HC Deb 02 March 1944 vol 397 cc1553-4
10. Miss Ward

asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of his assurance that Commanders-in-Chief, Indian and Far Eastern Command, have adequate powers to secure the comfort and welfare of their troops, this authority is vested in them to spend the money they consider necessary on welfare, to grant compassionate transfers to this country and compassionate leave without reference to any home Department; and will he outline the powers invested in the Commanders-in-Chief which are not so granted in other theatres of war.

Mr. Butler

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to her by my right hon. Friend on 14th December last. Within the limit of the sanctioned grant the Commander-in-Chief, India, has full discretion as to the expenditure of funds. The Commander-in-Chief has authority to grant applications for compassionate leave from Indian Army personnel. In the case of British Army personnel serving in India, applications for compassionate transfer are referred to the War Office. The position under the South-East Asia Command is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War.

Miss Ward

Is it not absolutely ridiculous that matters of small detail have to be referred to the Commander-in-Chief, War Office? Would it not be better to trust the Commanders-in-Chief in the South-East Asia Command, and get rid of the tentacles of the War Office?

Mr. Butler

Perhaps they would not agree with my hon. Friend.