical in its character, because I do not want expectations raised—I am always anxious to keep expectations low about the work of the Defence Committee. I never wish to blow its trumpet or to exaggerate its merits; but may I remind the Committee that the questions we have to deal with are incomparably more difficult than those which fall to the general staff of the German Army? The main military problem with which they are daily and nightly occupied is, after all, relatively a simple one. They know exactly the number of their own troops and the number of the troops of the coterminous countries. They have every opportunity of learning about their discipline and efficiency, and they know the limited number of ways in which an invasion can be effected. Well, that is a very simple problem, but we have two problems which, I admit, are in a way almost as simple—namely, the problem of home defence and the problem of India. These are relatively isolated military and naval problems which can be considered, as it were, on their merits, and as questions which can be reasoned out round a table with some tolerable certainty that you have before you all the problems with which you will practically have to deal.

As regards home defence that was one of the very first things which the Committee took in hand. We discussed it at many consecutive meetings, and I finally drew up a full report embodying our view. That report will remain on record for the benefit of our successors, not indeed to bind them, but as a basis upon which they can make their own investigations upon a subject which changes from year to year, and on which no final conclusions ought even to be admitted, but which with the due revision which doubtless it will receive in years to come will, I think, always be ultimately based upon the conclusions at which we have arrived.

Then the other clear and definite problem with which we have to deal is the question of Indian defence. That was the only part of the right hon. Baronet's speech from which I felt myself at liberty to dissent. He ruled India out of the present practical military problems, on the ground, quite good as far as it goes, that the problem of the attack on India is largely a question of transport. So it is. But the right hon. Baronet must remember that, though it would be a very difficult, certainly a very serious, military problem for the Russians, our only possible enemy in that part of the world—though I trust that they will never be our enemy in fact—this country cannot allow the, limit of countries which lie between us and Russia to be eaten up gradually, and these secondary bases to be made.


I do not wish to interrupt, the right hon. Gentleman's argument, but I was replying to a statement of Lord Curzon that if these considerations should unfortunately at any time lead to war between ourselves and Russia that war must be fought out on the North-West Frontier of India. My observations suggested that Russia could be attacked in other parts of the world, and that it would not necessarily be on the North- West Frontier.


No, but on the North-West Frontier, at all events of Afghanistan, the Russians, we have to admit, are strong and are every day tending to grow stronger. Their difficulty has always been one of transport. There was a time when the Russian invasion of India was a genuine scare, and a scare, I think, of the most foolish description, although some of the wisest of our forefathers were deeply impressed by it. But the Russia of which they were afraid was, from the point of view of transport, which the right hon. Gentleman most rightly thinks is the key to the whole situation, a very different Russia from the Russia of to-day. They have already one line of railway directly meeting the frontier of Afghanistan, and they are on the verge of having a second line of railway directly meeting that frontier, and it is possible, in future, that these means of communication, so important to increase, may be increased further. Everybody will recognise that I am discussing an abstract military problem. Every nation in the world which is coterminous with a military Power has to assume, for the sake of argument, that some day or other they may be at war, and I am acting on that, assumption. The problem of the defence of India from invasion from the North-west cannot be dismissed in the phrases which have been used, I think, by the right hon. Baronet, and which certainly were used by the hon. and gallant Gentleman behind me. The right hon. Baronet in this regard made a solemn and well-founded appeal to the Government not to be guided too much by expert opinion. I think we ought not to be too much guided by expert opinion; and one of the great advantages of the Defence Committee is that your chief sailors, soldiers, and politicians are brought together round a table. I have known great soldiers who, when you pointed out to them that such and such a course was really practically impossible on account of the cost it involved, or for some other reason, said:—"That is not my affair, but your affair. I have only got to deal with the ideal army as it ought to be." Nobody has got to deal in this world with an ideal case. He has to deal with the thing he can get, and he has to make the best of it. One immense advantage of these informal conversations around a table by the chiefs of the Army and Navy, and those who are responsible for the time being for the conduct of public affairs, is that each comes into direct contact with the point of view of the other, each is subjected to the cross-examination of the other, each can be forced to give his own opinion in writing, and, finally, when some kind of conclusion is arrived at—and all our conclusions are, or ought to be, provisional—that conclusion, at all events, is the result of prolonged conversations embodied in formal documents in which all the reasons as regards the main question—I do not mean as regards each particular question—are set out. Those seem to me to be the main points that have been raised in this debate. If any further questions are asked, I shall be glad to do my best to answer them, but I have endeavoured to give as material an insight as I can into the existing practice and working of the Committee, which has met every week since it has been reconstituted, and has done work, far indeed from covering the whole complicated question of Imperial defence, but which will prove of use either to us or our successors.

SIR EDWARD GREY (Northumberland, Berwick)

The last part of the Prime Minister's speech, I think, has touched the real point, and given us what is the essence of the reasons for the establishment of the Defence Committee. I could not help thinking, when he alluded to the value of the informal conversations across the table of the Defence Committee, that we are having this evening a sort of informal conversation rather than a debate of a most interesting and informing kind. Though I have some reserves to make, I would submit to the Committee whether one of the first fruits of the work of the Defence Committee which we may very well welcome is not the sort of speech we have had from the Prime Minister this evening, a speech which was informing and interesting to the House, not pressing the Committee for any conclusions, not committing them to anything, but a really informing and educating speech, very tentative in its character. But I would ask the Committee to think whether the sort of speech we have had from the Prime Minister is not one which might be very greatly expanded by future Prime Ministers when the Defence Committee has been longer at work. The Prime Minister has removed one apprehension which may have weighed with some Members who have not been altogether satisfied with the appointment of the Defence Committee. He has said that the Defence Committee is to have no executive power. Well, if it has no executive power, I trust I am justified in saving that it has removed nothing from the control of the House of Commons.


Hear, hear!


The Prime Minister dwelt on the question of the Indian frontier. I should like to give a little more definiteness as to what he said as to questions of policy on the Indian frontier. We wish on this side of the House, and I hope the feeling is shared on the other side, to regard the problem of the Indian frontier as one of defence.


Hear, hear!


We have heard it suggested that there have been military circles which regarded the Indian problem as one not solely of defence but as a question of how you might, in the course of certain eventualities, be prepared to press home an attack on Russia. If the Imperial Defence Committee has provided the means by which policy may be so considered that you can have a statement definitely before the House that the problem of the Indian frontier is one of defence, you have something definite in the way of policy to put before the House which we have never yet had put before it, because we have had no opportunity previously of discussing these questions.


I cheered the right hon. Gentleman because I agreed with him, and then it occurred to me that, as a cheer is necessarily inarticulate, my agreement might be misunderstood. The problem of the North-West Frontier, is, in our opinion, purely a question of defence, but that does not mean that the defence is necessarily to be conducted behind that frontier.


I admit that we are in an early stage. This is a problem which has really never been discussed in the House, but the point of view I want to put forward is this—that the problem of defence is very different from the problem of an advance beyond the frontier. If it is defence you have got the whole of the difficulties of the frontier on your side. They are an asset in your defence. That is the sort of problem we expect to be considered by the new Committee of Defence and the sort of problem which we expect to receive new definiteness and new clearness in the way it is presented to the House of Commons.


Hear, hear!


The Prime Minister said, and I do not intend to disturb the impression, that the Vote now before the Committee has been received with considerable sympathy, but I cannot go quite so far as the Esher Committee has gone. They have, I think, been a little anticipatory in their congratulations upon the appointment of the Committee of Defence. It is still in its infancy, and the House of Commons will welcome it not by its establishment but by its results. We have not yet got the results, and we must wait for them before we can quite rise to the pitch of the Esher Committee in welcoming the establishment of the Committee of Defence. One result we have already got. We have already got a discussion, not merely of Army questions or of Navy questions, but of the two combined. The House of Commons has never been able to discuss questions of defence as a whole. It is sometimes asked—Is it, after all, very important that the House of Commons should discuss such questions? I stand by discussion in the House of Commons, because without discussion there is no control. But discussion is also an opportunity for keeping the House of Commons in touch with important problems. It is an opportunity to the Government of the day for educating the House of Commons. Speeches from the Government, whatever the Government may be, carry considerable weight in the House of Commons, and they have an educative and informing effect upon the country at large. The House of Commons and the country have never had a chance yet of being instructed and informed on the question of Imperial defence. The result has been that the House of Commons has been most inefficient in its criticism and control of Army and Navy Estimates, because it has had no real policy which it could make a starting point for its criticism. I look upon the Defence Committee, if rightly used—because everything depends upon that—as being a possible instrument by which you may secure efficiency and economy. That is what we want. What we are oppressed by is a sense of waste caused by overlapping between the two services. We have had vast preparations; we have had no plan behind them, and that must entail waste. If the Defence Committee is rightly used it ought to give us a plan, and ought therefore to make our preparations both more efficient and more economical.

There is one point of view with regard to the Defence Committee which may excite apprehension. Hon. Members may say, "You have already your War Office making very large and enormous demands upon the expenditure of the country; you have your Admiralty also making very large demands; you are now going to create a third body, which is going to add to the demands." That is the point I want to deal with. You have already two Departments making, as I consider, conjointly, in the total, excessive demands upon the expenditure of the country. If you are going to add a third which is to make separate demands, I admit I should demur to that exceedingly. But, rightly used, I think the Imperial Defence Committee ought to so lay down the policy as to restrict the Army and the Navy respectively, and consolidate these two separate demands into one great demand for Imperial defence, which will in its total be less than the two separate demands. Therefore it is as a possible instrument for efficiency and economy that I look upon the Defence Committee. There is one more possible objection. I can understand people saying: "You have got your Defence Committee; it is to have a permanent secretary, who will be a very powerful man. When one Government goes out of power it will leave behind it records laying down propositions with regard to Imperial defence which will be an almost insuperable obstacle to its successor if its successor takes a different view of the needs of Imperial defence." In other words, that it will settle such a degree of continuity of policy that one Government will be able more than it can now to bind its successor. But successive Governments now come in committed to enormous Army Estimates and enormous Navy Estimates, and I do not see that the continuity of policy, because it is gathered into one hand, is likely to be a more insuperable bar to future economy than it is now, when you have it in two separate Deparments which have never been under any real control. The Imperial Defence Committee must never be allowed to become an independent machine which is to run the Government. It must be an instrument to be used by the Government, and the person on whom the responsibility will rest for seeing that it is used for the Government is undoubtedly the Prime Minister. I quite admit that with a Committee of this kind, with a permanent secretary who is an able and powerful man, you have the danger that with a weak Government the Defence Committee may become the master of the Government. It is so with the permanent officials of any Department, and it rests with the Prime Minister to see that nothing of that kind takes place.

I think we ought not to pass by the question of the appointment of the Defence Committee without at least a tribute to the memory of Lord Randolph Churchill, with whom, if I may judge from the Report of the Esher Committee, the germ of the idea really rests. He recommended that in the interests of economy—because he was a great economist—you should co-ordinate the Army and the Navy under one head, and he recommended a Minister of Defence who should be supreme over both. I am not sure that I consider the reason which the Esher Committee have given for dismissing that suggestion is sufficient; I think it is a possible alternative well worthy of consideration. The first question that will arise in the minds of us all is why nothing of this kind has been done before. I am glad the Prime Minister has not used the argument, which he has used in other matters, that this is solely the proposal of the present Government and that nothing of the kind has been suggested by the Liberal Party. But I would point out that in the last twenty years the Liberal Party has only been in office for two complete sessions of Parliament. Therefore when I say that the question arises in our minds, Why has nothing of the kind been done before?—I would deprecate any retort against the Liberal Party, for no reproach rests with them in the matter.

The Prime Minister is to be the President of the Defence Committee. The Esher Committee says that the Prime Minister ought always to be President. I do not think we need anticipate the future in that fashion. It is quite right that for the present the Prime Minister should be President. The Defence Committee has to overtake an immense amount of arrears; its business is to introduce both efficiency and economy, and that being so its work ought to be directly supervised, not only by the present Prime Minister, but by any Prime Minister that may succeed him in earlier years. I speak with the freedom of one who has never been a Cabinet Minister, and therefore from the point of view of an ordinary citizen, when I say that the Prime Minister is the most important Minister of the whole Cabinet. Therefore, whatever Department has for the moment the most important work to do, that Department ought to have the constant attention of the Prime Minister. The work of the Defence Committee is one specially for the superintendence of the Prime Minister. It may be that in happier times such superintendence will be unnecessary, and, that being so, I do not see why the Prime Minister should necessarily always remain the active president of the Defence Committee. But we shall never get economy and efficiency in expenditure unless the Prime Minister for a time superintends closely the work of the Defence Committee. This will bring him into contact with the naval experts and the military experts, and it may be said that if he is weak they will get the better of him, and lead him into extravagant expenditure. You cannot provide against that. You can no more provide against a weak or an incompetent Prime Minister than against a weak or incompetent admiral. But the Prime Minister is less likely to be run by the experts if he is brought into contact with them than if he meets them at the Defence Committee. Any Government which proposes, large reductions in the expenditure on the Army and Navy will be confronted with great difficulties. It is one thing to ask for reductions; it is another thing to propose them in the House of Commons. The Government who propose them will have great difficulties unless the Prime Minister has been fortified by contact with the naval and military experts of the Defence Committee. If the Prime Minister is able to say that the Estimates he presents to the House are Estimates which the Defence Committee consider sufficient for the defence of the Empire, he will convince the House that they are brought forward, not in the interest of economy alone, but are sufficient also for the needs of the Empire. The scheme must be judged by its results. I am not sure that it is the best thing that might have been devised, but until this was devised there were no means by which the House of Commons might have a policy as a whole put before it and might be really placed in a position to judge of the needs of Imperial defence. In so far as it is to be used as a means for economy and as a means for putting before the House of Commons annually the problem of Imperial defence, I welcome and support it.

*COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)

said he most heartily welcomed the Defence Committee. He thought that the Defence Committee would be able to obviate the delay which had occurred in the past in connection with the calling out of the Reserves, whereby many thousands lives had been lost. He, however, differed from the feeling which appeared to be accepted at the present time that this country could rely on the Navy alone. The sanity of the nation would never permit it. He was very glad indeed that the Secretary of State for War proposed to keep a force of Regulars in this country. This country had been invaded on several occasions. In Mahan's Life of Nelson it was supposed that an enemy 40,000 strong could cross on a calm night very rapidly. Therefore, they should not run away with the idea that this country could rely for defence on the Navy alone. If the Navy were on the spot it might be all right; but in the event of a long war the Cabinet would be asked to send ships to reinforce fleets in the Atlantic, the North Sea, or the Mediterranean; and after a time very few ships would be left.


said that the proposal of a Defence Committee had been very favourably received by the Committee as a whole. He thought it was one of the fruits of the discussions, the acrimonious discussions, they had had last session. It was those discussions which directed the attention of the Prime Minister to military affairs.


said his attention was aroused long before the discussions to which the hon. Gentleman referred.


said that certainly the result did not mature until then, or had not sufficiently matured to enable the right hon. Gentleman to hold the views he now held. The Report of the Esher Committee showed that the criticisms which they had directed against Army policy were altogether right; and that they marched abreast of military sentiment. The Prime Minister said that the present Secretary of State for India had a share in the credit for this Committee. That might be quite true. Nobody knew how much he might have recommended; but certain he was that the right hon. Gentleman by endeavouring to stereotype into the Army system all the expansions made under stress of war directed a large amount of attention to the Army, so that in that sense he might claim for himself to have been the parent of the recent reform. The secretariat which the Prime Minister had created, for he would be looked upon as the principal creator, was put forward by him in a very inoffensive manner and in a manner which had been recognised and praised by the right hon. Baronet. The Prime Minister had said it was a modest proposal; it was because they thought the secretariat a modest proposal and because it was not regarded as being a revolutionary change that it had received such a large measure of support from all shades of military opinion in the House. The hon. Member for Stepney had spoken of the scale and scope of the Committee, and suggested that it would be a great dander if it were to be a parallel to the German general staff. He was sure every one would agree with that. The utility of this secretariat would be destroyed if it departed from being an advisory machine at the service of the Cabinet. It might be true that there were great miscalculations of the forces required to overcome the Boers, but he was not sure that those miscalculations would have been prevented by such a secretariat. He had always defended the general military conduct of the first portion of the war, terminating with the capture of Pretoria. The miscalculations were moral rather than material, and were not matters upon which the secretariat of strategists would necessarily be able to give proper and accurate information.

One danger about this secretariat was that it was n instrument which, though it might be used in the interests of economy, might equally be used for the purpose of expanding expenditure and establishment. There was also the possibility of too great attention on the part of the Prime Minister to the details of Imperial defence. The present head of the secretariat, who was a man of great capacity, vigour, and energy, might be said to exhibit at once the advantages and disadvantages of his office. By his very qualities he would obtain a predominant influence over the men who ruled the Army and governed the policy of the country. It would be of great value to the Minister in charge to have such a man at his elbow, but it was very possible that he would become the real brain and governing spirit of Army policy. He understood that the officers to be employed were to be not of high rank, and were to return to their regiments at the expiration of their period of service. The tremendous secrets with which the Committee would have to deal would therefore be entrusted in the course of time to a considerable number of officers. That was a serious, though perhaps not an insuperable, objection. It would be much better that these officers should be on the general staff, and after their term of service should return thereto, as there were considerable dangers connected with such officers, on returning to their regiment, discussing points of strategy in the confidence of the mess-room, dangers which must be apparent to all.

Another consideration was that connected with the presidency of the Committee. He could well believe that the present Prime Minister, being greatly interested in these matters, and having a mind trained in dealing with all sorts of great problems, was the best man that could be found for that office. But, after all, very few Prime Ministers would possess the aptitude or the taste for the kind of work involved. It frequently happened in this country that the man who was made Prime Minister was appointed to that position not because he was the most vigorous and perspicacious person who could be found, but because he had come to represent certain great principles and stood for a certain kind of Government. For that very reason he was generally a somewhat aged man, not much t[...]ted to go into great masses of detail of a highly technical character. The Minority Report of the Hartington Commission would have avoided the difficulty by placing the land and sea forces of the Crown under a Minister of Defence who should also be the treasurer of those forces. But the advantages of the course now being taken were overwhelming. It would provide an opportunity for discussion in the House of Commons, and, by providing a much needed link between the two services, afford the possibility of there one day being established a more reasonable ratio between the naval and military expenditure of the country.

He was glad to hear that this Committee would have no sort of executive power. It was to be a body of men trained to inform the executive authority. The Cabinet had the issues of peace and war in its hands. Was it to decide these matters on knowledge or in ignorance? If on knowledge it must be allowed to select the best methods of obtaining a regular supply of the knowledge required in the most convenient form. That would undoubtedly be provided by this Committee and no one would be inclined to grudge the comparatively insignificant annual cost involved. He did not deny that it would be foolish for the country to pin their faith entirely to the blue water school; it would at any rate be a great pity that they should entirely blot out of their minds the responsibility which morally devolved upon every citizen to defend the soil on which he lived. He had always strongly urged that it was in the development of a great Volunteer citizen Army, living not in barracks, but in tents, coming up for temporary training and not serving as professional soldiers, that they would find the insurance against the very improbable contingency of invasion, and also an outlet for that invaluable manly sentiment without which no nation covld really be considered patriotic. The invasion school was very popular last year, and was mainly responsible for the theory of the then Secretary of State for War as to the necessity of having 30,000 "stiffeners" to be spread about among the Volunteer forces of the country to enable them to resist invasion. The absurdity of having so overwhelming a command of the sea that we could transport three Army Corps to India, and, at the same time, so miserable and ineffective a command of the sea that we were exposed to invasion, was vividly exposed on one occasion by the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich, an exposure which probably led to the abandonment of the theory.

He recognised, as every hon. Member of the House must recognise, how presumptuous it was for a Member of Parliament to attempt to deal with this question. If India was invaded with a small force then there was an Army large enough on the spot to deal with it; and on the other hand, if it was invaded by a great force then there must be time allowed to collect transport railways, and obtain the most elaborate information for a great defence. During the course of the late war the Prime Minister made a speech at Manchester for which he was very much abused, and in which he stated that it was not possible for this country to be ready to meet attacks everywhere at a moment's notice, and he said all that was necessary was to have enough troops on the spot to make sure that they could hold out until the vast forces of the British Empire could be brought into the field. Those were the lines on which this question ought to be approached. The Army on which we might have to depend in time of war would bear no relation to the hidebound armies of the War Office. We could put far more troops into the field than any War Office would ever boast that we could. We must realise that it was on armies of improvisation that we should have to depend for great emergencies. The military system which we should adopt ought accordingly to bear a much closer resemblance to that of the United States than to that of European nations. The United States relied on a small Regular army and the power in time of emergency to levy masses of the citizens, trusting to the size of their country and their isolation for time to develop great armies. In the same way we might rely on our isolation and our Navy for time to develop our resources.

MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)

said the utility of a scheme of this kind could only be proved by experience. A Committee of this kind was very valuable to the nation, and the Prime Minister deserved every credit not only for devising this scheme, but also for giving his time and energy to it after calling it into being. They were, however, to a large extent in the dark as to the work of this Committee, and of course there must be a certain amount of reserve in regard to it. It was evident that at least in one department of Government we had now got something like a scientific approach to a great problem. The first result for which the country would look would be a definite pronouncement in regard to the relations of the Army and the Navy. There was nothing more deplorable in the history of their finances than the millions which had been wasted owing to an imperfect conception of what our naval and military policy ought to be, and all for the want of some body which would combine the supreme naval and military talent of the nation, and which ought to apply itself to the production of a national scheme of defence. The Prime Minister was entitled to every credit for having conceived such a body, and it was for the House to see that that body gave them something like a definite result. On a body like that they had a chance of bringing the Imperial policy of the defence of the country into some kind of relationship with the Colonies. He had always felt that a great step was taken when the Canadian Minister sat upon this Committee a short time ago. The Defence Committee ought not to be a rigid body, but ought to be able to come into relation with the distant parts of the Empire.

Nothing was more natural than that its creator, the Prime Minister, should be an integral part of the Committee. But was it essential that the Prime Minister should he stereotyped as the head of the Committee? The Committee should contain the heads of the two services, and should be in close relation with the Finance Minister. If there was one thing required upon this body it was economy, and unless they made provision for the influence of those responsible for economy and efficiency upon the organisation of this body, the Committee would not be a success. The presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was essential in the case of a Committee of this kind. Upon him depended how much cloth they had got to cut their coat from, and this showed the necessity of the Prime Minister keeping an open mind as to the shape this Committee was to assume in the future. He could see enormous advantages in the introduction of the element of permanence and continuity into our policy of Imperial defence. He thought this discussion had been a valuable one because it had allowed an interchange of ideas not all upon a Party basis, but with the idea of making the most of an institution which for the first time had been brought into existence in this country. He hoped that it would be possible to have many more such discussions as they learned more and more of the work of the Committee. Of course, the details of the work of this Committee were much better kept secret, but if this Committee was worth anything at all they would see the effect of its deliberations in the general policy adopted. They would see the result in the Estimates of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to our naval and military requirements, and in plans of coordination of which in the past they had had too little experience. If those aspirations were realised then they would know something of the existence of this Committee. As those materials were placed before Parliment they would be able to judge whether this Committee had been a success or not. Of course, there must necessarily be a great deal of reserve about a scheme which could only be judged by how it worked in practice. They did not grudge the Prime Minister the credit for having called something new into existence, and for having thrown his energy into the accomplishment of a scheme of this kind, and they looked forward confidently to the fruition of the seed which he had sown. They would watch the results very closely, and he trusted that in this new instrument they had found something by which good results would be accomplished not only for this country, but for the most distant parts of the Empire.

CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)

said that fears had been expressed that the Committee of Defence would throw a great deal of work upon the Prime Minister, and hon. Members had expressed doubts whether the right hon. Gentleman would be able to devote that amount of attention which was necessary to make its work successful. He though they might congratulate themselves upon the Ministerial side of the House upon having a Prime Minister who had devoted a great deal of time and attention to the work of this Committee, and if he continued that attention and was kept in power by a majority of this House then they had no fear upon that score. The hon. Member for Oldham said that the Prime Minister ought to be a young man, and that he must have had some military experience to qualify him for the work of this Committee. It seemed to him that if a Liberal Government came into power they might select the hon. Member for Oldham as a person who fulfilled those two conditions. After all, one of the principal duties of the Prime Minister was to see to the security of the country. It was also part of the business of the Prime Minister to see that the finances of the country were properly and economically administered. In a matter of this kind a good deal depended upon the men who ran the machine, and to have a secretary to this Committee like the one they had got was a very great improvement upon anything which they had had in the past. This system secured a proper record of what had been done in the past, and this must be greatly to the advantage of the Empire. He did not think he was mistaken when he said that he thought there had been a good deal of misapprehension in regard to the exact functions of this Committee. It had been said that the working of this Committee was to be analogous to the working of the general staff in the German and other foreign armies, but from what the Prime Minister had said that was evidently not the case. This Committee was simply to be an organisation for the collection of information for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet itself. In that respect it rather corresponded not so much to the general staff of the German army, but to the military committee of the German Emperor. At the same time he was very glad to hear the Prime Minister say that they did not intend to adhere too slavishly to foreign methods. The defence of this Empire was a totally different thing to the defence of any other nation. A comparison had been made with Japan, but the Japanese had no Empire abroad and no colonies, and in that respect the British Empire was perfectly distinct from any other country in the world.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

said that upon this question he was hardly able to take the same view as that which had been expressed by some of his colleagues. If anything could have persuaded him to give a hearty approval to this Committee it would have been the speech of his right hon. friend the Member for Berwick. He had insisted that this Committee should be judged by its results, which could only be seen by the plans laid before the House for Imperial defence, by the reduction of expenditure, and by the co-ordination of the services, which would tend to the improvement of both. They had heard similar observations from other right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Members who had spoken upon this subject. He had examined the Paper circulated by the Prime Minister upon this question, and he had listened to his speech, but he had failed to find the slightest justification for the high hopes which hon. Members had expressed. The Prime Minister had promised to answer any further Questions upon this subject. The right hon. Gentleman had not said anything about co-ordinating the naval and military forces, and he had not said that there would be any reduction in expenditure. This Committee had been in existence for some seven years, and he wished to ask the Prime Minister if he could give the Committee any information as to the work the Committee had been doing during those years?


The present Committee is a wholly different one.


asked if the Committee had come to any decisions. There had not been any reduction in the national expenditure. He thought a fuller description of the work of this Committee should be given to them than they had got. One paragraph in the circular which had been issued said that any information required by the Committee from a Department would be procured in such a manner as the head of the Department would from time to time direct. Why such a limitation? Why should this body not be able to obtain this information unless the head of the Department desired to give it? This Committee was, to make continuity of method possible. Did that mean in the treatment of naval and military expenditure? Why was! there not some report made to the House of Commons? They had heard nothing of the real work of the Committee except what was contained in a great many imaginary speeches. The Prime Minister had said that this Committee had met every week, hut they had not heard what had been done. He wished to know how their work was going to reduce expenditure. He was suspicious of the very name of this Committee. It was called the Defence Committee, but defence against what and whom? this country was perhaps the greatest Power in the world,butto his mind this word "defence" was analogous to the word "attack." He was very much afraid that the work of this Committee would not he carried on in the careful spirit which had been described to-night by everybody but its author. The Prime Minister had not made any such promises, and he had not given any such glowing account of its work. When reference was made to the Indian frontier the Prime Minister said that it must not be considered that their policy of defence was confined to one side of the frontier alone. Did he think that the best way of defending India was to annex Tibet? The right hon. Gentleman said that the Committee was very restricted in its power, and that too much must not be expected from it. All the House had been furnished with up to the present was the cost of the Department. They ought to have a little more information as to the extravagant basis upon which this Department had been placed, and the Prime Minister ought to tell the Committee something about the relationship between the Committee of Defence and the great Government spending Departments. Every speech had turned upon questions of economy, but the Prime Minister had told them nothing about this question. He wished to know if the formation of this Committee held out the slightest hope of any reduction in the Estimates.

MR. C OURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

said that upon a Committee of this kind it was necessary that the Prime Minister should be strong enough to insist upon a reduction of expenditure, and not listen so much to military and naval advisers. The right hon. Baronet had said that debates such as this led not only to education of the House of Commons, but also of the country, and that was a most important thing at the present moment, because the wildest ideas prevailed as to what was required for the defence of this country. There was another great advantage, and it was that the House would have the opportunity of impressing upon the controlling member of that Committee important points which the House and the country thought were necessary in relation to our defence. Then there was the expenditure on naval and military works, and the want of co-ordination of that expenditure with the ordinary work of the War Office and the Admiralty. This Committee might do something to stop the confusion of these Estimates, and they might place naval and military expenditure under one head. If this Committee had existed before he thought the late Lord Salisbury would have taken great interest in our military preparations, and the Government would, not have been in that state of ignorance in which they entered upon the South African War. Another important point was that the assistance of the Colonies in regard to national defence would be brought more into harmony, and they would probably be able to get more assistance from the Colonies through this Committee informing them what was wanted. The Treasury Minute stated that this was to be a consultative and advisory Committee. He hoped they would be consultative and advisory, not only to the Government, but that the House would get the benefit of a little of their advice. Many Members of the House were not intimately acquainted with Army matters, and they wanted the advice of somebody in touch with the military advisers of the Crown. What an enormous advantage it would have been to the Secretary of State for War if he had been able to know the number of infantry, cavalry, and guns required for the South African War. One of the duties of the Committee would be to ascertain these things accurately. He thanked the Prime Minister for the information he had given that night. In days gone by the Defence Committee had been praised over and over again, but until that night they had not been told what their work was. The speech of the Prime Minister was exactly what they wanted in that House. They desired information as to what the Committee were doing and were likely to do. They should like to have a statement as to what were the forces required, but if they could not get that, at least let them know something of what was going on, and show that the Committee was not a mere sham to cover up the deficiencies of other Departments.

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

asked that a reply should be given to the Question raised by the hon. Member for West Islington. He noticed that one of the old bad faults of the Estimates had been revived. There was a footnote in regard to the salary received by the secretary of the Defence Committee. The late Mr. Hanbury and the hon. Member for King's Lynn had always attacked the method of contracting the amount of the face of the Estimates in the way followed in this case. He must say that it was a great disappointment to him that an Estimate of this kind should be brought in. If the post was worth £2,000, that amount ought to be put into the Estimates. The present method falsified the Estimates, and he hoped the Prime Minister would be able to give the Committee some explanation of this Vote. He begged to move to reduce the Vote by £100.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £2,860, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Whitley.)


said he thought he could show that the broad position which the Government had taken up was justified. It was perfectly true that they ought, as far as possible, to avoid having special salaries for individual different from those normally attaching to the office. But when they were starting a new office, and they thought the had found the man specially competent to fill it, it was absolutely necessary to take into account his actual position Sir George Clarke was Governor of Victoria when he was summoned home by telegraph to take part in the Esher Commission. He gave up an extremely good place, and he asked neither fee nor reward for his services. That had to be taken into account when the Government asked him to accept his present place. It was impossible for him to draw the pension which he had earned; and the Government felt that when they summoned Sir George Clarke to undertake this new office, they had a man possessing very special qualifications for it—a man of great tact and knowledge who had the confidence of his own profession and of the Navy.

MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)

said it might be that this was a very fair salary to pay Sir George Clarke; but the Committee did not know what his functions were. The point was that they were passing a Vote for £1,500 and they were paying £2,000. If Sir George Clarke was to be paid £2,000 as secretary of the Defence Committee, why had a Vote for £2,000 not been put down in the Estimates? Let it be shown, on the Paper itself, what was the sum the Committee was really voting. If they took up any ordinary town Council's accounts, they knew exactly what was being paid; but here they did not know what was actually being paid. He trusted his hon. friend would press his Motion to a division as a protest against this method of keeping the Imperial accounts.


said he shared the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman as to Sir George Clarke's special qualifications, and no one could take exception to the salary paid to him. What they objected to was this slipshod method of bookkeeping. There were very valid objections to the payment of personal salaries. If £2,000 was to be paid to Sir George Clarke, that salary should be fixed and continued to the succeeding secretaries; otherwise it right he a premium to another Minister to chose a less efficient secretary. There was another instance of a distinguished officer who drew a personal salary, Lord Roberts still continued to draw his salary as Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Although that distinguished soldier had a right to very exceptional treatment, especially when they con- sidered the way in which he had been bundled out of the War Office, it seemed to him that if they were going to give personal salaries to distinguished public servants, over and above their ordinary salaries, there would be a very serious leakage. He did not wish to make any reflection on Sir George Clarke or to cast any doubt on the question of his qualifications, but he protested against the system of personal salaries, and it was necessary to make a protest in that connection. There should be a fixed rule from which there should be no departure. Sir George Clarke was not the only distinguished servant the country had. There were men at the Treasury who were often consulted on matters outside their own Department. There was, for instance, the Mowatt Committee, which was entirely outside the work of the Treasury and for which no salary was given. The salary which was given to Sir George Clarke was given in consideration of his organisation of the new Department. But he would not do any more than any public servant. For instance, the Department of Agriculture was organised. but he did not know that the first occupant of the secretaryship received a larger salary than his successors. His objection was not personal to Sir George Clarke. If it were true that his services could not be secured for less than £2,000 the proper course was to make that the salary. But if it were possible to get an equally good man at a lower figure then the salary should be reduced. In any event he desired to enter his protest against the system of personal salaries.


said he wished to explain that the Committee had before it the sum to be voted for the salary actually paid to Sir George Clarke, and in another column the salary which was considered normal for the post and which would be assigned to his successor. He agreed that it was desirable as a general rule to have a fixed salary for any given post, open to review from time to time when circumstances arose, but it was not in the interest of the public service that they should be deprived of the advantage of obtaining the help of a particular man who had special qualifications for a particular post because the normal salary of the post might be in-sufficient. They believed that £1,500 normally would be a sufficient salary. If it should be found impossible, when Sir George Clarke retired, to fill the post with a really competent and able man at that salary, the Government then in power would have to consider whether they ought to propose a higher salary.


said he wished to warn the Committee that if they allowed exceptional treatment in one case they would pay through the nose for it. He did not object to this salary, but he noticed that the only advantage which the country had hitherto derived from the Committee of Defence was the payment of a new salary. A personal salary would lead to a great deal of favouritism. He knew perfectly well that if a man had a friend he thought he was deserving of a larger salary than another man. Lord Palmerston was once asked if he always gave positions to the best man, and he replied "invariably." He was then asked how he knew that the men he appointed were the best men; and he replied, "The man I like best is the best man." Personal salaries would carry the system of favouritism right through every Department of the State. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Oldham said that he did not object to the salary. He himself did. They had had organisation and reorganisation of the Army, and they now found that further reorganisation was necessary. He took exception to putting the control of these matters into the hands of civilians. His idea of the reorganisation of the Army would be that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should say what sum could be afforded, and that military experts should then give us the best result they could for the money. If they obtained half-a-dozen Japanese sergeants and committed the task to them, they would be far more likely to produce an effective and a cheap Army than the right hon. Gentleman who had said that that was his ambition. When the new reorganisation had been carried out the Army might be more efficient, but it would not be cheaper.


said that if he were as pessimistic as the hon. Member for Northampton he would be exceedingly unhappy. He could not compete with his hon. friend in his knowledge of the organisation of the Japanese Army, with which he appeared to be thoroughly acquainted. But he was quite prepared to admit, on hypothesis, that there was a good deal to be learned from the Japanese. He agreed with the objection raised in this case to the system. He did not see why the salary of Sir George Clarke should not have been stated in the Estimates as £2,000, with a note to the effect that the future salary of the office would be £1,500. He thought that £1,500 was a sufficient salary for a secretary. But he agreed with the Prime Minister that if they asked a man of the capacity of Sir George Clarke to fill the office they could not offer him less than the salary it was proposed to give him. Regarding as he did the Department as in its infancy, but with great possibilities for the future, he could not vote for the reduction moved by his hon. friend. The Estimate was a small one, but it ought to lead to a reduction of some millions in expenditure, and if it did not produce that result in a short time he should then join in the protest of his hon. friends. He regarded the Committee as having great possibilities. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean as to the manner in which its work might develop; therefore he was not prepared to vote for any reduction at present. He would judge by results, and if those results were not satisfactory he would be prepared on a subsequent occasion to take a different line.


said the Chancellor of the Exchequer had somewhat misrepresented the objection taken to this proposal. Three reasons had been urged for this larger salary, first, Sir George Clarke's personal character and peculiar qualifications; secondly, the fact that he had given up a valuable and important position in Australia; and, thirdly, that he had had to organise a new Department. If a personal salary was to be given to this office, the grounds on which that step was taken ought to be defined with the utmost precision, so that they could be referred to on subsequent occasions. If that were done it would to some extent modify his objection to the Vote in its present form.


objected to the creation of a strong and powerful office in the secretariat to the Defence Committee. Ministers came and went—the present Ministers did not, but under ordinary circumstances Ministers did come and go; the experts would have only a limited term of office, but the secretary would be always there, and if he was a strong man he would practically be Commander-in-Chief of both

Navy and Army. Any new Minister desirous of instituting a change of policy would find great difficulty in dealing with this permanent officer. He thought the proper Committee of Defence was the Cabinet—not the mass meeting of Conservatives at present so designated, but a Cabinet kept within reasonable limits: and that, he believed, was the proper body to co-ordinate the policy of the Admiralty and the War Departments.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 48; Noes, 149. (Division List No. 294.)]

Ainsworth, John Stirling Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan,W Runciman, Walter
Asher, Alexander Kilbride, Denis Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Boland, John Labouchere, Henry Soares, Ernest J.
Brigg, John Levy, Maurice Stanhope, Hon. Philip James
Bright, Allan Heywood Lewis, John Herbert Sullivan, Donal
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Lloyd-George, David Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Caldwell, James Lough, Thomas Thomas,JA(Glamorgan, Gower
Cawley, Frederick M'Hugh, Patrick A. Tomkinson, James
Churchill, Winston Spencer M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Toulmin, George
Cullinan, J. Moss, Samuel White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Murphy, John Wilson. Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Doogan, P. C. Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Edwards, Frank O'Brien, Kendal(TipperaryMid
Elibank, Master of O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Griffith, Ellis J. O'Dowd, John Brampton Gurdon and Mr. J. H. Whitley.
Higham, John Sharpe Randles, Tohn S.
Horniman, Frederick John Roberts John Bryn (Eifion)
Joyce, Michael Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Chamberlain, RtHn.JA(Worc. Forster, Henry William
Allhusen,AugustusHenry Eden Chapman, Edward Foster,PhilipS.(Warwick,S.W.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Charrington, Spencer Galloway, William Johnson
Arkwright, John Stanhope Clive, Captain Percy A. Gibbs. Hon. A. C. H.
Arnold-Forster,Rt.Hn.Hugh O Coates, Edward Feetham Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)
Arrol, Sir William Cochrane,Hon.Thos.H.A E. Green AValford D.(Wednesbury
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Compton, Lord Alwyne Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury
Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitzroy Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Grenfell, William Henry
Bailey, James (Walworth) Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim,S Gretton, John
Bain, Colonel James Robert Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Grey,Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick)
Balcarres, Lord Dalkeith, Earl of Groves, James Grimble
Balfour,Rt.Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Davenport, William Bromley Hall, Edward Marshall
Balfour,RtHn Gerald W(Leeds Davies,Sir HoratioD.(Chatham Hamilton,Marq.of L'nd'nderry
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Dickson, Charles Scott Hare, Thomas Leigh
Barran, Rowland Hirst Dilke, Rt.Hon. Sir Charles Hay, Hon. Claud George
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Dimsdale, Rt. Hon.Sir Joseph C Heath, Arthur Howard(Hanley
Blundell, Colonel Henry Doughty, Sir George Heath. James (Staffords. N.W.
Brassey, Albert Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St John Doxford, Sir William Theodore Hope, J. F.(Sheffield, Brightside
Brotherton, Edward Allen Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Hunt, Rowland
Burdett-Coutts, W. Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Jessel,CaptainHerbertMerton
Butcher, John George Ellice,Capt EC (S. Anclrw'sBghs Jones, William (Carnarvonshire
Campbell,J.H.M.(Dublin Univ. Fergusson,Rt.Hn.Sir J.(Mane'r Kerr, John
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Keswick, William
Cautley, Henry Strother Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Knowles. Sir Lees
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Fitzroy,Hon.Edward Algernon Lee, ArthurH.(Hants,Fareham
Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Percy, Earl Spear, John Ward
Legge, Co. Hon. Heneage Platt-Higgins, Frederick Stanley,Hon.Arthur (Ormskirk
Leveson-Gower, FrederickN.S. Plummer, Sir Walter R. Stanley, Rt.Hon. Lord (Lanes.)
Long,Rt.Hn.Walter (Bristol,S. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Talbot, Lord E.(Chichester)
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Pretyman, Ernest George Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G. (Oxf'dUniv
Lyell, Charles Henry Rankin, Sir James Thomas, David Alfred (Merth'r
M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Reid, James (Greenock) Tomlinson, Sir Win. Edw. M.
M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire Remnant, James Farquharson Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Manners, Lord Cecil Renwick, George Tuff, Charles
Massey-Mainwaring,Hn.W,F. Ridley,HonM.W.(Stalybridge Valentia, Viscount
Maxwell,RtHnSirH.E.(Wigt'n Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Walrond,Rt.Hn.Sir WilliamH.
Maxwell,W.J.H (Dumfriesshire Royds, Clement Molyneux Warde, Colonel C. E.
Melville, Beresford Valentine Rutherford, John (Lancashire Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Milvain, Thomas Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) Webb, Colonel William George
Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford Whiteley,H. (Ashton und.Lyne
Morgan,David J(Walthamstow Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Morrell, George Herbert Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland Wylie, Alexander
Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Mount, William Arthur Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln) Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.
Murray,RtHnA. Graham (Bute Shackleton, David James
Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Sharpe, William Edward T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Norman, Henry Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East) Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Pemberton, John S.G. Smith, Hon. W.F.D. (Strand)

Original Question again proposed.


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 133; Noes, 59. (Division List No. 295.)

Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Dickson, Charles Scott Leveson-Gower, FrederickN.S.
Allhusen,AugustusHenry Eden Dimsdale, Rt.Hon.Sir JosephC Long,Rt.Hn.Walter (Bristol,S.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Doughty, Sir George Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Arkwright, John Stanhope Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred
Arnold-Forster,Rt.Hn.Hugh O Doxford, Sir William Theodore M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)
Arrol, Sir William Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Manners, Lord Cecil
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dyke,Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Massey-Mainwaring,Hn.W.F.
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Fergusson,Rt.Hn.Sir J.(Manc'r Maxwell,RtHnSirH.E. (Wigt'n
Bailey, James (Walworth) Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Maxwell, W.J.H(Dumfriesshire
Bain, Colonel James Robert Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Melville, Beresford Valentine
Balearres, Lord Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Milvain, Thomas
Balfour,Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Ballour,RtHn Gerald W(Leeds Forster, Henry William Morgan,David J(Walthamstow
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Foster, Philip S(Warwick.S.W. Morrell, George Herbert
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Galloway, William Johnson Mount, William Arthur
Blundell, Colonel Henry Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. Murray,RtHn.A.Graham (Bute
Brassey, Albert Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Murray, Col. Wyndham(Bath)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Green, WalfordD.(Wednesbury Pemberton, John S. G.
Brotherton, Edward Allen Greene,Henry D. (Shrewsbury Percy, Earl
Burdett-Coutts, W. Grenfell, William Henry Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Butcher, John George Gretton, John Plummer, Sir Walter R.
Campbell,J.H.M. (DuhlinUniv. Groves, James Grimble Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hall, Edward Marshall Pretyman, Ernest George
Cautley, Henry Strother Hamilton,Marq.of L'nd'nderry Rankin, Sir James
Cavendish,V.C.W. (Derbyshire Hare, Thomas Leigh Reid, James (Greenock)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hay, Hn. Claude George Remnant, James Farquharson
Camberlain,Rt Hn.J.A.(Worc Heath,ArthurHoward (Hanley Renwick, George
Chapman, Edward Heath, James (Staffords. N.W. Ridley, Hon.M.W. (Stalybridge
Charrington, Spencer Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Clive, Captain Percy A. Hope,J.E. (Sheffield,Brightside Royds, Clement Molyneux
Coates, Edward Feetham Hunt, Rowland Rutherford, John (Lancashire
Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E. Jessel, Captain Herbert. Merion Rutherford, W.W. (Liverpool)
Compton, Lord Alwyne Kerr, John Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Keswick, William Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Craig,Charles Curtis (Antritm, S Knowles, Sir Lees Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)
Dalkeith, Earl of Lee,ArthurH.(Hants.,Fareham Sharpe, William Edward T.
Davenport, William Bromley Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead Smith,Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Davies, Sir Horatio D(Chatham Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Spear, John Ward Valentia, Viscount Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Stanley,Hon.Arthur (Ormskirk Walrond,Rt.Hm Sir WilliamH. Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.
Stanley,Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs. Warde, Colonel C. E.
Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Webb, Colonel William George TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Talbot,Rt. Hn.J.G. (Oxf'd Univ Whiteley, H.(Ashton und.Lyne Alexander Acland-Hood
Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M. Wrightson, Sir Thomas and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Tuff, Charles Wylie, Alexander
Ainsworth, John Stirling Harcourt, Lewis V.(Rossendale Runciman, Walter
Asher, Alexander Higham, John Sharpe Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland
Barran, Rowland Hirst Hormman, Frederick John Shackleton, David James
Berm, John Williams Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Boland, John Joyce, Michael Soares, Ernest J.
Brigg, John Kennedy,Vincent P.(Cavan,W Stanhope, Hon. Philip James
Bright, Allan Heywood Labouchere, Henry Sullivan, Donal
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Levy, Maurice Taylor,Theodore C. (Radcliffe
Caldwell, James Lloyd-George, David Thomas David Alfred (Merthyr
Causton, Richard Knight Lough, Thomas Thomas,JA(Glamorgan,Gower
Cawley, Frederick Lyell, Charles Henry Tomkinson, James
Cullinan, J. AltArtlittr, William (Cornwall) Toulmin, George
Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles Moss, Samuel Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Doogan, P. C. Murphy, John Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Edwards, Frank Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Elibank, Master of Norman, Henry Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.
Ellice,CaptEC(S.Andrw's Bghs O'Brien, Kendal(Tipperary Mid Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John O'Brien, Partick (Kilkenny)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Berwick) Rickett, J. Compton. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.
Griffith, Ellis J. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Churchill and Mr. J. H. Whitley.
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Roberts. John H. (Denbighs.)

Question put accordingly, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £2,960, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1905, for the Expenses in respect of the Committee of Imperial Defence, in the Department of His Majesty's Treasury," and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported upon Friday; Committee to sit again this day.