74. Lieut. Colonel W. GUINNESS
asked now many telephone lines between London and Paris are now monopolised by the War Office and Air Force, and how many telephone conversations take place daily on an average; and whether he can say at what date these telephone facilities will be restricted so as to enable lines again to be used for business purposes?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
There is one direct line to Paris from the War Office, and this is fitted on a small switchboard, for the use of a limited number of extensions, which are connected up with it. This is the only line to Paris monopolised by the War Office. There is no line reserved entirely for the Air Force. Other calls are passed over lines which are used in common with other Government Departments, and average about twenty-five per day in the case of the War Office and twenty per day in the case of the Air Ministry.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the House has been told by the Postmaster-General that there are ten telephone lines monopolised by the Government, and are we to understand that although the War Office only monopolise one line it also makes use of a good many of the other facilities; and in view of the grave need of the public telephone to Paris will the right hon. Gentleman see whether some of this business cannot be done by post?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I have already said that, apart from the private line from the War Office to Paris, there are, on an average, only about twenty-five messages a day from the War Office and twenty from the Air Force. If there axe ten lines in existence, it would mean that forty-five messages a day pass over ten lines and that would be only four messages per line, and that does not look like a monopoly of those lines.
In view of the attitude of the Postmaster-General, will the right hon. Gentleman inform that Minister that the War Office do not need more than one line?