HC Deb 03 March 1948 vol 448 cc386-7
50. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Minister of Defence if he will issue instructions to the Chiefs of Staff to refrain from making public speeches at times of international tension.

Mr. Alexander

I am not sure what particular case my hon. Friend has in mind, but at present I do not see any need to issue instructions of the kind he suggests.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that on 20th January Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder made a speech at Glasgow in which he referred to friendly nations as "yapping jackals"? Does he not think it wise to ask these gentlemen to exercise the same wise discretion as is expected of permanent civil servants, and to abstain from making political speeches?

Mr. Alexander

I think my hon. Friend must be referring to a speech which was made on 20th February and not the 20th January, which Lord Tedder was making at a Territorial exhibition in support of recruitment for the Territorial Forces. I have read the speech very carefully myself, and have found nothing fundamental in it to which I could object. I do not think any country need wear the cap, unless it fits.

Lord John Hope

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the advice contained in the Question ought to be taken by the hon. Member who asked the Question?

Major Lloyd

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the speech of Lord Tedder was received with enthusiastic acclamation in Scotland?