HC Deb 09 March 1960 vol 619 c397
5. Mr. Hendry

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the total staff at the War Office in 1959–60 was 6,092, as stated in the Estimates for 1959–60, or 8,656 as stated, for purposes of comparison, in the Estimates for 1960–61.

Mr. Soames

The second of these figures takes account of staff transferred last October from the Ministry of Supply and included in the new Estimates for purposes of comparison. I would refer my hon. Friend to the Explanatory Notes in pages 42 and 43.

Mr. Hendry

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for his explanation. Seeing that it reveals one person in the War Office to administer every 36 soldiers, would he not agree that the number is grossly excessive? And will he, bearing in mind the famous letter on this subject from the Duke of Wellington to his predecessor, take immediate steps to rid the War Office of a lot of these mere quill drivers and return them to useful employment? And will he, for the information of those hon. Members who may not be familiar with it, circulate that letter, of which I have a copy, in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Mr. Soames

The extra staff—some 2,500—transferred to the War Office are not, of course, in charge of soldiers. They are in control of the research and development aspects of our affairs. I would very much like to look at this letter mentioned by my hon. Friend.