§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge that will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st day of March, 1918, for the Expenses of the National War Aims Committee."—[Mr. Baldwin.]286
§ Captain F. GUEST (Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury)
I beg to, move this Vote in Committee of Supply for the reason that, as Chairman, I may, possibly be in a better position to explain to the House the work of the Committee referred to, and the details in connection. therewith. The Vote stands for £1,000, which it must be apparent to the House is merely a Token Vote, but before giving the explanation for adopting this course it may be of greater service to explain the outline of the work of this Committee. In order to do so logically and concisely, I divide it into three heads: 1, the origin and inception of the movement; 2, the object and constitution of the Committee and its activities; and finally, some words in reference to its causes. The origin of the Committee dates from the early summer, when there were indications of considerable pacifist propaganda being fermented in certain industrial centres in England. At that time a platform was formed, and only one point of view, held, I think, by a very small section of the community, was represented. As a result innumerable requests began to take form, asking that an answer should be given. In most cases the workers of this country are too occupied with their duties to the country and to the troops abroad to study these movements, nor are they able to study the motives which may lie behind them. The Government considers itself responsible not only for the actual conduct of the War and all connected therewith, but for steadying and stiffening, if necessary, the morale of the workers at home. The Government, therefore, responded to the call that was being pressed from many quarters and undertook to set up machinery of an educative and of a satisfying character. Hence the inception of the National War Aims Committee. The objects are most clearly described in what we consider to be our terms of reference. I will read them to the House:
- (1) To assist the country during the ensuing months of strain to resist insidious influences of an unpatriotic character;
- (2) To keep the country informed of the war aims of the British Empire and its Allies; and
- (3) To support the Government in its responsible task of carrying on the, War.
§ Captain GUEST
These were the terms .of reference decided upon as a basis for inviting co-operation between the great parties in the State. The main object of the Committee was to keep before the country the causes which had led to the War, and to encourage the country to ,continue until those causes had been removed for ever. Besides those objects, they have laid emphasis upon what are not their objects, and it is important that the Committee should be acquainted with them. It is not their object, and never has been, to support or defend the Government, either in domestic affairs or in their methods of carrying on the War, much less to discuss the terms of peace or any of the means that may form the basis of negotiation at such times. Upon this basis the great political parties in the State undertook to work together. The National War Aims Committee therefore undertook to provide platforms to enable speakers of all calibres and all qualities to lay before the country, in their various ways, the fundamental aims of the Allies. There is a difficulty here which, of course, the Committee will see—that is, the exact definition of the Allies' war aims. That is not the business of this Committee for which I am responsible.
§ Captain GUEST
If the hon. Member will wait, he will hear. It is therefore left to speakers from the War Cabinet and other of our great statemen to inform the country, as I am sure they are doing, as fast as they are able. There is plenty of common ground of unity and of common purpose which can be usefully and educatively said from many of these platforms without plunging into details which are better relegated to the time when the Peace Conference assembles. The composition and constitution of the Committee have met with some criticism on one score, namely, that it does not exactly follow the lines of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee which was set up in September, 1914. That Committee was known technically as the Whips Committee. That matter was considered, but the Government decided, I think wisely, that any enterprise which they launched should be represented in the House of Commons by someone who sits on the Treasury Bench and is able to 288 be summoned whenever the House or the Committee may wish for information or there is inquiry on the subject. They therefore decided to ask one of the Whips of the Government to undertake the chairmanship of this body and the task devolved upon me. In that capacity I invited the Leaders of the great parties in the State to lend their names and aid to the movement, and the Presidents included the names of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the late Prime Minister and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow (Mr. Barnes), who at that time temporarily represented the Labour party in the War Cabinet.
§ Captain GUEST
Because the operations of the War Aims Committee do not extend to Ireland. The names of the Presidents give one a very clear indication of the strength and composition of the Committee. Each of these sections of political thought nominated a representative on the Committee. Shortly after we started operations it was found that the work was too arduous for so small a Committee, and a duplicate ensued in exactly the same ratio. That was done in order that a Member of Parliament might be chairman of each sub-committee and that the House or the Committee, if it so desired, should feel that it had a Member of Parliament here to answer any questions it might care to direct to him. The greatest care was taken to protect the movement from all political interests and to apply all available forces in this national cause.
§ Captain GUEST
The members of the Committee who joined at the commencement were the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Colonel Sanders), the right hon. Baronet the Member for Sunderland (Sir H. Greenwood), the hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Marshall), and the hon. Member for Bolton (Mr. Tootill). The Members who joined the Committee afterwards for the purpose of taking charge of sub-committees were the hon. Member for the St. Augustine's Division of Kent (Mr. R. McNeill), the hon. Member for 289 East Aberdeenshire (Sir W. H. Cowan), the hon. Member for Scarborough (Mr. Walter Rea), and the hon. Member for Halifax (Mr. J. Parker). That gives hon. Members complete information as to the composition and constitution of the Committee. Its activities are easily explained, and are as follows: In different parts of England, in some three hundred constituencies, we have either formed or are forming local committees. Our system being one of decentralisation, we are leaving to the local committees the control of administration. We find some districts press for greater activity. Some say these committees are not wanted. In the latter cases we have pressed upon the local committees the desirability of setting up this machinery as we have found that it performs the function, even if it does not hold meetings, of a channel by which legitimate grievances may be brought quickly to the Departments concerned and, as a result, we have found that quick remedies have ensued. A vast number of meetings, large and small, have been held. The lesson we have learned from these has shown a genuine demand for education and enlightenment. With a few exceptions—there are many members of the Committee who have taken part in the meetings—they have been wonderfully attended, and often attended by men who have done a long day's work before the evening came. As a result, there is developing in England a more highly instructed and intelligent determination to prosecute this War to its only possible conclusion than would have been the case if this campaign had not been undertaken. What is, perhaps, of equal importance, it has enabled us to gauge the strength, or, as I would prefer to call it, the weakness of the pacifist element in this land. We found it necessary to appoint an information and Publicity Department, in order to satisfy the public demand for authoritative statements of many of the amazing details of the War.
§ Captain GUEST
If the hon. Member will bear with me I will deal with that on the question of cost. I wish to point out in connection with this Information and Publicity Department that we have found ourselves able to be of considerable value from the point of view of economy and the prevention of over-lapping both to the War Office and to the Admiralty, each of 290 whom has had Departments of this character running for some considerable time. There is only one further head of activity to which I would draw the attention of the Committee. It has a branch which bas become, perhaps, more and more needful and interesting during the last few months. There has been an extraordinary desire manifested in different parts of England to learn and see more of the Americans who have passed their judgment that our cause is right, after having had an opportunity of making a dispassionate survey of all the events of the past few years. We have made a considerable start in that direction. I come now to the question of cost. On that subject I trust that the Committee will disabuse their minds of any suggestion or thought that the Government desire to burke this question. I trust that the Committee will pause, in view of the peculiarity of the subject with which we are dealing now, before it forces a detailed statement of all the items of expenditure incurred by the War Aims Committee. It comes under a class of expenditure which, in pre-war days, was open to considerable criticism. England adopted a peculiar attitude towards Secret Service expenditure. Before the War we were remarkable for the minute sum of money which we were supposed to spend on those services. There were two lines of thought on that subject, one that it might be false economy to starve the Secret Service, and that perhaps through doing so ignorance resulted, and another line of thought which said that if your works were just there were no reason why they should not be carried out in the light of day. Those were the arguments of the pre-war period. In a time of war, and in a most critical stage of the War, they must be revised. We know that a good deal of the immense expenditure which is carried on by the Central Empires in this respect. Perhaps it may prove that those moneys have been well invested. It may possibly be that some is circulating in these Islands, but to the best of my belief nearly if not quite all of it will be wasted. One subject that bears upon this Vote is that the House approved of a foreign propaganda, which has been conducted by a Department of the Foreign Office. It seems curious, on the face of it, that this House should cavil at a small expenditure at home on education and enlightenment during this period of the strain and stress of the War.
§ Captain GUEST
I am not responsible for any Votes of the House of Commons passed for the Foreign Office during the last two years. I only referred to the foreign propaganda in order to remind the House of what had already been done in this connection.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Captain GUEST
The House of Commons is responsible for what it has done in the past. Clearly it is not my business here this evening to defend the Foreign Office Vote, which probably covers these enterprises I feel very strongly that what the Germans most want to know is the mental attitude of our workers. They know to their cost the fierce courage and determination of our soldiers, and if by a Debate in this House on a Vote for educational purposes they were to get any idea in their head that we had suddenly had to adopt an active campaign, we will say either to oppose pacifism or to stiffen the courage of our industrial classes, they would get more satisfaction than I am sure this Committee means to give them. In the long run I lake it the burden of the War has to fall upon the civil population, and it surely is not unreasonable that the Government should consider its responsibility to that section of the community in times like these. Why should we tell them anything at all about our private affairs? It can only be elicited in a Committee such as this by those who wish to satisfy their curiosity at the moment. As Chairman of this Committee I would resist any proposal to give details either of expenditure or of personal employment in connection with this work.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Has this work any relation to secret service, and, if so, ought it not to come on another Vote?"
§ Captain GUEST
This sum of money has no relation whatever to secret service. It would not be very difficult for anyone in a foreign country to decide the proper position that two such Votes should occupy. But the House is not without 292 safeguards in this connection. First of all, every item of expenditure has been submitted to a Committee, which now consists of nine, item by item, and on no occasion has a contrary vote been recorded, but on every occasion after reasonable discussion the results arrived at have been unanimous. That Committee has far more complete knowledge than anyone else, because it is spending every week at it and ascertaining what is the market value of the labour that it finds available, and that, I think, should satisfy a very large number of the members of this Committee.
§ Captain GUEST
I have read out the names. A second safeguard is that our Estimates are submitted to the Treasury, which has taken great pains to advise us and has passed such estimates as we have been able to present for a reasonable period of time. It has done more. It has appointed an accountant to assist us in supervising and controlling expenditure. If that is not sufficient, I would remind the Committee, before it decides hastily, that only a few weeks ago they themselves set up a very powerful Committee, called the Expenditure Committee, and the War Aims Committee will have no objection whatsoever, any more than any other Department, to submitting to that body all their expenditure for scrutiny.
§ Captain GUEST
From time to time as the Expenditure Committee may think advisable. I recommend to the Committee to leave that scrutiny to that Committee and not hastily to press for details, which may lead to the production of information, which is exactly what Germany ardently desires.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am not quite sure that I follow the arguments of the hon. and gallant Gentleman with regard to his desire not to disclose what the cost of the Committee is going to be. He told us that if Germany knew that, she would think that this country had suddenly to embark on a campaign to educate the populace in 293 order to get them to continue the War. But that is what the hon. and gallant Gentleman is doing at present. Expenditure does not come in. This Debate will undoubtedly be read abroad, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech will show from the very beginning that there has been some agitation—I myself was not aware that it had any effect—which the Government thinks it necessary to counterbalance, and that it had to set up this Committee and that its aims and objects were so important and will cost so much money—this is the deduction which would be drawn from his speech—that it was not wise to disclose the amount. He thinks no members of the Committe ought to cavil at the expenditure. I do not think anyone would cavil at the expenditure. What the Commitee would desire, and what I myself hope it would insist upon, is that it shall know what the expenditure is, and instead of receiving merely a token Vote, it should be given the items of the expenditure and should have an opportunity of reviewing them and saying whether or not it thinks they are necessary or that the money has been wisely expended. It must not be forgotten that the financial position of this country is very serious at present, and you cannot go on spending money on all these Committees in the way that the Government is apparently desirous of doing and at the same time prosecute the War. There must be economy at some time. It ought to have taken place two or three years before. It must take place now if we are going to be successful in winning the War.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman said the Treasury would exercise some control. May I refer him to the report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure, ordered to be printed on 24th October? That Committee made a report upon the National Service Department and in that Department there was a campaign of a very similar kind. It was called the Publicity Campaign. It was instituted on 21st February of this year. I believe it concluded in July, having lasted about four months. The War Cabinet, I understand, took the conduct of that campaign out of the hands of Mr. Neville Chamberlain, who was Director of National Service, and put it in the hands of a Parliamentary Committee acting under the direction of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. Henderson). That Committee spent £107,804 in about four months on the publicity campaign. Mr. Chamber- 294 lain is no longer a member of the National Service Department, which has been completely reorganised, and the whole of that money has been wasted. They spent £54,041 on advertisements in newspapers. That is a very large sum to give to the newspapers in the form of advertisements. The Committee has a right to know whether this Committee is going to spend large, sums of money in subsidising newspapers. It spent £33,838 14s. 7d. on posters, leaflets and bill posting. It also spent a certain sum on what was called subsistence allowance, that is, paying hotel bills and travelling expenses of the speakers including Members of Parliament. Then it paid £102 2s. 1d. to political agents in Scotland, and £4,322 11s. 0d. was paid to political agents in England and Wales. Why should you pay £4,000 to political agents in England and Wales and only £100 to political agents in Scotland? The Committee which did this, which was presided over by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Barnes) and was composed of the Whips of the House, on both sides, admitted that the work in Scotland had been well done. Under these circumstances I think the Committee should view with a little caution an attempt to repeat an expenditure of this sort without giving any details as to what it is going to be. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said the Treasury would have some control. Let me call his attention to paragraph 56 of the Report of this Committee, which he himself has just eulogised:It would appear doubtful whether any real control over the expenditure of the Department was exercised by the Treasury.There can be no doubt that the Treasury did not exercise any control, and will not in the future exercise any control if this Vote passes in the form in which it is now. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said something about America. I do not quite see why it is necessary to set up an expensive Committee to acquaint the inhabitants of this country with the position of America and what is going on there. Americans are not too fond of being criticised, and it is quite possible that if you are going to have speakers of all calibres and all qualities, I suppose good and bad, who are to give their views as to America, you may be doing a good deal more harm than good.
I do not wish to say it may not be necessary to do something of this sort, but there are ninety members of the 295 Government, not including the private Secretaries, of whom there must be a good many. They cannot all be occupied, and surely it would be possible for some of them, and for some of the private Secretaries, to address meetings in various parts of the country without having an expensive Committee. I really do not see why political agents should be called in. I wish to enter a strong protest against this use of public money for political agents. To set up a Committee whenever anything is required, which immediately appoints secretaries who are paid, in many cases very high salaries, and a large number of other people who are paid, which has expensive offices, which also have to be paid for, and then to take money which is not accounted for to Parliament and distribute it amongst the various political agents, under the auspices of the Whips, is a very dangerous precedent, and one which I hope will not be followed. I do not want to prevent this, if it is necessary; but I do not believe it is necessary, because if Englishmen mean to go on with the War they will go on with it, whether any hon. Member, or any party agent, or any other speaker—good, bad, or indifferent—goes to tell them about our War aims. Moreover, I know that the publicity campaign for the National Service Department was a failure. My belief is that you cannot persuade or induce an Englishman to do a thing unless he means to do it. If he has made up his mind to do it he will do it, whether he attends a meeting or not. In politics I believe that meetings make no difference, although I suppose it is necessary to have them. There are very few occasions where a vote has been turned by a meeting, and I think the same holds good here.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That may be so; but I doubt whether it has been turned the right way. In the same way, no vote is really turned by a discussion in this House. I doubt whether anything more is necessary than to request various Members of Parliament to go down and address their constituents in regard to our war aims. That would seem to be far and away the simplest method of doing it. If it is necessary to do it in the way proposed, then for 296 goodness' sake let us have it done in the way in which Parliament has regularised procedure. Let us have a proper vote and a proper estimate, and let the Committee consider it.
§ Mr. WHYTE
The point in dispute may seem small; but I think it is more important than the amount of the vote would seem to indicate. I agree with a great deal that has been said by the right hon. Baronet as to the undesirability of taking a matter like this on a token vote. We have passed token votes for the fighting Services for very obvious reasons, and if the Government had come to us and said: "This is a Secret Service Vote," we should have passed it—perhaps with some criticism—but we should not have raised the objection that is raised to it now. What I am unable to see is in what department of activity the National War Aims Committee can be engaged on which the House of Commons and the country cannot be informed. The National War Aims Committee was set up in the summer, to deal with certain so called undesirable propaganda which was being conducted in this country. I quite agree that there were certain areas in which public opinion may have been misled from the point of view of the Government; but the means taken to lead public opinion on the right path in a country like this are surely means of which the Government should not be ashamed but should be proud. The fact is that the original object of the National War Aims Committee was a good deal smaller than that to which it afterwards developed. I believe the original intention was to conduct its work in the ordinary way in which the party operations are conducted in time of peace, but it extended beyond that. I am not surprised that it extended beyond that, because once you have created an organisation of this kind and have the cnance of laying your hand on almost unlimited funds, then it is very natural that it should expand. I would have had no objection to see it expand if there had been any constructive political mind brought to bear on it, but I have taken the trouble to study some of the literature produced by the National War Aims Committee, and I say that to use public money to spread some of these pamphlets throughout the country is a public scandal. The columns of the "Daily Mail" have been full of that kind of material from the beginning of the War, and if they were only going 297 to set up a kind of gramophone for the "Daily Mail," then surely they need not have separate operations at all.
There are several very useful speeches which have been reproduced by the National War Aims Committee—speeches by the Prime Minister and by General Smuts, and at least one of President Wilson's important declarations; but these were already available to the public in the cheapest possible form, and as a matter of fact were already subjects of much public consumption. Therefore, for that type of propaganda I do not think the intervention of the National War Aims Committee was necessary, nor was it necessary to provide a platform for General Smuts or the right hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith), to both of whom I think this country is under a deep debt of gratitude for their recent speeches. Some of us think that they might have gone a little further in giving a constructive lead to public opinion, but so far as they went the country is grateful for those speeches. But those speeches need not have entailed any expenditure beyond that of an ordinary public meeting, which, as we all know, is very small. Therefore, we are entitled to ask what kind of operations beyond the dissemination of literature, some of which we may like and some of which we may dislike, and beyond the delivery of important public speeches by men whose voices reach from end to end of the country—what kind of operations are necessary which demand so much expenditure that the Government apparently does not like to reveal it to the House of Commons?
I said at the opening of my remarks that the point was small, but I do not think it is really small, and I think it calls for greater explanation than has yet been given. If a point was reached in the operations of the Committee where they found that they could no longer be carried on by voluntary support, then I could quite understand that some member of the Committee would say, "If you are going to use public money you must ask the House of Commons for their sanction for that money." I should like to know, if that is the case, how that question arose in the Committee, and if the individual who raised it is satisfied with this method of seeking Parliamentary sanction. I am not criticising my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Guest). I think he was put up to make out a very weak case—a case 298 which derives its weakness not from his argument, but from its own character. I think the House is entitled to hear a little more as to the reasons why this Vote has been put down in a Token form and why the operations on which the National War Aims Committee have been engaged are of such a character that the House of Commons, members of which are engaged on this Committee, is not entitled to hear what those operations are. If I may give a hint to the Committee it is this, that public opinion is calling for a definite lead on the political side of the War. By that I do not for one moment mean to underrate the discussions which are at present taking place, and will perhaps take place, in the immediate future on the military side of the War, but I do say that public opinion all over the country is beginning to realise that if it was necessary to throw the energies of this country in such volume and force into preparations for making ourselves into a military country in order to gain victory over the enemy, then it is probably equally necessary to have the same political efforts made, not in a party sense, but in a constructive national sense, in order to prepare against the time of peace, because not only are enormous problems facing us in domestic reconstruction, but problems also face us in international reconstruction upon the proper solution of which the success of our domestic reconstruction will entirely depend. I think the time has come when the leading public men of this country should give a stronger lead than that which they have yet given to the constructive thought of this country, which is asking for such a lead, and which is not satisfied with the lead which has so far been given.
Like the hon. Member (Mr. Whyte) who has just spoken. I in no way desire to attack or criticise the hon. and gallant Member who has introduced this Vote, but I think it is deplorable that we should not know a great deal more of the particular form of activity upon which this money is being spent. I have, provided myself with a set of leaflets as I was very anxious to know what our war aims are. I have never been able to gather from speeches in this House what our war aims are, and I thought if I could get sixteen leaflets from the War Aims Committee I should be enlightened; but I have examined these leaflets and I cannot find any trace or indication of what our war aims really are. These leaflets consist 299 of speeches—not the full speeches but snippets—made by the Prime Minister, President Wilson, General Robertson and General Smuts, two pictures from "Punch," and a number of leaflets describing German atrocities. If, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman says, the object of the War Aims Committee is to stiffen the morale of the workers of this country, their morale must be in a deplorable condition if it is going to be stiffened by a set of pamphlets of this sort. I do not believe for a moment that these pamphlets are doing any good to the cause of this country or to the enlightenment of the workers. I believe they have been scattered in vast quantities with a reckless disregard of the wastage of paper. In a recent by-election a packet of no less than a quarter of a million of these pamphlets was sent. That seems to me to be out of all proportion to the value of anything that can be achieved in this way. I entirely agree with what was said by my hon. Friend as to the value of these pamphlets.
As it is the policy of the Government, rightly or wrongly, at the present moment to deliberately and diplomatically choose to declare openly what the war aims of the country are, I think it is most unfortunate that we should be asked in this House to grant an unknown sum of money to an organisation which is by way of informing the general public what those aims are and under what I consider to be a false name is circulating a great deal of useless literature. The hon. and gallant Gentleman spoke of the meetings of the War Aims Committee. So far as I have heard of any of their meetings they have not been a very striking success. In fact in a good many districts, whether from want of decent organisation or from other reasons, I hear that they have fallen extremely flat. I concur with what was said by the right hon. Baronet that Members of Parliament could address their constituents and place the case before them without any of this war aims propaganda, which really cannot be of any practical advantage. I have been connected with political propaganda in one way or another for a considerable time, and I can safely say that of all the sets of leaflets that have ever been produced, this set for sheer futility and ineffectiveness cannot be beaten, and I think it is unfortunate that we should be asked to vote so large a sum for so poor a cause.
§ Mr. J. HENDERSON
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.
My right hon. Friend opposite has given a very fair statement of the case which those of us who would like to see economy in the expenditure which is going on just now have to put before the House. My hon. and gallant Friend used the argument that there was Treasury control. I wish the Committee to understand that we have been going into this matter, I, individually, and many others, and have come to the conclusion that there is no control, in the ordinary acceptation of the word, by the Treasury. Not only that, but it is misleading. It makes the public think that there is control. Take the case of the meeting in the Albert Hall. Somebody elicited the fact from my hon. Friend that up to date they have paid £3,700 as compensation to people for coming to that meeting. My own knowledge of human nature is that there is any number of people who will come to meetings if you will pay all expenses. Where was the Treasury control there? There was none, and it is idle to say that there was. What the Treasury did was to examine the bills when they came in, but who created the bills? It was the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. They said, "Pay these expenses. We want this meeting to be a great success." The expenses were all incurred and the Treasury cannot control them. It simply controls the cheque that is going to be paid for them after they are incurred. This is the most wanton waste of money that has ever come before this House. Do you mean to tell me that the fact that the Prime Minister was going to make his great speech was not sufficient to fill the House without all that great expense? This was the solatium to all those men who came from a distance, and it was absolutely unnecessary expense. If there is one fiasco more than another in the matter of expenditure it was that of the National Service Department, which was created with great gusto in this House, and cost over £200,000. What was done? The Committee will be interested to know the history of that as an example. Mr. Neville Chamberlain was appointed, and his instructions were to get 500,000 men. He did not get that number. He spent large sums in advertising, and at last he got a large number of men, but when they came to examine them the bulk of them were found to he already employed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is a matter which arises on another Vote. It has already been discussed this Session, and it does not arise on this Vote.
§ Mr. HENDERSON
I bow to your ruling and will say nothing more about it. I only mention it as an example. To come to this matter, you do not know what this Vote is or what sum will be wanted. We know that they are going to spread over the country a large number of leaflets, absorbing an enormous amount of money at a time when we want to save every shilling we have got to prosecute the War. There is a feeling abroad that if there is any little difficulty you create a Department, give them power, make a Controller, give him a large staff, with enormous salaries, and, by spending this money, think that you are doing the right thing to win the War. It will do nothing of the kind. That is not how to spend money to win the War. It must be spent in another way. We have had experience that there is no sort of thrifty feeling on that Front Bench. They never spend a shilling where two shillings will do. They deliberately and absolutely waste the money. I want someone to come from this Committee and tell us how they spend the money. Give us an example of the first £500 or £600 which they spend. In any case we ought to have an estimate of so many meetings, so much literature, and so on—something definite. Meantime I hope that the Committee will not sanction this proposal.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I do not propose to follow the hon. Gentleman in the speech which he has just made. I agree that it is very unfortunate that this expenditure has to be made, but the cause of it is in a very large degree the activity of the hon. Member for Stirling and his friends who have spoken against it. If those Gentlemen had been a little less pernicious in their efforts there would not be any necessity for this expenditure. I have had this matter very prominently before me every morning for the last five or six months. From the reports which I have seen from our various agents in the different constituencies we learn how truly pernicious is the influence of the literature which is most lavishly distributed by these gentlemen—I do not know where they get the money from. There are many places where their propaganda has fallen perfectly flat, but there are other places where it has had an effect, and it is essential to counteract that. Whether the Government is going the right 302 way about it in bringing the matter before the House of Commons it is not for me to say, but I think that it was an honest thing on their part to do. They could have spent any money they wanted on this propaganda without coming to this House at all. They have absolute power to use the Vote of Credit in any way they please. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] My right hon. Friend knows perfectly well that the terms of the vote of credit are so wide that they could have spent the money on this propaganda if they wished. They have chosen a much more straightforward way. They have come to the House and asked for a vote—which is a token vote, no doubt—but it asks the House to agree to the use of public money for this particular purpose. Whether it will be money well spent or not, I am not in a position to say, but it is necessary to do something of the kind, and Gentlemen opposite who are now objecting to it are very largely responsible for the necessity of doing it.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
If I chose, after listening to the speech which I have just heard, and the speech in which this Motion was introduced, I might take it as a great compliment to ourselves that we have to have the whole powers of the Government directed against us and a great mass of public money spent in order to counteract what we are doing. I do not for a moment want to discuss the matter on that particular line. I want first to ask the House to realise definitely and fully what they are doing. It is quite true, we now know, that it is directed against us. That is to say, it is a political party move. You may say that we are small and insignificant. If we are, why do you bother about us? But the fact is that it is a party move. It is the use of public money for a political purpose. I am now addressing hon. Members who do not agree with me. I am asking them to realise what they are doing. If the Government had come down and said "We are going to have what we call a War Aims Campaign, and going to call on the leaders of the Opposition, as well as our leaders, to go and denounce these people with whom we disagree, and we are going to use the party funds for the purpose," I should never have risen here to complain. I should have said, "Go ahead," and that it was a natural, British thing to do. But this is a precedent of which those who are now calling it into existence will repent not too far ahead. Just consider. Here you are setting a 303 precedent of attacking, with public money, what you say is a comparatively insignificant movement Some years hence it is conceivable that there will be a Socialist Government in power. Then its war aims will not be vague platitudes, like those you put forward in your leaflets here. They will be very definite decided appeals to definite desires of great masses of the people. You are setting the precedent, which will allow the Socialist Government —or any other Government of the sort which you dislike—to use public money to work for its own party purposes. Then you will repent of what you have been doing. I do suggest to hon. Gentlemen who do not agree with us that that, in fact, is the thing that they are discussing to-night, and not whether they approve or disapprove of our particular propaganda. You talk of our spending money, and you hint that it comes from sources of which you disapprove. I have told you that you can find out. You may see our books. You can do what you like. What is the amount we spend—£3,000 or £4,000 a year. Do you mean to say that your party funds cannot deal with that agitation?
The only reason why you cannot deal with that agitation is this: The hon. and gallant Gentleman, when he introduced this, said, "We have found out that large masses of the people are taking a very intelligent interest in war aims. They come to these meetings and listen quietly and attentively, and we want to treat them seriously." Well, we have known that a long time. We have been addressing tens of thousands of our fellow countrymen, many of whom came to our meetings not in the least degree agreeing with us; but we have found, except where the Jingo newspapers have incited the mobs against us—in all in about ten cases during the War—we have found these audiences listening, profoundly interested, because we have been discussing the war aims. And, what is more, as my hon. Friend points out, they have not been paid to come. In many cases they have actually paid to come. What are you doing? You have discovered at last that the people of this country are really interested in war aims. They have been coming to our meetings, not because they agree with us—of course, they do not—but because we have been talking of peace by negotiations, and when they disagree with us it is not because we say we want 304 negotiation, but because they think that at the present moment there is no chance of it. That is why they differ from us. You have discovered that the people of this country take these things seriously, and you are putting forward these virtuous platitudes to induce them to come to your meetings. We are not afraid of you, because you are helping us by contrast. We distribute pamphlets and leaflets. Why are they read? Because they deal with things seriously. They actually deal with war aims, and the people of this country want to know, as the hon. Member for Perth said, what our war aims are. What is the use of having a war aims campaign when you do not tell the people your aims?
What are your war aims? Do they include keeping the German colonies, fighting for Dalmatia, breaking up the Austrian Empire, and carrying on an economic war? Are you putting forward the Jingo policy? Are you out for a League of Nations? I think it was an hon. Member for a Dublin constituency who said that this was a platitude. But I want to know are you out for such a policy? Are you out for disarmament? Is it a policy of no annexations that you are out for? Those are the questions which people are asking at our meetings. Those are the things they want to know. They do not want to hear your generalities about German militarism. We all hate that and we all want to get rid of it. But you are burking that and you say, "Let us have a war aims committee with a mass of public money behind it." But until you settle these questions, questions which the German people are debating, the question whether you are out for a Jingo policy or for an international policy, you will make no progress. The German Government could not possibly set up a war aims committee because it has not yet decided as between Schneidemann and von Tirpitz, and until you have decided these points your way aims committee will be useless. I implore Members of this House, whether we here are right or wrong, to consider whether it ought to have a campaign waged against us and whether the cost of that campaign ought to be paid out of the public purse? I ask hon. Members to approach that question in their capacity as Members of Parliament. It will not make very much difference how the campaign is paid for. The only thing which can make it effective will be the action of your statesmen, 305 but it will be a mistake on the part of this House if it breaks the traditions of Great Britain by helping parties out of the public purse.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I have listened with considerable amazement to the speech of the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Trevelyan). The day has gone by when I had the pleasure of supporting him. He has asked us to define our war aims on this Vote. But the National War Aims Committee has nothing to do with the definition of war aims, which must be, as the hon. Member well knows, the sole province of the Allied Governments, who are waging a common war in a common cause. We are asking this Committee to give us money. What is it for? It is an almost negligible sum of money, because it is put in the form of a Token Vote, following the ordinary precedents of the House since the War broke out. We are asking the House to trust a Committee representative of all parts of the House. We are asking them to remember that this Committee is not only composed of hon. Members in all parts of the House, but that it also includes representatives of the Whips of all parties. The Vote comes before a Committee of the House of Commons because naturally the War Aims Committee declines for a single moment to hide away any expenditure, be it £1 or £100,000, under the head of secret service or in any of the manifold ways in which money can be secured. We have come frankly down to this Committee and asked it for this Token Vote to carry on a campaign which is essential for the nation. The Vote has the unanimous support of the National War Aims Committee, which represents all parts of the House except a few hon. Members opposite. [An HON. MEMBER: "Does it represent Ireland?"] Ireland, for reasons I cannot go into, is not included in the operations of the War Aims Committee, .and therefore there is no representative of Ireland on it, but, speaking in the name of that Committee, I can say that no one would be more happy than the Committee would be to have an Irish representative on it and to have a war aims campaign in Ireland.
The hon. Member for Perth has spoken of the necessity for a constructive international programme. That does not come into our province. There is one way in which many thousands of pounds will be 306 spent by the National War Aims Committee. I think we are all agreed that the entry of America into this War is a decisive and vital factor. I do not think we could win the War without her help. The coming in of America has for the first time in history brought us into close communion with that great English-speaking democracy, and a good deal of this money is going to be spent in. entertaining adequately, for no one would wish to be ungenerous, the visiting Americans, and in sending round the distinguished American speakers who have come over here under the auspices of the American Government, not so much to give information—
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I know the hon. Member for North Somerset would be ungenerous enough to let our American visitors pay their own way, but, happily, the Government of this country is not composed of hon. Members for North Somerset. This great American Republic has come to our assistance and relief, and I for one think that public money could not be better spent than in entertaining the distinguished visitors who have come-over here. Indeed, I am amazed that the hon. Member for North Somerset, who claims to be a democrat, should take up the attitude he has done. He has voted large sums of money for propaganda in every country except his own, and in his own constituency at least such expenditure may be needed. These Americans are coming here to deal with a problem which is, perhaps, the largest international problem we have ever faced. They are coming not only to instruct us, but they are also coming to learn what we are doing in this country, and they will take back to the United States information as to Great Britain's share in the War. May I remind the House also—
§ Mr. DENMAN
Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman tell us whether the Americans are subsidising our orators in the States?
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I do not like the expression "subsidizing." We are proposing to entertain the distinguished Americans who have come over here. When we send speakers, or when any Britishers go to the United States, they are treated in a manner which, I regret to say, the Old Country has never reflected 307 towards Americans, or even towards Colonials, until the present War. This Vote will test the feeling of the House of Commons towards America. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It is easy to say "No," but I say it will test the feeling of this House towards our American visitors who are coming over to support us in this great War. We are not subsidising American orators, but may I remind the hon. Member for Carlisle that we wish to entertain them in a way which is fitting to the Mother Country.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Yes, my natural courtesy led me to do that, but I understand that the Chairman suggested to the hon. Member that he should wait his turn to address the Committee with that eloquence we are always so glad to hear.
§ Mr. DENMAN
But the hon. and gallant Member gave way. I want to ask a question. Am I not in order in putting .a question on the assumption that he has given way?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I did not observe that the hon. and gallant Gentleman did give way. But we cannot have hon. hon. Members bobbing up and down while an hon. Member is speaking.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I am sorry if I unwittingly gave rise to this difference. My natural courtesy inclined me to give way. In the future I shall be stiffened by the attitude of the Chair May I say in conclusion I hope that the Committee will not be led astray by the remarks of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) and the remarks of the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire (Mr. Henderson), who always suggest that the Government when it asks for money is desirous of wasting it. I think the Committee should have some confidence in the members of the National War Aims Committee. We are engaged in a most arduous undertaking; we are travelling up and down the country attending conferences and meetings, and many of us spend our own money in doing this work. We do it with the sole desire to assist in the vigorous prosecution of 308 the War, and that vigorous prosecution of the War is only being hindered by a comparatively small section of the community. The activities of this section seem to be intensified in certain areas. We know that quite recently in South Wales there was a very strong Pacifist movement in which pamphlets were distributed broadcast throughout the country and speeches made. The National War Aims Committee was the only possible organisation to focus the patriotic feelings of this House and country in that particular area, and it did it with great effect and with splendid results to the common cause. In asking the Committee to adopt this Vote I for one hope that they will not be moved by any remarks of hon. Members like the hon. Member for Elland, or by any feelings of false economy, as I think it is, owing to the fact that this is put down as a Token Vote and cannot be specified point by point, but that they will support the Committee the whole object of which, representative as it is, is to assist the Government in this hour, the most critical in our history, to carry on the War.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I agree with so much that fell from my hon. and gallant Friend who has just spoken that I am sorry he went on to say that in America the acceptance or refusal of this Vote would be regarded as an act of courtesy or discourtesy.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend that with the exception of a small minority the whole of this House is at one in wishing success to the work of the War Aims Committee. The question we have to consider now, however, is whether the expenditure of this body should be, first of all, defrayed out of public money, and, secondly, if it is defrayed out of public money ought the House to have before it estimates of the proposed expenditure. On the first point I would appeal to right hon. Gentlemen opposite to reconsider in a case of this kind where we are dealing with the expenditure of a Committee not proposed or sanctioned by this House—a Committee which while it is true it represents the views of the vast majority of people of this country does not represent the whole of the country—whether such a Committee ought to have its expenditure defrayed 309 out of the taxes of the country, or whether they should be defrayed out of the party funds. It has been said that all parties are in favour of the work of this Committee. That is true, and each party has in the course of its history been perfectly willing to defray the expenditure of great campaigns in order to instruct public opinion upon party questions. Cannot the great parties be called upon, then, in this vital issue to spend their money upon the teaching of public opinion, if it be necessary at all, in a manner which we all agree is of the first importance to the State? I do not know what the condition of the different party funds is at the present time, but I cannot believe if I look at the vast expenditure of my own party, the party to which I have always adhered, that if the Liberal party were able in the past to find funds to conduct a Budget campaign, a land campaign, and a House of Lords campaign, it could not now also find its share of money to conduct a national campaign in support of our war aims. I am sure that my right hon. Friend who has just come into the House (Mr. Bonar Law), and who is the Leader of the Unionist party, would be equally willing that his party funds should be used for that purpose.
§ Sir W. COWAN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that the Liberal party declined to furnish the share of money required from party funds?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I have no knowledge at all on that point, but I for my part would not lay myself open to the taunt of the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Trevelyan) and allow him to say that he is willing to pay for his propaganda and that we are not willing to pay for ours. I look upon it as in the national interests that we should pay, and I will contribute, and I am sure everyone in this House who feels the value of the work of this Committee will contribute, towards the cost. In my judgment no part of this expenditure used for the purpose of informing public opinion ought to be provided out of public funds. I am told that my own party refused to bear its share, but I understand it refused to bear its share of a huge expenditure. I cannot believe that in the present state of public feeling, with 99 per cent. of the country, in my judgment, in favour of the policy of the Government in carrying on a vigorous 310 pursuit of the War, any very huge expenditure should be found necessary, or that any of the great parties of the State would be unwilling to contribute their share. Upon the next point—namely, if the expenditure is to be defrayed out of public money ought the House of Commons to have the estimates before them—I understand that my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Guest), the whole of whose speech I did not have the opportunity of hearing, stated that it was objectionable on international grounds to publish the total amount of the proposed expenditure. I cannot agree with him, for I think that his language will convey the impression of a total far beyond anything that I understand there is any actual intention of expending.
§ Captain GUEST
My remark was somewhat distorted by the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir F. Banbury) who spoke.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I cannot help looking upon this as somewhat in the nature of a test case. The House of Commons has recently insisted upon greater economy in public expenditure. We have appointed a Committee to inquire into the expenditure. This proposal does not come from my right hon. Friend the Chairman of Committees, but if the House affirms the principle that the expenditure should be at all defrayed out of public funds I venture to put this forward as a proposal to my hon. and gallant Friend. I suggest that a Motion to report Progress be accepted now, and that the Estimate in detail be submitted to this Committee. If that Committee recommends to the House that the Estimate shall be accepted, then, at any rate, we shall have had some public representative body considering the details of the proposed scheme. For my part, I should prefer that the Estimate in full, whatever it may be, should be presented to the House now. After all, the nature of the Estimate cannot convey any information to the enemy. What we naturally want to know is what salaries are to be paid, how many salaries are to be paid, how much of the expenditure is to go in Press advertisements, how much in printing and distribution of leaflets, how many secretaries are to be employed. Really the House of Commons has a right to inquire into these matters, and, therefore, I will conclude with a suggestion of the order of merit as I see it in this case. I would say, in the first place, that I should prefer to see the whole expendi- 311 ture defrayed out of the party funds. If that cannot be done I would prefer to see the Estimate presented to the House of Commons in full. If, again, that cannot be accepted, I would prefer to see the Estimate in full presented to the Committee presided over by my right hon. Friend, and that we should have its Report before any further Vote was taken.
§ Sir EDWARD CARSON (War Cabinet)
I am very loth to intervene in this Debate, because, although I have certain connections with the propaganda, I think the matter has been adequately explained by my hon. and gallant Friend the Chairman of the War Aims Committee (Captain Guest). It is perfectly true that the original intention was when the War Aims Committee was formed, consisting, as my hon. and gallant Friend said, of all parties in the House, that the campaign should be carried on as far as possible out of funds subscribed privately. For my own part, I think if that could have been effected it would have been a most satisfactory arrangement, but it became perfectly apparent, when. you began to examine into the nature of the task which was placed before the War Aims Committee, that you could not have the matter carried on by private funds, and, indeed, when you came to analyse it there seemed to be very great objections to going about to numbers of rich people—because they were the only people at the present time who could subscribe—and to have it appear as if this were a campaign carried on only by those who had money. The matter is far too national a one to be left to any one class of rich subscribers. Hon. Gentlemen have tried to make very little of the work that the War Aims Committee has to do. I can assure them that they are quite wrong, and I think they know it. The amount of subterranean influence of a pernicious and pestilential character that has been developed, particularly within the last few months, goes far beyond anything that has yet been described in this House, and we know perfectly well from the way we have watched other countries the effect that kind of pernicious attempt to wean away the people from the national interest of this country has had in other places. So far as we are concerned, we are not going to allow it to be repeated here.
312 There is no method by which it is more easy to mislead the people of this country than the misrepresentations which are put forward from day to day, either as to the origin of the War, the aims of the War, or the continuance of the War. We know perfectly well that there is an organised system of misrepresentation by the pacifists of this country for their own ends going on from day to day throughout the length and breadth of the land, and carried on in this kind of way—that where they find families afflicted by the sacrifices that they have made, and that their sons and husbands have made, during the War, they do not hesitate to enter into the houses of many very humble people trying to influence them against the carrying on of the War, which, if successful, would have the result that the whole of the sacrifices that have been made would have been made in vain. For my own part, I have no doubt—and I think the House will have no doubt—of the necessity of the War Aims Committee. But that is not all. The War Aims Committee is concerned with trying to obtain money for the War, and is trying to push the various methods that are necessary to impress the need upon the country, with a view to sustaining the country during the long continuation of the War. It is impossible really to estimate with any accuracy the amount of work that has to be done, and will have to be done, and increasingly to be done, I have not the slightest doubt, as the War goes on, with a view to putting all the various matters and all the facts before the public. The moment you admit that this is a necessary part of war organisation—and it is just as necessary as foreign propaganda, perhaps more necessary in some cases, and certainly more necessary as the stress of the War becomes more and more prevalent —the moment you admit the necessity of such an organisation as a war matter, then I say it becomes just as national a matter as any other matter connected with the War.
When I was asked by the War Cabinet to take part in the organisation of the propaganda, not merely in the propaganda at home but also abroad, I found, as was suggested by the hon. Member opposite, that there had grown up piecemeal a very considerable number of Departments which were very much in want of coordination. I found the War Aims Committee just commencing their work on a very small scale, with such private sub- 313 scriptions as they had, and I found that an arrangement existed by which material for presenting the case to the people of this country, and which was prepared at the expense of the country by the Foreign Propaganda Department, was being sold to the War Aims Committee, so that it might be used in this country. Could anything be more ridiculous? It became perfectly plain that two branches of propaganda, the foreign propaganda and the home propaganda, ran so closely together that you really had, to a very large extent, to carry them on as one operation. We might very well have included in the general Vote for propaganda the sum necessary for the home propaganda. I would like to explain the reason why we thought it necessary to put this Vote here at all, and what this Vote will really mean. The War Aims Committee, as has already been stated, is composed of Members from all quarters of the House. Its presidents are the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Leader of the Liberal party, the ex-Prime Minister, with Whips from all branches of parties, and also some from the Labour party. A more representative Committee it would be impossible to find. As the Committee proceeded, the question of finance became of more and more importance.
Were we to go on trying to collect from a rich man here or a rich man there money to carry on this propaganda? Were we to stint the propaganda because we did not know whether we were to have money or whether we are not? Were we to allow the constant efforts of misrepresentation as to our aims, and as to the origin of the War to eat into the heart of the country, with the men coming home on leave and going to their different houses in the various districts, where the pacifist activities were greater? It was impossible to do that. I myself was only able a few times to attend this Committee, where we discussed, day after day, what was the proper method of meeting the difficulty. We all would have preferred to have had the propaganda carried on as the right hon. Gentleman opposite suggests, but there was a Committee composed of every section of the House, representing every view in the House, and that Committee was unanimous. There was no dissents from the party with whom the right hon. Gentleman is most closely connected. One member was an old Whip of that party, and another was nominated by the ex-Prime Minister himself, and with 314 the knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman, of the War Aims Committee, and of the intentions of the Committee, it was unanimously resolved that they could not properly do their duty and fulfil the trust for which they were formed unless they applied to the Government to finance the matter as a national effort. Then arose the question which my right hon. Friend has raised, Why not do it out of party funds? I should be entirely in favour of doing it out of party funds, but we applied to each party, and they refused to give us party funds. I am not saying they were wrong; party funds are subscribed for party purposes. This is not a party purpose; this is a national purpose, just as much a national purpose as carrying on the War or any other matter.
§ Mr. McKENNA
So far as I have been informed, I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is precisely accurate in his statement of what occurred. In principle, the objection was not raised to paying for the propaganda out of party funds; what was objected to was that a huge sum was asked for, and that it was not limited to a reasonable amount.
§ Sir E. CARSON
No, no; to do it inefficiently. I have a letter from the right hon. Gentleman opposite, in which he says:The estimate seems to me very high. If your Committee has carefully decided on campaigns of this magnitude, I fear that no party funds will be sufficient to carry it through.Then comes the whole question of whether we are to carry it on efficiently, and on a proper scale, according to the view of what is necessary in our opinion for keeping the country acquainted with the real facts in relation to the origin of the War, and to the pursuit and ending of the War. So far as I am concerned, I would not have been associated with the matter at all if it had been carried on in such a way as to be absolutely ineffective, in my view, for the object for which it was formed.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I will do so. That is not merely my opinion. Members of the 315 Committee represent every quarter of the House— [An HON. MEMBER: "No, not the Irish Members "]—in fact, the whole of those Members were unanimous in coming to the conclusion that the matter must either be closed down altogether or that we must ask for public funds. The right hon. Gentleman writes:There seems to be great objection that any Government should use public money for the formation of public opinion at home—which secretly uses public funds.There is no secrecy about it whatever. This is what he means, as you will see:I hope if your Committee decides to ask help from the Treasury that the Government will, as soon as the House meets, produce a supplementary estimate and give an opportunity for its discussion.Having got that, I communicated with the right hon. Gentleman the ex-Prime Minister, stating what we intended to do, and he said it would be better to do it, if we could, out of party funds or out of private subscriptions; but he did say this, that "if, however, the Committee is unanimous that it is to be done, I certainly would raise no obstacle." Then, what was our duty? We brought it before the War Cabinet, where it was again discussed and agreed to there. I at once made my position clear, that if we did it we must do it not secretly but before the House, in accordance with the recommendation of the right hon. Gentleman. So it is we put down this Token Estimate to establish the principle that it is to be done out of public funds, and as a necessary measure in the due prosecution of the War; and that is the whole case, and the whole history of the mystery of this matter.
§ Mr. GULLAND
Will you allow me to mention a matter which I think it is right you should bring out, namely, that the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger) took exactly the same line, or exactly the same line as we did.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Yes, with this exception, that we paid a certain amount of money, which I do not think the right hon. Gentleman did.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I do not know; if I knew I would tell you. What we are really here for to-night is the discussion of the 316 principle as to whether this is coming out of party funds, or public funds, or whether it is not. If it is not going to come out of public funds let it be dropped —but see what it means to allow the country to be a prey to the vilest misrepresentations, and the most unpatriotic misrepresentations, and misrepresentations made, I have no doubt, in many cases in the interests of the enemy, and certainly misrepresentations which are costing the country life after life at the front in the way in which this propaganda is being carried out by those who were never whole-heartedly in this War and who are doing their best to thwart those who are trying to carry on the War to a victorious conclusion. If the House takes. upon itself to say that is to be allowed to go on without any effort on the part of the Government let them take the responsibility. It is theirs to choose. We have put the matter plainly and clearly before them and we ask them to pass this Vote and to allow us to carry on this campaign.
Mr. T. WILSON
I do not agree with the propaganda of hon. Members opposite, but I am very much inclined to think that both the hon. and gallant Gentlemen who moved this Vote and the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken have magnified the importance of the work they are doing. I know a good deal about the country and the working men and I do not think that this work is making very much impression on the working men. In moving the Vote the hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to the co-ordination of certain committees. I put a question to the Prime Minister asking whether it would not be possible to amalgamate the various committees that were dealing with propaganda work and the reply I got was that they had decided to set up a Committee for propaganda work in connection with certain branches of the Department. I suggest that the Government will be well advised to drop the present proposal and bring forward a proposal to establish a Propaganda Committee in connection not only with war aims, but with war savings, food economy, munition workers, National Service, etc., etc. That one Committee could deal with the whole matter and that would mean economy, and very great economy, in connection with public expenditure. I have had the opportunity of going through the accounts of one of the Ministries, and things which were started in a very small way have grown to 317 thousands and tens of thousands, and in one instance to over a million. If the money is going to be spent in secret it is like the fungus, the darker the place is and the worse the atmosphere the quicker the fungus grows. If this Committee is given, practically speaking, unlimited powers to spend, you can rest satisfied that the expenditure will grow and grow until it becomes not expenditure but extravagance. I do suggest it would be far better to set up a central Committee to deal with all propaganda work. I was recently in a town, which is not very large, and I found speakers there from three different committees at meetings arranged upon food economy, war savings and war aims. That should not occur in connection with the Ministry if they had any organising ability, but they have not got that organising ability in some Government Departments.
I suggest in connection with war aims that it is absolutely ridiculous for speakers to go about the country talking about the "scrap of paper" and rights of small nations, in the fourth year of the War. The people of this country know perfectly well what the origin of The War was. What they want to know is what the end of the War is going to be. That is what they are asking. You are not in any way contributing to the efficiency of either the Army or the Navy or the civil authorities by setting up a Committee of this kind. A right hon. Gentleman dragged in the trouble amongst the miners of South Wales, and wanted to make it appear that the War Aims Committee had something to do with settling that trouble. Anyone who knows anything about the matter knows that the War Aims Committee did not settle that trouble. We know how they went to Labour leaders, and it is begging the question to drag that in as a reason why the House should agree to this expenditure. Speaking as one who has had the opportunity of going through the expenditure of some of these Committees, I have not the least hesitation in saying that their expenditure is extravagant, and that the results are not worth the money spent, and in some instances the speakers they have had on War aims and other subjects have really done more harm to the cause than good. Therefore I appeal to the Government not to press this Motion now, but to report Progress with the object of considering the matter and of seeing whether it is not possible 318 to bring forward a proposal to set up a Central Propaganda Committee. There would then be no overlapping. I cannot see why they should not give us an estimate of the amount required in connection with this propaganda and publicity work. In my opinion parts of the speech made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken supply the very people he is condemning with material for an excellent attack and pamphlet in favour of the propaganda work they are doing. It seems to me to be a speech extremely unwise and beside the point.
I say without the least hesitation that the working men of the country know what was the origin of the War, and have an extremely good idea of what are the aims of the country in connection with the War, and what the War is about. So far as I am concerned I have been and am prepared to do my utmost to, assist the Government in propaganda work. I have done a very considerable amount without being consulted by any of these Committees. I would like to suggest that a Committee dealing with such, a big subject as this ought to be, practically speaking, always available in London. What do we find? We find many members of this Committee knocking about the country away from London for a week, or weeks, together, at a time when they ought to be here looking after the work. They have their expenses paid, a subsistence allowance granted to them, and motor-cars provided for them. They ought really to be seeing that other people are doing the work they are attempting themselves to do—and doing it not very well at that! Without the least hesitation, I say, in the best interests of the country, the Government will be well advised to report Progress and bring forward this matter in an altogether different form.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
The speech to which we have just listened has given us a very good indication as to why, at any rate in certain quarters, the establishment of a War Aims Committee is approved, and why unlimited funds are desired from the Treasury, to be spent in secret. We are told of those concerned who go about speaking, getting a subsistence allowance, and doubtless not a very modest one at that, touring the country in motor-cars, in days, too, when the ordinary man is not able to use his motor- 319 car because he is not permitted to have petrol. We can understand that by this class there is great enthusiasm for the maintenance of this Department. However, I only intervened because I thought I should like to say that I would object if any of the speeches made from this bench led to the suggestion that we were criticising this proposal because we wished to prevent, or had any desire to prevent, the operations of the War Aims Committee. Speaking for myself, I should be delighted if this propaganda went forward. I am sure the more the endeavour is made to present to the community the War aims of the Government the better it will be. Only it should be done properly. For instance, I have heard in many parts of the country of speakers from the War Aims Committee addressing meetings, and after firing off their speech, which I presume is supplied to them, when the interesting time came at which questions are generally asked, and when somebody rose to put questions the gentleman who has addressed the meeting has informed his Audience that his instructions from head quarters were that no questions were to be answered; that speakers were prohibited from answering questions. When you are spending money on men to deliver speeches and no questions are permitted I think both the right hon. Gentlemen at present occupying the Treasury Bench will know and allow that this money and effort are wasted so far as the conversion of the audience is concerned. I heard the other day of a speaker who appeared to be a very important personage. He went down to address a War Aims Committee meeting. He was asked a question by a miners' agent. His only answer was to reply in a flippant manner. For this he was compelled to apologise to the audience.
I do not deny the community and the public the entertainment these speakers provide for them, but I think it should be thoroughly well understood—at any rate, my view is—that the supposed need for this expenditure does not arise from any activities of the opponents of the War or of war policy so much as from the blunders of the Government itself. The tremendous change of feeling that is taking place in the country is due, I should say, in the first place, to the profligate expenditure on the part of the Government, to the profiteering that is going on, to the plundering of the public 320 by privileged private individuals. It is by this that all this feeling is being aroused against the Government. People do not want to be ruled any longer by the right hon. Gentleman who addressed us, by Lord Milner, by Lord Curzon, or even by the Prime Minister himself, especially after the speech that he delivered yesterday has sunk well into the public mind. If that be so, what this fund is going to be used for is not to promote the objects of the War, but for the purpose of keeping this Government in office. As time goes on it will be more and more a huge secret fund, being used for what are corrupt political purposes. It will be taking the taxpayers' money for the purpose of keeping certain people in office. Like the last speaker, I think we should have an Estimate for this money presented to us so that we may know exactly where every penny piece goes to, who is paid for the purposes of this propaganda, and the amount paid to each individual.
It is on that point I raise my objection. I do not object to propaganda, for I believe in presenting the best case you can to the people. It is the cost I object to. Again, I want to ask this question of the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench in charge of these proceedings. Are the war aims of all the Allies going to be presented to the people? I want to know whether you are going to tell the people that, for instance, the war aims of the Russian Government, "no annexations and no indemnities" are the real aims; or is it only such war aims as are approved of by you? Any opposition I might have to the expenditure of this money would be greatly modified if I thought the Government were going to present to the people of this country a declaration of the war aims of our great Ally Russia; or, on the other hand, are you going in this direction? The intervention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College is an intervention as a sort of controller-in-chief of this propaganda, and it arouses some rather interesting points. I should like to ask whether the war aims as presented are to be such war aims as he declared a few weeks ago. For instance, are they the aims presented by the right hon. Gentleman when he spoke of the conquest of the left bank of the Rhine which was to be the boundary of France, and that the Saar Valley was to be conquered for France? One may well ask these questions because it has been discovered that the organ of the Com- 321 mittee that exists in France to support this policy, "La Rappelle," has been financed to the extent of £16,000 by Bolo Pasha. I want to know whether the right hon. Gentleman is going to use public money for similar propagandist purposes in this country which was provided for by Bolo Pasha in France? The object of this, of course, is quite clear. The German expansionist party is financing jingo papers, jingo organisations, and jingo war policies for the purpose of stiffening the back of their own people. Perhaps we may get some information as to who are determining our policy—whether the War Cabinet have decided amongst themselves what are our war aims. However, my chief point really is: seeing what is the position of the Government to-day, its rapid falling-off in public opinion, will this money not be more and more utilised for the purpose of endeavourng to popularise the Government? If so, it will be a very corrupt business.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
The hon. Member who spoke from the Labour Benches made, I think, a valuable proposal that we should have one central committee for co-ordinating the propaganda work. The difficulty, I understood, of such a committee is this: For instance, take the Munitions Department. They naturally know the best speakers to influence the munitions districts, and they prefer to keep their own propaganda in their own hands. The hon. Member for Hanley (Mr. Outhwaite) has just made a speech full of captious criticism, such as we are accustomed to from him, and dealing with war aims like the hon. Member for the Elland Division (Mr. Trevelyan). I do not propose to imitate them. It is a subject on which they have often been beaten in the Division Lobby, and would probably be beaten in their own constituencies if they challenged them on that point. The hon. Member for the Elland Division said that this expenditure was a precedent for every Socialist Government that came afterwards, and therein he showed his inability to understand the difference between a Government at war and a Government at peace. It is no precedent to any Government that comes afterwards because a Government in war has to spend money on propaganda work in order to defeat the attempts of the enemy to corrupt public opinion. The sum in question is really trivial as compared with the 322 sums we are spending on the War. I do not suppose it amounts to a fraction of what we are spending on the War in a day, and yet we have seen in Italy and in Russia the tremendous influence of enemy propaganda work in breaking down the spirit of the people by its campaign in the dark. It would be quite impossible for my hon. and gallant Friend who moved this Vote to come forward here and say how much money they were going to spend on propaganda work. They have to meet sudden emergencies. I believe—through what machinations I do not know —they had to meet the sudden emergency of the "down tools" policy in the Welsh coalfields. I do not know what would have been the result if we had had no meetings in the Welsh coalfields. But it is public property that a great number of meetings were held there, and it is certainly public property that the "down tools" policy was decisively defeated. It is the case that, in constituencies which are remote from the War, the difficulties that we have to face are not so fully appreciated as they are on the Eastern coast, where the circumstances of war are nearer, where many more soldiers are passing to and fro, and where we are subjected to raids. It is quite possible, in the view of the Government, that nothing could have more assisted the enemy than a successful issue to the "down tools" campaign in the South Wales coalfields. Everybody knows the sort of criticism to which the Government would have been subjected had that proposal not been defeated by a decisive majority, and it was found that they had carried on no propaganda work whatever in the chief towns and villages. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary for the Government to have a central committee for dealing with this sort of thing. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Sunderland pointed out one phase of the propaganda work of the War Aims Committee. We are now honoured by a visit from a number of distinguished gentlemen from America, and in connection with their meetings the War Aims Committee has to meet expenses. I cannot imagine anything more calculated to encourage the spirit of the people of this country than that those gentlemen from America should be brought into close contact with the constituencies. They bring the good news from a far country of the immense effort which America is going to bring into this War from next 323 spring onwards, and I think it was said in the Proverbs, "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."
§ Mr. KING
There has been a good deal of ignorance displayed in the course of this Debate, but of all the ignorance the most striking instance I noticed was that of the right hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), who, speaking early in the Debate, asked .why should the political agents be brought in? He did not mind the propaganda, but he said, "Why bring in the political agents?" Does he not know it is because the political party funds have dried up, and the party Whips have got a number of capable and very deserving people on their hands, and they must be paid, and they must be employed? You cannot find the money, and your people in the country will not find the money. What must you do? Go on the taxes, and I take it the reason why this Vote is put down is very largely to find very nice payments and very easy work for a large number of party agents.
§ Mr. KING
In indoor relief—sitting in an office. But, I take it, the fact too that we have got no figure put down is because they dare not face the question. What is the total amount that they propose in the correspondence that has passed, part of which was read just now? The amount is freely stated. I have heard it from different quarters to be far above £100,000. Of course, it is absurd to think in these days that Liberal or Conservative party funds would give £50,000, but when the sum was far above £100,000 of course it was out of the question to expect to get it from the party funds. To put down now £1,000 as a Token Vote, when they have got elaborate estimates all mapped out, which have been sent to the party organisers of each side, and carrying it far above £100,000, I say that is almost dishonest—an absolutely dishonest way of announcing it. About the salaries to be paid, there are a number of statements going about, because, of course, when you get a number of people employed knowing one another's salary, you cannot keep those salaries secret. I am told that one salary being paid is £1,500, another £1,000, and three others of £800. There 324 you have got five salaries amounting is all to £4,900, or nearly £1,000 apiece. Will the hon. Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin) deny that I am stating the accurate figures? He knows perfectly well that my figures are accurate. It is, I. say, a perfect scandal, a mass of jobbery to bring forward a proposal like this and. say: "Oh, those horrible pacifists have driven us into this movement and have compelled us to spend all this money. "I will tell you what it is that has given the pacifists, as you call them, an immense impetus in this country now. It is not the speeches and the pamphlets that are published. Remember, there are practically no pacifist newspapers. They are either suppressed or raided, or a ban is put upon them, or in one way or another circulation is prevented. So you have the whole of the Press against this pacifist movement, and yet you say, pacifism is increasing. I. will tell you why. It is because of the incapacity of the Government. It is because of the waste of the Government. It is because you have a. Government like the present Government in office nearly now a year. It came in and started a huge loan of money and called it the Victory Loan. Who calls it the Victory Loan to-day? And if next month, or the beginning of January, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has to bring out another loan, and ask for £1,000,000,000, do you think—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir Donald Maclean)
The hon. Member must not seize this occasion for a general indictment of the Government.
§ 9.0 p.m
§ Mr. DAVID MASON
I have listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) with amazement. It is the most astounding utterance we have ever had from the Front Bench. I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman is not here, but I think the House itself was amazed at the revelation made in that speech when the right hon. Gentleman referred to the origin of the raising of these funds for propaganda purposes. Out of their own mouths the Government admit that to use 325 public money for political propaganda is a crime, and that it is vicious and unsound. We hear of correspondence with the Chief Liberal Whip of the Opposition and other Whips, including the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger) trying to get funds from Party organisations to begin this propaganda. That itself is a condemnation of this Vote, and it indicates that this was not a matter which ought to be charged upon the taxpayers. A question was asked about the reference to this Committee, and if the hon. Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin) is going to reply, I hope he will inform us when this reference was passed by the House of Commons. I do not remember it coming before the House, and if he can remind us of the occasion many of us will be very glad to hear when this expenditure was authorised. This Vote is just on a par with many transactions of the Government. We are invariably asked to ratify and confirm actions which the Government enter into without our authority, and they merely come to us to confirm those transactions. The hon. Member who moved this Vote said the money was not intended to be used for the defence of the Government in the conduct of the War, nor was it to be used for defending the Government in their domestic legislation. I confess that it is a very difficult matter, when using public funds to support a Government, to know where to draw the line. Policy is involved in the carrying on of the War. There is no difference of opinion in regard to Belgium, but in regard to Alsace-Lorraine and other complex problems of the War, there will be a very considerable diversity of opinion in this House amongst many of us who supported the War in its inception in regard to Belgium. Our money is being used for propaganda work by a Coalition Government who have their own ideas as to the aims of the War. We have great difficulty in finding out the war aims of the Government. There may be considerable sections of the community who may approve of a satisfactory settlement which includes the complete evacuation and restoration of Belgium, and yet who may protest against the carrying on of a great bloody war for a question like Alsace-Lorraine or the future of Poland? They are not able to make their voices heard, but their money and the money of their 326 constituents is being used by the Government for a propaganda desired by the Government. There are eight or ten hon. Members on the second bench opposite who represent a considerable section of opinion in the country, and though the House may not agree with their views, you have no right to use public funds to advance a propaganda which is not in accordance with the views which they are not allowed to express in this House. That seems to me to be a most vicious principle. As the hon. Member for the Elland Division (Mr. Trevelyan) said in a very powerful speech, it is a premium on corruption. Once we admit this principle we cannot tell where it will end It would just be as reasonable for a Socialist Government to use public funds on propaganda for abolishing all interest in land in order to convert the rest of the community to their views, and according to this principle if they did that they would be perfectly entitled to do so.
It is not a question of a pacifist majority, but it is a question of subscribing to a great principle. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University presented a pitiful exhibition this afternoon when he was explaining one of the most extraordinary proposals we have ever heard from the Front Bench. He says that ours is the responsibility. The Government are responsible for the conduct of this War, but he says that the pacifist minority are undermining, thwarting, and corrupting the opinions of men in this country, but he gives no examples to prove that very serious and grave charge. If I may offer my own personal views again as to how I came to the conclusions which induced me to support the War in its inception as being a just war, I may say that I came to that conclusion and formed my view as to the various causes which led to the War not from reading pamphlets, hut from documents published by the Government themselves. That is where you may find some of the causes which led to this War, but of course they do not justify the action of Germany in Belgium. I have never excused that action, but if we have to go into the origin of the War it is not necessary to read pacifist literature, for you only need to read the dispatches. I would recommend hon. Members to read the British Blue Book and the French Yellow Book. They will find in the French Yellow Book, in the very first 327 dispatch from the French Attaché to the Secretary of State in Paris, ample evidence of one of the principle contributing causes of the War, namely, our collusion with France and the tearing up of the Treaty of Algeciras behind the backs of Germany. That did not excuse Germany invading Belgium, but it was one of the contributing causes of the War. It is not necessary to read the leaflets of so-called pacifists, though I have never seen anything in them to which I should take exception. I have, as I say, formed my conclusion from our own Blue Books. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University said that these hon. Members and the associations with which they were connected were engaged in going into the houses of people who had lost and suffered by the War and, as it were, undermining their confidence in their country. Having made such a grave charge, he should certainly be pressed to give chapter and verse and actual proof. I very much doubt it. I cannot conceive of any hon. Member or of anyone having any such influence What can he do? How can he undermine the confidence of people? We are entitled when a Minister and a member of the War Cabinet makes such a grave charge to press for chapter and verse before he can expect us to believe anything so grave. I should like, as we are voting money for war aim purposes, to say something with regard to those war aims themselves. I have the greatest difficulty in following the speeches both of the Prime Minister and of other eminent speakers and ascertaining exactly what are our war aims. I am very anxious to know what is the policy of His Majesty's Government. There are many people in the country who desire to know exactly what we are fighting for. We are now asked to vote this money for propaganda work.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Obviously, it is not in order on this Vote to discuss the whole question of war aims.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
If that were so, the whole question of the war policy of the Government might be discussed, 328 whereas this is a mere question of whether you should employ an agency for that purpose.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
What opportunity will there be of discussing what is the purpose for which we are voting this money? I should be glad if you could tell us what opportunity there will be for ascertaining what are the war aims which are to be advocated at a cost altogether indefinite and unlimited.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I have had the good fortune or otherwise during the last month of hearing very many Debates on the subject of war aims. There are Votes of Credit, Consolidated Fund Bills, and other opportunities of debating the whole general policy of the Government. I cannot possibly allow it to be debated now. The question here is simply whether the House approves of this machinery being set up for propaganda on behalf of war aims.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
On the Education Estimates we can discuss the whole question of education in this country. That is the origin of the Estimates. If the object of this Vote is the propaganda of war aims, then by that analogy we surely ought to be in a position to discuss the war aims of this country. I cannot see how we can be debarred from doing that according to the Rules of the House.
§ Mr. MORRELL
May I respectfully submit that hon. Members are entitled to urge the fact that the expression of out war aims is unsatisfactory as an argument for not supporting this Vote. Unless a Member can take advantage of that, it seems to me that he may have no good reason for not supporting it. I do not say that he should discuss all the war aims, but I do suggest that it must be open to speakers to say whether they consider the war aims as expressed by the Government, are satisfactory or not.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That is just exactly what it is not open to the Committee to do. There has been a discussion now proceeding for the best part of an hour and a half, and it has been well within the limits of order. If I were now to allow the Debate to widen out into the whole question of the war aims of the Government, there would be no limit to it at all. The hon. Member who is now in the possession of the Committee has been in the House the greater part of the time, 329 and he must have noted the line on which the discussion has proceeded. It is on those lines that I would ask him to continue
§ Mr. MASON
I must, of course, bow to your ruling, but if we are asked to vote money for war aims, surely we should be allowed to discuss those war aims. We cannot vote money blindly without knowing what it is for. We are here for the purpose either of rejecting or of voting for this Estimate. Do you suggest that we are not to discuss why we should vote for it, or whether we approve of it? Are we really to say nothing with regard to the object for which the money is being asked? Is that your ruling?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I have quite sufficiently indicated what is my ruling. Up to the time that I spoke the hon. Member was in order. If he has no more to say on those lines it is perhaps just as well that he should close his speech. But if he intends to pursue the line that I ask him not to pursue, then I must ask him to cease addressing the Committee.
§ Mr. MASON
As I say, I must bow to your ruling. We are asked to vote an unlimited amount for war aims propaganda, because this is a Token Vote, and I think we ought to have some justification for giving practically a blank cheque to the War Aims Committee to enter into very large expenditure for objects which, according to your ruling, we are unable exactly to ascertain. I think we are justified in protesting against this procedure. Our financial position is a very grave one indeed, and we are entitled to know the extent of our liability. We have had no estimate from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University, or from the hon. Member who moved this Vote (Captain Guest) as to what this expenditure is likely to amount to. We have no check, and we are asked to vote for this blindly. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London said that we required to exercise strict economy. We have had a Committee of this House appointed for the purpose of enforcing economy, yet the Government come down and ask us to give them this Token Vote, while we are prevented from discussing what that Vote is for, and we have no idea of its extent. We are entitled to protest against that procedure. As the right hon. Baronet has referred to the financial position of the country, I do 330 not know whether I should be in order in claiming that as a justification for delaying this Vote. I saw the other day a reference to the position of our finances with regard to America, which I thought worth submitting to this Committee. It is a very grave one, and should make us pause before we enter into this transaction, to which, apparently, there is no limit. The statement I refer to gave the actual figures of our indebtedness to the United States of America, and I was surprised to find that it has now increased to some £372,000,000.
§ Sir W. COWAN
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member not obliged to confine himself, under your ruling, to discussing the question whether this money should be voted for the purpose indicated?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I thought the hon. Member had just concluded the illustration he was giving, which dealt with the large expenditure of public funds, his contention being that this Vote was an addition to it. If he is going to labour the argument on the question of finance, he will understand himself that it is obviously out of order.
§ Mr. MASON
If the hon. Member had listened to what I said he would have heard that I prefaced my remarks by saying that I did not intend to say more than I have already said, and that I hoped I should be in order in referring to it, as it was relevant to a discussion of finance. My remarks are necessarily much curtailed because I had intended to advert at some length to the object for which this money is being voted. One hon. and gallant Member said that any opposition to this Vote would be taken as a discourtesy towards America.
§ Mr. MASON
But his argument was that we objected to anything in the nature of hospitality being shown towards American visitors at this time. That is entirely beside the point we are discussing. No one in this Committee would take any exception to giving hospitality to Americans, distingushed and otherwse, who visit this country. That is not the gravamen of our attack at this time. Our attack is—it has been well put already in the Debate—that public meetings are being conducted with public money for the propagation of a policy of which in part we approve, but of which we do not 331 entirely approve. When you begin to use public money for the purposes of propaganda, you must necessarily get out of touch with a considerable section of the country. Even although that section may be small at present, it may increase, and you are doing what is corrupt, vicious, and unsound. For these reasons I shall certainly support the negation of this Vote if we go to a Division.
§ Mr. BUXTON
I propose to deal with this Vote from the point of view of those of us who desire to see the conduct of the War and the conduct of war diplomacy run efficiently. From the point of view of efficiency alone, on that ground, which is strictly relevant, I have no complaint to make of the Government carrying on a propaganda of its aims. We must expect that a Government, in the conditions in which we find ourselves to-day, will, of course, do so. It will propagate its ends, and incidentally, no doubt, it propagates its own interests. There are, however, two or three things which ought to be considered, even if we assume that the general policy is right. The late Prime Minister prefaced one of his speeches the other day on this very subject with the very true remark that propaganda for encouraging the country to stick to its War aims is entirely unnecessary. The country knows its aims, and the money from that point of view, according to the late Prime Minister's theory, is thrown away. That seems to me to be really the case. I desire to point out the methods by which this is done. I am not sure whether it is right to use a Latin quotation, even if one understands it, but the one quotation which comes to my mind when I look at the pamphlets produced at this Committee, is"Est modus in rebus."There is such a thing as good form. I cannot see that the method pursued is at all worthy of the cause or of the Government which is using the many tracts issued by the War Aims Committee. Let me give the grounds on which this criticism is founded. If you examine the particular tracts, I must say that the style is decidedly unworthy of the great crisis in which we are. I do not know whether we need go so far as Mr. Bernard Shaw, who declared lately that no speech worthy of high statesmanship had been produced in this country in the course of the War, but at all events the Government must admit that these tracts are not worthy. 332 I do not know who wrote them. Surely it is possible to get these things better done. Apart from the charge which will probably be used by our Allies that these tracts are in many cases couched in schoolboy language, I have another objection to them. When the scheme of the War Aims Committee was propounded and circulars were sent all over the country, a letter went to the local chairmen, and it also went to the agents. It is a somewhat painful point to make, but it ought to be made, that there was, quite unworthily, in the letter sent to the agents, a suggestion that their efforts in this patriotic direction would lead to a particular pecuniary reward to them. I do not think that was at all worthy, and surely we need not be open to the charge that patriotism was not enough to prompt the political agents of this country to do their best to promote general war aims! I know it was resented by at least one agent with whom I am very familiar. Something has been said about the possible reception of views on this matter in America. There is one feature of the tracts put out by the War Aims Committee which bears upon this point. The language used in many cases is markedly hostile to the language which has been most carefully used by President Wilson. I mean that the tracts do not commit themselves definitely to particular aims in the war settlement. They are mainly of a negative character. They are mainly of a highly critical and would be destructive character in regard to the enemy. We could all sympathise entirely with that if it refers to the German Government, but President Wilson has made very great efforts to draw a distinction and to explain that he is appealing to such moderate and constitutional elements as there are in Germany. These tracts are not in harmony with that view, and I think criticism might quite justly be brought in America against the wording of the tracts on that ground. Another objection I wish to make is that they are not accurate. They profess to describe the aims which we hold, but these aims, as we know from speeches of Ministers, change from time to time. It is only a few weeks since the Prime Minister used a very important formula. He said, "Let the enemy give us restoration and then we will talk." Those were his words. But these pamphlets use an entirely different term. They cannot, in the form which they take, be an accurate representation of the views of the Government, and I think their 333 drafting is extremely unworthy of the case. If this method is used at all, surely it could be done at least in a fashion worthy of the sacrifices and the high patriotic traditions of this country.
§ Mr. T. DAVIES
I wish to explain why I feel obliged to oppose this Vote. I have supported nearly everything which the Government has put before the House in order to prosecute the War at whatever cost, but it appears to me that we are going to incur further waste, after the very wasteful things the Government have done, which can have no possible effect on our winning the War. The setting up of this machinery and the circulation of these pamphlets cannot be any good to the prosecution of the War. The Government appears to have got an idea that by talking loudly enough and wasting sufficient money the War could be won. That is not the way to win the War. We have had quite enough of these Committees and we have spent quite enough money uselessly, and that is the chief reason which I have against voting any more money in this direction. We have heard to-night that some of the gentlemen who went to South Wales and thought they had stopped the strike did nothing of the sort. I know South Wales pretty well, and if those gentlemen did anything they set the miners more against the Government than they were before, and to say that any of those who went down there for the War Aims Committee helped in the slightest degree to get the miners to vote on the right side is moonshine. [Interruption.] I know South Wales better than the hon. Member.
§ Mr. DAVIES
No doubt the hon. Gentleman has been there and made speeches and has done some good—at any rate in his own opinion. This will not help us to victory over our enemies, and the aims of the Government should rather be to conserve our energy and our finances than to waste them. £1,000 is asked for to-night. It will be £10,000 in a week's time, £100,000 in two months' time, and £500,000 in six months' time if we allow the £1,000 to-night. It is not the £1,000, it is the principle of giving away money to men who go all over the country with salaries ranging from £1,500 down to £1,000 and £800, and all sorts of expenses which run into tens of thousands of 334 pounds for carrying on this propaganda. It is all very well for ladies and gentlemen to subscribe to funds of this kind to carry out a propaganda for principles which they believe in. If the Government, with its hundred members, wants to carry on this propaganda, let them fork out, let them give the money and do not ask the taxpayers to pay it in order to keep them in office. This is the first time I have voted against expenditure for war aims of any kind since the War commenced, but we have come to a time now, after money has been so wastefully spent, when we have to make a stand, and therefore I make no apology for opposing the Vote.
§ Mr. MORRELL
It is a remarkable fact that in this Debate, in which we have had expressions of opinion from all parts of the House and from persons who take the most profoundly different views with regard to the War, we have not yet had a single speech in support of the Government except from the gentlemen who are themselves members of this Committee. [Interruption.] Perhaps one. We are to-night being asked to vote an indefinite sum of money for a perfectly indefinite purpose, and the House of Commons is indeed being degraded by the Government in being asked to take a course of that sort. The Debate, at any rate, has had one advantage. We have got to know incidentally something of the sort of way in which this money will be spent, something of the purposes and something also of the sort of amount which will be required. The right hon. Gentleman who was once Chancellor of the Exchequer said, without contradiction from the Government Bench, that the amount which was going to be spent in this way was a huge sum.
The sum was so large, as we know now, that all the party funds put together were not found to be competent to provide. The sum was so large that it was useless apparently to appeal to the patriotism of rich private individuals, although the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Government admitted that that would have been the right course to pursue. It was a very large sum, and it was found that they could not provide for it effectively without drawing upon public funds to carry on this propaganda. How is the money to be spent? It is to be spent in large salaries to political agents, and some of it is to be spent in paying the expenses of Members of this House. I think that is 335 the way to corrupt modern politics. There are salaries of £1,500, £1,000, £800, and large expenses, with no sort of check from the Treasury or from this House. We have had already an example which has been pointed out during this Debate, in the Albert Hall meeting, of the way in which money is spent. There an economy meeting was addressed by the Prime Minister which cost £3,200 in the expenses of those ,who attended it.
§ Mr. MORRELL
My hon. Friend says there is more to follow. I dare say that is so. At any rate, that gives us an example of the way in which money will be thrown away and squandered by this War Aims Committee. We are told that it is necessary to have all this vast expenditure because of the propaganda of my hon. Friends who sit beside me and of a few other hon. Members of this House. We were first of all told that the House is so unanimous that it is right to pass this and put it upon public funds, and then we are told by another speaker that it is because the propaganda of a section of this House is making such headway that it is necessary to have this vast unknown expenditure out of public funds in order to meet that propaganda. I will tell the Government what is the real reason of this vast expenditure. It is because of their own incompetence that this money has to be spent. They know that perfectly well. It is because of the widespread and profound misgivings in this country as to the way in which this War is being conducted, a misgiving that will not be allayed by the speech of the Prime Minister reported in to-day's Press. The Government know that it is their own incompetence that makes it necessary to go through the country trying to persuade the country that all is going on for the best. They have already got the whole of the Press at their command, and they have all the paraphernalia of government. They have all the ordinary processes of public meetings, and they have got Members of this House to support them, who are apparently ready to go down to the constituents at any moment to make speeches telling them how well the War is being conducted and what a great victory we are to have. But that is not enough. We are to have all this corrupt 336 expenditure of public funds into the bargain. It is because the Government know that they are being found out by the country, and that the Government know the way in which the country is regarding the conduct of this War, that the expenditure of this money is necessary. The Government know perfectly well that all through the country there is a growing feeling that the original objects for which we went to war have long ago been altered, exceeded, and expanded. There is a growing feeling that now, if diplomacy had been properly carried out, and if the War had been properly conducted, the country might have been able to get an honourable and lasting peace. It is against that feeling that the Government are trying to make this last and desperate effort. I tell them they will fail, as they deserve to fail. They will fail and they will fall, and they have done their best to corrupt public life meanwhile.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I want to put one or two questions to the Minister who is going to reply on behalf of the Government. I do not often have the privilege of agreeing with the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), but to-day I think he put an unanswerable case in opposition to this Vote, and especially when he demanded that the amount of the Vote should be stated. I do not believe for a moment that it is necessary in the interests of this country, or because of any information that will be given to the enemy, to conceal the amount that is to be spent on this form of propaganda. The action of the Government shows that this secrecy is unnecessary. With regard to the Vote for Secret Service, no Token Vote is used, The actual amount of the Vote for Secret Service during the War is stated in this House and is voted. Why is it necessary to bring forward this Token Vote to-night and to pretend that it is in the interests of the country and to prevent news getting to our enemies? I do not believe a word of that explanation. I desire to be helpful to the Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] Perhaps it is presumptuous to imagine that a private Member can be of the slightest assistance to this Government. It is not often that I have the temptation to offer any help to the Government, but to-night I desire to make one or two helpful suggestions to the Government. If these great amounts are being expended upon the literature that 337 is provided, and which is the medium for this propaganda, then the Government is not getting value for its money. I think it would be very interesting, and the Committee has a right to know, who writes these wonderful pamphlets that are circulated in such extraordinary quantities throughout the country. I saw a little time ago in his place the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Pratt) and I thought at first that the hon. Gentleman was the author of them. But I decided that he was not the author because, having read the communications which he makes to the Press from time to time, I felt that had he written them he would have written them with far more literary artistry than is displayed in these pamphlets.
The Chief Whip (Captain Guest) is a little embarrassed. I trust the Chief Whip is not the author of these pamphlets. I will give way at once if he wishes to deny that he is the author of them, but I see that the Chief Whip preserves a discreet silence as to the authorship. I suggest to him that his Committee is not getting value for their money if they are paying any considerable sum for these crude utterances, although they are embellished in the case of the pamphlet I hold in my hand with a very fascinating picture showing a naked gentleman, representing, I believe, our patron saint, St. George, putting his foot into a dragon's mouth, so that the dragon can take a nip at it with the least possible inconvenience to himself. This naked gentleman is also trying to hit the dragon with a very short wooden staff which will not reach the animal by some yards. This literature is unworthy of this country. It is unworthy of any country. It makes an appeal to what, after all, are happily the fleeting passions that sometimes sweep over the world. I would rather, if this Committee is to be set up, and is to continue to receive these huge secret votes of money, that it should put forward a great constructive programme, showing us how peace may be kept through all the ages. I would rather that it dealt with that war aim which has been dealt with by President Wilson, and that it showed how by a League of Nations absolute disarmament and adequate international machinery for preventing war we can be delivered from the horrors that have overtaken the world. I would urge the right hon. Gentleman not to use this propaganda to increase the 338 hatred of the world, but to make it constructive, and to show us how all may be led into the paths of peace.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
The hon. Member who has just spoken, before he reached that Ciceronian peroration which pleased, himself so much, came out in an entirely new light. I never heard him before come forward as a humorist, but he was very successful to-night in amusing the hon. Gentlemen opposite. He also came forward as a literary critic. Whether or not he has any qualification for the part of a literary critic I am unable to say, but I. do not think—I can speak perfectly disinterestedly, for I have no hand in the matter myself—that the authors of the pamphlets to which he has referred are likely to be much perturbed by the criticism which he has passed upon them. But, as he has given his opinions of some of the literature produced by the War Aims Committee, perhaps he will allow me to say a word or two with regard to the literature which he and his Friends have produced. The hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Trevelyan), speaking earlier in the afternoon, appeared to me to accept the pacifist literature in bulk as the work of himself and his Friends. He spoke in the first person plural as the party against whom the propaganda work of the War Aims Committee was directed. Therefore, I do not think I am doing him any injustice if the leaflets and pamphlets which have been produced by the various organisations of a pacifist nature are attributed to him and his Friends. Now, there has been a great deal of talk this evening about expenditure on an object which is not worth the money. The hon. Member below the Gangway opposite spoke very vehemently just now about the scandal of spending public money on an object of this sort. I am sure that hon. Members have little idea of the sort of literature which has been spread very widely in this country. I have seen a great deal of it. It is quite true if you were to take it paragraph by paragraph and sentence by sentence it is very difficult to say that there is any paragraph or sentence against which a prosecution could be directed or even perhaps any very strong exception urged. It is only when you read a complete publication that you see the clever, insidious, subtle way in which it is endeavoured to undermine the whole spirit with which this nation is conducting this War in 339 order to suggest that our cause is unjust, that the real truth about the origin of the War and its objects has not been truthfully stated by the representatives of the nation, whether the present Government or the last Government or the one before that, and that that has been subtly suggested in such a way as to spread an atmosphere likely to undermine the morale of our people.
I will give one single illustration of the sort of thing I mean. I hold in my hand a leaflet which is in the form of a sort of catechism. I find Question 4:What about the air raids on inoffensive people?The questions are supposed to be put into the mouth of what we should call a patriotic person, or at any rate one who represents the dominant opinion of the nation. The answer, as in all catechisms, is intended to express the truth.They were not made upon inoffensive people, but as a reprisal for the attempt to starve women and children, and against a nation at war and at work, making every kind of weapon of warfare.In that answer the aim is to suggest, to inculcate, that these air raids, which have excited such an amount of just indignation throughout this country, are, as the Germans profess them to be, reprisals for our making war by blockade on starving women and children. Is it to be said for a moment that an attempt of that sort, to put forward the German case on a question of fact of that sort, and to undermine the whole spirit with which this nation is carrying on the War, is to go unchallenged by the Government? In the next question, the questioner says:But the Germans attacked us first.The answer is:No, England declared war against Germany first on the 4th August, 1914.There again you have the whole case of the origin of the War reversed, largely by implication. None of the facts are gone into; but the suggestion is made that, because we made war first by declaring war against Germany, we were the aggressors in this War, and that the righteousness of our cause, on which the whole nation has been building itself, is a sham. Is it really to be said that that sort of thing is to go on, and that the Government of the day is to take no notice of it?
Here we have the nation, not absolutely unanimous or we should not have the hon. Gentleman opposite and we should not have these leaflets, but we have the nation 340 as the present Prime Minister, the late Prime Minister, and all the leading men of the day have testified from time to time, as nearly unanimous as any nation ever was, or more united in the belief that they are carrying on this great War for a just cause and with good reasons, and we have an attempt here to instil into the public mind drops of poison. Is it not the right of the nation to supply itself with an antidote to that poison? That antidote can only be supplied by the Government, which is the mouthpiece of the nation, and it is not merely the right but the duty of the Government when they find this sort of thing being spread about the country to take the matter up and see that the people are not misled in this way. The hon. Member for Elland objected to this propaganda work on the ground that it was doing political work out of public funds. Quite true, it is. You may even say that, in a sense, it is doing party work out of public funds It is a party on the one hand composed of a small body of gentleman and their followers who are deliberately attempting to frustrate the will of the nation and to paralyse its arm. On the other side you have a party which is composed of the nation itself. Under these circumstances the Government is bound to take stock of what is going on and to exercise all its powers to see that the efforts of these people do not meet with success.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
I had no intention of intervening in this Debate until I came into the House and listened to the denunciation of expenditure of the War Aims Committee which was attempting to throw ridicule on the work which is being done by that Committee. It was done by him while assuming the attitude of a detached and perfectly disinterested Member of the British Legislature. It was a lofty attitude which he took up when attacking the propaganda of the War Aims Committee. But that propaganda has been imposed on the country by the conduct of that hon. Member and his associates who have had the luck to be treated cheaply by those responsible for the administration of the criminal law in this country. I say to the Government that if the Home Office had done its duty, if the Public Prosecutor had done his duty, and if the Law Officers of the Crown had done their duty by my reading—and I speak as a lawyer—by my reading of the Defence of the Realm Act, that hon. Gentleman and his associates connected with the 341 pacifist movement would now be in penal servitude for high treason instead of being free to come on the floor of the House of Commons and to criticise with semi-humour the expenditure of money on war aims. I noticed that the applause for the humorous touch came from them, and they are still all smiling. I say to them quite deliberately that I have just come from a great and turbulent campaign in South Wales which has only been made necessary by their utterly unpatriotic and treasonable conduct. They are most of them university men of great education, but they have not scrupled to go down into a great seething population of workmen who have not had the advantage of their education and to talk to them in language which is treasonable and insidious in order to try and bring about what they have been glorying in the prospect that they were going to bring about, a great dislocation of industry among the Welsh miners by their propaganda. But they have been mistaken for practically every pre-war miner in South Wales, in spite of their propaganda, has voted in favour of combing out.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I am sure the hon Member does not wish to misrepresent an opponent. I am only intervening by the courtesy of the hon. Member because of what he said at the beginning of his remarks. He referred to me, and I have to say what he probably does not know—that I have never made any speech at all about the War, that I have not spoken in this House on the War, and that when I rose to speak on the Consolidated Fund Bill the hon. Member and his Friends had not the fortune or the misfortune of hearing me. Therefore his remarks are wholly and entirely inapplicable to myself.
I am not surprised that the hon. Member should start apologising, but, at any rate, he has given utterance to a speech to-day just after his return from the United States without even consulting his constituents, and it is perfectly notorious that the hon. Gentleman is very closely and personally associated with hon. Members who now sit on that bench.
§ 10.0 P.M.
My remarks were intended to apply to the hon. Members on that bench who, if they have not thought fit themselves to personally go down to South Wales to face the music, 342 have instigated and paid agents to go down there for that purpose. I entirely exonerate the hon. Member for not going down to face the anger of the average patriotic miner in South Wales, but I do not exonerate some of his colleagues on that bench from the charge of instigating other people to go down there and take their chance of stirring up sedition and of possibly getting a vote which would be taken more or less as justification of their attitude as Pacifists. What I want to say is this, if the Government had really taken a firm attitude, if they had dealt with substantial bodies of people, whether trade union organisations or committees of so-called Democratic Control, or other bodies, if they had taken up the same attitude in the administration of the criminal law with regard to these people as they have taken in respect of isolated and quite unimportant individuals, then quite a different story would have to be told to that which has been told. As I understand the hon. Member, he criticises but does not question the origin of the money that is being used by the War Aims Committee, and he criticises the uses to Which that money is being devoted. But with regard to himself and his colleagues I do two things: I question the origin of the money and I criticise the purpose to which it is being devoted, and I say advisedly to the Law Officers of the Crown and to the Home Secretary that if they will do their duty, if they will investigate the accounts of certain propagandist bodies with which hon. Members opposite are associated—I know myself, and I am talking advisedly, I know the South Wales mining community as well as any person in the country—I say this deliberately, that for the purpose of bringing about this dislocation of trade, for the purpose of getting an adverse vote on the combing-out process, for the purpose of securing a vote in favour of a strike, there have been thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds spent by the Pacifist people in South Wales and by Syndicalist people as well.
I go further and say to the Government that there have been scores and scores of active agents who, if they were working full time, would not have been earning more than £3 10s. per week, but who have not been working full time, and yet, according to proof which I can put before the Law Officers of the Crown, have been spending in treating other people any- 343 thing from £15 to £40 per week. I shall be prepared to put before the Law Officers of the Crown particulars of individuals who are accredited agents of the pacifist group. I shall be able to produce proofs of their expenditure, and I call upon those responsible for the administration of the criminal law of this country—and I speak particularly to those on the Government Bench—to make inquiries as to where this money has come from. This I know, and know quite absolutely, that there has been money spent in great streams in South Wales, the like of which we have not had with the ordinary Syndicalist propaganda of the four or five years preceding the War; and when one hears hon. Members coming here and in a detached attitude, in an attitude of disinterested representation of the purity of the public life of this country, criticising the application of money through the War Aims Committee, I retort upon them and say, Disclose the origin of the money by which you have carried on so wicked, so mischievous, and so highly treasonable a propaganda as you have for six months past.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
I do not know quite to whom the denunciation of the hon. Member who has just spoken was directed, but as I spoke earlier in the evening I take it as against myself. There is only one organisation with which I am connected, and that is the Union of Democratic Control. That organisation, I think, two years ago said, through my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling (Mr. Ponsonby), that it wished and desired the Government to send down any authorised agent to look into its accounts. That still holds good, and, so far as that organisation is concerned, the hon. Gentleman's accusation is absolutely and totally untrue. There may be other organisations.
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
I am speaking for one, and I say that with regard to that organisation the accusation of the hon. Gentleman is totally and absolutely untrue.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I must ask leave to reply to the statement made by the hon. Member (Mr. Edwards) because he coupled my name with it. I have only to say to the Committee this, That so far as the hon. Member referred to me there was not a word he said that was true, or re- 344 motely true, or that had any connection with the truth. I am not a member of any organisation that he referred to, I have taken no part whatever in any such mythical campaign as that to which he, refers, and therefore, unless he desires to give currency to what I now tell him so far as he represented me as having been engaged in some treasonable business, to quote his own words, in stirring up strife, and, to quote his own words, in engaging in conduct which should be rewarded by penal servitude—I say all those statements are false, and that if he now repeats those statements so far as I am concerned he is repeating lies, and statements that he knows to be lies. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, order!"] I trust there is no ambiguity at least about my language. I therefore resume my seat with this statement: That there is not a single reference that has been made to, me that is true in any degree whatsoever.
I said that I understood the hon. Member was associated with the Gentlemen on that bench, and in that he acquiesced. I put the further point to him that his constituents had repudiated him. Why have they done so?
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
The hon. Member really makes his most monstrous misrepresentation worse by his interruption—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think I. must remind time hon. and learned Member who spoke just before the hon. Member who is now in possession of the Committee that it is the custom of this House when a motive has been imputed to an hon. Member to accept his explanation.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
In accordance with your ruling, Sir Donald Maclean, and in accordance with the statement I have made, I await the hon. Member's unqualified withdrawal.
I thought that I was well within the usual order of the House I made certain statements. I gave way purposely to the hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Whitehouse), and his having sat down I stated that I did not accuse him of having got directly at South Wales, but I did associate him with the hon. Members of the pacifist group on that bench, and in that the hon. Member acquiesced. The doctrine which the hon. Member has talked here to-night and that which he has talked outside are similar, 345 and that doctrine coincides with precisely the doctrine of that Bench with which I said the hon. Member was associated, in which statement he acquiesced. If he will simply say he is in no way associated with the conduct or doctrines of the pacifists on that Bench, then I will certainly withdraw in the most unqualified way.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Notwithstanding the fact that we are living in very troublesome and exciting times, I think the ancient Rules of this House should be observed. I allowed the hon. and learned Member to make a general charge of treasonable conduct. So far as I could gather he did not identify any particular Member of the House with that description, but when such a charge is closely identified with a Member and he denies it, I really must ask the hon. and learned Member, in accordance with the ancient and well-tried traditions of this House, in all sorts of times, to accept it.
With the profoundest respect for the observation to which you have just given utterance, Sir Donald Maclean, may I be just allowed to say this—
I certainly will withdraw that which I ought to withdraw. I say without the slightest qualification that the Committee of Democratic Control, of which hon. Members on that bench are members, have been preaching pacifism in such a form as amounts to treason in South Wales. I say that definitely, and without the slightest qualification. I have just come through the most turbulent campaign in my lifetime in trying to get the miners to vote the right way, and I have been met every time with the doctrine preached by that bench. What I said was that the hon. Member (Mr. Whitehouse) was associated with that bench, and with that he agreed. If he now tells the Committee that he is in no way associated with them, then I will
§ absolutely withdraw. But, having agreed that he is associated with them, and having found that their work in South Wales, that went to the extent of assisting in the proposal that the miners of South Wales should "down tools" to prevent any further recruiting from the mines, then I do not think, with very great respect, that I am called upon to withdraw.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I shall now, with very great respect if I may, put to you, Sir Donald Maclean, a point of Order. The hon. Member opposite has stated, and associated me with the charge—has stated that I, with some other persons, have been guilty of encouraging sedition, of stirring up a strike in South Wales, of treasonable propaganda, and of conduct that would be worthy of penal servitude. I have stated, in reply to that, that there is not a word or shred of truth in any of those statements so far as they refer to me; that I have not spoken in public; that I am a member of no society agitating on those lines; that I know nothing whatever of those matters; and that I have not subscribed to nor received any money for those purposes. The hon. Member has been invited by you, Sir Donald Maclean, to withdraw this very abominable statement. In reply to your ruling, Sir, he pretends that, because I am associated with Members of this House pleading for a negotiated peace, I am making what is a treasonable propaganda.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I ask the hon. and learned Member to accept the statement of the hon. Member now in possession of the Committee.
I withdraw everything that I imputed to the hon. Member in association with any treasonable propaganda in South Wales, in spite of his statement that he is associated with those who were mixed up with this propaganda.
§ Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £900 be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 22; Noes, 132.347
|Division No. 109.]||AYES.||[10.20 p.m.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Buxton, Noel||John, Edward Thomas|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||King, J.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts., Cricklade)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.H||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Moltene, Percy Alport||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Morrell, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Nuttall, Harry||Whitehouse, John Howard||Mr. John M. Henderson and Mr. David Mason.|
|Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling||Fleming, Sir J. (Aberdeen, S.)||Parkes, Sir Edward E.|
|Amery, Captain L. C. M. S.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Archdale, Lieut E. M.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)|
|Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Goldsmith, Frank||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Pratt, J. W.|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Hayward, Evan||Raflan, Peter Wilson|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)|
|Benn, Capt. W.W.(T. Hamlets, St. George)||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. George H. (Norwich)|
|Black, Sir Arthur W.||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Hill, Sir James (Bradford, C.)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bowerman. Rt. Hon. C. W.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rowlands, James|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rutherford, Col. Sir J.(Lancs.,Darwen)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hudson, Walter||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Butcher, John George||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Sir A. H.(Ashton-u-Lyne)|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West).|
|Cator, John||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Robert (Herts, Hitchin)||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Terrell, Major Henry (Gloucester)|
|Clyde, James Avon||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Larmor, Sir J.||Tickler, T. G.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Boner (Bootle)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Levy. Sir Maurice||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Cory, James H. (Cardiff)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||Lloyd. George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Wardle, George J.|
|Craig, Colonel James (Down, E.)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Weston, J. W.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Mackinder, Halford J.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Henry Page||Macleod, John Mackintosh||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Currie, George W.||Macnamara, Rt Hon. Dr. T. J.||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset W.),|
|Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wilson, Col. Leslie C. (Reading)|
|Dalzeil, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Maden, Sir John Henry||Wilson-Fox, Henry (Tamworth)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Younger, Sir George|
|Falconer, James||Morgan, George Hay|
|Fell, Arthur||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Norman, Sir Henry||Edmund Talbot and Captain Guest|
|Finney, Samuel||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.