Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [9th March],
That this House approves the Defence proposals of His Majesty's Government which are outlined in Command Paper No. 5107 (Statement relating to Defence)." —[The Prime Minister.]
Which Amendment was, in line 1, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:
as the safety of this country and the peace of the world cannot be secured by reliance on armaments but only by the resolute pursuit of a policy of international understanding, adherence to the Covenant of the League of Nations, general disarmament, the progressive improvement of international labour standards, and economic co-operation so as to remove the causes of war, this House cannot agree to a policy which in fact seeks security in national armaments alone and intensifies the ruinous arms race between the nations, inevitably leading to war; views with alarm proposals for the re-organisation of industry on a war basis which will enormously extend the vested interests in arms manufacture and create a serious menace to organised labour and to trade union standards; and has no confidence in His Majesty's Ministers whose unworthy and ambiguous foreign policy has largely contributed to the present state of world unrest."—[Mr. Attlee.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ 3.38 p.m.
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
Every Member of this House must have been impressed with the importance of the discussion that is taking place on this resumed Debate, and it is therefore all the more regrettable that the two Front Bench speakers on the Government side yesterday contributed so little to our knowledge of the Government's policy. Neither of them, unfortunately, threw any new light on the White Paper and its implications. The Prime Minister was obviously uneasy and unhappy. His speech, apart from the last few sentences, was the White Paper set to music, without any further information on the many implications involved in that document. It was a speech unusual for the right hon. Gentleman, a speech supercharged with emotion and seriously at variance with 1974 many earlier speeches to which we have listened with some pleasure in this House. During his speech, it was clear that Jekyll and Hyde were struggling for mastery. I do not profess to say which was victorious but, at the end of the speech, the still small voice of peace was drowned by the thunder of the armaments about which the right hon. Gentleman had been speaking.
He tried, not too successfully, to harmonise his often expressed belief in the League of Nations with the views, of a more bellicose kind, of his supporters. He must have been struck, as everybody in the Chamber must have been struck, by the frigid, stony silence with which his supporters received every reference to peace, collective security and the League of Nations, and also by the unconcealed enthusiasm with which they greeted every reference to rearmament, war and the use of force. The Prime Minister is a strong man struggling with adversity. He has been beaten by his own true blue diehards, who never have liked the League of Nations, who never have believed in the League of Nations, who never have realised the possibility of the rule of law in the world, and who are still wandering in the jungle. Their morality is that of the jungle. It is unfortunate that we have witnessed the passing of a great Prime Minister. Politically the right hon. Gentleman is dead; spiritually he is damned —[Interruption.] I have not left this theme yet; I will revert to it later.
As for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the playboy of the political world, in his speech last night he resorted to his favourite pastime of blowing bubbles. He spent his time—ill-spent his time—in pricking bubbles of his own creation. He reminds me of the soldier, bearded like the pard, who sought a bubble reputation at the cannon's mouth, only he would not be near the cannon. In his speech, which I must describe—I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman is not here—as a flimsy and trumpery speech, he evaded the statements made by the Labour Opposition and by the Liberal Opposition. Instead of the cut and thrust of debate, to which you, Mr. Speaker, have referred, his policy was cut and run. He ran back to his childish amusement with the soapsuds, and, as usual, fell back, as 1975 he has done many times, on misrepresentation of Labour's policy. [Interruption.] I have not time to discuss it further, but I know hon. Members do not like it. The Secretary of State for the Colonies said we must take the world as we find it. Unfortunately, we have to take the world, very largely, as the National Government has made it. We are now paying the price for that. The Secretary of State last night, with the air of injured innocence that I have seen him assume so often, complained that my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) was trying to put the Government in the dock. My hon. Friend was right; the Government is in the dock; that is the whole purpose of our Amendment to the Government's Motion. It is intended as a Vote of Censure; it is intended to put the Government in the dock; and, so far, we have had nothing in the nature of a proper defence.
The Government is charged with a whole series of crimes, ranging from petty larceny up to aiding and abetting wholesale murder, and it comes to the House now for no other reason than to ask for a licence to carry more arms. I am not going over its pusillanimous and weak action with regard to China and Japan or with regard to Italy and Abyssinia—these things will be remembered long after people on the other side have left politics—or into the shameful attempt of the late Foreign Secretary and M. Laval, when the British policeman engaged in a conspiracy to help the burglar to get away with the swag; or into the deplorable failure of the Economic Conference and the Government's action in the Disarmament Conference, which it brought to its end, or its tepid and wavering support of the League of Nations. All these are factors which have helped to create the present situation. At the last Election the Government sought power by false pretences. They capitalised for electoral purposes the result of the Peace Ballot; they prostituted the League of Nations for party purposes, at a time when they were negotiating with the Federation of British Industries for a new programme. They got back to power to repair the gaps in our national defences—gaps left by Toryminded governments, of whom there 1976 has been a majority since the end of the Great War; and they came back to give the people of this country and the world the White Paper. That is a category of crimes for which this Government will never be forgiven by right-minded people. We are faced now with the White Paper. [Interruption.] The levity of hon. Members opposite does not accord with the seriousness of the situation. If they prefer to waste their time, they can waste it, but I shall say what I mean to say before I sit down.
At this time, after the publication of the White Paper, after a week-end pregnant with grave dangers for the future of the world, but pregnant also with new and great possibilities for the future of the world, determined action ought to be taken while there is yet time. No one believes that there is a danger of war to-morrow. Everyone knows that there is time in which to talk, and unless the nations talk there will be no solution. Everyone knows that Signor Mussolini made a statement which was somewhat overshadowed by Herr Hitler's later statement, a statement that ought to be accepted at its face value. Herr Hitler made a statement, sinning with one hand and holding out the olive branch with the other, which ought to be taken at its face value. These may prove to be the most important gestures which have yet been made, if they are followed up, for a solution of the difficulty that now faces us. It is idle to say that those statements were insincere. If they were insincere, we have to prove it. This opportunity clearly ought to be seized upon without a day's delay for a free and full discussion, not with a narrow range of States but with all the nations of the world, of the outstanding problems that have helped to create this tension and unrest and war, and atmosphere of war, so as to re-create an effective League of Nations backed by a sound system of pooled security. If this chance is lost—and the White Paper may be the means of losing it—it will be a fatal and disastrous thing for the human race.
The Government have published their White Paper. They have not told us very much about it. They have not told us enough about it. They have said even less about the policy for securing peace. The dominant problem is the problem of 1977 peace, and not of defence. We should hope that this opportunity will be used to establish and maintain peace. I want to put a very simple question to the Government. Will they now take the initiative in making a fresh start on the problem of disarmament and on the discussion of economic problems, not waiting until it is too late, but taking the hands that have been held out to them within the last few days. The Secretary of State for the Colonies twisted round an old trade union motto, which he must have seen on many trade union banners, "Defence not Defiance," and said our policy was defiance without defence. That is not true. Our motto is still the old trade union motto, "Defence but not Defiance." When we entered on our policy of supporting the League of Nations and the principle of collective security, we did it with a full knowledge of the responsibilities that we were undertaking, and we shall not shrink from carrying out our responsibilities in the way that was expressed by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday. The issue is not that. The issue now is whether resort to increased armaments is in these circumstances the statesmanlike way of dealing with the most grievous problem that ever affected mankind.
I should like to turn to another aspect of this problem which received very little consideration yesterday—its industrial aspect. The White Paper is studiously vague on this question. The Prime Minister was very vague. The Colonial Secretary, who knew quite well what was in the mind of my hon. Friends, was equally vague. We should desire more enlightenment on the Government's attitude with regard to the industrial aspect of this new armaments programme. While the written and spoken statements were vague, one thing that is clear to me is that the Government are in the pocket of the Federation of British Industries. So far as I can gather, the Government swallowed their policy last year. They issued a circular to their affiliated organisations on 8th January, two months before the issue of the White Paper. That letter bears a very curious resemblance in spirit and in words to certain paragraphs of the White Paper. The policy of the Federation of British Industries is clear. It wants a clear field 1978 with no unnecessary Government interference. It wants to be left alone. It wants a subsidy. In that it is not different from other organised bodies of employers. It is -carrying into effect the often expressed views of the armaments manufacturing firms in favour of a Government subsidy; and it wants something called fair profits, undefined.
§ Sir PATRICK HANNON
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House in which document or manifesto or letter the Federation of British Industries asked for a subsidy for industry in this country?
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I have not the document here. I ask the hon. Member whether he denies that the Federation of British Industries sent out a circular on 8th January. I know that that is true and I know that the principles of the White Paper are embodied in that letter.
§ Sir P. HANNON
The statement of the Federation of British Industries had relation only to the condition of industry in this country and made constructive proposals for the improvement of the situation in which we find ourselves.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I will send my dossier on the matter to the hon. Member. Undoubtedly the Federation of British Industries and all its affiliated bodies are in favour of a subsidy. These discussions between the Federation of British Industries and the Government, official or unofficial, have been going on for months. The Government may feel well satisfied—I have no doubt that they do—with the assurance received. But would it not have been advisable for the Government in this vast experiment that they are undertaking to have sought consultation with the workers' federation of industries, with the Trades Union Congress, who have not yet been consulted? The Trades Union Congress General Council is a very responsible body, as the Secretary of State for the Colonies well knows, because he was once a distinguished member of and now is a permanently extinguished member from that body. He knows with what authority it speaks. It might have been as well to have consulted that body on many of the questions which arise.
I want to put to the Government certain specific questions to which we 1979 are entitled to have an answer. How much expansion of employment is there to be? On what basis have the Government calculated? Exactly where is the pinch as regards a possible labour shortage, in what particular crafts and callings? How is it proposed to remedy this alleged shortage of labour? What about the wages standards of those skilled people whose aid is now to be sought, who have been sorely neglected ever since the last lot of munitions was made at the end of the War? What arrangements are to be made for the transfer of the families of men engaged on munitions? What about their housing accommodation? What about the provision of the necessary social amenities for them? What undertakings are to be given, after the armament boom subsides, as to the future of the munition workers? I could put a whole series of questions of that kind.
Here is a final question on this subject: Do the Government mean, as the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Colonies yesterday quite firmly implied, to wash their hands of this problem, to leave it to the ordinary channels of negotiation? If the Government attempt to do that the result of the White Paper will be very black for the Government, for industry and for the workers of this country. The industrial repercussions of the White Paper are very far-reaching. The Government are widening the range of vested interests in armament manufacture. They are widening the area of subsidised private enterprise, they are seriously disturbing and distorting the normal balance of peace-time trade. They are diverting capital which might have been used for constructive purposes and which could create a widening area of employment. They are diverting such capital to the production of destructive weapons, whose existence will not add one ripple to employment in this country.
Finally, what seems to be of no importance to the Government is that they are creating new and serious problems for labour in this country. The workers have not forgotten what was involved in the production of war materials in the Great War. The structure of trade unionism, which is the big bulwark of organised 1980 labour in this country, was then profoundly modified, not by their wish but by overriding national considerations. Old standards were destroyed, old crafts were obliterated. Problems of demarcation were intensified and hundreds of thousands of workers were uprooted from their old surroundings, to be left derelict after the War in areas like Barrow, and scores of thousands of them, some of the most highly skilled craftsmen whose services the nation now needs again, were allowed to leave these shores to seek a living overseas. The rank and file of our movement has not forgotten. Prior to the White Paper, after the first chapter on rearmament had opened, we already have had three disputes in the aircraft industry. That ought to be a warning to the Government.
The Government embarked on this enterprise without one word of discussion with the people who were engaged in the production of aircraft and aircraft accessories. I do not want to go into the details of the dispute, but I do say that it is folly for the Government to embark on this enormous enterprise without having had full consultation with people who know something about the results that accrued from the great industrial revolution during the War. I am sure that the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) will approve of what I am saying. [Interruption.] The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs knows much more about it than any hon. Member opposite who interrupts. The workers of this country are entitled to protect their own interests. They will not permit their lives, their economic prospects and their conditions of employment to be the sport of armament manufacturers. In any work which they undertake they will demand fit and proper remuneration, honourable conditions of employment and such a measure of economic justice as we can wring from the Government and the armament manufacturers.
The Government have a responsibility in this matter which they cannot shirk. They are not going to get away with this question by saying that these proposals are going to give more work to the unemployed. We shall want to know the conditions. Nor do we accept with the sublime simplicity of the Prime Minister the patriotic spirit of armament manufacturers. I have not time to go into 1981 that aspect of the problem. They are the most sinister influence in the body politic to-day. Like the vampire they live on the blood of people. They would exploit any situation in the interests of private profit. They have somehow or other, by some curious mental process, if such it can be called, combined patriotism with profit. I remember a description of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) who called the city men penguins. I would describe the hard to type armament manufacturers as like a rhinoceros, large in body, small in intelligence, devoid of moral qualities and protected by a hide which not even their own high-powered projectiles will penetrate. Of course they will exploit this situation. When a White Paper was published a year ago under the initials J. R. M.—the author has riot been disclosed yet—when the speech of the Prime Minister about increasing output became public, armament shares rose sky high. The vultures were there after the carrion. Look at armament shares to-day. Look at aircraft shares to-day. Look at company reports this morning. Profit first and patriotism second. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister is prepared to accept the assurance of the Federation of British Industries. However much I admired a person I would never trust the word of any man whose profit depended on armaments. He would sell them to the enemy against his own people. Armament manufacturers do it in the name of business. Now there is to be some general method of fair prices, we are told. I do not believe it. The conditions laid down during the War were that if we went in for this business of war production war profiteering had to cease. I am speaking in the presence of the Prime Minister of that time. I am not saying that it was done effectively. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs would admit that. I am saying, however, that the people of this land are not going to sell themselves in order to swell the profits of people whose patriotism is measured by the profits they make.
If I have spoken in rather high tones on this subject it is because I feel very strongly on it. There is going to be jam for the manufacturers, but so far as I can find out not one word of consideration for the workers. My last words are these. It is not often that I agree with 1982 the "Times", but, in the "Times" this morning, in a leading article on the international situation, commenting on some words used by the Prime Minister yesterday, there is this:In spite of all this mutual fear and mistrust, easily inflamed into unreasoning mutual hostility, the millions of ordinary Frenchmen and Germans have no deeper desire than to be permitted to go about their business in peace and good fellowship. In their interests alone it must be the object of British policy to seize every opportunity to make that desire effective.I would widen that beyond the peoples of France and Germany. Deep down in the hearts of our people and in the hearts of the people of every land, there is this yearning for peace and fellowship, and the Government have a very heavy responsibility at the present time. The hour has not yet struck when nations need translate their grievances or their deep resentments into war. If the Government dare take their courage in their hands now and strike this note of peace and fellowship, they will earn the undying gratitude of the peoples of the world. If this nation through its Government and the White Paper sounds the tocsin of war it will be cursed for ever by the peoples of the world. The responsibility is not ours, but lies with the right hon. Gentleman and his friends. I hope that even now, at this late moment of the eleventh hour, the right hon. Gentleman will choose the path that leads to peace.
§ 4.17 p.m.
§ Under SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Simon)
There are many hon. Members who will like to take part in the Debate to-day, and I hope to make a very limited claim upon the time of the House, and therefore am going to confine myself to one of the important aspects of the White Paper, namely, the proposals that are contained in it for strengthening and extending our system of organisation for defence. I realise that one ought to try and follow your good advice, Mr. Speaker, in joining in the cut and thrust of debate, and I listened patiently to the right hon. Gentleman opposite to see whether he produced any connected argument at any time against the proposals of the White Paper as a whole. I feel myself discharged from dealing with his speech because I am sure that it is the general judgment of the House that he did nothing of the kind. He spent the first ten 1983 minutes or quarter of an hour in a very elaborate denunciation of the Prime Minister. He explained to us that he was politically dead and spiritually damned. He spoke of the unrelieved gloom with which his own supporters regarded his declaration, and it has seldom happened, that so miserable a spectacle has presented itself to the right hon. Gentleman's gaze as that which he, for some reason or other, saw yesterday. I was reminded of another occasion when a portentous curse was pronounced, and the House will forgive me if I quote a few words from the "Jackdaw of Rheims":
In so far as the right hon. Gentleman made any reference to the immediate European crisis and appealed for action on our part, I submit to the House—and I hope that I submit to the whole House —that we are justified in putting our confidence in the Foreign Secretary to-day. As regards the concluding part of his speech, he called attention with a great deal of force and power to undoubted difficulties which present themselves and will have to be studied and dealt with if this plan is carried through hereafter. That is not a reason for resisting the plan. I am only concerned to appeal to the House here to support the plan of the White Paper. I was glad to hear the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman that he and his friends were prepared to be faithful to the principle of collective security, and the more so because, curious as it must appear, the long Amendment which has been put upon the Paper by the official Opposition does not contain the phrase "collective security" at all. Of course, one can understand that. If they were to use that phrase, which has become very familiar in so many mouths, a good deal of the argument for the White Paper would at once become a united 1984 force. Kindly and most courteously, the right hon. Gentleman wished to make it plain that he disclaimed all responsibility, and that the responsibility rested upon the Government. The responsibility in the last resort rests upon the House of Commons and upon the country. But we accept our responsibility and will do our best to discharge it.
- "The Cardinal rose with a dignified look,
- He called for his candle, his bell, and his book!
- In holy anger, and pious grief,
- He solemnly cursed that rascally thief!
- He cursed him in sitting, in standing, in lying;
- He cursed him in walking, in riding, in flying,
- He cursed him in living, he cursed him dying,
- Never was heard such a terrible curse,
- But what gave rise, To no little surprise,
- Nobody seemed one penny the worse."
I want, I hope in an uncontroversial way, to give to the House as clearly as I can a short explanation of the new proposals in the third part of the White Paper for strengthening and extending our system of organisation for defence. I begin by observing that none of us can reach an informed judgment on this proposal without clearly grasping the nature of the existing machine. Therefore, I shall be excused if in three or four sentences I sketch the historical background. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) an ex-Prime Minister, and hon. Friends below the Gangway who have known this subject for many years will correct me, kindly but firmly, if I mis-state historic facts. The origin of the Committee of Imperial Defence in its present form, with a permanent secretariat, is to be traced back to the report of the Esher Committee in 1904, and it is useful, in the light of the present discussion, to quote one paragraph from the Esher Report. This is the paragraph:There are… no means for co-ordinating defence problems, for dealing with them as a whole, for defining the proper functions of various elements and for ensuring that, on the one hand, peace preparations are carried out on a consistent plan, and on the other hand that, in times of emergency, a definite war policy, based upon solid data, can be formulated.That was the situation which Mr. Balfour set to work to rectify when the Committee of Imperial Defence was set up in 1904. It is on the basis of the Committee of Imperial Defence that our present system has been built not by keeping things as they were in 1904 or 1905, but by the continuous process of development to meet the changing circumstances. It is that system, observed, developed and continuing which is the system to which this part of the White Paper provides a further contribution.
I heard the Leader of the Opposition yesterday make the observation that the Government, in his opinion, had no conception of the difference between the func- 1985 tion of advice and the function of executive action. If we have no conception of that, it means that we have not got very far. I will lay down three very simple propositions which I think everybody will accept. The first is that the power of decision must rest and continue to rest with the Cabinet, obviously, and not be shared by others. The second thing is that the responsibility for the execution of those decisions must rest with the appropriate Government Departments, and particularly with the Service Departments. Nobody is seeking to dispossess the proper Department of its proper responsibility. The third thing is—and it follows as a consequence—that the Committee of Imperial Defence, whatever its precise constitution or duty, is, and must remain, an advisory and a consultative body. Those are very elementary propositions, and I trust that they are sufficient to show that the Government well understands the position, and it is very desirable that everybody should understand it.
But it is not enough to say that it is the business of the Cabinet to decide, for when you are dealing with such difficult matters as the problem of defence the decisions as to what should be done can only be reached after fully considering the best advice that can be got. It would be a great delusion to suggest that, because a man is a successful politician or a Member on the Front Bench, he is by that very fact specially qualified to decide these very difficult matters unaided, and it is folly for any Cabinet to give orders to a fighting Department to do something or other without first being fully informed as to the possibility, of doing it, the best way of doing it, and the effects which are likely to follow. Therefore, I make this first point that we must all bear in mind that the role of the Committee of Imperial Defence and of its sub-committees is, and always must be, logically and practically, quite distinct from the role of the Cabinet or of a Government executive Department, especially when we are dealing with inter-Imperial and inter-Departmental matters. That is the position of the Committee of Imperial Defence.
The House will forgive me for making this explanation, which is well known to some hon. Members here but which is not apparently generally known. The com- 1986 position of the Committee of Imperial Defence, among other things, differs in the nature from the composition of the Cabinet in this way. A Cabinet consists of a definite list of people, varied it may be for some reason or other at intervals, but broadly speaking it is the same body all the time. The Committee of Imperial Defence really is the body which the Prime Minister, as the head of the executive, gathers about himself for the purpose of securing the necessary advice. Therefore in practice certain persons are always there, the political and professional heads of the Service Departments, the Treasury, the Foreign Office and the India Office. Other people may be invited on some occasions but they may not be present on other occasions. When business affects the Dominions, for instance, the representatives of the Dominions have the opportunity of being present. There have been occasions, not very frequent, when Dominion Prime Ministers have been present. I insist upon this point because it has a direct bearing upon our present proposals. The essence of the arrangement is that this advisory and consultative body is an inter-Ministerial and inter-Departmental Council to advise the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on strategical and defence questions, and its composition may vary from time to time. [Interruption.] I would remind hon. Members opposite that these details may not to be known to a great many people inside and outside the House.
The Chiefs of Staff Committee is one of the sub-committees of the Committee of Imperial Defence; it is one of many. I think my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) has made comments on the number of committees which tend to be set up.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The Chiefs of Staff Committee was appointed as a result of Lord Salisbury's Committee of 1923. The report suggested that there should be such a committee, and it was then created. Lord Salisbury's Committee in 1923 defined this sub-committee asone meeting together for the discussion of questions which affect their joint responsibilities.There is another point which I hope the House will allow me to mention and 1987 which is very material to the White Paper. The Chiefs of Staff Committee, by the terms of the Salisbury recommendation, has as its ex-officio chairman the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has sat from time to time on the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The Chiefs of Staff Committee have usually met by themselves, but on several occasions, as I have said, they have met with their constitutional chairman, namely, the Chairman of the Committee of Imperial Defence. It is important to understand the operations of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. They have Minutes; they frequently have to consider memoranda which are specially prepared; there may be cases where one of the Chiefs of Staff contributes a document of his own. Whether the Prime Minister personally attends their meeting or not, all their Minutes and their Memoranda as well as all their reports go at once to the Prime Minister and to the three Service Ministers. I do not think that anyone can form any judgment of the changes proposed in the White Paper unless he has these matters placed before him.
There are a great number of other committees, as there must be. Just as in each Service Department you have a council, the members of which distribute among themselves according to rule various compartments of duty—the duty of strategy and tactics, the duty of personnel and the duty of supply—so the Committee of Imperial Defence have, and is bound to have, a very considerable number of sub-committees dealing with this or the other subject, not from the point of view of a single service but from the point of view of defence as a whole. I will conclude this sketch of the present position—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am only addressing myself to those Members of the House of Commons who really wish to understand the position. Anyone who does not want to follow these details because he already understands them is at perfect liberty—
§ Sir J. SIMON
The White Paper contains extremely important proposals on this subject. My Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. 1988 Sinclair) have put very pertinent questions about it, and I cannot answer unless I first of all lay down—
§ Mr. LEONARD
A great deal of what the right hon. Gentleman is saying is in the White Paper already.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The White Paper deals with the changes which are proposed but not with the existing situation. I want to point out why it is that, as this is the normal system in normal times, it does become necessary to reconsider it, to strengthen it, to elaborate it in times such as those through which we are passing. The reason for that is that as you approach the more difficult time of emergency, and certainly if one unhappily had ever to approach war, what becomes necessary is more continuous contact and more rapid co-operation than you get under the normal system of the Committee of Imperial Defence. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Samuel Hoare) said, what is then called for is speed. Although the present system is a system which may be said to work in ordinary times, yet if you come to difficult times, owing to the size of the Committee of Imperial Defence, owing to its composition, and owing to the sharp separation between the consultative element and the deciding element, you have to make an adjustment. An adjustment was made in various forms during the War. It was made by the War Council, the War Committee and the War Cabinet of my right hon. Friend opposite. The essence of the War Cabinet was that it brought the two elements, the element of advice and consultation and the element of decision, together for the purpose of speed. That explains the justification for the creation of the Defence Policy and Requirements Committee referred to in the White Paper. That Committee was set up by the Government in the course of last year because it was found necessary to bring more closely together, and to secure more rapid co-operation between, the elements of consultation and decision, which is the combined result of the Committee of Imperial Defence and the Cabinet.
1989 The need for that has been intensified by the necessity of abandoning the 10 years rule. I do not think that the hon. Member opposite can say that there is any paragraph in the White Paper which deals with that matter. For the purpose of forming Service Estimates some assumption has to be made, and in August, 1919, the assumption was adopted for this purpose that the British Empire would not be engaged in any great war during the next 10 years. That was the origin of the 10 years rule. It seems to me, having looked into the matter closely, that originally on the inception of the 10 years rule it applied to the 10 definite years 1919–28, but as the years advanced decisions were reached which meant that the 10 years period was always advancing.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The 10 year period is something which was advancing in front of you year by year. It came to be regarded, until revision required its alteration, not as 10 definite years but as 10 years continually advancing. I am well aware of the point of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1928 when the decision was formally ratified by the Government of the day, that it should be assumed for the purpose of framing Estimates for the Fighting Services that from any given date there would be no major war for 10 years, but that the matter was to be reviewed not only every year but at any other time that the Government required it to be done. That is the real position of the 10 years rule, and the fact is that, although for some years that rule continued to be accepted, when the realities were examined in 1932 the 10 years rule was abandoned. It is important to mark the division of responsibility. The responsibility rests with the Government. The Chiefs of Staff were not responsible for the 10 years rule, although their advice about it is very valuable. It is the responsibility of the Government which adopts it. Whether the Government is too sanguine in one case or too anxious in another is a purely political responsibility, and this National Government was not prepared to take the responsibility of rejecting the warning which they re- 1990 ceived in 1932. All this has a direct relation to the White Paper.
What is the real effect, first, of having a 10 years rule and then at a particular point abandoning it? While the 10 years rule continued to operate it manifestly set a limit to the execution of long-range plans for defence. If anyone comes forward and argues that something special should be done, the answer is: "There are 10 years; there is plenty of time." But that is not the whole point. The point has to be ascertained by examining what happens when the 10 years rule is abandoned. When the 10 years rule has been abandoned then that very fact requires a special effort to be made. It means that you have been living for a. time under the assumption that you would be all right for 10 years, but you are faced with the unhappy conclusion that that may not be so, and consequently you are bound to do things now, and to do them promptly, which there was no reason to do before. Deficiencies accumulate and you have no longer a good excuse for remaining as you were.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness and Sutherland put a question yesterday, why build new battleships? He seemed to be under the impression that we were making an addition to the number of battleships. But that is not the case, and if he looks at the White Paper he will find it stated clearly that this building has been rendered necessary because some of the existing battleships have become so old. It is not a case of increasing the number of ships but of dealing with deficiencies which might be serious if there was any change in the situation.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
Then perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell the House the names of the two battleships to be scrapped?
§ Sir J. SIMON
That will be a matter no doubt for consideration. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness and Sutherland also put a pertinent question yesterday as to the functions of the Army. If he will look at the relevant paragraph in the White Paper he will see that three duties are laid down for the Army. The right hon. Gentleman asked whether, in a particular set of circumstances, the Army would be called upon to go abroad, but that is not a question 1991 to which anybody could give an answer here and now. Our duty in that respect at present is to see that we have a force which is capable, in case of need, of going abroad and that is not of course limited to one particular expedition abroad but applies to emergencies which may arise in any part of the world.
§ Sir ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR
My question was not with regard to the Army going abroad but with regard to the Army participating in a Continental war which would require a wholly different kind of equipment from that which would be needed, say, for participation in an expedition to Shanghai.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman himself will be the first to see that, while it is quite right that we should seek to define generally the purposes of the Army, it is impossible for any man, in advance, to determine the method by which the Army shall be used in a given case. I am merely pointing out that the three main purposes are clearly stated in the White Paper and those three purposes stand. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that what was at the back of the right hon. Gentleman's question is the feeling which exists as to the development of the air arm. That is an aspect of the matter which cannot be shirked and which must constantly be in the mind of the Government and their advisers.
I am bound to add two other points about the effect of the abandonment of the ten year rule. The House will forgive me for dealing with this matter at some length, but I assure them it is very much to the point. It is bowling right on the wicket to deal with this question if we really desire to give proper consideration to this problem. The consequences of abandoning the ten year rule have been something more than those already stated. When the rule had to be given up, there were two considerations which still delayed any provision which might have been contemplated for restoring to a proper condition forces which had fallen into disrepair. One was the financial crisis of 1931 which arose almost at the same time. The National Government was pledged to get the country out of an economic morass. It was then considered that the country's gravest peril lay 1992 within its own gates and not without. The risk of national bankruptcy was greater and more immediate than any external risk and the importance of this financial aspect of the matter was, as the House will see, that it did tend to delay a thorough dealing with the new situation created by the abandonment of the ten year rule. I do not think it can be said that that element of risk receded completely until 1934 and thus the House now faces the White Paper and the proposals—the very formidable proposals as I admit—which it contains. But they must allow for the fact that the financial crisis of 1931 came at a time which prevented these proposals from being spread out as would otherwise have been the case.
The other factor to which I would refer is this: The result of the Disarmament Conference was a terrible disappointment. After years of preparatory work the Disarmament Conference met in February, 1932, and that was the very year in which the 10 year rule had to be abandoned. His Majesty's Government were most unwilling to prejudice the chances of general agreement and any chance which might exist for the limitation of armaments. They hoped that other countries would follow their example and they felt constrained to avoid any action which might be misinterpreted and so contribute to a break-down. Events however showed very clearly that this question of defence would have to be dealt with as it is being dealt with now. The Defence Policy and Requirements Committee laboured day after day in considering the question of the reparation of our defences and evolved the plans which are contained in the White Paper. A great deal of preliminary work was done by an official committee presided over by Sir Maurice Hankey and I think there is nobody acquainted with the work of that distinguished official who would not agree with the tribute which was paid to him yesterday by the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham. When the Defence Policy and Requirements Committee had reached its conclusions they were considered in full Cabinet and here I agree that I reach a point which is set out in the White Paper. If hon. Members will read paragraph 46 they will see the result set out there.
That is the reason why this question comes up now for discussion and decision. It may be asked, if the machine has pro- 1993 duced this plan and if the plan is recommended to the House, why amend the machine? My answer is this: That if these proposals are approved by Parliament an exceptionally difficult, urgent and important task will have to be most promptly discharged, a task which will require the most unremitting attention of those responsible for it. There will be the character of the arrangements which will be necessary in the role of supply, and the overwhelming importance of gaining the co-operation of labour and of industry to which the right hon. Gentleman opposite has referred will be obvious. Hence in the judgment of the Government some strengthening, some extension if you like, of the existing organisation for defence is now required. After much consideration in which many various plans have been closely analysed, the Government have reached the conclusion that the desired results can best be achieved by creating a new Minister who will exercise a high and special authority as deputy-chairman of the Committee of Imperial Defence with the functions—the very important functions—set out in the White Paper. I should like in conclusion to deal with two or three very important criticisms which have been offered.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman passes on to the criticisms would he mind telling us what are the functions of the new Minister?
§ Sir J. SIMON
I think my right hon. Friend had better refresh his memory by referring to the White Paper.
§ Sir J. SIMON
If the House will turn to page 14 of the White Paper they will see these words:A Minister will be appointed as Deputy-Chairman of these Committees to whom the Prime Minister will delegate the following duties "—I will have a word to gay about that in a moment—
May I say a few words about that and more particularly about the criticisms which have been offered? There was a view widely held, but I think much less widely held now, that what was wanted was not a Minister but a Ministry of Defence which would centralise the functions of the three Service Ministries. I think it will be found that the proposal is impracticable. It is at once too wide and too narrow. On the one hand no one man could successfully assume as his Departmental charge the vast range of duties and responsibilities which would be involved, even in peace-time, much less in war. It would not be much good finding the Admirable Crichton, if you could find him, to undertake this vast job in peace-time, if it was impossible for him to continue it should an emergency arise and we found ourselves at war. I do not think that anybody knows where this Admirable Crichton is to be found. The House may remember that the Admirable Crichton was not an admiral but a scholar, though perhaps I ought to add that he had served in the French Army. [An HON. MEMBER: "Was he a politician?"] But, as I have said, the proposal to set up a Ministry of Defence is, in that sense too wide, and in another sense it is too narrow. It is not true that the organisation of defence to-day is limited to the three Services. One of the most important developments which has to be recognised is that a defence organisation in modern times has to embrace all sorts of other departments and matters which are quite outside the range of the three Services. Therefore I think the answer to the suggestion of a Ministry of Defence is overwhelming.
- "(i) The general day-to-day supervision and control on the Prime Minister's behalf of the whole organisation and activity of the Committee of Imperial Defence.…
- (ii) In the Prime Minister's absence taking the chair at the Committee of Imperial Defence and the Defence Policy and Requirements Committee.
- (iii)Personal consultation with the Chiefs of Staff together, including the right to convene under his chairmanship the Chiefs of Staff Committee whenever he or they think desirable.
- (iv) The chairmanship of the Principal Supply Officers Committee."
A second question arises as to why this new Minister should be the Deputy-Chairman and not the Chairman of these Committees. It is for this reason. The Prime Minister must remain the head both of the Cabinet and of the Committee of Imperial Defence. If an acute emergency arises it is manifest that he must be in that position. He must hold those positions and is entitled to hold them, but as to the day-to-day work 1995 which has now to be entered upon, and which will become more and more important, it is absolutely necessary that he should be relieved of a large part of it. For this purpose a Deputy-Chairman is proposed who will be available to take the Prime Minister's place both in the Committee of Imperial Defence and in the Chair of the Defence Policy and Requirements Committee.
There remains the question of the Deputy-Chairman to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. There is a school of thought which has been disposed to urge that the new Minister should not only be the ex officio chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, but that a meeting of that Committee should not be regarded as validly constituted unless he was present and presiding. That is not the conclusion at which the Government have arrived. Of course, this new Minister's contact with the Chiefs of Staff Committee must be constant, special, and intimate. He will have more to do with it than anybody else, and our scheme provides that the Chiefs of Staff should ask for his presence whenever they want to and that he should have the special right, the unquestioned and unlimited right, to call them together or to attend a meeting between them whenever he feels it, desirable. That is what is set out in the paragraph (iii) at the bottom of page 14.
But His Majesty's Government are satisfied that there ought to be, at any rate in the first instance, an elasticity about these arrangements. There are occasions when the Chiefs of Staff meet for some specific purpose at the shortest possible notice, in order to answer urgent questions, in order to study a purely strategical point, or in order to present a consideration which occurs to them, raised perhaps by a political issue and even if they cannot always meet personally, their deputies are always available. While the unifying, stimulating function of the new Minister, of the Vice-Chairman, must be preserved to the full, it is, on the other hand, important—and I wish the House to observe this—that the Chiefs of Staff should feel that they are at liberty to submit their advice, uncontrolled and undirected, without the trammels of political influence. We are quite satisfied that that is, at any rate at this stage, the system which will best work out what everybody desires.
1996 The ultimate decision will still have to be combined with political considerations. Military considerations often have to give way to political considerations, but the Government are entitled to get the undiluted advice, on strategy, of their own experts. I may point out that inside any particular defence Department, the Admiralty or the War Office, nobody questions, of course, that the Chief of Staff in that office formulates and submits his direct advice to his own political chief, though, of course, before that advice is communicated to the Government, it receives the commentary, the analysis, it may be the challenge, of the politician. I must add that the present Chiefs of Staff when they have to advise jointly, feel that they should preserve the opportunity of meeting by themselves.
As regards the Joint Planning Committee, which is also referred to, that again is a development of my right hon. Friend's opposite. As the White Paper shows, it consists of the three Directors of Plans in the three Service Departments, and it works very admirably, but there is this difficulty, if you are going now to consider in a more concentrated form long-distance plans: Each Director of Plans has also got his duty to his own chief and his own Department. The consultation of the existing three Directors of Plans is therefore an additional burden on their time. We therefore propose that three graduates of the Imperial Defence College should be added to the Joint Planning Committee and that they should devote the whole of their time to the business of working out plans to deal with prospective or possible situations. They will each be just below the Director of Plans in point of seniority or rank. They will have no connection while doing this work with their office, except the necessary connection which enables them to ascertain essential information. Having had this matter examined minutely, from every point of view, the Government are advised and have come to the conclusion that this is the best arrangement that can be made for the purpose of improving our general planning.
I would only add this, and I apologise most sincerely to the House for having kept them so long: Let the House observe that the White Paper provides that one of the duties of the new Minister will be 1997 to consider and, if necessary, to recommend further changes and adjustments. We are quite satisfied that it is by that method of constitutional development rather than by a more elaborate, cut-and-dried scheme that the best results will be secured. I have, I know, tired some hon. Members by explaining this whole matter as well as I can in general terms, without mentioning the name of the individual. I am sure that I should at once have the most ready listening from every corner of the House if I were to conclude by saying who the individual is. The House is sufficiently human to be more interested in persons than in structure. I might be able to make that announcement, but the reason that I do not is that I do not know.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I do not propose to follow the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary in his rather long explanation of a very technical subject. I shall try, however, to do what he has found himself unable to do, and that is to compress my remarks into a very short compass. I should not have taken part in this Debate except that I desire to express a point of view that in all probability no one else will be able to put before the House this evening. Those of us who agree with the point of view which I am going to express are not a party—we are not even a group—but we represent, I think, a very much larger body of opinion in the country than our numbers in this House would seem to show. We take the view that the Government's policy is a policy which must end inevitably in war, and I am strengthened in that conviction this afternoon by the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has told us that at the close of the greatest war in history, which we were told was a war to end war, those in authority thought it might be safe to make their plans for defence and armaments rather lightly during a period of 10 years, but that now they have arrived at the conclusion that it is no longer safe to anticipate a continuance of peace and that, therefore, there must be a redoubled effort in order to prepare for another war.
I would like to ask someone who speaks for the Government a question which I have asked many times in this House, and to which I have never had an answer: Who is it that we are going to fight, why are we going to fight, and what is to be 1998 the end? When the time comes, which undoubtedly the Prime Minister in his speech yesterday and the right hon. Gentleman just now contemplate will arrive, what are you going to tell the young men whom you send to the shambles is the reason you are sending them there? You cannot again put men in Trafalgar Square and in every public square in the country and tell them they are going to fight for freedom, for security, for little Belgium, or for any of the things you told them from 1914 to 1918. You will not be able to repeat the story that this next war is a war which will destroy German militarism or any other militarism. You will not be able to tell them that their children, or their sweethearts and wives, through their sacrifice will be safe because of their sacrifice. None of those stories will be able to be repeated, and I challenge whoever closes this Debate to tell the country, the young men who are going to be brought into this inferno now, what it is they are to go out and fight for. This illusory will-o'-the-wisp that is sometimes called national security and is sometimes called collective security never has brought, and never will along these lines bring, security. About that there cannot be any doubt whatsoever in any intelligent person's mind.
Lord Grey, when Sir Edward Grey, had for him the terrible task of standing at that Box and telling the nation in 1914 that we were plunged into war. Previous to that the right hon. Gentleman who has just left the House, and all his colleagues who then sat below the Gangway, warned the Government that the piling up of armaments in this country and in Europe would inevitably precipitate war. The right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. R. MacDonald) always, by word and speech, told his supporters that armaments must bring war. Lord Grey wrote a book in 1925. I think you will find a long letter in the "Manchester Guardian" yesterday containing a very long extract from that book. If I read it all, it would take all my time, so I will read only the last wordsSuch was the general condition of Europe. Preparations for war had produced fear, and fear predisposes to violence and catastrophe.I commend those words to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, I understand, is to close the Debate. My case 1999 is not the case of the leaders of the party to which I belong, that we should in certain circumstances be willing to increase our armed forces. My contention, and the contention of those who agree with me, is that the more you strengthen these so-called Defence Forces, the more you pile them up, the more certain is it that you will have to face the catastrophe of war. Every historical record of Europe proves the truth of that statement. Last night a Tory newspaper gave a brief story of the relationships which have existed for centuries between Germany and France, in which first one side and then the other won and lost, and then, notwithstanding the blood which had been poured out again and again, commenced at the end of each war to prepare for another. I rode one day from Paris to Lille and a man who was in the train, speaking of the great plain which you see from the train said to me: "That plain is soaked with the blood of more human beings than any other battlefield in the world." From 1914 to 1918 you soaked it, again with the blood of Germans, French, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Indians—of men gathered from all parts of the world.
I want somebody to tell me why we should do that all over again. What is the reason? What justification is there? The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister bears a responsibility which I would not care to bear in any circumstances. I ask him: How is he going to defend the slaughter, the flooding of this plain again with the blood and bones and sinews of tens of thousands of the youth and manhood of this country? Before the House passes from this, an answer ought to be given to that question. It is no use saying that you are doing it for security. You cannot win security that way.
Many of us feel just as strongly on this matter as the right hon. Gentleman, but will he tell us —unless you get the real brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God—what on earth any Government in England can do to secure this peace?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The Noble Lady is very impatient. If she will wait she will hear that whatever case I can make I shall make. I have put my position many 2000 times before the House, but the hon. Lady does not listen.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Perhaps the hon. Lady did not hear. The point I want to emphasise is that it is folly to believe that war will settle anything. Rome defeated Carthage, and in the end by the same means Rome was rolled in the dust. You cannot build up an imperialistic dominion without decaying at the centre and going down. You cannot break the law of God and at the same time expect your nation to continue. That is something which history proves. The history of our own times proves it. We have lived through 1914 to 1918, when 10,000,000 people were slaughtered to bring peace; when over 10,000,000 were bruised, battered and maimed in body, soul and spirit to bring peace to the world. Others were starved by a blockade, again to bring peace to the world. It has not brought peace. You are starting this hellish business all over again. I want to ask the Prime Minister, once again, to try and get the nations together to consider the causes of war; why they want to go to war. The causes are mainly economic and territorial. The statesmen who were responsible for the Versailles Treaty must have known, President Wilson must have known, that they were sowing the dragon's teeth; they must have known that they were sowing the seeds of another terrible and fearful war. Now we have to face it all.
Instead of that I want the Government, led by the Prime Minister, to go to the world, even in the midst of this terrible upheaval with Germany and France, and say that for our part we are willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary; not to share out bits of land here and there, but to find a means of pooling the resources of the world, sharing the markets and the territories of the world for the service of mankind. It is the only way to peace. No other way is possible. It may be said to me: What can you do if other countries will not do it? Nobody yet has asked these other countries to do it. All we are doing is to join in the devil's race to destruction. I am asking that this other thing should be done. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare) has said that the Government would consider these matters, and Mr. Cordell Hull has 2001 said that he thinks they ought to be considered. Yes, I think that the American people through their Government ought to come to Europe and join the British Government in giving this lead, in saying to the world, "Let us put Imperialism behind us; let us put all these nationalisms behind us and instead of organising for death to organise for life."
The House has always listened very kindly and quietly to me when I have attempted to say some things which usually are not said. I am going about the country from one end to the other. Last night in Coventry I stood before a meeting of nearly 2,000 people which thronged the great hall, and all that they were longing and praying for is to avert the terrible disaster with which we are threatened. From John o'Groats to Land's End since last August I must have spoken to 100,000 people, and in the whole of the campaign I have not come up against anyone, I do not believe there is anyone in this country, who would not be willing to make any sacrifice of material possessions in order to win peace. Our people are the most generous-hearted in the world if it is put to them that a thing is necessary to be done. It will be said that I have not brought forward any plan. If I were advocating sanctions I could not say how it should be done. The experts must do that. If experts can produce the White Paper, if they can produce schemes for destruction, there must be men who can produce schemes for preserving life.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Give me the chance. I will find them at that Box and in Downing Street. There are men capable of doing it. Let me say this in conclusion—and the Noble Lady can think it over when she gets away. In a Tory newspaper on Sunday at the close of an article there was a little three-line quotation, which they called the Word of God. This was the quotation:Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.I have lived a long time and I know that I have reaped any evil that I have sown. Everyone knows the truth of that saying. The nation's victory in the Great War sowed vengeance and the seeds of more war and more destruction. You are reaping the Dead Sea fruit to-day. We 2002 are reaping all that statesmen did in those terrible days, and if I had a thousand voices and the strength of a thousand men I would go on telling the people of this country that we are being led to ruin and perdition. I would appeal to them, as I do to the Government, to turn round, flee away from this hellish business, let Great Britain rise superior, above all, to these petty nationalisms and Imperialisms and tell the world, as we pray in this House for peace every day and for strength to put away things which are personal, that at long last it is true.
§ 5.29 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
We all, in whatever part of the House we sit, respect the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and however much we may disagree with his views, he has in great measure the sympathy and, if I may say so, the affection of the House of Commons. His views are not merely virtuous, but are courageous. I have much more respect for a politician who pleads faithfully for complete pacifism than I have for a trimmer who meddles in these affairs, who supports a very considerable degree of armament and preparation and yet, for one reason or another, falls short in his estimation of what is necessary. I could not feel that my right hon. Friend—if he will allow me to call him that, although we sit on opposite sides of the House—at all convinced the House that if Great Britain were to divest herself of all her property, of all her armaments and of all her defences that would necessarily work an immediate transformation in the hungry world we see around us. It might give very great satisfaction to the spirit of the right hon. Gentleman, but I am very doubtful whether it would achieve the results he desires.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
In my remarks I tried to make the House understand that while I want complete disarmament, I want it led or rather preceded by an appeal from the Government to other Governments to deal with the causes of war and to make a great effort, even if it means a sacrifice on our part, to get rid of those causes.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
As we respect the right hon. Gentleman, although we differ from him, I hope we may ask of him that he will also respect the views and methods of others, and not ask them to 2003 go against their convictions, which arise from a desire to keep the peace of the world. I am quite certain that there is not a man on these benches who would not regard it as the dearest purpose of his life to keep the horrors of war away from the world and to give security to the present generation of mankind. I have talked of sacrifices of property. I believe that if any man knew that by stretching out his right hand and having it cut off he would gain such an assurance, he would be proud to endure the mutilation. Therefore, in dealing with these matters connected with the White Paper, these complicated questions of defence, we ask that we shall not be accused of taking a light view of war or of seeking the means of triumphing in a sense of national pride. We hope that as we respect the right hon. Gentleman, so he will respect us.
With that very brief preliminary, I will come directly to the White Paper, which, unhappily, has to deal with the sterner aspects of defensive preparations. I listened to the most full and painstaking statement which the Home Secretary made to us upon the machinery of the Committees of Defence which are now in existence and of the reform which it is now intended to work in them. Certainly no one could accuse my right hon. Friend of not wishing to meet faithfully all the questions which were asked or all the arguments which were adduced; but there was one very simple question which he overlooked in regard to this reform in our system of defence co-ordination. Why has it been delayed until now? I remember a Debate which took place in July last, nine months ago, in this House, and I remember a memorial of 140 Members to the Prime Minister asking for something of this very kind. Is there an argument now which was not well-known then? Why have these very important nine months been lost in this matter?
It would seem, on the face of it, rather odd to invite the co-ordinator after the co-ordination is, according to the Government White Paper, already perfect and complete, to appoint the man who is to concert the plan after it has already been made and embodied in the detailed Estimates for the current year. The usual process, if I may model myself on the somewhat simplex types of exposition in 2004 which my right hon. and learned Friend excels, is to put the horse before the cart, the idea being, I presume, although I do not wish to take anything for granted, that as the horse moves forward he, as it were, drags the cart behind him. That, of course, would be the usual and normal procedure, but no doubt there may be very good reasons for having adopted the contrary one in this case.
I cannot feel that the Debate so far as it has proceeded, has done full justice to the anxiety which the House feels about the condition of our national defences. The Prime Minister yesterday and the Home Secretary to-day were concerned to offer two explanations of that condition. Both these explanations are familiar, and neither is without validity. The first is that we tried to set an example in disarmament. We continued to disarm while others were rearming, and consequently we very soon fell very far behind. The second is the ten-years rule, about which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has given the House a great deal of valuable information this afternoon. Now, I think there was a great deal to be said for the ten-years rule in 1919 and in 1924. As a matter of fact, the time has passed—the ten years have expired without the world being disturbed by a major war. As a means of giving a rough-and-ready guide to Departments, the ten-years rule in those days was very valuable, but of course it had to be revised each year. Every year you had to see whether it was ten, nine or eight years, or whether you had to abandon the principle altogether. There is nothing, I think, that anyone who supported that principle in those years after the War has any reason to regret.
After all, Germany was completely disarmed. France was heavily armed and our friend. Italy was our friend. The British battle fleet ten years ago was not as old as it is now; it was in its prime. In those days such a provision was entirely justified. No one will found a criticism upon this Government, or upon any Government from either side of the House, because during the years of assured security armaments were continually reduced, as they should be, and as they always have been during the progress of a long peace. But that hardly meets the point on which criticism arises. As the Prime Minister said, speaking of 2005 1933, a great change came over the situation, and to-day the Home Secretary mentioned the year 1932, when this ten-years rule was abandoned. What was the change that came over the situation?
I shall have to refer to Germany several times in these discussions. I protest that I have no ill-will or animus against the German people. On the contrary, I admire them in a great many ways; I admire their culture, their skill and their industry; and nothing would rejoice our hearts more than to see Germany take an honoured place in the family of Europe. But we have to deal in this Debate with the facts and the definite circumstances by which we are surrounded. The cause of that change was that Germany began to rearm, secretly at first but soon more openly, to create armed forces of various kinds, particularly in the air, and these forces became very soon increasingly formidable in their character. It was somewhere in that period 1932–33 that the Government scented the first signs of danger and abandoned the ten-years rule. But they ought to have done a great deal more than that. There was the moment when the change took place, and I think I may say that there were some of us in this House who gave full warnings on every occasion on which we had an opportunity to do so of the gravity of the change which was coming over the scene. The pages of the OFFICIAL REPORT are dark with the warnings which we gave, and I cannot believe that the very admirable intelligence service of this country, which in the Great War was considered to be the best in the world, did not give its warnings through other channels.
The gravamen of the criticism which lies against the Government is that they did not realise effectively, or at any rate that they did not act in accordance with, the marked deterioration in world affairs which occurred in 1932 and 1933. They continued to adhere to a policy which was adapted to one set of circumstances after an entirely different set of circumstances had supervened. They persisted in spite of all that we could say to the contrary. I suppose they resented the warnings which were given, although the warnings which I gave to the House were sober warnings, specific warnings and friendly warnings. Let us 2006 take the year 1933. In 1933 there was plenty of time to put our house in order. The bulk of the German preparations have been made since then. Everyone knows that in three years enormous results can be achieved. If three years ago the preliminary steps had been taken to repair our deficiencies we should not feel the anxiety—I am afraid the unspoken anxiety—which underlies the Debate this afternoon.
Let us survey the scene. The scale on which foreign rearmament is proceeding is prodigious. Some time ago I made a statement that Germany had spent, directly or indirectly, on armaments in the year 1935 upwards of £800,000,000 sterling. These figures startled people—at least they startled those people who are capable of taking in anything. I have seen since some figures in the "Daily Herald," a newspaper which has at no time sought to conceal the true facts of the European situation from its readers. I am bound to pay that tribute. Many of the most serious facts have appeared in that newspaper. The "Daily Herald" published figures and calculations to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) referred in his speech the other day, and which, I will not say absolutely confirmed, but went a long way to confirm the extraordinary statement which I had made.
I make that statement on good authority and I have had the assistance of a financial authority who has worked out for me a long argument, much too long to quote in Debate, showing how money has been secretly found for these purposes in the German finances. Broadly speaking, since the arrival of Herr Hitler in power three years ago the Germans have spent about £1,500,000,000 sterling upon warlike preparations directly or indirectly. The money has been raised by internal borrowing, and the revenues of Germany are already mortgaged two or three, or possibly four years, ahead. These figures are stupendous. Nothing like them has ever been seen in time of peace. Suppose they are exaggerated and that the figure is only £600,000,000 which they spent in 1935, we should still be confronted with facts which are unprecedented, unparalleled and immeasurable in their consequences. It must also be remembered that money goes further in 2007 Germany than here, in all probability. In face of these figures—from £600,000,000 to £800,000,000 spent on armaments in Germany in a single year—I put it to those who are supporting the Amendment that it surely seems unreasonable to blame His Majesty's Government for the modest sum for which they are asking in the Estimates of the year and for the additional expenditure that will be required under the White Paper.
I have seen a figure in the newspapers. A sum of £300,000,000 has been mentioned, to be spent in three years, additional to the ordinary Service Estimates. This is not a Government figure, but it has been freely stated. If the whole of that sum could be spent this year it would be a great comfort to many of us. I believe that it would be a comfort to the Government also, but I will explain shortly why that cannot be done. I doubt very much whether, on account of the unpreparedness of our industry, even £50,000,000 can be spent in the financial year 1936–37. Even if the whole were spent in the three years, that would be less than what Germany certainly spent last year. I cannot conceive how any sober-minded man, to whatever political party he belongs, can challenge the efforts which the Government are now making to place our defences in some order. On the contrary, many of us feel on this side of the House that the Government's plans, so far as they are revealed by the White Paper, err seriously on the side of inadequacy; and in the course of the Debate on the various Service Estimates, we shall have to probe the matter with a little more care. It is the duty of the Government to show that the figures they have fixed in their Estimates and that the efforts they are making are the maximum possible in the circumstances. When they have spent all that they can they will have spent much less than we need.
There are also complaints about the White Paper that it is vague and indefinite as to the actual cost. I suppose that that is because the Government do not know, apart from the ordinary Estimates, how much contractors will be able to earn. I suppose that the contractors will be urged to make the utmost efforts. We do not know how far they will be successful. Before the financial year comes to an end, the Supplementary Estimates 2008 will be able to tell us what the contractors have been able to earn. Unless measures of a far-reaching character are taken to organise industry, I fear the results in 1936 will be very disappointing to those who wish to see the deficiences in our defences repaired. I certainly do not see why the Government should be blamed for not giving exact figures.
Anyone who understands the conditions of munitions production under circumstances of urgency will know quite well that to forecast exactly would be only to mislead Parliament and the country, but I am glad to see that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has set up a strong finance committee to watch expenditure vigilantly and to make sure that we get value for our money. When things have been left so late as this no high economy is possible. That is part of the price the nation has to pay for being caught short. All the more must every effort be made to prevent actual waste. The fact that Germany is spending at this enormous rate upon armaments warns us not only of the magnitude of the danger but possibly of its imminence. Expenditure on armaments means wages. The weekly livelihood of a very large proportion of the German people has now become dependent upon military preparations. Several millions of people in Germany who were unemployed have found employment in munitions manufacture or in the armed forces. On the other hand, the whole is supported by borrowed money on a large scale, and the financial situation has become such that this cannot go on indefinitely.
It cannot go on, but how can it stop? A terrible dilemma lies ahead of the most peacefully-minded government in Germany. If they go on, there is bankruptcy; if they stop, there is tremendous unemployment. There is no chance of Germany finding additional substitute employment by trading with tropical colonies, or by the peaceful conquest of our markets or those of other nations, which would in the immediate future in the slightest degree compensate for the curtailment of the vast munitions programme on which the whole of Germany is now engaged. The German Government will have to choose at no distant date between an internal or an external catastrophe. We are here considering 2009 our own security. Can we doubt what course the man at the head of Germany would be likely to choose?
It is easy to say this cannot go on, but what will happen when it stops? It is that which invests the situation with the most alarming urgency, with a kind of doom-like inevitableness which causes the most melancholy and alarming reflections. Germany, we are told, is not yet ready for war. Some say she is only half ready. Yet we see already that they are the only nation in Europe unafraid of war. If what we have seen in the last few days is the mood of a partially armed Germany, imagine what the tone will be when the colossal preparations which are being made are approaching their zenith, and when at the same time the limits of internal borrowing are already in sight.
Wars do not always wait until all the combatants are ready. Sometimes they come before any are ready, sometimes when one nation thinks it less unready than another, or when one nation thinks it is likely to become not stronger, but weaker as time passes. I fear, indeed, that there may be a culminating point in the history of Europe—the armaments history of Europe. I cannot tell when it will be reached. It will certainly be reached in the lifetime of the present Parliament. Let us never accept the theory of inevitable war, neither let us blind our eyes to the remorseless march of events. I was glad to hear the Prime Minister devote so much of his speech yesterday to the problem of supply. There are two ways of preparing for the supply side of national defence. First, there is the accumulation of reserves of munitions of all kinds, which under modern conditions must be enormous, and the storing of them at great expense in magazines. That method was the only one which was known and practised up to the Great War.
There is a second method, the modern method, which is quite different. The whole industry of a country is prepared in time of peace for an alternative form of manufacture. Even the smallest workshops play their part in making components. Assembly centres are provided where the components can be fitted together. Thus the whole industry of the country is ready to turn over from peace to war conditions on the pressing of a 2010 button. The details of this scheme have been worked out with the utmost refinement in every great country in the world. The advantage of the second method is that you do not have to pile up and store these enormous accumulations of reserves of material which may never be used, which cannot be modernised, and which consequently become not only old but obsolete. Instead of that, the whole industry of the country is ready to spring into a different kind of action and the only reserves required are those to bridge the period between the transition from peace to war. It is this second method which has been for years past the great feature of industrial Europe, and is to-day, in every country but our own. It is this that gives the enormous latent war strength which is now recognised to be possessed by Germany. France has adopted it to a large extent. It is the rule in Italy and of all the smaller military countries.
What have we done? I hope we shall have some further account. The Prime Minister spoke yesterday about Sir Arthur Robinson's Committee. I have no doubt that some work on paper has been done, but it is not only on paper that this requires to be done. Preparations have to be made; a lay-out has to be considered and in some cases prepared. Appliances of all kinds have to be constructed. Not only must the organisation be thought out, but the actual tools must be to hand and everything planned in detail, together with the assembly of the skilled and unskilled labour and the co-ordination of power and transport. All this has to be done for each trade in great volume, and with preparations which have their reflections in the actual stocks of firms throughout the country. In other countries, on the contrary, a discerning eye can see what has already been prepared and the appliances which are hanging up in the shops to be brought into use when required. It may be very sad indeed that it should be so, but, nevertheless, it seems to me, and I put it to the party opposite, that it is not a development which should affront a sincere lover of peace because it enables a country to continue its peaceful industry to the last minute, and if the emergency passes away the alternative processes which have been prepared need never be used. It is a kind of territorial force for industry that has been developed, and 2011 the cost of developing those alternative processes, compared with the accumulation of vast reserves or the building of large national factories—although these may become necessary like the shell factories that my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs devised early in the War—is petty.
If we had only begun to act three years ago when the danger first made itself apparent, we should possess a reserve power to-day which could spring at any moment into full preparatory activity. Very little disturbance three years ago would have produced enormous reserves at the present time. I am well aware that something has been done. What is immediately needed is to bring it out into the open, to support it with ample money any staff and to press it forward with the utmost vigour. Let me make myself clear. This does not mean any immediate increase in the deliveries. It does not mean immediately more ships, more munitions, more aeroplanes, but what it does mean is that you have an industry which, if the need ever arises, will not fail you, and will not interpose between you and your safety two horrible years of hiatus such as some of us in positions of responsibility went through in the Great War. What a thing to see the roads of this country covered with the volunteer youth of the nation drilling for a year with nothing but broomsticks and wooden muskets, and what a much more terrible thing to see those who were in the fighting line, in the trenches, under a continuous bombardment with batteries behind them that were limited to firing one round per battery per day.
Your industry must be ready to sustain you. This work should have been begun in vigour three yeasr ago, it should have been in progress two years ago, it should have been completed one year ago. All I urge is, Do it now. Here in a nutshell is the history of munitions production: First year, very little; second year, not much, but something; third year, almost all you want; fourth year, more than you need. We are only at the beginning of the second year, whereas Germany is already, in many respects, at the end of the third. Therefore, my recommendation to my right hon. Friend is to create as soon as possible a skeleton Ministry of Munitions, with a Munitions Council of ten or a dozen selected business men 2012 who would serve as before in an honorary capacity. I am sure this should be set on foot at the earliest moment, and unless it is we shall not get even the restricted deliveries which we are hoping to get under the present scheme.
I must utter this warning which is borne in upon me. Contractors are usually glad to book orders from the Government, however large those orders may be, because they know that when they are found to be behind-hand in their deliveries the Government cannot punish them, because it has become dependent on them, and all it can do is to come along and help them out. It was a cruel mortification to Lord Kitchener, in the first year of the War, when he found that so many of the promises made by the contractors—not the regular War Office contractors, but the outside contractors—were in the excitement of the early months completely falsified by events, and that deliveries bore no relation to what had been counted upon or what the troops in the field counted upon. I was very glad to hear my right hon. Friend talk about setting up a. Supply Ministry or a Supply Office, but I am sure he will make a great mistake if he does not set up a Ministry of Munitions, in a skeleton form at least, in the near future, and clear his plan from the fault which now resides in it of mixing up the quite different functions of a Ministry of Supply with the higher concert of Imperial Defence. There is a sentence in the White Paper which shows how very urgent this matter is. It is on page 10, paragraph 3, dealing with the Territorial Army:For the present, owing to the demands upon the capacity of industrial output which must necessarily be made, in the first instance, by the Regular Army, it is not possible simultaneously to recondition the Territorial Army.Just think of that. Why? These two forces put together are only a quarter of a million men, and we are told that this British industry, this vast, flexible, buoyant, rich, fertile, adaptable British industry, is incapable of conducting the equipment of these two comparatively small forces simultaneously. I refuse to believe such a thing. What is it they are needing? It is not weapons—the weapons they have—but the equipment, which is to be delayed. I suppose wagons, and appliances of various kinds, field cookers, and all the different appliances which the 2013 Territorials require. These are the things which, we are told, cannot be made by industry in Britain. Do you want anything other than this tell-tale sentence to prove that the industry has not been organised? And what a discouragement to the Territorial Force, which we must exert ourselves in every way to recruit from the gallant and patriotic youth of the country, who have taken this burden on themselves, when they see that a long interval must elapse, even in times like this, before it will be possible to recondition them, because all the plant is being used to recondition our small Regular Army.
Let me apply this consideration for a moment to aeroplanes. Eight months ago, when the present Secretary of State for Air took office, the aeroplane industry was roused to a most urgent exertion. Very large orders of all kinds were placed with the existing firms, which were building to their utmost capacity. What the results have been no one can tell. That this great volume of production is going forward in the existing factories is undoubted, but we cannot tell how far the deliveries will correspond. That has been done, and very rightly done, by the energetic Minister who occupies that post; but we have not, I believe, attempted in any concrete physical manner to organise the manufacture of components by firms not normally accustomed to produce aviation parts, nor have we provided the suitable assembly plants necessary in times of emergency.
Here is the great disadvantage at which we stand compared with the German air industry. I am not mentioning this for the first time. I told the House 18 months ago of the extraordinary development of this method which was proceeding in Germany. There is not the slightest reason why it should not be set on foot here. It might have corrected to some extent the boom in aircraft shares. It would, anyhow, have given a reserve without which, if this trouble comes, although you may have a force at the beginning of the war, you will not have the power to keep that force in continuous activity, and it will come to an end after a few months. There is no doubt that this method of the widely distributed manufacture of components ought to be as much a part of the life of an industrial country in this present unhappy modern age as the practice of archery on the 2014 village green was in medieval England. It is the simplest and most primary method by which the freedom of a country can be assured, and it is the very heart of modern national defence.
The air power of any country cannot be measured by the number of aeroplanes, nor by any of the particular definitions which are given. It must be measured by the number of aeroplanes which can be placed in the air simultaneously and maintained in action month after month. It is dependent not only on the number of organised squadrons but upon the expansive power of the industrial plant. A mere comparison of the number of machines possessed by the different countries, or the number of pilots trained, or even the number of squadrons formed, is no true guide. The organisation of the aeroplane industry is not merely the production or the accumulation of so many thousands of aeroplanes by a given date. It must also ensure the continuous flow of supplies from the date of the outbreak, and the supreme advantage which Germany has seized at the present time resides in this fact. They do not need to have any considerable reserve. They can feed the fighting squadrons direct from the factories and testing grounds, just as, in the last year of the War, when my right hon. Friend's great national shell factories and gun plants came into operation, we were able to feed the field armies direct from the factories without the need to accumulate supplies short of the actual fighting zone.
In these circumstances it is, I am sorry to say, not likely that we shall be able to overtake Germany and achieve air parity, as was promised, unless and until Germany herself decides to slow down or arrest her air expansion. Clearly a saturation point will be reached when those who are guiding Germany decide that they have given to air development all that portion of their resources which they can spare, having regard to all other needs. If, when that point is reached, we continue to develop our force, ultimately we shall achieve air parity, but that day will be fixed by decisions which will be taken in Germany and not by decisions which will be taken here, whatever we do.
Let us see what we are doing. It is a general impression that we are overhauling Germany now, that we started 2015 late, it is true, but are making up for lost time, and that every month our relative positions will improve. That is a delusion. It is contrary to the truth this year, and probably for many months next year. I am not saying anything which is not known in every country in the world. These matters are thoroughly understood. Germany will be outstripping us more and more even if our new programmes are accepted, and we shall be worse off at the end of this year than we are now, in spite of all our exertions. The explanation of this grievous fact lies in the past. Take the simple test, of money. I am assuming that the Government are doing all they can. I am absolutely certain that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is putting no financial restriction on any money that can be usefully spent in achieving our security. But, let us look at the position. We spent in the financial year which is now closing £29,000,000 on the air, under the original and Supplementary Estimates. In about the same period—the dates do not quite tally—the French voted nearly £70,000,000 and spent, I expect, at least £60,000,000. The Germans spent certainly far more, though I cannot hazard a figure; but both France and Germany spent on their air development at least twice what we were able to spend last year, and, as I have said, money goes farther in those countries than here.
When we look at that position it is clear there is not much catching-up by our Government up to the present. I have no doubt His Majesty's Government would gladly spend more money than was asked for, but it is no use to clamour for larger programmes. The Government could easily double their paper programmes and get a cheap cheer from uninstructed persons, but they would be doing nothing except deceiving the public. Before I press the Government for any larger programmes of aeroplanes I should like to feel sure that the present programmes are being executed, and I very much doubt whether, with the existing methods, that will be achieved.
I have one more section for which I claim the attention of the House. I have been speaking about, the Army and the Air Force as they are affected by the present conditions of supply. Those conditions do not apply in the same degree to the Navy. The Admiralty have large 2016 regular establishments of gun plants, armour plants and dockyards, and firms of all kinds which are capable of serving and maintaining the Fleet on a great scale, and which are adapted to the ponderous kind of supplies which the Admiralty requires. They have that, and the Fleet has been fed during all these years with a very considerable flow of public money. I am not at all prepared to suggest that the Fleet has not been given considerable support by the House of Commons during these years. The consequence is that it is possible to spend additional money on the Navy rapidly. That explains, perhaps, the remarkable fact that the Navy expenditure this year is much greater than the Air expenditure, a fact which many people comment on and regard as unreasonable. That is the explanation. They have the great plants, and if and when the order is put out, those plants rapidly respond to the demand.
There is one form of naval construction which would involve the small shipbuilding yards of the country and on which I would like to say the last few words with which I shall trouble the House. By the Anglo-German Naval Treaty, Germany is entitled, if she desires, to build tonnage in submarines equal to our own. I do not know whether the day may not come when the fact that we agreed to that may not be regretted. If Germany decides to exercise this right, she may produce the result with altogether unexpected rapidity. We were all shocked in the last Parliament to hear the First Lord of the Admiralty tell us that Germany was building two 26,000-ton battleships, which the Admiralty only expected would be, according to the treaty, 10,000-tonners. No one believed that the construction of gigantic ships could proceed in secret. Apparently, however, this happened. How much more difficult will it be to keep track of the manufacture of submarines by component parts. Even in the Great War, 20 years ago, we ordered at the Admiralty in November, 1914, from Mr. Schwab and the Bethlehem Steel Works, 18 submarines, which were to be constructed in the surprisingly short time of six or seven months apiece. The manufacture of these submarines was begun in America, but neutrality difficulties were raised, and Mr. Schwab had to pick up the whole of this enormous plant 2017 and material in different stages of preparation at Pittsburg, put it on railway trucks and send it to Canada, where it was put together. In spite of that interruption, the deliveries were achieved with extreme punctuality. I do not doubt that a similar method of preparing naval components for submarines has also been carried to perfection in Germany.
I warn my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister that there may well lie before us the same kind of disconcerting surprise in regard to German "U" boats as we have already experienced to our detriment in the air power. Let us suppose that by August, 1937, which will certainly be a dangerous period in the armaments history of Europe—I am not talking of the political aspect, which is another aspect—we are confronted with the fact that Germany has a submarine tonnage equal to our own, that is to say, 40,000 or 50,000 tons in submarines. That would be considerably more than the submarine tonnage with which the Germans began their first attack upon British trade in February, 1915. I mentioned this point in a sentence or two the other night, but I wish to bring it to the attention of the House because it is most important. We were deeply alarmed at their attack, but we beat it off. We learned that day many lessons which enabled Lord Fisher and the Admiralty to make that vast construction of anti-submarine craft which, in 1917, when the great attack began, were the means of our salvation.
But the original attack—how did we beat it off? I put this point to the House, and I make no apology for repeating it, because it is essential to a realisation of our position. We beat it off by the possession of 220 destroyers. Without these we could not possibly have escorted our ships in and out of the harbours of Britain, nor could we, at the same time, have continued the hunt of the "U" boats. I am not assuming that war is coming at all, but we ought not to be unprepared, in a matter affecting the very life of this country, to protect it from reduction, from subjugation by panic or by neglect of this precaution, and we ought to be prepared to meet a stronger attack in August, 1937, than that to which we were exposed in February, 1915. Surely steps should be taken now to provide us with as large and effective 2018 destroyer flotillas as we can possibly make.
I noticed in the White Paper, in paragraph 27, thata steady replacement programme for destroyerswill be undertaken. I am most surprised that the word "replacement" is used. What is needed is not only replacement but multiplication to the utmost capacity of the small and otherwise unoccupied building yards in Great Britain. It need not be of the largest type, but at this stage in our affairs it is the time factor which is vital. My right hon. Friend who interested us so much yesterday dwelt upon the importance, and reiterated the importance, of speed. The time factor is what matters. People talk about battleships, and there is great discussion as to whether you should continue to build battleships or not. It is to my mind largely an academic question. I will not go into it at this moment. Perhaps on the Naval Estimates we may discuss the merits of different types of naval architecture, but I do not see the relevance of it to the immediate emergency if they are not to be begun until 1937 and cannot be built until 1940 or 1941. It seems almost certain that the culminating point in Europe which I have mentioned will be reached, and that we shall have to meet whatever troubles lie before us, with our existing vessels.
These flotillas are different. They can be constructed with very great rapidity. You have them in your command; you have only to give the orders, and they will be supplied. I have great confidence in the Admiralty, and I make this suggestion in a manner which is tentative. I would ask my hon. Friend who represents the Admiralty so agreeably in this House, that when he speaks upon the Navy Estmates he should give a very full explanation of this position, because it is perfectly clear that we have, within the next two years, to have a very much larger tonnage of destroyers, and a larger number of destroyers, available than we have hitherto been permitted under the limitations of the London Treaty.
I thank the House for listening to me. I have been speaking mainly about the supply side of our defence. When the Estimates come I will have something else to say on the more military aspect. I 2019 ask this one question, which I think I must put before I sit down: Will there be time to put our defences in order? We live in contact with the unknown, but we are not defenceless now. Will there be time to make these necessary efforts, or will the awful words "too late" be recorded? I will never despair that we can make ourselves secure. The Royal Navy, especially after the toning up which it has received, is unsurpassed in the world, and is still the main bulwark of our security, and even at this eleventh hour, if the right measures are taken and if the right spirit prevails in the British nation and the British Empire, we may surround ourselves with other bulwarks equally sure, which will protect us against whatever storms may blow.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. HICKS
We have listened with very great interest to the speech which has just been delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). He has given us a geographical, military and almost psychological survey, not only of our own country, but of Europe, and after the many dark, challenging and sombre things he has said I am almost afraid to look at him for fear I shall see bogies that were not already revealed. He spoke as though the Government and their advisers were ignorant of what is going on, but I feel pretty certain that the Government and their advisers are familiar with the position in this country and with conditions generally in Europe. I have been struck with the note which everyone seems to have brought into the discussion by saying how sad they felt about everything which we have to discuss to-day. Candidates in all the elections since the War have sought the authority of their constituents to work and fight for peace. I listened to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) recalling the slogans that were used in the last War and the pledges that were given by all Governments, national and international, and the efforts which have been made since. It seems a terrible position to-day to have speakers asking us to agree to additional armaments, and speaking of the great fear that we shall be attacked and brought again into another war.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley, and my other right 2020 hon. Friends on the Front Bench, have said from time to time that the approach to the problem is not that most calculated to bring peace in the world. Everyone who speaks about war and the causes of war knows that war is not provoked by indiscreet statements of Ministers. It arises deep down in the economic and commercial rivalries of one country against others. We have, therefore, asked from time to time that we might have an opportunity of discussing with other nations those economic and commercial rivalries, and make an effort to bring them into a pool, in order to see what can be done to bring about peace in the world. It must be obvious to the Government and their supporters that if, after all the years of the War and preaching peace, and the efforts which they and other governments have made, we are now on the threshold of what might almost be regarded as mutual annihilation, they must seriously revise their approach to the problem and look at it in another way.
It is not my purpose to attempt to deal with the political side of the White Paper, of which there are many aspects, but more with the industrial side, and I want to ask the Government to make their attitude clear so that the trade unionists and the workers of this country who will be called upon to produce the munitions may have some knowledge of what is in the mind of the Government. When the right hon. Gentleman was referring to the cart and the horse, and the horse moving and bringing the cart behind, I was more concerned about who was on the dicky and whether they were driving it straight or driving it over the brink, The essential political aspects have been or will be stated by my friends: here, but I would ask the Government one or two specific questions in relation to the industrial aspect. On page 16 of the White Paper there is a paragraph at the end of which are these words:This will require the most careful organisation and the willing co-operation both of the leaders of industry and of trade unions if our task is to be successfully accomplished. But the Government have every confidence that these conditions will be fulfilled.I think it is only fair to ask the Government on what lines, and with whom, the willing co-operation is to be effected. I am specially concerned about this matter 2021 of willing co-operation. Is it to be sought from the trade unions, and how is it to be sought? Do the Government intend to consult the individual unions, or do they intend to consult, say, the Trade Union Congress? Do they propose to meet the representatives of trade unionism as a whole, or is it that the Government do not propose to take part in any such consultations? We should be very interested to know what are the Government's ideas and proposals in this respect. Then in paragraph 56, on page 17 of the White Paper, there is, again at the end of the paragraph, a rather important statement. Perhaps I had better read the whole paragraph. It says:The first concerns the supply of skilled labour, for which there will necessarily be a largely increased demand. In some skilled occupations there is already noticeable the shortage inevitable when large and sudden demands are made upon labour supplies after a period of depression. It will be for the industries concerned, with such guidance as the Government can give, to make sure that vital processes are not held up for want of the necessary craftsmen.This seems to imply some special sort of recruitment. If the Government say that the craftsmen available to-day are unequal to the demands which industry will make upon them, and if it is for the Government to see that none of the vital industries are denuded of strength, that seems to suggest that some special form of recruitment is contemplated, and if we look at this statement critically it is with a view to attempting to get a declaration from the Government of what they mean in this respect. Do they propose some general form of dilution for dealing with this problem; or do they propose to bring in employés or workpeople from the Government training centres? Either of these expedients may be regarded by the Government as suitable for dealing with a shortage.
Whatever measures of rearmament are ultimately agreed upon, and to whatever extent the essential industries are expanded, it would be folly, in my opinion, for the Government not to give full consideration to the skilled labour that is now available, and that is the idea behind my questions on their proposals with regard to consultation. I should like to know whom they propose to consult, and how far it is proposed that the consultation should extend in order that they 2022 may be made more familiar with what labour is available than at the moment they appear to be. If such consultation is not proposed, I would ask where is the sense of thrusting partially trained men into branches of industry where skill, experience and very often delicate precision are imperative? It would be safe to say that the lives of many people will depend upon the degree of knowledge and skill which the workers have in the manufacture of many things that the Government will require, and certainly the Government should consult the unions beforehand and see what labour is available for the construction, for instance, of aircraft and many other things.
Then I would suggest that the Government should consult their most efficient advisers on this matter. I say that because, while there is a statement that consultation should take place, nothing is specified as regards consultation with the workers, either individually or through the trade unions. I am sure that the expert advisers of the Government would be unanimous in recommending to them that there should be extensive consultation if they want this programme to materialise. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping has made some reference to partial and then increased production. Anyone with knowledge and experience of the Great War will know that towards the end of the war period these consultations were increased, and, the more extensive the consultations, the greater was the guarantee that the requirements of the Government would be fulfilled. There will be unanimity in saying that the most vital front for defence or for other purposes so far as operations are concerned is the industrial front. It is in the engineering shop, the chemical factory and the munition shop that modern militarism reveals its most vulnerable side, but that side appears to have received the smallest space in the White Paper, and I ask the Government to give it more attention than apparently they have.
To-day the successful provision of defence and the successful provision of instruments for military purposes are completely dependent, not upon military industry, but upon the non-military industries, and upon the technical skill of those in the factories and workshops. In other words, the skilled workers whose 2023 services are so amply available in this country are those upon whom the country will have to rely—the men who construct delicate mechanical and chemical apparatus for every need. The workers are under no illusion on this point, and I trust that the Government are not either. In my opinion this question of labour could be best settled by extensive consultation. I am not pleading for it; I do not stand here as the representative of any organisation to ask for it; but we have been concerned about it. We know that some interests have been consulted, but so far as the general trade union movement is concerned there has not been any proposal or approach for consultation. In my opinion the Government would be well advised to have extensive consultations through those channels. They must understand that in this matter we are not dealing with inexperienced or unintelligent individuals. Their intelligency and experience are available provided a proper approach is made to them.
The trade unions of this country have had much experience of these matters, and I submit that the flamboyancy of a mere patriotic appeal is not sufficient and, quite rightly, would not be heeded. There is enough common sense and experience to know that that kind of thing, while it may interest public meetings, is not what is required for business relationships and discussions between those who formulate a material programme and those who are asked to execute it. In my own industry I remember vividly that after the War we were invited to agree to very extensive training of disabled ex-service men. Our union went into it and co-operated to a large extent. We brought thousands of men into the building industry, by agreement with some right hon. Gentlemen who are now on the Treasury Bench and others who are not. But our experience was that, after we had agreed to the appeal, we had over 180,000 of these men walking the streets, suffering all the privations and hardships associated with unemployment. That experience has been shared by the engineering and mining industries, and it is a matter of very grave concern.
I want the Government not to imagine that any approach they make will be regarded as hostile, or that they will be received with hostility. I am confident that any approach made by them would 2024 be entertained and considered on its merits with the same sincerity that is associated with all other consultations. It is a question of what can be done to see that such labour conditions as have been established—we are constantly endeavouring to raise them—should, such as they are, be jealously preserved, and we are anxious that nothing shall be done that will impair or undermine those conditions, which have been purchased at so great a cost. The conditions and practices of the workshop cannot be ridden over roughshod, and in this connection certain names have been mentioned which do not give the greatest degree of confidence that, in the production that is now required, ordinary labour conditions will be observed. However unfortunate an experience an individual or a group of individuals may have, the memory of it remains for a long time, and there is not the highest degree of confidence in the names that have been mentioned.
I would ask the Government to study the statistics of industrial disputes generally. It is very easy for them to say that they can hand this matter over to the employers, who can bring in the appropriate trade unions and discuss the matter. I would ask them to study the disputes which occurred during the last War, when, despite formidable pressure on all sides by the Munitions of War Act and other Acts, the conditions were so oppressive that, whatever the penalties and whatever the punishment involved, grave disputes and strikes occurred all over the country. The shop steward movement will be remembered. In spite of the fact that the people concerned could be treated powerfully under Acts of Parliament, bought before courts and sentenced to all sorts of punishment, that was not sufficient to hold down the economic discontent that existed, and existed justifiably, because it had not been dealt with. I would ask that that experience should not be forgotten or brushed on one side, but that the Government should remember it and the need for studying it at the present time.
Strikes only occur for very compelling reasons. For every dispute that takes place, hundreds of economic difficulties are satisfactorily negotiated and adjusted. But when strikes do take place they are very real things, and I urge the Government to consider the 2025 possibility of them in their programme. The trade union movement represents over 4,000,000 organised workers and it is very likely that many more millions will be organised. Out of living and practical experience, and not from books or theories, they have built up industrial regulations. I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister say that there would be no attempt at conscription, and I hope that will be reinforced by any statement that the Government will make to-night. He said that where there were dictators they were not able to rely on the same degree of good will as could be obtained in a country like ours. Where there were dictators people wondered what the workers would do. They did not know. In this country we have freedom and we prize and jealously guard that freedom. We are very sensitive to any attempt to curtail it. I ask the Government to recognise channels that already exist and are available which they may consult and which will no doubt assist in providing the necessary labour. I want them to give us a guarantee not only that labour standards will be observed, but that they will set up such machinery as is available for consultation and adaptation as changes come along. The region into which we are entering bristles with difficulties and, in order that production may be maintained, I suggest that they have the most intimate contact with trade unions, working on the principle of constant adaptation as conditions from time to time warrant.
It would appear from the White Paper that the Government have already received satisfactory assurances from the Federation of British Industries of their readiness to collaborate. I suggest that assurances from the workers would be much more important to them. The Federation of British Industries, so far as I am aware, does not deal essentially with production. There is another important organisation called the Federation of Employers which deals with the economic side. The Federation of British Industries deals with the marketing and commercial side. It is important to see that there is a fair wage clause in all contracts. My right hon. Friend who opened the Debate to-day asked other questions, such as in the event of workmen being conveyed from one part of the country 2026 to another what steps the Government propose to take as regards housing and what method of transport they propose to employ? The question also arises whether they propose to build additional national factories.
A number of other matters will arise which must be elaborated either in consultation with the British Trades Union Congress, where they can speak in a representative way for trade unionism, or discussing with individual units the question of the supply of labour in their branches of industry or allowing the employers to consult with their workmen in their respective industries. We take our stand in the promotion of peace and in doing everything we can to bring about a world understanding. We have tried many times to bring about such an understanding among the peoples of the world as will take out of the hands of Governments the power to declare war. I do not shrink from that effort now. Our movement is not pacifist without being realist. We are as anxious to preserve peace as any other party, but, when it comes to questions of defence, this organised movement of ours has expressed itself in no uncertain way. I am confident that, after all this discussion.1s carried through, the White Paper will be adopted and they will proceed to hand out the manufacture of munitions of war to individuals, extending present factories, building new national factories or something of that kind. I ask them to reflect on the experience of those who have engaged in similar work and be wise enough not to hand on the responsibility for consultation to someone else, but to take it in their own hands and themselves consult with the organised representatives of labour.
§ 6.55 p.m.
Mr, LLOYD GEORGE
I agree generally with the hon. Member's suggestion that, whatever steps are taken by the Government, an effort will be made to carry by consultation the full co-operation of organised labour. When I became responsible for the task of organising munitions in 1915, my first effort was to come to an understanding with trade union representatives. We had a very important conference at the Treasury and it lasted a long time. We discussed every detail of co-operation. I had the assistance of the late Lord Balfour, and we came to an agreement 2027 known as the Treasury Agreement, which, on the whole, worked very favourably and well right through the War. I urge the Government to take that into account and not confine their consultations to the employers' representatives, but carry along with them the representatives of labour as well.
I approach this White Paper from the point of view of one who believes that the time has come for a thorough reconsideration of the problem of national defence. In some observations that I made a few weeks ago I drew attention to the alarming growth of armaments throughout the world which is represented by a figure treble that of the aggregate cost of armaments when my right hon. Friend opposite negotiated the Locarno Treaty. Then it was £700,000,000. It is now £2,000,000,000, and the figure is going up. I feel that the whole problem of our national defence has to be considered very thoroughly in view of that very alarming growth. I also made the suggestion that before we undertook the enormous expenditure that will be involved in facing up to the rearmament of the world, we should make another effort to establish an understanding among the nations.
I listened with very great admiration to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), and with a good deal of agreement. I should like to indicate, as one who has had some experience in the manufacture of munitions of war, two or three points on which I am in agreement with him. The first is as to the importance of destroyers. I agree with him that battleships are at this moment almost irrelevant —he used the word "academic"—but destroyers may or may not become of urgent importance according to the events of the next few days. I remember the difficulties with which we were confronted in the matter of destroyers. My right hon. Friend knows well, and so do all those who know these naval matters as he does, that one of the troubles with regard to great battleships is that they absorb a considerable number of destroyers for their protection. I think of the submarine campaign of 1917, when I was urging the convoy system on the Admiralty, and one of the objections then raised was that they had no destroyers 2028 to spare, that they were all practically used tip in the protection of the Battle Fleet, cruisers and battleships. I ask my right hon. Friends to bear that in mind. Torpedo-boat destroyers are essential for the protection of our commerce. They are vital. They are more vital certainly than battleships. They are more vital than cruisers. I am talking about the experience of 1916–1917–1918, and I would support very strongly the appeal made by my right hon. Friend to the Government to concentrate immediately upon that aspect of naval building.
The second point on which I agree with him is with regard to the organisation of industry. I have looked at this White Paper, read and re-read it, and I was awaiting hopefully the speech of the Home Secretary who was going to explain it. I am not sure that I know much more about it now, certainly not of the things which are vital for us to know. There are many ways of organising industry for war. I agree with my right hon. Friend that it is essential that we should be ready in that respect. It is the one great advantage we have. But there is another reason why it is important. One of the lessons of the last War was that nobody quite knew what were the weapons that were going to tell. I wonder whether those who have read the history of the War, and those who have known it by terrible experience, would remember the things that were never foreseen which turned out to be decisive and which were neglected. Machine guns. There was no one believed in them. The attitude on the whole was that they were more of a toy than an essential weapon of war. Two per battalion. There was no provision for their manufacture; nobody anticipated that they were to be an essential weapon of the war. But they turned out to be the most deadly weapon in the War. The light and mobile gun—I am not sure that we were manufacturing it at all. I rather think we bought a foreign patent. The Lewis gun—I do not believe it was in existence at that time as far as the British Army was concerned. Heavy artillery—no one contemplated the possibility that it would be treated as a mobile weapon and taken to the battlefields. It was one of the surprises of the War. High explosives—nobody thought that would be used in the battlefield very much; it was all shrapnel. We had no 2029 fuses. It took us no end of time before we discovered one that was not more destructive to our own guns and our own men than to the enemy.
The fuses took months and months, and destroyed many of our guns and many of our gunners before we could get them right. They had not been thought out before the War. We had not even decided the ingredients which should fill our high explosive shells. That took months. It was a question of science, for people of experience in that matter, of experiment. I want the Government to bear that in mind. It is not a question of manufacturing only; it is a question of research and experiment. It may cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, but that is where we lost time and lives, and nearly lost the War. I would like to know what is being done about that. We have to have research; we have to experiment. Do not come to the conclusion that nothing is of use which does not cost millions.
Now I will come to the organisation of industry. As far as I understand the White Paper, there the idea of organising industry is to indicate factories and workshops at the present moment and fit them up. I think that is wrong. If ever the calamity of war overcomes us you must have every factory and workshop in this country at the disposal of the State. The factory that at the present moment which you are equipping and making provision for is not always the best for your purpose. It is a busy factory, a factory working overtime, a factory where they are doing well, where they are concentrating upon peace production and do not want to be taken away from that. Whatever body you set up—we are not at the moment discussing whether to have a Munitions Ministry or a Supply Ministry—I would leave it to them to manufacture the things that take time, jigs and gauges of which you may need hundreds in one little machine and which must be meticulously accurate. Those ought to be manufactured by the State, and manufactured at once. I would also leave the manufacture of machinery for the purpose of manufacturing machines to the State. You will be making experiments. They must be State experiments. You may be making alterations constantly, and new discoveries—whether it is in guns, or automatic rifles, machine guns, explosives. These are the things 2030 that the State ought to be undertaking. You may find that the machinery, or the jigs or the gauges must all be scrapped because of some new discovery which experiment has proved to be a complete success. You cannot pass that burden on to the private individuals, even if you compensate them.
It is a burden that the State must undertake. It gives them that complete freedom of experiment which, in my judgment, is vital. When you think of the gigantic costs of munitions and armaments, experiments do not cost as much as all that, but they may save hundreds of millions and have even greater results. Therefore, should we be involved in war, you can pick your factories. Some of the factories which we had to pick were very busy factories in peace time, works like Singer Sewing Machines, gramophones, motor manufacturers, all very busy during peace time, concentrating all the brains at their command on their daily task and their own experiments. If war comes you ought not to be dependent on the kind of factories you can set up in a depressed area. You ought to have the factory where you have the most skilful workmen and the best brains. If necessary you could take powers; it does not take long. I never found it necessary. You simply go to the factory and say, "You have to turn out so-and-so. Here are the jigs and the gauges, here are the plans and the designs, and here are the machines for the purpose." I would ask the Government, before they finally decide on their present method of organising industry, to take a more comprehensive view of the whole situation and themselves to undertake the responsibility of design of jigs and gauges and even of machine tools for the purpose, so that if war were declared they could put them straight away into any factory which they might choose.
I regret very much—and I am glad to see the Minister of Agriculture here—that the Government seem to ignore completely one of the most important elements in the defence of the realm, and that is the provision of food. We came nearer to defeat owing to food shortage than we did from anything else. I cannot understand why, when they are thinking out the whole problem of war and possible dangers, that the greatest danger of all seems to have been left out 2031 of account. I was very glad to see a letter of protest from four or five gentlemen of the party opposite which appeared in the "Times" against this oversight. If I had time I would dwell more upon it, but I cannot do so at the present moment. I may do so on some other occasion.
The other item about which I should have liked to have more information is the new organisation of the Committee of Imperial Defence. If it is to be nothing more than merely relieving the Prime Minister from part of his onerous duties in that respect—I do not say that that is not important—it is not enough. My right hon. Friend and I, and others here have had experience of the Committee of Imperial Defence. I never heard them discuss the problems of the kind of weapons which ought to be manufactured and what particular ships you ought to have. I am not sure that the Committee is quite suitable for that purpose. The new Minister ought to have, I will not say greater responsibilities than those of the Prime Minister as Chairman of the Committee of Imperial Defence, because his responsibility as Prime Minister is supreme, but a greater responsibility in the matter of co-ordination than the Committee of Imperial Defence ever exerted in my time. They never tried to adjust difficulties between rival claims from various departments. I am not sure that if they had tried they would have been the best body for the purpose, but I think that the new Minister ought to have wider functions. What is the difficulty now? You have the advisers of each of the Services, each really thinking in the terms of his own service, each seeing endless things which could be improved and trying to get as much as he can out of the Treasury for the things which, within the limits available, he is likely to secure. There is no real co-ordination. The three Ministers representing these Services win not on the merits of their case, but upon their controversial powers or, shall I say, their nuisance value. A pertinacious Minister, with a great gift of pressing forward his particular ideas, generally proves his argument.
When the War came the Services had been thinking departmentally, and not one of them was equipped with the things 2032 which turned out to be vital in the War. The admirals were very keen about mammoth ships. They were short of torpedo boat supplies. I have given a list of the things of which the Army was short, and I am not sure that they had thought of hand grenades. They had never thought of trench mortars, because they had never fought in trenches. They had not even given consideration to some kind of appliance or mechanism to enable troops to advance in a battle against rifle and gun fire. The impetus for that came not from the Army, which was responsible to the soldiers, but from the Navy. My right hon. Friend will agree with that. The tanks, which were a war weapon, were never thought about. They were inclined to scoff at them. There is a real danger of trusting too much to the mere professional, but it is equally true, when you come to legislation and when you come to dealing with great social problems, that the impetus, the inspiration comes from the civilian. The expert advises upon it, and helps to work it out, but the inspiration, somehow or other, comes freely through the Minister.
The same thing applies here. There is too much of a scramble between departments, and no thinking out of the problem of defence as a whole. That is why I hope that the new Minister will be independent. He will not be confined to his advice merely because he has advisers. There was an interesting sentence in the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) last night. He has always the courage to say things. He has said some very disagreeable things about me in his time, but that did not require particular courage. When you come to criticise the Services, however, it really does need courage. He said:Lastly, there is a distinct impression in service circles that, whereas what may be described as the men in secondary positions in the Army, Navy and Air Force, the men who are just not at the top, are men of progressive mind, of great knowledge of their profession, highly trained in peace and war, some of the heads of these Services are not of the calibre which wo had in the days immediately after the War."—[OFFICIAL REPORT 9th March, 1936; cols 1916–17, Vol. 309.]That represents the criticism when you speak of men who wee inside the Services. The man who has initiative, resource, imagination in times of peace has not often a good chance. He is a 2033 nuisance, and a costly nuisance. Men who want peace in their time do not want men of that type. If he does not mind my saying so—and I myself have been Chancellor of the Exchequer—the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not encourage men of that type because they are very expensive, and somehow you do not get that kind of man often at the top. Everybody knows that in the Services it is a kind of moving staircase. Merely by staying where you are you get gradually somewhere else, either to the first floor—some of them get off there—and some go to the attic. I hope that the Prime Minister—if I made any suggestion of names I know that the mere suggestion would damn them—will put somebody there who will have authority, courage and initiative. I realise that he must get a man from his own party, so that I am not one who is now making a trial sermon. I forget how many people voted for him at the last election. A million one way or the other does not make much difference. Let us say 12,000,000. Among 12,000,000 of people, he might find one man—one—of that kind. It is a vital appointment, and it must be somebody who will be strong enough to deal with the Services. He must he someone who, when great staff officers say, "I will resign if you do this," will say in language that I cannot use here "By all means." He must be somebody also who can face his own colleagues, and who, if he has an idea which is vital to the life of his country, will take his own life in his hands and be prepared to put in on the altar. It is no use having a second-rate man for a first-rate job.
I now depart from agreement with my right hon. Friend opposite. Will the House therefore tolerate a few minutes of disagreement between us? Defence is always to be ready for every contingency, and readiness, I agree, is not merely an accumulation of schemes, but to be ready to do something. But policy also plays a part. There was one thing that struck me in last night's Debate. Everybody was assuming, notably the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare), that there was but one enemy of which we had to think. I should like to say a word about that. If Germany is the only enemy that we have to think about, this White Paper is quite useless. This programme has no reference at all to Germany. If you have nothing more 2034 than this to put forward, it is nothing. Laying down battleships, to be delivered three or four years hence—even an additional 20 cruisers—what has that to do with it? Four battalions added to the infantry. It is fantastic, if you have Germany in your mind. If you have not, whom have you in mind? I should never have known from this White Paper whom you had in mind. It has nothing to do with war against Germany.
I do not agree with the estimate of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping about the power of Germany. Great, gigantic, the most formidable enemy the British Empire has fought, but we fought her. We must not run away and work ourselves into a panic. Take 1914. Germany had then as allies, Austria, with an army of very brave men, numbering 2,000,000 or 3,000,000, not equal to the German Army but still a very formidable army. The Austrian Army was half the number of the Italian Army, but it held the Italians up for three or four years. Her army was led by a very able General, a man of the greatest genius. Another ally was Turkey, who inflicted two severe defeats upon us and held hundreds of thousands of our men for four years. Certainly, Germany had great allies. She is now completely isolated. Austria, on the whole, is against, her. I am not talking of the little country known as Austria but a very much more formidable country, Czechoslovakia, a highly intelligent people, with a very well-trained army and a very well equipped army. When they fought on our side in Russia they were first-class fighting men. They have about 1,000,000 men, with reserves. I am not talking about their peace army.
What is the other difference? The other difference is that Russia in 1914 had an army disorganised, not very well led, fairly trained, utterly unequipped and with no means of equipping it behind the lines. They had a few works, very badly run. Their transport was a mess. They had about 1,000,000 cavalry. That was their idea of war. They had hardly any heavy guns. What is the condition now? According to the figures in the White Paper, Russia has a peace army of 1,300,000. Herr Hitler says that there are 17,000,000 of trained men in the reserves there. With conscription that would be about the figure, and they have been working for years. Their transport 2035 is enormously improved. They have a great industrial system behind the lines, and they have the finest Air Force in the world. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question?"] Do not let us have disagreement as to whether it is the best; it is certainly a very powerful air force. Germany, small; Germany with no allies; Germany with France, Russia and part of Austria against her. Any air force that they could bring in would overwhelm anything that Germany could produce.
You cannot proceed on the assumption that we are going to stand alone. The Prime Minister's speech was full of collective security; every other sentence was collective security. The Foreign Secretary spoke about collective security. When I was away they had rather a bad fall over it, and they were clinging to the bannisters of the Covenant lest they should have another stumble. What does collective security mean? It does not mean that we are standing alone. It means that you have all these forces together. Germany is not so mad, she would not commit so great a folly as to challenge them. That is why when they offer a 25 years' guarantee of non-aggression that I believe them, not, if you like, because I accept the words of a statesman who may be there to-day and elsewhere to-morrow, but because in the very nature of things it would be an impossible enterprise of Germany, with all these forces against her.
Whatever use this White Paper was last week, the conditions are completely changed. I am not going to question who is to blame. All I know is that I do not think France is in a position to point the finger of scorn at Germany on the ground of Treaty-breaking. Germany has been reckless, Germany has been rash, Germany has broken a Treaty, but in a court of equity she could call evidence which any judge would say provided some mitigation of her folly. For 12 years or more France has refused to carry out her undertaking to disarm. Even after Locarno, which was intended partly to provide a basis for disarmament, France has increased her armaments year after year. She is not in a position to talk about Treaty-breaking, but we have to deal with facts. What is going to happen? I have not the information which the Government have, but there are two or three things that may 2036 happen. I will give one which I will dismiss, but it has happened before. France may say: "This is our last chance. Germany is"—to use the words of my right hon. Friend opposite—"only half ready. In another two years it will be too late." France sincerely believes that. I do not know what view her military chiefs take. I do not know what view Marshal Pétain takes. I do not know whether he is at the head of the French Army, but he is a very great authority and a man of great caution and prudence.
Do not let us forget that the War of 1914 was made by that sort of consideration. Germany said, "Russia is preparing. She is making up all the deficiences in her army after the great disaster of the Japanese War. She is building strategic railways. She is constructing guns and factories."The German army said: "Unless you strike now, it will be too late." I think France will realise that that was disastrous counsel for Germany. It ended in the ruin of Germany, and also in the ruin of Russia. Germany was beaten because of the intervention of a country which was not ready. I dismiss that point, because I cannot imagine that the French peasant will agree to anything of that kind. What next? The next is that France will decline to negotiate except under conditions which Germany cannot accept. There is a door of opportunity thrown open, rashly, recklessly, dangerously by a bomb. The door is open. France says, "I will not go through it. I should be condoning a crime."
I do not know whether hon. Members have read to-night M. Flandin's statement. Perhaps the Government will tell me whether the statement that I am going to quote is substantially accurate or not. If it is not accurate, I will not press it. According to this statement the French demand as follows:
2037 It would be out of order to attempt to raise any discussion on that statement. I only point it out to the House, in so far as it has a bearing upon this White Paper. As to the first case, of what would happen if there were anything in the nature of hostilities, I have said that I dismiss that possibility. But in the other case, if France insists, in my judgment it makes this White Paper completely irrelevant. It will be for the Government to consider what their policy will be in those circumstances and it is something which will have to be prompt, not something to be done in three or four years' time. But whatever happens, it makes this White Paper perfectly irrelevant and not germane in the least to the conditions with which we are confronted. If we get negotiations which will end in 25 years of peace in Europe, your defence problem will be a different one.
- "(1) That the Locarno Powers send a very strong demand to Germany for the withdrawal of troops to the Rhineland,
- (2) That the Locarno Powers refuse to negotiate in any way with Germany so long as German troops are in the Rhineland, and
- (3) That if Germany refuses to withdraw her troops the Locarno Powers should ask for sanctions, the first of which would be the withdrawal of Ambassadors from Berlin."
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
As far as I know, Herr Hitler has said that he is prepared to sign a pact of non-aggression as far as the East is concerned.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
At any rate, neither my hon. Friends nor I can answer for Herr Hitler. That is a question at least that should be asked, and I think it is important. I was assuming, however, 25 years of peace in Europe. If you have that, I do not say your problem of defence is over—because the East has been completely overlooked—but it is a different problem. Taking all these circumstances into account, what is the effect upon the White Paper? I did not understand a good deal of this document, but, having listened to the Debate, I think I understand it a little better. Whether my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping is the expositor of it or not, I do not know.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Well, I thought not. At any rate whatever happens in the course of the next few days the Government will have to reconsider their problem and they will need a totally different plan—a scheme with more inspiration than exists at the present moment.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Admiral of the Fleet Sir ROGER KEYES
The House will sympathise with me, a junior Member and a rather tongue-tied back-bencher, in having to follow the right hon. Gentleman in the great oration which we have just heard. I shall not attempt to follow him in a discussion on naval strategy, but I would like to remind him, and, I believe he will agree with me, that but for the presence of the Grand Fleet (which neutralised the High Sea Fleet) in the North Sea during the War, and prevented the exit of powerful raiding ships—such as those which Germany is now building—his destroyer-protected convoys would never have reached these shores. But I agree with him and with my right hon, Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) very fully as to the urgent need for building anti-submarine craft in great numbers, not necessarily destroyers of the regulation type of about 1,400 tons, but still craft for anti-submarine work. I listened in yesterday's Debate to the valuable contribution of the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), and I thought it was a little hard on the Chiefs of Staff who are now in office, to compare them with the Chiefs of Staff of the past. At any rate, it is very much to their credit that they work in harmony and are not perpetuating the unhappy state of affairs which was somewhat indiscreetly exposed in another place recently.
With reference to this White Paper, it is satisfactory to note that the Government have not been influenced by the mischievous ceaseless and foolish propaganda of a certain type of air protagonists to discredit the Navy. I do not, of course, refer to the gallant airmen who fly over the sea, for whom I have an unbounded admiration and who, like the people who serve in submarines under the sea, are fully alive to their abilities and limitations. Nor do I refer to the Air Ministry, which has carried out in co-operation with the Admiralty most exhaustive trials to test the power of bombs on battleships. Those trials have proved most conclusively to naval constructors that the modern battleship runs less risk from the heaviest bomb dropped from the air than from the plunging fire of heavy shells and modern torpedoes—far heavier than those which 2039 any seaborne aircraft can carry. However, these are matters which can be better debated when the Naval Estimates are presented, and I hope that the Noble Lord who represents the Admiralty will make a definite statement on this subject and once and for all dispose of the misleading statements which have been made in this House and in the Press. If there is any doubt about the matter, why should France, Germany and Italy, all nations who have, like ourselves, have great faith in air power and whose navies operate mostly in the narrow seas, be building great powerful battle-shops which are certain to be far better equipped for modern warfare than our 22-year-old renovated battleships could possibly be? That the Government fully recognise the value of the Navy is very well expressed in paragraph 22 of the White Paper, which refers to:the overwhelming importance of the Navy in preserving our sea communications.Those sentiments are excellent, and as far as they go, they are all to the good, but with 12 battleships, 14 cruisers and 40 destroyers over-age and due for replacement, I think the immediate replacement programme in this White Paper is absurdly modest. All three European naval Powers, Germany, France and Italy are not only building great powerful battleships and cruisers such as I have referred to, but, unrestricted by the London Treaty, they are building types of ships which we are not even allowed to build under the monstrous terms of that Treaty. Yet in the perilous state of Europe to-day we are told that two capital ships will be replaced, and we are given a cruiser programme which will take six years to provide the 70 cruisers considered necessary 10 or 12 years ago, when Germany was still practically unarmed and war was very remote. Further, we are only promised "a steady replacement programme of destroyers" although, in destroyers, our numbers fall far below the number permitted even by the London Treaty. I think the Government ought to do more to relieve the country of the grave anxieties expressed in paragraph 9 of the White Paper in which they declare:Although in the circumstances created by the Italo-Abyssinian conflict His Majesty's Government were able to make 2040 the dispositions which the situation required, they were embarrassed by the decline of the effective strength of their armaments by sea, land and air… It was only possible to safeguard the position in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea by denuding other areas to an extent which might have involved grave risks.In paragraph 10 the Government appear still to rely on collective action but the world knows that the only collective action in the dispute between Italy and the League of Nations was the collection of British Forces in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
I venture to make a few remarks in connection with the co-ordination of the defence forces because I have had the opportunity of attending the Committee of Imperial Defence under five different Administrations, including Coalition, Conservative, and Socialist Administrations. During four years there were four different Prime Ministers and I only remember seeing the Prime Minister preside on two or at the most three occasions. At that time the Committee of Imperial Defence was invariably presided over by a statesman of great experience and prestige—Lord Balfour, Lord Curzon, Lord Salisbury, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping, and, under the Socialist Government, Lord Haldane, whose wisdom and statesmanlike qualities kept the Socialist Administration very straight in matters of defence. In those days war was considered remote and the ten year rule, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary explained so clearly to-day, was still in existence. As far as the Navy was concerned, the question then was one of balancing financial needs against the minimum necessity of keeping in being the Fleet, our dockyards, building establishments, and the nucleus of their personnel, by the steady replacement of overage ships. This went on until 1929, when the second Socialist Government destroyed the defence forces of the country in the so-called interests of peace.
I do not wish to be provocative or to dwell on the past, but I would like to declare with the greatest emphasis that the new procedure outlined in the White Paper in Part III, paragraphs 46 and 47, will mean nothing and will be a snare and a delusion unless the Prime Minister appoints, as Chairman, a statesman of 2041 proved ability, wide experience, vision, and determination, It is so important for the people of the country and so immensely important for the three Services that they should trust the new Minister. Imagine the feelings, for instance, of the Navy, if a Minister is appointed who is not prepared to reopen with sympathy the question of the control of the Naval Air Service. The wings of the Navy were pinioned by the policy which inflicted on the Admiralty a system of dual control over its Air Service, and this folly has vitally affected the efficiency of the Navy and hampered the progress and the development of naval aviation. Of if he appoints a politician who can only think in terms of the air and is obsessed with the fear of London being bombed, to the detriment of all other aspects of Imperial defence. Or if he appoints some untried, young politician who may have distinguished himself as a regimental officer in the Great War, but who lacks the experience and the prestige which are so necessary for a Minister who is to preside over the three Chiefs of Staff, to say nothing of the Ministers of the Departments. It simply would not be fair to such a Minister to have to carry out these duties, and it certainly would not be of any use to the country.
The value of this new procedure depends simply and solely on the personality of the man selected to fill the appointment. Moreover, the selection of the man will convey to the country, as well as to our friends and potential enemies abroad, the measure and quality of the Government's intentions in the matter of putting. our defences in order. There are two right hon. Members of this House, who have both spoken to-day, who have unrivalled experience and achievement behind them in hours of peril. I refer, of course, to the right hon. Members for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and Epping.
§ Sir R. KEYES
Youth is a matter of spirit and heart. My right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs selected my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping in one of the darkest hours of the War to reorganise the munitions of the country, a task which he fulfilled with outstanding ability and very 2042 much to the satisfaction of the Army. In 1914, thanks to the right hon. Member for Epping, we had a Navy which held the ring while the armies and munition factories, etc., were improvised. We have none of these things now, and I submit that this is no time to experiment. Judging by the speeches of the right hon. Members for Carnarvon Boroughs and Epping this afternoon, it is very doubtful if they have been consulted at all. I do not know whether they have been consulted or not, but I think I speak for some Members in every part of this House when I say that they would welcome the appointment of the right hon. Member for Epping, if the Prime Minister could persuade him to give his services in this great matter of reorganising the defences of the country.
We were in peril in 1914. There is far greater peril now. Here we are, pledged to every kind of action, under various treaties, which may lead to war, and we are utterly unprepared, except in the Mediterranean, where the presence of a British fleet in an improvised base at Alexandria governs the situation—a fleet unperturbed by the presence of Italian submarines which have frequently been located diving in the vicinity or by the fear of Italian aircraft. It is a very different matter at home. We have no military expeditionary force, we have very inadequate anti-aircraft defences, and there are hardly any ships left in home waters ready for service. The great air organisation which was built up by the Admiralty to co-operate with surface craft in bringing our convoys through the narrow seas and into our ports, and which was operated by the Admiralty until the end of the War, simply does not exist. It is true that the Government declared last May that they intended to treble the Air Force, and it is pretty well known that the Air Ministry were given practically a blank cheque to do so, but the expansion is proceeding very slowly, pending the reorganisation of industry and of labour.
The hon. Members opposite who represent trade unions could be of enormous help to the Government, and incidentally to the people whom they represent in Parliament, if they gave whole-hearted co-operation in this matter. Ever since I entered this House I have hoped to see this question of security and defence taken out of the sphere of party politics. 2043 If the Opposition were in power to-day and bore the immense responsibility for our security and for providing our fair share in collective action, which they so warmly advocate, I believe they would not hesitate to carry out a programme just as large as that which is indicated in the White Paper; and I beg hon. Members opposite, after to-day—I take it there is bound to be a Division—to drop their opposition and show a united front to the world, to show that we are united in the determination to give security to the country and to take a fair and proper share in the maintenance of the peace of the world.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Major MILNER
I do not propose to follow the hon. and gallant Member for North Portsmouth (Sir R. Keyes) very far in what he has said, but I would point out to him that the whole of his speech has taken it for granted that the proposals in the White Paper can be justified up to the hilt. We on this side, before we approve of that White Paper, have to be satisfied of that fact, and the hon. and gallant Member has certainly not contributed to our being so satisfied. He has dealt entirely with a multitude of details on which, assuming the Paper was approved in the first place, I have no doubt we could agree to support him, but he, like the rest of the party opposite, has made no effort whatever to justify the proposals contained in the White Paper.
I think the House ought to thank the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) for putting the position which is now before the House in its proper perspective. The right hon. Gentleman, who at the commencement of his speech appeared to be unconditionally approving the White Paper, ended by making it quite clear that in his view, as I understood him, in the present circumstances at any rate, the proposals in the White Paper were quite irrelevant. He further made it clear that he did not for a moment agree with the statements of the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). Naturally we on this side expected the bellicose and extravagant speech which was in fact delivered by the right hon. Member for Epping. He made it clear—and I think by the support which he frankly received from the benches behind him that a great 2044 many other Members there also made it clear—that he and his friends stand for re-armament, increased armaments, and increased armaments again, without consideration for cost, or effort, or time, or anything else.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke about the £600,000,000 to £1,500,000,000, one of which figures he understood was the amount expended by the German Government on armaments in the last two or three years, but he omitted to state that we in this country have spent over £2,000,000,000 since the Armistice in armaments. Is it to be suggested that the whole of that money has been wasted, that the battleships, or the equipment, or the barracks, or the guns, or whatever it may be are all of them useless, in either the present situation or in any emergency which we can forecast in the next few years? This country, it should be remembered, has spent since the Armistice over £250 a minute day and night in the provision of armaments and armed forces for this country and the Empire—an enormous sum. The most striking feature of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, however, was this, that not once from beginning to end did he mention our obligations under the Covenant of the League or did he indicate that he had the remotest notion that at any rate the matter of collective security was one which ought to be under the consideration of His Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman and his friends who supported him so whole-heartedly tore away the last shred of the case which they have been trying to make out that they in fact believe in this collective security of which they speak so much.
He made it clear that our proposed rearmament was directed against one nation only, Germany, and that the calculations in the White Paper, and his own calculations, were based entirely on this country standing alone and had no relation whatever to forces which in an emergency might be called to our aid by our membership of the League of Nations. It is on that basis that the White Paper ought to be judged. Surely the right way of looking at this matter, if we are faithful adherents of the League, which the Government profess to be, is to calculate our requirements alongside and in addition to those of other members of the League and, indeed, by agreement, with the League Powers decide what our 2045 proportion should be. That is collective security. But no examination of this aspect of the case has apparently been made by the Government during the last year. There is a fatal confusion of thought throughout the whole White Paper on this matter. If hon. Members will turn to paragraph 10 they will read:It is true that an increase in the armed strength of other nations who will cooperate for collective security may increase the power of the League.That is all very well as far as it goes, but look at the next two lines:But an increase of armed strength may also prove an added power in the hands of a possible aggressor.That means that if any nations of the League increase their armaments it is an indication for the British Government that these other Powers, joined in the League with us, are potential aggressors against us. The absurdity of that argument surely does not need to be stressed. To suggest that the armed strength of our fellow-members of the League is or may be an added power against us is an absolute reversal of the real situation as it should exist, and as it does, in fact, exist. Then look at the last few lines of the same paragraph. It is perfectly clear what is in the mind of the Government. It says:It is essential that the relation of our own armed forces to those of other Great Powers should be maintained at a figure which will be high enough to enable us to exercise the influence and authority in international affairs which are alike required for the defence of vital British interests, and in the application of the policy of collective security.Two things are there involved—the defence of vital British interests and the policy of collective security. If the Government were sincere in their support of the policy of collective security they would have said: "For the defence of vital British interests through the application of the policy of collective security," instead of dealing with the two questions as being entirely independent. It is clear that the Government are not basing their policy on collective security to-day any more than they have during the four years they have been in power. They are endeavouring to obtain what they believe will be a certain measure of security by endeavouring to obtain supremacy. There can be no security that way. Other nations are entitled to make the same claim, and all quite 2046 obviously cannot be supreme. The acid test which the House should apply before approving the White Paper is whether the Government are in fact upholding the principle of collective security and whether they are prepared to undertake to modify and condition their proposals by the requirements of the League. That would obviously require consultation. Are the Government prepared to consult other Powers of the League as to what contribution this country should make to collective security? If the Government are not prepared to give that undertaking, then every hon. Member ought to vote against the Motion approving the White Paper.
I want to address myself to the question as to how far the matter now before the House has been affected by the declaration of Herr Hitler. Admittedly the German Herr Hitler has committed a breach of solemn obligations which Germany and Herr Hitler himself undertook, and admittedly there is a widespread feeling that if in the future some other engagement were entered into the German word might not be her bond. What are we going to do? I suggest that we ought to take advantage of Herr Hitler's offer to negotiate through and by reason of his promise to return to the League; and that we should negotiate not only on the matters on which Herr Hitler has offered to negotiate, but also on this very matter of disarmament. We might say to Herr Hitler—I have no doubt the French will say it—"You have broken, in our view, one of the obligations which you undertook; you have committed a breach of a treaty or treaties, and if we are going to enter into further engagements or treaties it must be made practically impossible for such a breach to take place again." The way in which we can make it impossible is obviously to obtain the greatest possible measure of disarmament. It ought to be possible to make the fact of the breaking of an undertaking a reason for insisting on the removal of the possibility of any such breach in the future.
I know it will be said that this is impossible, but I would remind hon. Members that Herr Hitler has made frequent offers of disarmament during the past two or three years. As far as I am aware, these offers have never been considered, at any rate seriously. Herr Hitler offered 2047 to accept any limitation of armaments which other nations would accept; he offered to limit the German army to 200,000 or 300,000 men; he offered an air pact. In my view he should be taken at his word. In the meantime, it would be right and proper for the Government, having regard to the particular irrelevance of the White Paper to any difficulty or situation which may arise in the next month or two, to offer to suspend taking part in the armaments race. If the Government did that, it would be an ameliorating factor. If we proceed, as is suggested, with speed and energy, our action will quite obviously aggravate the situation. The Government ought not only to offer to suspend the operation of the White Paper, but ought to make an effort in the negotiations, which I hope and believe will take place, to obtain agreement between France, Germany, and ourselves, and it may be other nations, through the League of Nations for an international tribunal in equity which could be accepted by all the nations of the world as capable of dealing with all the matters which are now in dispute both in Europe and elsewhere.
It seems to me that an opportunity is presented not only to solve many of our present difficulties, but to obtain a large measure of disarmament, and I hope agreement upon the setting up of such a tribunal, which would dispose of many difficulties in the future. It is my submission that in that way, and not in our becoming the leaders in an arms race, lies the possibility of peace. In any other way, there is the certainty of war.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ Wing-Commander JAMES
The hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down will perhaps forgive me if I do not follow him in his arguments, but in view of the number of hon. Members who wish to speak and the limited time that is disposable, I would like briefly to refer to the speech made by the Home Secretary this afternoon. The only other speech with which I would have been tempted to deal is that of the hon. and gallant Admiral who sits below me. To that speech 1 will make only one reference. It appeared to me to furnish a very good illustration of the urgent need for a completely independent and strong joint General Staff to argue out those 2048 problems and difficulties of the various Services which are so frequently referred to on the Floor of the House.
The Home Secretary referred to page 15 of the White Paper, that part relating to the proposals designed to secure more efficient co-ordination between the three fighting Services. I confess that after having listened to his remarks I was no wiser than I was before I had read the White Paper, and rather less wise than I thought I was after I had read the speech of the Noble Lord the Secretary of State for Air, who spoke on the same topic in another place the other day. If I followed him correctly, the Home Secretary made the point that the proposed reforms in the matter of reorganisation of co-ordination had been effected by the 10-years plan. I fail completely to understand what the 10-years plan could have had to do with that reorganisation.
What we have in this White Paper is a tacit admission of a fact which many people have been pressing on the Government for a very long time, and it is that the existing system of the Committee of Imperial Defence is inadequate. There is also an admission of the fact that there has for many years past been laid upon the shoulders of that most distinguished public servant who has been in virtual control of co-ordination a burden far greater than any man, even he, could possibly be expected to bear. I hope that in saying this I shall not be taken as in any way deprecating a man whose services have been of such value to this country. I admit that when I first read the White Paper and those paragraphs on page 15 to which I have referred, I was exceedingly disappointed, but when I had read them in conjunction with the speech of the Secretary of State for Air in another place, I felt very much more hopeful. What disturbs me now is that what we have heard in this House is not only less emphatic than was the Secretary of State for Air, but less emphatic even than the White Paper.
I would like now to deal with one or two details. In doing so, there is the difficulty, of course, that the White Paper gives the overriding assurance that this is only a beginning, and that the Minister will have powers to put things right as he finds it necessary to do so. We are, however, entitled to criticise that part of the framework which is exposed 2049 to our gaze. I admit that it would be undesirable, and indeed impossible, at this stage to attempt to put forward a complete plan; that is something which can only be worked out in the light of experience; but this House will, I hope, watch very carefully to see that the Government do fill in the frame work which they have now devised. We are entitled to be a little suspicious because of the immense time the Government have taken in putting forward a framework.
I believe that evolution is necessary, and I am certain that if the Minister is given the powers foreshadowed and is adequately supported by the Cabinet, that evolution will take place. Indeed, I am well aware of the fact that the whole tendency of new departments is to swell unnaturally, and it is possible that the Government are unduly afraid of that. f do not know whether the Home Secretary remembers a document which achieved some notoriety at General Headquarters in France in 1918, when he and I were both there, and one paragraph of which read as follows:If two Brigadier-Generals' General Staff are found to be doing the work of one Brigadier-General General Staff, the remedy lies either in the promotion of the one or in the creation of a third Brigadier-General.It may be that the Government are unduly afraid that would happen. If so, I do not think that in this case their fears are justified. I do not wish to be unreasonably critical, because we have been given something, but I want to express the belief that it will ultimately be found that, to use a current, cant phrase, the proposed "high-level bridge" for co-ordination will be found to be in quite the wrong place in these proposals.
There are available to-day in the three Services officers of considerable seniority who have had joint training in the Imperial Defence College. I took the trouble to get the figures concerning these officers, and I find that there are serving officers who have been through the course in the following ranks: in the Navy, one Vice-Admiral and 14 Rear-Admirals; in the Army, eight Major-Generals; in the Air Force, three Air Vice-Marshals, and nine Air Commodores. Surely there is here the material for a joint general staff very much stronger than any visualised in the White Paper. There is one reference in the White Paper 2050 which I regret very much because although I have no doubt it is unintended, it is very misleading. The paragraph to which I refer is in the middle of page 15, and is as follows:In any event, and for the purposes of co-ordinated planning, the existing Joint Planning Committee… will be supplemented by three officers drawn respectively from the Navy, Army and Air Force, who will be graduates of the Imperial Defence College.Anybody reading that paragraph would naturally assume that there had been in existence a Joint Planning Committee which had, indeed, prepared joint plans in the sense of having some powers of initiation. That is not the case, however, and never has been, because the existing Joint Planning Committee consists of no more than three relatively junior officers who have had no other function than that of being mere devils, in the legal sense of the word, and have had no power of initiation in any way. The mere fact that disharmony exists between the three Services shows that something is wrong and that there are diverse interests. Yet in this White Paper there is nothing about increasing the importance, or the numbers, or the scope, of the Imperial Defence College, which remains a very small drop in the ocean of staff training. I hope that that will be remedied.
There are great difficulties ahead and nobody who has studied the problem would minimise them. I do not want, especially after the speeches to which we have listened, to anticipate them. The crux of the problem is twofold. Firstly and obviously, who is going to be the Minister? That is a very difficult matter, and whoever is appointed will have a difficult task. The second problem is whether the three Services will really work together. Can the Minister make them work together and will the three Services do what has not always been done before, namely, accept without reservation and equivocation Government policy when it is put before them? In another place the Secretary of State for Air defined the Government's objectives in this matter as being the creation of a "joint General Staff in the truest and fullest sense of the word." That, clearly, is what is wanted. I am disappointed that the Home Secretary this afternoon did not emphasise that note.
2051 I do not see how without a joint General Staff in the truest and fullest sense of the word, divorced to a large extent, if not completely, from routine departmental duties, it will be possible for the Government and for the defence Services adequately to perform that overriding duty that now rests upon the Government, namely, to consider defence in relation to the League of Nations. Our naval, military and air commitments there are something quite new, and I do not see how any staff which is not detached from routine duties can apply itself to problems so new. While thanking the Government, perhaps somewhat grudgingly, for the White Paper, I was glad to hear that we are to be given an opportunity of debating this joint service problem annually. I can assure the Government that there are many of us who will hope next year to be much more satisfied than we have been this year on this particular topic.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Sir STAFFORD CR1PPS
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will excuse me I, too, will not follow him, because I want to cut my remarks as short as possible in order to allow other speakers to contribute to the Debate before the time comes for winding-up. Anybody who has listened to the Debate during the last two days must have been struck by the note of the inevitability of war which has pervaded all the speeches in support of the White Paper. It is quite true that many of the speakers have said—and I believe them most profoundly—that they are the last people to desire war. I am sure that that is a common feeling among all Members of the House and substantially among all members of the community of this country. Nevertheless, their speeches have left us in no doubt that this White Paper has been prepared because the Governent now regard the situation as one in which war is inevitable within the next few years. There is not the slightest doubt of that proposition, and if anybody had doubted it before, the universal applause from those benches which met the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) would have proved that fact. His speech was undoubtedly the true logical exposition of the viewpoint of the Government stripped of those nice phrases 2052 which are added for public consumption by the peace-loving people of this country.
No one doubts his sincerity or anyone else's sincerity as regards the desire to obviate this tragedy, but a good many hon. Gentlemen seem to forget that when they are asking the working-class of this country to come in and support these tragic preparations for mass murder in the not too far distant future, and the devastating wastage of productive energy which is contemplated, the working-class have a real right to express their view on the method which should be adopted in the present difficulties of the world. It is only too true, as one right hon. Gentleman remarked, that every common man and woman in the world to-day wants peace. They, I believe, are reaching the stage when they are not prepared any longer to be dictated to by the ruling class in any country as to how they should pursue that peace. Certainly the mass of the people are more vitally concerned in the dangers of war than any select class of the community.
The mass of the people have, I believe, as much or more common sense in this matter than any other class. That common sense has, I believe from my experience in speaking in the country in the last few weeks, taught the people that armaments do not mean safety. That old idea has now come to be discarded. Indeed, the White Paper itself admits that proposition where it says, on the top of page 8, that this piling up of armaments can give no guarantee of peace. Yesterday, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare) was speaking, he told us in some picturesque phrases that the world had entered upon a new epoch, and, indeed, that the first chapter of that new epoch had already been written. That is true, and he told us some of the incidents of that new epoch starting in the post-war period. That epoch has been marked by the most profound economic difficulties in nation after nation—difficulties which have produced political repercussions and which have led us to witness the substantial disappearance of democracy in a large part of the world. With that disappearance of democracy has come the ever-increasing danger of war, and it is that 2053 feature of this first chapter of the new era of history which it is so vitally important that we should observe. As the decrease in power of control of the ordinary people has occurred in country after country, so the corresponding danger of war has arisen in and around those countries. It is where no longer the common sense of the ordinary man and woman can be brought to bear upon these problems that you get the greatest danger to-day.
Then the right hon. Member for Chelsea went on to say that we on this side of the House, although we were the most progressive, or the furthest on the Left, yet seemed to hanker after the old method of dealing with this new era in history. It is the Government and the right hon. Gentlemen who are hankering after the old method. Why, these speeches which have been made might have been made at any period of time in the last 100 years when similar conditions had arisen in Europe. There is nothing new about them. The right hon. Member for Chelsea says, "Speed, speed, speed." That is only translating into the new terms of industrial development the old desire to raise armaments in order to get what is thought to be protection against an enemy. Their methods are, indeed, the old pre-war methods that have marked Capitalism and Imperialism throughout the whole historical period, and the only suggestion of novelty—and this is interesting—which emerged from the right hon. Gentleman's speech was that we must do away with this democratic control—like Treasury sanctions and things of that sort. No doubt he has been taking lessons from Herr Hitler on how you can make an efficient machine, under Capitalism, to fight the most devastating war.
But this raises the problem of whether it is really the Defence Forces that we ought either to examine or to concentrate our energies upon. Take one single point in the speech of the Colonial Secretary last night. He admitted that the Government still take the view that the bombers must always get through. If that be so, what is the good of concentrating our attention upon Defence Forces at all? What is the good of contemplating the enormous expense and the vast complexity of this organised barbarism, upon which we are now about to embark, when it is universally 2054 admitted that it cannot ultimately bring any safety to the population of this country This vast elaboration of organisation only shows how everybody realises the ineffectiveness of that organisation. And it is not realism, as hon. and right hon. Gentlemen so often like to pride themselves it is, to spend all human energy, all organisation, all power, all the inventive genius and all the wealth of the country upon the elaboration of this barbaric device unless hon. and right hon. Gentleman opposite are prepared to admit the complete bankruptcy of created thought in their ranks. If they say that, sitting down as reasonable individuals, they themselves can see absolutely no other means of dealing with these vast differences in international society, all I can say is that it is time they gave way, as a Government, to people who can at least see the possibility of other methods of solving international differences.
We here are not prepared to see all this energy and life poured out without any attempt whatsoever being made to reorganise the economic life of the world upon some basis which will enable the elimination of war to become an accomplished fact. Look at the White Paper. Immense, carefully worked out plans of how all this organisation can take place. Not a word has been said of any plan that is going to enable the Government to avoid the necessity of war. This is not avoiding the necessity of war; this is trying to be successful when the war takes place. All the wealth can be poured out, committees set up, staffs created, whole Departments of State organised in order that we may be successful in an event which everybody wishes to avoid, yet which the Government regard as inevitable; and not one ounce of energy, as far as we know—not even the "Minister of Thought" and his Department being utilised—to try to defeat the possibility of war by dealing with the fundamental causes of war which exist to-day in the world.
True, they pay lip service to collective security, but collective security is an empty phrase in the mouths of people who are always supporting an economic system the basis of which is competition. How can you believe in competition between nations in the economic field and at the same time believe that you can bring them together to secure collectively 2055 —what? What are they going to secure? What is the objective of this phrase "collective security"? Are you going to secure the British Empire? The right hon. Gentleman would no doubt answer "Yes." Are you going to secure the status quo under the Treaty of Versailles? No doubt the answer is "Yes." And yet these are the very economic factors, among others in the world to-day, which admittedly are producing the economic difficulties which are largely causing the war danger. What is the good of devising an elaborate system by which you are going to secure the continuance of that competition which is creating the desire of armaments and at the same time think that by that system you are going to create a device which will do away with the necessity for a solution of those difficulties by war?
Collective security, if it is to secure the right things, may be a most valuable weapon in the world. Collective security to secure that the fullest abundance could be distributed in this world to-day, to secure the workers of the world against exploitation, whether in Colonial countries, in Dominions or in capitalist countries themselves, would be a thing that might well be worth while, but collective security which is intended merely to stabilise those very incidents in our civilisation which are causing war to-day is something to which nobody who desires peace can give any support. That is why "collective security" in the mouth of a capitalist or an imperialist Government must be a hollow phrase, and so it has proved itself.
I am not proposing in these few minutes to examine all that has been done by the Government, or the pretences that have been put up as regards collective security. Everybody knows that on every occasion the Government have let down those people who were foolish enough to rely on their pretences. That will, and must, always happen, and there is no cure for the circumstances in which we find ourselves to-day unless we can turn the mind of the world from the inevitability of the solution by war to the far more hopeful means of solution by economic agreement. Instead of elaborating white papers in order to build up armaments in this great race, why do the Government not elaborate plans for an economic 2056 solution of the world's difficulties? That might be a difficult thing to do. Granted that it is, look what is to come on the other side. On the other side lies the tragedy of a war far greater than anything we have yet experienced in civilisation. In order to avoid that war it is surely worth while to do as I suggest. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping said that any one would be prepared to have a hand cut off. Is Capitalism prepared to liquidate its system of Imperialism in order to avoid war? That is the question which is before the world to-day, and unless some Government be prepared to take that step I hope that the workers in this country will see that a workers' government is put in charge in this country, prepared to take that step.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ Sir EDWARD GRIGG
The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is rather apt to threaten his political opponents with the suspicion, displeasure and even with the vengeance of the working men and women of this country. Whenever he does that, my first reaction is a very severe inferiority complex, but second thoughts supervene, and I begin to reflect that many of us represent quite as many working men and women as he does. My confidence is that we shall hold the confidence of the working men and women of this country against the views which he presents. I nevertheless agree with him that armaments are not going to solve the problem of war, but there are Powers—not peoples but Governments—which believe that the best way of dealing with the status quo is by force. I believe that it is only by organising force against that that we shall gain time to solve the much wider and more difficult problem to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has called attention, and to which also the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) called attention with so much eloquence earlier this afternoon.
The House has listened to two great speeches. My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) presented a case, which I believe to be absolutely unanswerable, for rearmament at the most rapid pace which this country can achieve. When he expressed regret that many of the steps which have been 2057 taken have not been taken earlier, he was not overstating the case. He referred to a Debate last, year on the question of the chairmanship of the Committee of Imperial Defence. I remember in. the last Parliament an even earlier Debate on the Committee of Imperial Defence. It took place in March, 1934, when precisely the steps which are now being taken were strongly recommended to the Government. I wish indeed that that reorganisation had been carried out earlier. However that may be, we have now to deal with the facts as they are. The, right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping asked, "Is there time?" He did not answer that question. The only answer I can suggest to-day is that I do riot believe that we shall have time if we are to rely upon ourselves alone to keep the peace, but that we shall have time if we keep our friends, and keep with us the Powers that are in favour of peace.
The major problem for this country at the present time is how to keep together, as a guarantee of peace, the Powers which want peace. I do not believe that in any quarter of the House there will be disagreement with that proposition. The right hon. Gentleman was followed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who painted a very dark picture of the possibilities that may follow the recent German action in the Rhineland. I do not propose to pursue him on that course. I doubt whether discussion of those possibilities in this House at the present time can do any good. The right hon. Gentleman while painting those very dark possibilities, and while expressing very decided views about them, nevertheless seemed to assume that we could count, because the German Government have offered it, on 25 years of peace. I did not quite understand how, after painting Europe as he painted it, he arrived at that conclusion, but, nevertheless, that was the view which he stated.
§ Mr. TINKER
The right hon. Gentleman only assumed that position if the proposal of Germany came off.
§ Sir E. GRIGG
Let us take it at that. The right hon. Gentleman assumed that the negotiations with Germany and the other Powers, and more particularly with the signatories of the Locarno Treaties, had enabled us to arrive at an arrangement by which 25 years of peace is 2058 guaranteed. I have two observations to make as to the speech which he made, if that is what he wishes to secure. We shall not secure that objective without the co-operation and the assistance of France. If that is what we want to get, it is a mistake to begin by denouncing France. We are all entitled to our own views about French policy in the last 15 or 20 years, but I cannot, on this subject, forget that the first defaulter in the whole peace system was the United States. From the moment that the United States refused to come into the League and went out of the peace system it lost a balance which was intended from the very start, and denied security to France. With the absence of the United States went also our guarantee and that entitled France to take a very different course from that which she had promised on the assumption that all nations had carried out their undertakings under the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League. Let us never forget the fact when we talk of defaulting on Treaties, that France was not the first.
In any case, it is not much use, whatever view we take about it, indulging in recrimination. That will not help us at the present time. We have to deal with facts at the present moment, and very grave facts they are. What are they? Germany is re-armed, and, when people in this country and in other parts of Europe — Germany's neighbours — are asked to rely upon a guarantee of friendship from the German Government, it is essential to bear in mind one fact. Dictatorships always reach a dilemma in their affairs. There is nothing new about that. The reason why Signor Mussolini went into Abyssinia was not, in my opinion, any African argument; it was an internal argument. The reason why Herr Hitler has walked into the Rhineland is not that he thought that that was the best way of dealing with the European situation or the real needs of Germany; it was internal necessity—divisions in his own country and the difficulties that he had to face. Let us remember that these things recur. Dictatorships are going to be faced by these difficulties, because of the system which they impose upon peoples, whether we make treaties of friendship with them or not, and, therefore, do not let us be too hasty in counting upon their word—a word which they have found it exceed- 2059 ingly easy in the past to break. That being the dilemma by which dictatorships are invariably faced, we have to look to our friends in Europe to guarantee the peace of Europe while we are trying to work to those wider economic understandings which I believe to be ultimately essential to the maintenance of peace. We have to gain time in Europe, and we can only gain that time by what has been frequently called in this Debate collective or pooled security.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs referred to that. He said, "After all, what is the danger from Germany? Is not Germany ringed about by peoples who may oppose her? Cannot we, therefore, count on our friends? "I must say that the latter part of his speech does not help us to count on our friends; it is an encouragement to dictators to pursue violent courses, and it is a suggestion to those who might be friends with us that they cannot rely upon us. From that point of view, I deeply regret what he said. I agree with him, nevertheless, in believing that in all quarters of the House there is agreement that this country is not going to secure peace by its own armaments, but that it is only through a system of pooled security that it is going to get peace and any guarantee against a war which would mean economic distress on a terrible scale. In this country we have to decide how we are to get this pooled security to which everybody has paid tribute in this Debate. The right hon. Gentleman just now said "lip service," but I do not think that that is true; I think we are all absolutely whole-hearted in wishing to secure a system of pooled security. The only question is, how are we to secure it?
I suggest that there is no hope of securing an adequate system of pooled security in Europe at the present time unless we are prepared to do our share, unless we put into the pool resources equal to our great command of manufacturing power and of every other form of power in the world. How can we expect Powers whose financial resources are much less than ours, and whose resources even in population are much less than ours, to do more than we do and think we are sincere in talking of a system of pooled security? The reality of a 2060 system of security of that kind—and the peace of Europe may, and I believe will, depend on making it a reality in the next few weeks—turns entirely on the contribution which this country is prepared to make; and I am glad, therefore, that the White Paper definitely declares that this system of collective security remains the central purpose and object of our Government. My only regret, and it is upon this that I should like to address a question to the Government, is that the White Paper does not indicate exactly what contribution we are prepared to make to this system of pooled security. I think that that is its gravest omission, and I hope it will be repaired before long. Unless it is repaired, I do not believe that we can count on exercising an adequate influence in Europe in the near future.
We have to think of two things. Like a boxer, I think our policy should have two arms, a left and a right; and assuming, as boxers do, that you lead with your left, I think we should be prepared with and have ready an immediate and effective contribution to joint action in Europe against any potential aggressor. I believe that the Government have every intention to take action of that kind; my only criticism of the White Paper itself is that it is not clear as to what that action is to be, and therefore I hope that, if not in this Debate, at any rate before long, we shall be told exactly what contribution this country is prepared to make to pooled security in Europe. I have spoken of the boxer's left; there must also be the boxer's right, and the function of the boxer's right is to protect the food and oil supplies upon which the life of this country, and, indeed, the movement of its forces, depend. Without that, our action in a system of pooled security would be absolutely paralysed. How are we to make this contribution? It is on that point that I would beg the Government as soon as possible to give a clear answer to the House. How are we to make this contribution to pooled security in Europe at the present time? I believe that the whole progress of this policy of rearmament in the country would be made very much easier if people understood exactly what contribution we are expected to make in this system of pooled security about which there is so much talk. Let us try to get that absolutely clear.
2061 There is one essential factor to be remembered in talking about a contribution to pooled security at the present time, and that is the time factor. Military minds in Europe are thinking now only of rapid action and quick decision. I have not met any people, soldiers or otherwise, who are thinking of protracted war; everything is being aimed, everything is being designed, for the quick decision, and, of course, the possibility of that has been brought nearer and nearer by the increasing pre-eminence of the air arm. Decisions will be quick—so quick that, where we used to be able to think in months, and even in years, we have now to think in weeks, and even in days. That I believe to be the condition that we have to realise as an essential condition of effective intervention in Europe at the present time. How can it be achieved? Are we going to rely on the Navy to achieve it? Clearly, the Navy is an essential element in protecting our supplies, but I do not see how the Navy can contribute in any way to a decision in Europe. For offensive action, quite apart from defensive action, the Navy in Europe must rely upon the blockade, and the blockade is a very slowly developing process, which does not become effective until after a very considerable number of months, even if you have the complete support of a very large number of other Powers. I do not think, therefore, that we can look to the Navy to make possible our contribution to a system of pooled security in Europe at the present time.
Are we then to look to the Army? Here, I believe, is one of the vital decisions with which the Government are faced. Though I spent some years in that service, I should regret a decision of that kind. I do not sufficiently know the facts and I can only ask questions, which I hope the Government will be able to answer before very long. They are not answered in the White Paper. I should regret a decision to intervene by land in Europe, because I am convinced that it is dangerous and wrong for this country ever again to become involved in mass warfare on the Continent of Europe. If it could be made plain that that was not our intention, I believe again the course of the Government's programme in the country would be made much easier. It was against our traditions and 2062 against our instinct that we were forced, by a process of suction as it were, in 1914 into a war of position on the Continent, and I very much hope that we shall not take that kind of risk again. But, quite apart from that, and supposing that the only effective contribution that we can make to collective security is through the Army, we should have to get over old instincts of that kind.
What I would ask is this: Is it possible, if you decide that this country is to contribute to pooled security through an expeditionary force, to combine that with the Army system that we have had ever since the Cardwell system was introduced? I ask the question. I do not know the answer, though I very much doubt whether a highly trained Army, capable of moving at a few hours notice, with all its reserves behind it, capable of operating in close as well as open country, can be produced from what is left to us by the old Cardwell or linked battalion system. I believe that if we are going to rely on an expeditionary force, we have got to have some separate system which produces this highly specialised mechanised force ready for action at a few hours notice and with all its reserves behind it, without which it would be of no use.
If we have to face that necessity let us face it, but, remember, it is going to be a tremendous strain upon our industry and upon our need for men. At present on the existing system the Army is very short of men. I understand that the Regular Army is still 5,000 short and the Territorial Army is much shorter still. I only ask these questions. I have no final opinion on the matter, because I have not the means of forming a, judgment, but I am doubtful whether, apart from the question whether we form a special expeditionary force or not, we can find the men we want for our garrison system and our territorial system on the existing basis of enlistment. At any rate, I am sure it requires to be investigated thoroughly in view of the deficiencies that exist.
But let us go further. Let us suppose that it has been decided that we should intervene in this way. Let us suppose that we have transformed our Army system so that we can intervene and that we have a force ready of five or six divisions—it would be useless to have less. What then? Could we transport and 2063 supply them in modern conditions? Again, I do not know, but the answer ought to be given. We ought to know whether it is intended that we are to intervene in Europe at any time in this way. The White Paper uses a vague phrase. It says that the last function or duty of the Army is in time of emergency or war to provide a properly equipped force ready to proceed overseas wherever it may be wanted. There is the question where that Army can be taken, and whether it can be supplied under modern conditions of air and submarine attack. The conditions are quite different from those of 1914. Quite apart from the question of recruitment and the other questions of principle that I have raised, there ought to be a clear decision taken in the near future whether there is any possibility of transporting and supplying them within the very short period of time within which we should require to operate an expeditionary force of this kind. I think we should be told whether the Navy and the Air Force could guarantee the movement of a force of that kind.
Then there is a final question. Clearly, if we are to undertake reorganisation of the Army, it will not be a matter of months. It will be a matter of years. You cannot create an expeditionary force of that kind in a short time. It means special training and special equipment in the way particularly of mechanism for transport for troops. I do not prejudge these questions; I merely ask them. We should make up our minds ourselves and we should make it clear to the other members of the League, and particularly to the signatories of the Locarno Treaty, whether we are prepared to make our contribution to pooled security with an expeditionary force, on the ground, or on wings. I very much hope that some clear decision of that kind will be arrived at before very long.
There is another essential. I do not propose to go into the very difficult question of co-operation between the Navy and the Air Force in the protection of our food and oil supplies. Of course, the Navy must play a predominant role, but there is a sentence in the White Paper which fails to answer the question that many of us have been asking about the protection of our food and oil supplies. The White Paper speaks of the overwhelming importance 2064 of the Navy in preserving our sea communications and ensuring the supplies of sea-borne food and raw materials on which our existence depends. Clearly the Navy must always play its historic role in defending our food and oil supplies. But that role no longer belongs to the Navy alone. As our merchant ships converge from the South and West upon these islands they must become more exposed to attack from the air, and that attack increases in range every year with the increase in the range and carrying power of aircraft and, while that danger grows with every mile by which they approach our shores, it is, of course, greatest in the home ports. We have to look to the Government to give us some assurance that a scheme of cooperation definitely defining the duty of each has been worked out between the Navy and the Air Force. I am convinced that the problem is being studied, but there is no assurance of that kind in the White Paper, and that is why I raise the question. I should like to add my support, for what it may be worth, to the plea made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping and the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs for a great increase of destroyers. That seems to be by far the greatest naval need. I do not know how the treaty situation affects that, but I believe that we are free from the treaty at the end of this year, and I hope that arrangements will be made accordingly to increase a form of craft which can be rapidly produced and cannot be regarded as aggressive.
Considering the difficulty of these questions which have to be answered, considering the great importance of coming to an early decision on exactly what contribution we propose to make to the pooled system of security of Europe, I find myself driven to certain conclusions. They are much the same conclusions as those which other right hon. and hon. Members have arrived. In the first place I was glad to notice a phrase on that subject which fell from the Prime Minister yesterday. I am quite convinced that this task, taking the defence side and the industrial side as parts of one task, is beyond any one man. No man born of woman can do both of these things at the same time, and I believe that the duty of co-ordination in the near future will have 2065 to be entrusted to one Minister and the industrial problem to another. The difficulty is great on both sides, and the difficulty of the industrial side has been stressed by other speakers. That is appreciated by the Government, as the White Paper shows. I hope, therefore, that the Government will consider the advisability of appointing a Minister to deal with the co-ordination of our defence plans and another who will set up something in the nature of a nucleus Ministry of Munitions. That is the best way of dealing with this double problem.
There is another point on which I hesitate to express a view, and yet feel rather strongly. It is this: I rather doubt whether any Minister entrusted with the work of co-ordination at the present time can successfully achieve it without some greater share of executive authority than the White Paper appears to give him. It is an exceedingly delicate and difficult question, but when the White Paper speaks of his duties it uses the following phrase:The co-ordination of executive action.I do not know how anybody is to coordinate executive action without executive authority of his own. If that attempt is made, I think that it will be only too easy for that Minister to be offering advice which no one is prepared to take. He will flit from Department to Department, and, like the poet Shelley, end his timebeating in the void his luminous wings in vain.The responsibility of the heads of the separate Service Departments must remain, and where they feel that their responsibility has been in any way challenged by the co-ordinator's decision or his work, they will have their appeal to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. But I do not see how without executive authority a co-ordinating Minister is to co-ordinate executive work.
I would end with an appeal to the Government. The Prime Minister has led us through two great crises, the General Strike of 1926, and, with the assistance of the Lord President of the Council, the financial crisis of 1931. The Chancellor of the Exchequer since 1931 has built up our financial resources so that, as the Prime Minister rightly said yesterday, there is no other Power which can successfully challenge us in the matter 2066 of financial strength and power. What is needed is that we should hasten our plan of action, and particularly the contribution we are to make to the system of security in Europe. That is not made plain in the White Paper. I am sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot possibly deal with a point of that kind tonight, but I hope that he will be able to say that the Government will by Whitsuntide give some definite indication to the House of the plans by which it intends to play its part in a system of pooled security. I believe that that would help very much in Europe at the present time.
§ 9.31 p.m.
§ Mr. ELLIS SMITH
I want to direct the attention of the House to page 17 of the White Paper and to deal with an aspect which has not yet been mentioned. There has been a philosophy put forward to-day which I do not think that our movement as a whole will be prepared to accept when it has an opportunity of discussing it. But I want to direct the attention of the House to page 17 which reads:The second point concerns costs and prices. His Majesty's Government are determined that the needs of the nation shall not serve to pile up extravagant profits for those who are called upon to meet them. They are confident that industry as a whole has no desire to exploit the situation….I want to ask every Member in this House, irrespective of his political opinions, whether there is one person in this House who believes that statement? Is there one person in this House who believes that industry as a whole will not exploit the situation. [An HON. MEMBER: "Certainly!"] Our Friend says "Certainly." May I, therefore, remind him of the experience that some of us had when we were young. I happened to be employed in the munition industry until I had to leave, and I recall the speeches made by Members who have spoken this afternoon who were acting in the last War. We had promises made to the trade union movement by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), by Dr. Addison and others. All of them made statements to which I am going to refer. Lord Kitchener in March, 1915, made a speech in which he said that the workers were to share in 2067 war profits, that there would be no profiteering and if there were time I could quote more from that statement. I have before me a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs on 19th March, 1915, in which he stated that there was to be no profiteering, and that, if only the trade union movement would agree to dilution, he would give an undertaking that the pre-war standards of the trade union movement would be restored immediately after the War. That restoration was not carried out. So one could go on giving extracts from speeches. But our speeches can be carefully prepared at home and will come in handy when we have to deal with this situation in the country, where we shall carry more weight than when dealing with the question in this House.
I find that, owing to the fact that these pledges had not been carried out, in 1916 the Government were forced to appoint commissions to investigate labour unrest. These commissions sat, and here are a few extracts:The statement is made that in all the areas men complain not that the War is inflicting discomfort and inconvenience upon them, which they are quite prepared to suffer, but that discomfort is caused by the inflation of food prices which is altogether disproportionate to the circumstances.War is a terrible business, particularly to all classes that participate in it, but it is also a very profitable business for some sections of the community. I will quote:The coming boom in aircraft shares. In view of the fact that the Government is spending no less than £3,000,000 immediately on increasing the Air Force, all aircraft companies will greatly benefit by this outlay, and big profits can therefore be made by buying shares at once.That was a broker's letter sent out two months ago. The "Stock Exchange Gazette," reviewing the report of the Fairey Aviation, Limited, in 1933, said:Incidentally, of course, Fairey's have to keep an eye on developments at Geneva, but disarmament seems a long way off, and I cannot imagine such handling of matters at the Conference as would damage the prospects of this company.In recent weeks capitalists have not been noticeably shy about trying to make capital out of the national armament effort. Indeed, a number of such speculators may have already succeeded, by 2068 intelligent anticipation of future political decisions, in lining their pockets.That is not an extract from a Socialist publication but from the financial editor's notes in the "Manchester Guardian" of 23rd May, 1935. I will quote from a forgotten document published by the League of Nations, arising out of a report of a sub-committee in 1921. The report of the sub-committee was that, first of all, armament firms had fomented war scares. Europe is faced with this situation because the armament manufacturers in Germany put Hitler into power in order to deal with the unity of the working class. If there were time, I could produce documentary evidence to prove, beyond all fear of contradiction, that the people who put Hitler and the brutal Fascists into power in Germany were the big captains of industry, and the armament manufacturers in particular, subsidised by the American capitalists who were concerned about the loans which they had made to Germany. We will develop that aspect of the situation in the country, and in the North particularly. This sub-committee went on to report that the armament firms had attempted to bribe Government officials, had spread false reports to stimulate armament expenditure, and had also influenced public opinion by control of the Press.
Knowing this and the extent of their influence, I put one or two questions to the Government upon the situation with which we are confronted. I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he would consider taking steps for the taxation of Stock Exchange profits, and he replied that this could not be done. I put a further question to the Under-Secretary of State for Air, who stated that the market value of aircraft companies shares had no effect on contract prices. That is an indication that these people do not understand the system they are managing. They ought to have had the experience that we had in Lancashire owing to the speculation that took place in 1919 and 1920, when even the employers in the cotton industry were forced to be concerned about this sort of thing. Most of them will admit, when you speak to them individually, that a very great deal of the difficulties of the Lancashire cotton industry, apart from the loss of markets, have been due to the exploitation that took place in 1919 and 1920. 2069 The boom in the shares of munition firms, especially aircraft shares, reminds us of the cotton trade speculation.
The new money that is being put into armaments represents no tangible assets, and no real value, but the further exploitation of labour power in the armament industry. It is an anticipation of orders by speculators with no sense of social responsibility. The large profits that are being made on production and on the Stock Exchange will have to be found by the workers through increased exploitation during the next few months. Unfortunately there is no time in which to develop this aspect of the question to the extent that I would like, but I will draw the attention of the House to a few share prices of large representative firms. The Radiation Company's shares in 1934 were 64s., and they now stand at 77s. Vickers 6s. 8d. shares were 10s. in 1934, and they now stand at 20s.
§ Mr. J. P. MORRIS
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a fortnight ago the price of Rolls Royce shares was £9 10s., and that to-day it is £8 10s.?
§ Mr. SMITH
As the hon. Gentleman is so concerned about aircraft shares, I have the Stock Exchange figures which I could produce, if I had the time, to show that the case I am making is a substantial and a concrete one. There is no time to develop this matter, but there has been a book recently published dealing with the life of Sir Basil Zaharoff. I hope that hon. Members will read that book. Britain wanted armaments during the War to be manufactured by Britain. Germany wanted armaments to be manufactured by Germany, Italy wanted armaments to be manufactured by Italy, France wanted armaments to be manufactured by France, and Sir Basil Zaharoff acted as agent for the whole of the Powers in order to provide them with armaments. That is an indication of the manipulations that took place dur- 2070 ing the War. The people of this country, especially the working classes, after the experience from 1914 to 1918, have been subject to all sorts of suffering, the means test and unemployment. As far as we are concerned, our attitude is to speak over the heads of the dictators, over the heads of the politicians, and to say that the time has long gone by when our blood shall be spilt in order to perpetuate a social system which inevitably drives us to war in the way that it is doing.
§ 9.46 p.m.
§ Mr. HERBERT MORRISON
During the course of this Debate a considerable number of questions have been put to His Majesty's Government on matters bearing upon the White Paper, by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, by my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton), by the right hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) and by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood). Although I listened last night with very great care, as we always do, to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and I listened to the greater part of the speech of the Home Secretary to-day, I did not gather that a great number of the important questions had been answered. I assume that the answers have been saved up for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is reputed to be the principal author of the White Paper which is the subject of the Debate. I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will do his best to deal with the large number of questions which have been left unanswered, but I do not envy him the task of covering so wide a ground. I hope, at any rate, that he will be able to deal with the question about industrial and trade policy raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield, and my hon. Friend the Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), who were supported in that request by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George).
To-day we have listened to two fascinating and exceedingly interesting speeches from the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs.
§ Mr. MORRISON
The old firm. I cannot follow those two right hon. Gentlemen in the reminiscent mood in which they addressed the House as former Ministers of Munitions who had great experience in the important responsibilities that they carried out during the Great War. The whole House always listens with very great attention, interest and appreciation to those two right hon. Gentlemen. I have always done so. They are both artists in addressing the House, and very attractive, whether they are pleasing the House, as they obviously both were doing to-day, or, as sometimes happens, when they are thoroughly annoying a considerable proportion of Members of the House. When I sat on the Treasury Bench, although my enjoyment was not shared by many of my hon. Friends, I never enjoyed listening to the right hon. Member for Epping more than when he was thoroughly infuriating the Labour Members. The two right hon. Gentlemen, from their personal experiences, dealt with matters about which I have little knowledge, and that must be the case with a great number of hon. Members.
The more I listened to the right hon. Member for Epping, the more I got the impression, which I am sure is an unjust impression, that he was anxious for something dramatic to happen in the world in order that we might try out his various doctrines. [HON. MEMBERS: "No: Withdraw."] I do not mean war. I would not for a moment suggest that. I am sure that no one would regret the outbreak of war more than the right hon. Gentleman, but I am bound to say that if the great skill, the great knowledge of war and the great interest in the arts of war of the right hon. Member for Epping could have been devoted during his life to the art of making a permanent peace and developing the machinery of peace, perhaps at the end of his life he might leave more mark upon the world for its permanent good than otherwise.
What were the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman? He said that if the £300,000,000 to which the newspapers have referred could all have been spent this year, he would have found comfort in it. That means that in his view it would be far better if the proposals of the Government were very much more costly than they are.
§ Mr. MORRISON
He said that the more money that could be spent this year the better it would be, but in any case it would be less than our needs. One agreed with him in saying that Germany may be reaching a position, which he put in his own fascinating language, where she would find it difficult to go on with the measure of her armaments but difficult to stop, and where she would find it difficult to choose between internal collapse and external catastrophe. After I had listened to the right hon. Gentleman I had a considerable feeling of depression and pessimism because of the picture he painted of Europe and the world. I wish he had made a contribution to the Debate by way of encouraging the Government to go ahead in furthering and laying the foundations of the permanent peace of the world, instead of devoting himself so exclusively to the question of military preparation and military efficiency.
Having listened to most of the speakers in the Debate and having read the others, I am bound to say that, given its policy, which the Government have been pursuing ever since they have been in office, a policy which, in our judgment, sooner or later leads not to the permanent peace of the world but to grave risks of war and conflagration, I very much doubt whether the Government could choose a better Minister of Defence than the right hon. Member for Epping. I say that after listening to the speeches of all the possible candidates and after a careful scrutiny of the faces of the right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Treasury Bench. But I only give the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping a conditional recommendation. It is conditional on the policy of the Government. If the Government policy is leading to war, they have to find a Minister of Defence with a first class war mind, and the right hon. Gentleman has got it. He can do what he likes with that recommendation, and he has also had an unsolicited testimonial from a former employer in the person of the right lion. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs who, not unusually, was passing back to the right hon. Gentleman the ball which the 2073 right hon. Gentleman had previously passed out to him.
The state of mind of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping and the state of mind of many of the occupants of the Treasury Bench, unfortunately, is not exceptional in the world to-day. Statesmen of other countries are also playing at soldiers and speculating on this, that and the other military situation—all speculating in terms of war, of danger, of risk and of disaster. One finds it difficult to discover a, statesman in power who is, consciously and energetically, thinking out constructive proposals for peace. That is perhaps the most depressing feature of the situation. The trouble is that all these speculations about what one should do in given circumstances and what preparations should be made, are based on the inevitability of war, and it is such a fascinating study and so profoundly interesting, that one can almost understand how it is that the real issues of peace are being forgotten.
The real issue for the Opposition in this Debate and in the Division which will follow is not whether the precise number of millions of pounds involved in the White Paper is right or wrong. It is not whether the military, naval and aerial methods to be pursued are right or wrong. When we vote for or against the Motion of the Prime Minister to approve of the White Paper, we shall really be voting on whether or not we have confidence in His Majesty's Government in their conduct of foreign affairs. We shall really be voting on whether or not we have confidence in the competence of His Majesty's Government in the field of foreign affairs and indeed, in the field of military, naval and aerial direction as well.
As far as the Labour party are concerned, we shall go unitedly into the Lobby, because we disagree with, we regret and we condemn the whole foreign policy, practically speaking, of this Government since it came into office. We do so, not only because of the wrong things which it has done, but also because of the good things which it has refrained from doing and its general lack of grip and competence in the conduct of diplomacy and the leadership of the world. We genuinely believe that this Government is partly responsible for the situa- 2074 tion in the light of which this request for increased armaments is brought before the House of Commons. That is the real issue for the official Opposition and in those circumstances we are bound to condemn the Government and to vote against them, as an expression of our dissatisfaction with the policy for which they stand. We shall not, as I say, be concerned in our vote to-night with the precise number of millions involved; we shall be concerned primarily with the question of confidence in the Government.
Why cannot we feel confidence in the Government? Clearly, if the House approves of the White Paper, it will give the Government enormous power and an enormous field of discretion with regard to the policy of armaments. For our part, we cannot separate the narrower issue of armaments policy from the wider issue of international policy and the Government's attitude towards the League of Nations. For us to consider this White Paper and this Debate purely in their military aspects, would be to forget the real issue and to give a vote which would not be realistic but would be misleading. In our view this Government, ever since it came into office, has been untrustworthy and unreliable in regard to its attitude towards the League of Nations. It has been absolutely uncertain, not only from year to year but from month to month. I do not go back as far as the actual Peace Treaty concluded at the end of the War, which undoubtedly has had a considerable responsibility for the present state of Europe and the internal politics of Germany. But this Government in its attitude to the League has neer been positive, has never been constructive and has never taken its duties to the League and in the working out of its policy towards the League as seriously as it ought to have done.
It is true that at the General Election the Prime Minister assured the country that the League of Nations was the corner-stone of the Government's foreign policy. But we cannot forget that only a short time previously this Government and the Conservative Central Office were pouring cold water on, and actively discouraging and, indeed, opposing the Peace Ballot. Nobody knows that better than the right hon Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain).
§ Sir AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I took my action not as a member of the party but as a Member of the executive of the League of Nations Union.
§ Mr. MORRISON
I believe that the right lion. Gentleman was perfectly above-board and honest about the matter. He was opposed to the ballot, and certain Ministers were opposed to it, and the Conservative office discouraged it. I only mention that fact as an indication that the Conservative party in our judgment is not to be relied upon in regard to developing the higher authority and prestige of the League of Nations. In our judgment His Majesty's Government throughout the whole of their period of office have played fast and loose with their policy at Geneva in respect of the League. If collective security is to be a reality, it is of the most profound importance that the League of Nations should be nurtured, cultivated, strengthened, and developed, and its whole procedure and organisation carefully worked out and strengthened as the time goes on. But that has not been done by this Government, and to that extent they have made no real contribution to collective security.
Then, in our judgment, the Government—and perhaps this is even of more direct importance to the issue—did not play the game by the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. They did not genuinely seek success. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] They did not manifest confidence in seeking success, and certainly I would say, although I am a great admirer of the qualities of the present Home Secretary, that if you wanted to succeed at a Disarmament Conference, his qualities—and they are very great—would not be the particular type of qualities which would be good for the success of such a conference. It is not without significance that when the Disarmament Conference was resumed in the year 1932, that was the very time, as the Home Secretary told us earlier in the day, at which the Government decided that the 10 years rule as to the probability of a major war must terminate and new considerations of policy must arise. It may be that the Government were justified in assuming at that point that the 10 years rule ought 2076 to stop, on perfectly proper grounds, but I am bound to say that it was most unfortunate that that decision should have been made almost simultaneously with the resumption of the Disarmament Conference at Geneva.
I need not detail their uncertainties and their vacillations about the dispute between Italy and Abyssinia, but they were considerable, they were ineffective, and their attitude to sanctions has been a matter of the greatest uncertainty. Indeed it remains a matter of the greatest uncertainty in connection with oil sanctions and otherwise, and as far as we can see, although the right hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare) has resigned his office, the policy for which he stood and at the price of whir, he resigned still seems to be very largely the policy of 'His Majesty's Government. I would beg of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his reply, if he has time after answering the numerous questions which Ministers have not answered so far, to inform the House of what the Government's conception of collective security is, of what steps they have taken at Geneva to secure a practical working-out of collective security, and of what steps they are going to take to see to it that collective security becomes a thing of reality instead of a mere phrase.
It seems to us that if collective security is to become a real element in international policy and in the work of the League of Nations, it cannot be left in the air as a mere uncertain and empty phrase which everybody is free to disagree about and to give different interpretations of. The procedure in connection with collective security at Geneva and otherwise ought to have been worked out, and if sanctions are to be contemplated in given circumstances, the League really ought not to meet for weeks on end uncertain what it is to do and what procedure to adopt, but it ought to know in advance how sanctions are to be applied, if and when sanctions come along, and in what categories, in order that the League can move with proper swiftness and with proper certainty. Otherwise, the whole machinery for the prevention of war and the restraint of the aggressor is not likely to be effective.
In so far as the Government in this White Paper are urging that collective security is a justification of increased armaments they ought to tell the House 2077 in what respect and to what extent that is so, but instead of that being the case, not a single Minister, from the Prime Minister downwards, not a word in this White Paper, gives us the slightest indication that there has been consultation with other Powers as to what the British proportion of collective security should be. In no way has that been done, and consequently we think that the Government are using this phrase of collective security merely as a cloak to reproduce the old policy of unilateral competition and national armaments upon a large scale. Indeed in this White Paper there is no considered statement of foreign and diplomatic policy with respect to the situation. It really is a document that is something in the nature of an insult to the intelligence of the House. The right hon. Member for Epping and the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs have demonstrated that even on its military side it was worth very little when it was published, and it is worth still less now, and they themselves have condemned the Whtie Paper with no great hesitation and with fairly conclusive evidence on those grounds.
But if security is to come to the world, if war is to be prevented, we cannot possibly restrict our activities merely to military and diplomatic considerations. In my judgment and in the judgment of my friends the wars of the last 100 years have in the main been caused, not so much by the wickedness of kings and the mere ambitions of rulers as such, but have been caused in the main by economic and by competitive considerations between capitalist nations and States. That is our belief. We believe that the fundamental cause of the last great War was really the question of markets, colonies, and economic capitalist competition between Germany and certain of the other countries of Europe, including our own, and it is our belief that unless the economic causes of war are faced, are considered and dealt with, as part of the work of the League of Nations or as part of the considerations of diplomacy and discussion between our own country and the other countries of the world, one of the causes of war will not have been removed.
Therefore, we must continue to urge, in this House and otherwise, that the causes of economic friction between States and of economic rivalry have to be re- 2078 moved, and we ourselves say that indeed the good friend of peace, the logical friend of peace, who really wants to remove the economic as well as the military causes of war, must be a Socialist and urge the application of Socialist policies. That is why we think that Socialism itself is in the end the most secure guarantee of the peace of the world. That is why we believe that the capitalist system of producing wealth for profit, with its rivalries between firms and individuals, with its economic rivalries between States, which is inherent in the capitalist system of producing wealth—the existing social order which the Conservative party in the main exists to defend—is one of the fundamental causes of war and must be got rid of before war will be securely eliminated from the world. The Prime Minister in his speech on collective security indicated quite clearly that the Government did not know what it was, and had taken no trouble to work it out in the League of Nations. In his speech the Prime Minister recommended the White Paper to the House, a White Paper which urges additional armaments in order that we may do our duty by collective security. If that is so, the Prime Minister ought to have been sure that the Government knew what they meant by collective security. This is what the Prime Minister said:I would just remind the House of something that it might be worth while saying again. Collective security is the policy of the Government that we are going to work to try and achieve. I am telling the House only some of the difficulties of it, and the difficulties with which Europe will be faced. It cannot be administered—that is not the right word—it cannot be effectively worked by one nation or by two; that is why Europe and the members of the League will have to consult together, as soon as this present war may have come to an end, to realise what is involved in collective security and, if they think fit, as I hope that may, take such steps that collective security may be a reality, and such a reality that the need for the use of it may never arise."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th March, 1936; col. 1834, Vol. 309.]That is what the Government are going to do. The Government have been in power since 1931 and we want to know why they have not done it already; and why they should have to come to the House for a substantial but unspecified increase in armaments without having done the elementary thing which they now 2079 say is necessary. We do not trust the Government in their foreign policy, and we have no confidence in the White Paper. It reveals the incompetence of the Government in diplomacy and military organisation. We see no signs that the Government are going to pursue a wise diplomacy or give a lead to the world on disarmament, or properly to organise the League of Nations and work out collective security. If we are to be convinced if it were possible for us to be convinced —[Interruption.]—when I have finished hon. Members will see why it is almost impossible for us to be convinced—but if it were possible for us to be convinced that His Majesty's Government were really going to play the game by the League of Nations, lead the world in disarmament and work out collective security, we would be willing to abandon any party strife upon it, and associate with the Government for that purpose. But with all the honesty in the world we cannot be convinced, as things are, that this is the case. We have no confidence in the Government. We do not believe that they are either competent or willing to pursue a policy of international peace and further the League of Nations as we would desire. In these circumstances, we are bound to support the Amendment, and divide the House against the Government to-night.
We see a world which is leaderless; we see nations which have a more or less efficient degree of national political leadership and organisation; but no capitalist statesmen in power are trying to lend themselves to the real leadership of the world. We believe that the world has to be led as well as separate nations, and that the world has to be organised as well as separate nations. We are slipping into a subterranean silent diplomacy of drift, which is based upon the inevitability of war, instead of coming out into open negotiation with other Governments in public, appealing to the peoples of the world in public and above board, and trying to get all the statesmen of the world to feel that they have to justify themselves before their peoples, rather than merely to drift underground silently towards what they regard as an inevitable war.
We, therefore, take the view that if we were to acquiesce in this White Paper 2080 we should be acquiescing in the past policy of His Majesty's Government and in their present policy, and that if we agreed with them we should find ourselves dragged at their heels in the blunders and incompetences which we believe will be characteristic of their policy in the future. Consequently, we shall vote against the Government and for this Amendment. We are not concerned as to whether it is politically expedient to do this or not. I know that that consideration applies very much in the case of hon. Members opposite. They believe that they can get this country, by means of fear, into a jingo frame of mind, and the consideration of political expediency appeals to them very much. I do not know whether the result of this Debate will be to get us votes or to lose us votes, and frankly I do not care. There are occasions when and issues upon which it is the duty of political parties to do their duty to their country and their duty to the world as they see it, irrespective of considerations of political expediency. For us this is such an issue; for us this is such an occasion. We shall go into the Lobby believing that we are voting against a Government whose policy is leading the world to war, disaster and destruction, and we shall cast our votes conscientiously believing that we are voting for what is best for our country, for the world and for the future well-being of the human race.
§ 10.24 p.m.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
During the two days we have been debating this Motion we have had a number of speeches from different parts of the House which have made valuable contributions to the consideration of the matter from different aspects. I think hon. Members who were present in the House this afternoon—and I believe most hon. Members were then present—will agree with me that two speeches to which we then listened—those of my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) —lifted this Debate on to an altogether higher level. What they said was listened to by the House not merely with the respect that is due to their long experience of Government, and in particular their experience during the War, but I think the House also felt that the two 2081 right hon. Gentlemen had at least a sense of the realities of our present situation. We are in the presence to-day of grave events, events which had not taken place when the date of this Debate was fixed. I think that the subjects we are here discussing are of such importance that they make the ordinary methods of party recrimination seem rather trivial. We should try to rise above the atmosphere in which it is thought appropriate to suggest discreditable motives on the part of employers and employed alike.
I should like to make a statement to the House upon the events that have been taking place in Paris to-day, in view of the danger that rumours from various sources might mislead the House as to what has happened. I, therefore, propose to inform the House with regard to developments arising out of conversations which took place to-day in Paris between the representatives of Great Britain, France, Italy and Belgium.
An exchange of views took place as a result of which the British delegates have thought it desirable that they should return to London to discuss further with His Majesty's Government. For further convenience, it has been agreed by the French, Italian and Belgian Governments that the conversations between the Locarno Powers should be continued in London. The meeting of the Locarno Powers will probably take place on Thursday afternoon at the Foreign Office. They also agreed that the Council of the League should meet in London following on the meeting of the Locarno Powers. All necessary steps have been taken in Paris to get the date and place of the Council meeting changed. The meeting of the Committee of Thirteen, which was to have been held at Geneva to-morrow, has been postponed until next week, and it will take place in Geneva after the Council. That is all that I propose to say on the subject of the Paris conversations.
I agree with the comment made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs that this is not an occasion when there is any need for anybody to get into a panic. This is a time when people should keep cool heads and not jump to any hasty conclusions. I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman, however, if I understood him correctly 2082 as saying that what was happening or what had happened over the week-end made the proposals in the White Paper irrelevant. The events that have happened have, if possible, emphasised what is repeated several times in the White Paper, that the situation is not static and that changes must necessarily be made from time to time in the proposals and the intentions of the Government in order to meet changing conditions. But, I think, we are surely all. agreed that the situation has not been relieved by anything that has happened in the last few days, and that there is no reason to suppose we ought to change our view that we should get on with these proposals as fast as ever we possibly can.
It is necessary for the House to-night to say whether it approves or disapproves of these proposals. That does not mean, of course, that the House is here parting with its control of the situation. It does mean that the Government will know that they have the authority of the House behind them to proceed with the plans which are outlined in this White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House stated that the real issue was not the White Paper, but whether the House had confidence in the Government, and in particular in the foreign policy of the Government. It is very easy to see why he tries to put the issue on that ground. It is, of course, an evasion. Those who are aware of the differences in his party on this subject can well understand that the only way in which they can be united is to say that the issue is whether this Government or some other Government shall continue in office.
The right hon. Gentleman to-night said that he was not concerned with the precise number of millions which would be involved if these proposals were approved. That is a very rapid change of view, because only a couple of days ago he was putting questions to me in the House as to whether I did not think it was a disgraceful thing that the House should be asked to discuss these proposals without being told exactly how many millions they would involve. Now, the only thing that matters is whether the House has confidence in the Government or not. The right hon. Gentleman is an adroit politician, and no doubt his party will all go into the Lobby unitedly this evening on the issue which he has 2083 described, but that will not heal the differences to which I have referred. We have still confidence that. in the proposals we are putting forward and the measures we are taking in the interests of the safety of our country we shall have the good will and the co-operation of Labour at large in the country.
The right hon. Gentleman truly said that a large number of questions had been addressed to the Government. It is quite obvious that this is not the occasion, nor have I the time, to give the answers to a series of questionnaires. There will be other opportunities of putting questions of detail when the Service Estimates are discussed, and I cannot to-night undertake to answer questions of that kind, but I shall endeavour to address myself to one or two of the more serious arguments which have been put forward by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen.
First of all I should like to discuss for a few moments what the Leader of the Opposition has called the "duality" to be found in the White Paper. What is this duality to which the right hon. Gentleman constantly refers and which, I think, has almost become an obsession with him? He finds repeatedly in the White Paper statements to the effect that the proposals which the Government are putting forward are proposals to secure national safety and to make our contribution to collective security, and the right hon. Gentleman appears to think that there is some opposition or some inconsistency between those two points of view. In the course of his speech the other night he made some remark which appeared to illuminate his point of view. He said:We are to protect ourselves against aggression and to play our part in collective security. Why the distinction? What is collective security for if it is not to protect ourselves against the aggressor?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th March, 1936; col. 1850, Vol. 309.]In a perfect system of collective security, in a system under which all the nations of the world were united together in one body and in which the united strength of all those nations was so far superior to the strength of any one of them that no one would venture to take action that would bring that united strength upon them, it would not be necessary to make 2084 any further provision for national safety; but we are a long way off that position now. Quite apart from the fact that some of the most powerful and heavily armed countries of the world are not members of the League at all, the countries who are members of the League are by no means so strong, or so united in their determination as to what they would do in given circumstances, that we can say that collective security has not yet reached that point when our national safety is no longer a matter which we need consider.
To give an example which is fresh in the minds of all hon. Members, and which is specifically alluded to in the White Paper, let me state what happened in the Italo-Abyssinian dispute. We are constantly told by hon. Members opposite that we pay only lip-service to collective security. It has cost us £7,000,000 up to the present to pay that lip-service, and we are still paying it at the rate of about £500,000 a month. That is our contribution to collective security.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
That definitely makes my point, which was that there was no consultation, as we understand, with any other Powers for collective security, and that this country acted individually.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I have not yet finished my point. The discussion of that particular point is an interesting and important one. When it is said that we pay only lip-service to collective security, it is of sufficient importance to point out the sacrifices made by this country, and what it has cost us to provide collective security. See what happens. In strengthening our Fleet to protect ourselves against menaces which were made in consequence of the action we have taken for collective security, we had to denude our Forces in other parts of the world to a. dangerous extent. Our safety, our national and our imperial safety, was thereby jeopardised. It would not have been jeopardised if we had been strong enough to look after it and attend to the Mediterranean at the same time. Therefore, so long a collective security' is in its present imperfect condition, so long, in thinking about what it is necessary for us to provide in the way of armaments, we must think of our national and imperial defence. and of our contribution to collective security.
2085 The right hon. Gentleman asked a very curious question. He said, are our wide Imperial interests protected under collective security or not? Hon. Members answered "No." Then, said the. right hon. Gentleman, it is rather futile to belong to a League. What about lip-service there? Is it to be said that we are not willing to belong to the League unless the League is able to protect all our Imperial interests throughout the world? The right hon. Gentleman himself continually sneers at Imperial and national interests; he wants to wipe them out, and have only a collective security. When collective security is strong enough, that will be the time to say that we need no longer look after our own interests. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in the course of his speech, said, in a passage which was quoted by the right hon. Gentleman just now, that when these troubles were over we should have to consult with other members of the League as to how collective security was to be more equally shared by the countries that took part in that system, and how it could be made more unanimous. Hon. Members opposite seem to have an idea that it would be possible now to go to all the members of the League and assign to each one a sort of quota of forces which they were to contribute in case of any breach of the Covenant, no matter where it occurred or in what circumstances. We have only to consider the contribution that could be made by one of the smaller internal States of Europe in the event of trouble in the Far East to see how impossible it is to consider beforehand, in circumstances quite unknown, what is the contribution that will have to be made in each case.
I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend, if I may say so, that, when the immediate troubles which at present must occupy all our attention are over, it would be a good thing for at least the major members of the League to take counsel together and to see how they may got nearer to a system of collective security which does not impose unfair burdens upon particular members of the League. I am certain that, in any system of collective security which is to be effective in the world, this country must take a major part. Therefore, it is impossible for those who believe in collective security to take the view of hon. Members opposite in that gabbling Amendment of 2086 theirs, and pretend that you can have collective security with a disarmed Britain.
Let me take another point. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have said that they believe in defence. The Leader of the Opposition said:Labour will efficiently maintain such defence forces as are necessary and consistent with our membership of the League.If that be so, and if they say that the proposals in this Paper are more than is necessary and more than is consistent with our membership of the League, how is it that in the whole course of the Debate they have never told us in what respect—
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I will answer the right hon. Gentleman now. I am only repeating what is in the White Paper. The whole question of our Imperial responsibilities was referred to a Committee, the composition of which is to be found in the White Paper. They have given us certain recommendations, and we have accepted those recommendations, on the highest authority that we can obtain in this country. If hon. Members opposite are going to take upon themselves to challenge those conclusions and say they are too big, we are entitled to ask them in what respect and on what authority they challenge them.
Let me take another point. That is the suggestion that has been made more than once, particularly by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair), that we are asking the House for a blank cheque. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that no money can be spent on these proposals without the approval of the House, but I want to put it to him and to the House that that is not really the question that the House has to decide to-night. The House has to consider whether these proposals are necessary for the safety of the country and for the fulfilment of our obligations under the Covenant. If they are necessary for those two purposes, is anyone going to say he will not agree to them because they are too expensive? Is the safety of the country going to be set against £100,000,000 or £200,000,000, 2087 more or less? No, the House has to decide to-night whether these proposals are in the main justified. They may require to be satisfied that in the achievement of that purpose there is no waste and no extravagance and that the money is being properly allocated in the right direction. Those are proper subjects for discussion, and they can be discussed as we go along. But when we are dealing with national safety in the first instance, everyone must agree that the matter of cost is a secondary consideration.
I should like to deal with the point raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping. We are most grateful to him for his extremely helpful speech. We recognise that his observations were constructive and, if we do not agree with him entirely, at any rate I am certain we shall consider anything he said as completely worthy of consideration. My right hon. Friend asked why we did not earlier come to the conclusion that it was necessary to undertake the sort of measures that we are proposing to the House to-day. It is always much easier after the event to decide what was the moment to change your policy than it is at the time. Let me say, however, that we did change our policy, and that is shown by the fact that, whereas the expenditure on defence in 1932–33 was £103,000,000, by 1935–36 it had risen to £137,000,000, and of course in the next year the Estimates provide for an expenditure of £158,000,000, without taking account of the proposals in the White Paper. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness said we have squandered £1,000,000,000 in 10 years. I do not know if that word was deliberately used by him, but if so it seems to me singularly ill-phrased. During the 10 years of which he speaks we did at least get a reasonable security.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
I understood that the Government's case was that we had not security and that we had got what is described in the White Paper as unilateral disarmament.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The situation has changed now. During the ten years we did get security. But when talking about £1,000,000,000, I hope hon. Members do not picture that as being entirely spent on armaments. In the latest year 2088 for which we have the figures analysed, out of £114,000,000 there was expended over £73,000,000 in pensions, pay and allowances. Therefore I cannot accept the suggestion that the money we have spent on our defences during those ten years has been wasted, and no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will reflect that if we had not spent it, our position to-day would have been something that might be called desperate.
Let me discuss for a few moments the measures that have been proposed with regard to the organisation of industry. It has been pointed out by various hon. and right hon. Members that this is perhaps the most important part of the whole proposals. A foreign war is an entirely different thing now from what it used to be. A foreign war cannot be carried on unless there is an ample supply of munitions, and, as my right hon. Friend pointed out in the course of his speech, if you are going to pile up the gigantic reserves that would be necessary in war time during the first few months until industry can be organised to make the turnover from peace to war, you are not only going to spend an immense amount of money for a condition of affairs the date of which will be uncertain, but you are running a serious risk that your stores and ammunitions may be completely obsolete by the time you want them.
In these circumstances we are adopting the same method as has been adopted in various other countries. We have two problems here to consider, and they should not be confused. One is to so organise industry that we can carry out our actual programme in the shortest possible time; and the second is so to organise industry that if we should at any time be plunged into war, then the supply of munitions will be forthcoming practically at once, instead of having to wait as we did in the Great War for so many months.
Various hon. and right hon. Gentlemen have thought that it would have been wiser if the Government had contemplated the appointment of a Minister of Munitions as well as the Minister who is to take charge of the co-ordination of defence. That possibility is by no means excluded. The Prime Minister indicated as much in his speech. Perhaps I may 2089 point out that we are not at present at war. We are at peace, and the conditions in which we have to work are peace conditions, and not war conditions. The right hon. Member for Epping was largely responsible for the decision that a Minister of Munitions was not wanted in peace time. The time may come again when we need one. It may be that we shall find that in the present circumstances we cannot do without one. But in the conditions in which we find ourselves to-day, we are not contemplating a situation in which powers are taken to order firms to do any particular work we may want them to do. We are contemplating a situation in which firms now engaged in commercial pursuits will carry on their commercial work and not interfere with that, but will superimpose upon it other work which will' be for the purpose of carrying out the programme.
There was another point which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. He recommended that the State should undertake the manufacture of jigs, tools, machine tools and so forth. I think that that is very largely the plan which the Government have in mind, although I am not quite certain how the right hon. Gentleman thought that it would be carried out. It is not proposed to build and equip a number of new State factories worked by State employés for the manufacture of these armaments, but it is proposed to design, build, lay out and equip such factories, which will be the property of the owners. And, therefore, that will at once solve the difficulty which was felt in so many cases after the Great War, when firms were left with much equipment, plant and buildings with which they did not know what to do: arid it will also give the State that control in the matter of jigs, tools and machine tools, which the right hon. Gentleman desires to see. I think that the House will see that there are great advantages as well as great economy in spreading this work over as many firms as possible, provided, of course, they have the necessary organisation, trained men and tools to undertake it.
The right hon. Gentleman opposite was concerned about food supplies and made a point that in the Great War we were jeopardised to a great extent by an interruption of the supplies of food. Let me 2090 assure him that that is not a matter which has been lost sight of by the Government. There is a great field to cover. It embraces a vast number of subjects, of which this is one, but in the meantime it may be just as well to remind the House that the production of food in this country has, since the advent of the National Government, increased to a great extent —an extent which is comparable to the increase in the industrial production, and particularly in some of the staple articles of food the increase has been very remarkable. The increase of wheat, for instance, has been from just over 1,000,000 tons to 1,860,000 tons a year. The number of pigs has increased by 50 per cent., and the output of sugar has increased from 246,000 tons to the equivalent of 602,000 tons. Milk has also increased, and, generally speaking, the gross value of the agricultural output of the country has increased by more than 14 per cent. during the years that have elapsed since 1931. In conclusion I want to say one word about the question of man power.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I want to express my appreciation of the speech of the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks) and the spirit in which he is prepared to consider the proposals which the Government will have to make—
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
—about man power and particularly the supply of very highly skilled labour necessary for the production not only of some of the articles which are wanted for the purpose, but also for the production of the machinery which will produce those articles. The Government are fully alive to the necessity of making use of the skilled labour in the country, and if we have not yet approached the leaders of the trade unions, it is only because the time has not yet arrived.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 378; Noes, 155.1965
|Division No. 87.]||AYES.||[3.28 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Bird, Sir R. B.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Blair, Sir R.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Blindell, Sir J.|
|Albery, I. J.||Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Boothby, R. J. G.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Bossom, A. C.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Baxter, A. Beverley||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Bower, Comdr. R. T.|
|Anstruther- Gray, W. J.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Bracken, B.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Assheton, R.||Bernays, R. H.||Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Grimston, R. V.||Patrick, C. M.|
|Bull, B. B.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Peake, O.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Peat, C. U.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Percy. Rt. Hon. Lord E.|
|Butler, R. A.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Butt, Sir A.||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Petherick, M.|
|Calne, G. R. Hall-||Hannah, I. C.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Plugge, L. F.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Harbord, A.||Pownall, Sir A. Assheton|
|Cary, R. A.||Harvey, G.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Radford, E. A.|
|Cautley, Sir H. S.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hepworth, J.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Isilngton, E.)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Rankin, R.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Br.W.)||Holdsworth, H.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Holmes, J. S.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Channon, H.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Christie, J. A.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Clarke, F. E.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Rowlands. G.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Hunter, T.||Runciman. Rt. Hon. W.|
|Cobb, Sir C. S.||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Russell, A West (Tynemouth)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.||James, Wing-Commander A. W.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J.||Jarvls, Sir J. J.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Joel, D. J. B.||Salt, E. W.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff(W'st'r S.G'gs)||Keeling, E. H.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh.W.)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Sandys, E. D.|
|Craddock, Sir R. H.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Savery, Servington|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kirkpatrick, W. M.||Scott, Lord William|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Selley, H. R.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Crooke, J. S.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Cross, R. H.||Leckie, J. A||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Lees-Jones, J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Leigh, Sir J.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)||Levy, T.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|De Chair, S. S.||Lewis, O.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|De la Bère, R.||Liddall, W. S.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, E.)|
|Denville, Alfred||Lindsay, K. M.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Liewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Spender-Clay, Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.|
|Dodd, J. S.||Lloyd, G. W.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Donner, P. W.||Loder, Captain Hon. J. de V.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)|
|Dorman Smith, Major R. H.||Lottus, P. C.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Storey, S.|
|Drewe, C.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Stourton, Hon. J. J.|
|Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Mac Andrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.)||Strickland. Captain W. F.|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Sueter, Rear- Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Duggan. H. J.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Dunglass, Lord||McEwen, Capt. H. J. F.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Dunne, P. R. R.||McKie, J. H.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Magnay, T.||Touche, G. C.|
|Elliston, G. S.||Maitland, A.||Train, Sir J.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Emery, J. F.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Tufnell, Lieut. -Com. R. L.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Turton, R. H.|
|Entwistle, C. F.||Markham, S. F.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Errington, E.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Erskine Hill, A. G.||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mltcham)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Everard, W. L.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Findlay, Sir E.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Morgan, R. H.||Windsor-clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Wise, A. R.|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Goodman, Col. A. W.||Munro, p.||Wragg, H.|
|Graham, captain A. C. (Wirral)||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Granville, E. L,||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Sir George Penny and Lieut.-|
|Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Banfield, J. W.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Ammon, C. G.||Barr, J.|
|Adamson, W. M,||Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Batey, J.|
|Bellenger, F.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Price, M. P.|
|Benson, G.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Quibell, J. D.|
|Bevan, A.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Bromfield, W.||Hicks, E. G.||Riley, B.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Holland, A.||Ritson, J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hopkin, D.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Burke, W. A.||Jagger, J.||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Cape, T.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Rowson, G.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Chater, D.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Kelly, W. T.||Shinwell, E.|
|Compton, J.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Short, A.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kirby, B. V.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Daggar, G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Sinclair, Rt. Han. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Leach, W.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Lee, F.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Davies, R, J. (Westhoughton)||Leonard, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Day, H.||Logan, D. G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Dobbie, W.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Stephen, C.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||McGhee, H. G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Ede, J. C.||McGovern, J.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Maclean, N.||Thorne, W.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Thurtle, E.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Mander, G. le M||Tinker, J. J.|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Marklew, E.||Viant, S. P.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Marshall, F.||Walker, J.|
|Frankel, D.||Mathers, G.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Gallacher, W.||Maxton, J.||White, H. Graham|
|Gardner, B. W.||Messer, F.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Milner, Major J.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Owen, Major G.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Paling, W.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Parker, H. J. H.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Hardie, G. D.||Potts, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Groves.|
|Division No.88]||AYES||[11.2 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Crooke, J. S.||Hepworth, J.|
|Albery, I. J.||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Croom, Johnson, R. P.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Cross, R. H.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Crossley, A. C.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.|
|Anderson Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Crowder, J. F. E.||Holmes, J. S.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cruddas, Col. B.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.|
|Apsley, Lord||Culverweil, C. T.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S.|
|Assheton, R.||Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Davison, Sir W. H.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Dawson, Sir P.||Hulbert, N. J.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||De Chair, S. S.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Balfour. G. (Hampstead)||De la Bère, R.||Hunter, T.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hurd, Sir P. A.|
|Balniel, Lord||Denville, Alfred||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.|
|Barclay, Harvey, C. M.||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Jackson, Sir H.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Dodd. J. S.||James, Wing-Commander A. W.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Donner, P. W.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Joel, D. J. B.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)|
|Bernays, R. H.||Drewe, C.||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Keeling, E. H.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Dugdale, Major T. L.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Duggan, H. J.||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Kimball, L.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Dunglass, Lord||Kirkpatrick, W. M.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Dunne, P. R. R.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Eales, J. F.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Eastwood, J. F.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Eckersley, P. T.||Latham, Sir P.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Edge, Sir W.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Bracken, B.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Leckie, J. A.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Ellis, Sir G.||Lees-Jones, J.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Elliston, G. S.||Leigh, Sir J.|
|Brocklehank, C. E. R.||Elmley, Viscount||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Emery, J. F.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Levy, T.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Emery-Evans, P. V.||Lewis, O.|
|Bull, B. B.||Entwistle, C. F.||Liddall, W. S.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Errington, E.||Lindsay, K. M.|
|Burghley, Lord||Erskine Hill, A. G.||Little, Sir E. Graham.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Liewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Everard, W. L.||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Butt. Sir A.||Fildes, Sir H.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall.||Findlay, Sir E.||Loder, Captain Hon. J. de V.|
|Campbell. Sir E. T.||Fleming, E. L.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Lyons, A. M.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)|
|Cary, R. A.||Furness, S. N.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Fyfe, D. P. M.||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Cautley, Sir H. S.||Gibson, C. G.||MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon M. (Ross)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Gledhill. G.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Gluckstein. L. H.||Macdonald. Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||McEwen, Capt. H. J. F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Br.W.)||Goodman, Col. A. W.||McKie, J. H.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Gower, Sir R. V.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.|
|Channon, H.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Granville, E. L.||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Magnay, T.|
|Christie, J. A.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon, J.||Maitland, A.|
|Churchill. Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.|
|Clarke, F. E.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Clarry, Sir R. G.||Grimston, R. V.||Markham, S. F.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Mason, Lt-Col. Hon. G. K. M.|
|Cobb, Sir C. S.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake)||Maxwell, S. A.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Guinness. T. L. E. B.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Colville, Lt.-Cor. D. J.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)|
|Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Hacking. Rt. Hon. D. H.||Mills, Major J. O. (New Forest)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Mitchell,|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff(W'st'r S.G'gs)||Hannah, I. C.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'burgh, W.)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Mitcheson, Sir G. G.|
|Courtauld. Major J. S.||Harbord, A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Hartington, Marquess of||Moreing, A. C.|
|Craddock, Sir R. H.||Harvey, G.||Morgan, R. H.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Heligers, Captain F. F. A.||Morris, J. P. (Salford. N.)|
|Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)||Ropner, Colonel L.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)||Strickland. Captain W. F.|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Rowlands, G.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Munro, P.||Runciman. Rt. Hon. W||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Nall, Sir J.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|O'Neill. Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G.||Salmon, Sir I.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Salt, E. W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Palmer, G. E. H.||Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Patrick, C. M.||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Peake, O.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Touche, G. C.|
|Peat, C. U.||Sandys, E. D.||Train, Sir J.|
|Penny, Sir G.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.||Savery, Servington||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Scott, Lord William||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.|
|Peters, Dr. S. J.||Selley, H. R.||Turton, R. H.|
|Petherick, M.||Shakespeare, G. H.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Pilkington, R.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Plugge, L. F.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Ward, Irene (Wallsend)|
|Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Porritt, R. W.||Simmonds, O. E.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Power, Sir J. C.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Pownall, Sir A. Assheton||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Procter, Major H. A.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)||Wells, S. R.|
|Radford, E. A.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Raikes. H. V. A. M.||Smithers, Sir W.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Ramsden, Sir E.||Somerville. D. G. (Willesden, E.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Rankin, R.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.||Wise, A. R.|
|Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Spender-Clay, Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Spens, W. P.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Rayner, Major R. H.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)||Wragg, H.|
|Reid, Captain A. Cunningham||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Stewart, William J. (Belfast, S.)|
|Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Storey, S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Stourton, Hon. J. J.||Captain Margesson and Sir James Blindell.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lathan, G.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Lawson, J. J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Leach, W.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Foot, D. M.||Lee, F.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'Isbr.)||Frankel, D.||Leonard, W,|
|Ammon, C. G.||Gardner, B. W.||Leslie, J. R.|
|Anderson. F. (Whitehaven)||Garro-Jones, G. M.||Logan, D. G.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)|
|Banfield, J. W.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Barnes, A. J.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Barr, J.||Gibbins, J.||McGovern, J.|
|Batey, J.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Mac Laren, A.|
|Bellenger, F.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Maclean, N.|
|Benson, G.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||MacNeill, Weir, L.|
|Bevan, A.||Grenfell, D. R.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Broad, F. A.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Mander, G. le M.|
|Bromfield, W.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Marklew, E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Groves, T. E.||Marshall, F.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Maxton, J.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hardie, G. D.||Messer, F.|
|Cape, T.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Milner, Major J.|
|Chater, D.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Montague, F.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Hicks, E. G.||Muff, G.|
|Compton, J.||Holland, A.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hollins, A.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Hopkin, D.||Owen, Major G.|
|Daggar, G.||Jagger, J.||Paling, W.|
|Dalton, H.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Parker, H. J. H.|
|Davidson. J. J. (Maryhill)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Potts, J.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Price, M. P.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Day, H.||Kelly, W. T.||Quibell, J. D.|
|Dabble, W.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Kirby, B. V.||Riley, B.|
|Ede, J. C.||Kirkwood, D.||Ritson, J.|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G||Roberts, W. (Cumberland. N.)|
|Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Sorensen, R. W.||Westwood, J.|
|Roweon, G.||Stephen, C.||White, H. Graham|
|Salter, Dr. A.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)||Whiteley, W.|
|Sanders, W. S.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Sexton, T. M.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Shinwell, E.||Thorne, W.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Short, A.||Thurtle, E.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Silverman, S. S.||Tinker, J. J.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Simpson, F. B.||Viant, S. P.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)||Walkden, A. G.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Walker, J.|
|Smith, E. (Stoke)||Watkins, F. C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)||Watson, W. McL.||Mr. Mathers and Mr. Charleton.|
|Smith, T. (Normanton)||Welsh, J. C.|
§ Main Question put.2096
§ The House divided: Ayes, 371; Noes, 153.2099
|Division No. 89.]||AYES||[11.15 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Erskine Hill, A. G.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Christie, J. A.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Everard, W. L.|
|Albery, I. J.||Clarke, F. E.||Fildes, Sir H.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Clarry, Sir R. G.||Findlay, Sir E.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Fleming, E. L.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Cobb, Sir C. S.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Colfox, Major W. P.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.||Furness, S. N.|
|Apsley, Lord||Colman, N. C. D.||Fyfe, D. P. M.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J.||Gibson, C. G.|
|Assheton, R.||Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Gledhill, G.|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff(W'st'r S.G'gs)||Gluckstein, L. H.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Goodman, Col. A. W.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Craddock, Sir R. H.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)|
|Balniel, Lord||Cranborne, Viscount||Granville, E. L.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Crooke, J. S.||Gridley, Sir A. B.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Cross, R. H.||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Crossley, A. C.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake)|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Crowder, J. F. E.||Guest, Hon, I. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Cruddas, Col. B.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Culverwell, C. T.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Davidson, Rt. Hon, Sir J. C. C.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Hacking. Rt. Hon. D. H.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)||Hamilton, Sir G. C.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Davison, Sir W. H.||Hannah, I. C.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Dawson, Sir P.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||De Chair. S. S.||Harbord, A.|
|Boyce, H. Lesile||De la Bère, R.||Hartington. Marquess of|
|Bracken, B.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Harvey, G.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Denville. Alfred||Heligers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Heneage, Lieut-Colonel A. P.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Dodd, J. S.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Donner, P. W.||Hepworth, J.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Herbert. Major J. A. (Monmouth)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Drewe, C.||Holmes, J. S.|
|Bull, B. B.||Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J|
|Buttock. Capt. M.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Burghley, Lord||Dugdale, Major T. L.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Duggan, H. J.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Duncan, J. A. L.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.|
|Butt. Sir A.||Dunglass, Lord||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)|
|Calne, G. R. Hall-||Dunne, P. R. R.||Hulbert, N. J.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Eales, J. F.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Eastwood, J. F.||Hunter, T.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Eckersley, P. T.||Hurd, Sir P. A,|
|Cary, R. A.||Edge, Sir W.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Jackson, Sir H.|
|Cautley, Sir H. S.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||James, Wing-Commander A. W.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Ellis, Sir G.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Elliston, G. S.||Joel, D. J. B.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Elmiey, Viscount||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Emery, J. F.||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Br.W.)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Keeling, E. H.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)|
|Channon, H.||Entwistle, C F.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Errington, E.||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.|
|Kimball, L.||Nall, Sir J.||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Kirkpatrick, W. M.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir. J. A.|
|Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Latham, Sir P.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Patrick, C. M.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Leckie, J. A.||Peake, O.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, E.)|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Peat, C. U.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Lees-Jones, J.||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Spender-Clay, Lt.-CI. Rt. Hn. H. H.|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Spens, W. P.|
|Levy, T.||Petherick, M.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Lewis, O.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)|
|Liddell, W. S.||Pilkington, R.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Lindsay, K. M.||Plugge, L. F.||Stewart, William. J. (Belfast, S.)|
|Little, Sir E. Graham.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Storey, S.|
|Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Porritt, R. W.||Stourton, Hon. J. J.|
|Lloyd, G. W.||Power, Sir J. C.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Pownall, Sir A. Assheton||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Loder, Captain Hon. J. de V.||Procter, Major H. A.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Loftus, P. C.||Radford. E. A.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Lyons, A. M.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G.||Ramsbotham, H.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.)||Rankin, R.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Macdonald. Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|McEwen, Capt. H. J. F.||Rayner, Major R. H.||Touche, G. C.|
|McKie, J. H.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Train, Sir J.|
|Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Reid, Captain A. Cunningham||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com, R. L.|
|Magnay, T.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Turton, R. H.|
|Maitland, A.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Ward, Lieut-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Rowlands, G.||Ward. Irene (Wallsend)|
|Markham, S. F.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Maxwell, S. A.||Runciman. Rt. Hon. W.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Metter, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)||Wells, S. R.|
|Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Salmon, Sir I.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Mills, Major. J. D. (New Forest)||Salt, E. W.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Mitcheson, Sir G. G.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Sandys, E. D.||Wise, A. R.|
|Moreing, A. C.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Morgan, R. H.||Savery, Servington||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Scott, Lord William||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)||Selley, H. R.||Wragg, H.|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Shakespeare, G. H.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Sir George Penny and Sir James|
|Munro, P.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.||Blindell.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Cluse, W. S.||Garro-Jones, G. M.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Cocks, F. S.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Compton, J.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Cove, W. G.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'Isbr.)||Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Gibbins, J.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Dagger, G.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Dalton, H.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Banfield, J. W||Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)|
|Barr, J.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Batey, J.||Day, H.||Groves, T. E.|
|Ballenger, F.||Dobbie, W.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)|
|Benson, G.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Hardie, G. D.|
|Bevan, A.||Ede, J. C.||Harris, Sir P. A.|
|Broad, F. A.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Bromfield, W.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Buchanan, G.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Hicks, E. G.|
|Burke, W. A.||Foot, D. M.||Holland, A.|
|Cape, T.||Frankel, D.||Hollins, A.|
|Chater, D.||Gardner, B. W.||Hopkin, D.|
|Jagger, J.||Messer, F.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Milner, Major J.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B, Lees- (K'ly)|
|Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Montague, F.||Smith, T (Normanton)|
|Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Stephen, C.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Muff, G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Naylor, T. E.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Kirby, B. V.||Oliver, G. H.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Owen, Major G.||Thorne, W.|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Paling, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Lathan, G.||Parker, H. J. H.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Lawson, J. J.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Leach, W.||Potts, J.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Lee, F.||Price, M. P.||Walker, J.|
|Leonard, W.||Pritt, D. N.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Leslie, J. R.||Quibell, J. D.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Logan, D. G.||Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Riley, B.||Westwood, J.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Ritson, J.||White, H. Graham|
|McGhee, H. G.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Whiteley, W.|
|McGovern, J.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|MacLaren, A.||Rowson, G.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Maclean, N.||Salter, Dr. A.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Sanders, W. S.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|MacNeill, Weir, L.||Sexton, T. M.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Short, A.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Mander, G. le M.||Silverman, S. S.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Markiew, E.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Marshall, F.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Maxton, J.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Mr. Mothers and Mr. Charleton.|
Resolutions agreed to.
That this House approves the Defence proposals of His Majesty's Government which are outlined in Command Paper No. 5107 (Statement relating to Defence).