HC Deb 28 April 1913 vol 52 cc805-6
83. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the Prime Minister's statement of the 29th July, 1909, to the effect that the War Office must provide a properly organised and properly equipped force capable of dealing effectively with a possible invasion by 70,000 men, and of the opinion now held by the War Office to the effect that it would be manifestly impossible to assert with confidence that the Territorial Force only a few days after mobilisation could overcome a concentrated army composed of 70,000 highly trained European troops with all their Cavalry, Artillery, and accessories, and that the War Office now contends that the situation postulated by the Prime Minister cannot arise so long as we maintain our present naval superiority, it is the intention of the War Office to submit fresh proposals to Parliament dealing with the situation, in so far as it regards the War Office, and especially in respect of the failure of that office to make any adequate provision for a fleet of airships and aeroplanes comparable with that of other Powers?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Colonel Seely)

I cannot undertake to deal with this question in an answer to a question.

Sir J. D. REES

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that the House will have an opportunity of dealing with this matter, because it would appear that the change of front as to the problem will require a change of front as to the solution?

Colonel SEELY

There has been no change of front whatever. With regard to a Debate I understand that that already has been arranged for on the Army Estimates.


Can the right hon. Gentleman help us to understand this question by stating how many airships and aeroplanes would be necessary to bring over to this country 70,000 highly trained European troops with all their Cavalry, Artillery, and accessories?


The hon. Member should reserve those observations for Supply.