HC Deb 23 November 1938 vol 341 cc1755-6
50. Wing-Commander James

asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence which Department or Departments were responsible for the failure to make provision for the evacuation of the families of Service personnel from Malta during the September crisis, or to make provision for their safety upon the island; and whether he is aware of the anxiety thus caused, especially to personnel sent away upon duty from this station, at that time?

Sir T. Inskip

I cannot agree that there was any failure to make provision for the safety of the civil population at Malta during the September crisis. In fact, a scheme was ready covering all aspects of defence. Such schemes are prepared and kept under constant review both locally and by the Colonial Office and Service Departments, and are co-ordinated by the Committee of Imperial Defence. In the case of Malta, the defence scheme contained comprehensive measures for the protection of the civil population from air attack, either by the provision of shelters or by evacuation to less dangerous parts of Malta. Families of Service personnel were, of course, included in the scope of these measures.

Wing-Commander James

Is my right hon. Friend aware that on 28th September a fixed signal was made which informed absent personnel that no provision had been made for evacuating their families in the event of hostilities?

Sir T. Inskip

I should like further information about that before I can express an opinion.

Mr. Mathers

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise the appearance of this question on the Order Paper and the supplementary question as a fair sample of the discretion of Government supporters?

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