asked the Home Secretary if he will state whether, seeing that at a meeting held at the Home Office during the summer of 1909 to consider the census of horses to be obtained by the police, and that the police were given clearly to understand that the information obtained by them should not be used for the purpose of requisitioning horses, he adhered to this resolution, considering that a circular 1452 memorandum had recently been issued by the War Office proposing to use the information for compulsory requisition, and in no other way?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Masterman)
It is not the fact that at the meeting referred to the police were led to suppose that the information they were asked to collect would not be used for the purpose of requisitioning horses if any national emergency should arise which should make it necessary to put in force the law on the subject. On the contrary, the Secretary of State is unable to understand how anyone who was present at that meeting could have failed to grasp the object for which the return was required. It was agreed at the meeting that notice should be given that the return was required for military purposes, and not for purposes of taxation; and a note to this effect in prominent type was printed on all the forms for the Return.
Was the information to be given voluntarily about the horses or was it to be given necessarily?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
That question should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War.