§ MR. HICKS BEACH (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he has received a petition signed by the majority of the inhabitants of the Island of St. Helena, praying that the garrison may not be removed from the island; and whether he still adheres to the intention of withdrawing the troops in the autumn of this year.
§ MR. HALDANE
A petition to this effect has been received. I should much regret it if the decision of the Army Council caused inconvenience to any of the inhabitants of St. Helena, but it is obvious that the Army Council ought not to recommend military expenditure which 1357 would burden the British taxpayer uselessly from a military point of view. It would be cheaper and better to make a direct grant of money. Whether this could be justified I cannot say, but my plain duty as a responsible War Minister is to reply to the last part of the Question put in the affirmative.