HC Deb 05 July 1923 vol 166 cc622-3
81. Brigadier-General SPEARS

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War what was the cost of the French army in 1914, and the cost to-day in terms of the pre-War value of the franc?

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

I can give the published figures only. The question of the pre-War value of the franc is largely one of estimate and hypothesis, depending, for instance, partly on the extent and locality of the expenditure incurred in purchasing outside France, as to which I have no information.

For 1914, the figures in the French Army Estimates published before the War were:—

Metropolitan Army 1,923,476,000
Colonial Army 92,488,789
For 1923 the Budget proposals were:—
Metropolitan Army 3,661,201,324
Colonial Army 186,748,006
Army of the Rhine 493,603,700
In addition, I am informed that credits of 335,014,000 francs were being asked for on account of the occupation of the Ruhr, but I gather that out of this sum 127,000,000 francs represents a reduction of Budgeted expenditure on the Metropolitan Army.

Brigadier-General SPEARS

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that similar calculations have been made by the Secretariat of the League of Nations, and cannot the War Office make them?

Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

The Secretariat of the League of Nations may be in possession of index figures which we have not. It is obvious that this comparison can either be based on the ratio of the foreign exchange, which would only be relevant in the case of purchases made abroad, or on the ratio of the internal value of the franc, which can only be arrived at by very expert statistical calculations based on index figures which the War Office is really not competent to obtain.

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