HC Deb 27 February 1936 vol 309 cc702-33

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £40,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for Expenditure in respect of sundry Public Buildings in Great Britain, not provided for on other Votes, including Historic Buildings, Ancient Monuments, Brompton Cemetery, and certain Housing Estates.

5.2 p.m.


On this Vote it will be easier to keep in order. For the most part the Vote refers to works which are carried out by nay Department on behalf of other Departments. Item "E," Ancient Monuments, however, comes wholly within my own responsibility. Under this head we require an extra £3,000 this year, owing to the fact that certain work has proved more expensive than we anticipated. When I introduced the National Maritime Museum Bill I said that we were taking over the old premises formerly occupied by the Royal Naval School. The oldest portion, the Queen's House at Greenwich, which was built by Inigo Jones for Queen Henrietta Maria, was to be handed over as an ancient monument and opened to the public as such. That House had been used as officers' quarters for the staff of the school. When we came to deal with it we had to take away all the partitions, baths and the rest of it, and we found an enormous amount of most interesting, historical, internal and other decorations. We have been very carefully restoring them, taking off the heavy chocolate paint and getting down to the grey and gilt decorations of Inigo Jones' time. When complete it will be one of the most interesting buildings open to the public of London, and an ancient monument of which we shall be very proud. We are endeavouring to make a good job of it and I think the Committee will agree that the extra £3,000 is well worth spending on that building.

Item F, Rents, is accounted for by additional accommodation required for the Air Ministry since the expansion last year, additional hiring in Victoria Street for the Admiralty, additional accommodation at Lion House, Bloomsbury, to deal with the registration in the Middlesex area, and additional accommodation for my own department at 56, Victoria Street, to provide for increased staff. Owing to the congestion in Whitehall through the requirements of the Ministry of Health, the Board of Trade and my own Department, we are always having to hire premises, and I shall be very glad when T can get ahead with my new Whitehall building scheme. With regard to subhead G, for Cleaning, etc., the item is straightforward. It is almost impossible to estimate in regard to this matter beforehand, because it is so liable to fluctuation. There is a great amount of window cleaning and so forth to be done in Govern-merit offices up and down the country. We have done rather more this year than we expected. We have caught up arrears in that respect, and things are now in very good order. With regard to Item K, Furniture, etc., the Vote is almost entirely due to the extension of certain Government buildings and the creation of new ones, such as the Anglo-Italian Clearing House. There was accommodation also to be found for the Naval Conference and we had to provide furniture and services in London.

Now I come to Item A, which relates to a new type of anti-gas school which has been decided upon by the Home Office. The Office of Works were asked to find the Home Office a house in the country, well away from town, or village or other centre of population, a remote country house, with sufficient park and sufficient belts of trees around it to provide the school which they require for training fire brigades, police, the St. John's Ambulance Association and Red Cross personnel, in what we may call anti-gas drill and various anti-gas subjects. We set out to search for such a building and eventually we decided on a house at Eastwood Park, in Gloucestershire. It lies 14 miles north of Bristol and 20 miles south-west of Gloucester, in a purely agricultural district. There is a sufficiency of land around the house and the house is of a type that can be converted for the purposes of the school. Accordingly, we bought it for the Home Office. The actual purchase price I think was cheap. Inevitably the major portion of the sum required is for conversion. We had to provide laboratories, technical stores, gas chambers and scientific and technical buildings, so that the horrible gases could be loosed off and we could find the proper antidotes and appropriate means of dealing with the gases.

I would point out to hon. Members opposite that the most far-reaching developments in chemical warfare have been the result of the very remarkable investigation and discoveries made in the laboratories of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics in Russia. We have to be prepared in this country in case of need—I hope the need will never come—to train a sufficient nucleus of personnel to help the people in case this awful kind of weapon is used against us. The duty which falls to my Department is to make sure that this work can be carried on in buildings where by their nature the use of these gases and the efforts made by various means to find protection against them will not injure anybody. We are satisfied, and I understand that the Home Office are satisfied, that in the buildings we are constructing in the centre of the 240-acre park, with its ring of trees around it and with no buildings in the line of any prevailing wind, we can safely carry on this work. It took a great deal of time to find a suitable place, but we think that we have found it and that we have satisfied the Horne Office. It is part of national requirements and part of national defence that this work should be carried out, and we have found the most suitable place where we can be equipped in the way necessary to deal with the chemical warfare problem.

5.13 p.m.


I beg to move, to reduce the Vote by £100.

The whole Committee will join with me in congratulating the Minister on the acquirement of the Queen's House at Greenwich and putting it into such a condition that it will become a real national asset and a place of great cultural value. In moving the reduction of the Vote it so happens that for the second time this week I have had to voice what I think should be the protest of the House that on quite a side issue and on something tucked away in the corner of a Supplementary Vote the House has had an opportunity of discussing a question of great policy connected with the defences of the country. The other day I raised the question of the Naval Conference on a small Vote such as this, as to a certain amount of material that had been supplied in connection with the emergency situation that had arisen. That was the first opportunity that they had had of discussing the Naval Conference.

We are confronted with a Vote which, ostensibly, is concerned only with buildings and yet it raises for the first time a problem which is vitally bound up with the defence of the country and gives the House of Commons for the first time, an opportunity of discussing that problem. It is a problem which is particularly concerned with recent discussions on the question of a Defence Ministry. The First Commissioner of Works is an old Parliamentary hand and therefore he did not trail his coat or seek to bring out the possibilities which are hidden in this Vote. But it is only fair that the attention of the Committee should be drawn to the fact that something deeper and more significant underlies this Vote than the mere provision of accommodation for the training of certain officials who may have to deal with a certain emergency.

First, I would venture to say that the Vote amounts to a declaration that the Government have embraced a policy of despair with regard to the whole question of defence and our relationship with other countries. It shows that in dealing with this particular and desperate new problem they have accepted war as inevitable and having so accepted it say: "We must proceed to see what we can do to save some of the population at any rate from its effects." But all the training that it is possible to give to civilians and others in this respect will be as a mere drop in the bucket compared with the range of devastation, ruin and loss of life which will arise from gas attacks should any future outbreak of war occur. The Government must accept a large share of responsibility for the fact that we are faced with this extraordinary situation. It is largely due to the Government's failure to give a lead that the nation has been brought on to the top of a devil's slide which is going to end in disaster should another war take place.

Further, it ought to be said to the country that the sort of thing which is tucked away in this Estimate, so that it gives no wide advertisement of what the Government are doing, is also likely to mislead people into a false sense of security and into the belief that provision can be made to protect them against the effect of gas attacks on this country. That is one of the points which aroused strong objections from the local authorities when the Home Office issued their circular of 9th July last. That circular called upon local authorities to make special provision in order to afford some shelter and protection to the population in the event of gas attacks on their areas. Almost without exception the local authorities took the view that the problem was too big for them to handle and that they had no right to give a false sense of security to the civilian population by accepting the suggestion that they could provide protection in such circumstances. It was on that aspect of the question that a great deal of difference arose between the Home Office and the local authorities, particularly the London County Council.

I ask the Committee to consider the kind of attacks against which we are asked to set up these defences. It is well that we should have some idea of the potency of the various agencies which will come into use should any outbreak of war take place and of how ineffective any scheme of training or protection is likely to be against such agencies. First I quote the statement of Lieut.-General Von Metzoh, a members of the German General Staff during the War, who, like a good many other military officers on both sides, has written a book. Dealing with the possibilities of a new war, he makes special reference to chemical warfare as follows: The tendency is for to develop rather than fall into disuse. The importance given to this question by the arming Powers is shown by the fact that one of the more important States has disbanded several large regiments in order to have more funds available for chemical armaments. In another country defence against chemical air raids has become the Sunday pastime of the population. A third has constructed several new centres of chemical war industries and every country that is not under any restriction concerning armaments is feverishly engaged in the development and perfection of the chemical arm… In some circumstances the use of war chemicals could enable one armed Power to take another by surprise with very serious if not decisive results and naturally this is the aim of the chemical armament industry.… The aim of war chemical laboratories all over the world is to produce a gas that is odourless, in- visible, obtainable from the raw material available in the country itself, insusceptible to weather conditions, easily stocked, will penetrate any mask and of which the smallest possible quantity can saturate the largest possible space. That is a statement on the possibilites of a future war made by somebody who may be considered, from his own point of view, an authority. I turn to another authority nearer home, Dr. Hale, of the Dow Chemical Company in 1921, in an address entitled, "The War after the War," said: The next war which will come in its time will he waged entirely with chemicals and high explosives usually together. Combatants as well as non-combatants will he supplied with suits of armour—a la Jules Verne's the Men from Mars—the mask itself will not suffice. The old time military manoeuvres must give way to chemical discipline. Major Lefebure one of the greatest experts on poison gas who conducted many chemical gas attacks during the War and afterwards worked with Imperial Chemical Industries writes: We could, therefore, conclude that in the case of chemical warfare we have an agent far more capable of being worked up in secret to a service of new types able to contribute towards a decisive superiority of the aggressor, than any pre-war type and that the nature of this weapon as a casualty producer with great moral effect… is such as to represent a very important if not an overwhelming factor of decisive superiority in war. I suggest that statements like that from experts show how futile it is to suggest that we can set up any effective measures against such forms of attack or that anything that we can do is likely to afford adequate protection against them.


Is it the hon. Gentleman's argument then that we should sit down and do nothing?


I think that is a rather inane remark. The hon. Member might wait until I develop my case. The next quotation which I propose to give is probably of more significance in relation to the proposal which is now before us. Dr. Hilton Ira Jones, an American scientist, announcing in Chicago the discovery of a new poison gas described its effects in the following words: It is a deadly poison and would destroy armies as a man might snuff out a candle. I do not believe the nations of the world want to use it for warfare simply because it always kills. War, if it comes again and is to be deadly, will never be fought with shot and shell. It cannot be, for it is so much cheaper to destroy life wholesale with this new gas. It may be manufactured at the rate of thousands of tons a day and it costs much less than powder and cannon, yet it will destroy armies more thoroughly, more effectively, more quickly.


Who says this?


Dr. Hilton Ira Jones, one of the leading scientists of America. This brings us to the fact that the nations of the world are finding that modern warefare, in terms of ordinary arms, is becoming so tremendously burdensome and expensive that they find it cheaper to rely on the dreadful and devastating methods which are here indicated. Documents have been issued in connection with the League of Nations referring not only to developments on the lines indicated in the quotations which I have just read, but also to such methods as piercing poisons, poison bullets, bacteria germs, and war by plague. Major Lefebure in a publication called "Scientific Disarmament," has explained at some length the possibility of war by plague and war by poison bullets, and it is suggested that the spread of bacteria germs will be an essential part of any future war which may break out.

Lest that might be taken as an individual opinion and discounted as the flight of fancy of an individual scientist, it is well to know that Professors Pfeiffer, Bordet, Madsen and Carmon were instructed to draw up reports for the League of Nations in 1928 on bacteriological warfare and war by plague. They pointed out the possibility of plague being deliberately promoted as a part of warfare. I imagine it was that which caused the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on 10th November, 1932, to say: I myself happen to know of at least three inventions deliberately proposed for use in the last war that were never used—potent to a degree and inhuman."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th November, 1932; col. 638, Vol. 270.] One wonders what were those inventions which the Prime Minister knew of but which have not been disclosed. I venture to think that they are suggested in the extracts to which I have drawn attention. It is not unrelated to this question to note that on the eve of Armistice Day, 1932, the Prime Minister speaking on this subject, with some emotion and a deep sense of responsibility, deplored the position which to-day arises and which involves the maiming, poisoning, and slaughtering of defenceless women and children. He said: The only defence is in offence, which means that you have to kill women and children more quickly than the enemy if you want to save yourselves."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th November, 1932; col. 632, Vol. 270.] Two years later he said: I have been occupying myself in studying questions of air raid precautions, and. I tell the House that I have been made almost physically sick to think that I and my friends and the statesmen in every country in Europe, 2,000 years after our Lord was crucified, should be spending our time thinking how we can get the mangled bodies of children to the hospitals and how we can keep the poison gas from going down the throats of the people."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd May, 1935; col. 372, Vol. 302.] A comment which the Prime Minister failed to make was that a sound international policy could prevent such a situation. We stood in the way of an international pool of aircraft —


Is it in order to raise questions on the Prime Minister's position in 1932 or 1933 or the whole question of the League of Nations on this Vote?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Gordon Macdonald)

A Ruling was given on this question of the anti-gas school that we might widen the Debate beyond what would otherwise be allowed, but once or twice the hon. Member has gone rather beyond the Ruling in making reference to foreign affairs.


When the Naval Vote came up a similar point of Order was raised, and the Chairman of Ways and Means ruled that as this was an entirely new subject he would not restrict it and would allow the Debate to proceed on fairly broad lines. I have shown the Committee some of the possibilities and risks that are involved in the things that have to be dealt with in the proposal in this Vote. The Vote is less than the proverbial pill to cure an elephant in its ineffectiveness. Unless we are to spend undreamed-of millions in making preparations, no effective safety provisions can be afforded for the community should there be any poison gas attacks on a large scale. No one in the House, and nobody on this side, would say that we must not provide as much protection as possible for those people who will be called upon in the discharge of their duties to render aid if such a situation arose. There can be no question about that. Even in that respect, however, it is as well that we should see exactly what such measures of protection can amount to. The fire brigades and ambulance brigades will be called upon, and no Government or local authority which had refused to supply adequate training and protection to the members of those brigades could stand before the wrath of outraged public opinion if, when the situation arose, it was found they had not done so. When we have said that, however, it means little so far as the community is concerned.

I venture to bring before the Committee some of the steps that have been taken by the London County Council in regard to this matter. I do that because London has been declared by the Air Ministry to be in the position of most danger. The London County Council has a full knowledge of the responsibilities that are laid upon it, and it has laid down certain regulations for its officials and servants. The report of the General Services Committee on the 3rd December last said: It is our earnest hope, shared we feel sure by every member of the Council, that it will never be necessary to put into operation precautions against air attack and that His Majesty's Government will make every effort to bring about by international agreement a state of affairs in which such an occasion could not arise. After very careful consideration we think that, on the understanding that it will be required to undertake only those services which are within its normal functions, the Council might agree to co-operate on the general lines indicated. We desire, however, to emphasise that the protection of the population against air attacks is a national and not a local responsibility. It is important that an impression should not be created that the Council is able to provide protection against the effects of air raids, and it would be unwise for the public to expect security as a result of the action which His Majesty's Government asks the Council to take. That indicates pretty clearly that the Council is fully seized of its responsibilities, but it ventures to point out that it is impossible, even with its large resources, to undertake the provision of any adequate means of refuge should the occasion arise. The Council points out that it is a national responsibility. If the National Government are going to face this problem with the idea of accepting war as inevitable and that gas attacks are to be launched on this nation, the Council points out that with all its resources it cannot provide adequate protection. The Council has made arrangements to co-operate with neighbouring authorities such as West Ham and Willesden, which are closely linked up on its boundaries. The great question of expenditure arises in that respect. The London County Council resolved on the 3rd December: That, on the understanding that any expenditure beyond that required for the normal maintenance of the council's services shall be borne by the State, the council do co-operate with the appropriate Government Departments in the formulation of a scheme of air raid precautions, including the allocation of accommodation for use as casualty clearing stations and base hospitals, the provision of the necessary fire protection service, the provision jointly with other bodies of ambulance services and any incidental matters. When all that has been said, to what does it amount? It amounts to a recognition of the tremendous wave of devastation that will come over the country if this sort of thing arises. Unless there is some discussion on a Vote like this and all its implications are shown, it is likely to mislead the country into thinking that some protection and defence can be provided. There must be more to lull the people into accepting as inevitable the terrible possibilities arising from the failure of world-wide statesmanship.

I venture to point out that this is but the beginning of other forms of compulsion. When this has gone through, there will be a form of compulsion on the civil population to undergo certain air drill and regimentation in order that they might meet this new situation when it arises. That, surely, is a pretty terrible thing to contemplate, and it is not a far cry from that to compulsion in other matters. During the last few days we have been discussing problems concerned with the nutrition and education of our children. While we are discussing those things, it is a terrible commentary on our civilisation when we consider the possibilities that will bring them all to nought, to disaster and to ruin, possibilities such as are inherent in this Vote in the direction of the development of chemical warfare.

It is due to the Government's failure to arrive at any international agreement or to give any lead to the other countries in order to dispense with this sort of thing. I refuse to believe that there is no other way than a moral collapse of the nations which this kind of warfare must bring about if we are to accept it as inevitable. Our Amendment is moved as a protest on the first available opportunity that the House has had of discussing this question, which is part of the question of defence. We object to the way in which the Government are bringing forward the question of defence by hole-and-corner methods, by items tucked away in Supplementary Estimates so that one is never able to get a full view of the proposals. It is to protest against that more than anything else that I move the reduction of the Vote.

5.44 p.m.


After listening to that long and rather turgid harangue of the lion. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) many people in the House might well say that the anti-gas school should be moved from Gloucester to Westminster. Has there been a more remarkable speech in the House than that delivered by the hon. Member? He first announced that the First Commissioner of Works, with Machiavellian skill, had come down to introduce an important Service estimate, and then ended by saying it was a futile affair, a pill to cure an elephant. It becomes necessary to ask the responsible leaders of the Labour party—if I may interrupt the late First Lord of the Admiralty who, I think, is one—whether they are opposed to the expenditure of a small sum of money for the purpose of providing some form of protection against air raids, gas attacks, and all those other fearful war menaces which were described so luridly by the hon. Member for North Camberwell. Do we understand that the Labour party are absolutely opposed to these experiments, which may save the lives of hundreds of thousands of the civilian population? I understand that the Labour party propose to vote against this Estimate. We ought to take careful notice of the attitude they take up when a sum of money is to be spent on experiments, on research work, a subject on which there is no question of party alignment. We really do now understand what the Labour party stand for. They preached peace in the long and irrelevant speech to which we have just listened, and most of which was quite out of order—


On a point of Order. Is any Member of this Committee entitled to cast reflections on the Chair?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Gordon Macdonald)

That is a matter for the Chair.


Has riot the hon. Member for North Paddington (Mr. Bracken) been long enough in this House to know the significance of a token Vote?


I have been long enough in the House to know that we get interruptions such as I am getting now, and I have been here long enough to know that a former Under-Secretary of a Service Department ought not to do his best to resist, for party purposes, the efforts of the Government to prevent poison gas attacks on this country. The Socialist party are obviously very anxious to justify the extraordinary attitude they have taken up on this occasion, but I should not like to sit down without expressing the thanks of this side of the House to the Minister for the splendid way in which the Office of Works has been conducting its operations in the last few years. The Office of Works gets very few compliments, and I think the Minister is to be congratulated on setting such a very high standard in administration.

This Debate has elicited one further instance of the absolutely futile, woolly, flatulent, stupid attitude of the Socialist party towards defence questions. They tell us on the one hand that they are anxious to defend the country and to save the civil population, but when the Minister responsible buys a small property in Gloucestershire for the purpose of anti-gas experiments, the Socialist party say "This is another effort of the Government to start a fearful European war. Three thousand pounds spent in Gloucestershire is bringing war nearer and nearer." Some of us on these benches think the Socialist party would do better to look into the activities of their friends the Bolsheviks, who are now becoming quite respectable, and who are spending more money on this particular form of research than the Office of Works will spend in, perhaps, 20 years. If the gentlemen in Moscow are as intelligent as we are told they are and are doing what the First Commissioner is doing, why should the Socialist party want to reduce the Estimate by £100?

5.49 p.m.


I will not follow too far the examination of the hon. Member for North Paddington (Mr. Bracken) into the relative value of party capital as made by my hon. Friend the Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) and the party capital which he himself attempts to make. The pot calling the kettle black is never a very pleasing song to which to listen. I wish to address a few questions to the Minister with regard to this building. For the last 18 months of the War I was a non-commissioned officer in charge of one of the three shifts that mixed the gas which was supplied to the British troops, and prior to that I had the pleasure and honour of being under the command of Major Lefebure, who was alluded to by my hon. Friend. After the Armistice I was the acting warrant officer in charge of the dump at which the German gas was collected. So I have no doubt that if my hon. Friend the Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) had been here, he would have said I was admirably prepared to take my place in what my hon. Friend suggested was the place where gas masks ought to be worn. I listened to the extracts read by my hon. Friend, and I am sure the Committee will have noticed the difference between the tone adopted in Major Lefebure's statement and that adopted by these other people. There was an American professor who had gas to sell and he gave the most wonderful description of it. For three weeks I was attached to the American Army as a, gas instructor. They used to boast that they had a gas that was so strong that it would not merely kill people but bring back prisoners. It was a typical claim of the army which won the War in six weeks.

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has been asked by the Home Office to provide a building that will resist attacks from other gases than chlorine, phosgene and the very intricate compound generally known as mustard gas. I have read what the German general would like. That is what every general would like. But gas which is of military value must have a certain density in relation to the air. It must be such that it can be liquefied reasonably easily and yet of a sufficiently low boiling point to turn into gas again even on a frosty morning. I feel that the number of gases which comply with all those requirements is very limited, if they are gases which can be produced at a reasonable price, because, as my hon. Friend said, the great advantage of gas warfare is its cheapness. I do not think I shall be challenged by any service Member of the House on this point: we were told in France, where our gas factory had to work to a very strict costings account, that we ought by means of gas to give the military the necessary amount of quietness on the front that was to be attacked at one-seventh the cost of a heavy artillery bombardment.

I may be a heretic in these matters, but personally I feel that being gassed was a rather more comfortable way of being put out of action than getting a bit of shrapnel in the belly. At least, that was the view of a number of troops with whom I was associated. The whole business of war is beastly and horrible, but I am discussing this from the point of view of recognising that a situation may arise which may have to be met, and that there may be people on whom this country will use gas apart from our having to suffer its use on ourselves. I wish to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether he has been asked to provide a building which will resist some of the other gases alluded to in such general terms but which, I am sure, our Departments know about, because we have a Secret Service system which is at least as effective as the dirty spy system which the foreigner employs.

I hope this matter may be put into its proper perspective, because in my view a great deal of the effectiveness of gas as used on both sides in the late War arose from its mystery in the eyes of the common soldier who had to meet it, whether English or German. I knew men who thought that because it was gas one must be able to light it, and I will guarantee, if there are in the House this afternoon other Members who served in the ranks, that they will know of similar views among the troops. No one wants to create a feeling of unreasoning horror and terror at dangers that are not really in existence, or to create fears which will cause needless panic among the civil population. I hope nothing I have said will be interpreted as indicating that the use of gas or any other weapon in war is legitimate. I strongly hold the view that all our efforts should he directed to making war impossible in the future, but if the Government have reached the point where they think that war is inevitable they should take steps themselves to avoid creating in the public mind the feeling that there are all these fearful and wonderful unknown things which wicked scientists and worse generals are keeping in secret to let loose on the world when action commences.

It is the duty of the Government to make sure that if war comes a sufficient amount of knowledge will be available to limit the evil that will come upon the world. After all, the effects of gas, while terrible for the moment, do not last so extraordinarily long and, also, the reactions of individuals to gas differ remarkably. A very high concentration of gas appears to have very little effect on some persons, and a degree of concentration which some persons might almost disregard will prove fatal to other and weaker persons. The effect of gas is also very highly localised. I want to be sure that in the event of a gas attack there will be available for the assistance of the population a sufficient number of persons who have been really trained. On that point may I say to the hon. Member for North Paddington (Mr. Bracken) that there has never been any doubt about the position of this party. The matter was discussed at considerable length at the last conference of the party, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison), who took a leading part in the discussion, justified the point of view which I have just stated.

With regard to people going to live in the vicinity of the proposed gas school, what range does the right hon. Gentleman allow? Is it such that no effects will be felt from the experiments that are carried on in this estate? It is well-known that gas has been felt eight miles from the point of liberation. I do not imagine that great quantities will be liberated at this place, but with a steady wind carrying gas along a defile at a sufficient concentration, the civilian population and domestic animals some miles distant along the line on which the gas is travelling might be in very great danger. Will arrangements be made whereby signals will be exhibited so that not merely the population and people walking about may know that danger is to be apprehended, but farmers and others in the vicinity will have the opportunity to remove their stock from any neighbourhood which might be dangerous?

Will any compensation be paid to farmers whose crops are ruined? I recollect giving a demonstration on one occasion before His late Majesty in letting off gas, and we ruined the crops up to two miles away. If the Government are to do this sort of thing for national purposes, they have either to sterilise the land by a town-planning scheme or some such arrangement, or they will have to compensate the farmers for the crops that the Government will have pretty effectively sterilised after an experiment has taken place.

I want to express my disappointment that 18 years after the Armistice, human ingenuity applied to the problems of peace should have been so futile that we are here discussing whether we ought not to take upon ourselves the problem of preparing to meet the most diabolical ingenuity of the most advanced scientists in the world in their efforts to wipe out humanity and civilisation. In order to make my protest against that I shall certainly vote for the Amendment that was moved by my hon. Friend. I hope that the Minister will be able to say something that will reassure the country with regard to the vague terrors which, if they are held in time of war, might very well be a worse menace to us than the worst weapon an enemy could produce; and that we shall be able to discuss this matter with some sense of proportion, once we have admitted that the devilry of war is really possible.

6.4 p.m.


I had no intention of speaking in this Debate, and I should not be doing so now if, when I interrupted the hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon), he had not called my interruption an inane one. I interrupted to ask whether I understood him to say that the policy which he enunciated was that nothing should be done to try to assist the civilian population to have protection from possible gas attacks. So far as I could understand the burden of his speech, I was right and instead of my interruption being inane it was quite to the point.


Evidently the hon. Member did not understand me, for I gave a very definite statement and said that there could be no possible objection to providing adequate protection for the people who were doing this work, and I read out a series of Regulations which I had a hand in framing over the other side.


The point I was making is that he advocated that for the general civilian population there should be no protection, and no attempt at protection, against gas attacks. The hon. Member is a London Member, and so am I. I do not want to make any party question of this, because we both have tremendous responsibilities for the people in our areas. London, as has already been stated, is one of the most dangerous places in which to live if we are to be bombed. I cannot understand the hon. Member's attitude. Is it logical The hon. Gentleman said, and he repeated just now, that he was in favour of training the fire brigade, the ambulances, the water supply people and so on, to help to withstand gas attacks. Before that he had said—and he read out a long paragraph from scientists, generals and others to the effect—that there was no defence against gas attacks, I submit that that is an entirely illogical attitude. What will be the use of training the fire brigade if there be no defence against gas attacks? The fire brigade will be wiped out.

I agree with almost every word of the speech of the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). The danger of gas attacks is very much overdone. The history of offensive weapons has always proved that there is a defensive weapon to counter attack in the course of time. I think that such a defensive weapon is being forged now. It is an entirely illogical and irresponsible attitude for the Labour party to vote against this small sum of £8,000—whether it is a token Vote does not matter—which will do something at any rate to protect the civilian population in the London which I help to represent.

6.8 p.m.


I am probably here in a more representative capacity than either the hon. Gentleman who is representing the Home Office or my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), because I am absolutely and completely ignorant and without any knowledge of gas. I have listened very carefully to what has been said and tried to find some reason for reassurance. I am very sorry that I did not find one. It is not enough to say, "We are engaged in experiments to find a defensive weapon against a gas attack," or that every time there was an offensive weapon there has always been a defensive weapon. That was said before the War, and every form of expenditure upon offensive and defensive weapons was justified by people who said, whenever the enemy had evolved a gun that would fire a shell to penetrate the steel of our battleships, "Ala, but our steel experts are already producing a steel to resist that shell."

Then, of course, the reverse happened. We produced a gun to penetrate the steel of the enemy and we were reassured both ways, because if we had no defensive weapon, we had a more effective offensive weapon against the defensive weapon of the enemy. Exactly the same sort of reasoning is now being applied in regard to chemical warfare. Although the hon. Member for South Shields made a speech obviously full of expert knowledge and balanced judgment, as an ordinary member of the public I would tell him that I fail to find any reassurance at all in the statements he made.


I did not want to give you any.


The hon. Member said that what we did not want to do was to create an impression in the public mind that these horrors were lurking in the laboratories of the nation, and may be let loose upon them when war is declared. If these things are done secretly, as they are done, and if we, are informed, as we were by the Prime Minister, that even during the last war three inventions were known to him which would have been terrifying in their consequences had they been used, how can the general public be expected to feel anything else but the gravest possible apprehension as to what lies in wait for them in the event of war The very optimism expressed by the hon. Member for North Kensington (Mr. Duncan) that those laboratories would find an effective defence against this warfare, when transferred to another part of the Government's activities, those in which they are engaged in trying to find a deadly gas, expresses itself in the hope that they may be able to find a gas against which no country will be able to find an effective defence. Exactly the same optimism that exists in regard to defensive measures exists in those Government Departments charged with the production of an offensive weapon. How on earth a poor, inoffensive member of the public is to be reassured by reasoning of that description I cannot understand.

The reason why we are moving a reduction in the Vote and proposing to take it to a Division is not that we object to Red Cross work being done, or to hospitals where nurses can be trained in the effects of gas, or experiments can be conducted to find some means of defence against gas that is being produced elsewhere, but because we feel that this and similar proposals will have the effect, if it is not their intention, of diverting public attention from the perils that are involved. It is policy that creates the danger. This sort of behaviour and these projects merely divert public attention from the defects of policy. They create a false sense of security. They lead the public to believe that the warnings that are uttered of the menace of war are not true because we have such great scientists, such great experts and such an active Government that we are secretly preparing defensive measures for them.

We do not object to doing humane salvaging work, but we know very well, and I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields will admit that if aerial warfare is let loose upon the crowded cities of this country, and gas attacks take place in populated regions, we shall not be able to provide any effective way of defending the civilian population.


I did not say we would.


I did not say you did. It is because we feel that the public may be falsely reassured that we want to keep the full perils before the public mind. Because we want to concentrate the attention of the public upon the defects of policy rather than on the ability of our scientists, we shall go into the Lobby to vote against this expenditure.

6.15 p.m.

Lieut. -Commander FLETCHER

In discussing gas warfare, we must get the whole question into its right proportion and deal with it, on strictly realist lines. The simple duty of those who discuss it is to tell the exact truth about it, so far as the truth is known. The nation ought neither to be scared, on the one hand, nor deluded on the other. Every civilised country since 1919 has had a body of scientists working on this question of gas warfare, and their work is essential, not only in the interests of the Fighting Services, but in the interests of the civil populations of their countries. At the time when the War ended, it is common knowledge that there were gases in existence more effective than any that were used during the War, and, had the War gone on, those gases would have been brought into operation. It is only reasonable to suppose that since the War developments have gone on, and that there are even more effective gases available to-day, in 1936. It is very important to bear in mind that the discovery of each more deadly gas or means of more deadly gas warfare is immediately followed by research and experiment to find the antidote, and I would express the hope that, in this direction of research to find the antidote, the Government are unceasingly vigilent and active.

Because we are dealing with what are very largely secret substances, of which the employment and full results are largely unknown, there is a tendency for their horror and deadliness and effectiveness to be greatly exaggerated in the imagination, and I think the Government will be very well advised, therefore, to disarm the possibility of panic by adopting a completely realist attitude. Gas warfare has come to stay, and when the National Government of the future has blundered us into a war the civil population will have to face up to gas attacks. It is essential, therefore, to tell the people the exact truth, as far as it can be told in sober and unexaggerated language. As a people we are very good at facing up to things if we know exactly what it is that we have to face up to. It is unnecessary secrecy and mystery in these matters that causes so much scare and panic. My concern chiefly is that the Government are not envisaging the full range of this problem of gas warfare, or of the problem of the protection of the civil population. We have no objection, of course, as previous speakers have said, to everything possible being done and tried out for the protection of the civil population. I think the foreign policy of this Government is of a nature which has driven them into an immense rearmament programme, and that rearmament programme means immense financial stress for the whole country.

The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)

The Debate has been given a great deal of latitude, because this is a new Service, but the hon. and gallant Member is really dealing now with matters which should come up the week after next.

Lieut-Commander FLETCHER

I was endeavouring to point out that, in addition to these financial burdens, the civil population, when war comes, will also have to bear the dangers to which they will be exposed by gas and aerial attacks, and that, in return for bearing those burdens and facing those dangers, the civil population deserve the very best that the Government can do for them in protection against such attacks. Our jingoes are very fond of saying, in defence of rearmament, that we must not send our sailors to fight in anything but the very best ships; and equally I think our civil population must not be exposed to the dangers of these attacks without the very best that is possible having been done for their protection. I hope very much that the activity of the Government in this matter is not confined to gas masks, but extends also to protective clothing.

Aerial attack, when it comes, will cause damage to gas, water, electricity, and telephone services, and it is essential that in all large towns and cities break-down services to deal with these emergencies should be organised forthwith and trained to the very last inch. That is another enormous duty before the Government in connection with aerial attack. Gas warfare is really a question of contamination and decontamination, and, just as we have had the battle between the gun and the armour, and between the ship and the mine, so we have now the battle between contamination and decontamination, one or the other of which will be on top from time to time. There is no reason to think that contamination will always be on top; there will be times when the decontamination services have outstripped the contamination services as, I believe, is largely the case at present. I hope that the Government are giving full attention to finding the antidote, and that they are devoting an adequate share of their research activities to decontamination services.

6.24 p.m.


When I heard in this Debate that experiments were to be made in the use of gases and measures for combating them in a corner of Gloucestershire, I felt that I must put to the Minister one or two questions on matters in which I am interested. I live, and my constituents live, not at all far away from where these hellish experiments, or whatever they are, are going to be made; and, whatever may be the terrible broth that is going to Ire brewed, if any of it gets loose into the atmosphere, a south-west wind—the prevailing wind in that locality—may waft something across the Severn to my constituents and to the place where I live. Therefore, when I heard my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) ask what kind of compensation is to be provided for farmers, and what kind of precautions are to be taken against anything of this kind, I naturally desired to reiterate and confirm his fears, and to ask the Minister whether there is any danger of gas or any of these terrible chemical substances getting loose into the air, what kind of precautions have been taken, and what possibilities of compensation there will be for those who may be affected.

I approach this matter entirely in a non-party attitude. I think we all agree that Red Cross work must be undertaken, and that, as there is a danger that our civil population may be faced with attacks of this kind, everything should be done to try to minimise them. The real reason, however, why I shall go into the Lobby with my hon. Friends on these benches is, not in any way to hinder this Red Cross work, but as a protest against the international situation which has arisen and which makes these precautions necessary. If we had acted differently when there was a possibility of altogether abolishing air warfare and chemical warfare-the responsibility for which rests, not only with other countries, but also with this Government and the Government in the last Parliament—we should not be to-day in this Committee discussing the terrible things which have been discussed. I cannot, of course, enlarge upon that subject; it would he out of order; but that is the reason which compels me to go into the Lobby with my hon. Friends.

6.27 p.m.


I think we shall all share the disappointment expressed by the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) that we in this country should have to be discussing a subject of this kind at this time of day, but I could not accept the suggestion of the hon. Member for North Camberwell (Mr. Ammon) that this is a policy of despair. It is not; it is a policy of practical common sense. Certain misunderstandings have arisen in the Debate, particularly, if I may say so, in the speeches of the hon. Member for North Camberwell and of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), and I should like to spend a few minutes in dealing with them, because I believe there is a greater measure of general agreement than has appeared possible in the Committee so far. The hon. Member for North Camberwell quoted a certain German general who said that in certain circumstances an attack might suddenly be made on one country by another, with possibly decisive results. What would those circumstances be? Surely they would be that the country which was attacked had taken no precautions whatever.

The point about precautions with regard to air raids, which I think the whole Committee will appreciate at once, is that they cannot be made at the time when the air raid takes place, or immediately before; any precautions that are to be at all effective in regard to an air raid must have been carefully prepared months, and even years, before. That is the reason why His Majesty's Government could not possibly contemplate not taking the measures we are taking at present, but must take them now, not because we think that they will be needed, but because they must be there if there is even the faintest possibility that they might be needed in the future.

The question remains to be dealt with whether any preparations that are made are quite useless, and merely give a false sense of security, as was suggested by the hon. Member for North Camberwell. I do not think that that is the case, and I think that the hon. Member for South Shields brought into the Committee a breath of common sense on this matter. After all, he has had practical experience of these matters, and he told us, among other things, one thing which he knows to be true, and which I am advised is true. I have to take the opinion of my advisers, because I am not a practical expert, but the hon. Member is.

This question of the operation of gas and gas attacks is not as simple as it appears to writers in the sensational Press and irresponsible speakers. The hon. Gentleman pointed out the difficulties that arise, and it may even be that there are some further gases, which might be extremely poisonous in the small quantities in which they are produced in the laboratory, which could not be used for the purpose of gas attacks. I think we must first remember that it is relevant that every country in Europe, so far as I know, is taking precautions of the kind that we are taking, and I do not think they would be acting in that way if they supposed that these precautions would be completely useless. I should not like to minimise the danger of gas attacks, but I think it is most desirable that a proper sense of proportion should be held. I believe that the steps the Government contemplate and the advice they hope to give will go a good way towards minimising the danger from this form of attack should it ever be used. I think, perhaps, the most relevant point to-day is the question of the, actual efficacy of respirators and gas masks. The hon. Member for North Camberwell seemed to believe that there are a number of gases in existence against which there is no protection by respirator or anything else. Any respirator issued or approved by the Government will give protection to eyes, nose, and lungs against any known poison gas that may be used in chemical warfare.


For how long does the mask remain efficient?


I said in answer to a question to-day that a respirator that would be considered suitable for the civil population had an efficiency of 15 minutes against the highest possible known concentration of gas that could be found in practical conditions, and it would last for several hours under the concentration normally to be expected in any kind of warfare of that kind.


How long after the mask has been made does it remain efficient, not in the presence of gas?


May I also ask if it is a protection against the skin apart from the nose, ear and throat?


I am advised that the gas masks will retain their efficiency for many years. Of course, the Government would take a very important question like that into very serious consideration. It is true that no gas mask will operate in regard to the skin, because there is a certain gas which produces blisters. It is for that reason that the Government contemplate advising the civilian population to take refuge in gas-proof rooms. This, again, raises rather a large question. It is contemplated that the Air Raids Precaution Department should issue a circular to householders advising them in what way rooms pan be made gas proof. It is not very difficult to make the majority of rooms gas proof. It is not altogether dissimilar from the kind of precaution that you have to take when rooms have to be fumigated after infectious disease. In this question of gas-proof rooms, as in some other departments of the subject, the more it comes to be known the less will people be impressed by the mystery which at present surrounds it. I can certainly give the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher) the assurance that this question is being considered in all its aspects and that certain other precautions and preparations are being made.

That brings me directly to the question of the school. I think I can give the hon. Member for South Shields satisfaction. Instruction will be given at the school, which will include training in how to make rooms proof against all known gases. [An HON. MEMBER: "Instruction to whom?"] Mostly to officials of local authorities. The second question the hon. Member asked was in regard to the safety of the district surrounding the anti-gas school and he wanted to know whether there would be any conceivable danger to anyone there having regard to the fact that, if large amounts of gas were liberated, they might drift for several miles. That question has been considered most carefully, and that is one of the reasons why the relatively large area of 250 acres of open land was chosen to surround the school. The point really is that the greater part of the training will take place in gas-proof rooms in the school and only very small quantities of gas will be liberated into the open air. I can give the hon. Member the assurance that the area out-side the grounds is completely safe.


The hon. Gentleman has not answered my first question, whether instructions are given to make the room in which the gas is kept, the walls of which must be so made as to resist certain gases, capable of resisting gases other than chlorine phosgene and the chemical compound commonly called mustard gas?


I have, frankly, no information at the moment in regard to that, but I think I can assure the hon. Member that this building will be equipped in the most up-to-date way known to the experts of the Air Raids Precautions Department. I do not think we shall be behind-hand in the matter that he has in mind, but I will investigate it and communicate with him privately.

I was asked who would be given courses at the school. The intention is that they should be for officials of police forces, fire brigades, local authorities, members of St. John's Ambulance Brigade, the British Red Cross Society and the corresponding Scottish societies. The intention is to give them a fortnight's course to cover the whole field. There will be an examination at the end of the course as the result of which an instructor's certificate will be issued, and those who qualify as first-class instructors will be competent to conduct local anti-gas training. The cost of the staff of the school and of the instructional equipment will be borne by the Home Office and no fee will be charged for those who attend the course. They will, however, pay at the rate of 6s. a day to cover the cost of their food. Perhaps the House will feel that I have given sufficient information on the subject. I conclude by echoing the sentiments of the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton when I say that the whole Committee will hope that the nation will neither be scared nor deluded.

6.41 p.m.


I entirely agree that it would be rendering a very false service to the public to be guilty of anything that could fairly be described as scaremongering, but it would be a very great disservice to seek to remove from the public mind a wholesome fear if that fear is justified. I have in my mind what the hon. Gentleman has said with regard to houses. All over the country there are still large masses of densely overcrowded slums where the houses are unfit for habitation and the walls, windows and roofs, so far from being gas proof, are not watertight or airtight. It will be many years before very great inroads are made upon that problem. I need only mention the Exchange Division of Liverpool, part of which I represent on the Liverpool City Council and hon. Friends near me represent other districts of a similar kind. They are perhaps the worst slums in the country. I am not sure that they are not the worst irk Europe. Some progress is being made, but any kind of progress would be slow. Under existing legislation it is necessarily very slow. I should like to know whether the hon. Gentleman realises that, while the problem is being tackled in this way, large masses of people will inevitably regard the Government's handling of it as class legislation of the worst possible kind, because the result of it will be that, the more money you have to spend on your house, the safer you will he. Every kind of precaution that can be taken by people with the meant to take it will be taken, and that may result in some measure of safety to those who have adequate means. I want to know what the Government propose to do for those large masses of the slum population who have no means at all except what the tender mercies of the Unemployment Assistance Board will give them.

It is not merely a question of the provision of masks. I do not know how far they will be provided, but it is clear that masks are only a, protection provided you are able to protect the rest of your body by having a gas-proof room in your house or having facilities for reaching gas-proof accommodation. [An HON. MEMBER: "Lying in your bath."] That has been suggested more than once. In my home there are three adult persons and a baby and we have only one bath. I do not know how far that will be a protection. In most of the houses to which I have been refering there are no baths. I hope that no one will regard it lightly because one uses the weapon of satire. It is very tragic indeed that for large masses of the population no kind of protection is contemplated at all. We on this side are entitled to say that in those circumstances, and in the absence of any undertaking from the Government to do anything for these masses of people, all that has been said during this Debate to calm the public mind is merely a delusion and a snare.


Supposing the health of these people is adversely affected as the result of going to these instruction classes, will compensation be paid, and by whom?


I cannot reply definitely to a question of that kind without notice, but the hon. Gentleman will recollect that in the majority of cases they will be employés of local authorities.


Am Ito understand that the Government have not considered that aspect of the question, that they are to ask local authorities to co-operate in this matter, and that then the local authorities are to be burdened with the responsibility of dealing with the compensation side? Is it not a matter which should be cleared up without further delay?


The hon. Gentleman must not assume that the Government have not considered the matter, because I am not able to reply at once upon a point which really does not arise directly. Certainly we will consider it.


This is a very serious matter. Are not the local authorities to know what they are to do? Has the chief of the fire brigade or some such person to go blindfolded to these classes without any knowledge as to what his position is to be later on?


Are we to take it for granted, from what has been said by the Under-Secretary, that they do not propose to supply the service except as regards instruction in the schools; that the duties will be thrown upon guides, associations or local authorities, and that the Government will simply provide the instruction?

6.49 p.m.


Then I understand that the unemployed will not be invited to Gloucester for a fortnight's holiday? I wonder whether the Under-Secretary of State is prepared to have a consultation with the Minister of Labour on this matter? We have heard much about realism, and it is difficult for me to appreciate that Members listening to this Debate can really be in a state of sanity when looking at this problem. We have to contemplate, from what we have heard, that many scores of thousands of our people will perhaps in the near future be faced with peril, and yet at the same time the Government are prepared to continue their present policy. I know that I should be out of order if I related this question to foreign policy, but the whole of this matter rests entirely upon foreign policy, and it is difficult to repeat the essential principle underlying the question without relating it to foreign policy. If this proposal is to be made effective every member of the community will have to be supplied with a gas mask. I presume that in homes where there are large families a gas mask will have to be supplied for every member of the family, including very small children, however many there may be, and that every father and mother and child will have to be taught how to use it. Cattle might also have to be taught to use gas masks, and I am certain that my hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Price), interested as he is in agriculture, will realise that his farmers may be faced with the loss of a substantial number of their stock.

The more one discusses the question, the more absurd it becomes. Apart entirely from the experiments which have been conducted by the Home Office and by the Research Council, one knows that there is really no protection against bacteria and other forms of warfare which will take place in the future. I have never been in a gas attack, but I have been subjected to gas fumes and have on many occasions been made unconscious by coal gas when working underground. No one is able to anticipate exactly when this sort of thing is likely to take place, either on the surface or underground. You may be working in a very decent chamber in the mine, with a good circuit of ventilation and a fairly strong percentage of oxygen, when suddenly you may be faced with a fissure and at once

Division No. 66.] AYES. [6.54 p.m.
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Paling, W.
Adamson, W. M. Groves, T. E. Pethlck-Lawrence, F. W.
Alexander. Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Potts, J.
Ammon, C. G. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Price, M. P
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hardie, G. D. Pritt, D. N
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Quibell, J. D.
Banfield, J. W. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Barnes, A. J. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Ritson, J.
Bellenger, F. Holland, A. Robinson, W. A. [St. Helens)
Benson, G. Hollins, A. Rowson, G.
Bevan, A. Hopkin, O. Salter, Dr. A.
Broad, F. A. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Sexton, T. M.
Brooke, W. John, W. Shinwell, E.
Charletan, H. C. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Short, A.
Chater, D. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Silverman, S. S.
Cluse, w. S. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Cocks, F. S. Kelly, W. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Compton, J. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, Rt. Hon. H.' B. Lees- (K'ly)
Daggar, G. Kirby, B. V. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Dalton, H. Kirkwood, D. Sorensen. R. W.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Lawson, J. J. Stewart, W. J. (H'ghfn-le-Sp'ng)
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd) Leach, W. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Lee, F. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Leonard, W. Thorne, W
Day, H. Leslie, J. R. Tinker, J. J.
Dobbie, W. Logan, D. G. Viant, S. P.
Dunn, E. (Bother Valley) Lunn, W. Waikden, A. G.
Ede, J. C. Macdonald, G. (Ince) Walker, J.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) McEntee, V. La T. Watkins, F C.
Edwards, Sip C. (Bedwellty) Maclean, N. Westwood, J.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. MacMillan, M. (Western Isles) Wilkinson, Ellen
Frankel, D. Mainwaring, W. H. Williams, E. J (Ogmore)
Gallacher, W. Marklew, E. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Gardner, B. W. Maxton, J. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Garro-Jones, G. M. Montague, F. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Gibblnt, J. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Naylor, T. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Grenfell, D. R. Oliver, G. H. Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.
Agnew, Lieut. -Comdr. P. G. Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Atholl, Duchess of
Albery, I. J. Apsley, Lord Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Aske, Sir R. W. Baifour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh) Assheton, R. Barclay Harvey, C. M.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Button) Bernays, R H.
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.) Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fuiham, E.) Blair, Sir R.

become unconscious. I have to assume that such things will take place. The enemy will see to it that it takes place as instantaneously as possible, and the idea that persons may be taught to be ready at the right moment to save themselves and every member of their family is an absurdity. While we intend to vote for a reduction of this Estimate, we must also protest against the policy of a Government who are riot prepared to set in motion the means to establish peace on earth, but who are prepared, apparently, to incur enormous expenditure for defence services, when, at the same time, their own policy is heading towards war.

Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £39,900, be granted for the said Service."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 114; Noes, 235.

Blindell, Sir J. Ganzoni, Sir J. Peake, O.
Boothby, R. J. G. George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Penny, Sir G.
Borodale, Viscount Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Peters, Dr. S. J.
Bossom, A. C. Giuckstein, L. H. Petherlck, M.
Bouiton, W. W. Goodman, Col. A. W. Pilkington, R.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Piugge, L. F.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Gridley, Sir A. B. Porrltt, R. W.
Brown. Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Ralkes, H. V. A. M.
Brown, Brig. -Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Grigg, Sir E. W. M. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmln)
Bull. B. B. Grimston, R. V. Rayner, Major R. H.
Burghley, Lord Gritten, W. G. Howard Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor) Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
Butt, Sir A. Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll, N. W.) Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Guinness, T. L. E. B. Robinson, J. R. (Biackpool)
Cartiand, J. R. H. Guy, J. C. M. Ropner, Colonel L.
Carver, Major W. H. Hannah, I. C. Rothschild, J. A. de
Cary, R. A. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Rowlands, G.
Cautley, Sir H. S. Harris, Sir P. A. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City ot Chester) Hasiam, Sir J. (Bolton) Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Salt, E. W.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Br.W.) Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Sandys, E. D.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Holmes, J. S. Scott, Lord William
Channon, H. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Seely, Sir H. M.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Hore-Bellsha, Rt. Hon. L. Selley, H. R.
Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.) Horsbrugh, Florence Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Clarke, F. E. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn'S)
Cobb, Sir C. S. Hunter, T. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st),
Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J. Jackson, Sir H. Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.
Cook. T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.) Keeling, E. H. Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Kerr, Colonel C. 1. (Montrose) Smithers. Sir W.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duft(W'st'r S.G'gs) Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Somerset. T.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Courtauld, Major J. S. Kirkpatrick, W. M. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Courthope, col. Sir G. L. Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F. Spears, Brig. -Gen. E. L.
Craddock, Sir R. H. Latham, Sir P. Spender-Clay, Lt.-CI. Ht. Hn. H. H.
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Crooke, J. S. Leckie, J. A. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Leech, Dr. J. W. Stourton, Hon. J. J.
Cross, R. H. Lees-Jones, J. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Crossley, A. C. Levy, T. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Crowder, J. F. E. Lewis, O. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Lindsay, K. M. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil) Lloyd, G. W. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Davison, Sir W. H. Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Dawson, Sir P. Loftus, P. C. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
De Chair, S. S. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Denman, Hon. R. D. MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G. Thomas, J, P. L. (Hereford)
Denville, Alfred M'Connell, Sir J. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Dodd, J. S. McEwen, Capt. H. J, F. Titchfleld, Marquess of
Donner, P. W. McKie, J. H. Toucne, G. C.
Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Maclay, Hon. J. P. Train, Sir J.
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Magnay, T. Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Dugdale, Major T. L. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Turton, R. H.
Duggan, H. J. Mander, G. le M. Wakefield, W. W.
Duncan, J. A. L. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Dung lass, Lord Maxwell, S. A. Wallace, Captain Euan
Dunne, P. R. R. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Ward, Irene (Walisend)
Eastwood, J. F. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Warrender, Sir V.
Eckersley, P. T. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Waterhouse, Captain C.
Ellis, Sir G. Mitchell. H. (Brentford and Chlswlck) Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Eimley, Viscount Moreing, A. C. Wlndsor-CIive, Lleut.-Colonel G.
Emmott, C. E. G. C. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Morrison, W. S. (Clrencester) Wise, A. R.
Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Withers, Sir J. J.
Evans, D, O. (Cardigan) Munro, P. M. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Everard, W. L. Nail, Sir J. Young, A. S. L. (Partlck)
Findlay, Sir E. Nlcolson, Hon. H. G.
Foot, D. M. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Fremantle. Sir F. E. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Han. W. G. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Fyfe, D. P. M. Orr-Ewing, I. L. and Lieut.-Colonel Llewellin.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

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