HC Deb 26 March 1942 vol 378 cc2142-4
45. Mr. Stokes

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that in recent Libya operations detective inter-Service tactical communications resulted in instances of attacks by our aircraft upon our land forces; and whether he can undertake to investigate the cause of these mistakes?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

I have made inquiries, and I am informed that no instances of attacks by our aircraft on our own land forces during recent Libyan operations have been reported to the War Office. If the hon. Member has any information, I will be glad if he will give it to me. On the general question, I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer which my right hon. Friend the Dominions Secretary gave yesterday in reply to Questions on this subject.

Mr. Stokes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that our methods of communication are totally inadequate and that a proper system does not exist, and, if I give instances, will they be properly examined?

Mr. Eden

I will undertake to go into them myself, and that is why I asked the hon. Gentleman to give me any information.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Is there any means by which our Fighting Forces can be protected from the danger which must accrue to them by conveying this sort of information to the enemy?

Mr. A. Edwards

May we know whether there are any means whereby members of the Fighting Forces who make complaints can have the assurance that they will be given some attention?

Mr. Eden

So far as it may lay within my power, if hon. Members will tell me anything about them. I shall be glad to be of service.

Mr. Lipson

In view of the serious nature of the allegations, will it be possible, after investigations have been made, for a statement to be made in this House or elsewhere?

Mr. Eden

I have already stated the position of His Majesty's Government. It is for those who say that there is information to bring it forward.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

On a point of Order. Questions are frequently answered to the effect that the Minister has no information, and he puts the onus on the Member to supply it. Surely, if the Minister asks in his Department, he can get it. If it is known to us, it is known to the Department?

Mr. Speaker

It is a question of stating facts, which must be substantiated by the Member himself.

Mr. Hopkinson

Is there any reason why these questions should not be put privately to the Minister?