HC Deb 24 June 1941 vol 372 cc956-7
Mr. Lees-Smith

(by Private Notice)asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make about the progress of the war.

The Prime Minister

I do not think that this would be a good occasion for me to make another statement on the war situation in the Middle East. I should prefer to leave a longer interval before recurring to the topics we discussed so fully a fortnight ago. There are quite serious disadvantages in reviewing too frequently the course of operations which are still in progress.

I was, however, asked to give information about the policy of His Majesty's Government in relation to an Imperial War Conference. As I told the House, we very much desire such a Conference and we had hoped that the end of July or the beginning of August might be a suitable occasion. I have now received replies to the inquiries I have made. Both General Smuts and Mr. MacKenzie King regret that the exigencies of their work in their respective countries make it impossible for them to come here in the near future. Mr. Menzies has only just returned to Australia, though I hope we shall see him here again before long. Mr. Fraser, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, arrived last Saturday and is sitting with us constantly in our councils. He would not, however, be able to remain indefinitely. The House will readily understand that these Prime Ministers of important and powerful Governments, with the legislatures and the whole war effort of their peoples to guide, find great difficulties in meeting here simultaneously. I hope these difficulties may be resolved at some time in the future, but for the present I feel that it is impossible to fix a date.

Mr. Granville

As the Empire War Conference is to be postponed to some other occasion, will my right hon. Friend keep his mind ajar on the question of the Empire War Cabinet?