§ 40. Sir O. THOMAS
asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state what is the total expenditure to date in connection with the East African campaign; whether he will state the number of staff officers, officers, and men, both European and native, at present On service in the country and the daily cost of the same; and whether, in view of the manner in which this campaign was conducted, he is prepared to institute an inquiry into the details of and responsibility for the expenditure on the whole campaign?
§ Mr. FORSTER
I regret that the form of Government accounts does not admit of the total expenditure on a particular campaign being ascertained without a great deal of research. The present force in East Africa is about 15,000 officers and men, mostly natives, of whom about half are in course of demobilisation, and the present cost is, roughly, £4,500 a day. The accounts of these operations have, like other war accounts, been annually audited and reported upon to the Public Accounts Committee, and I am not aware of any circumstances calling for the institution of a further special inquiry into this expenditure.
§ Sir O. THOMAS
Is it not a fact that the East African campaign has cost nearly £500,000,000—double the amount of the South African War?
§ Mr. FORSTER
I cannot give the total expenditure without a great deal of research, and, honestly, I do not think it would be worth the labour involved. If my hon. and gallant Friend wants a very rough estimate, I dare say that could be provided, but I do not think it would come to anything approaching the figure he has mentioned.
§ 62. The hon. and gallant Member further asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can state the number of Belgian troops, European and native, engaged in German East Africa during the whole of the campaign; what was the cost to the Belgian Government; and what assistance in munitions and money was given by the British to the Belgians in East Africa?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
In 1914, one Belgian battalion co-operated in the defence of the Northern Rhodesian frontier against a German attack from East Africa. Early in 1915, this force was increased to three battalions. It was finally withdrawn in October, 1915, when its strength was forty-nine European officers and non-commissioned officers and 1,334 natives. In for General Smut's offensive, 12,300 Belgian troops including some 600 Europeans, were assembled. Probably not more than 500 Europeans and 8,500 native troops actually crossed the frontier. In 1917, a Belgian Field Force, about 4,000 strong, took part in the Mahenge operations; in October, 1917, all but four battalions were withdrawn. The number of Europeans is not known, but was probably about 200. The Belgian troops took no further part in active operations. I regret that I have no information as to the cost of these troops to the Belgian Government. Considerable assistance in munitions and supplies was given by the British to the Belgians in East Africa, but it is impossible to estimate its value.