HC Deb 31 March 1914 vol 60 cc1024-5
19. Captain WILSON

asked the Secretary of State for War on what date instructions were given to the General Officer Commanding in Ireland that he was to give officers domiciled in Ulster the option of proceeding on leave in the event of the units to which they belonged being ordered there; whether these instructions were in writing; and, if so, why they were not included in the White Paper laid before the House?


The only instructions given to Sir Arthur Paget were those which my right hon. Friend has already stated were given to him by the Secretary of State for War on the 19th March.

Captain WILSON

Is it not a fact that, in another place, it was stated the other day that these particular instructions were given last December?


Surely that has reference to the first paper in the White Paper laid before the House, dated in December?


Why does not that appear in the first White Paper?


It does appear. It is the first paper in the White Paper. It is dated in December.


Is it not the case that in the White Paper there is no reference to the instructions to Sir Arthur Paget?


We cannot have yesterday's Debate over again in answer to questions.


asked the Secretary of State for War on what date Sir A. Paget had the interview with him at the War Office on the subject of the letter addressed to Sir A. Paget from the War Office on the 14th March; was anyone else present at the interview; did Sir A. Paget make any note of the verbal instructions then given to him by the Secretary of State for War; when was the Army Council first made aware of those instructions, and by whom; did those instructions give the option to officers domiciled in Ulster to disappear, and that they would be reinstated on conditions, and that officers who were not prepared to undertake active operations against Ulster for conscientious or other scruples were to send in their resignations and would be dismissed the Army; were General Gough and the other officers who exercised that option offered them by the Secretary of State for War guilty of any act of disobedience in so doing; and had any officer asked for that option before it was volunteered by him?


The reply to the first part of the question is, "On the 18th and 19th of March"; to the second, "Yes"; to the third, "Not to my knowledge"; to the fourth, "The Army Council were kept generally informed"; to the fifth, "Yes"; to the sixth, "No instructions were given in this form"; to the seventh, "No." I have no information as to the last part of the question.