HC Deb 07 March 1905 vol 142 cc629-56

Motion made, and Question proposed. "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £550,000, 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 Additional Expenditure in respect of the following Army Services, viz.:—

Vote 1. Pay, etc., of the Army 985,000
Vote 2. Medical Establishments, Pay, etc. 21,000
Vote 6. Transport and Remounts 265,000
Vote 7. Provisions, Forage, and other Supplies 260,000
Vote 12. Miscellaneous Effective Services 2,000
Vote 14. Retired Pay, Half-Pay, and other non-effective charges for Officers etc. 1,000
Vote 15. Pensions and other non-effective charges for Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Men and others 2,000
Less Surpluses on other Votes -386,000
Deduct Excess Appropriations-in-Aid -600,000
*SIR A. HAYTER (Walsall)

said he did not complain of any increase in the Reserve, but he thought the present would be a good opportunity for the Secretary of State to allay in some degree the apprehensions entertained in many quarters with regard to the maintenance of the Reserve. The Reserve added so greatly to the fighting strength of the Army in the late war that Lord Lansdowne stated that the system introduced by Lord Cardwell had enabled this country to put into the field a larger and more efficient force than had ever left these shores before. There was also the economic fact that the Reservist cost only £9 per annum as against the £50 of the man with the colours. That being so, the War Office could not do better than have as small a force with the colours as was consistent with the safety of the country, and as large a Reserve as they could get. But the right hon. Gentleman had found it necessary to alter the mode of recruiting with the result that we were not getting the short-service men by whom the Reserve would be increased, but were limited to the nine-years men, who, after spending almost the whole of their time in India, would hardly be able to give a very efficient service in the Reserve. Their time in the Reserve was also limited to three years. He asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had made any calculation as to the retardation in the general progress of the Reserve caused by the adoption of the nine-years system, and the stoppage of recruiting for short service. The question was of vital importance, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be able to assure the country that an efficient, economic, and powerful Reserve was increasing in a satisfactory manner.

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

endorsed all the right hon. Baronet had said with reference to the great utility and strength of the Reserve in the late war, but he thought there was another point of considerable importance. The increase in this Vote would suggest that there had been an unexpected addition to the Reserve, but that was a practical impossibility as the number of men who would go to the Reserve in the course of the year could be calculated very closely. There might be a slight variation in the number of men who re-engaged, but the variation was so small that it could not, materially alter the Estimates, and therefore he strongly protested against an under-estimate of £10,000. He protested against these Estimates being £10,000 wrong. There had occurred a miscalculation in regard to deferred pay, and no satisfactory reason was given for it, and he did not think any justifiable reason could be given for the miscalculation in connection with this Vote. Why could they no-have these Estimates right in the first instance? Now that they had got soldiers looking after matters in the War Office he hoped they would be able to bring forward true Estimates instead of theoretical ones. He thought the Secretary of State for War ought to answer the right hon. Baronet's question about, the condition of the Reserve. They had had a vague statement about it being all right, but that was hardly sufficient. He could not pass over this Vote without some further explanation, and he begged to move its reduction by £20 as a protest against the miscalculations of the War Office.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That Item, Vote 1, Sub-head Y (Pay, etc., of Army Reserve) be reduced by £20."—(Mr. Courtenay Warner.)

MR. O'MARA (Kilkenny, S.)

said these Estimates appeared to have been prepared with the greatest possible carelessness. He agreed with all that the hon. Member for Lichfield had said upon this point. How was it that they could not tell at the War Office how many men would be on the Reserve next year, and what amount of money would be required. Why should the Estimates be out to the extent of £10,000? They never failed to hour of it when the Estimates wore short, but he should like to know what became of the savings when the Estimates were too much. What had become of the savings which must have been effected under some of the heads of expenditure connected with the War Office? He joined in the protest which had been made against this Vote because he considered a deficiency of £10,000 was most excessive, and could only have been brought about by great carelessness.


said the hon. Baronet opposite had asked a question with regard to the Reserve. He did not think a more important matter could have been raised. With regard to the number of the Reserve it stood at 80,000 men, and, as far as he had been able to ascertain, instead of there being any likelihood of a falling-off the War Office were confident that there would be an addition considerably in excess of the normal number which would raise the Reserve to 100,000 men. The hon. Member for Lichfield had asked why they could not anticipate the number that would pass into the Reserve more accurately, and he wished to know why it was impossible to make this calculation with the same certainty as other Departments. In this case they had to deal with the will and inclination of individual men, and they were absolutely unable to forecast what would be the disposition of any particular man when he had to make his choice. In an Estimate of £700,000 he thought £10,000 was not a large miscalculation. When the men had the option of passing into the Reserve or of remaining with the colours, it was impossible to forecast, with absolute accuracy, what would take place. When the enlistments were for one period and the men had no option, they could easily calculate because they could control it by preventing men going into the Reserve. There was no such possibility under the present system, and so there must remain a certain amount of uncertainty such as was represented by this £10,000.


said the fact that the right hon. Gentleman could tell them what the Reserve was likely to be next year showed that the War Office had some idea as to what would be required. They knew what number was likely to go to the Reserve, and so they ought to be more accurate. He did not think his right hon. friend's question had been answered. It was true that there would be an increase this year, next year, and the year after, because men had been enlisting on the three-years system. The question was whether the Reserve would be injured in the future when the three-years enlisting ceased. That was the point they wanted information upon, and not as to what the Reserve was going to be next year. The Secretary of State for India used his whole energies to get up the Reserve to a large number, and he succeeded at the expense of the drafts for India. They wanted to know what the expense of the Reserve would be. They knew the Reserve was increasing, for that was obvious to everybody, but they wanted to know what was likely to happen three years hence when the system of recruiting began to tell to the detriment of the Reserve. The War Office could make a fairly accurate estimate if they only took the trouble to go into the matter carefully before the Estimates were made out.


said he did not feel inclined to quarrel with the War Office because of the discrepancy in their original Estimate, because individual opinion and option amongst the soldiers must introduce a large element of uncertainty. Nevertheless he was glad that his hon. friend's Motion had given him an opportunity of asking a few questions about the Army Reserve. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would answer a little more fully the question as to the probable future strength of the Reserve when the new nine years with the colours order came into operation. They admitted that it was necessary to have recourse to strong measures for the Indian drafts. He did not know how long the right hon. Gentleman contemplated maintaining an enlistment of nine years with the colours, and three years with the Reserve. Until they knew that they could not tell what the condition of the Reserve would be in the future. The Secretary of State for India told them that they would have an unparalleled Reserve, and he would like to remind the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War that, even if it reached 100,000, that would be short of the number contemplated by his predecessor, who placed it at 150,000. He never approved or agreed with the scheme of the Secretary of State for India, and he did not quarrel with the Secretary of State for War for taking measures to reverse it, but he thought the condition of the Reserve in the future was going to be serious. Why was the full service of the soldier always limited to twelve years? Why should the period not exceed twelve years? He would suggest to the Secretary of State for War that he might to a certain extent bridge over the unusual period of nine years with the colours if he would extend the Reserve period of those who enlisted for twelve years for, say, two or three years, making the total with the colours fifteen years. That would remove a legitimate cause of anxiety as to the position of the Reserve in the future. What they did as regards the Reserve now would not operate for a considerable time, but when it did operate it would be quite beyond their control to alter it. When the three-years system had worked itself out they would find a shortage in the Reserve, and it would not be possible to fill it up until a considerable number of years had elapsed. The right hon. Gentleman might know reasons which would render the suggestion now made inadmissible, but he thought that, having regard to the condition of the Army Reserve, the Committee had a right to ask a fuller statement with regard to the future, and especially in reference to the obligations we had contracted towards India.


asked what was the calculation made by the experts of the War Office of the retardation of the rate of increase of the numbers going into the Reserve when the system of three years service was dropped and the system of nine years service adopted.


said that he had not anticipated that on the Supplementary Estimates the full policy of the Army would have been discussed, but as far as he could answer hon. Gentlemen opposite he would do so. To answer the question put by the right hon. Baronet it would be necessary to form an actuarial calculation, which would vary according to the period of time during which long-service recruiting was maintained. He could furnish it as accurately as these calculations could be made, but, of course, the contingency had been taken fully into account. The problem was to rehabilitate the infantry by introducing a number of men capable of furnishing the Indian drafts and performing the duties of their battalions. They were at present taking these men at the rate of about 500 a week, and at that rate they would have got some 30,000 men in addition in about ten months. They could not count with certainty upon that rate of recruiting throughout the whole year, for it depended to a certain extent upon the season and the demands upon other branches of the Army; but he though he was not putting the probability too high when he said that ten or twelve months would enable them, not to get the whole number they required, but so to stiffen the battalions that it would be possible to enter upon short-service recruiting. They could not, of course, eat their cake and have it. There must be a very small diminution of the Reserve in years to come in respect to these few months which were now passing; but he would remind hon. Members that chat would take effect, if at all, some eight years hence, and that the Reservists who were now going into the Reserve had nine, and in some cases ten years, to serve with the Reserve. Of course, it was perfectly obvious that, if short-service recruiting on the lines which he had recommended to the House were adopted, when the time came in the opinion of the Army Council to resume it they would, by means of the difference between the two and three years colour service, easily replace whatever deficit there might be eight or nine years hence arising from the intermission of the full entry into the Reserve during the next six months. When hon. Members took this alarmist view of the ultimate condition of the Reserve he would remind them that, taking it at the very worst and were the present system permanent, which it was not intended to be, the difference would be very small compared with the result of the old system. He did not believe that there was any ground for apprehension in this matter. In any case the ultimate reduction in the Reserve would be very small, and he was confident that, so far as it was felt at all, it would be more than repaired by the short-service recruiting which must eventually be resorted to.

MR. Mc KENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)

said the right hon. Gentleman had not replied to that part of the speech of the hon. Member for Oldham in which reference was made to the arrangement with India. Could the right hon. Gentleman reply to that portion of the speech?


said that the War Office were fulfilling their obligations to India. They were sending to India men who under the old regulations would not have been allowed to go, but that had been done with the full concurrence of the India Office.


said he presumed that the right hon. Gentleman was speaking, not of men sent out in connection with the Reserve, but men going out under the regular age.


said that was not what he was referring to. The requirements of the Indian Government were that men should have a definite time of service, and they had now waived that point.


said that the point he had to put to the right hon. Gentleman was whether the Indian authorities were not led to believe that in return for the expenditure of £700,000 a year they would be provided in future with a Reserve at home of not less than 150,000 men, who would be at their disposal whenever necessity arose.

CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)

said the question was whether the Indian authorities were not led to believe that by the expenditure of £700,000 they would be provided with a Reserve of 150,000 which would be at the disposal of India whenever called upon, and whether, in that matter, faith had not been broken with India. It appeared to him that India had been unfairly dealt with.


said the hon. Member for Oldham had asked why thy period with the colours should be limited to twelve years. He would suggest to the Secretary of State for War that the example of the Saw should be followed in the Army in regard to the period of service. The Navy took a man for twenty-two or twenty-four years, and, at the end of the period, gave him a shilling a day. What a man who was going into the Army or the Navy wanted to know was that he was making provision for life. The question he himself wanted to raise went much more to the root of the matter. What was it that justified the right hon. Gentleman at this time in asking for the extra sum of money stated in the Supplementary Estimate? Why not provide for it in the original Estimates? What new emergency had driven the right hon. Gentleman to ask the money, thereby breaking the bargain made on the original statement as between the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the country. The Committee would observe that when this item for the expenses of the Reserve came before them last year on the original Estimate, there was an increase of no less than £210,000. That was a stupendous increase. The sum asked for and voted was £690,000. Unless it could be shown that there was something which prevented any possibility of knowing circumstances which had emerged since the original Estimate was made, and which had rendered the Supplementary Estimate necessary, he meant to vote against the Supplementary Estimate. Mr. Gladstone had said that if ever a Government desired to strike at the root of the control of Parliament it was by Supplementary Estimates that they could do it.

MAJOR SEELY (Isle of Wight)

said many Members were surprised at what had fallen from the Secretary of State for War on the question of the Reserve. They now heard for the first time that it was not proposed to continue the long-service Army, and they did not know what was to come in its place. As the hon. Member for King's Lynn had said, there were many great advantages in a long-service Army; but if they were really to have a short-service Army or to adopt the new method of enlisting the Militia for foreign service, what use was there in adopting another method of enlistment? It was very unwise to change the term of enlistment often, as it disturbed recruiting. Could the Secretary of State for War state whether the term was to be reduced from nine years to seven years, six years, or what? Many hon. Members were anxious to know what was to be done, so that they might not be constantly arguing in a circle.


said that Lord Lansdowne had created in 1898 a special Reserve limited to 5,000 or 6,000 men who, in consideration of a slightly increased wage, were under liability to be called up for active service in small expeditions without the necessity of calling out the whole Reserve by Act of Parliament. Was that special Reserve in existence, and was it paid for out of any part of the Estimate the Committee were now discussing? He knew that the right hon. Gentleman said last year that we had not the power to send a single Reservist on foreign service without the sanction of an Act of Parliament, but the right hon. Gentleman overlooked this special Reserve of 5,000 or 6,000 men.


said that the right hon. Gentleman had said that owing to his having been obliged by the dearth of long-service men to send abroad a considerable number of short-service soldiers last year and this, consequently a much larger Reserve would be required this year than 150,000 men. He wanted some further explanation on the point.


said he was not a miltary expert but he had been rather surprised to hear some talk of keeping a Reserve in this country of 150,000 men for India. What provision was made for sending these Reserves to India in case of a war with Russia or a native rising, and how long would it take them to go to India?


Order, order!


said that if the Reservists were kept in this country of what use were they unless they could be sent——


Order, order! That will come under another Vote.


said that the only other use of a Reserve in this country was to defend our shores, and no one could regret any expense for that. He had been much relieved, however, when the First Lord of the Treasury said that there was no serious danger of an invasion of this country.


The hon. Member is not entitled to wander over the whole field of Army expenditure.


said that if there were to be Reserves, he took it that they were to be Reserves for a certain class of work.


I have warned the hon. Member more than once that he must be relevant.


said he had always the greatest pleasure in carrying out the ruling of the Chairman, but, with all due respect, this was a Supplementary Estimate for £10,000 for the pay of the Reserve, and he took it that that £10,000 was required to increase the number of Reserves in this country. Consequently he might refer to the use to which these Reserves might be put. Therefore he said that the First Lord of the Treasury had relieved their minds to some extent when he said that the military authorities did not think there was any need to keep a Reserve in this country to repel foreign invasion. If this Vote was carried to a division he should certainly vote in favour of the Amendment.


said it was hardly fair to the Committee for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War to allow all those questions to go unanswered.


said that a similar question to that asked by the hon. Member for King's Lynn had been asked by another hon. Member, and he had answered it so far as he could. He would defy the hon. Gentleman, if he were in his position or in that of the military authorities, to be so wise as to be able to tell at the beginning of a year how many men would remain with the Colours and how many would go into the Reserve. The hon. Member for Oldham asked a question about the A Reserve. He believed that it had lately gone up and was now 84,000 in number. The hon. Member for King's Lynn had asked why not enlist men for a longer period of service, and he cited the Navy. The position of the two services was quite different. In the Army, above all things, they wanted a great power of expansion in case of war, while he should say that in case of war the accommodation for men on ship board would diminish. It was because of the necessity of creating in peace time a large Reserve that they had to take into consideration the terms of enlistment.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

said he was one of the few Members in the House who was not prepared at a moment's notice to become Lord High Admiral of the Navy or Commander-in-chief of the Army. He knew little about the Vote under discussion, but observed that it was proposed to reduce it by £20. His great regret was that the

reduction moved was not greater. He had one system in regard to these Votes under present circumstances. There was a difficulty in getting rid of this Government, and he would act on the old constitutional principle of doing his best to absolutely refuse Supply. He therefore intended to vote for the reduction of £20 or of £20,000,000. He had no confidence in the Government; he was not prepared to trust them in any shape or form, and he was not willing to give them, if he could help it, a shilling to be wasted and squandered.


asked if the hon. Member for Lichfield would move the reduction of the Vote by £100 instead of £20.


said he had no objection whatever.


said that in agreeing to increase the reduction from £20 to £100 he hoped they would not be told by the Secretary of State for War that they were endeavouring to keep the British soldier out of £100 of reserve pay.

Question put, "That Item, Vote 1, Sub-head Y (Pay, etc., of Army Reserve) be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Courtenay Warner.)

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 204; Noes, 261. (Division List No. 28.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Buxton, Sydney Charles Doogan, P. C.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Caldwell, James Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)
Allen, Charles P. Cameron, Robert Duffy, William J.
Ambrose, Robert Campbell, John (Armagh, S. ) Duncan, J. Hastings
Asher, Alexander Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Dunn, Sir William
Atherley-Jones, L. Causton, Richard Knight Edwards, Frank
Barlow, John Emmott Charming, Francis Allston Elibank, Master of
Barran, Rowland Hirst Cheetham, John. Frederick Ellice, Cap. EC (St. Andrw's Bghs
Barry, E. (Cork, S. ) Churchill, Winston Spencer Ellis, John Edward (Notts. )
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Condon, Thomas Joseph Emmott, Alfred
Black, Alexander William Crean, Eugene Esmonde, Sir Thomas
Blake, Edward Crombie, John William Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)
Boland, John Cullinan, J. Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Dalziel, James Henry Eve, Harry Trelawney
Bright, Allan Heywood Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Farrell, James Patrick
Broadhurst, Henry Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan Fenwick, Charles
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Delany, William Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Ffrench, Peter
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Field, William
Burke, E. Havilald Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, N. E. )
Burns, John Dobbie, Joseph Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond
Flynn, James Christopher Lyell, Charles Henry Russell, T. W.
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Samuel, Herb. L. (Cleveland)
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Schwann, Charles E.
Freeman-Thomas, Captain F. Mac Veagh, Jeremiah Seely, Maj J. E. B. (Isle of Wight
Fuller, J. M. F. M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Shackleton, David James
Furness, Sir Christopher M'Crae, George Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.
Gilhooly, James M'Fadden, Edward Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John M'Hugh, Patrick A. Sheehy, David
Goddard, Daniel Ford M'Kean, John Shipman, Dr. John G.
Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick) M'Kenna, Reginald Sinclair, John (Forfarshire).
Gardon, Sir W. Brampton M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Haldane, Rt. Hn. Richard B. M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Hammond John Mooney, John J. Soares, Ernest J.
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants
Harmsworth, R. Leicester Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose) Stanhope, Hn. Philip James
Harwood, George Moulton, John Fletcher Stevenson, Francis S.
Hayden, John Patrick Murphy, John Strachey, Sir Edward
Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D. Nannetti, Joseph P. Sullivan, Donal
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Newnes, Sir George Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliff
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Tennant, Harold John
Higham, John Sharpe Norman, Henry Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.
Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E. Nussey, Thomas Willans Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Holland, Sir William Henry O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R. )
Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) 0'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Tomkinson, James
Horniman, Frederick John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Toulmin, George
Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Jacoby, James Alfred O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wallace, Robert
Johnson, John O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S. ) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Joicey, Sir James O'Dowd, John Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Jones, Leif (Appleby) O'Mallcy, William Weir, James Galloway
Jones, William (Carnarvonshr) O'Mara, James White, Luke (York. E. R.)
Joyce, Michael O'Shaughnessy, P. J. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Kearley, Hudson E. Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham Whiteley, George (York, W. R.
Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W. Parrott, William Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Kilbride, Denis Paulton, James Mellor Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Kitson, Sir James Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Labouchere, Henry Pirie, Duncan V. Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.
Lambert, George Power, Patrick Joseph Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Langley, Batty Rea, Russell Wilson. J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W. Reddy, M. Woodhouse, Sir J T. (H'ddersfi'ld
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall Redmond, John E. (Waterford Young, Samuel
Layland-Barratt, Francis Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries Yoxall, James Henry
Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Rickett, J. Compton
Levy, Maurice Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Lowis, John Herbert Roberts, John H. (Denbighs) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Lloyd-George, David Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Mr. Warner and Captain
Lough, Thomas Roche, John Norton.
Lundon, W. Runciman, Walter
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Rathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin Cautley, Henry Strother
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Beckett, Ernest William Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire
Anson, Sir William Reynell Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Cayzer, Sir Charles William
Arkwright, John Stanhope Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor
Arnold-Forster, Rt Hn. Hugh O Bigwood, James Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)
Arrol, Sir William Bill, Charles Chamberlain. Rt Hn. J A. (Wore
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Bingham, Lord Chapman, Edward
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Blundell, Colonel Henry Clive, Captain Percy A.
Bigot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Coatos, Edward Feetham
Bailey, James (Walworth) Boulnois, Edmund Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.
Bain, Colonel James Robert Bowles, Lt. -Col. H F (Middlesex Cohen, Benjamin Louis
Baird, John George Alexander Brigg, John Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse
Balcarres, Lord Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R.
Balfour, Rt Hn. A. J. (Manch'r.) Bull, William James Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole
Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W (Leeds Burdett-Coutts, W. Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Butcher, John George Corbett, T. L. (Down, North
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Campbell, Rt. Hn. J A. (Glasgow Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge
Banner, John S. Harmood- Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Cripps, Charles Alfred
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred. Rankin, Sir James
Crossley, Rt. Hn. Sir Savile Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton Ratdiff, R. F.
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hon. Col. W. Reid, James (Greenock)
Cust, Henry John C. Kerr, John Remnant, James Farquharson
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Keswick, William Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine
Davenport, William Bromley Kimber, Sir Henry Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tower Hamlet King, Sir Henry Seymour Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Knowles, Sir Lees Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Dickson, Charles Scott Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C. Laurie, Lieut.-General Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon Lawrence, Sir J. (Monm'th) Round, Rt. Hon. James
Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E. Lawson, Hn. H. L. W. (Mile End) Royds, Clement Molyneux
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks, N. R. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Lee, Arthur H (Hants, Fareham Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Duke, Henry Edward Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Laveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Llewellyn, Evan Henry Samuel, Sri Henry S (Limehouse
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R, Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.
Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ss B'ghs Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Fisher, William Hayes Long. Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East
Fison, Frederick William Lowe, Francis William Smith, HC. (North'mb. Tyneside
FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Loyd, Archie Kirkman Smith, Rt Hn J. Parker (Lanarks
Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon Lucas, Col, Francis (Lowestoft) Smith Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lueas, Reginald J. (Portsm'th. Spear John Ward
Flower, Sir Ernest Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Forster, Henry William Macdona, John Cumming Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S W Maconochie, A. W. Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lanes. )
Galloway, William Johnson M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Gardner, Ernest M'Calmont, Colonel James Stock, James Henry
Garfit, William Majendie, James A. H. Stone, Sir Benjamin
Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. Manners, Lord Cecil Stroyan, John
Godson, Sir Augustus Fredrk. Marks, Harry Hananel Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Gordon, Hn. J. E (Elgin & Nairn) Martin, Richard Biddulph Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S. ) Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh, Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.
Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Meysey-Thomposn, Sir H. M. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G Thorburn, Sir Walter
Graham, Henry Robert Milvain, Thomas Thornton, Percy M
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.) Tollemache, Henry James
Green, Walford D. Wednesbury Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Greene, Sir E W. (B'ry S Edm'nds Moore, William Tritton, Charles Ernest
Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury Morgan. D. J. (Walthamstow) Tuff, Charles
Gretton, John Morpeth, Viscount Valentia, Viscount
Guthrie, Walter Murray Morrell, George Herbert Vincent, Col. Sri C. E. H. (Sheffield
Hall, Edward Marshall Morrison, James Archibald Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.
Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer Warde, Colonel C. E.
Hambro, Charles Eric Mount, William Arthur Welby, Lt.-Col A. C. E. (Taunton
Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G (Midd'x Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)
Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry Murray, Charles J. (Coventry Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernen-
Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford) Myers, William Henry Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th Nicholson, William Graham Whiteley, H. (Ashtonund Lyne
Haslam, Sir Alfred S. Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Parker, Sir Gilbert Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Heath, Sir J. (Staffords., N. W. Peel. Hn. W. Robert Wellesley Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Helder, Augustus Pemberton, John S. G. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.
Henderson, Sir A (Stafford, W. Percy, Earl Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Hogg, Lindsay Pierpoint, Robert Wilson-Tedd, Sri W. H. (Yorks.)
Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Pilkington, Colonel Richard Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Hornby, Sir William Henry Platt-Higgins, Frederick Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Horner, Frederick William Plummer, Sir Walter R. Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Hoult, Joseph Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham) Pretyman, Ernest George Wylie, Alexander
Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham Pryce-Jones, Lt. -Col. Edward Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil Purvis, Robert
Hunt, Rowland Pym, C. Guy TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R. Quilter, Sir Cuthbert Alexander Acland-Hood and
Jameson, Major J. Eustace Randles, John S. Mr. Ailwyn Fellows.

said the Vote they were now discussing differed in some degree from those which had already boon discussed, because, although it was put down as a Supplemental Estimate, it was really an additional Estimate. It was a difficult Vote to examine, because at one time or another the India Office, the War Office, and the Foreign Office had been concerned with the events which made the Vote necessary. One curious feature of this Vote was that while it was a terminal charge for winding up events in Somali-land, it incidentally provided for a garrison which had almost become permanent. Last year there were two mentions of the Vote in the King's Speech, but no Vote; now they had the exact opposite, they had two Votes and no mention. In 1899 we were invited to take a military promenade in Somaliland. At the time this country was engaged in a military promenade in another part of Africa, and the Government did not propose to engage in two at the same time, but in 1901 we entered on our first campaign. In the campaign our arms were successful, the Mullah was defeated with considerable loss, and the local officer proposed that we should take over the local administrative control of the country. Lord Lansdowne refused to entertain any such proposition, but Colonel Sadler, the local officer, warned Lord Lansdowne that if he did not assume the administrative control he would not have seen the last of the Mullah. That was proved to be true in a very short; time. In 1902 we entered into our second campaign, when, unfortunately, the Mullah got the better of us. At this time the Foreign Office had the control, and becoming alarmed at the want of success of their military enterprise they handed over the whole thing to the War Office. The War Office immediately got hold of the services of an old Indian and Afghan fighter, General Manning, and sent him over to Somaliland with 8,000 men. But they also did another thing which had a very wide-reaching effect, and that was to invite the cooperation of the Italian nation.

In 1903 the third campaign was commenced. On March 3rd the then Secretary of State for War declared that operations would probably last four months and cost £500,000 or £600,000. On April 11th the general officer was committed by one of his subordinates to a most unfortunate engagement in which he was overwhelmed, his force annihilated, and he himself killed, while the whole expedition was endangered, disorganised, and had eventually to be withdrawn. About the time when the present Secretary of State entered upon his office, Sir Charles Egerton, an Indian officer of great experience and skill, was brought from India to take charge of the expedition, and to him was entrusted a force of about 10,000 men. So that this "military promenade" had developed into operations of considerable magnitude, involving an expenditure of some millions of money, and the employment of 500 or 600 officers, most of whom were on special employment. In December the expedition started afresh, and at the beginning of 1904 the Mullah was decisively defeated, his forces scattered, and apparently the War Office were in hopes that the whole campaign was coming to an end. The Secretary of State, however, used words of unusual caution, stating that the position was more favourable, but that if their anticipations were once more disappointed they would certainly be face to face with a campaign in the following year. In February operations ceased for the moment, but on March 10th they began again in a very desultory and unsatisfactory manner, and they came finally to an end on April 18th with the capture of Illig, a mud-hut town in Italian territory, entirely controlled by the Italian Government and of no sort of value whatever. To this obscure village we had to send a naval force, and in the course of the operations suffered loss of both men and officers, while the Italian ships and troops took no steps whatever to-expel the Mullah from the Italian territory. It was to be noted that the operations came to an end on April 18th. But if the Foreign Office and the War Office had paid attention to the original representations of their local advisers they would not have commenced operations until the middle of April, they would not have incurred one-half of the expenditure they had incurred, and they would not have been troubled with the difficulties of transport and lack of water which had brought the campaign to an end with such loss and suffering to the troops.

In the middle of April the Secretary of State for War stated that the Mullah had been routed, driven out of the protectorate and was practically without a following. He also added that in view of these circumstances it had been decided to discontinue the military operations, and to reduce the field force. That statement naturally led the House to believe that the campaign had been entirely successful, and that there was no necessity, from a military point of view, to continue the operations. But a telegram sent by General Egerton just before that date, and printed on page 48 of the Paper, showed that the real cause of the withdrawal was not success but necessity. Everybody would wish to hear willing testimonies to the valour and skill of the troops engaged, but it could not be denied that the hardships they endured with so much courage might have been mitigated, if not altogether prevented, if the advice of the people on the spot had been accepted. The country was indebted to the troops for their struggles in a thankless and arduous task, but there was not much gratitude due to the Government which directed the operations at the wrong season of the year. Then there was the question of the Italian co-operation, which, he submitted, had been expensive and was also unnecessary. From page 48 of the Paper it would be seen that the Mullah's following came from Italian and not British territory, though they raided both impartially, and representations ought to have been made to the Italian Government that it was their duty to keep their subjects under control. Had that course been taken our expenses would have been less, and our efforts lighter, while our success, he believed, would have been equally as great.

He thought it was just as well to look at the expense of all these proceedings. The Secretary of State had given several answers as to the cost of this undertaking, and he had told them that the cost was £2,494,000, but he arrived at a larger figure than that, Up to October, 1902, the cost of operations as directed by the Foreign Office amounted to £90,000. Then the sum of £2,250,000 was voted to the War Office as expenditure upon the conduct of military affairs. The Secretary of State, in an answer he gave to the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division on February 29th last year, pointed out that £200,000 of this sum came from appropriations-in-aid, and therefore it was not necessary to reckon that amount in the sum spent. Then there was this Vote for £536,000 to-day, and apparently, in addition, grants-in-aid to the amount of £159,000. These figures made up a total of £3,035,000, which was a considerable increase upon the estimate made by the Secretary of State for War. That was the sum actually spent. Appropriations-in-aid ought not to be counted in the cost, but they ought to be devoted to reducing other expenditure. Then there was this year a large administrative Vote for £78,000. What had been the result of all this expenditure? There had been four campaigns, the trade of the country had been decreased, and the Mullah was still at large.

What then was to be the future policy with regard to this country? It seemed to him that three courses were open to the Government. They could completely abandon the country, but he did not suppose they would do that; they could keep up a perpetual garrison, but economy would prevent that; or they could establish a system of administrative control of the protectorate. Having promised protection to the friendly tribes it would be a breach of national honour if they were now to withdraw it. It might be said that administrative control was a difficult thing in those wild parts, but this was not the only instance where our frontier was invested by tribes addicted to brigandage, and the whole of the Indian frontier consisted of a population of that character. In many cases those tribes were controlled by a single officer. They were all familiar with the case of Colonel Warburton, who kept the tribes in perfect order without any armed force, and when he was withdrawn the country broke out in rebellion. He believed such a system based on moral influence was possible in those regions. It had been successful in India, and was undoubtedly economical. In the King's Speech last year they were told that the Government had adopted three courses. They had dealt out rifles to the various tribesmen and put them under British officers; they had included Somaliland in the postal union, in order, he could only suppose, that the Mullah might more easily get ammunition and arms; and they had issued an Order in Council which provided for the appointment of a Commissioner. That was a gloomy anticipation for the career of the administrator in Somaliland. There was another provision which seemed to have been tempered by prudence. It was that the demarcation of the boundaries of the country was to be by proclamation. It was quite clear that so long as the Mullah was alive and at large it would be quite impossible to delimit any part of this protectorate. So far as he understood, no officer had been appointed to carry on the; Government. In the words of the Prime Minister, the subject of Somaliland was interesting and embarrassing. It was more interesting and embarrassing because of a question put from the Opposition benches which had never been answered. The question was, Will the Mullah come back? Until that question could be answered nobody could say what would be the future of Somaliland. The latest information they had of the Mullah was that he had 2,000 rifles and 6,000 spears at his back. He did not know whether the Secretary of State could give any new information as to the whereabouts of this gentleman, but it was quite clear that he was in a state of power and still had sufficient force at his back to do a great deal of damage. It seemed to him that the situation required a certain amount of prudence, foresight, and resolution, none of which qualities had been conspicuously present in the past management of this country. This was particularly the sort of question which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite always claimed that they could manage much better than the Liberals could. He had always been told that the Conservative Party could manage foreign affairs far better than the Liberal Party. The situation created in Somaliland was an actual contradiction of that assertion, for from its inception the matter had been mishandled and misconceived. He hoped that before this debate came to an end they might get an explanation from the Government without exaggeration and without reserve. He begged to move that the Vote be reduced by £10,000.

MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland),

in seconding the Amendment, said they ought to ask the Government for a clear declaration of what they thought they had won by the war in Somaliland. What results had they to show? It was the companion piece to the Tibetan Expedition. There they had some results. They had made some geographical discoveries, they had enabled some treatises to be written on an obscure Theocracy, and they had irritated Russia. In Somaliland they were not even dragging the Mad Mullah at the chariot wheels of the Secretary of State for War. The one tangible result was the expenditure of these millions. They had heard from the hon. Member for Bristol a calculation as to how much the Government had spent. How did the Secretary of State for War explain the figures which he gave to the House in the debate last year, when he stated that the expenditure up to that date was £3,000,000? The Government said they had accomplished their object. But where was the Mad Mullah? There was a curious confession during the debate last year by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon, who, when the expedition was commenced, was a member of the Government. Having left the Government, he said in the debate last year that he did not believe His Majesty's Ministers would have entered upon an expedition of that kind if they had dreamed for a moment that it was going to reach the present size. Was not that like our present rulers? At the beginning of the war they were ill-informed, hasty and over-sanguine, accepting the report of their representative on the spot without any real consideration as to whether he was exaggerating owing to the fact that naturally events occurring under his eye were of greater magnitude than they should be to the Ministry, which had to keep the whole Empire under its view. They accepted the word of comparatively obscure officials in Somaliland, and came to the conclusion that the Mullah was a serious danger and must be suppressed at all consequences. There had really been four expeditions—one British defeat, three disappearances of the Mad Mullah, and three reappearances of the same gentleman. Now what security had the Government that the Mad Mullah was not going to reappear? The stream had gone underground for a little while, but how did they know that it was not going to re-appear? Last year he was still lighting the Mijzar-ten tribe, and the Government said that there was no date at which it could be declared that military operations would be terminated. And last year Lieutenant-Genera] Sir C. Egerton reported— To actually capture a man whose whole range of movement extends from Cape Guardafui to the Equator, and from the sea to the Abyssinian border, is an almost hopeless task and could only be attained by an extraordinary piece of luck. The Government went into war as gamblers, in the hope of coming out with a streak of luck! They knew no relation between their means and the ends which they had in view. There were some things which it was worth while to do on the cheap, if they could really do them. The capture of a border raider might have been worth while undertaking if it could have been accomplished without enormous expense; but it was not worth while spending millions in hunting down a man who might be suppressed either by judicious defensive measures on the spot, or by cutting off his supplies. The Government had made no attempt to thus deal with this gentleman. On the word of the people in Somalilaud they sent out a large expedition, and the result had been an enormous loss of national money and another addition to the immense extravagance of which the Government was guilty and for which they cared so little.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item, Vote 1, Sub-head BB (Somaliland Expeditionary Force) be reduced by £10,000."—(Mr. Charles Hobhouse.)

MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)

said he thought that the hon. Member who seconded the reduction of this Vote had imported into the discussion rather a different sort of tone from that in which it had been started by the hon. Member for Bristol. It was rather unfortunate that some of his criticisms were directly contradictory of the criticisms of the hon. Member who moved the reduction, whose main charge was that the Government had not taken the advice of their representatives on the spot. A different view was taken by the hon. Member for Elland, whose whole complaint was that the Government had accepted at once the opinions of their local representatives, and had landed this country in this very heavy and costly war. He could not help thinking that the strategical notion of the hon. Member for Elland were rather crude and elementary. Curiosity as to the movements of the Mullah was not confined to hon. Members on the other side of the House. He himself was anxious to obtain a full statement from the, Government as to the results of their policy, and, of what was more important, their future policy. They had the advantage of the combined presence of the Secretary of State for War and the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the latter of whom had something to do with controlling military expeditions. He could not help observing that it was a little curious that up to 1898 the Indian Government had had charge of Somali-laud, but all those disturbances had occurred in that country after its management was taken over by the Foreign Office. Of course, our position in Somaliland was strategical, and based on general policy; and therefore the Foreign Office wished to have it under their control. They had been told in another connection that the policy of the Indian Government was a portion of a general policy of this country, and that the Indian Government was only a department of the Foreign Office. Consequently, it did not much matter whether Somaliland was controlled by the Foreign Office or by the Indian Office. However, the Indian Government had already the control of Aden, which itself controlled Somaliland. He thought that the House ought to inquire more generally as to the policy which governed in this matter. These small wars should not be regarded as a piece of the providential order of this country, or as a portion of that necessary toll which we had to pay for the maintenance of our Empire.

In all these cases it was necessary to examine with the greatest care what were the steps the necessity for which led this country into the war. The hon. Member opposite did not go into the beginnings of the case. He assumed that this country had undertaken obligations towards the tribes in Somaliland which, as a matter of honour, we should maintain. It was, therefore, all the more necessary that the real measure of our obligations in the future should be ascertained. Were these obligations to continue binding for an indefinite number of years, or could any term be set to them? He understood that the obligations were not merely undertaken for the benefit of the Somaliland tribes, and it became of extreme importance how far our protectorate over these tribes should be extended, and whether the trade of the Hinterland should be considered a matter of vital importance. Hon. Members must remember that this was a vast country; it was 500 miles by 350, and to follow a man like the Mullah over such an enormous district as that was really an impossible task, as those who had been in that country on sporting expeditions knew. He would like to know whether a really smashing blow had been delivered against the Mullah, because this was a matter of prestige. The position of a man like the Mullah depended not on the size of the force which he commanded as much as upon his religious position. This particular Mullah obtained his position, not by success in war, but his success in what might be called revivalist meetings; the number of pilgrimages he had made to Mecca and the great receptions he had met with there. There was, 0and certainly must be, an immense difficulty connected with the maintenance of order and the protection of a country like this with a large hinterland behind it. It was extremely difficult to get proper information about the country in the way it was possible to obtain it in Egypt, and it was difficult to say when a rising would occur again. In this war itself we had to deal not with one Mullah but two. And the second also showed some; military pretensions. If we had to keep a force in the protectorate it must necessarily be an expensive one, because if we had to maintain a force ready to meet 3,000 or 4,000 mounted riflemen and 60,000 or 80,000 spearmen it must be a very large one.

This brought him to the future policy of the Government with regard to this protectorate. He thought the duty of patrolling the coast so as to prevent arms being brought to the inland tribes should be divided between this country and Italy, because a very large portion of the coast to be patrolled was in the Italian protectorate. The predecessor of the noble Lord, in answer to a question, stated that the number of troops it would be necessary to maintain in Somaliland in order to secure that there should be a cordon of military stations round our protectorate was estimated at 10,000 men. That was a preposterous force to maintain in such a part of the world. What was to be the composition of the force, if a force had to be maintained? They had had descriptions of the sort of men the Somalis were for this purpose. The testimony of the men who commanded them was that the Somalis had astonishing powers of endurance, but that in many other ways they were not desirable troops; that they were an extremely excitable people, and, though they were quick to learn the use of the rifle, we undoubtedly suffered very much from having so many men who lost their heads, and whom it was impossible to control when they got into the fighting line. Therefore, it became a question whether, if we were going to garrison the country and maintain a chain of posts round the protectorate, we should not have to station permanently in the country some of the East African, or bring over Indian troops to add that stiffening to the Somali levees which was absolutely necessary for the security of the county. Asked recently as to the number of troops it would be necessary to maintain in the protectorate, the noble Lord was unable to say, but he informed the House that there were then in that country two Indian regiments and two regiments of mounted infantry, which were kept there pending the organisation of a local force.

And, it being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow.