HC Deb 10 August 1920 vol 133 cc196-8 "Everybody feels the need of a clear-cut policy in regard to Russia, and many people ask for a clear-cut policy. But it is a great deal easier to ask for a clear-cut policy, a clear, bold, wise, moderate, far-seeing, and decisive policy, in regard to Russia than it is to supply it. Anybody can ask for it, but nobody yet has been able to supply it. All the great nations of the world with whom we fought in the Great War are in the same situation as ourselves. The United States, France, and Italy, like ourselves when confronted with the direct question, 'Are you at war or not with the Bolshevists?' would be unable to give a perfectly monosyllabic answer, but would have to say, 'We have not declared war upon them; we have not waged war upon them with all our might, but, in fact, our troops are engaging in hostilities with the Bolshevists whenever they come in contact with them.' That is the position not only of this country, but of all the other great countries in the world with whom we have been allies in this great struggle. If we are unable to present an absolutely clear-cut policy it is no good blaming the War Office or the British Government. One must recognise that all the other great Powers in the world have found this problem equally bewildering."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th November, 1919, col. 1628, Vol. 120.]

There is really no discrepancy between what the Chief of the Imperial General Staff said and what I have stated months ago to the House of Commons.


Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that the Allies have no clear-cut policy?


I can only repeat what I have already said. If the hon. Member had been in his place on the 5th of November, he would have heard the answer.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

When the right hon. Gentleman made that statement—[Interruption]— what are hon. Members afraid of?—[HON. MEMBERS: "Time!"]

Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD

Let the hon. and gallant Member go on. He will do no harm.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

When the right hon. Gentleman made that statement, was it not then his policy to invite an alliance with Germany against Bolshevik Russia?


I have never made such a suggestion, but I think there is a great deal to be said on the subject.


Do you believe in the Jekyll and Hyde theory?


I have repeatedly said that any statement I have made can be challenged in Debate, and there are many opportunities. Although there is a great deal said on this subject out of doors, there is a singular lack of desire to challenge my statements here.


asked the Lord Privy Seal why the latest document reproduced in the Blue Book on military operations in North Russia is dated 6th August, 1919, whereas the evacuation was not completed till 12th October?

58. Mr. RAFFAN

asked the Lord Privy Seal when the documents relating to military operations in North Russia between the dates 6th August, 1919, and 12th October, 1919, will be published?


My right hon. Friend has also asked me to answer. Documents of a later date than 6th August, 1919, were not included in the Blue Book, as by that date Lord Rawlinson had sailed for North Russia to conduct the final phase of the evacuation, the programme for which had already been drawn up. Subsequently the plans made for the Allied withdrawal were not modified in any important particular, and the operations are described in Lord Rawlinson's despatch, as indicated at the bottom of page 18 of the Blue Book.

57. Mr. RAFFAN

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the document, or documents, will be published without which the message from the War Office to General Ironside, under date 18th June, 1919, reproduced in the Blue Book on military operations in North Russia, is unintelligible?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. If the hon. Member will refer to Paper L on page 36 of the Blue Book, I think he will find that the meaning of the telegram in question is quite clear.