HC Deb 14 June 1939 vol 348 cc1303-4
56. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, in view of the increasing apprehension of the incidence of aerial warfare, he will make a statement respecting the inter-Departmental inquiry in regard to the control of civil aviation; when the members of that inquiry last met; how often they have met in the last year; and whether any consultations with the Governments of other Powers have taken place in recent months concerning the possibility of preventing the misuse of civil aviation for military purposes?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

As I informed the hon. Member on 27th February last, the question of the control of civil aviation in relation to its misuse for military purposes forms one of the matters which is under consideration by the Inter-Departmental Inquiry on Air Disarmament. Pending a decision on the problem as a whole, which is clearly one of great complexity, I am not in a position to make a statement regarding one part of it. Three meetings of the full Committee conducting the inquiry have been held in the last year and a great deal of work has been carried out by a number of sub-committees and by departmental investigations. The hon. Member will no doubt appreciate that owing to the events of recent months the staffs concerned have been preoccupied with matters of active defence and have been unable to devote as much time to this problem as they would otherwise have done. No approach on the matter has been made in recent months to the Governments of other Powers.

Mr. Sorensen

When is some report likely to be made in regard to this inquiry; and can we have an assurance that at least as much active attention will be paid to preparing for peace as is now being paid to preparing for war?

Mr. Morrison

I can assure the hon. Member that the inquiry will be actively pursued, and that there will be no avoidable delay in bringing it to a conclusion.