HC Deb 28 December 1919 vol 123 cc1255-6

I beg to ask a question of the Leader of the House, in reference to a question which I had put down for the Secretary of State for War, in view of the importance of the reply which I have received. The question was: To ask the Secretary of State for War whether the memorandum by the Chief of the Air Staff issued with the Air Estimates had received detailed consideration by and the approval of the Board of Admiralty and the Army Council; and whether it is intended to supplement the Chef of the Air Staff's memorandum with any comments passed on it by the Admiralty and the War Office in so far as those Departments are affected by the proposals contained in it. In the reply which the Secretary of State for War courteously sent me he says: No, Sir, it was stat, d in the memoranda. that the organisation proposed was provisional. I was anxious that it should be published in order that the House might be informed at the earliest possible moment of the general outline of the proposed permanent organisation of the Royal Air Force. Discussions are now proceeding between the Departments concerned. The financial limits of the scheme must be taken as definitely settled by the Cabinet. In view of the importance of that reply, which shows that there is no co-ordination between the technical heads of the Air Ministry, the War Office and the Admiralty, are we to assume that the terms of that memorandum by the Chief of the Air Staff will remain the policy of the Government, and if not, will any fresh proposal receive the consideration of the Committee of Imperial Defence or the recognised experts of the Navy and of the Army before they are presented to this House as the settled policy of the Government?


I am sure it will be recognised that I cannot give an answer to this question without notice. What I do know is that the Trenchard. scheme was before tie Cabinet, and That we approved it on general grounds. It is quite obvious that there must be negotiations between the Army and the Navy with reference to the subject.

Major GLYN

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will impress upon his colleagues in the Cabinet the immediate importance of the formation of a Joint Imperial Staff?


That is a very big question; it is receiving our attention.