HC Deb 06 October 1942 vol 383 cc1082-4
Mr. Arthur Greenwood (by Private Notice)

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have considered the answers given by Mr. Stalin to questions put to him by an American journalist, and whether the Government propose to make any statement on them?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

I have, of course, read and considered the statement referred to, and we are quite clear that no statement from His Majesty's Government is called for at the present time, further than those which have already been made upon this particular subject.

Mr. A. Bevan

Is it not a fact that factory workers and groups of workers in institutions all over the country are discussing the implications of Mr. Stalin's statement, and is the House of Commons to be the only place which is not to have an opportunity of considering it? Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the very serious effect on war production in Great Britain which may happen (HON. MEMBERS: "No.") if the feeling grows mat there is any misunderstanding between the Soviet Union and ourselves? Ought there not, therefore, to be an early opportunity of clearing the public mind on this matter?

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to the statement I have just made.

Colonel Stanley

Is the Prime Minister aware that the great mass of people in this country know perfectly well that whatever else they may think about the right hon. Gentleman, they know at any rate that he is the last man in the world to need prodding?

Mr. Bellenger

As the statement would seem to indicate that there is not the close relations in co-ordinated staff work for strategic purposes that we were led to believe as a result of the Prime Minister's speech after his return from Moscow, can he give us an assurance that there is close integration in staff matters between Russia and this country?

The Prime Minister

I have really nothing to add, certainly nothing on the spur of the moment, to the carefully weighed statement I have made upon this subject, and I would strongly advise the House not to press these matters unduly at a period which is certainly significant.

Mr. Clement Davies

May I put this to the Prime Minister: There has been, since the statement was broadcast on Sunday, a tremendous amount of discussion, certainly in America, and is it not possible therefore that a new aspect has been opened in this matter by this deliberate statement by Mr. Stalin, and would the right hon. Gentleman consider giving an early opportunity of discussing it?

The Prime Minister

I shall ask the House to support the Government in the position they have taken up.

Mr. Gallacher

On a point of Order. I was on my feet to ask a Question before the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies). Have I not the right to ask a question? Why was I not called?

Mr. Speaker

Because I did not see the hon. Member.

Mr. Neil Maclean

In view of the fact that in the country there is so much discussion upon this matter—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—you do not go among the working "classes or you would hear it—cannot the Government be induced to make a statement at an early date in order to create—

Mr. Speaker

That is the same question that other hon. Members have been putting.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the fact that the 80 days mentioned by the Minister of Production are now exhausted, can we not get a statement as to the turn in events which he promised on behalf of the Government?