HC Deb 27 April 1944 vol 399 cc910-1
12. Mr. Granville

asked the Secretary of State for India the present duties of General Auchinleck in India; and if his military command includes Burma.

Mr. Amery

I must apologise for the somewhat full answer. General Auchinleck is Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Forces in India and is War Member of the Governor-General's Executive Council. In the latter capacity, he speaks on behalf of the Government of India in the Indian Legislature in respect of military matters and on the war itself as it affects India. As Commander-in-Chief, he is responsible for the defence of India and for the administration, training and discipline of the forces stationed in the India Command. The India Command does not include Burma, and, since the formation of the South-East Asia Command, the Commander-in-Chief in India has no responsibility for operations on the Burma front. The forces operating there are under the command of the supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia, Admiral Mountbatten.

There are other forces based in India which remain under the command of the Commander-in-Chief in India, but which have been placed at the disposal of the Supreme Commander. The Commander-in-Chief is responsible for the training of these forces while they remain under his control, and for their despatch to the operational area as and when required by the Supreme Commander, South-East Asia. He is also responsible for the control of the agencies in India necessary for the provision of personnel and material and for the maintenance of the Forces based on India which are at the disposal of the Supreme Allied Commander. In these matters, he is required to act in accordance with the requirements of the Supreme Commander.

I wish to take this opportunity to say publicly that both the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief in India have been informed by the Supreme Allied Commander that he is completely satisfied with the support and co-operation that is being given to him by the India Command. The suggestions that have been made in certain quarters in this country and in the U.S.A. of differences between the two Commanders are entirely unjustified and have naturally enough been fully exploited by enemy propaganda. I trust that the House will agree with me in condemning mischievous comment of this kind.