Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,518,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the expense of the Pay, etc., of His Majesty's Air Force, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1920, in addition to the sum of £17,533,000 to be allocated for this purpose from the sum of £45,000,000 voted on account of Air Services generally.
§ Major-General SEELY
I beg to move, to reduce the Vote by £100.
I trespass on the time of the Committee for a few moments in order to raise one definite specific issue. I do not propose to go over the whole field of the Air Estimates, because it seems to me that that can be more suitably done on the 88 introduction of next year's Estimates. I rise now to call the attention of the Secretary of State to a definite point to which, at the same time. I wish to direct the attention of the Committee. I think tht House of Commons has the right to express an opinion on this point which has no doubt a very real national importance. On the occasion when I raised it myself, and when I resigned office, I do not think that the House quite apprehended the position. In the first place, I think they wondered what new fact had happened to cause the question to be raised at that moment, not realising that my resignation was the culmination of a series of protests against what I believe to be a policy fraught with danger to the defence of this country and the national well-being, which has continued for many months. In the second place, I do not think that the House realised that I was not likely to sever my connection with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, on a matter of small importance, or as the Leader of the House said, on personal differences, seeing that for a period of nearly twelve years, excluding the period of the War, I have been connected on terms of the most official and private intimacy with him.
The Prime Minister has sent me word expressing regret that he could not be in his place to-day as he had an important conference at four o'clock; but what I have to say refers principally to the Prime Minister and it is to him, through the Leader of the House, I would make my appeal and to the Committee itself. The point which seems to me to make these Air Estimates bad Estimates is that the man, who is responsible for the expenditure of £40,000,000 or £50,000,000 now, and will be responsible for the expenditure of £14,000,000 or £15,000,000 in future in a matter which more vitally affects our national defences, and, therefore, our national life than almost any other, cannot give more than one-tenth part of his time to the business. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, in his reply will tell us, among other things, how much of his time he is able to spare to attend to the Air Ministry, either each day or each week. I tell him that he cannot spare one-tenth of it, and I have little doubt that he will confirm me. It may be, said that a responsible Minister has only to rely on the advice of his experts, and that he has 89 plenty of time to look after two or more departments. That is a most fantastic delusion. Anyone who has ever been in office or knows anything of the working of Government offices knows that if a man gives his whole time to it, all his waking hours, taking very little time for recreation, will find that, at the end of a long day of twelve or fourteen hours, there are many men whom he ought to have seen whom he did not see, many things which he ought to have read which he has not read, and many things which he ought to have done which he has not done.
There really is not time for a man who is Secretary of State for War to do all the work that falls upon him, and to ask that man of all others to undertake the work of looking after Estimates of this size, involving considerations of the importance which I shall venture to indicate, seems to me to be a proceeding so extraordinary that I do definitely ask the Committee to say they will have no more of it. If the Leader of the House, on behalf of the Prime Minister, can tell us that this system is to come to an end, I have nothing more to say on the point. If he says that the Prime Minister is of opinion that it is a good plan that the Secretary of State for War should also be Secretary of State for Air, then I can only say on my own behalf, and on behalf of a great number of Members of this House, and of a growing body of opinion in this country, that we will not rest until we have put an end to a system so baneful to the national defence, so contrary to the decision which Parliament has already made, and so fatal to the well-being of our future in the air, on land and on sea. That is a very definite challenge which I shall hope to make good in the course of the coming weeks, months, or years. I will never rest so long as this business continues.
I will say why the arrangement is bad. It is bad first because it is contrary to the decision of Parliament, above all the decision of this House, and the declarations of responsible Ministers who were responsible Ministers then and now. When the Air Force and the Air Ministry were formed the Bill was introduced into this House by my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Major Baird), and on that occasion—I dare say that the Secretary of State for War has forgotten it—I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman does not like this point to be made clear—made a point of the necessity for a separate Ministry. What are we to say of a Gov- 90 ernment which introduces a Bill in this House, which is passed unanimously, which in both Houses of Parliament said that it is vital for our national safety both in peace and war to have a scheme the cardinal feature of which is a separate Minister giving his whole time to it, and then comes down to the House without a separate Minister and says that the whole business is to be run by a man who cannot give one-tenth of his time to it? Then, it is contrary to the declarations of the hon. Member for Rugby, the present Lord Chancellor, the present Leader of the Government in the House of Lords, the present Leader of the House himself, who will not deny, reading his emphatic words spoken in this House as to the necessity of this in peace and war, that the present arrangement is at variance and in contradiction with what he then conveyed to the House. If the Leader of the House had said at that time, "We propose to set up a separate Air Ministry; it will be spending £15,000,000 after the War; it will become more and more important, but we are going to hand it over as a sort of poor relation to one of the other Departments, and especially the War Office," there would have been a universal shout of condemnation. This, I think, the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to admit. That is the first point. It is not honest government. It is not straightforward dealing with the House of Commons to go back on his word.
The second point is that it is grossly unfair to the Admiralty. The Admiralty think that they have been deceived. They say very bluntly that they have been swindled. They accepted the policy of the Air Minister because they believed he would see fair play between the Army and the Navy. Now they find that the only man they can appeal to is the Secretary of State for War. It cannot be denied that the influence of air power on the Navy may have an effective and overwhelming importance. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War made an extraordinary speech in this House some time ago in which he made an impassioned appeal to bring back Lord Fisher, as the only man to save the State. Lord Fisher is a man who, the right hon. Gentleman then said, would alone have the prevision to help us through the War. He now, however, suggests that the whole lot should be sacked, but he has an unhappy knack of being right. I have not seen Lord Fisher. I have not 91 communicated with him, but I do know this, that in matters of abstract truth he has been proved right over and over again. He takes an extreme view that the air development has made certain ships obsolete. He takes an extreme view that our new-found air power must alter the whole of our naval arrangements. I suppose that everyone who has carefully considered this matter in a scientific spirit realises the importance of this, and yet the question as to whether the Navy is to have the support from the air which it requires or not is left to be decided by a man who controls the Army. I referred to this as opéra bouffe the other day. It really is. It is not government. It is opéra bouffe.
The First Lord of the Admiralty the other night after eleven o'clock indicated that if he found that the arrangement was not satisfactory he would resign. He referred to the position of the right hon. Gentleman. He indicated—that is the view which I have put forward—the right hon. Gentleman as being a sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, though he did not say whether the right hon. Gentleman's benevolent or murderous propensities were employed in the War Office or in the Air Ministry. But he made no secret, as I think the Committee will remember, that the present arrangement was distasteful to the Admiralty. He went further and said that the difficulties were with the Air Board—it should have been the Air Council. Who controls the Air Council? The President of that Council. It must be realised that the President of any Council must be responsible. Everything must come up to him, every point of importance must be settled by him. Ministers are forced to resign by an adverse vote of this House, or because there is a failure on any point of policy. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman resigned on a purely technical point about cordite. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer, then Secretary of State for India, resigned because of a failure in Mesopotamia; yet the man who has to deal with every point of important policy in the air is the mail who has the final say in allocating air power to the Admiralty, although, as he has to give his whole individual attention to every point of consequence in the Army, he cannot—I repeat it again and again—give one-tenth part of his time to the vitally important considerations affecting our whole naval supremacy.
92 My hon. and gallant Friend behind me the other day raised a question as to the possibility of the destruction of naval craft by torpedoes dropped from the air, and he seemed to be acquainted with the very remarkable advances recently made in that respect. If the advances that have been made in the last few months continue, it is probably true that the whole of our conception of naval warfare and strategy will be completely altered, and as this country has depended all through upon its command of the sea I submit, with respect, that the question of how far you are to employ your air power in support of your Fleet, or in substitution for your Fleet, is one which should take up the whole time of one man. I give that as one instance. Next, may I say that this arrangement is wasteful and extravagant in the extreme. A good many fresh things have happened since I first brought this matter before the House. First, there is the definite declaration of the Lord Chancellor that the Government intend to have a separate Air Ministry and a separate Air Force. It was assumed before that that the reason for this extraordinary arrangement was that it was intended to break it up anew. Now we have the Lord Chancellor definitely telling us that that is not so. The second thing is the memorandum by Sir Hugh Trenchard on air policy, emphasising that fact, with a covering minute by the Secretary of State saying that the Cabinet had given it provisional approval. Thirdly, we have these Air Estimates.
What possible argument can be found in favour of a plan which is condemned, so far as I know, by everyone in this House, by all the Navy, by all the Air Force. by all the Army, and, as far as we can see, by everyone outside? The only argument that might be adduced is the argument of economy. That argument falls completely to the ground. We have here in these Estimates an expenditure of over £50,000,000, showing a reduction, I am glad to say, over the Vote which it was my privilege to present to the House, but showing a Vote for the Air Ministry of £692,000 per annum. Therefore, you have your Air Ministry complete; just like the War Office and the Army Council, just like the Admiralty and the Board of Admiralty, and the Admiralty itself, you have the Air Ministry and the Air Council, and they are to cost £692,000 a year. They are going to spend the sum set out in these Estimates on matters which vitally affect our future on land and sea, and in civil 93 aviation. But when we come to the question how it is to be directed, when we come to the question of the responsible head who must deal with every point of principle and detail, it is proposed, in the cause of economy, forsooth, that of the £692,000 per annum for your directing staff you will put down £2,500 for the Secretary of State instead of £5,000, and thus nominally save £2,500. But you do not even do that, because the necessary liaison arrangements, as they call them, to make this extraordinary, fantastic, lopsided, ridiculous system work—the necessary liaison officers trying to join the War Office and the Air Ministry—use up, I estimate, at least that sum, so that there is no appreciable saving on your direction. What do you lose?
Suppose you set up a business which was to spend £50,000,000 a year, with great sums for research and vast arrangements to carry on a great undertaking throughout the world. Suppose you had some great wireless telegraphy company spending that sum and it was said, "You have got all this huge business. Who is going to direct you? Who is your general manager?" Suppose the answer was, "Well, we have not got a general manager, but we are calling in a man for an hour a week from outside." What would be thought of an arrangement like that? That is the arrangement come to now. We spend £692,000 a year on the administration of a great office. That office is responsible for an expenditure of £50,000,000, and it is all directed solely and entirely by a man who cannot give a tenth part of his time to the job. I shall want to know, and I am sure the Committee will want to know, from the right hon. Gentleman, what possible answer he is to make to this indictment. His answer will be, "The Prime Minister asked me to take on these two offices. If he asked me to take on twenty offices, I would take them on. As a loyal servant of the State I do whatever the Prime Minister desires. I am a humble man; I do only as I am told. So far the Prime Minister has asked me to take on only two offices. If he asked me to take on four or five I would do it." That will not do. The right hon. Gentleman may be a very humble individual, but I suggest to him that he is very unwise to attempt to carry on this work. There is no good telling the House of Commons he can give more than a tenth [...]art of his time to the Air Ministry. The War Office is an 94 exacting business, as I know, and if you add to that all the tasks in connection with demobilisation, and if you remember that the War Office have already had to say that they cannot answer their letters, you will see that the right hon. Gentleman must be a busier Secretary of State for War than any of his predecessors.
§ Major-General SEELY
I fully admit that the Secretary of State, of course, cannot answer all his letters. He has not time to do his own work at the War Office, still less time to attempt to do this business here. Everybody who comes straight up against it knows it must be true. There is only one other argument that may be used, and that is that it is a step towards a Ministry of Defence, and that a Ministry of Defence would be a very valuable thing, because you would get co-ordination of the land, sea and air services. This is not a step towards that end; it is a step away from it. A condition precedent to any co-ordination of the three Services is the independence and equal authority of all the three. If you once allow the Air to become, as it is, an annexe of the War Office, it is hopeless to suppose that you will ever get a proper junction of the three on equal terms. I do not believe that you would ever get a Ministry of Defence, a conjoint general staff; I am sure you will not until you completely separate the Army and the Air. Of course, it may be said that the Air is a business requiring little attention, that this is just an interim arrangement, and that by degrees the Air will cease to occupy the important position it occupies now. I submit that that is an erroneous view. Since the Air Ministry was formed by the unanimous Resolution of this House a great many things have happened, some during the War and many since, to make the views then expressed by the Leader of the House and by his colleagues even more true than they were then. The Independent Air Force had a great effect on the final issue. Since then on the commercial side extraordinary things have been done which the right hon. Gentleman could never have 95 foreseen. They snow the possibilities of the future The Atlantic has been crossed by a heavier-than-air machine, and a very great man has nown to Australia, half-way round the world. It is quite true that it has been difficult and dangerous, and it is because we are doing these peaceful things with war machines. But when there is time to lend the same energy and thought to civil aviation and its prospects as were devoted to the problems of war, we shall see astounding advances in civil aviation. It is one of the things which might well require a man's whole time to the exclusion of all other things. even the service side. Yet that also is relegated to this position.
It I have spoken with emphasis it is because I feel deeply, as I know hundreds and thousands in this country do. To sum up I will say this: That the policy to which the Government have committed themselves is one which is not an honest arrangement, that it pretends to do a thing which it does not do. It is not honest, it is not straightforward, because you say you have a separate Air Ministry when in fact it is not separate—it is joined at the top. It causes grievous concern to all sailors and all airmen. It is bad in every way for the future of the air and of those controlling it. It is regarded as an unfair thing by the Admiralty, from the top to the bottom. It has no friends, not even in the War Office. As for economy, it does not even save even a few hundreds of pounds in salaries, for all the salaries are there already, and it has probably lost lost several million pounds by delays in decisions in the past, and will probably lose millions more in future, because it is a futile plan giving a vast business to the control of a man who can only give a tenth or a fifteenth part of his time to the task. Lastly, it is wrong when we have taken the lead in the air, and when the whole world looks to us as leaders in the air, and when the whole world has stood amazed at the courage and, determination with which we have won our place in this new clement, a place higher than that of any other nation in the world, it is wrong, quite apart from its dishonesty, to go and place it in a subordinate position, and prevent it reaping that success which the valour of our airmen has secured for it.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)
It is, of course, as I am sure my right hon. Friend realises, hardly suitable 96 that the Secretary of State for Air and War should himself justify an appointment which was not made by him, and in the absence of the Prime Minister, I am going to address a few words to the Committee on that subject, and on that sub-feet only. The last thing I desire is to enter into anything like a personal controversy with my right hon. Friend, but I must say that I think there has been on his part a great deal of confusion as to what the issue really is which is now before the Committee. In one particular point I entirely agree with him. He made some interesting remarks about my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, about his modesty and other qualities, and he added that he had left undone many things which he ought to have done. I should be surprised if that is not true of my right hon. Friend, and I should like to know of what Minister it is not true.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The right hon. Gentleman took another line of argument, which I think is entirely wrong. He laid before the Committee the vast work which this new force has got to do, and he seemed to assume that the man to do all this exploring and all this examination as to the future possibility of the air was the political head of the Department. I think that is entirely wrong. The right hon. Gentleman even carried that so far as to imply that because letters are not answered promptly by the War Office that therefore the Secretary of State must have more to do than he can do. That really had nothing whatever to do with the case. I should say at once if the Secretary of State for War attempted to answer the letters in detail which came to the War Office that would be the best proof that he was unfit for his job, and should be removed from it. That is why I say that my right hon. Friend has, I entirely confused the issue. I should like to say this to my right hon. Friend, that there is no part of our fighting forces in which I take personally so great an interest, and if I believed for a moment that the effect of this arrangement was to destroy the future usefulness of this Service, I would be one of those most strongly opposed to it. But I do not think that is so, and I have looked at the matter entirely from the point of view, not of theory but of how 97 it was working in the circumstances in winch we are placed to-day, and I confess, without wishing to enter into the details, I really am at a loss to understand the position of my right hon. Friend in this matter. He tells us that this is dishonest, fantastic, lopsided, ridiculous, and yet it is precisely that which, with his eyes open, he undertook to work.
§ Major-General SEELY
No. I did not deal with that point because I made it plain in the personal statement which I made on my resignation, and which I do not think the right hon. Gentleman heard. The proposal of the Prime Minister originally to me was a wholly different one. As was stated in the newspapers, I was to preside over the Council. It was discovered later that it was impossible under the Air Force Act that that arrangement could be made and that I should be Air Minister in anything but name. Directly that was discovered and we were so advised and that it was found that the President of the Air Council must be the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Churchill), I at once made my protest. I at once, after it was found it could not be altered, communicated with the Chief Whip and informed him that unless it could be altered for the good of the Air Force I should be forced to resign. I wish to make it plain, I never would have consented to an arrangement that the President of the Air Council should also be Secretary of State for the Army. It is important.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It is important, but it makes it really more confused for this reason. My right hon. Friend now says he undertook to enter on this arrangement with the idea in his mind that there was to be a system which is absolutely impossible in any business or in any Government Department—that is to say, that nobody was to know who was the head of the Department.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It is obvious that is the real point of difference. I would venture to say to my right hon. Friend and the Committee—and I think I can say it to him without any offence, and I am sure lien in a sense he realises his position—I do believe that system has worked worse with him than would be at least possible with some who had not held so distinguished political nests in the past, 98 and who had not his distinguished record in the War. I am afraid that throughout my right hon. Friend did not accept the position that he was only an Under-Secretary, to carry out the duties of the Secretary of State for Air. That is what I believe. It is quite obvious to the Committee that whatever else may be good or bad in the administration, it must be perfectly clear that there is one man who has the final say and must be the final and absolute head of the Department. There are only two questions which remain. It is idle to say that this arrangement is going back on statements made, amongst others by myself, that we were to have ar Independent Air Force.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
That does not depend on who is the particular individual who is political head of that Ministry. How could it? Over and over again in our political history one Minister has filled more than one post, and my right hon. Friend has no more right to say that the Air Force is being sacrificed to the Army than those in favour of the Army would have the right to say that the Army was being sacrificed to the Air Force—absolutely no right. Therefore, in my judgment, the one question which the Committee has a right to know, and on which to ask for an answer, is whether or not it is true that it is impossible for one man to fill adequately the duties of the two posts. That is really the one question.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
That raises another question with regard to the Navy with which I mean to deal. Leaving that aside, the one question is—whether or not one man can fulfil these duties? I ask the Committee to bear this in mind, that in making any comparison as to the relative capacity of individuals, everybody knows that there is an immense difference between the power of getting through work on the part of one man and another. One man can easily do work in an hour which another man would take three or four hours to do, and not necessarily do it any better. I myself have seen over and over again, not only in political life, but in business life, that it does not follow that the business, no matter what it is, is going to be better off because you have one man who devotes his whole time to it than if it is superintended and directed by another man who 99 has not so much time, but in tin time he has to spare has the faculty of getting on the spot and dealing with the thing really essential. That is the difference—it is not whether or not you are to give so many hours a day, but it is whether or not you are giving enough time to adequately superintend the work. I put this to the Committee, if I may be permitted to do so. I had an experience in a small way When I was Chancellor of the Exchequer I was told constantly I could not fill the post because I had so much else to do. That may or may not have been true, but I always took this view: You have no right to assume that a man is not doing the work unless there is evidence to that effect. You must judge this the same way. You will have an opportunity this afternoon of hearing a statement from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State about the air. Judge by that whether or not he has not a complete grasp of all the problems and is not capable of giving to them the attention which they absolutely require. That is the test. There is another point I would like to put to the Committee. My right hon. Friend laid out the arguments which I would use, but I have not used any of them so far, and I am not at all sure that I am likely to do so. There is one argument which has been suggested, and I admit at Once it will be a vital argument, if sound. That argument is that, because the Secretary of State for Air is also Secretary of State for War, that therefore the Navy is being sacrificed to the War Office. If that were true, we could not have a worse arrangement. I have taken, so far as I could, some trouble personally to find out not whether this is a good plan in theory, but how it was working. I have consulted, not behind the back of my right hon. Friend but with his knowledge, the heads of the Air Department, and I have spoken also to those who represent the Navy.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Yes. Of course it is true that in any rearrangement of Services there must be great difficulties between the Admiralty and the Air Ministry. There must be, but those difficulties will only be great if he takes the point of view of the Army and not of Air in these questions. Difficulties will not arise in any other way. I have made it clear there are difficulties, but I can say with 100 absolute confidence, after discusing it with the First Lord, that there is no reason whatever to suppose that the difficulties have been or will be greater because my right hon. Friend happens to be Secretary of State for War than if he were dealing with them solely as Secretary of State for Air. The whole question is, Does he or does he not look at air problems with a bias in favour of the Army? If he did, it is a wrong appointment; if he does not, and if he tries to deal with it as well as he can on the merits as if he were solely Air Minister, then I do not think the House of Commons has much reason to complain of the arrangement.
I think that is nearly all I have to say on this subject; but there is another aspect of it that is worth considering. We do not put this forward because we save £5,000 a year in salary. That would be childish, but I do ask the Committee to bear this in mind. If the Air Force is to be properly developed, and if you are to make the best of it, that does not mean that before you have a proper examination, and before the experts have gone into every aspect, that you have to continue a great expenditure of money. That is not really developing the Air Force. The Committee must bear in mind that there is an immense difference between a force which was spending close on£400,000,000 a year and a force which as far as we can see at present will spend £15,000,000 per year, or the equivalent of £6,000,000 pre-war money. There is something more than expense and efficiency involved in this matter. You may think that that Service is more likely 5.0 P.M. to have its end kept up by a man of the distinction, if I may say so, of my right hon. Friend, who has taken at least as much interest all through in the Air as any other Minister, [...] by somebody else who obviously could not be one of the most important members of the Cabinet. I think that is obvious. If I were keenly interested in the Air Force, provided I believed my right hon. Friend could give the time that is necessary, I would say, from the point of view of the Air Force, that it was not a bad arrangement to have him there Then there is another point. It is quite true that the Air Force for the Navy was during the War extremely important, and it is very likely in future wars to more important than it was in the past. Very likely—I agree with what has been said by Lord Fisher 101 about that—but you have got to look at the position as it is at this moment. There are two questions which are engaging the attention of those who are responsible for our fighting forces. The two most important at the moment are demobilisation and the arrangement of the Air in relation to the Army.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I am surprised my right hon. Friend doubts that, if he does. Perhaps I am wrong, but I do not think so. Demobilisation and the Air Force go closely together. Assuming other things to be equal, assuming that my right hon. Friend has not a bias in favour of the Army as against the Navy, if he has not, I think it is a distinct advantage that the same man should have both problems before his mind at the time he is working on them. But there is far more than that. In deciding the extent of the Air Force which we are to keep—we have had this over and over again—we have got, in trying to decide what size of an Air Force we will keep, to go down to the other problem. "Very well," you say, "you need such-and-such squadrons in the East. Tell us how much Infantry and how much Artillery you are going to do away with in consequence of receiving these additional airmen." I am sure my right hon. Friend opposite must see that these two problems, the question of the size of the Air Force and the size of the armed force go closely together, and it is an advantage to have the same man looking at both from the same point of view—the view, namely, of getting the most efficient force, and at the same time the least expensive force, which the country can have. I am not going to say anything more. I do not suggest that this is a permanent arrangement, nor do I suggest that my right hon. -Friend was made Secretary of State for Air merely because he was Secretary of State for War. That is not so; it was discussed between the Prime Minister and myself at the time the appointment was made, but the ground on which it was recommended was not that he was filling the position of Secretary of State for War, but that he was competent to fill the position of Secretary of Sate for Air and to do the War Office work as well. That is all. This is not any question of principle at all. There is no idea in anyone's mind that the Air Force is not to be an independent Force. The sole question 102 is whether or not my right hon. Friend is capable of fulfilling the duties of both offices. All I can say is that, whatever other defects he may have—I do not know whether he has any—this will be admitted by everyone that he has no lack of ability, he has no lack of industry, he has great capacity for getting through work. He has shown it in those departments and for the present at least I honestly think that at this moment this is not a bad arrangement.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
I listened with very great interest to the speech of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite (Major-General Seely) to see whether he could make out a better case than the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain W. Benn) and myself did on the Amendment to the Address, and although he put the case with more acoustic dignity, yet I do not believe there were any more points in his speech than we made. We felt at the same time that the machinery which was proposed by the Prime Minister was a direct threat to the integrity of the Air Force and the Air Ministry as a. whole, but we have got to look at this thing from the point of view of what has happened, and I maintain that the publication of what I call the Trenchard Memorandum proves that the Government was perfectly sincere in what it said in saying that it was going to keep the two Services, absolutely apart. I want to deal with the Trenchard Memorandum, which is undoubtedly the most interesting aeronautical document that we have ever had put before us, because we see in it a Service actually being born, and I hope that Labour will take a great interest in this, because now is the time to get that Service thoroughly democratic from top to bottom, with great possibilities for everybody to join early. It should be the great democratic force of the future. It was a great reform to get a single united Air Service. I see one or two lines in this Report which disturb me, and if I may I will read them:In addition, there will be a small part of it (the Air Force) specially trained for work with the Navy and a small part specially [...] for work with the Army, these two small portions probably becoming in the future an arm of the older Service.Does that foreshadow a return to a small Royal Flying Corps and a small Royal Naval Air Service over and above a separate Air Force?
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
I am glad to hear that. We must remember that in the heart of the Air Force there is always a fear, being a young Force and not being established very long as a separate service, that we are always trying to be taken over by the Army or the Navy, and with the present arrangement we have got to remember that the first business, so to speak, of the Air Ministry is to make the Army efficient by aircraft and the Navy efficient by aircraft We are under two cross fires. The Army plead for more aircraft to make them efficient, and the Navy already after the War has realised that aircraft is useful on the seas, and consequently I foresee that most of the money voted for the Air Force will go to the two older Services. If the separate arm foreshadowed in that Memorandum ever comes about, could the Secretary of State tell us whether the cost of machines for those two separate Services will be borne on the Votes of the other Service and not on the Air Vote?
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
I want to make it clear that the position with regard to the Navy has changed fundamentally in this country because of the advent of aircraft. The Navy has lost for ever its claim to be able to defend us against attack, and we have got to remember that. It is a fundamental change in this country. The Navy and the Army are forces that work in two dimensions. During the last ten years a new force has sprung up which works in three dimensions, and no two-dimensional force can resist a three-dimensional force. It is absurd to think it could. The power of defence of both the older Services is enormous to-day. In the case of the Army. barbed wire and trenches make it difficult to make headway; and in the case of the Navy, mines and submarines are a wonderful defensive method, but there is no defence against aircraft to-day. The possibility of directing aircraft in a fog to a place hundreds of miles away and there dropping bombs without ever being seen is something there is no answer to today. The only answer is to have a bigger Air Force so as to have the potential power of hitting back. The late War was called an engineers' war. and there is no doubt that wars in the future can only be won by the ultimate industrial resources of a 104 country. The first object of attack in any future campaign will be undoubtedly, not the military arm of the State, but the industrial arm of the State, and if a foreign Power were to endeavour to hit England, the first place she would try and hit us to-day would be in our industrial heart, in a place like Birmingham or Glasgow. Could the Army or the Navy possibly defend it? There is only one Force that could defend it, and that is the new Air Force.
I want to say a word on civil aviation. I had the honour of serving on that Advisory Committee which has given a Report. First of all, the supremacy which this country has got to in the air is not entirely due to the military. That seems to be sometimes forgotten. I quite admit that there are many manufacturers who have become very wealthy, but that is not all they want, and I think, from the point of view of rewards. we have been very lax in looking after those brains arid those organisers, which, quite apart from any military point of view, have put us on top. I heard someone say the other day that if Wilbur Wright had been an Englishman he might have got an O.B.E. The Advisory Committee on Imperial Air Routes had an extraordinarily difficult task, because if there ever was anything in the air, so to speak, it was civil aviation. The whole question was the most nebulous I have ever approached, and nobody knew anything about it whatever. There were no figures, and what experience there was was only based on a military basis, and we had very little to go on at all. One very leading light was asked by us what was holding back civil aviation, and he replied, with very great confidence, "Your Committee."
The next witness, when we asked him, said that his plans were too secret to divulge. That did not impress us very much, because by that time we had got to realise that nobody knew anything about it at all. If anybody interested in the air has read the Report furnished by the Committee, I hope it will be noticed that really the demands are very moderate indeed. We took into consideration the financial condition of the country. We should really have liked to have asked for a great deal more. but, in view of financial considerations. we have asked for very little.
I hope Labour will take an interest in this question, because we see starting now a new power, a new industry, and, if we 105 do not look out, new vested interests. What was at the back of our minds was how to avoid building up a goodwill against the State. We have seen necessities of life, like the telephones, started by private enterprise and then pushed on to the State, the State having to pay for the goodwill created. What was at the back of our minds was to arrange some scheme whereby the State at some time could take control of all aviation throughout the world without having to pay for vested interests. The recommendation was that all aerodromes should be State-owned. The expenditure for that is not a very big item, and I should very much like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War whether the Government intend making good the recommendations of that Committee. I hope I shall not be out of order in drawing attention to one or two lines in the Report of the American Aviation Commission—
Great Britain's plan of organisation certainly warrants our most careful consideration. It is not argued that the British method is perfect, but it can be stated without fear of contradiction in any quarter, that it stands to-day the most comprehensive governmental mechanism yet set up by any nation in the world for the encouragement, upbuilding, direction and control of its air resources. This organisation has been born of five bitter years of trial, mistake, experience and progress. It is the product of the best brains in the British Empire focussed under the spur of national [...] and the demand of the British people. We in America may well study it carefully.I fear there is a characteristic of the English nation always to run itself down, and we in this country spend our time in running down our own wonderful achievements; but I hope we shall hear from the Secretary of State for Air to-night that no policy of destruction in any particular will prevail on the Government that may spoil or impair the proud position this country holds to-day in aviation.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
The Leader of the House, in his speech defending the present arrangement under which by administration, and not by Act of Parliament, the Air Force has been placed under the Secretary of State for War, did not tell us whether it was to be a permanent arrangement or not. No one, after listening to the speech of the Leader of the House—and evidently he has taken a considerable interest in the matter—knows now whether the Government think this is an ideal administrative arrangement, or whether it was entered into simply because the 106 present Secretary of State for War is a man of unusual ability. I do not know. Supposing that a less brilliant man than the present Secretary of State for War were at the War Office, would the Air Ministry still be placed under his charge? No one has a higher admiration for the present Secretary of State for War than I have. I have worked with him. I know his insight, and how he struggled in the early days of flying for the Navy to develop that arm of offence and defence. But when we come to consider the future of the Air Force, and how it should be organised in connection with other great fighting Services, it must not depend upon the ability of a particular man who is at the head of the War Office as to whether the Air Force shall be under his control or not. Indeed, if carried to the logical conclusion, the argument of the Leader of the House means that the Secretary of State for War would not only run the War Office and the Air Ministry, but he would have to run the Admiralty as well.
I feel very strongly that this system is wholly wrong. I may say I do not approach it from any personal interest, for I have none whatever, but I do know full well—and the House will realise—it will not be so empty next March or April, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduces his Budget—the economic condition of the country will reveal itself in next year's Budget, and we shall have very considerable and very needed discussion in crowded Houses; but it is from this point of view of economy of our fighting Forces, consistent with efficiency in those Forces, that I approach this matter. I have no other interest at all. I say—and it has been rather obscured—that undoubtedly for this country in the future, as in the past, and in this War, the naval Service must take precedence. Without the Navy, the magnificent Armies that were trained could not have landed in France. I do not hesitate in saying, or withdraw from the position, that the Navy is and absolutely must come first in questions of offence and defence. This question has to be looked at from the point of view of men who have vision and imagination. At the preset moment, apparently, it is being looked at purely and solely from the consideration of expediency. My right hon. Friend who opened this Debate spoke of that great man Admiral Lord Fisher. The House knows I have mentioned Lord Fisher's name more than once, and I advocated—in fact, I followed my right hon. 107 Friend some years ago in advocating—his being brought back. There is no doubt that a man of Lord Fisher's extraordinary vision realises the vast importance—I have had conversations with him about it—of the Air Force. But let me take another distinguished admiral—an admiral who proved himself an extraordinary prophet at the beginning of the War—and that is Admiral Sir Percy Scott. Whatever may be thought of Admiral Sir Percy Scott—and I know a good many people find it rather difficult, possibly, to get on with him—there is no doubt he has extraordinary genius and vision. He wrote a letter to the "Times," dated 11th December, in which he said:There must be great changes in the future Navy. In my opinion its most, important arm of offence and defence, the aeroplane, has been taken from it.That, coming from Admiral Sir Percy Scott, is really a very serious state of affairs. He goes on:We are going back to the customs of 100 years ago, when we had our ships worked by sailors, and the guns manned by artillerymen from the shore.That is just where we are: the Navy has to man the ships, but the Secretary of State for War has to supply the aeroplanes. I cannot understand how really that has come about. Sir Percy Scott says:If the surface battleship is dead, then its death will greatly affect the future Navy. I said before the War that she was dead. I and a great many naval officers now think she is more dead, if that is possible.Nobody can realise the change which must be made in our naval strategy if it be a fact, as Admiral Sir Percy Scott says, that the surface ship is dead. One has always been used to ships floating on the water, but if the surface ship is dead—and Admiral Sir Percy Scott proved himself an extremely good prophet six months before the War, when he said the submarines would render it extremely difficult, for a battleship to appear in open water—I think we must have some consideration for the words of such a distinguished man. Really it revolutionises the whole of our supplies. Our supplies are brought to this country floating on the water. If the surface ship is dead, then the surface naval ship can no longer protect our supplies; and Admiral Sir Percy Scott goes on to say: 108The introduction of dropping mobile torpedoes from areoplanes has made the existence of the battleship still more precarious.…The use of mobile torpedoes introduces a question which will require very careful consideration before we even think of building another surface battleship.This question of mobile torpedoes—I frankly admit I am not an expert, but have simply taken the views of some experts on the matter—is of vital import to the future of our Navy, I am sure the Secretary of State for War must realise that, but I find, according to his Memorandum,The torpedo-carrying squadron will be located at Gosport, the most suitable station for torpedo work, and it is proposed to provide a small experimental unit at, the same station, in order to develop fully this form of co-operation with the Navy, which is of primary importance.It is no use talking of "co-operation with the Navy." It is the Navy's business to protect surface ships. If it is not the Navy's business, then I cannot understand whose business it is. We must not talk of co-operation. The protection of surface ships must he absolutely under the control of the Admiralty. I am going to argue in a few moments that it is wholly wrong to put the Air Ministry under the War Office, and that it should be put under the Admiralty. There is no doubt about it. When you see before, your eyes that the surface ship is doomed, what is to take its place? Then we are told that this aerial torpedo is to be experimented on at Gosport under the Secretary of State for War and the Air Ministry. And that is the weapon that practically wipes out all surface ships that England possesses! It is no use my right hon. Friend (Mr. Churchill) shaking his head. That is in the Memorandum. I have not read the official paper, but I have read it in the "Times," which, I believe, is correct. I see that the Air Force is to bring in officers and men, and I will give Sir Hugh Trenchard the great credit that he has copied, almost in its entirety, this system of educating naval officers from my old friend, Lord Fisher, whose scheme it was. The entry of officers into the Air Force, as I understand it, is to be through a cadet college. Anyone who thought about naval affairs felt the Navy was built up for ten years before the War upon the assumption that it was to meet the German menace, hence the colleges for the entry of cadets into the Navy were gradually expanded under the control of 109 the First Lord at Osborne and Dartmouth. Are these two naval colleges required today? Are they to be filled up with naval cadets, as before the War? I should like to ask that question.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
No, Sir; it is a question for the Government as a whole, and that, is what I complain of. My right hon. Friend says: "Ask the First Lord of the Admiralty." It is a question for the Government in their unification of the defence of the country as a whole. The size of the Navy as a whole must surely be considered by the Cabinet in relation to the other Forces ! I Really, I am not trying to make out a pettifogging case. I ask my right hon. Friend opposite, can he say whether Osborne and Dartmouth will be filled in the future, because it directly bears upon my argument? The information is that the Air Ministry propose to build a new college in Lincolnshire. Why build a new college when you have two colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth? After all, economy must have some weight with the Government. It certainly will have some weight with the country. Of that I can assure my right hon. Friend. Has he considered the point I have put? Surely it is an important point in connection with these two colleges. If they cannot, or, I presume, will not, be filled in the future to the same extent as in the past, why do you spend money upon an enormous air establishment at Cranwell, in Lincolnshire? I ask for that information. Expenditure upon public buildings is a most expensive part of these establishments. If I rightly remember, the establishment at Dartmouth cost half a million, or more.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
I think the initial cost was £500,000; at any rate, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War would not build a new Air College at much less than £1,000,000; then it would have to be kept up. Is it necessary to build a new Air College? I ask that in the first instance. As I said, it appears to me, from this Memorandum, that the training of the officers of the new Air Service is based almost entirely upon the training necessary for the naval Service. I observe that these cadets come from this college, and they are to go to the air station, there to undergo a course of gunnery. After five years' training they are to select from three dif- 110 ferent branches—navigation, engineering, wireless. I presume my right hon. Friend is aware of these things. He was aware of them from the Admiralty point of view. How does this training differ from the training which was given to naval officers? My right hon. Friend knows perfectly well that the naval officer was trained in navigation, engineering, gunnery, and torpedo work. There were the Marines, but I put that aspect on one side. Therefore, I say that it fits in admirably with the present system of naval training that you should train your air officers at the naval establishments. I cannot see anything against it.
Again, let me take the boys. Sir Hugh Trenchard rightly says that the training is the most difficult problem in the formation of this Force; he advocates that the men should he brought in young. The Admiralty have got buildings for this purpose. They enter boys into the Navy at a quite early age at Shotley and Harwich. Then there are the establishments, the "Vernon" and the "Impregnable," at Devonport. The boys are trained there. The Navy of the future will not be so big as was required in the past. Therefore, why cannot you utilise the Admiralty establishments for the training of the officers and men of the Air Force? I have no predilection one way or the other, but it does seem to me that the Government have given no consideration whatever to co-ordinating these forces—none whatever! I cannot find any mention of it in the speech of the Leader of the House. I hope I may find evidence of it in the speech that we shall get from tie right bon. Gentleman opposite. I do press this point upon the Government, that, having regard to economy, having regard to the evolution of the Naval Air Force, and the revolution that has come about in all naval defence, instead of the Secretary for War being head of the Air Ministry, emphatically I say that the head of the Air Ministry should be the First Lord of the Admiralty.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
In commenting upon the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, I would do so from the point of view of one who has been connected in the past with the Air Forces, perhaps from the commencement of the present arrangement, by which the Air Ministry and the War Office are united under one chief. I think those who are associated with me must upon this sub- 111 ject base our opposition to the present arrangement upon two arguments: Firstly, that the War Office and the Air Ministry is a two-man job; and, secondly, that the Air Ministry is liable to become subordinate to the War Office, and by reason of that fact the War Minister is necessarily susceptible to the opinion of the senior Army officers. The Leader of the House argued that there are remarkable men in this world who are capable of doing twice as much work as the ordinary man. That is the old argument of the super-man, which has frequently been advanced in this House during the past Session. It is an argument which, I believe, is becoming somewhat discredited in this country. I believe we are witnessing a certain disillusionment in respect to these alleged capacities, and the power of one man to do the work of two or three. I believe we are living in a period which is seeing what I may call the passing of the super-man or the "twilight of the gods. "I do not for one moment say that if any man could fulfil this dual function my right bon. Friend the Secretary for War and Air would not be capable of performing it. I am sure that the Committee will agree when I say that though I have the greatest. admiration for his remarkable capacity, and I am sure if any man is selected to fufil this onerous position, that he is very fitted to do so, yet our contention is that the work of the War office during this period of demobilisation which has just passed, and the great difficulties which lie ahead of us, will make such an enormous demand upon the time of any one man that such a man cannot possibly afford to devote proper attention to the birth of that Service which we are witnessing in the present transitional stage of the Air Service.
we have just been presented, as the hon. Member for Chatham says, with a very remarkable Memorandum on the future of the Air Ministry. It sketches in advance the great new era for the Air Force of this country. Surely, when we read that Memorandum and all the far-reaching proposals contained therein, we are impressed by the fact that it will take one man more than his full time to grapple with these problems. The contention of the Leader of the House, it seems to me, is that one man should make himself responsible for all these great innovations which we are now witnessing. The poli- 112 tical head of the Department is never responsible for such things as answering letters, of going into matters of administrative detail. Such things are necessarily left to the departmental officers concerned. my right hon. Friend might just as well have argued, as it often is argued, that you might as well dispense with your political chiefs altogether and allow the country to be run by its Civil servants. Our contention is that though the political head of the Department cannot answer all letters, and cannot attend to every detail, he should have leisure to go into the big problems, and should have his whole time to devote to such questions of detail as one man can devote himself to. In all the great ramifications of modern organisation the political head of the Department: cannot go into every detail. We all admit that. At the same time he ought to go into every detail he possibly can in a full-time job. If the Leader of the House had argued against our contention on the lines that it would be better to set up a Minister who could exercise a joint supervision over the three Departments, Army, Air, and Navy, delegating almost absolute power in matters of detail to three Under-Secretaries, then, I think, we should have been far more disposed to meet him. That is a contention which we could have understood. At the present time, however, we have a most anomalous arrangement. We have how an Air Ministry about which it is admitted that the exigencies of future warfare will demand complete unification under a General Imperial Staff which will take into account the interdependent demands of the various Services.
It has been powerfully argued by my right hen. Friend who sits on the Front Opposition Bench that the Air Service of the future will very likely supersede many of the functions of the Navy. He even went so far as to say that the Air Service should be subordinate, not to the War Office, but to the Admiralty. But surely our contention is borne out that the Air Ministry should not be subordinate to any one Department? This is a matter to be faced, for if there is to be any unification such as we all desire, and which apparently also the Government desire, then a Minister of Defence should be appointed with three Under-Secretaries who will have authority over matters of detail in the three Departments, the Minister of Defence being merely the co-ordinating 113 power between the three Departmnts and at the head of a united General Staff. There is no logical difference between three completely independent Services with chiefs and a Ministry of Defence with three Services co-ordinated by him under his control. The Leader of the House left us in the dark as to what was the future intention of the Government. I hope the Secretary of State for War will be able to afford us some enlightenment upon this topic upon which many of us feel very strongly. We should like to know whether the Government intend to continue indefinitely in the present position whereby in spite of assertions to the contrary we believe the exigencies of the Air Services are subordinated to the War Office, and the senior staff who control the War Office. We should like to know whether the Government have it in mind to consider the possibility of setting up a Ministry of Defence, with an Imperial General Staff, and to leave such a Ministry the new problems of warfare which will arise in the future and which will necessitate some such provision.
§ Major GLYN
I want to say a word or two with regard to the relations between the civilian side of aviation and its military aspect since in this branch we are dependent upon its expansion through the civil side for numbers If we had an independent Minister and Air Force we should not confuse it with the immediate requirements of the Army or the Navy. There is such inter-dependence between these branches that we should regard the aeroplane as a military weapon adaptable to civil conditions, and capable to be readapted to war purposes, and unless you have a Minister who will assist civil aviation we shall be hard put to it in time of stress to find the requisite number of machines. The Air Force was young when the War commenced, and the demands of the land service and the Navy were incessantly increasing, and the Air Force at first was never allowed to show its independent use; in fact it was only at the close of the War that we established an independent force which showed its use as a separate independent weapon by destroying the moral of the German army and bombing the Rhine towns. Just as declarations of War are becoming less and less formal in spite of the League of Nations, we must not overlook the possible use of the most modern means of 114 any nation to gain its ends. What is to prevent a nation with plenty of aeroplanes making a sudden raid on a country not prepared for defence.
The pushing of the civil side of this problem necessitates the maintenance at least of an Under-Secretary, if not of a Minister, and when the time comes for the formation of a Joint Imperial Stall, the status of each of the Services should be considered equal. I imagine in the future that any nation which goes to war will consider the preliminary bombing of the enemy country, to destroy their communications and upset their moral. I remember reading the effect produced on London by thirty-five German machines going in steady formation over the city and proceeding to bomb it in broad daylight. I read the outcry that occurred in the public Press asking what the Government were doing by not having any defence to repel those machines. If the Germans at a time when we were rapidly overhauling them could carry out a raid like that to threaten our moral, there is nothing in the world to prevent a foreign country from doing the same thing just prior to going to war to upset our mobilisation, and the effect would be to depress a great many people whose courage might not be of such a high order to start with. Chemical science has developed very quickly, and just before the Armistice gas-bombs were improved and we had produced a gas so effective that if 5 per cent. of it was mixed with 100 per cent. of the atmosphere it proved fatal. The next time instead of thirty-five machines we might have 350 or 3,000. We have to realise that you can now go to Cologne in an aeroplane in 3½ hours, and it would take that time to walk to Woolwich. What would be the feeling of our people if an enemy Infantry occupied Woolwich? There would be a tremendous outcry and a demand that our defences should be made adequate. I think we should treat this subject of dealing with air warfare from an air point of view. I think the greatest point of all is that in maintaining the Air Force you are maintaining a great prestige and preserving the air spirit. Those pilots who fell on British service have laid a tradition which is the envy of the world, and everything we do now should be with the idea of doing something to follow up that wonderful pioneer work which was done by those gallant officers, and in the hands of the present Secretary of State for War their memory 115 is in very safe keeping. I know the great personal interest which the right hon. Gentleman takes in this subject, but there is just a danger that we may consider questions of economy a little bit too much in regard to the Air Force and its civil aspect.
When the War came to an end we had eleven squadrons of aeroplanes with the necessary landing grounds and lighting stations in the vicinity of London. We bad a special telephone service and listening posts, and two or three barrages of searchlights. We also had 280 anti-aircraft guns situated at suitable points, and, incidentally, I may mention that most of those points have been dug up, and who is to know where they were? I suggest that, at any rate, the concrete foundations might he retained and a cheap post put up announcing, "From this place guns were fired to destroy the aeroplanes of the enemy." Altogether we had 30,000 men on this establishment. Of course, you cannot depend altogether on anti-aircraft gunfire, and you must meet like with like.
I think it is equally important to realise the state of affairs with regard to aeroplanes at the time of the Armistice. Germany on the 11th November had 4,000 machines on the Western Front; and in reserve and in depots and at schools she had 14,000 machines, and the output in Germany was estimated at 1,000 machines per month. Marshal Foch's terms were that Germany should surrender 1,700 machines to us. Of course, the French took their quota. but that leaves, at any rate, 8,000 machines unaccounted for. I think we should have demanded more aeroplanes and prevented the Germans from doing what the latest evidence shows they are doing—developing civil aviation. They have now 7.000 miles of aerial routes with lighting arrangements and definite transport services. This has been done to foster the power of striking by the air, and they are at the same tine assisting their commercial industries. Whether it is adequate to devote £15,000,000 in a normal year towards the Air Service is a question not for political chiefs but for the Joint Imperial General Staff to decide, and the sooner that is formed the sooner we shall get a really satisfactory answer to these questions. In the meantime, I would urge most respectfully that the Secretary of State for Air shold endeavour to help us in regard to the Air Force reserves. We 116 must look at this question with the experience that the War has given us and remember that a large number of skilled men are required. There is nothing to show in the Estimates in this respect except the paltry sum of £30,000
What ate the definite arrangements that have been made to encourage those who serve in the Air Force to be ready to man these machines which we hope the Government will keep in being, either by a direct subsidy or otherwise? If we do this I am perfectly sure this Debate will be looked back upon favourably and they will say, "Those people appreciated what the air held in its possession for the future." The growth of the British Navy came from very small beginnings. We have come out of this War absolutely on top on land just as we did on the sea, and I believe we have a greater future in store in the air if we will guide ourselves not by petty Service jealousies and discussions but by a comprehension of the possibilities of the future of the air. I believe that we must have complete independence of the Air Force and a Minister who is imbued with the air spirit. If we have that neither the Army nor the Navy will have anything to fear; but I doubt if any man, no matter how great his ability or capacity, will in a few years be able to contemplate looking after the developments that will undoubtedly fall to the Air Ministry and their officers. In that Memorandum issued by Sir II. Trenchard there is no mention of the civil side, but surely we must read all these Reports together. There is the Report of the Controller-General of Civil Aviation and the Chief of the Air Staff, and I think the absence of an Under-Secretary at the Air Ministry has possibly made it difficult for those who have not studied the subject to appreciate that the civil side has a very direct and special value, in regard to the military side.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
We have had so many suggestions made to us that I am getting a little bit confused. We have had the right hon. and gallant 6.0 P.M. Member for the Ilkeston Division (Major-General Seely) who wishes to have a Minister of Air with control of all the three forces, Independent, Army, and Naval; we have, as a fact, the Minister for War, who is also the Minister for Air; and now we have the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Molton (Mr. G. Lambert) advocating that the Admiralty should have the whole thing in their hands. We have also 117 had references to a General Staff, to a Ministry of Defence, and so on. I say at once that the Navy do not on any account want to have control of the Independent Air Force, nor of that which is associated with the Army. we are much more modest. All that we ask for is that we may manage our own little business. The Naval Air Force, I claim, is distinct and should be part and parcel of the Navy itself, and should never be dissociated from it as it was even in the Royal Naval Air Service. We want it manned primarily by naval officers and seamen. I should like to refer to this most admirable statement of Sir Hugh Trenchard. He says:The principle to be kept in mind in forming the framework of the Air Service is that in the future the main portion of it will consist of an independent force, together with Service personnel required in carrying out aeronautical research… It may be that the main portion. the Independent Air Force, will grow larger and larger, and become more and more the predominating factor in all types of warfare.That is an admirable enunciation. There must be an absolutely independent force. The whole atmosphere of the air is open to it, but it has nothing to do with the Navy. Then, to show that he really appreciates the necessity for some other force, in fact, for two other distinct forces, I go on and find that the Chief of the Staff says:In addition there will be a small part of it specially trained for work with the Navy, and a small part specially trained for work with the Army, these two small portions probably becoming in the future an arm of the older Services.If they have to be an arm of the older Services we had better start making them at once, leaving the purely naval force and the evolution of it to the people who understand the application of it to the Navy itself. It seems to me that the Chief of the Staff thoroughly understands the situation. He advocates, just as I do myself, three forces, and I cannot help thinking that he is absolutely right. An Air Force to-day is an absolutely essential constituent part of the Navy. We cannot do without it at the present time. In addressing the House the other day on the Navy Estimates I detailed, not all, but nearly all, the duties that the Naval Air Service had to do, and I showed that they were purely Naval matters and could only be done by Naval men. The evolution of the Navy of the future out of this nucleus or embryo force can only be dealt with by the Admiralty. We have heard a great 118 deal about the Navy of the future. Some people want to destroy it offhand, and others are a little more modest. There are those who say that it can no longer exist on the surface or as surface-borne ships. There is that very well-known officer who has been quoted several times who states that presently we shall have aerial armed battleships. It is quite possible that we may have all sorts of aircraft, but there is this about every type of aircraft, that nine-tenths of its time is spent either on the land or on the sea. Therefore, any Naval aircraft, whether it be a battleship or something else, should be manned by seamen, manned by men who are seamen first and aviators secondly.
The deciding factor as to whether there will be a Navy in the future such as we understand it now is this. The trade and the traffic of the country will go on for ever in surface sea-borne ships, for the very simple reason that no aircraft can possibly compete with them economically. when R34 new over to America she could not carry another pound of ten, and when the aeroplane flew back from Newfoundland, with the wind behind her, she was so laden with fuel, petrol, nautical instruments and all the paraphernalia necessary for the voyage that she could hardly get off the ground. I am convinced, therefore, that the surface sea-borne ship will never be replaced by aircraft, though, of course, aircraft may supplant them for urgent business men, joy riders, and the carrying of samples and that sort of thing. Any development in aircraft connected with design, motive power, or fuel most assuredly will be only contemporaneous with similar developments in surface seaborne ships. In fact, we have now surface-borne craft steaming or travelling along the surface of the water at the rate of 71 miles per hour. Heaven only knows what they are going to do in the future. If the Mercantile Marine is to continue, as obviously it is, then the fighting Marine and the Navy will go on too. Forty years ago the Navy was going to be knocked out of existence by the Whitehead torpedo. It has not yet been knocked out of existence. Somebody has talked about battleships not being able to use the North Sea. They were recently cruising about the North Sea not in the least afraid of submarines. I know of the case of a big cruiser, fitted with these blisters that they are now using—a sort of bladder attachment on each side of the ship—which was torpedoed, and which steamed faster after 119 she had been torpedoed than she did before. That is a fact. The menace of the torpedo is no longer a menace, and most assuredly the menace of the air will become no menace at all. I do not say that we are to go on building battleships at £6,000,000 each, as we have been doing, but their will remain large surface-fighting ships, fitted with some arrangement by which they will be able to keep off any bombs which any aircraft can drop I am not in the least afraid of the further existence of the Navy. I am not recommending the building of battleships at the present time. we must wait and see what are the possibilities of the future. I believe that in a very short time there will be craft, perhaps as big as a destroyer, normally floating on the sea, and steaming at a high speed, perhaps getting up to 70 miles per hour, as I mentioned just now, but when the occasion arises spreading her wings and travelling 150 miles per hour through the air. I foresee that, though I admit it may not be in my lifetime, but I do not foresee a battleship aircraft.
I have mentioned the sort of craft which I really think is feasible, but I would ask who could possibly evolve such craft other than naval constructors, and, seeing that nine-tenths of their time they must be on the sea, who is going to man them except seamen, and, if they are to be evolved by naval constructors and manned by seamen, who can administer them other than the Admiralty? It would be really ridiculous to leave it to the Air Ministry, constituted as it is at present, to evolve such craft or to administer the personnel of them. We must look to the future, and it is of the future rather than the present that I am thinking. I say most emphatically that if the future Naval Air Service, including such aircraft as I have mentioned, be left to the Air Ministry, we shall not make that progress that we should make. we have always led in maritime matters. This is a maritime matter, and it is for us to lead. This little Air Service that we have at present, these flying boats that are specified in Sir Hugh Trenchard's statement, constitute the embryo Service, but it is not what it should be. I do not want to repeat anything that I said on Wednesday night, but I found fault with the Admiralty, and pretty severely, too, for tolerating the lack of progress in the Naval Air Service in the last three or four years. The Admiralty are to blame for allowing it, but the actual cause is the incompetence 120 of the Air Ministry to deal with naval matters. I do not use the word "incompetence" in any offensive sense; I simply mean that they are not men fitted for the purpose. They cannot understand what is required in maritime matters. I blame the Navy itself. It has never properly appreciated, until quite recently, what this Air Service is to-day. I blame the Admiralty and the Navy, and I repeat that had the Navy had its own Air Service in the past four years we might have destroyed the German Flect at Wilhelmshaven long before the Armistice. Had it been properly fostered instead of being treated as a child that result might have come about. A little illustration of the incapacity of a most gallant aviator who was a soldier to appreciate what naval aviation duties are was recently given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member For Ilkeston (Major-General Seely) when he referred to the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) as an amateur. I know the Member for. Leith has done some gallant work, but he has not done the duties I have enumerated, neither is he competent to do them. I really think I have said enough on this question. My object has been to bring home to the Committee the fact that the Air Ministry are not competent to deal wih the naval side of the question. The Chief of the Staff foresees that it will be a separate arm. It is a separate arm already, and its development as such must start at once under the auspices and direction of the Admiralty alone.
§ Captain WEDGWOOD BENN
I listened with great interest to what the hon. and gallant Gentleman has just said, and it is with the points he has raised I shall attempt to deal first. I am not sure whether the hon. and gallant Gentleman's point was that the Admiralty should run the whole Air Service or that it should run the part which belongs to the Navy—
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
I commenced by saying that on no account did we want anything to do with the other branch of the Air Service.
§ Captain BENN
And that is exactly the weakness of the hon. and gallant Member's whole case. If such a misfortune were to happen as that we were to hand over to the Admiralty a part of the Flying Corps, that force would be amputated in a way which would produce atrophy and even death. There is no question about that. 121 I think it was the Lord President of the Council who stated that we wanted a real service of our own, but a phrase of that kind is anathema to anybody who knows anything about service in the air. The future of the Air Service, both in peace and in war, is involved in this. Let me ask another question. If we were to amputate part of the Air Service and put it under the charge of the Admiralty what about the reserve of officers to start with? The hon. and gallant Member says that the only man who can fly a flying boat is a seaman, because the flying boat spends most of its time on the surface of the water. It is true it does, but it seems to me carrying the argument a little too far to suggest that because a flying boat spends most of its time at its moorings therefore the only man who can conduct it to its proper element is a seaman. Such an argument hardly bears close examination. If you had an amputated service what about the reserve? You would have a reserve of officers to start with with a capacity to fly a particular type of machine, but being absolutely committed to a particular type they would rapidly become far below the ordinary standard of air pilotage which prevailed at the time.
And what about the reserve of machines? The hon. and gallant Admiral seemed to think that there was some special type of machine that was set apart for the service of the Navy. But that is not the case in the least, and when the time comes that you can successfully land as well as launch a machine from a ship—and I am not quite certain how far that is possible now, but the time will come when it can be done with perfect ease—then what is the possible difference between the scout that goes up to defend the naval machine and the one that goes up to defend the land bases? Were the hon. and gallant Admiral's suggestions to be accepted it would mean this, that you would get a type of pilot acquainted with a certain kind of machine only. Everybody who has had practical experience of the Service knows that you get locad prejudices. At one air station they are all in favour of the F.3.A. boat; while at another they, say you cannot beat the Sopwith seaplane. There are all these local Prejudices as well as fears, and the only way to overcome them is to send some stunt man to the station to show what is possible to be done. It is one of the 122 dangers in designing types of aeroplanes to give way to pilots' prejudices, for the pilot is not always a very safe guide as to the best type of machine to take the air, valuable as his practical views, generally speaking, may be. It really would be an awful thing for the Air Service if any such suggestion were even tampered with, or if you were to cherish for one instant the idea that you can take away part of the service and attach it permanently to the Navy.
The hon. and gallant Admiral made some charming remarks about the work of the Air Force and what was done by these machines. But he suggests that, because the machine goes up from a ship or from the water, therefore the work in connection with it must obviously be done by seamen or someone connected with the ship. Is that so? Someone has to fly the machine, and that is not a seaman's job, which can be learned on board a ship. Then there is the question of the wireless. A certain amount of knowledge of the Morse code, and so on, might be learnt in the signal cabin of the ship, but the wireless of the airship is a simpler and lighter thing than that used on board. Then there are the questions of dropping bombs, using sights, and the calculation of drift, and service on board ship does not teach these things. Further, there is the question of aerial photography, and there is nothing in the duty of a seaman which specially qualifies him for that. Most important of all, there is the defence if the machine. I wish I knew more about this myself, but I do not think it is usual to have Lewis guns on battleships. True, they may be used there and the actual mechanical part might be taught on board the ship, but the firing of Lewis guns in the air is something absolutely different from firing them on board ship, seeing that you have to take into account the unknown speeds and differing direction of both the target and the attacking plane; all that is obviously different from firing a Lewis gun on board a ship.
I understand that the Air Minister has no intention whatever of dividing the force. That, I take it, was the assurance given by the right hon. Gentleman. I was reading in the book by Lord Fisher a statement which applies admirably to the Air Service. It is in the staccato style, of [...] the Noble Lord is a master, and he says:On general principles the Admiralty should never engage itself in locking up a single vessel. 123 not even a torpedo boat or submarine anywhere on any consideration. The whole principle of sea fighting is to be free to go anywhere, with everything that the Navy possesses.I venture to suggest that that principle of sea fighting enunciated by that great Admiral, is absolutely sound and applicable equally to air fighting. There are certain parallels that can be drawn between the Air Service and the Navy—the capacity to strike a blow at the right spot swiftly and surely. That is one of the most important powers the Air Service can possess. In the speech made by the First Lord of the Admiralty the other night, it seemed to me there was not a sufficient note of certainty on this point of separation. I believe the determination of the Government and of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Churchill) is fixed that they will not have the Service divided. The First Lord of the Admiralty, instead of saying "We will not have the Service divided," made a speech which I think was rather involved, and did not contain the assurance which we wanted, and the result is that in the various messes of the squadrons there still goes on all this talk about dividing the force; they say that one day the Naval Air Service will come back again to the Navy. I beg the right hon. Gentleman to say definitely in his speech to-night that nothing of the kind is contemplated.
If that is not done, how is it possible to get in the Air Force that thing which is absolutely necessary, namely, esprit de corps. I agree with the hon. and gallant Admiral in what he said about the dual capacity of the right hon. Gentleman. It subordinates the Air Service to put a small and junior service into the hands of a Minister whose obvious main interest clearly enters into the senior Service. It does subordinate the Air Service, and therefore I am totally opposed to that system, and I shall go into the Lobby with my right hon. Friend, not out of admiration for the gifts of the right hon. Gentleman, because I am opposed to him on many occasions by reason of those very gifts—his wonderful imagination and driving force, and his services to the Air Force are a matter of history—but I shall go into the Lobby, because we want to get a united Air Service, with a proper esprit de corps. We often talk about the Nelson touch. Why not have for the Air Service a McCubbin touch, or a Bishop touch? That would give the necessary esprit de corps.
124 There are one or two other matters I wish to touch upon. I would refer first to the recruitment of officers for the Air Force. I have followed with some interest this subject, and I read with great satisfaction the Memorandum issued in regard to it, but there is one matter on which I am not satisfied. I believe the Air Force should be a democratic Force. You want to select your men in order to get the qualities that go to make good pilots, and you should have the whole field open fur that purpose, and not allow anything to restrict your choice. I understand the plan of the Air Ministry to be to select boys who have passed through public schools. I believe they have rejected the plan for taking boys at thirteen—the Osborne or Selborne scheme—and have put that aside in favour of taking boys from public schools, because they say that public school education gives a boy a certain amount of "savvy." or self-confidence which is so reqnisite for the handling of machines in the air. That may be true. I do not know whether it is so or not. But the difficulty is this: If you restrict your boys to boys who come from public schools you limit the choice to boys of a certain social class. It is not every parent who can afford to keep his boy at a public school till he is sixteen or seventeen.
§ Captain BENN
Personally, I do not think promotion from the ranks meets the case. My experience is that people promoted from the ranks never have the status of the officers who have entered direct. They are usually pushed into administrative or other jobs. At any rate that is my view, and I think that the field should be absolutely open for boys to enter exactly on a parity from all social classes. The history of the War has shown that, although all classes contributed very nobly, by no means all the most brilliant pilots have been chosen from the class of boys to whom the whole thing would be restricted if such a plan were adopted. Here. again. I fortify myself with quotations from Lord Fisher. Lord Fisher's experience in this matter of the training of [...] for the fighting services is unique, and he gave us some very fine officers to fight during the War. He points out that the career must be open to the talents, and his last comment is: 125I gave up one thing, which was the real democratic pith and marrow—the free education of the naval officer and a competence from the moment of entry, open to all.I do not think this would involve any great expense, as the number of entries would be small. I think it is due to the contribution of all classes to the War, and to our desire to maintain our undoubted supremacy in the air, that the net should be cast very wide, and that considerations due to his parents' income should not prevent the entry of a boy who might turn out to be a brilliant member of the force.
There is one other point that I want to emphasise. I think there is too much tendency in the Air Force to exalt the pilot at the expense of the science—I am using the words in the broadest sense. The man who is a stunt flyer and can perform in the air is apt, especially among the community, to get a predominance which is not altogether good for the Service. What is required is more the man who corresponds to the engineer in the Navy, the man who takes an interest in the scientific side of his work. The difficulty of these men, whether they are experienced in wireless, in photography, or in gunnery, is to get into the air. Immediately they appear on the aerodrome, decked out in their jackets, with bundles of things under their arms, a universal groan goes up from the pilots, and they inquire, "What is the weight of it?" "How long do you want to stay up?" and so on, and it is a very uphill job for an enthusiast, who might make valuable contributions to the scientific advance of the Service, to get into the air in a physical as well as in a metaphorical sense. And when he gets up, the pilot is always very bored with the whole job, and keeps on saying, "Well, we must go down now; the revolutions are not right; the oil pressure is falling; we had better go back on to the ground." In the future, I understand, all officers are to learn to fly, and I think that is perfectly right. Everyone who goes into the air should be able to support himself in the air and fly. But I do urge the. right hon. Gentleman to resist any tendency to separate the flying part from the scientific part, because I think the future of the Service does absolutely depend upon its being a Service of enthusiastic scientists, men who see that every advance must depend, not on their increasing skill with the joy stick, but on their 126 increasing knowledge of the scientific application of inventions to the Air Service.
I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman one question, in conclusion, on this general Debate. The hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Glyn), who spoke earlier in the Debate, asked about the amount allocated to civil aviation. I have gone through the Estimates very carefully, and as far as I can make out there is £50,000 for the civil route from Egypt to India; £38,000 for the Department itself; £25,000 for rewards for inventions. For supply and research no figure is named. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us why that is so? So far as I can make out there is less than £100,000 in the Estimates for the development of civil aviation. I may be wrong, but I certainly think that is very small, and I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it is the wrong way to go to work. What he seems to be doing is supplying us with a moderate Air Force of an accepted type, and leaving us very ill supplied with the means of developing new types. I make bold to say that, three months after the outbreak of any future war, if such a misfortune were to occur, most of the material of the Air Ministry would be absolutely out of date. Certainly three months after the outbreak of this War nearly all the material was out of date. There is only one type of machine which is an Army machine pure and simple, and that is the single seater scout. It may be used as a sports machine, but, it is really a military type, and, as regards the adaptation of engines and various scientific discoveries to the scout, I quite agree that it is a purely military thing. But, as regards the bomber, the two-seater or three-seater, or the machine that in future will carry five, fifty, or a hundred men and land them to form an outpost on the other side of the enemy's lines—these must be the outcome of the civilian type. People may say, "what about the Navy? The Navy has to design all its own warships." But the problems in the air at the present time are not so much fighting problems as flying problems. The matters in which we may look for some development are increase of speed, increase of engine power—or diminished weight of engines as compared with horse-power—increased flying, and so forth. All these things can be developed by the civilian aviator, and everything that he finds out will be avail- 127 able at the outbreak of any future war for the service of the military forces. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the real course to pursue is not to standardise. It is quite obvious that, with the money at his disposal, he cannot possibly carry out the whole of the work of defence and the design of machines. I suggest, therefore, that his real course would be not to standardise a type which is already obsolescent—every type is obsolescent the moment it gets into the air—but rather to devote less money to that, and more to the encouragement of the civilian inventor. so that all the products of his labour and ingenuity may be at the service of this country if it be ever necessary to put them into the air on a war footing.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
This Debate has been both peculiar and agreeable. It has been peculiar from the fact that it has taken a very different course from that on which it was originally launched by my right hon. and gallant Friend who opened it, and from the fact that out of, I think, seven speakers, five—I am not sure I should not be right in saying six—have all propounded different schemes for the location of the Air Force in our general defensive organisation, or for the general organisation of our defensive Services. First of all, there was my right hon. and gallant Friend, whose policy is perfectly clear. He wishes to take the Air Force away from the Army. But there sat beside him on that bench the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert), who uprose and employed an argument of great vigour to show that it should be taken away from the Army only to be put under the Navy—thereby countering my right hon. and gallant Friend on all his arguments as to the impossibility of one man doing two jobs, and of placing the Air Force in helotage to some other more powerful Service. Then we had the gallant Admiral the Member for the Shettleston Division of Glasgow, whose idea is that the Air Force should be split into three—that there should be three separate Air Forces, one for the Army, one independent, and one Naval Air Force—a proposal for which he was very properly and soundly rebuked by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain W. Benn), who spoke last. We have had, too, a very interesting and suggestive speech from the hon. and gallant Member for Stirling 128 (Major Glyn), who, as I gathered from his statement, is in favour of the general organisation of the three forces in the ambit of one single Ministry of Defence, supported by a Joint Imperial Staff. Amid all these divergent points of view, so powerfully argued, so ingeniously framed and so eloquently expressed, I seem to have escaped from the direct pursuit which my right hon. and gallant Friend had intended to set upon my heels. That is why I say the Debate, as well as being peculiar, has been agreeable.
If I do not immediately embark upon an examination of these elaborate questions of government of the various defensive forces, I hope that those who have taken part in the discussion will not think it is because I do not consider them important and interesting, but for the moment I feel it to be my duty to recall the Committee to some of the more immediately practical issues and questions with which, in Committee of Supply, we have to deal. First of all, I would like to refer to the financial aspect, because we have heard a great deal of it at one time or other in the Session, and it is surprising that it should never have been mentioned at all during the course of this Debate.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is quite true that my right hon. Friend referred to finance in those general terms, but I think he did not address himself at all to the figures of the Estimate, and, after all, they are important and interesting. In March, Air Estimates were presented of approximately £66,500,000, and the present Estimate is for £54,000,000, so that there is an apparent reduction of £12,500,000. I say "apparent" advisedly, because £11,250,000 out of those,£12,500,000 are transferred bodily from the charges of the Air Ministry to those of the Ministry of Munitions, and the actual net saving to the public on the new Estimates over the old is only £1,250,000. I am very anxious that the House should clearly understand exactly what the position is, and should not think that we are in any way trying to mislead them as to the actual financial position. This £150,000,000 would have been greater by £2,000,000 if the airships had remained on the Admiralty Vote. We have had put on our charge £2,000,000 for airships which otherwise would have figured on the Admiralty Vote. Therefore the total net actual saving on the Air Estimates as now 129 presented is £3,250,000. To this may be added a further almost certain saving on the Ministry of Munitions Vote through not going on with contracts instead of taking delivery of machines. That is to say, that owing to the reduction in the demand we are wiping out contracts by compensation instead of by taking delivery, as was done the first few months after the Armistice. It is probable that the reduction will at least amount to £3,000,000, and it may be more; so that the total benefit to the Exchequer is in the neighbourhood of £6,250,000, to which may be added the £400,000 which my right hon. Friend was able to secure by his judicious sale of one of our airships to the United States, and possibly by other sales which are in contemplation and which were not foreseen when the Estimates were originally introduced. Therefore, the saving is not £12,500,000, but the public may consider it is better off by the changes which have taken place by something between £6,000,000 and £7,000,000.
These Estimates which are now laid for the Army and for the Air Force are not the Estimates for next year. They are the Estimates for last year, which ought to have been presented in March. It was not possible to prepare them, and I promised that both Estimates should be laid before the end of the year. I am doing this in fulfilment of my pledge. But, of course, we are only separated by a few months from the time when the new Estimates will be introduced. By the end of February or the beginning of March whoever represents these Departments will lay the new Estimates before the House, and there will be a long series of opportunities of Debate and discussion on all matters connected with Air and Army policy. I shall reserve till then the task of making a full statement on the Army. I am sure the Committee will accord me the latitude of waiting till a regular and proper occasion arrives to untold the scheme, which is now very far advanced, for a permanent post-war Army. I hope to do so in full detail and to lay the finance wholly before the Committee. The days of the looseness and uncertainty inseparable from war Estimates have passed, and the Committee has the right on the Air and on the Army next year to expect a punctual and detailed Statement in advance of all expenditure to be incurred during the currency of the year.
§ Major-General SEELY
Did the right hon. Gentleman say in error the post-war Army, or did he mean the post-war Air Force?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
No, the post-war Army Although I propose to ask this latitude in regard to the Army I think it desirable to have published a full outline of the new scheme for the permanent postwar Air Force which has already been laid before the house. The post-war Air Force is much further advanced in shape than either the Army or the post-war Navy. This scheme has been worked during the year in considerable elaboration, and although I might legitimately claim an opportunity of delay until the Estimates are presented this year, there has been so much nagging at the Air Force and so much uncertainty caused by the various criticisms which have been made that I thought it was desirable at the earliest possible moment to let a full statement be made which will show exactly where we stand in regard to this force in the immediate future. The Estimates of 1918–19 for the Air aggregated £370,000,000, including the Vote for the Ministry of Munitions for aircraft. In 1919–20 they have fallen to £54,000,000, and the limit which the Cabinet has approved for the framing of the Air Force Estimate next year is approximately £15,000,000, so that whatever else may be said, a very great reduction is being affected in the scale of our expenditure. Discount it as you will, criticise it as you may, the fact remains that the whole standing of the Air Force has been in the currency of the present year reduced from its great War level of expenditure at more than £1,000,000 a day to an expenditure which will not exceed, in 1920–21, £15,000,000. These financial considerations are very necessary to bear in mind. But this scheme which has been prepared by the Chief of the Air Staff, working for a long period of time in collaboration with some of the other able officers who under his leadership rose to eminence in the War, has been commented upon with favour by practically every hon. Member who has spoken to-day.
I hope the Committee will not underrate the very considerable merit of the achievement accomplished in elaborating that scheme. During the present year the Air Force has had to be reduced from an enormous war organisation, rapidly expanded in every direction, down to almost nothing, and a modest, compact, perma- 131 nent peace-time Air Force is being erected out of and upon its ruins. Whereas the Army and the Navy both had permanent pre-war structures to fall back upon and reduce down to, and were strongly organised and established on that basis, the Air Force had nothing at all except its emergency war organisation. At the same time a double element of uncertainty was playing over the whole field, namely, uncertainty as to the rate at which the German and Turkish situations would allow demobilisation to be carried out, and, secondly, uncertainty as to how much money would be allocated for the permanent post-war Air Force. It was inevitable during this period of arrest, of dissolution, of uncertainty, and of reconstruction, that everyone should feel disquieted and uncomfortable. The Air Ministry had not only to work out plans for the future in all their detailed complexity, but they had to have two or three sets of alternative plans carried forward simultaneously through all their variations and complications, so as to be ready to come forward with a complete scheme at an early date, in accordance with whatever scale of Air Force was ultimately sanctioned by the Cabinet. I confided this task to Air-Marshal Trenchard, and with his staff he has been engaged during the last three or four months on its execution. Early in October the Cabinet definitely approved a permanent organisation for the Royal Air Force on a scale of approximately £15,000,000 a year, of which the Indian charges will be borne by India. This organisation has now been elaborated in full detail, and every move in demobilisation, the transfer of stores, surrender of aerodromes, etc., has for some time past been made in direct relation thereto. The full organisation will, of course, be laid before the House when the Air Estimates for next year are produced. Meanwhile, we claim the fullest liberty within the ambit of the scheme now presented to make such variations, refinements and improvements as further experience and study may suggest. But the central principle which has always been followed throughout this year has been the maintenance of the independent status and identity of the Royal Air Force, and, secondly, the gathering to the Royal Air Force of all those elements necessary for its permanent integral existence. Every step, in fact, has been taken on the basis of their being three separate 132 independent Services for sea, land, and air, respectively, capable of forming part of a higher organisation of Imperial defence as a whole, and no step inconsistent with this ideal has been allowed. Differences of uniform, decorations, etc., have been preserved by the Royal Air Force. A new set of ranks and titles, specially devised because they were distinct, as far as ingenuity could make them, from those in current use in the Army and Navy, have been brought into force.
Everything possible has been done to strengthen the Air Ministry and lend body to the Air Force. The Technical Department of the Ministry of Munitions has been transferred from the Ministry of Munitions to the Royal Air Force. Anyone who knows what is involved in that will realise how vitally important it was for the future independent organisation of the Air Service that this Technical Department should so be transferred. The meteorological research has been assigned definitely to the Air Ministry. Civil aviation has been rescued from the ambitions of the Ministry of Transport or the Board of Trade and definitely assigned to the Air Ministry. All the course of the present year has, in fact, been occupied in building up by every means a separate independent Royal Air Force and in making an organisation which will effectively prevent any future combining up of the Air Service between the Army and the Navy. My hon. and gallant Friend asked for a special assurance on that point, and I am glad to give it him so far as I and the Government are concerned, who are now responsible for the direction of affairs. We are moving forward with the scheme outlined by Sir Hugh Trenchard in his Memorandum in such a way as to make it extraordinarily difficult at a later stage to make any of those disruptive decisions which would bring the Air Force into two separate, subsidiary branches of the Army and the Navy, which would be fatal to the development of the air spirit and of the Air Force as a great new arm. We are rapidly reaching a position which will make it almost impossible to arrive at a change without the greatest amount of waste and expense should it be decided upon. It will take, approximately, five years to bring the permanent post-war Air Force into the same kind of running order as were the pre-war Army and Navy. I do not mean that the 133 scheme will not be carried out and brought into action very rapidly, but before you can have an Air Force running in a smooth, regular way as a permanent and long—established Service, in my opinion three, four, or five years will be required of continuous work in pursuit of a definite line of advance. Estimates have, accordingly, been worked out not for one year only, but for five years, subject, of course, to such modifications as may be found desirable. I think it is very likely that I shall adopt the same method in regard to the Army Estimates, but there I deal with a larger and much more complex subject. I do not pledge myself to it altogether, but I am not without hope that it may be possible to lay before Parliament in the course of the next three months, when the Estimates for 1920 are published, a tabloid of expenditure which will cover one year and indicate in general limits what the size is likely to be over the lustra.
The Royal Air Force is in want of practically every permanent institution of a disciplined Service. No Service has ever approached it in complexity. Nearly every trade and every science finds its part in aerial warfare. Even the complexities of the modern battleship, with all its technical departments grouped together in its vast machinery, falls far short in number and in delicacy of the subsidiary services which are essential to an efficient Air Force. Therefore, at the outset schools, colleges, training centres, experimental establishments of many different kinds have to be called into being and organised. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Lambert) thinks that because the Navy will not be training for the next two years so many officers as it was before the War there will be a certain a umber of beds vacant at Dartmouth and Osborne, and he thinks that these extra places in the class rooms and the vacant beds in the dormitories may be made the birthplace, the cradle of this great new Air Force of the future.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
The right hon. Gentleman is totally misrepresenting my argument. My argument was this, had the War Office in estimating for the future of this Naval Air Force, taken into account that the Navy must be largely reduced in numbers. Do they propose to spend an enormous sum on buildings when these buildings may be ready to their hand from the Admiralty? Further, has this Memorandum of Sir Hugh Trenchard's re- 134 ceived the approval of the Board of Admiralty in regard to naval offence and defence in the future?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I will deal with the last point when I come to it in the argument. I do not think my right hon. Friend's suggestion is practicable. The Air Force must have establishments of its own. I do not think you will ever build up a proper Air Force if you are to occupy any spare accommodation which may be found from time to time available in buildings at Dartmouth or elsewhere. I do not remember in the year immediately preceding the War—I am speaking from memory—that there was any very large addition to Dartmouth. I think there was none. I dealt in those days with extensions by means of the public school entries, who were trained on board ships specially organised. I do not think we went into any large extension in the way of bricks and mortar at Dartmouth.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
My right hon. Friend has a unique experience, because he was at the Admiralty for ten years. Therefore, I will not challenge him, but I do not think there was any large extension. At any rate, I am quite certain that the contraction in the Navy, while it may leave unoccupied some portion of some wing or annexe of these colleges at the time, just as the contraction at Sandhurst will leave some portion of the building not, fully occupied, that contraction will not enable us to get there the schools or the class rooms required for the Air Force. If I am not converting my right hon. Friend by these observations, I may perhaps safely entrust the rest of the, process to the right hon. Gentleman (General Seely) or to my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Wedgwood Benn). They will complete the work which I have left undone. -We have to have these establishments for the Air Force. If it is to be a real living thing, it has to have its proper plant and accommodation in which it can settle down. The cadets have to be trained to be officers, and the officers have to be trained in the different specialised branches of their profession, and those branches involve the studying of the special needs of the Army, the Navy, and the Independent Service. The very list of schools and training centres, which is attached to the 135 paper which has been published, which have to be created will show in a comprehensive and impressive way the complexity of the tasks which Sir Hugh Trenchard has had placed upon him. Officers have, further, to be trained to become air staff officers, to understand not only air warfare as such but air warfare in combination both with the special and general requirements of the Army and the Navy. Mechanics have to be trained from boys upwards in all the different trades, some highly scientific trades, on whose trustworthiness the Air Service depends for its efficiency and the flying men for their lives. Fortunately, there is at the present time no lack of centres where new establishments can be set up. There are many enormous war plants which were called into being all over the country, and the task has been to select according to some concerted plan the best and most convenient centres for the Royal Air Force. At Cranwell we shall have the Air Force Sandhurst. At Halton there will be the Air Force staff. At Halton also there will be the main training establishments for mechanics and artificers, similar to those which the Navy had before the War on board certain ships. The photographic establishments will be at Farnborough, and the main wireless schools at Flower-down. The gunnery school will be at Eastchurch. There will also be a navigation school There will be three store depots and two aircraft repairing depots, one at Kidbrook, and the other at Donnibristle. All these establishments exist at the present time. The land is there and the roads are there, and an enormous amount of work has been done. The buildings are there, but although the centres are available the buildings are in nearly every case either lacking in completeness, or of the most flimsy wartime character.
It is quite impossible to maintain a permanent service in healthy discipline without that reasonable degree of comfort which can only be afforded by permanent habitation. During the next three years we have, therefore, to spend a considerable proportion of our limited funds available for maintaining the Air Force on bricks and mortar. That is to say, we have to replace the temporary buildings which can be used at the present time by permanent structures which will be satisfactory to the health and comfort of the personnel However, during these same years, it happens fortunately that prac- 136 tically no new construction of aircraft is required except for experimental purposes. We shall continue repeatedly to experiment in type, each type an improvement upon the other, but we do not require any bulk production in the next two or three years in aircraft. We have left over from the War an enormous accumulation of stores and aircraft. The great accumulation in stores and aircraft enable redactions to be effected in both these Votes. When you look at the Air Force's financial position on the basis of five years, and not on the basis of a single year, the convenience of that method of treating the subject becomes apparent, because it has been found possible to aim at balancing the initial expenditure on housing the Royal Air Force, by the initial saving in regard to stores and equipment arising from our special circumstances. Within that five years the Estimates on the building programme is a constantly dwindling charge, while the technical equipment expenditure rises step by step to maintain on the whole a uniform level of estimate.
The £15,000,000, which is the approximate figure, includes £2,000,000 for research and civil aviation. That amount will be provided for in next year's Estimate. My hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Wedgwood Benn) asked how much had been actually spent in the present year on civil aviation. We are allocating £500,000 in the present year, and we have spent £329,000 on civil aviation in the present year. That is due largely because plans which had been formed did not fully mature within the compass of this year. Of course nothing would be worse than to try to spend money without obtaining full value for all the money that is spent, and without having a very judicious control over the expenditure.
§ Captain BENN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say with a little more detail how the £300,000 has been spent? I find it difficult to discover it in the Estimate.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I do not think I will try at this moment to give that figure in detail, but later on in the discussion I will look it up in the Estimates myself and let my hon. and gallant Friend know. Out of the £15,000,000 we are providing £2,000,000 for research and civil aviation. Here let me deal with those people who say, "It ought to be the other way round. You ought to provide £13,000,000 for research and civil aviation and the other 137 £2,000,000 should be good enough to manage your military affairs." It is not a fair argument to say that the first charge ought to be civil aviation, and that the military needs should be provided for at a later stage. I must remind hon. Members that we have still an Empire to defend. Odd as it may seem on the morrow of unheard victories, we have all those dependencies and possessions in our hands which existed before the War, and in addition we have large promises of new responsibilities to be placed upon us. The first duty of the Royal Air Force is to garrison the British Empire. Out of the twenty-four and a half fighting squadrons which the Trenchard Memorandum contemplates forming at once, no fewer than nineteen are abroad, or will be stationed abroad. Eight will be in India, seven in Egypt, three in Mesopotamia and one is to be split up between the various naval bases. The maintenance of all these forces permanently abroad, the training of officers and men, the regular circulation of the units on the roster between home and abroad—because we intend to preserve the regimental idea very strongly in regard to the fighting squadrons of the Air Force—all these functions in the Air Force as in the Army will be found to absorb the greater part of the modest sum at our disposal. When to these are added the two fighting squadrons which are all we can maintain at home and the two and a half squadrons which will be working with the Navy, and the one which will be working with the Army—I am supposed to be exceptionally favourable towards the Army as against the Navy; but it will be seen that only one squadron is allocated to the military division as against two and a half allocated to the Navy—the rest of the force will be on independent duty abroad.
When we have considered all those, and the necessary schools and the training and experimental centres and the general establishment charges, the whole of the available sum is absorbed with the exception of this £2,000,000. Necessity has to come first. The Royal Air Force is now reduced to the very minimum in finance which will enable it to discharge its peace-time military functions and to have an integral independent life as a permanent Service. If, therefore, larger sums are required for civil aviation, as some are inclined to demand, additional money must be voted by Parliament. 138 That must be faced. I do not myself believe that it is the business of the Government to carry civil aviation forward by means of great expenditure of public money. Our business is first of all to do all we can to facilitate the development of civil aviation, to develop the routes and the key aerodromes, to develop the legislation, to assist in all those ways which are open to a Government Department, to advertise and push British civil aviation. But the effort which is to sustain it must be a spontaneous effort arising from the country and the trade, and the best thing we can do in regard to that is to make sure that we do not get in the way of it. I have laid before the Committee three documents in regard to civil aviation—the synopsis of progress and work in the department of civil aviation, the report on the general air routes, and the synopsis of civil aviation in foreign countries, all of which repay study.
I do not propose this evening to embark upon a lengthy statement on this subject. I will reserve that for the Estimates which will be presented in February, as I have so much to say on the military side this evening. But with regard to what my right hon. and gallant Friend said on the subject of civil aviation, we have at the head of civil aviation in General Sykes an extremely competent officer, who is throwing a great deal of personal ability into his task, and I feel with great confidence that his treatment of the problem of civil aviation from the Government point of view will be attended by the same measure of success as has attended Sir Hugh Trenchard's treatment of the military. I think it is a great achievement on the part of Sir Hugh Trenchard to have been able, within the narrow limits assigned to him, to work out a complete scheme which meets all the varying needs and duties with which he and the Royal Air Force were confronted. As to the provision for the Navy very satisfactory relations have been established between the Air staff and the Admiralty. Admiral Beatty in particular has shown that he is a sincere friend and well-wisher of the Royal Air Force. I look forward to the most favourable results from his co-operation. I was sorry that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the other night accused the Admiralty of not asking for enough. I think it was most unjust to make such an accusation and most untrue.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
At any rate it is perfectly true that the Admiralty have not got what they asked for. They asked for a great deal more than they got, and I never remember a time, I rarely remember a subject, on which the Admiralty have not asked for more than they have been able to get. We simply cannot provide the trained mechanics next year, even if the money allowed, to meet all requirements of the Navy any more than we can meet all the requirements of the Army. What we have to do is to get our system established, our training plans at work, to get our establishments in full activity for preparing the personnel of the new force. The scheme which is outlined by the Chief of the Air staff is the most which is physically practicable within the time and limits available. But I give the general assurance that the Air Ministry will do their utmost to study the special needs of the Navy and meet them in every possible way. Those who seem to think that we are immediately on the verge of some enormous development whereby battleships and surface craft will disappear and will be replaced either by a submarine Navy or an Air Force, or a combination of both, must realise that in proportion as such evolution obtains the support of professional opinion, in that very proportion the large funds which are now spent on the construction of a surface Navy will he liberated and be available for the development of additions to the Air Force.
But the task before us is severely practical; we have to find the necessary air garrisons to defend the British Empire, to create a permanent independent Air Force, to offer young officer airmen or mechanics a decent regular life in a good profession to which it is an honour to belong. This is a task which is self-contained and must be discharged quite apart from any theoretical decision either for revolutionising either the art of war or for the combined organisation of the three Services. It would be a great mistake to delay the practical steps which are needed until an entirely new system of defence organisation has been thrashed out and developed. To make it a unit, to make it in a form where it is not only efficient in itself, but will fit into a higher organization—that is the practical task on which we are engaged. But if the Air Force is to be independent of the other two Services it 140 must also be interdependent upon them. It must be so organised as to fit naturally and easily in peace or war into a combined organisation of defence. It must be that for its own sake, in the interests of the other Services and in the general interests. Take the case of officers of the Air Force, for instance. Every Service must offer a reasonable advancement to young men who enter it, but a boy entering the Air Force ought to have as good a chance as a boy entering the Army or the Navy of making a career for himself. But as the proportion of general officers during the flying period of their lives in the Air Force necessarily exceeds very largely the proportion of higher posts, therefore we have to turn to the two great Services to assist us and we have to adopt a system of temporary commissions. About 50 per cent. of the Air Force will be composed of its own officers in permanent commission, 40 per cent. will be the short-service commissioned officers, and 10 per cent. will be birds of passage from the two other Services. It may be in future years that it will be still further extended.
It is good for us because it reduces protanto the pressure of candidates on the limited number of higher appointments. It is good for the other two Services because it familiarises them with the air, and later on it will give them the higher officers who know the true value of the air arm. It is good for all because it tends to promote that solidarity and unity with regard to defence organisation which is more and more demanded by those who are thinking out these problems, and it tends to eradicate toe absurdity of mere departmental conceptions of war. Meanwhile the Air Force is dependent upon the Army and Navy for a certain proportion of the officers who will be flowing through it. There are certain subsidiary services which the Army and the Air Force can have in common. For instance, we have arranged to have the mapping Department in common. The rations are supplied to the Air Force by the Navy and Army and not purchased direct by the Air Force. The Air Force clothing is bought from the Army Clothing Department at Pimlico. The ordnance is supplied by the Army. The Air Force has its own technical supply, but in these more simple forms of supply there is not the slightest reason why purchasing should not be made through the existing organisation of the Army. The medical service is at present entirely separate. The chaplains' department is separate. It requires careful con- 141 sideration as to whether it is necessary or proper to continue to duplicate any of these services. All this ground has to be very carefully studied in order—first, to secure the independence of the Air Force; second, not to waste money in duplicating organisation; and, third, not to take any steps inconsistent with the future combinations of the three fighting Services on the basis of common departments for common services. There is no doubt that very large economy and simplification would result from the combined treatment of defence problems, instead of having, for instance, two or three organisations Instead of having two or three organisations for buying meat and bread, you would have one for all. Instead of three finance and contract branches, you would have one for all. Instead of three medical departments, three sets of hospitals, and three chaplains' departments, there would be one. These are very revolutionary ideas, and progress towards them can only be made gradually; but progress towards them must be continued, and nothing must be done in reconstructing the Air Force which in any way conflicts with the final system to which we will certainly be drawn by logic, by economic and by war efficiency, and, in fact, by everything except existing vested interests, namely, a combined general Imperial War Staff for the three Services, actuating and operating under single control. Air power may prove itself—many people declare it has proved itself—a substitute for other more expensive forms of man power or sea power. But it is obvious that any question of such difficulty as substituting one set of developments for another, or increasing air power at the expense of existing forms of naval or military effort, for instance, can only be dealt with upon the advice and through the agency of a combined General Staff who feel impartial as to the method or instrument employed, so long as they are best and the right ones for the country to use. Therefore, I find myself in strong personal sympathy with the remarks made by the hon. Member for Stirling (Major Glyn) in regard to the creation of such a joint staff. I hope that the discussions which are now taking place between the professional heads of the three Services, the First Sea Lord, the Chief of the General Staff, and the Chief of the Air Force, may be productive of real advance in this most urgent and important matter.
142 Here a word as to the position of the professional head of the fighting Services. I consider that in practice the control of the fighting Services is best exercised through the close cooperation of a Cabinet Minister and the professional head, who should be the principal soldier, the principal sailor, and the principal airman of the day in the fighting Service. As long as that arrangement works well everything works well, and when it breaks down the personality should be changed either in one direction or in another. This close co-operation involves almost daily intercourse between the Minister and the professional heads. It is not possible, as my right hon. and gallant Friend has supposed, for a Parliamentary Under-Secretary to be the intermediary. It is not possible for the Under-Secretary to be the channel of all communications passing between the professional head of the Service and the Minister responsible. It has never been so at the War Office or at the Admiralty. The First Lord must deal with the First Sea Lord; the Secretary of State for War must deal with the Chief of the Imperial General Staff; arid, similarly, whoever holds the seals of the Air Ministry must deal with the chief of the Air Staff. It is the chief of the Air Staff who is the one to insist on his right of direct access to the Minister responsible, for otherwise everything would have to be taken once to the Under-Secretary and then again to the Minister who had to decide.
I have never reproached my right hon Friend. Having held very high offices, as he has dune in the past, and having exercised great responsibilities in peace and in war, it was difficult for him to accept frankly the position of an Under-Secretary. Even long and unbroken friendship could not remove those difficulties. On the other hand, the right of the chief of the Air staff to have access directly to his chief had also to be considered. There was no other solution possible, and no other has been found possible in the War Office or in the Admiralty. Therefore I do not reproach my right hon. Friend. In a fighting Department the first man after the Minister at the head, must necessarily be the professional chief. In the Admiralty it must be the First Sea Lord, and in the War Office the chief of the Imperial General Staff. They must be the second men in the two Departments. I have had very long experience. In fact, 143 there is no one else who has the experience, in length or variety, which I have of the conduct of these fighting Departments. You may say it has been a varied experience, but I have been learning all the time, and the view I take is this: that the initiative in Service matters must in the main come, and as a general rule comes, from the professional head. He plans, he outlines, he proposes. The Minister examines, criticises, suggests, discusses with his Board or Council, and finally approves. That is the right way. It really is the only way to carry out a military policy. It is not possible for the initiative in such matters to come from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, and it would not be fair to the professional head of the Department, nor would it be wise, nor would it work in practice. Just as I think that the initiative should, in the main, come, in the case of air policy from the chief of the Air Service, in the case of the Army from the chief of the General Staff, and in the case of the Navy from the First Sea Lord, so in the three Services together I hope that the initiative for joint action will come from the three heads sitting together, and that as a result of those conferences which are taking place proposals will emerge which will lead to the creation of that Joint Imperial Defence Staff, which at the present time is so indispensable from every point of view.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
My right hon. Friend in the early part of his speech, with skill and Parliamentary ingenuity, has succeeded in giving the impression to the majority of the Committee that by showing that my right hon. Friend took one point of view and the Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert) took another, he has disposed of the case laid before the Committee. I think nothing of the kind has happened. He has given no effective answer, nor has the Leader of the House, to the case which was put. The case put was this, that in all these great spending Departments you cannot have efficiency of administration or economy unless you have "one man one job." The argument adduced by the Leader of the House, I understood, was limited to this, that while that might be a very excellent general rule there was one glorious exception, and that was in the case of the Secretary of State for War, that he above all men could do it and nobody else could.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Mr. Gladstone was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House. Both Mr. Gladstone and the present Leader of the House (Mr. Bonar Law) found it was impossible, and gave up the hopeless task. I must say a few words as to the financial side of the question. The Secretary for war has taken great credit to himself and to his Department that this is the only one of the three great Services which has effected a reduction, and he has told us, with great frankness, that the real reduction is to £60,000,000. What will an anxious public think when with a shock it comes to know that the Air Force was to be maintained during the current year at an expenditure of £66,000,000, and to what extent will it be satisfied when this splendid campaign of economy has reduced the total to £60,000,000? We know that the anticipation is that next year there will be an expenditure of £15,000,000 only. To my mind that very remarkable drop, which we hope will appear next year, shows that during this year, at any rate, there must have been gross mismanagement and gross extravagance. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no !"] I am entitled to my opinion. I think so, and I do not mind telling the Committee that that opinion is very largely shared in the country.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I must apologise for intervening. I meant to give the figures in my speech. Let us take £15,000,000 as representing a normal year. The difference between that and the present expenditure is £39,000,000. Liquidating war contracts and equipment, apart from the Ministry of Munitions, accounts for £12,000,000; liquidating works, £3,000,000; decrease in maintaining war force above the normal amount accounted for £4,000,000; war gratuities accounted for £5,000,000; the pay of abnormal numbers above what will be maintained next year, due to the military situation, accounts for £12,000,000; minor miscellaneous items account for £3,000,000. That gives a total of £39,000,000, all accountable to pure and definite war charges and war necessities, and not in any way attributable to mismanagement.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The Committee is obliged for those figures. I repeat again that it shows there was far too much delay in demobilisation, and no quick grasp of the fact that this great force at its then standard was unnecessary. Useless con- 145 tracts were gone on with, thousands of men and women were retained quite unnecessarily in the force, and I do not hesitate to say that the late repentance of His Majesty's Government was very largely due to the efforts consistently put forward in this House and supported by the whole House. I will say, in conclusion, that these matters, the gross scandals—I do not hesitate so to describe them—which distinguished the management of the Air Force throughout these
§ months and this existing year, have given a shock to the moral authority of the Executive of this Government, authority which I hope will be recovered, but which can be recovered only by severe economy and sound business administration.
§ Question put, "That a sum not exceeding £3,517,900 be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 39; Noes, 180.147
|Division No. 156.]||AYES.||[7.41 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hogge, J. M.||Seely, Maj. -Gen. Right Hon. John|
|Benn, Captain W. (Leith)||Holmes, J. Stanley||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Bramsdon, Sir T.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Briant, F.||Lunn, William||Thorne, W. (Plaistow)|
|Cairns, John||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Tootill, Robert|
|Carter, W. [Mansfield)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Wignall, James|
|Cecll, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Williams, A. (Consett, Durham)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Newbould, A. E.||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Nicholson, R. (Doncaster)||Wilson. W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wood, Major Mackenzie (Aberdeen, c.p|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Young, Robert (Newton, Lanes.)|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Redmond. Captain William A.|
|Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Dr|
|Hirst, G. H.||Royce, William Stapleton||Murray and Mr. Mosley.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Du Pre, Colonel W. B.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Edgar, Clifford||Knights, Captain H.|
|Allen, Col. William James||Edge, Captain William||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Archdale, Edward M.||Edwards, J. H. (Glam., Neath)||Lewis, T. A. (Pontypridd, Glam.)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Eyres-Monsell, Commander||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Hunt'don)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Falcon, Captain M.||Lonsdale, James R.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fell, Sir Arthur||Lorden, John William|
|Barlow, Sir Montagu (Salford, S.)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Barnett, Major Richard||Foreman, H.||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Barnston, Major H.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Lyle, C. E. Leonard (Stratford)|
|Bell, Lt.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Lynn, R. J.|
|Bennett, T. J.||Gardiner, J. (Perth)||M'Guffin, Samuel|
|Betterton, H. B.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)|
|Bird, Alfred||Gilbert, James Daniel||M'Lean, Lt.-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg)|
|Blades, Sir George R.||Gilmour, Lt. -Colonel John||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Glyn, Major R.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Bowyer, G. W. E.||Goff, Sir Park||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Breese, Major C. E.||Greig, Colonel James William||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Griggs, Sir Peter||Martin, A. E.|
|Briggs, Harold||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (Leic., Loughboro')||Mitchell, William Lane-|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Guinness, Lt.-Col. Hon. W. E. (B. St. E.)||Moles, Thomas|
|Burn, captain C. R. (Torquay)||Hacking, Colonel D. H.||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast)||Hancock, John George||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Campbell, J. G. D.||Hanna, G. B.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Campion, Colonel W. R.||Hanson, Sir Charles||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Carr, W. T.||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Morris, Richard|
|Casey, T. W.||Herbert, Denniss (Hertford)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Cayzer, Major H. R.||Hilder, Lt.-Colonel F.||Murray, Maj. C. D. (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)||Murray, John (Leeds, W.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Blrm, W.)||Hinds, John||Neal, Arthur|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Hoare, Lt.-Colonel Sir Samuel J. G.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)|
|Chilcott, Lieut.-Com. H. W. S.||Hohler, Henry Fitzroy||Nicholl, Com. Sir Edward|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. (Midlothian)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Cockerill, Brig. -General G. K.||Howard, Major S. G.||Palmer, Major G. M. (Jarrow)|
|Cohen, Major J. B. B.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Parker, James|
|Colvin, Brig. -General R. B.||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Pearce, Sir William|
|Coote, Colin R. (Isle of Ely)||Jephcott, A. R.||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University)||Jesson, C.||Perring, William George|
|Cozens-Hardy, Hon. W. H.||Jodrell, N. P.||Pinkham, Lt.-Colonel Charles|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.)||Johnson, L. S.||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Jones, Sir Edgar B. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pratt, John William|
|Davies, Sir Joseph (Crewe)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Dixon, Captain H.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|purchase, H. G.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. (Preston)||Waring, Major Walter|
|Raeburn, Sir William||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.||Wheler, Colonel Granville C. H.|
|Rankin, Capt. James S.||Stevens, Marshall||Wigan, Brig.-Gen. John Tyson|
|Raw, Lt.-Colonel Dr. N.||Stewart, Gershom||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Rees, Captain J. Tudor- (Barnstaple)||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Richardson, Sir Albion (Peckham)||Sturrock, J. Leng-||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Rowlands, James||Sugden, Lieut. W. H.||Wilson, Col. M. (Richmond, Yorks.)|
|Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)||Terrell, Capt R. (Henley, Oxford)||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip A. G. D.||Tickler, Thomas George||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Scott, A. M. (Glas., Bridgeton)||Tryon, Major George Clement||Young, Lt.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Seddon, James||Vickers, D.||Younger, Sir George|
|Simm, M. T.||Wallace, J.|
|Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, S.)||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord E.|
|Stanier, Captain Sir Beville||Wardle, George J.||Talbot and Captain F. Guest.|
Resolutions agreed to.