HC Deb 11 May 1927 vol 206 cc480-527

I beg to move, That, in the opinion of this House, the scientific treatment of coal should be a normal function of the mining industry, which should apply and develop the proved commercial methods of treating raw coal as a means of increasing the national wealth, improving the prospects of the industry itself, and providing employment for the large number of miners wholly or partly unemployed, and every encouragement should be given by the State to scientific research into the treatment of coal. Further, this House declares that the coordination of coal production and coal treatment and the application of the results of publicly-aided research can only be fully secured by the unification of the coal industry under public ownership. This Motion deals with a subject which is not only of great importance to the mining community, but is of vital interest to the nation as a whole. The outlook in the industry is very depressing. Notwithstanding the fact that the hours of labour have been increased and wages have been reduced, many thousands of miners in all parts of the British coalfield are either wholly or partially unemployed. We were informed frequently during last year that if the miner would only consent to a reduction in wages and an increase in hours, all would be well in the industry. But all those prophecies by leading Members of the Government and by others on the other side of the House have been entirely falsified, and we find that in every part of the coalfield to-day thousands of men, as I have said, are wholly or partially unemployed. I invite Members of the House, and other sections of our people not intimately connected with the miner, to visualise the appalling poverty and destitution into which the mining population has fallen. In very many cases, in all parts of the coalfield, after the miner has worked for the full time obtainable at his colliery for the week, and after deduction for rent—in some cases arrears of rent—National Health Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, medical attendance upon his dependents, and other necessary purposes, he goes home with wages amounting to only a few shillings week by week. As a matter of fact I know one case in my own district where last week, after these deductions had been made from the wages earned during the week, the man had only 2s. 6d. left with which to maintain his wife and family.

I may be told that the miners themselves, by the stoppage of last year, contributed largely to the ills that have befallen them. I think, however, that a very superficial knowledge of the mining industry during the past 15 years or thereabouts, not only in Britain but in all parts of the world, will dispel such an idea. Even if there had been no coal stoppage, such a condition of affairs as I have described was bound to be reached sooner or later, unless steps were taken in time to enable the mining industry to get on its feet again. Unfortunately that was not done and the present deplorable condition developed in the industry. Let me recall the factors that have affected the demand for coal both in the home and the export market. So far as the export market is concerned, the factors that have contributed to the present position are the following: A considerable portion of the shipping in the world to-day gets its motive power from oil instead of from coal. Every time that a 10,000 tons ship changes from coal to oil fuel, nearly 100 miners are displaced from their employment. One has only to calculate the number of ships of that capacity which in recent years have adopted oil fuel, and to multiply it by 100, to find a very substantial reason why so many miners have been displaced.

There has also been the development in the production of electricity from water power. There are the cases of Italy, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries, which are producing electricity without the use of a single pound of coal. Then you have the fact that other countries have developed their coalfield to a much larger extent than formerly. That is so in India, Africa, Russia, America and Continental countries, and the result is that our efforts to maintain our hold on the export markets of the world have been intensified. In the home market the development of transport almost entirely driven by oil, and the increased use of oil in other parts of our industrial system, have added largely to the difficulties of the mining industry. When one looks closely at the mining situation one is apt to take rather a gloomy view of it, were it not for the fact that science during the last 20 years or so has shown the prodigious waste that has taken place in the use of our coal at home, and what a priceless national heritage is in our possession if the services of the scientists and chemists are called in to exploit fully the potentialities of our coal supplies.

The mines are still the greatest national asset that we have. To suppose that British coal is a diminishing asset by comparison with other factors of industrial power would be a great mistake. Our coal is potentially a greater source of national wealth than it has ever been in the course of our industrial history if the proper steps were taken to utilise it to its full value. It contains in itself, and can supply, all the driving energy we require for an age to come. By subjecting it to distillation instead of feeding it crudely into furnaces and grates, it can be made to supply us with oil, dyes and fertilisers as well as with electric current, pulverised fuel and smokeless fuel for both industrial and domestic purposes. To utilise this great source of wealth in a proper way, a wise Government ought to be prepared to spend money on research and to find out the best processes for realising its value. According to the Coal Commission Report it would pay us over and over again to spend substantial sums of money on finding out the best methods of treating our coal resources, and they say that coal is still the secret of our future economic salvation.

In the past not only has our coal been the foundation of our industrial supremacy, but we have been in the habit for many years of exporting a considerable proportion of our output to our fellow-men in other parts of the world, and in this way we have made substantial sums of money by which to balance our imports and exports. I do not mean, in the course of what I have to say, to leave the impression that our export trade in coal will be lost. There will always be a demand for British coal but with intensified competition from all parts of the world and with competition from other sources of motive power we cannot hope to maintain the place in the world's coal market which we formerly held or to send coal abroad in such large quantities as before. Therefore, I think if we were wise we would examine closely the possibility of developing our home market. If we do so, one of the first things to strike us will be the fact that annually we are spending no less than £45,000,000 on oil for transport and industrial purposes. That figure will steadily grow, year by year, as our transport system extends, unless we find sources of supply for ourselves. If our export is to be a diminishing quantity, we shall require to examine every penny spent on our import with a view to finding out whether it is not possible for us to supply our own national requirements and so keep the money that we are now spending abroad—foolishly, in my opinion—circulating in our own country. At the same time we could provide for the large number of men belonging to the mining industry who are wholly or partially unemployed.

So far as oil is concerned, I am of opinion that we have a source of supply second to none in the world. Every ton of British coal of average quality contains, on the average, 20 gallons of oil, equal, if not superior, to the best well oil to be found in any part of the world either for fuel or for lubricating purposes. Each ton of coal treated and manipulated in the proper way would provide something like 14 cwts. of smokeless fuel which could be used for industrial or domestic purposes and a portion of which could be converted into pulverised fuel capable of being used as a substitute for oil in the shipping industry. Each ton of coal contains many other useful residuals. Why, then, should we continue to spend abroad an annual sum sufficient to restore in a very large degree the prosperity of the mining industry and find employment for a considerable number of the men who are at present idle? I may be asked if the distillation of coal has been reduced to a financial proposition. I am assured by my hon. Friend the Member for the Springburn Division of Glasgow (Mr. Hardie), who, possibly, has as great knowledge of this subject as any Member in this House, that it has reached that stage. If further proof of that assertion were required it is to be found in the fact that private firms are raising a considerable amount of capital—evidently having confidence in the venture—with which to erect the necessary plant to develop the distillation of coal. Mr. Leonard Harvey, whose knowledge of the subject I do not think any hon. Member will dare to dispute, adds his testimony in the following words: In the fulfilment of any broad programme of coal distillation, pulverisation, concentration of power, generation, and full efficiency in any country where such can be supplied the works required will be of such magnitude that the resuscitation of the engineering industries and the great relief of unemployment on work of national value, will be brought about in the most speedy manner possible. That, to my mind, is testimony of the highest value from one whose expert knowledge nobody will question It is a tragedy in my opinion that this enormous development which contains such great possibilities, should fall into the hands of private firms who have no connection with the coal trade and no interest in the coal trade except in purchasing the coal which they require for their business. If the coalowners who for the time being are responsible for running the mining industry had been wise men in their day and generation they would have made this development an integral part of the mining industry. They would have been able to add the money made in that way to the other proceeds of the industry, so contributing more money to the common fund from which both profits and wages are paid, and in that way bringing much needed prosperity to the mining industry. The best thing of all, however, would have been for the Government to take this wonderful development of our national resources, with all its potentialities of wealth and welfare, and make it the heritage of the whole nation; in that way they would have been paving the way for its incorporation in the mining industry when the people of this country are wise enough to make that industry their own property. I hope the Members of the House will support me in passing this Resolution, because I believe that what it recommends will be of great value not only to the mining industry but to all sections of the community. If we are to hold our place among the industrial countries of the world, it will be necessary for all sections of the community to examine closely all sources from which we can secure the wherewithal to maintain our position. I believe this question is of sufficient importance to be raised above party politics, and certainly it is of intense importance not only to the miners but to all interested in the mining industry.


I beg to move, in line 7, to leave out from the word "coal" to the end of the Question.

While listening to the Mover of this Motion I felt very largely in agreement with him as to encouraging to the fullest extent the investigation of the scientific treatment of coal. The method we have adopted up to the present is a very British method, namely, collaboration between the State and private enterprise. and it is not proving a failure. I am a member of the Advisory Council of the Scientific and Industrial Research Department, and also a member of the Fuel Research Board. I am not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. W. Adamson) has ever been to the Fuel Research Station. If he has not been there, I hope he will shortly pay us a visit, in order to see what the Government are doing towards the scientific solution of the problems of the coal industry. In considering the fuel resources of this country one of the first things to be done is to make a physical and chemical survey of the coal measures. This is in progress at the present time, and reports have been made on the coal measures in Lancashire and Cheshire, South Yorkshire and North Staffordshire—at least to a partial extent, and work is proceeding. Committees have been formed in the following places—Scotland, Notts and Derbyshire, Durham and Northumberland, and the work of investigating the coal measures will be carried out there. This investigation is very necessary in order to ascertain the actual composition of the coal in the different seams, and to show what it is most suitable for, because there is a great variation in the actual seams themselves. This investigation is going on.

The next problem for the Department is the sampling and analysis of coal in bulk. It is not a very easy problem to tackle, but it is being undertaken in conjunction with the trades interested in coal. It is very important that those who buy and sell coal should know definitely what they are buying and selling. The question of the better utilisation of coal in industry has been committed by the President of the Board of Trade to a Committee called the National Fuel and Power Committee, under the chairmanship of the right hon. Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond). They are investigating the present uses of coal in industry, and make very valuable suggestions to the industries concerned. The Government have at East Greenwich a fuel research station on land adjoining the South Metropolitan Gas Company's premises. That connection with the South Metropolitan Gas Company is absolutely essential in carrying out large experiments, because we have to pass the gas and the tar resulting from the experiments in the research stations to the Gas Company, and they are purchasing from the research station the tar and the gas, thereby confining the cost of the experiments practically to supervision and the provision of plant. The coal and the general labour employed on the plant is paid for by the gas and tar which go back to the gas company. Large and small scale experiments of all sorts are being carried out at the Fuel Research Station where they are doing research work with vertical and horizontal gas retorts, with more or less the normal plant adopted in gas works. They have made a number of very useful discoveries which are being adopted by the gas companies, and the gas companies are keeping very closely in touch with all the work done. The value of the stations is proved by the fact that the Gas Light and Coke Company are erecting a practically similar station themselves in their own works, taking the model of the Government's Fuel Research Station as a model for theirs. This to my mind is a very good feature because the Government are most anxious in doing this kind of research work to encourage further research in industry, and get industry to take over the investigation of the different problems in which they are particularly interested. The gas companies themselves have always been very prominent in doing the research work necessary for their own particular experiments.

Another matter which has received attention at the Fuel Research Station is coal washing. In the last few weeks a plant has been erected which is now ready for use, and the intention is that owners of coal should send coal to the station to be tested, and this station will be able to advise them which form of washer is most suitable for their particular coal. I have mentioned the National Fuel and Power Committee. One of the subjects they have been giving attention to is the production of coke in this country. They have investigated the manufacture of coke all over the world and they have come to the conclusion that if we are to have our coke plants in this country brought up to the very highest pitch quite a considerable number of them will have to be rebuilt. This coke investigation has been carried out also at the Fuel Research Station and also the activity of coke produced by different methods. Very useful results have come from those experiments which are being watched very carefully by manufacturers requiring coke. The Fuel Research Station was put up to a very large extent for the investigation of low temperature carbonisation, and they have there a very useful sized working plant. The advantage we obtain by low temperature carbonisation over high temperature carbonisation is that we get more liquid fuel and less gas, and a coke that burns freely in the domestic fireplace, or can be used as a substitute for coal in industry.

In carrying out investigations of that sort there are four stages. The first is in the laboratory; the second on the hundredweight scale; the third stage is on the ton a day scale, and that is done on a size that is capable of multiplication in big units; and the fourth is a battery of large scale units which makes a commercial plant. There are already a number of different low temperature carbonisation processes which have reached the third stage, and are now in the fourth stage. Some of them have only just reached the third stage, but some of these processes have been carefully investigated by the Research Board. Six of them have been investigated, and in four of them reports have been published. The fifth has been investigated and the report is complete and will shortly be published. In the fifth case the experiment was carried on at too short a time to give accurate data.

A short time ago Sir David Milne Watson, Governor of the Gas Light and Coke Company, and President of the National Gas Council, was asked to make an investigation through his experts of the low temperature carbonisation processes that were in existence in this country which had been taken as far as the third stage. He sent his experts all over the country. He also sent them abroad wherever there were these low temperature carbonisation plants, and he was asked to see whether there was any process his company could take up as a commercial proposition with or without Government assistance. After full investigation he decided that the most suitable plant for adoption by his company to work in conjunction with the ordinary gas process was the plant designed by the members of the Fuel Research Board staff. That shows that the Fuel Research Board staff is deserving of very great praise for the work they have done. Especially is this the case when we remember that it was the Gas Light and Coke Company who made this report, and not the South Metropolitan Gas Company, who have worked in very close relationship with the Fuel Research Station, and therefore might be thought to be prejudiced. The gas company stated that, while they thought that this was the best process, they did not consider that they were justified, as a company, in bearing the entire cost of the long experiment on this process, but I understand that the Noble Lady who is to speak later will give full details of the arrangement that has been come to.

While we are learning a great deal from this large-scale experiment, I think it is very necessary that we should continue the research work, because there is no finality in any of these matters, and we should see also whether some of the other methods of dealing with low temperature carbonisation might not be suitable for use in co-operation with, say, electric light companies rather than with gas companies, the process that has been selected by the gas company having been selected because it w as particularly suitable for working by the gas company. I will now pass on to the subject of the hydrogenisation of coal. Even with the best of these low temperature carbonisation processes, there is a yield of only something between 15 and 20 gallons of oil per ton of coal—probably nearer 15 gallons. A process has been invented by a German chemist, Dr. Bergius, and this process promises very much larger quantities of oil per ton of coal than anything that could possibly be obtained by the low temperature carbonisation process.


At what price?


At a price which I believe will be economical. I cannot give the price at the moment but I can give the amounts that have been made. The advantages of these hydrogenisation processes are that, as I have said, you get far more oil per ton of coal, but of course you do not get the solid fuel for burning as a smokeless fuel. You get gas and you get oil in considerable quantities. We have at the Fuel Research Station a small plant in operation dealing with about a ton of coal per day, and it is giving extraordinarily good figures.


Is that the Bergius process?


Yes. I am Department would appreciate a visit from anyone who would like to come.


Most of us have been there.

9.0 p.m.


There was a danger some time ago that the British Empire rights of the Bergius process might be lost to this country, but the Department very wisely advised the Government to get some control over this patent, and an option on a, considerable amount of the interest in the British rights of the Bergius process has now been acquired by Imperial Chemical Industries. While the Bergius process has really only been developed up to a large experimental scale, a modification of the Bergius process has been worked out by the German chemical group known as the Interessen Gemeinschaft, and they have got at work, now a full large-scale plant. The output of this plant is in the neighbourhood of 100,000 tons per annum of coal oil—


It is working intermittently?


It is not possible to say whether it is intermittent or not at the moment, but the plant has actually been started, and is working now, and, as I understand from members of Imperial Chemical Industries who paid a visit there a short time ago, it is working extraordinarily well, and I have no reason to believe that it is not going to be a commercial success.


Is the oil of the light, volatile type, or is it of the non-volatile, heavier type?


It contains both; there is a very considerable quantity of the volatile type, which can be used in substitution for petrol.


How many gallons per ton?


I cannot say exactly how many gallons are produced per ton, but I can state that the figure given in a publication which I have received from Germany is that the yield is about half a ton of what they call coal oil per ton of coal treated. That is a very big figure.


That would be 110 gallons?


I am not sure what the specific gravity is.


Is it not a synthetic product?


It is a synthetic product. It is produced by hydrogenisation of the coal under pressure and at a high temperature.


I understand that this is a synthetic oil, and not a pure coal oil, because of the process by which it is produced.


Yes, it is a synthetic oil, because you have added the hydrogen to the coal. I have mentioned that these processes have been investigated by representatives of Imperial Chemical Industries, of which I am a director, and they are now in contact with the German group, the Interessen Gemeinschaft, familiarly called the I.G. I also want to assure the House that, should these processes which have been worked out there prove a commercial success, they will be worked in the British Empire, and we shall get from the coal, to the extent that we work them, a substitute for the imported oil that we at present have to use. I beg to move.


I beg to second the Amendment.

The right hon. Gentleman who moved this Resolution expressed the hope that a matter of this national importance would be raised above party. I am sure that all of us on these benches thoroughly echo that hope; I personally do, and can only regret that in a matter of this importance, the right hon. Gentleman should have seen fit to introduce a party question by the totally unnecessary addition of the last sentence of the Resolution, which my hon. Friend has moved to omit. It seemed to me, as I listened to the right hon. Gentleman's speech, that I agreed with very nearly all of it, and I wondered when he was going to bring forward any justification for his claim that nationalisation would improve the present efforts that we are making towards research in the coal industry and the better treatment of coal. He disappointed me, because he dealt with it in about two sentences, and advanced no real reason. Let me remind the House, before I proceed to deal with the broader aspects of the case, that the question of nationalisation of the coal industry was very fully dealt with by the Royal Commission, and their arguments against nationalisation applied more particularly in the direction of research and the scientific treatment of coal than, possibly, to any other portion of coal industry.

It will be remembered that they said that the coal industry was becoming increasingly a very large industrial complex—that the winning of coal was only one process in what was in many cases a very complicated industrial entity, and that the proposal to nationalise the coal industry would mean, in effect, drawing a line and dividing off the winning of coal from its subsequent treatment in other industries. The Royal Commission went on to say that standardisation was impossible in the coal industry, that at the most the greatest hope for its success lay in willingness to experiment and readiness to take risks, both of which attributes they believed would not be found in any system of State ownership. I think, therefore, that the House will agree that we are fully justified in our proposal to delete the last sentence of this Resolution.

I would like to dwell for a few minutes on what seems to me to be a much more important and interesting question which is raised by the Resolution, and that is the question of the limits within which the Government should assist research, and the limits within which and the extent to which we are assisting research in the coal industry, and have carried out the recommendations of the Royal Commission in that regard. I think everyone will agree that the general progress of science cannot be ordered by anyone, but that the direction it will take at any moment depends very largely on the birth of some genius. No Government research could have produced Senatore Marconi, no Government Research Department could have been responsible for the English invention of synthetic dyes, and certainly no Government Research Department was responsible for men like Newton or for the invention of the steam engine. The only thing the Government can rightly do, as it seems to me, is to stimulate the application of scientific results in industry, and that is what our present system of Government research in this country is endeavouring to do. The Government have come to the conclusion that merely to go in for expensive research and pay for the whole of the research in any one industry will not necessarily lead to the results of that research being applied in the industries concerned, and they believe that you stand a very much greater chance of getting those results definitely applied if the industry contributes towards the cost of the research and takes part in it co-operatively, which is the distinguishing mark of the efforts of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The only exception to that general rule in is regard to fuel research, and there I think the argument of the Department is fully justified, namely, that the enormous scale on which research has to be carried on in the coal industry before any process can be proved to have a commercial future necessitates our spending proportionately a greater sum on research in connection with fuel than on research, for example, in the electrical industry or in the rubber industry. We have set up, in accordance with the recommendations of the Coal Commission, a Committee under the chairmanship of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond), as was indicated by my hon. Friend. We have also set up a Committee of Research, and the considered opinion of the Board at present is that it would be unwise to set up any further machinery for research and that what is needed at present is more co-ordination of the existing organisations and associations which are devoting themselves to research. They say the progress we have made since the War has been remarkable and that there is at present no possibility of anyone denying that any young man with the necessary ability will have an opening for making use of that ability either in the Government research station or in industry, and they go so far as to call attention to the fact that the coal stoppage of last year may, in spite of its drawbacks, have one good result if it does nothing else than call attention and focus public opinion on the importance of research and of the economic use of coal.

When the right hon. Gentleman talked about the scientific treatment of coal and low-temperature carbonisation increasing the demand for labour and giving employment to large numbers of men who are at present unemployed, let me beg him not to raise unduly and prematurely the hopes of these men, because the whole of the present research in low-temperature carbonisation is based on the fact that the price of the coal that is being used for these experiments is very low and that slack is being sold to-day at very small prices. It is only possible to sell that slack at such low prices because of the comparatively high price, above the actual cost of production, that is obtained for the coal of superior quality which is burnt for domestic use. If, however, you once get to the stage at which the production of your smokeless fuel is so great that you can, as suggested for example in the Royal Commission Report, follow the example set in America and compel people to burn smokeless fuel, you will have destroyed your market for expensive coal and you will have to charge very much more for the coal that goes through this process. In the long run undoubtedly the economic treatment of coal will be to the advantage of the mining industry, but it is not at all certain that until the balance is re-established between the prices of various types of coal in the market, the effect of bringing this low-temperature carbonisation on to a commercial basis will not be to decrease the immediate demand for coal rather than actually increase it and so decrease unemployment, and I think hon. Members on both sides of the House should be careful in making promises to these men that a new Heaven is about to open for them if low-temperature carbonisation is brought immediately into being.

Finally, the evidence given on behalf of the Miners' Federation did not suggest that the nationalisation of the mines was going to make for greater research. He suggested that the Transport Commission which was to be set up under the scheme was only to co-operate with the Department of Industrial and Scientific Research in the promotion of research into power production and coal by-products, and that it was to undertake with it to arrange for the commercial application of the results of research into the power and transport problem. The arrangements we have made at present effectually carry out those proposals. The Colliery Owners' Research Association, which is being assisted and is in close contact with the Fuel Research Board, as soon as its funds become more adequate for the purpose, which I hope will be very soon, will carry those two purposes out. The Coal Commission suggested that up to £50,000 a year should be spent on research in the coal industry. The figures of the Fuel Research Board for this year amount to just short of £80,000. We are in effect doing everything the Coal Commission suggested for the furtherance of research. Still more, admittedly, is to be done. It is in the national interest that more should be done as soon as the results can be made commercially applicable, but nationalisation certainly will not in any wise help to obtain the end we all have in view.


The hon. Member who moved the Amendment impressed me very much. I would pay a tribute to his knowledge of the chemical industry and of science in general, but I do not think it is quite inevitable that scientists should maintain such a dislike towards a problem of this kind. Scientists are men of weighty opinions. They cannot afford to be too rash in their expectations or promises, but I do not know of any psychological law which prevents a scientist from being a little more optimistic than he has been. The hon. Member started by saying the Physical Research Committee and the Fuel Research Board were doing a great deal of the work this Motion called for. We do not deny that a beginning has been made. Many of us have visited the Fuel Research Station on more than one occasion, and we have been very interested in the work that has been done there. We are very pleased with some of the work that is done. No one on this side, I am sure, feels that all that is required to be done is being done in that one station. Neither are we satisfied with the committees the hon. Member spoke of. We do not quarrel with the personnel of these committees. We know that very eminent men are giving voluntary service on these committees in different parts of the country. I should like to ask the Minister if it is true that these committees for the physical and chemical survey which was initiated some time ago have yet been opened in all the districts, six or seven, which they were supposed to take in hand and whether the other committee which is to deal only with coal has yet commenced its duties. We are entitled to ask him whether he thinks the Sampling and Analysis Committee sitting in London, meeting periodically, can carry on the duties which will devolve upon it with any expectation of definite results in the next five or ten years. This question of sampling and analysis calls for a much more intense activity than anything we have been led to expect from the reports of the committees which have been placed in our hands.

One or two things the hon. Member has said call for criticism. He told us the gas companies were very prominent in research. He told us that the gas companies are expending large sums of money and are very actively pursuing the task of research in questions connected with this Motion. One representative who gave evidence before the Commission said his people spent £10,000 a year and contributed an eighth of a further sum of £7,000 which was being spent in research abroad, and that was all that was being spent by the gas companies altogether in the work, not of research into the chemical treatment of coal but in the synthetic work and in the distillation of the various elements in coal tar itself. That is a ridiculously low expenditure on the work of investigation, calling for the remuneration of experienced men of training and knowledge, in addition to expenditure on plant and equipment. I know that in addition to that the fuel research station and the Colliery Owners' Research Society are to be added, but, totalling all the research work in connection with the subject, he will find it difficult to show an expenditure of £100,000 in connection with research. That is a very small sum of money. We are faced with a most urgent problem. The right hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion called attention to unemployment in industry. It is not only that, it is a matter of very serious import to the industries of the country, and not to the coal industry alone. If we are to keep pace with the advances made in other countries, if we are to continue to maintain the kind of industry which will enable our people to acquire the relatively high standard of life which we have enjoyed, we must make very much more progress with the means of utilising fresh scientific discoveries than we have done in recent years.

The Seconder said one or two things to which I should like to refer. He said the coalowners have been very willing to experiment and to take risks. If you examine that statement in the light of other countries and what is taking place in Germany, America and France, you will find that our coalowners have been very timid indeed. We have bad tonight a very clear expression of the behaviour of our leading industrialists. The Mover said we should watch Germany, and if Germany was successful he promised we should not be behind in adopting their methods. That has been the position taken up by the industrialists in this country, and knowing the coalowners as well as I do, both in their private and business lives, I can assure him that very few, indeed, have taken the slightest interest in the problem we are discussing to-night. Very few of them know how much of, and still less do they care, what becomes of the coal if they can get rid of it, as long as the world continues to buy it as raw fuel and they can produce it and pass it on to the consumer at a profit. They care very little what becomes of the enormous possibilities of this wonderful commodity which providence or nature has placed at our disposal.

I take a much wider view than either of the two Members who spoke on the other side. I regard coal as the fundamental commodity of our national life, for upon coal rests all the prosperity of this nation. Our past has been shaped by it, our present depends upon it, and our future will depend upon it even more. It is the vital spark of our national life and if we neglect to keep the importance of coal in our minds in connection with our political problems and Imperial aspirations, we shall fall to the ground. There will be no value in anything we discuss, unless we may remember that coal is power and power means life, which is the source of our industrial life and of all social work. Let us not fail to recognise the wonderful asset we have in this commodity, for fortunately we have more coal than any other country in Europe. Our coal resources are almost unlimited and at the present rate of production and of domestic consumption they are nearly enough to provide for our own uses for a thousand years. It is a wonderful storehouse of the most wonderful element to be found. This coal, which is producing to-day the mechanical power for our every day use, has not yet begun to disclose its real value, because men have been pessimistic—black as coal itself—in their minds, refusing to see that this black substance is the most brilliant and beautiful feature of our national life.

I want the House to remember that there have been great changes in this industry since we began to learn the use of coal for industrial purposes. There was the great development of the steam engine. Next came, 100 years ago, the discovery of gas and the possibilities of the distillation of gas from coal by high temperature carbonisation. The pessimists of those days spoke exactly as those of this day, of what they looked on as foolish ideas. The great men of 100 years ago scoffed at the idea of a future for gas. Who, looking back to the reports of the scientific societies of those days, would have believed that this great industry in this country would give light, heat and power in a variety of ways for 36,000,000 people, with a capital of £160,000,000, with concerns owned by private companies and municipalities, paying a regular and steady profit and providing amenities undreamt of before gas was discovered about 100 years ago. This great industry has been built up on the coal industry, for without coal there would have been no gas. Without scientific faith there would have been no gas industry. The gas industry is one part, and a great part of the industrial superstructure which is built on a foundation of coal.

Then we have the electrical industry. The pessimists of 50 years ago did not believe in the possibilities of electricity. Now we have a huge system partially owned and controlled nationally, for despite the so-called demerits of nationalisation, we have been compelled to nationalise control of our electricity system. The greater part of both our gas and electricity systems is owned by the people municipally, in a form of nationalisation with local control, for they are collectively owned with local control rather than national control. These two great industries give enormous employment—in the case of gas, directly to 100,000 workpeople and indirectly to at least an aggregate of a quarter of a million people. Not one miner has been displaced because of the quarter of a million people employed, and the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment is entirely wrong in the assumption that if you affect economies in the use of coal you throw men out of employment. Indeed, all prospects of advances by scientific improvements would fail us if that were the case. We create new wants and find other ways of supplying those wants, and we find employment for our people in supplying them. Electricity has revealed new wants, and we have given employment to our men in supplying these new wants. In gas, electricity, coke ovens and the by-products, we are already employing half a million people, directly and indirectly. I submit, that if those new means of employment had not been discovered by the scientists of previous generations, coal might be burnt in larger quantities, but the standard of human welfare would have been considerably lower than it is to-day.

If those three great industries have been built up in the last 100 years, why should we not consider the possibilities of new industries derived from coal and built up on the coal industry? The application of science and the realisation of the scientific advance of the men of these days, will bring one industry at least, a great industry which will grow up before our eyes in the next decade and considerably more so in the few decades which follow. We are within sight of the depletion of the liquid fuel resources of the world. A great American inquiry of a few months ago has issued reports which stated that the United States was within six years of the depletion of its oil resources. The United States has nearly half of the oil resources of the world, and most people are agreed that the oil resources of the world will not last more than 25 or 30 years unless some entirely new discoveries are made in some at present unknown part of the world. What is to take the place of oil? Are we to scrap motor cars, aeroplanes and submarines, and abandon the internal-combustion engines because liquid fuel can no longer be found? Certainly not. We are going to get liquid fuel in abundance from coal.

We, in this country, are very fortunate in having the best coal in the world. It has been found, despite the incompleteness of our physical and chemical survey, that we have the best coal in the world for conversion into oil and the various by-products that are drawn from the process. There are three alternative methods of synthetic production of oil. The Bergius method, to which the Mover and Seconder both referred, is a German method where additional units of hydrogen are added to the hydrogen already existing in the coal, in order to create new hydrocarbons, which will form the basis of the liquid oil upon which further processes have to be carried out. It is simply the addition of hydrogen to coal, the building up of new hydrocarbons, a very simple thing, even to a layman such as I am, who has dug coal all his life and has not been investigating in the laboratory, but who, perhaps because he has spent so much time in the hard task of digging coal, resents in his soul the idea of coal being wasted. Simply the addition of hydrogen under high temperature in a very strong cylinder is needed. It is a very promising method, and, as the Mover rightly said, already the results shown have been very satisfactory. There is another system, called the Fischer system, which is different, because it derives oxygen from the destruction of water, and there is a combination there of elements under a slightly different system. There are three separate systems for the synthetic recovery of oil from coal, and there are h[...] temperature carbonisation and low temperature carbonisation, and these different systems are already in existence, with a variety of methods and details in the processes.

We, in this country, have not done what we could have done in following investigations and experiments. We have just one fuel research station in a country which is most dependent on the success of these experiments. Our national life and our place in the world depend upon them, and here we are with one little station and, as the Mover said, with one or two vertical retorts and horizontal retorts, small tinpot things, trying to grapple with the biggest problem that faces our nation. The details must be left to the scientists. No Members of Parliament, important as they seem to themselves, without a strictly scientific training can thoroughly understand the question. I have wasted time in some things, but I have spent some very useful time in trying to grasp the elements of science as far as mining is concerned. I feel grateful to myself for having done that, and sometimes I find that men who have had many more opportunities have not realised how very important science is to our country, and how very grateful we ought to be to these men who work alone mentally, who live to themselves, pledging themselves to the cause of human advancement. It is a great profession, which we all ought to honour, and no amount of economy or miserable stinting of funds should deprive these men of the opportunity to live while they are contributing their great services to the nation.

All over this country there are scientists who would welcome a declaration such as is to be found in this Motion, and this country should spend more than the niggardly sum of £47,000 in one year on research. A farthing on a ton of coal would yield £250,000 per annum for research, and I am sure that, despite the difficulties of the men engaged in digging coal, if they knew that a farthing's-worth of their product each day was being taken to advance the cause of knowledge and the methodical use of their product, they would not grumble. I am also sure that, with the wasteful methods now in use, the coal-owner should not grumble either. He is not morally entitled to what he gets, when he has the unsocial outlook of those who care nothing for the nation's welfare and think only in terms of throwing coal to any consumer who can use it in the most wasteful way. We have been led by important people, such as the Prime Minister, to believe that the Government were going to do much more than they have done in this matter. We are frankly disappointed. There is a suggestion that the Minister of Mines is going to be dismissed, that he is to pack up and leave his post. I do not know, but the next thing we may hear is that the fuel research station is to be closed down.

The great Department of which the right hon. Member is now the head ought to be the most important Department of the State. All the implications of the industry ought to be brought to that Department. The work of research and experimentation, of co-ordinating inquiries of all kinds into the character and uses of coal, ought to be brought within the survey of the Ministry, amply provided with funds. I urge on the Government to give us some hope, to let us at least be optimistic, not discouraged. I would like to cheer up both the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment. I want them to believe that this country is going to face the problem of the future with much more optimism and faith than they have led us to believe they have themselves; I want them to believe that we shall see the day when this country rings with a gospel of new faith in the coal industry, with a gospel of hope for the coal industry; and I want them to believe that our workpeople will not only have hope and expectation, but the realisation of happier times, if this Motion is carried through to a conclusion.


In spite of the high opinion we in Great Britain have of ourselves, thinking that we are the lords of creation and that no nation can keep pace with us in hardly any direction, I sometimes wonder at how slow we are in many things. Do the vast majority of the people of this country realise the fact that in burning a ton of coal—produced at the risk of the miner's life—in our ordinary domestic grates we only get some 7 per cent. of its real efficiency, and that in the most efficient boilers yet invented we get only from 14 per cent. to 16 per cent. of the real efficiency of coal—coal that our men are digging underground, away from the sunshine and fresh air, producing it at the risk of their lives? I think we ought to admit that to some extent we are slow in advancing on that side. I do not intend to deal with the scientific side of this question at all.

I have some little knowledge of it from visiting the Fuel Research Department on more than one occasion and from serving upon Committees that have gone into the coal question in one shape or another. When I think of the fact that we are only receiving such a small percentage of power from the coal produced, it reminds me of that old Scottish song "Caller Herrin," in which the wives and daughters of the fishermen on the east coast of Scotland and Northern England go out to sell the fish, the harvest of the sea. The old song places in the mouths of the fishermen's wives the line: We ca' them Jives of men. That that wonderful line means the loss of life at sea in the gathering of the harvest of the sea. The danger to which the fishermen are exposed put this idea, into the minds of those womenfolk. I call the coal we are burning in our domestic grates and our furnaces "the lives of men." Our men are risking their lives in the production of coal, and it is our duty, and the duty of the nation, to make sure that they will secure the greatest possible efficiency from that coal that scientific research has placed in their power. I cannot think that we are entitled to claim that we are a very fast people. Some 20 or 25 years ago I visited some collieries in our own central counties of England, very large collieries, producing the best class of coal in the country. These collieries had been sunk at enormous expense, and by the side of them were coke ovens. Large quantities of the coal produced at these collieries were burnt in those ovens, but the ovens did not belong to the owners of the collieries. Strange to say, the Germans came over here. As soon as a colliery engaged in sinking operations struck coal, they sent their scientists over to obtain samples of the coal and analyse them for the by-products. They sent back the results of their analysis to Germany, and the German owners came over and bargained with the English owners to take almost the whole of the output of the coal, in order to extract the by-products They sold the coke back again to the colliery companies. All that the poor unfortunate Germans wanted was those useful by-products! They secured these by-products in hundreds of cases in the country—by-products from the coal produced by our own men. And when the War broke out they killed thousands of our men with the explosives that had been made from the by-products that had been produced in our own collieries. I think that has proved that, although we had probably some of the finest chemists in the world, we were slow in following up what those chemists did. We have been slow in other directions in connection with the mining industry. On one Commission on which I served for a considerable time dealing with fatal accidents in mines we were particularly anxious to find out the causes of the accidents, and, as far as possible, the methods by which accidents might be prevented. During the course of our investigations my attention was called to a report of an inspector of mines, from which, at least, a full page had been crased before it was presented to Parliament. I inquired of the then Chief of the Mines Department of the Home Office as to why this leaf had been erased. I found out from the author of this report that that particular leaf had contained a report on the question of explosions in mines in which he pointed out that, in his view, there were a great many explosions in mines which were not gas explosions but were only initiated by gas, and that all the great explosions were carried through every part of the collieries by coal dust, and that thousands of our men had been killed by explosions.

The SECRETARY for MINES (Colonel Lane Fox)

Can the hon. Gentleman give the date of that?


I will make inquiry into it and let you know.


About 1909.


It was about 20 years ago. Sir Henry Cunningham was at the Home Office at the time. I then found that three Chief Inspectors of Mines, two in South Wales, and one in Scotland, had, in addition to doing their ordinary work, been studying, night after night, and scientifically dealing with the question of coal explosions. They caused experimental explosions in their own little laboratory. These three men came to the conclusion that a great many explosions might be prevented by dealing with the coal dust in the mine. I made inquiry why that leaf had been erased, and the first answer I got from Sir Henry Cunningham was that those men were faddists who wanted to air and advertise their own particular views in a Government publication. The second time I raised the matter I was told that it was due to the excessive cost of the Stationery Office and that they could not go on printing these Reports. To my mind, it is the most horrible thing I ever knew. Here were men giving a part of their life—their spare time—to scientific research with regard to life-saving in mines and this is how they were treated. Within five years of that time we had set up a department to experiment on exactly the same lines that these men had been going on for years past. We spent thousands of pounds upon it, and then we discovered that these men were correct. Therefore, I say that in that respect some of our Departments were very slow indeed. I believe that if the Department concerned had taken up that question hundreds of lives would have been saved from that time onwards. The question of using our coal and getting the fullest advantage out of it is to my mind quite as important almost as the oil question. I am in favour of the nation taking over its own coal supply and using all the knowledge that science, and the various inquiries the Departments have given them with the object of getting from coal the fullest possible power in the shape of oil and other commodities. We have only dealt with the question of oil to-night. There are many other things to be got out of coal. Most valuable by-products are being imported from foreign nations.

We are expending an enormous amount of money in buying from the nations the by-products of coal which we ought to be producing ourselves. A few years ago, in the district in which I live a small colliery was working very irregularly. The colliery was situated at a considerable distance from the market, and it cost a good deal to carry the coal into Glasgow where it was shipped. The work at the pit at that time was very irregular—some three, four and five days a week. Soma months after I visited the colliery I asked how it was going on and was told that it was going on very steadily. I made an inquiry about this and found that the largest partner had been over to Germany with samples of coal which he had submitted to the people who were carbonising coal at low temperatures. He had got an order for almost the whole of the output of his little colliery. The colliery has gone fairly steadily from that time. That coal, a very valuable coal, was being shipped in British ships to Germany to be carbonised there. We ought to be able to carbonise our own coal. We ought to be as clever as the Germans are. I plead that this Resolution should be passed. Personally I am more concerned in the latter part of the Resolution. I am concerned with the mineral underneath the soil. I do not think that the low temperature carbonisation of coal can be undertaken by every small colliery carbonising its own coal. It is not possible for a colliery with an output of from 100 to 500 tons to put up its own plant for carbonisation by low temperature. This ought to be done in centres by means of the unification of collieries amongst the owners themselves, or the unification of collieries by the Government taking over the collieries.

It is said that the last Coal Commission did not vote in favour of nationalisation or unification of collieries. A more important Commission than the last Commission did vote in favour of nationalisation and unification of collieries. We cannot get the best advantage out of the great discovery that in the coal placed in the bowels of the earth there are such wonderful by-products, unless it is done by unification. Therefore, I sincerely hope that the Resolution will be carried.


The last sentence of the Resolution moved by the right hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Adamson), and so eloquently supported by the hon. Member who has just sat down, raises a question upon which there is profound difference of opinion between the two sides of the House, and that will be replied to by the Secretary to the Mines Department. The earlier part of the Resolution, which deals with the need of research in regard to the scientific treatment of coal, raises a question which I think we shall, quite irrespective of party, agree is one of exceptional interest and importance to the country. That part of the Resolution necessitates that a reply should be made on behalf of the Fuel Research Board, and it falls to me to do that as representative of the Department which replies for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, the activities of which, extending as they do over many industries, necessarily have a wider range than any of its sections. Of those sections, the Fuel Research Board is one of the most important.

As we have been reminded to-night, the Coal Commission laid stress on the necessity for research work of different kinds in the mining industry. One of the most important of those recommendations urged the expedition of the physical and chemical survey of the national coal resources, which work commenced in 1924 at the instance of the Minister of Mines in the Labour Government. This survey will be at best a lengthy process. It is necessary to select and train suitable staff to carry it out. No committee can usefully function without a trained staff to support it, and it is the lack of a sufficiency of trained staff which is partly responsible, and I believe mainly responsible, for the fact that committees have not yet been set up in every part of the coalfields. The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. Clayton), who speaks with considerable knowledge and authority, told the House of various areas in which these committees are already functioning.

10.0 p.m.

It may be of interest to mention that the Mining Industries Act of last year, by authorising officers of the Department to enter mines and to obtain samples of coal seams will greatly facilitate the working of the survey. The Commission also emphasised the importance of grading and cleaning coal and the desirability of producers and dealers stating the broad specifications for the coal they are able to supply. Conditions precedent to the realisation of these suggestions are the establishment of suitable methods of sampling and analyzing the coal and a knowledge of the characteristics of the various coals available. Standard methods of analysis have been worked out by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and they have been, I believe, very generally accepted. The taking of a fair sample of a large commercial consignment is a very difficult matter, and disputes between buyers and sellers of coal more usually result from the method of sampling than from the method of analysis. This point is under consideration by a Committee under the Fuel Research Board and good progress is being made, although the coal stoppage of last year delayed this work very seriously, as it also delayed the work of the survey.

Another important recommendation of the Coal Commission, which has also been referred to to-night, has been acted upon in the appointment of the National Fuel and Power Committee to consider and advise on the question of the economic use of coals and their conversion into various forms of energy. As the House has been told by the hon. Member for Widnes, this Committee is already making suggestions to industry which have proved of considerable value.


What are they?

Duchess of ATHOLL

The hon. Member for Widnes mentioned in particular the pronouncement in regard to coke production in this country, which I think was hailed by hon. Members opposite as being of considerable importance. I turn now to the question of the treatment of coal by carbonisation or other scientific processes. The production of coke and gas from coal by high temperature processes has proved of immense benefit to the mining industry, to industry in general and to the com- munity at large. More varied and more far-reaching benefits might be hoped to accrue from any system of scientific utilisation that succeeded in producing on a large scale not only gas, but a liquid fuel that could replace some of that now so largely imported, and a smokeless fuel that would be suitable for ordinary domestic consumption. The possible reactions of these products on our trade balance, on the question of naval defence and on our national health, as well as on the mining industry itself—more especially in regard to the mining industry if slack or low-grade coal could be utilized—are too obvious to need any emphasis from me. I can only say that I am heartily in accord with this part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and he can be assured unreservedly of the Government's interest in this matter.

I shall endeavour to give the House a brief account of the action taken by the Fuel Research Board and the position reached in general to-day in regard to this question.

From its inception the Fuel Research Board has been engaged on a study of carbonisation in general, covering the existing gas industry and the coke oven industry for the production of metallurgical coke. Any improvements which can be effected in these processes have the advantage that they can be immediately applied to industries which are already working on a commercial basis. The investigation of low temperature carbonisation has also been steadily pursued for some time past. This work has now reached a stage at which a setting of two cast-iron vertical retorts, with a combined throughput of seven or eight tons a day, has been carbonising practically continuously since December, 1925. Though not perfect, a considerable measure of success has been obtained in treating a variety of different coal. It is not possible, however, at the Fuel Research Station to carry the process to a stage at which the success from an economic point of view can be proved.

Much consideration has therefore been given in the last 18 months to the question of how low temperature carbonisation processes could be assisted to prove their commercial possibility. Those processes which produce the largest proportion of lump coke suitable for domestic use, also produce considerable quantities of rich gas which form a valuable portion of the products of carbonisation. If such a process were to be adopted throughout the country very large quantities of gas would be produced, the full value of which could only be realised with the co-operation of the gas undertakings. It was accordingly decided by the Government that Mr. (now Sir) David Milne Watson, the Governor of the Gas Light and Coke Company and the President of the National Gas Council should be asked for his assistance in this matter. Questions of commercial development are somewhat outside the scope of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and the matter was therefore remitted to the Mines Department, with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research as technical advisers. Mr. Milne Watson was asked whether he was prepared to consider all existing processes in detail and would advise the Government— (a) Whether in his opinion any of these processes had reached such a point of development that it was worth while for his company to continue the experimental development on a large scale; (b) if so, whether he considered the selected process or processes sufficiently promising to justify his company in taking the entire risk of this development; (c) if not, whether he would submit a scheme after discussion whereby the Government would be asked to bear a part of the risk involved. Mr. Milne Watson, after examination of all the processes being developed both in this country and on the Continent, reported that he considered the one developed at the Fuel Research Station was the most promising for development in conjunction with a gas works. He did not consider that any process was so far proved as to justify his company in taking the whole risk of its development, but he was so far impressed with the desirability of co-operation with the Government in putting the matter to a practical test, as to offer a site for a 100 ton a day plant, and to undertake to erect the plant and run it as continuously as is reasonably practicable for a period of three years, and to carry out experiments and researches in connection with the carbonisation of coal, provided that the Government would pay the original cost of providing and erecting the new plant necessary on the selected site, which already had many of the requisite conveniences.

It was finally arranged that a subsidiary company should be formed, termed the "Fuel Production Company, Ltd.," the capital of which has been guaranteed under the Trade Facilities Act. The gas company will act as managers for the fuel company, and will bear all running and management costs. At the end of 1930 the gas company have an option to purchase the plant, or if they do not wish to do this, they will clear the site and dispose of the plant, etc., on behalf of the fuel company. Details of the plant are now being worked out, and it is hoped will be at work next winter. It has been agreed that the company shall keep full records of experiments and all statistics necessary to demonstrate the results obtained. The Mines Department have the right to inspect accounts, and the Research Department has the right to inspect plant, its working and all technical records. Steps have been taken to safeguard the public interest in any patents that may be taken out as the result of working the plant, and full details of the plant and the results obtained will be published and at the disposal of any company desirous of working the process. The Gas Light and Coke Company are in effect carrying out the work for the benefit of the whole industry.

This arrangement should provide definite information as to the commercial possibilities of the process. It should perhaps be emphasised here that the fuel research station retort was considered the most suitable type for trial in conjunction with a London gas works, and it does not follow that there are not other types some of which are possibly unsuited for gas works which are equally or better suited for use under other conditions, namely, for erection at power stations or at collieries for the treatment of special types of coal. But the activities of the Fuel Research Board have not been limited to the investigation of low-temperature carbonisation. It is believed that the oil obtainable from such processes cannot be expected to average much over 15 gallons per ton of coal, and thus, although it may supply an appreciable proportion of the country's need, it seems highly improbable that it could ever make the country self-supporting as regards liquid fuel.

The Government and the Fuel Research Board have therefore kept in touch with all developments that showed any possibility of converting a larger proportion of coal substance into liquid fuels than does low temperature carbonisation. Dr. Bergius in Germany has been working for many years on the liquefaction of coal by forcing extra hydrogen into the coal substance, and claimed that far higher oil yields could be obtained from suitable coal by this method than by any other. A strong British syndicate obtained in 1924 an option on the rights of this process for the British Empire, and carried out experiments with British coal in conjunction with the inventor. By 1925 the syndicate had spent some £30,000 on these experiments, and though considerable progress had been made they were doubtful whether the process showed sufficient promise of being a commercial success within a reasonable time to justify them in continuing their experiments.

The experiments above referred to, and independent small scale experiments carried out at the Fuel Research Station and elsewhere in this country, had shown that it was possible to obtain over 100 gallons of crude oil and motor spirit from a ton of coal, a far greater proportion than could be obtained by any other known method. In view of the national importance, especially in time of war, of being able to obtain large supplies of oil from home sources, my right hon. Friend the Lord President considered it very undesirable that the experiments should cease, or that the option on the rights for the British Empire should lapse. Finally, an agreement was entered into between the Department of Scientific Research, the British Syndicate, the International Company holding the rights in the process and the inventor, Dr. Bergius, by which the Department agreed to contribute an amount not exceeding £25,000, a sum less than that already spent by the British Syndicate, towards the cost of continuing the experiments, a condition being that the whole of the information obtained was placed at the disposal of the Department. The experiments were to be under the direction of a Committee consisting of two representatives each of the Department and the Syndicates together with the inventor, Dr. Bergius, and to be supervised by a representative appointed by the Syndicate, the Department having the right to have a representative on the spot, or to inspect the work at any time as well as receiving full reports.

The joint experiments have now been in progress over a year, using a continuous working plant with a throughput of about one ton of coal a day. A similar plant has recently been erected at the Fuel Research Station, East Greenwich, and the staff there has been familiarised with its working. The results of the agreement have been that full information is in the possession of the Department. The staff has a knowledge of the technique of working at high pressures and temperatures required, and the commercial working, though not yet proved possible, seems far more possible of realisation than it did when the agreement was made. Further, it is assured that the full rights of the process, so far as the British Empire is concerned, remain in British hands. Even if the process prove uncommercial at present prices, the requisite knowledge and experience will be available should liquid fuels become scarce owing to a war or other cause and their price again rise. This information could only have been obtained in default of such an agreement by an expenditure of time and money far greater than that actually incurred.

Imperial Chemical Industries have now made arrangements for taking over the rights of the British Bergius Syndicate to acquire the Bergius patents. It has been shown that mane though not all British coals are suitable for treatment, and it is probable that many of the coals in other parts of the Empire will also be suitable.

Another process of obtaining liquid fuels from coal has been developed to some extent by Fischer & Tropsch in Germany, and Pat art & Audibert in France. This consists of combining carbon-monoxide and hydrogen to form alcohols and hydro-carbons. This process is also being investigated by the Department and elswhere in this country. So far it has been developed commercially abroad for the production of methyl alcohol, a product which commands a higher price than do liquid fuels, and which in itself is not a very efficient fuel, but it seems possible that modifications of the process may enable a good motor spirit to be produced. I think, therefore, it will be admitted that the Fuel Research Board have not been working on any narrow basis, and that while conducting research into such matters directly affecting the mining industry as grading, sampling and the physical and chemical properties of our coal resources, they have also been making a contribution to the solution of this very important question of the scientific treatment of coal.

But in a country of free intellectual and commercial development other brains are necessarily also at work on this last problem. Its solution does not depend on the Fuel Research Board alone. My hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. Clayton) has outlined the four stages through which a process must pass before it can be adopted on a large scale. Probably about two hundred methods of low temperature carbonisation have been suggested and more or less proved, to the satisfaction of their sponsors, so far as stage one—the laboratory stage. A few have reached the end of stage two, that is a plant dealing with some cwts. a day; five or six are approaching the end of stage three, that of a single full-scale unit; a similar number have entered or are entering stage four; but no one has yet reached the end of stage four, where audited figures can be produced to show that actual profits have been made under normal working conditions.

It is extremely unlikely that any one system of low-temperature carbonisation will ever be adopted to the exclusion of other systems. The type of plant to be adopted in any given case will depend on the object aimed at and the raw material available. The problem of producing a free-burning lump coke which will replace raw coal for domestic purposes is quite different from that of recovering oil-producing tars from special material such as cannel coal, or again from that of producing coke breeze, or pulverised coke for use under boilers. The use that can be made of the gas, and hence its commercial value, will depend on local circumstances as well as on the quality of the gas; this again will have a bearing on the most suitable type of plant to adopt.

The situation, therefore, in regard to scientific treatment in general may be summed up thus:

  1. (1) more than one process has been established as technically accurate;
  2. (2) none has yet been established as a commercial proposition, and some years' experience will be necessary before such a fact can be definitely established;
  3. (3) the variety of the products which can be obtained, and the varying degree in which these products are yielded by different processes and by different types of coal, make it probable that the commercial success of any one process must largely depend not only on its inherent merits but on the extent to which it is linked up with other industries—gas undertakings, electric power stations, and so on. In other words, success in this enterprise will depend not only on the inventive genius which is being so happily shown, but on a wide knowledge of other industries and on close co-operation with them. The function of the Fuel Research Board in relation to these proprietary processes is to furnish and publish data and to communicate freely the results obtained to technical men engaged on similar work and to carry out tests on processes where invited to do so. The issues at stake are too large and the field to be covered is too vast to make any narrow competitive spirit admissible. The Government have followed with appreciation the efforts that are being made by private individuals in this matter. They note with satisfaction the progress made; and they will watch with the keenest interest the efforts of those concerns which are entering on the stage in which their commercial value can be tested, in the hope that any one or more of them may ultimately succeed in carrying through an enterprise which should be fraught with great benefit to the people of this country.


The statement we have just heard gives a reason for the excuse which is urged, that commercially, systems of the low temperature treatment of coal are not a success. The treatment that I refer to is that regarding the quantities of gas produced by such process. It has always been thus, since first I had anything to do with the low temperature carbonization of coal. Whenever you proved a point it was always said "You are going to flood the market with oil," or "You are going to flood the market with gas." Because you were going to increase the wealth of the country, it was argued that you were going to do some great damage. The report we have just heard can be taken as a report of those who are capable of doing this kind of work, but it is merely a report and does not carry with it any vestige of an opinion. The point in the report which arose over the research department employés was that they were there, not to carry out new schemes but to take up the work that someone else outside was doing, and see if there was anything in it, and they were only allowed to put in a simple report on it. We are finding out to-night some valuable information in this respect. We are finding out to-night that while it was never possible to take up any British patentees' work it has been possible to take up a German patentee's work. I am not concerned with whether a man is a German, a Scotsman or an Englishman, but I am pointing out that the cry on the other side of "Buy British Goods" is not consistent with this attitude.

A question was raised about the Gas Light and Coke Company. There is nothing in that. The work of all the private gas companies which have been established since Murdoch first laid on gas for lighting has been the same. It has not been a question of dealing with the subject in order to give the nation better results, and such results as have been obtained were merely incidental. The question was always one of cost. The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. Clayton) who moved the Amendment mentioned part of the Report which we have just heard. The part I want to refer to is in reference to the surveying of our coal. I am surprised at that matter being brought up as something new. It has been known for more than 70 years that the content of oil and other products in coal varies—sometimes within centres. One finds a varying oil content in a coal seam 2 feet thick. While it is good to have a Report saying they are making a survey of that kind, the nation ought to see to it that we get on with some of the things we do know about. This kind of Report always makes one feel despondent. To hear that Report one would think we had never done anything in the way of research up to the start of the station at Greenwich. That is not true. As regards production on a commercial scale, the Report takes no account of the fact that it is vested interests which prevent this process being made a commercial success. Nothing but vested interests stand in the way. In regard to what the hon. Member for Widnes said about coal washing, I would point out that there is nothing in the Report about the flotation process. I thought we should have heard something about that, because with our ores getting smaller in size every year we require coke of the highest quality in order to carry the greater burden thrown on the furnaces. Large sized ore does better in the furnaces than small stuff.

Then, again, I had hoped anyone speaking for the Research Committee would be able to tell us something about the coking index of our coal. I hope we shall not be told that that is still subject to research, that we do not know the coking index of most of the coals in this country, because this would not be true. We were not told that the reason why the Research Committee have to go into the question of coke for our metallurgical processes is because in the past we allowed all our hard splint coal, that would carry the burden of the work, to be sent abroad as low as 10s. per ton in order that our coalowners might be created millionaires. I asked the hon. Member for Widnes whether the oil produced by the Bergius process was synthetic and he said "Yes." It would have been interesting if he had told us whether it had been fractionated and how the oil taken from the coal by this process compared with the oil obtained by distillation. It would have been interesting, also, if we could have been told if this oil could take its place in the markets in competition with natural well oil.

We are always looking at the question of commercial values, as though the coal industry of this country existed for no other purpose than to allow other industries using coal to make more money, without any thought of the miners' wages. What has been done to make a commercial success of these experiments? This country has done nothing, although we are quite prepared to sink millions in the sands of Iraq because some people in this country thought there was some chance of finding oil there. Not long ago a question was raised about certain investments made in New York by some astute people in oil wells, and we were told that £6,000,000 had been lost to England alone. Contrast that with what is done in this country when we ask for money for industrial development and we are always told that the money cannot be found. That £6,000,000 was found for what was nothing more than a pure gamble.

The argument about oil displacing coal has been brought forward to-night, but that is not taking a very long view of this problem. If you take the natural oil wells of the world nobody can tell how much oil is going to flow, and you never know when it is going to stop. As a matter of fact it is a pure gamble all the time. You cannot measure the oil supply but you can measure the coal reserves of this country. Therefore, there can be no guarantee about supplies. The visitation of an earthquake might mean that the whole of your oil wells would go dry. The latest report of the Society of Petroleum Technologists in America calls attention to the necessity of restricting the exports of oil. Some time ago Mr. John Den-holm, the Chairman of the Shipping Federation, pointed out that taking the actual price of oil the saving in an oil-burning ship is considerable, but the uncertainty of the oil supply ensures a long lease of life in regard to the use of coal. All these things are going to raise the price of oil in this country.

The last Report of the Scientific Research Board in America shows that in America they are not blind to the danger of the exhaustion of the oil wells, and that country is now busy exploring all the possibilities of what are called the shale mountains which are being properly investigated and they are making preparations to adopt improved methods, as well as a saving of both petrol products and coal. At the beginning of the last great War it was well known that even a shortage of lubricating oil might have stopped the whole of our industries, because we had no proper system of extracting oil from coal. If such provision had been made you would then have had power to control the price, and that would mean far more to this country than all the money you are spending on what is called research.

Apart from Scottish shale, this country has no petroleum deposits, unless you include the cannel coals of Scotland, but, despite that, we export oil from this country, that is to say, creosote for wood treatment purposes. If you take the average high temperature gas-works production, you get about 10 gallons of tar to the ton, that is to say, about 360 million gallons a year. That is sufficient for dyes, pharmaceutical products, and explosives, and the remainder is pitch and tar which is used for roads, sheep dips, and so on. We imported crude petroleum in 1925 to the amount of 569,082,169 gallons, and of motor spirit about 404,834,226 gallons, while the tar produced in this country amounts to about 350,000,000 gallons, the major proportion of which is precipitated as pitch. That shows quite clearly how you are left hopelessly at the mercy of overseas exporters so far as oil is concerned. Suppose that we carbonised another 20,000,000 tons of our coal, that is to say, doubled the quantity that we carbonise now, by low-temperature carbonisation, we could both double the output of crude oil and, from that crude oil, obtain all the different things of that kind that we require, and in that way we could not only increase the demand for coal, but increase the number of men required to work on these plants. Having worked on them myself, I speak from practical experience. All this would mean a definite lever against the raising of prices in all these commodities. By carbonising in this way four-fifths of our total output of coal, we should get sufficient oil for our requirements, including petrol and everything else that we get now from foreign countries.

As to lubricating oils, we are in a different position. We have not yet reached the stage where we can produce that class of oil in sufficient quantities, but if we were to do what I am suggesting now, we should have such powers, by means of that lever, that we could buy at prices which we could almost dictate ourselves. In 1915, during the War, some cannel coal from Ayrshire was treated, which gave about 45 gallons to the ton. The present time is always held to be not a profitable or proper time to start something new, but that is a very short-sighted argument. If we in this country are to retain our position, it depends on what we do with our basic fuel, and the basic fuel of this country is coal. We have to take a long view and prepare not only for the possibility of the loss of the oil in other countries that now supply us, but also for the possibility of war, and the possibility of having our shipping disturbed. We have to take a long view, and have a system in this country ready to deal with any emergency that may arise. What is the use of going on reading reports telling us that a little more has been discovered, when we know that we can attain independence now, not only by the first, second and third stages that have been referred to, but by the fourth stage, which is actually working. I wonder if the members of the Government realise that the Navy during the War used some oil made from Scottish coal—not shale. That was in 1915; and yet we are told to-night that something else has to be found out.

Duchess of ATHOLL

Can the hon. Member mention any process of low temperature carbonisation that has been proved to be a success on a commercial basis?


I can do that, and the best way to do so is to ask the Noble Lady to get in touch with the Glasgow Corporation, who will give her all information.

We have been told that fuel oil is dealing harshly with the coal trade in this country, but fuel oil is the first thing to go in this country; whenever you get a reduction in the price of coal or an increase in the price of fuel oil, it is the fuel oil that goes first. We ought to take steps now, and not wait any longer. Now is the time if you are going to provide against, not only the possibilities I have mentioned, but against other things that come in the ordinary way of competition between countries in business. Coal itself is not to be considered as something that has taken a back seat, because even oil to-day is not the commodity that some people think it is. If you take the use of high-pressure steam, which is being experimented with on a steamer in the Clyde just now, you will find that that is being proved a success, and what is going to happen is that, when that is perfected, coal will come back to where it was in the 'seventies, so far as steam raising is concerned, and steam is going to play a much greater part in the industry of this country than many people imagine. Why is it that foreign countries are always anxious to have our coal? It is something that we need not be proud of at all; it does not belong to anything we have done; it is because of the character of the coal in our country. It stands more heat than any other coal without deforming, and that is why other countries ant it. Having this natural advantage, why should we be placed at a disadvantage? We are at a disadvantage now, we are told, by the world's market not taking its former supplies of British coal. Is it only a question of price? I do not believe that for a moment. The conditions of the War are not yet far enough distant to allow the complete settling down so as to allow of the normal demand for British or any other coal, and that question has to be considered in relation to what we propose in this Motion about the treatment of coal. When your markets are low abroad is the best time that can be suggested for beginning the treatment of your coal, because it is not only a question of gas and oil and sulphate of ammonia. We are importing resins to make varnishes. You need not do that. You can take it from your coal by low-temperature carbonisation. British varnishes from coal were used on Government housing in Edinburgh. I do not suppose the Government know anything about that. The paint solvents that we bring in need not come here if you go in for this low-temperature distillation of coal. Then you get the Bakelite and other waterproofing properties. Think of the agony that must have been in the minds of men who understood this in the years gone by when special tank ships were taking toluol over to Germany to make dyes and sending it back, as if we could not do it ourselves. It is simply a question of the application of the knowledge we have. Let us have more investigation, but let us proceed with the best knowledge we have.

I want to point out how it would directly help our miners. We have been told it is a question of the rich coals. We know that the rich coal is the coal that has the least amount of ash in it. When we know we can take all the low-grade seams with 50 per cent. ash and take from them valuable constituents we have a means of keeping shafts from closing. It means that instead of a mine being closed down because the rich seams have been taken out, you can go on taking out all the seams, rich and poor alike, and so give continual employment until the coal is taken out and you reduce the price per ton, because the more tons you take out of the shaft the greater the spread of the cost. That is a process that ought to attract the Secretary for Mines, and if anyone can tell him this can be done I cannot see why there should be any fear about the closing down of mines. I hope those who are going to deal with this from the Government side are going to see it from the national point of view. There is a nation spending money on research. Is the nation going to get the benefit of it? The Government is handing it over to private companies instead of retaining what it has paid to get. If the men at the research places could speak out you would get the truth, that the nation is to pay for the research and it is to go to private enterprise and leave the miners at the mercy of private enterprise instead of being helped forward by the money spent, which is partly their own.

Colonel LANE FOX

I am sorry that a second speech from the Government Bench should intrude in what is necessarily a short Debate, but several things have been said that I should like to reply to and I am afraid, owing to the way the Scientific Industrial Research Department is represented by different Departments, it is inevitable that there must be two speakers. The last speaker has, perhaps unwittingly, given a wholly wrong impression of an announcement made by my noble Friend. He said the Government are deliberately handing over to gas companies the possible results of research and experiment. If he is referring to the plan my noble Friend alluded to, by which the Gas and Coal Company have, undertaken to carry out for the first time on a really large scale the system of low temperature carbonisation, and if he believes that the whole process is being handed over to one particular company he is entirely wrong.


I did not intend to give that impression, but there is no intention on the part of the Government to keep their information. They want to hand it out to private enterprise. That is my point.

Colonel LANE FOX

What I want to make clear is that the result of this experiment, which is the first it has been possible to carry out on a really large scale, will be available to the public and will mark certainly by far the most important step in the development of this process which has yet been taken. One hon. Gentleman talked of nothing having been done, and of no money having been spent, and he suggested that this country was the one country in the world which had done nothing. I would remind him that not only has the work of the Fuel Research Department been carried on, as has already been described by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education, but there has also been an enormous amount of money lost by private individuals. More money has been lost in research of this sort on low-temperature carbonisation than almost anything else. There has been no subject of research more exploited by company promoters and no more unfortunate form of research in the history of this country. With this extremely attractive proposition before us, as the one thing which we have all been looking forward to and hoping for success, what has the right hon. Gentleman opposite done? He puts down a Motion which, from his own common sense and knowledge he drafted as a useful Motion for a discussion on this subject. Then along comes some evil genius and says, "That is a very tame thing on which to spend a Private Member's Motion. You must put some more ginger into it." Somebody came along from the direction of Eccleston Square and said, "That is a tame thing to come from a representative of the Front Opposition Bench. It may afford the House of Commons an opportunity for useful discussion which will help the mining industry, but what is the use of it? Let us put some real, good red pepper into it."

The right hon. Gentleman, who is not naturally gifted in distributing red pepper in large quantities—I am glad to say he has too much common sense—came along and added this miserable, wretched tag about nationalisation. He has never even taken the trouble to explain to the House what he means by nationalisation. Everybody is aware that there are a great many different types of nationalisation. There was the scheme recommended by the Sankey Commission, and then we had a Bill brought in when the Labour Government was in office, which was approved by the Labour Government. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman read and approved that Bill, but apparently he did not understand it. That is not the last scheme. Since that time a new scheme has been brought forward and propounded before the Coal Commission. There was not a single miners' leader who dared to face the awful responsibility of explaining that scheme to the Coal Commission, and they had to find a Fellow of Balliol to explain it, but the Coal Commission turned it down unanimously. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are always taunting the Government for not having accepted and carried out fully the recommendations of the Coal Commission. Here they are, coming to this House and spoiling quite a useful Resolution by inserting this final tag, which goes against the whole feeling and recommendations of the Coal Commission.

It is suggested that we cannot have effective research without nationalisation, but I can conceive of nothing more fatal to suggest than the dead hand of State control in such a matter. It seems to me to be a fallacy, because, if there is one thing necessary to make research satisfactory, it is competition between different efforts and appliances and methods. The result of constant competition is that you eventually arrive at the best method, but if you once hand over the whole of this to the State, the State will adopt what it conceives to be the best method and will proceed with no other, whereas now there are three different systems before the country, and there is thus an opportunity for anybody interested—and there are a good many private individuals still interested—to develop their own processes and to compete with the others. Surely there is a far greater chance of satisfaction resulting from that than from, if I may say so with respect, the absolutely foolish method of restricting the whole thing to the central control of the State.

The hon. Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell) said that all of those who were engaged in looking after these researches were far too pessimistic. It is well to be cautious. Large sums of money have already been lost in investigation of these processes, and it cannot yet be said that a really commercial proposition has been discovered, so when the hon. Gentleman talks about miserable economy being the only obstacle, he is bound to remember that fact. I learn with satisfaction that there is one hon. Member opposite who is frankly optimistic about the future of the coal industry. After the endless jeremiads to which I have listened from the other side, it is very satisfactory to realise that there is one hon. Member who sees some hope. I have done my utmost to encourage this House to be interested in this subject. I began by inviting a number of hon. Members to go down to the Fuel Research Department, and I regret that the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Resolution never took the opportunity of going there. Perhaps if he had he would not have made the speech that he did make. He has not been to the Fuel Research Department, and I only hope that at the very earliest possible moment he will do so. He will gain there considerable knowledge of what is being done. I agree that I should like to see a great deal more, and I should, like to see a great deal more money spent, but one very serious and definite step has been taken. We are, I hope, on the eve of discovery in a few years' time, but whether or not the process is going to be successful, it is unfair and untrue to say that this investigation has not been thoroughly carried out or that efforts have not been made to make it a success. The Government are bound to advise the House to divide against this Motion, only because of the unfortunate tag which the right hon. Gentleman has added to it. I can only regret very much that it should be necessary to do so.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 123; Noes, 251.

Division No. 113.] AYES. [11.0 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Sexton, James
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hirst, G. H. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Attlee, Clement Richard Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) John, William (Rhondda, West) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Sitch, Charles H.
Barnes, A. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Batey, Joseph Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Smillie, Robert
Broad, F. A. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Bromfield, William Kennedy, T. Snell, Harry
Bromley, J. Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Kirkwood, D Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Buchanan, G. Lansbury, George Stamford, T. W.
Baxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Lawrence, Susan Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C. Lawson, John James Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Clowes, S. Lee, F. Sullivan, Joseph
Cluse, W. S. Lindley, F. W. Sutton, J. E.
Connolly, M. Lowth, T. Taylor, R. A.
Dalton, Hugh Lunn, William Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Mackinder, W. Thurtle, Ernest
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) MacLaren, Andrew Tinker, John Joseph
Day, Colonel Harry Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Townend, A. E.
Dennison, R. March, S. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Duncan, C. Maxton, James Varley, Frank B.
Dunnico, H. Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Viant, S. P.
Gardner, J. P. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Gibbins, Joseph Murnin, H. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Gillett, George M. Naylor, T. E. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Graham, D. M, (Lanark, Hamilton) Oliver, George Harold Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Palin, John Henry Wellock, Wilfred
Greenall, T. Paling, W. Westwood J.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Grundy, T. W. Ponsonby, Arthur Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Potts, John S. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hardie, George D. Riley, Ben Windsor, Walter
Harney, E. A. Ritson, J. Wright, W.
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hayday, Arthur Rose, Frank H.
Hayes, John Henry Salter, Dr. Alfred TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Scurr, John Mr. Clayton and Mr. R. Hudson.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Brown, Ernest (Leith) Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)
Albery, Irving James Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Davies, Dr. Vernon
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Burman, J. B. Dixey, A. C.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Burton, Colonel H. W. Drewe, C.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Butler, Sir Geoffrey Eden, Captain Anthony
Astor, Viscountess Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Edmondson, Major A. J.
Atholl, Duchess of Campbell, E. T. Elliot, Major Walter E.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Carver, Major W. H. Ellis, R. G.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cassels, J. D. Elveden, Viscount
Balniel, Lord Cautley, Sir Henry S. England, Colonel A.
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Everard, W. Lindsay
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Fairfax, Captain J. G.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Chapman, Sir S. Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Chilcott, Sir Warden Fielden, E. B.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Christie, J. A. Forestier-Walker, Sir L.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Forrest, W.
Bethel, A. Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Fraser, Captain Ian
Betterton, Henry B. Clarry, Reginald George Frece, Sir Walter de
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Cobb, Sir Cyril Fremantie, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Conway, Sir W. Martin Galbraith, J. F. W.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Cooper, A. Duff Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Cope, Major William Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.) Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Brass, Captain W. Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Glyn, Major R. G. C
Brassey, Sir Leonard Crawfurd, H. E. Goff, Sir Park
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Gower, Sir Robert
Briggs, J. Harold Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Grace, John
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Curzon, Captain Viscount Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Greene, W. P. Crawford Macmillan, Captain H. Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Shepperson, E. W.
Grotrian, H. Brent MacRobert, Alexander M. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Gunston, Captain D. W. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst.)
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Malone, Major P. B. Skelton, A. N.
Hall, Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Margesson, Captain D. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Smithers, Waldron
Hammersley, S. S. Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Meller, R. J. Sprot, Sir Alexander
Harland, A. Merriman, F. B. Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Harrison, G. J. C. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Monsell, Eyres Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Hawke, John Anthony Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Strauss, E. A.
Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Moreing, Captain A. H. Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) Murchison, Sir Kenneth Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Nelson, Sir Frank Sueter, Rear-admiral Murray Fraser
Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by) Neville, R. J. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St, Marylebone) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Holt, Captain H. P. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Hopkins, J. W. W. Oakley, T. Tinne, J. A.
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Hore-Bellsha, Leslie Oman, Sir Charles William C. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Penny, Frederick George Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Howard Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Perkins, Colonel E. K. Waddington, R.
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Perring, Sir William George Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Hume, Sir G. H. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Hunter-Weston Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Warrender, Sir Victor
Hurst, Gerald B. Pilcher, G. Watson, sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Power, Sir John Cecil Watson, Rt, Hon. W. (Carlisie)
Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Pownall, Sir Assheton Watts, Dr. T.
Jacob, A. E. Preston, William Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Jephcott, A. R. Radford, E. A. Wiggins, William Martin
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merloneth) Raine, W. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Ramsden, E. Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
King, Captain Henry Doublas Rees, Sir Beddoe Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Rentoul, G. S. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Knox, Sir Alfred Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Wise, Sir Fredric
Lamb, J. Q. Rice, Sir Frederick Withers, John James
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Wolmer, Viscount
Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Womersley, W. J.
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford) Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Loder, J. de V. Ropner, Major L. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Looker, Herbert William Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Lougher, Lewis Rye, F. G. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Salmon, Major I. Wragg, Herbert
Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Lumley, L. R. Sandeman, N. Stewart TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Macintyre, I. Sanderson, Sir Frank Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
McLean, Major A. Sandon, Lord Whiteley.

Main Question, as amended, again proposed.



It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.