HC Deb 04 July 1940 vol 362 cc998-9
46. Colonel Arthur Evans

asked the Prime Minister whether, with a view to the efficient co-ordination of all military and civil Departments concerned with the defence of Great Britain, he will appoint a commander-in-chief with the necessary liaison staff for this purpose, who would come under the direct orders of the Minister of Defence?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

A closely knit and necessarily elaborate organisation to ensure the effective concert of the whole apparatus of Home Defence has been over a considerable period of time gradually worked out by the combined staffs of the three fighting Services. This organisation, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, supported by their professional advisers, gives to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces, the necessary control over not only the military but the civil sphere, subject, of course, to the fact that he has direct access to the Prime Minister or Minister of Defence for the time being, and can thus receive such guidance upon questions of high policy as may from time to time be required. It would be the greatest mistake, at the moment when it may well have to be put to the proof, to liquidate and remould this organisation, which at the present time is working to the satisfaction of all the principal executive persons concerned. It must, of course, be continually tested and improved. I cannot conceive that the proposal pressed in some quarters to appoint a super Commander-in-Chief over the whole field of the three Services and the civil power would not be a serious impediment to effective action; and I have never yet heard any practical suggestion as to who that officer should be.