HC Deb 22 April 1926 vol 194 cc1374-6
45. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister whether it has yet been decided to publish the Report of Lord Colwyn's Committee on the expenditure on the Fighting Services, and whether he will consider publishing it before the Debate on the proposed Ministry of Defence?

47. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware the practice of setting up secret Committees, and subsequently treating their Reports as authoritative, as in the case of the Weir Committee on electricity, the Colwyn Committee on expenditure, and the Committee on the Naval Air Arm; that nothing was known of the evidence in the case of any of these Committees, nor is the evidence subsequently published; and whether the Government will, in the event of publication of the Colwyn Committee Report, publish the evidence so that the House may form an independent judgment?

48. Mr. R. HUDSON

asked the Prime Minister whether he is prepared to publish the Report of the Committee set op under the chairmanship of the right hon. Member for Carmarthen, to consider and report on the amalgamation of services common to the Army, Navy and Air Force?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

After careful consideration, we have decided, as a special case, to lay the Report of Lord Weir's Committee on the Amalgamation of Services Common to the Navy, Army and Air Force. This Report, and the Reports of the Committee of Imperial Defence published in l924 (Cmd. 2029), provide the basis of our existing system of co-ordination, and their Conclusions have not been impugned on matters of principle by any subsequent inquiry. We do not think it necessary, or in the public interest, to publish any other Report. The Minutes of Evidence of these inquiries, each of which occupied many months, are very voluminous, and it would not he in the public interest to publish them; but the detailed Reports of a number of Sub-Committees will be published with the main Report of Lord Weir's Committee.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Would it be possible, in view of the circumstances of the case, to publish that portion of Lord Colwyn's Report which dealt with the question of the amalgamation of the three Services?


No, Sir. There have been many reports, and I made a selection of Lord Weir's Report because it went far more thoroughly and more comprehensively into the subject than any of the other Reports. What I said in the earlier part of my answer was that the conclusions of Lord Weir's Committee having been considered, we have decided to lay the Report of that Committee on the Amalgamation of the Services Common to the Navy, Army and Air Force.

Commander BELLAIRS

Is the Prime Minister aware that portions of Lord Colwyn's Report have been used in Debate in this House and in the House of Lords? Is he aware that the Chief of the Air Staff was seen by Lord Colwyn's Committee, and can he say whether the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Chief of the Army Staff were also seen?


I am not aware of any of these things.

Commander BELLAIRS

Surely, the Prime Minister is aware of the use that hon. Members have made in this House of Lord Colwyn's Report, and also the use that has been made of it in the House of Lords.


I cannot carry all the Debates in my head.