HC Deb 11 March 1947 vol 434 cc1126-7
46. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that the U.S. Congress has decided against continuing conscription after 31st March, of the abolition of conscription in all the Dominions and the acute manpower crisis, the Government will reconsider their decision to impose 18 months' military service after the expiry of the present Conscription Act on 1st January, 1949.

The Prime Minister

I would remind my hon. Friend that, as I stated during the Debate on the Address on 12th November last, it is the Government's intention to introduce a Bill continuing national service in the Armed Forces after the termination of the transitional arrangements for call-up to the Forces set out in Cmd. 6831. The Debate on that Bill, which I hope will shortly be introduced, will afford the opportunity of dis- cussing the considerations mentioned in this Question, as well as other relevant matters.

Mr. Zilliacus

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind the quite unnecessary length of the period of conscription, that at the present moment this country is bearing a greater military burden than any former belligerent, and that, according to his own statement of 6th March, this country does not need to take into its defence calculations the danger of war with either the U.S.A. or the U.S.S.R.?

Mr. Tiffany

Is not economic and social security at home an essential prerequisite for security abroad and is not British manpower required at home for this purpose?

The Prime Minister

Hon. Members seem to be developing arguments I should like to hear in the Debate.