HC Deb 03 May 1916 vol 82 cc9-10

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether, seeing that the Gallipoli operations are now at an end, that the dispatch of Sir Ian Hamilton purports to reflect on Sir Frederick Stopford, and that the inquiry for which Sir Frederick Stopford has asked may not be held for some time, will he, in justice to Sir Frederick Stopford in these exceptional circumstances, cause Sir Frederick's Stopford s report to be published; and will he inquire and state whether Sir Ian Hamilton, before sending in his dispatch, asked the War Office for a copy of Sir Frederick Stopford's report, and was he supplied with it?


As I stated on the 15th April, it is customary to publish only the dispatches of the Commander-in-Chief or senior officer in command. As regards the latter part of the question, the reports of Sir Frederick Stopford were addressed in the usual manner to the Commander-in-Chief, who made the customary use of them in compiling his dispatch.


May I ask whether there has been any report on these dispatches by the General Staff?


I do not think I can answer that. I am unaware at the moment whether that is so or not. I understand that Sir Frederick Stopford has agreed that no further action should be taken in this matter at present.


Do I understand that the Commander-in-Chief was Sir Ian Hamilton, and am I to understand that he saw Sir Frederick Stopford's report; and are we not entitled to see the materials from which Sir Ian Hamilton made his report?


No, Sir; it would be quite unusual for the materials placed in the hands of any Commander-in-Chief to be given to the public. It has never been done, and there is no precedent for any such action. The hon. Gentleman is quite right in thinking the Commander-in-Chief was Sir Ian Hamilton.