HC Deb 18 February 1937 vol 320 cc1497-517

Question again proposed.

9.55 p.m.

Mr. Attlee

This Debate is concerned with one immediate point and one larger point that lies behind it. The immediate point is the consideration of the way in which the money is to be raised for the programme of armaments. The point that lies behind that is the policy of which those armaments are an expression. I do not want to pursue the question of the desirability of raising a loan for the purpose of armaments. Our objections were very fully stated by my hon. Friends the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) and the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton), whose arguments have not been answered. The Chancellor of the Exchequer made no attempt whatever to answer those arguments. He took refuge in a very old trick. He pretended not to understand them. He said that he was puzzled. He did not really appreciate the point. He found it difficult to follow their theoretical arguments. I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman is as dense as he made out. He would not have got to his present position unless he could appreciate the comparatively elementary points which my hon. Friends put with very great clarity. The fact was that he had no answer. That was so obvious that when the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence got up he thought it necessary to say a word on the subject, but he did not get very far.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer devoted a good deal of his time not to explaining his proposals but to attacking us on these benches. He formulated a number of questions of his own, to which he challenged a reply. Those questions were based on false premises. It is a very simple thing to beg the whole question and then shoot questions across and challenge denial or confirmation of them. He dealt with some points, but it struck me that he was a good deal more interested in making party scores than in getting support for his loan policy. That was a little unfortunate, because the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence tried what one might almost call the Baldwin touch, by appealing very solemnly for unity. He wanted us to show a united front to the world, to show the foreigners how we all stood together, and to show our confidence in the Government. That is another very old trick, the confidence trick. That trick entirely depends on the question whether the victim knows the personnel of the gang or not. The same gang cannot play the same confidence trick twice on the same people.

Perhaps it is worth while looking at the gang that asks for this confidence from us. There is the Lord President of the Council. I wonder what the Lord President of the Council would have thought in the earlier days of his career if a Government of which he was a member had produced these proposals? If members of the party to which he then belonged had used some of the arguments that have been put forward by hon. Members opposite I can imagine how the Lord President would have torn them to tatters by his denunciation. This puts the seal on the right hon. Gentleman's career. It is the final act by which he casts aside everything for which he stood. Therefore, I do not think that we can have confidence in the Lord President of the Council. I do not think that hon. Members opposite have confidence in him. There was a Debate on 31st March, 1934, in which the Lord President was put up to make a statement on Defence. That was exactly the time when the present Prime Minister had already begun to have grave misgivings about the whole armaments situation. That was the period when, although he had those suspicions, he thought it prudent to keep them to himself. Therefore, the Lord President of the Council was put up to make a statement. I presume he knew all about it. Anyhow, he did not give it away, and no one could have gathered the seriousness of the situation from his speech.

Then there is the Home Secretary. He is the other one in the triumvirate. He must have been in the full counsels of the Government. He was put up to speak on 13th July. Did he make an alarmist speech? Not at all. He was put up to smooth away the inconvenient blurtings of Lord Londonderry and Lord Monsell, because it was not good for democracy to know the truth at that time. Then there is the First Lord of the Admiralty. He made at Geneva the famous speech which invited the Abyssinians to their betrayal. Finally, there is the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister knows at all events the virtue of the necessity of confession. He said that he ought to have confessed earlier. The remarkable thing is that it was in the period from 1933 that he began to feel disturbed, and the disturbance ran on to 1934, until the right time came to get an Election on a particular issue. In 1934 the Prime Minister said: The greatest crime to our own people is to be afraid to tell them the truth. It is amazing that he should have said that, when subsequently he made such an appalling statement. But there is more than this. There is the written word also. This is the third issue of a Defence paper that we have had; it is the third number. In the first number, the J.R.M. number, we were told this: If risks have been run they, have been accepted deliberately in pursuit of the aim of permanent peace. We know now that that was untrue. It had nothing to do with permanent peace. It was the question whether the Prime Minister could win the Election or not. It is too late in the day to come forward now and ask for us to have confidence in this Government. Their record all through has been one of betrayal of everything they profess to stand for. We have only to glance at their record of foreign policy. It is an appalling record. Every time that there has come some question on which you might have expected them to make a stand, to make a stand on their own professions, they have run away calling out to those who reminded them of their profession: "Oh, you want war." We have a reference in the White Paper to the changed conditions since the first White Paper. It is interesting to see what those conditions are. One condition which has changed since the first White Paper is the position in the Eastern Mediterranean. The position that has changed since the second White Paper is the position in the Western Mediterranean.

It was extremely courageous of the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence to refer to those two areas. He said that events had occurred there and that one could get valuable lessons from them. That is a phrase which I know very well. Whenever I have read the history of the Great War and the story of some appalling blunder, when perhaps 30,000 or 50,000 men have been shot down almost before they got over the top, the explanation and excuse has been that valuable lessons have been learned. The world has learned valuable lessons in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean and we have learned valuable lessons in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean. We and the world learned that the word of honour of the Government is worth nothing. We learned that they are not even interested in the principle they used to profess of Imperial interests, because the strategic position in the eastern part of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea has been handed over to Italy, We turn to the Western Mediterranean and there we find, in spite of the professions of the Prime Minister, that the Government are not really interested in the defence of democracy. Everywhere they are on the side of the dictators.

We have learned something else. The present Prime Minister in a famous speech told us that the next war would be a matter of killing women and children. We know now from experience in Abyssinia and Spain what modern warfare really is like, both in bombing women and children and in the machine-gunning of women and children. I hope hon. Members read the "Times" correspondent yesterday about the way in which the gallant Christian gentlemen, friends of the hon. and gallant Member for Peebles turned machine-guns on women and children fleeing to the mountains. In any previous generation in this country an event such as that would have caused a stir on the benches on both sides of this House. It is a sign of the hardening effect of war that these things pass quite unnoticed now. The proposals we have before us are the terrible result of six years of National Government. We have had six years of this Government whose Members are always boasting of the wonderful way they have brought the country out of a terrible state of despair and brought us to prosperity. It is not much satisfaction to the turkey to know that he has been fattened up before he is to be killed. The hon. and gallant Member below the Gangway said that we owe a great deal to the Government.

I have described this as a war measure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to resent that phrase. He said it was regrettable. The question is not whether it is regrettable or not but whether it is true. Every sentence in this White Paper contemplates war, not as a possibility, but as a certainty. Every word in the speech of the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence was directed, not to the possibility, but to the certainty of war. It is quite clear that what we have now is the organisation of this country permanently on a war basis. The Government have absolutely no policy for peace. There is no suggestion of peace. When the other day a question was put by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) to the Prime Minister asking whether he could not deal with some of the big economic questions internationally the Prime Minister said that the time was not opportune. No time could be more opportune. Throughout this document and throughout the speeches we have heard, there runs the cry, "The time is short; get ready now." We hear of two-year plans and three-year plans and five-year plans, but we have not heard one word of what is to happen at the end of five years. What is to happen? War? Is there going to be disarmament? Shall we be safe at the end of five years? Armaments are piling up.

The right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council has frequently told us what happens as the inevitable end of competitive armaments. I suppose no one will deny that we are in an armament race at the present time. I have the evidence of the present Foreign Secretary who, in July, 1934, said: The alternative to an agreement about armaments is an armaments race. You have no agreement; you have, therefore, an armaments race. I should be very glad if the Prime Minister could give me any instance of an armaments race which has not ended in war. That is the position with which we are faced. We are challenged to say what is our position with regard to the amount of these armaments. What is the amount that will make us safe? I do not believe the Government are going to get any safety through these armaments. There is no suggestion that these armaments will make us safe. The amount of armaments depends on your policy. We are not really considering the British Islands only now. We have taken in the whole of the British Empire. We are very much in the position of 1910, which the hon. Member for North Edinburgh (Mr. Erskine Hill) quoted just now-four years before the Great War. He said he got a reply from the Liberal Government of that day that there was no chance of war. We know that we had war in four years.

I have never accused the Prime Minister or his colleagues of wanting war, nor would I accuse the Liberal Government of 1910 of wanting war, but the course they pursued was one of armed anarchy in Europe and the pursuit of nationalist and Imperialist aims made war inevitable. The amount of armaments that you require depends upon who is on your side and who is against you, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer discussed this matter in the most extraordinary terms. He discussed it in terms of isolation. One of my colleagues said there was no mention of the League of Nations. He asked whether we would be any happier if there had been that mention. Certainly not, unless the idea of collective security was expressed inside the document. The Chancellor of the Exchequer showed quite plainly that the Government are not considering the League at all. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman, to do him justice, has ever been particularly interested in the League of Nations, except at the period just before the last election. He made a statement which shows quite plainly that he had no conception of the League at all. He said: We have not to single out a particular Power as the enemy, nor are we, as a matter of fact, in alliance with other Powers on whose aid we could count in that particular case. What we have had to do is to consider a whole series of hypothetical emergencies in which we might be opposed to this or that Power, or this or that group of Powers."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th February, 1937; col. 1311, Vol. 320.] Our conception of the League of Nations is not that we were just allied Powers fighting one against the other for a particular purpose and then separating. Our idea was a solid block of Powers standing together for peace, and outside the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the aggressor. We are obviously back to the law of the jungle. The League of Nations has entirely gone. The result of all this is these armaments. The right hon. Gentleman asked what we should do if we were faced with this position. We should not have allowed ourselves to get into such a position. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman thinks that if he had been Chancellor of the Exchequer instead of Mr. Snowden in 1931, he would have balanced his Budget, and that none of the troubles which came upon us would have fallen upon him. When we left office the world was moving towards peace. If after six years the Government take credit for what they have done they must also take the discredit for the present situation, although I do not claim that it is entirely due to the incapacity and wickedness of the Government. But I am not proposing suddenly to spring an Election on the country.

I agree that there are difficult circumstances and I know that in foreign affairs you have to consider what other people are doing, but I do say that in the terrible situation to which the world has come a very heavy responsibility rests on the triumvirate who have been ruling this country. The amount, therefore, depends on policy, and there is no policy here whatever. All we have in the way of a policy is an armaments competition— £1,500,000,000 in five years, and then more if necessary. That means that the competition will get worse and worse. Hon. Members opposite can accept that if they like, but I challenge them to say that it is not the straight road to war and ruin. We are told that there is a co-ordinating plan. I listened with great interest 'to the minor details and smaller points made by the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, but they did not give any evidence of coordination on major strategy at all. Quite the contrary. The Minister proudly stated that he had co-ordinated coast defences and anti-aircraft work, but he has managed to do this without having settled the question of who is to control the Fleet Air arm. It strikes me as most extraordinary that these smaller points should be considered and great outstanding questions left unconsidered.

In the White Paper we are merely referred back to previous White Papers, those of 1936 and 1935, but you find no co-ordinating plan in any of these papers, because for political reasons the White Paper of 1935 could not be represented as a big programme of rearmament. It was reckoned as only a plan for the reconditioning of existing forces. We never have had a co-ordinated plan. We have had statements from the War Office, the Admiralty and the Air Ministry, but they have been uncorrelated and unco-ordinated, and they remain so to this day. All we have had has been a mere piling up of armaments but no considered and co-ordinated plan at all. Therefore, I am not at all impressed by what the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence said. It is easy to say to the Opposition "You must not interfere; we know all about it; we have all the able people." Many hon. Members have said that we must take it unquestioningly from the Government. That has not been the custom in the past. That was not the attitude of Conservatives in 1910; on the contrary, they screamed from the housetops, "We want eight and we won't wait." It has never been the custom in this country to accept these things either from the Government or without examination from their technical advisers.

I am not in the least satisfied that there is not gross waste in this programme. I am absolutely certain that if by any chance we survive this programme and what it leads to, we shall get the same profiteering scandals as we have had before. We have had them after every war. We had then after the South African War, which I suppose was one of the instances of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement that Great Britain has never been aggressive. We have always had these scandals, and we shall have them again. We are told of great plans. Occasionally something leaks out when it affects the amenities of the well-to-do. So we had the White Waltham scandal. It has never been explained why at one moment White Waltham was the only place to put an air factory. Then they managed to start one at Speke. We had a new geography as well as a new statement.

We on this side say frankly to the Government that we have no confidence whatever in them, and I am sure they will frankly admit that there is no reason why we should have. We take the line that we are perfectly prepared to make preparations for what is needed for the defence of this country, but we do not beg the question by simply saying, "Defence." Defence depends on policy. There is no policy here that can bring security. There is no policy here that can bring peace. The Prime Minister is responsible for making one of the biggest mistakes that has ever been made by a Prime Minister in this country, because he is placing all his reliance on things and not on people. He is very careful to build up a great mass of mechanism, but he has forgotten the spirit of the people he governs. That is where his greatest mistake comes, for he had his chance. There was a time when the people of this country trusted the right hon. Gentleman and really believed that he stood for peace. He wantonly threw that confidence away, and he will not get it again. It is of no use the right hon. Gentleman making speeches about being willing to stand for democracy when on every hand we see the Government betraying democracy. It is no good the Government saying that they stand against tyranny when everywhere they lick the tyrants' boots.

We had a very interesting quotation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's calendar. One of my colleagues has given me a better quotation, from the Trade Union Congress calendar. It is a quotation from a man who, whatever may have been his faults, stood throughout the world for British liberty. Wherever the right hon. Gentleman of that day was known, he was known as a man who stood up for liberty. That man was Lord Palmerston. I recommend all hon. and right hon. Members to read his speech on Spain made 100 years ago and to see how high they can hold their heads to-day. This is the quotation: Opinions are stronger than armaments. Opinions, if they are founded on truth and justice, will in the end prevail against the bayonets of infantry, the tire of artillery and the charges of cavalry. The weakness of all the armaments of the Government is that there is no spirit behind them but the spirit of a feeble class Imperialism. It is a spirit which looks to the past and not to the future. It is a spirit which is in tune with the Government's home policy and which makes their foreign policy hopeless, because you cannot hope to carry out a policy of social justice abroad, when you rest upon social injustice at home.

10.26 p.m.

The Prime Minister

I think the right hon. Gentleman was hardly fair to me in saying that I never realised the spiritual forces of this world. I think I was the first member of my party who often pointed out at public meetings the spiritual force which animated the early days of the movement to which the right hon. Gentleman belongs, and I have never lost an opportunity of pointing out how that spirit has now been dead for some time. That spirit which was prominent in the earlier days is dead, and that is why the party opposite has been led into a position such as it is in to-night. I know quite well from my own experience of politics over recent years that the form of attack which the right hon. Gentleman delivered to-night was the one best calculated, in his view, to draw together a number of discordant elements who hold very diverse views on the lightness or unrightness of the Resolution which is before the Committee.

Owing to no fault, either of the right hon. Gentleman or of myself, our time is somewhat curtailed for the main matter with which we have to deal, and I do not propose to go at any length, and in some respects I do not propose to go at all, into certain personal observations which were made about me during the Debate. I wish to touch only on one of them because it illustrates the point of policy to which, in the main, I shall devote the short time left for me to-night. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland)—and I regret that I was unable to hear his speech—complained that I must have known, I suppose at the time of the last Election, that collective security was going to fail and the League was going to collapse and therefore, apparently, that I deceived the electors. I do not suppose for a moment that the right hon. Gentleman can have followed the speeches which I delivered at the last Election, and, indeed, I have hardly referred to them myself since. But I have a distinct recollection that I said all through that Election that we were trying out sanctions for the first time; that it was impossible to say whether sanctions would succeed or not; that many supporters of the League said that if sanctions failed it would be the end of the League; that I did not take that view; that I thought it was a cowardly view and that, if sanctions failed and the League appeared to fail, there was all the more need for the friends of the League to stand by the League, to find out how and why the failure had been made, and to see if the League could be strengthened and made a success in the future, and that no opportunity should be lost for bringing back into the League certain great Powers who had left it. I think the line I took all through that time was of truer service to the League than the tide of propaganda which was put out to try to make people believe that sanctions could be imposed without risk of war. Our people can always recognise facts swiftly when they see them, and they realised that there was danger in a process which they had often been told and made to believe had no danger whatever in it.

In the short time left, and before I come on to foreign policy, as I shall do in four or five minutes, I want the Committee to consider what it is that is being done with regard to repairing deficiencies and doing the other work which we propose to do as set out in the White Paper. The situation is serious enough, but it is just as well to avoid exaggeration. Under the proposals—which the Committee knows—and in spite of increased liabilities on this country, the Army is less, and will be less, than it was in 1914. The Navy, in spite of the increases that will be proposed in the Estimates, which we shall have to consider early next month, is far from being a great Navy in the sense in which we used the word in 1914. The expansion is in the new arm, in the Air Arm. The great expense of this programme is in the air. That is where the money is being expended, I believe with the consent of the whole nation. There may be differences here and there as to how it ought to be expended, but that this nation should possess an Air Force of immense power is the view of practically every soul in this country. Anti-aircraft defence, as hon. Members will find when they get down to the Estimates, is, again, a branch of the Service which will demand large sums of money. It is a far more serious problem than it was at the time of the last War, and it is a form of defence which will probably have to be increased and moved farther and farther back as the radius of air attack from Europe increases.

Ships, again, are some of the heaviest items of expenditure, and must be as long as it is thought right to increase the size of to-day's navy, though, as I say, it will not go back to the size of the Navy of 1914. And large sums must be spent on all kinds of stores, partly because of those years since the War, when all parties combined to spend as little as was possible on the Services, trying to pull together the finances of the country after the War, and also instituting, as I shall show in a moment, considerable increases in the social services of this country. Those are the directions in which the heavy expenditure chiefly lies, and those forms of expenditure can be, and I have no doubt will be, examined in detail when the Estimates come before the House.

But with all this—and I would repeat it, because my words here to-night may go abroad—there is no thought and no intention of aggression by this country. We want to put ourselves in a position to deter aggression. Deterrence is our object, and if you believe that deterrence possible you will believe that ineffective deterrence is worse than useless. We shall neither assure our own safety and that of the Empire, nor play our part in securing peace in the world, unless we bring our forces up to the necessary standard. That, and that alone, is what this expenditure is for.

I have one more observation to make before I come to the question of foreign policy. I have said in speeches that I believe this country of ours is in a position in which she can finance what we are going to do, and that she can do it without risk to what she has done and is doing for the Social Services, and With out affecting our standard of living any more than that standard is affected, and will be, affected from time to time, by the rise or fall in the price of com-modifies. I want to put this quite clearly to hon. Members: This expenditure that we are asking the House for appears, I agree, an enormous expenditure. We contend, although I know this view is not taken upon the benches opposite, that it should be a temporary expenditure, that is to say, for about a generation. The Social Services are here for all time, and I hope, indeed, that this generation, and future generations, may see them improved.

I wonder whether the Committee realise the additions that have been made to the Social Services since the War. The expenditure of the nation is at the rate of £450,000,000 a year—half as much again as 10 years ago; the expenditure of the State amounts to well over £200,000,000 a year, and that figure is double what it was 10 years ago. That shows the enormous elasticity in the financial power of the country and how we have been going forward in those respects after the War, probably faster and better than any other country in the world. I believe, if this country works hard and pulls together, and no unforeseen disaster occurs, that there is no reason why our social life should be affected in those regards by what we are proposing to do in the Financial Resolution to-night.

The statement which has been criticised, the White Paper referring to this Debate, is a "Statement relating to Defence Expenditure." It does not purport to be a statement relating to foreign policy. But there is no inconsistency between the preparations described in the White Paper and the declarations that we have made from time to time with regard to our foreign policy. I should like to examine them for a short time. I would like to recall to the Committee a recent announcement by the Foreign Secretary. I do that because it must be fresh in many Members' minds, and because it puts very clearly and succinctly how we regard the position. I have taken a copy of it; some hon. Members will be familiar with it. He was speaking in reference to the rearmament proposals of the Government, and he said: It may be asked, for what purpose will these arms be used? Let me once again make the position in this respect perfectly clear. These arms will never be used in a war of aggression. They will never be used for a purpose inconsistent with the Covenant of the League or the Pact of Paris. They may, and, if the occasion arose, they would, be used in our own defence, and in defence of the territories of the British Commonwealth of Nations. They may, and if the occasion arose they would, be used in defence of France and Belgium against unprovoked aggression in accordance with our existing obligations. They may, and if a new Western European settlement can be reached they would, be used in defence of Germany were she the victim of unprovoked aggression by any of the other signatories of such a settlement. Those, together with our Treaty of Alliance with Iraq and our projected Treaty with Egypt, are our definite obligations. In addition, our armaments may be used in bringing help to a victim of aggression in any case where in our judgment it would be proper under the provisions of the Covenant to do so. I use the word 'may' deliberately, because in such an instance there is no automatic obligation to take military action. It is, moreover, right that this should be so, for nations cannot be expected to incur automatic military obligations save for areas where their vital interests are concerned. I think that that is a very clear and very fair statement. It represents the views of the Government. As regards my right hon. Friend, if I may so call him, the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair), who suggested that there was a division in the Cabinet—one of the most venerable forms of suggestion in political life—I would tell him that the last dissension which occurred in the Cabinet was no fault of mine; it was when, to my infinitely great regret, he left us.

It is in view of that statement of the Foreign Secretary that we wish our proposals to be regarded. Hon. Members opposite have complained that there was no mention in the Chancellor's speech of the League of Nations. They concluded from that—and here is another curious, swift, illogical, political conclusion—that we have ceased to take any interest in the League of Nations. I do not know what possible reason they can have for that suggestion. I believe there is no difference of view in any part of the House as to the relationship of our policy to the principles of the League. The object of all parties alike in this country has been, and remains, a very simple one, and that is to maintain peace. We have done our best. The Leader of the Opposition says we have failed. We do not accept that failure. We have by no means abandoned our hopes. Our object, as I say, is to maintain peace, and we have sought to build up an international structure for that purpose. That international structure, as everyone in the Committee knows, was unable at the first attempt to stand the weight which it was made to try to bear. As the Committee knows, and as I think has been repeatedly stated from this Box, the Government have not lost hope yet, and we are now devoting our efforts to bringing about a pact to take the place of the old Locarno Pact with the old Locarno Powers.

I think, myself, it may well be in the immediate future that the most hopeful prospect is the prospect of regional pacts. It is worth anything, it is worth everything in Europe to-day to get a feeling of security, at any rate in one part, from which that security, if once attained, may spread to other parts of Europe. We regard regional pacts as of the greatest importance, but the Committee must recognise, and no one who has to deal with these things practically can fail to recognise, as has often been said from this Box, that the League differs from the League originally contemplated, and the difficulties which will lie in the way of those who try to work for collective security in a League in which some of the most powerful and highly armed nations in the world are outside, are almost insuperable. One of the most cogent causes of unrest in Europe during the last two or three years—and there are many of them—I definitely believe to be due to want of equilibrium between the obligations and the liabilities of our country and the material strength of our country. Our liabilities and our obligations having been so much greater than our material strength, we find it much more difficult to do what we would than we should find it in a heavily armed world if we had stronger arms.

Hon. Members on the other side often speak about collective security as though it would work by itself, and as though there were some kind of antithesis between collective security and national security. I think that point was very well exposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich (Mr. H. Strauss), who pointed out the effect of Article 8 of the Covenant. In the few minutes that I have I am not going to allude again to that, but there is no antithesis. The two things are one, and it is a very great fallacy to think that you can vote for something that is going to be spent on collective security and you cannot vote for something that is going to be spent on national defence. Let us ask ourselves for a moment what is the object of collective security. You want to get by collective security this, that the forces of order are stronger than the forces of disorder. And more than that, the object is not merely to win a war should one break out. If any war breaks out in Europe now it is not going to be a localised war. It will run through Europe—the most terrible thing you can conceive—and if the forces are fairly even, you may have a repetition of 1914 with all its horrors. The idea of collective security was that there should be so overwhelrnmg a force on the one side that no aggressor could start war. That would have been the case, as I have said over and over again, had the League been universal. That could have been done, and it could be done to-day. But if you are to fulfil your obligations under collective security you must have power enough to defend yourselves.

I ask you to think of this for one moment. Were there a pact—and I am not speaking of collective security through the whole of Europe—for mutual defence between the nations of Western Europe, I hope and believe—and the committee hopes and believes—that such a pact would maintain the peace. But if it were broken, and were members of it, we might find ourselves in a moment in opposition to a first-class military and air Power in Europe. Under collective security, assuming that those who were acting with us came in, the brunt of some fighting would always be with this country—the brunt of naval fighting; for one thing because this country has possessions oversea, this country has possessions in the East, and this country must be able to look after itself on the sea, and yet be able to look after itself if disaster should come further afield.

Under any form of collective security this country would be the first to stand the racket in the air, provided that the country against whom collective security was engaged was within a radius from which she could bomb us. Therefore, for this country to enter into any system of collective security of that kind when she is not in a position to pull her weight with the other countries, or to defend herself satisfactorily, would be a most dangerous thing for this country, and it is to avoid that that these proposals are put forward. There must be no doubt if there is to be any security of that kind. Perhaps some hon. Members may remember that I said—I think it was at the last Election, and I think I said it in my broadcast—that I would never as Prime Minister be a party to engaging again in sanctions on behalf of this country until this country was much more strongly armed than she was then. That I believe to be fundamental for the existence of this country, and it is because of that we are recommending these proposals to the Committee.

I apologise for having to cut what I have to say very short. I would like to add one word taking up what my right hon. Friend the Minister for Co-ordination of Defence said at the end of his speech. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was a little sarcastic at my expense on account of various speeches I have made about democracy. I have for many years, ever since I became Prime Minister, tried to make the people of this country proud of their system. I have tried to make them realise that it is not a system that can be preserved without sacrifice. The time for sacrifice is now. I believe it can be preserved, and I believe that what we are doing will have that effect. It is a sacrifice, but a sacrifice worth making. I saw the other day that a member of the Communist party said that this was a very good time to be alive, to which an admirable riposte was made by an hon. Member whom I see sitting on the other side of the House, and, if I may I congratulate him on that reply. But it is a good time to be alive for those who believe in their principles of democracy and are prepared to make the sacrifice for it, because they have the opportunity now of making that sacrifice. All of us believe that the spirit of freedom is worth something in this country. The best thing we can do now to preserve it is to make our country so strong, that no one who holds opposite views in these matters shall ever consider it worth while making any wanton aggression on this country. It is for the safety of ourselves and of our people, and it is for that to-night that we are going into the Lobby.

Question put That it is expedient— (1) to authorise the Treasury, during the five years ending on the thirty-first day

of March, nineteen hundred and forty-two, to issue out of the Consolidated Fund sums not exceeding in the aggregate four hundred million pounds to be applied as appropriations in aid of the moneys provided by Parliament for the Navy, Army (including Royal Ordnance Factories) and Air services for those years;

Provided that the amount so issued in respect of any service for any year shall not at any date exceed the aggregate of the amounts proposed to be issued in respect of that service by the estimates upon which this House has, before that date, resolved to grant sums to His Majesty to defray expenses for that service for that year;

(2) to authorise the Treasury, for the purpose of providing money for the issue of sums as aforesaid or for replacing sums so issued, to raise money in any manner in which they are authorised to raise money under and for the purpose of sub-section (1) of section one of the War Loan Act, 1919, and to provide that any securities created and issued accordingly shall be deemed for all purposes to have been created and issued under the said sub-section (1);

(3) to authorise the old sinking fund to be used in the said five years for providing money for the issue of sums as aforesaid instead of being issued to the National Debt Commissioners;

(4) to provide for the repayment to the Exchequer, out of moneys provided by Parliament for the said services in such proportions as the Treasury may direct, of the sums issued as aforesaid with interest at the rate of three per cent, per annum as follows:—

  1. (a) until the expiration of the said five years interest only shall be payable;
  2. (b) thereafter the sums so issued shall be repaid, together with interest, by means of thirty equal annual instalments of principal and interest combined;

(5) to provide for the application of sums paid into the Exchequer under the last foregoing paragraph, so far as they represent principal, in redeeming or paying off debt, and, so far as they represent interest, in paying interest otherwise pay able out of the permanent annual charge for the National Debt."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 329; Noes, 145.

Division No. 84.] AYES. [10.57 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Boothby, R. J. G.
Albery, Sir Irving Balniel, Lord Bossom, A. C.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Barrie, Sir C. C. Boulton, W. W.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S Baxter, A. Beverley Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.) Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Bower, Comdr. R. T.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.
Apsley, Lord Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Boyce, H. Leslie
Aske, Sir R. W. Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B.
Assheton, R. Beit, Sir A. L. Bracken, B.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N. Braithwaite, Major A. N.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Birchall, Sir J. D. Brass, Sir W.
Baldwin-Webb, Cot. J. Blair, Sir R. Briscoe, Capt. R. G.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Blaker, Sir R. Brocklebank, C. E. R.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Fox, Sir G. W. G. Magnay, T.
Brown, Flt. Hon. E. (Leith) Fremantle, Sir F. E. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Furness, S. N. Manningham-Buller, Sir M.
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Fyfe, D. P. M. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Bull, B. B. Ganzoni, Sir J. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.
Bullock, Capt. M. Gluckstein, L. H. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.
Burgin, Dr. E. L, Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)
Burton, Col. H. W. Goldie, N. B. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)
Butler, R. A. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)
Caine, G. R. Hall- Grant-Ferris, R. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Granville E. L. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)
Cartland, J. R. H. Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Mitcheson, Sir G. G.
Carver, Major W. H. Gridley, Sir A. B. Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R.
Castlereagh, Viscount Grimston, R. V. Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor) Moreing, A. C.
Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.) Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.) Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Guy, J. C. M. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Br.W.) Hamilton, Sir G. C. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Hanbury, Sir C. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.
Channon, H. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Munro, P.
Chorlton, A. E. L. Hartington, Marquess of Nall, Sir J.
Christie, J. A. Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle) Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) O'Connor, Sir Terenee J.
Clarke, F. E. (Dartford) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.
Clarry, Sir Reginald Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Clydesdale, Marquess of Hepworth, J. Palmer, G. E. H.
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Patrick, C. M.
Colfox, Major W. P. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Peake, O.
Colman, N. C. D. Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. w. (Ripon) Peat, C. U.
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.
Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.) Holmes, J. S. Perkins, W. R. D.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Peters, Dr. S. J.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs) Hopkinson, A. Petherick, M.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Pilkington, R,
Courtauld, Major J. S. Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Courthope, Col. Sir G. L. Horsbrugh, Florence Porritt, R. W.
Cranborne, Viscount Howitt, Dr. A. B. Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton
Craven-Ellis, W. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Preston, Sir W. R.
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Hudson, R. S. (Southport) Radford, E. A.
Crooke, J. S. Hulbert, N. J. Raikes, H. V. A. M.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Hume, Sir G. H. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Hunter, T. Ramsbotham, H.
Cross, R. H. Hurd, Sir P. A.
Crossley, A. C. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H. Ramsden, Sir E.
Crowder, J. F. E. Jackson, Sir H. Rankin, Sir R.
Cruddas, Col. B. Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Culverwell, C. T. Keeling, E. H. Rawson, Sir Cooper
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Rayner, Major R. H.
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
Davison, Sir W. H. Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Dawson, Sir P. Kimball, L. Remer, J. R.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Denville, Alfred Lamb, Sir J. Q. Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. Ropner, Colonel L.
Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. Latham, Sir P. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Doland, G. F. Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Donner, P. W. Leckie, J. A. Rowlands, G.
Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Leech, Dr. J. W. Runciman, Rt. Hon. W.
Drewe, C. Lees-Jones, J. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Leigh, Sir J. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L. Salt, E. W.
Dugdale, Major T. L. Levy, T. Samuel, M. R. A.
Duggan, H. J. Liddall, W. S. Sandeman, Sir N. S.
Duncan, J. A. L. Little, Sir E. Graham- Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Dunglass, Lord Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Sandys, E. D.
Eastwood, J. F. Lloyd, G. W. Scott, Lord William
Eckersley, P. T. Loftus, P. C. Selley, H. R.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Shakespeare, G. H.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Lumley, Capt. L. R. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Ellis, Sir G. Lyons, A. M. Simmonds, O. E,
Elliston, Capt. G. S. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Elmley, Viscount MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.
Emery, J. F. M'Connell, Sir J. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Emmott, C. E. G. C. McCorquodale, M. S. Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Emrys-Evans, P. V. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Scot. U.) Smith, Sir R, W. (Aberdeen)
Entwistle, Sir C. F. MacBonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Smithers, Sir W.
Errington, E. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Erskine-Hill, A. G. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) McKie, J. H. Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Everard, W. L. Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees) Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Fildes, Sir H. Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J. Spens, W. P.
Findlay, Sir E. Macquisten, F. A. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Storey, S. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L. Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Stourton, Major Hon. J. J. Turton, R. H. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.) Wakefield, W. W. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Strauss, H. G. (Norwich) Walker-Smith, Sir J. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Strickland, Captain W. F Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan Wise, A. R.
Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Sutcliffe, H. Warrender, Sir V. Wragg, H.
Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne) Waterhouse, Captain C. Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.
Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.) Wayland, Sir W. A Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Titchfield, Marquess of Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Touche, G. C. Wells, S. R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Train, Sir J. Williams, C. (Torquay) Sir George Penny and Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Groves, T. E. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Potts, J.
Adams, D. (Consett) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Price, M. P.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Hardie, G. D. Pritt, D. N.
Adamson, W. M. Harris, Sir P. A. Quibell, D. J. K.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Hayday, A. Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Ammon, C. G. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Ridley, G.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Riley, B.
Banfield, J. W. Hicks, E. G. Ritson, J.
Barnes, A. J. Hollins, A. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Barr, J. Hopkin, D. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Batey, J. Jagger, J. Rothschild, J. A. de
Bellenger, F. J. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Rowson, G.
Benson, G. Jones, A. C (Shipley) Salter, Dr. A.
Broad, F. A. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Sanders, W. S.
Brooke, W. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Seely, Sir H. M.
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Kelly, W. T. Sexton. T. M.
Buchanan, G. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Shinwell, E.
Burke, W. A. Kirby, B. V. Short, A.
Cape, T. Lawson, J. J. Silkin, L.
Cassells, T. Leach, W. Silverman, S. S.
Charleton, H. C. Leonard, W. Simpson, F. B.
Cluse, W. S. Leslie, J. R. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Cocks, F. S. Logan, D. G. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Cove, W. G. Lunn, W. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Macdonald, G. (Ince) Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees-(K'ly)
Dalton, H. McEntee, V. La T. Sorensen, R. W.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) McGhee, H. G. Stephen, C.
Day, H. MacLaren, A. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Dobbie, W. Maclean, N. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) MacMillan, M. (Western Isles) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Ede, J. C. MacNeill, Weir, L. Thorne, W.
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Mainwaring, W. H. Thurtle, E.
Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Mander, G. le M. Tinker, J. J.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Marshall, F. Viant, S. P.
Frankel, D. Mathers, G. Walkden, A. G.
Gallacher, W. Maxton, J. Walker, J.
Gardner, B. W. Messer, F. Watkins, F. C.
Garro Jones, G. M. Milner, Major J. Watson, W. McL.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Montague, F. Welsh, J. C.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Westwood, J.
Gibbins, J. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Wilkinson, Ellen
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Muff, G. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Naylor, T. E. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Oliver, G. H. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Grenfell, D. R. Owen, Major G. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Paling, W. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Parker, J.
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Parkinson, J. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Whiteley and Mr. John.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.