HC Deb 01 December 1920 vol 135 cc1209-10
7. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether all Admiralty orders, battle orders, fighting instructions, signals, and official reports, bearing on the Battle of Jutland, including the Report of the Harper Committee on that action, have been made available for officer-students and their instructors at the Royal Naval Staff College; and whether similar details and information on other actions and strategical movements in the late War have also been made available?


Every care is taken to ensure that the Staff College is provided with the necessary official material for the naval study of the War. The Instructors also have access to original documents as necessary for their official duties. It is not considered desirable to enter into further detail on this matter.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Why cannot the hon. and gallant Gentleman answer me Yes or No? Why cannot he inform the House whether this vital information upon which the founding of our future policy has to be decided is available for the Naval Staff College?


I think my hon. and gallant Friend cannot complain as to the courtesy of my replies. The matter is one of considerable delicacy, but what information is considered by the authority to be necessary for the Staff College will be imparted.

Lieut. Commander KENWORTHY

I have never complained of discourtesy on the part of the hon. and gallant Gentleman or any other Minister, but is he aware that it is absolutely necessary, quite apart from any feelings of delicacy on the part of the higher command at the Admiralty, that all this information should be available for this confidential work? Will he give the matter his careful consideration?


I think, if the hon. and gallant Gentleman will reflect, he will see it is a matter of who is to decide what is necessary, and I think the Admiralty are in a position to decide.

Commander BELLAIRS

Is my hon. and gallant Friend rot aware that battle orders, and the details set out in the question, are not matters of delicacy, but matters of fact, and why cannot they be issued to officers who require them for their mental training?


I think my hon. and gallant Friend will have to be satisfied with the answer I have given to the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite

22. Commander Viscount CURZON

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, when the Report of the Battle of Jutland is published, he will arrange to include the charts which accompanied the Harper Report and which show the plotted positions of the various units during the different phases of the battle?


The Jutland papers will, as promised by the Prime Minister, consist of the original reports and documents, without any official interpretation. It follows that Captain Harper's diagrams, which are in the nature of official interpretation of the evidence, will not be included. But there will be a large number of original track-charts published, including those drawn up by the British and German Commanders-in-Chief.