§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 4.4 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Profumo)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I think that it would be well were I to start by reminding the House of the course of events which have led to the decision of the Government to introduce this Measure. When we came to the conclusion that it would be in the best interest of the nation to cease to rely on a conscript Army and go back to our traditional system of all-Regular voluntary forces, it was well understood by both sides of the House, and by informed opinion throughout the country, that there would be an unavoidable trough period when we should be rather short of manpower during the transition from conscript to all-Regular forces.
I might say, in passing, that when we took this decision in 1957 the Opposition did not dissent, nor do I believe that the Labour Party as such has altered its view today. Indeed, the Opposition Amendment seems to confirm this. At all events, Her Majesty's Government are still convinced that the course which we have adopted is the right one.
Conscription is extremely expensive in manpower as well as in money. It is disruptive to the economy, and although I daresay that the discipline to which all these young men have been subjected will always stand them in good stead, and although the nation owes a great debt of gratitude to all of them, there is no getting away from it that an Army diluted with young men to whom it is only an incident in their lives is not conducive to the cohesion and traditional spirit of the Army. Having taken this decision, we do not intend to be deflected from our course of action if it be humanly possible.
The Berlin crisis and the subsequent mounting international tension have, of course, caused the Government much anxious concern and the threat to Berlin sets us a very difficult problem at a time when the part-conscript Army is running 46 down towards the minimum all-regular strength of 165,000. We have to find a way, without materially reducing our other world-wide commitments, of taking action with our allies to maintain the strength of our contribution to N.A.T.O. and to improve its effectiveness in the face of Soviet threats to West Berlin.
Further conscription of untrained men would obviously not meet this need, for it would be many months before a renewed National Service scheme produced trained men. It would have been possible to call up some of the reserves, but to do this with the powers we have at present would mean declaring a formal state of emergency, because to call up pre-Proclamation reserves requires a situation when war is actually in the offing. The declaration of an emergency would inevitably raise tension in Europe still further just at a moment when we are trying to reduce it.
This Bill, therefore, is designed to meet a definite short-term requirement as well as to provide a reserve of trained men in the long-term, especially during the difficult times which seem likely to lie ahead of us. I readily acknowledge that any solution of a problem of this sort is bound to bear more hardly on some than on others, and I do not conceal the fact that the retention of National Service men or, for that matter, the recall of part-time Service men would bear harshly on those concerned.
§ Mr. Profumo
But so, of course, in a different way, would the reintroduction of National Service. The requirement is for trained men readily available with the minimum disruption to all concerned and to the national economy. In these circumstances, I do not believe that any other scheme would do the job.
Some people have suggested that these measures are required because of the collapse of our recruiting campaign. This is far from the truth. At present, the target looks well within reach. So far, recruiting in 1961 is 23 per cent. up on the same period in 1960. In September and October the increases were 45 per cent. and 56 per cent. respectively, and over these two months the Regular strength of the Army increased 47 by 2,500. This is the largest increase for nearly ten years, and what is encouraging is not just the rise in the number of new recruits, but the fact that, for the moment, at any rate, we have succeeded in halting the rise in wastage.
Perhaps the most encouraging feature of all is that the preliminary figures for November which, as the House will remember, is always a bad month, show a rise of about 40 per cent over last year. As I have already told the House, I still hope that we shall reach the minimum target on time, but this in itself is not good enough, even for a short time, under conditions of acute tension. Either we must be in a position to reinforce a smallish all-Regular Army at times of need, or we have permanently to carry large numbers of men in the forces against the contingency of possible crises.
The Bill is is divided into three parts. The first part gives the Secretary of State for War permissive powers to retain National Service men now on whole-time service with the Army for a period up to six months. Clause 1 gives this power. There are at present about 50,000 National Service men still serving with the Army all of whom are I know living in a state of great anxiety about their future. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Let me take this first opportunity, therefore, of putting at least half of these young men out of their suspense and uncertainty by saying that, provided international tension does not mount further in the meantime, I shall not have to retain any National Service man who is due to be released before 1st April next year.
I recognise that the powers in the Bill are permissive, but, unless things improve, we shall need to use these powers after April next As it is the situation in Europe that has made this legislation necessary, it is obviously B.A.O.R. that we have to stiffen. I have already said that we shall keep back men only for strictly military reasons. So, after April we shall need to hold virtually all National Service men serving in B.A.O.R. In the early release groups after April we should be able to let those serving in other theatres go at their normal times. Later in the year, 48 when there are fewer National Service men available, we shall probably have to keep back the majority of men wherever they are serving and transfer them to B.A.O.R.
At first sight, this may seem a rather arbitrary way of dealing with the problem, but the only way of being fair all round would have been to retain everybody, as the Labour Government did in 1950. The theory of equal misery for all does not help anybody. I am sure that no one would suggest keeping a man who was not strictly needed just because another man, called up at the same time, was actually required. I therefore propose that the basis of retention should be that only those essential on military grounds shall be retained and even of that number those with serious hardship claims would be released.
In due course each man will receive a separate communication telling him whether or not he will have to soldier on. I intend to give as much advance notice as possible. In the majority of cases this will be well over two months, and often a good deal more. I recognise that there will be a number of applications for premature release on genuine compassionate grounds and that because of the unexpected nature of this extra commitment there may well be, in addition, quite a number of appeals on grounds of real hardship. We must see that we do everything possible to do justice in such cases.
As the House will know, we have in the War Office what is now a well-established system for dealing with these sort of requests from National Servicemen. This system will be continued. A soldier with a claim must first satisfy his commanding officer and then it will come to the War Office for consideration in the normal way, but, because of the new and exceptional circumstances which now arise, I propose to set up an impartial hardship committee to advise me on borderline cases or appeals of special complexity. I intend to invite a distinguished and disinterested figure—I do not mean two figures, but one figure who is both distinguished and disinterested—to be chairman of this committee, but I must emphasise that the body will be advisory. The final decision in all cases must continue to rest with me. I believe that this system can be made to work with justice and equity.
49 Incidentally, concerning the Regular Army, with the exception of recruits who have a statutory right to buy themselves out during their third month of service, no Regular soldier will be permitted to purchase his release except in the most exceptional cases during the period for which we are having to retain conscripted men.
There will be pay increases for all those who have to be retained for a further period of National Service, and more for their wives as well. From the date when they would have been released they will receive the increased rates of pay laid down for men on three-year Regular engagements together with the rates of marriage allowance at the highest rate drawn by Regulars. This means that, after deducting what he has to provide for his wife, the soldier will have 40 per cent. more in his pocket than he has at present. In addition, the families will remain eligible for National Service grants appropriate to their new circumstances.
Any man who has to serve the extra six months will, of course, have six months knocked off his normal part time National Service liability against general mobilisation and he will escape any liability for recall under Clause 2 of the Bill. The only further assurance I can give at this stage is that we will not retain more men than is necessary in the circumstances which prevail at the time.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves Clause 1, in view of the hardship which will undoubtedly be caused by this system of retention, would he not consider allowing appeals to an independent appeal tribunal, to give the soldiers who are retained at least the satisfaction of knowing that they have had a completely fair and independent hearing?
§ Mr. Profumo
It was for the reason which the hon. Lady has in mind that I have decided to set up an independent advisory committee. I quite recognise what she has in mind, but we are dealing only with a certain number, not a very large number, for a period of six months. If we went through all the procedures we have had up to now it would not be possible for this to work out. I have to deal with strictly military matters. Within that, I think that this will be made to work. No doubt the hon. Lady will 50 develop what she has in mind if she is successful in catching Mr. Speaker's eye.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
Can the right hon. Gentleman give a figure to enable us to assess the value of what he is saying? Will he say what the planned strength will be on 1st December, 1962—that is, male adults? If the figure is 182,000, as I suspect, that explains all we want to know about the Bill.
§ Mr. Profumo
I think that it would be better if the hon. Member and other hon. Members were to catch your eye later, Sir. If they would now allow me, I shall deal with the rest of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will try to answer questions at the end of the debate.
I proceed to the second object of the Bill, which is set out in Clause 2 and gives permissive powers to the Secretary of State to recall any ex-National Serviceman during his statutory period of three-and-a-half years' part-time service. The effect of Clause 1 of the Bill, as the House will appreciate, does not add to the strength of the Army. It will merely reduce the speed of the rundown until the end of 1962, or thereabouts. After that, we shall hope to be building the strength of our Regular Army to the minimum figure of about 180,000, but bouts of tension during that time might still require the services of additional trained men for short periods, both to swell the numbers and to correct balances. This is the object of Clause 2.
While it is possible, in certain circumstances, that we might have to use the power under this Clause to call certain National Service men back next year, it seems that that situation, if it were to arise, would probably mean that we would have to declare a state of emergency and call out reserves generally. I do not therefore think it likely that we should need to use the powers under Clause 2 until 1963. By that time there will be rather more than 100,000 part-time National Service men eligible for recall, but in the sort of circumstances we envisage we should only need to call on a fraction of this total.
The Clause gives the Secretary of State power to bring them back for a period not exceeding six months. If we had to do this we should select individuals to fill vacancies in corps and by the categories of which the Army was short at the time. 51 The sort of tension we must plan for often builds up suddenly, as it did last summer. It follows that it might well be impossible to give advance notice to those who would then have to be recalled. In past emergencies prior warning and notice have not been practicable. Those concerned might, therefore, have to leave home at short notice after receiving their call-up papers. None the less, and in spite of this, we would intend to continue provisions for the consideration of compassionate and hardship cases.
The authorities concerned would have power to grant immediate postponement in exceptional circumstances and other cases would be dealt with in a way similar to that which I have described for the retained men. This category of National Service man, like the "retained" category, would if they were recalled receive Regular rates of pay and marriage allowance. In addition, they would receive a tax-free gratuity of £20 on call-out, and would be eligible for National Service grants should their particular circumstances warrant such additional help.
It is possible that we shall never have to operate this second measure, which is solely designed as an insurance against national need during the period of transition from conscription while the Regular Army will be at a low strength. I have good reason for saying this, because of the provisions of Clause 3, which is designed to create a new form of volunteer Reserve within the Territorial Army.
We are currently engaged in a detailed examination of the effectiveness of our present system of reserves against the background of the requirements of today. I do not think that they are properly suited to modern conditions. There are large numbers of what are known as post-proclamation reserves, but these men can be called out only after all the paraphernalia of a formal declaration of a state of emergency, to which I have already referred. Even the conditions under which pre-Proclamation reserves can be recalled are not matched to all conditions. They can be recalled only if warlike operations are in preparation or in progress. While the detailed examination of our reserves is bound to take a long time, because it is a very complicated affair, I am satisfied that we should take a first step towards 52 what will be a new and long-term conception of our reserves.
The primary object, therefore, of Clause 3 is to provide a trained reserve ready to supplement the Regular Army at short notice and increase the deterrent power of the conventional Army in times of serious tension short of actual hostilities. This is a long-term plan, but, in so far as the scheme meets with success, it will obviously help to reduce the possible need to recall part-time National Service men, since this voluntary force would be called upon first. We have decided to establish this new reserve within the structure of the Territorial Army, which seems the obvious parent to embrace this young child. I have consulted the Territorial Army Advisory Council at all stages. The Council has assured me that it believes that the plan can work and is prepared to give every possible assistance.
How will the scheme operate? Let me say at once that I think it is essential that the quality of this force shall be of the highest calibre, so we must select our volunteers carefully. To qualify, a man will have had to serve for a minimum period of one year in the Territorial Army and have attended one annual camp. Even so, it will still be necessary for his commanding officer to judge his suitability, and if we have, as I hope we will, large numbers of volunteers, there will follow a process of selection.
It will also be possible for any part-time National Service man who wishes to volunteer for this course. He will have to join a Territorial Army unit. If the commanding officer judges him to be sufficiently well-trained, and if there is a vacancy in his category, he can become a member of the new force without having to qualify with a year's service. He would then not be liable for recall under Clause 2. This may well be a popular and sensible decision for numbers of part-time National Service men, who would, by taking such a step, know exactly what their commitments would be. So much for eligibility.
The establishment of this reserve will be based on the requirements of the Regular Army at the time. Men will be called up as individuals and not, in the main, as formed bodies, though it may be possible in some cases to form 53 sub-units. The intention is that these volunteers should be round pegs to fill round holes. The present ratio of categories will be about half "teeth" arm to half administrative troops. A volunteer will sign on for a period of one year, renewable thereafter as he wishes, and he will be in a position to give three months' notice if, for any personal or business reason, he wishes to resign.
Those who join this new force will be performing a most valuable duty to their country and should receive an appropriate reward for so doing. They will have to accept the liability of being called up for a period not exceeding six months during any individual contract. We have, therefore, decided to pay a taxable bounty of £150 a year, together with a tax-free gratuity of £50 on call-out. The bounty means, in effect, that each volunteer would be receiving the equivalent of £3 a week, or, to put it another way, by the end of a year he would have earned enough to buy his wife or family a really handsome present, perhaps without much effort.
If a volunteer was called up, he would receive the appropriate Regular rates of pay and allowances that I have already described. All the foregoing categories will be protected by existing legislation so far as their civil employment and interests are concerned. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence and I have already had most encouraging talks with employers and with representatives of the Trades Union Congress. We have further talks ahead of us, because the creation of the right sort of climate for the would-be volunteer depends on the good will of both sides of industry.
I propose to open recruiting lists for this new force as soon as possible, but because, as I have already stressed, I believe it to be essential to go for high quality, I shall wish to make arrangements for adequate selection of candidates, and, therefore, it will not be just a question of first come, first served. Recruiting may even be staggered over a period of months.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
The Minister is on a very important point, as I am sure the House will agree. These volunteers have to join the Territorial Army first, though without necessarily 54 being National Service or ex-National Service men. They would go in afresh to join the Territorial Army. They then volunteer to go into the new reserve and they will be paid £150 during their twelve months. Suppose they are not called up during the whole of that period, just remaining members of Territorial Army units. Are they then to receive £150—£3 a week—during the whole of that period, after which they will not be called up at all? According to what the right hon. Gentleman has said, they will receive £150.
§ Mr. Profumo
The right hon. Gentleman is right in part, for in return for the obligation of being called out by the Secretary of State in conditions of tension during that one year and of being called out for a period of six months, they will receive the bounty of £150 at the end of the year, even though they have not been called up. On the other hand, if they are part-time National Service men, they will escape the liability of being called up during their period only if they continue to be members of the reserve, and will not receive the £150 in the second year unless they sign up for a second period. It must be perfectly fair that there should be a quid pro quo. We must pay them. We pay A.E.R. I, and that is what we intend to do with this new service.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
In case the economic conditions of the country have not improved before these arrangements expire, will the pay pause apply to these bonuses?
§ Mr. Profumo
The hon. Gentleman will have perceived that this will be a very much cheaper way of backing up our Army than by returning to National Service, which costs a great deal more.
§ Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)
I am not quite clear on one point. Am I to understand that if a man signs on for a second year, he will get a further £150? If so, can my right hon. Friend tell me what is the age limit for this?
§ Mr. Profumo
Certainly; he will go on getting the £150 each year he serves in the voluntary force. The age limits will be the same as those for the Territorial Army. I am sure that my young hon. Friend will be eligible. I will give him the particulars. But he will be subject to selection.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
Can we have an assurance that while these "Ever-readies" are available, there will be no question of calling back National Service men who have left the forces?
§ Mr. Profumo
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman did not hear me, but I did explain that in so far as this new force is successful we should call up these people in priority to calling up any part-time National Service men. That is as far as I am able to go, until we see how successful the new force is.
We must also see that the volunteers are, as far as possible, sprinkled all over the country, since by recalling key men like these we must not run the risk seriously of interfering with industry or the vitality of the nation. I do not think that that is at all likely to happen since the numbers concerned will not be great.
We thought carefully about what would be an appropriate name for this force. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Perhaps the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) can think of a better name than the "Ever-readies". We have come to the conclusion that their official designation—and they must have one—should be the Territorial Army Emergency Reserve. We can, of course, continue to call them the "Ever-readies", if that is desired, but I think that they should have an official designation.
I want to say a few words about another reserve which is building up well, the Army Emergency Reserve, Category I. I am most anxious that this shall not suffer because of the creation of the new force. A.E.R.I. has a very special purpose, to reinforce the Strategic Reserve in limited war. I therefore hope that those who already belong to this reserve will continue to serve, but I should add that any part-time National Service man who, for one reason or another, cannot become an "Ever-ready" will be eligible to join A.E.R.I. He would then, of course, become exempt from the liability of recall under Clause 2 of the Bill while serving in such capacity.
I am sorry to have spoken at such length, but I felt that it was right to try to explain the proposals—
§ Mr. Profumo
If a part-time National Service man who would be liable under Clause 2 joins A.E.R. I., while he is a member of A.E.R. I. he will receive the bounty, and he will receive a gratuity if he is called out. During his service with that voluntary body he would not be liable to be called out under Clause 2. I am obliged to the hon. Member for allowing me to make that clear.
I have spoken for a long time, but I felt that it was necessary to put before the House not only the background, but also the details of the proposals under-lying the Bill. Her Majesty's Government believe that they are right and they believe that they are the only proposals to meet the present requirements. Furthermore, with the creation of this new reserve scheme, it will not only be valuable now, but it will be essential in the years to come when the part-time National Service men are no longer available as such.
Although I do not agree with it, I understand the argument for conscription. What I do not understand is the position of the Opposition. They do not want conscription any more than we do. In fact, if this Bill were designed for that purpose I expect that they would have put down a Motion of censure upon us. But it simply is not enough to cry "Woe". We shall listen with the keen-nest interest to hear which alternative they have in mind in opposing this Measure, because they know perfectly well that to call for an immediate reduction in our world-wide responsibilities is not an acceptable alternative, even if it could be done in time. If the Opposition can counsel nothing other than a dishonourable and unseemly scuttle, no one will take their Amendment very seriously.
For our part, we do not approach an increase in our military manpower at the present time in any apologetic spirit, or with any implication that policy has failed or is failing. The two most powerful nations in the world, one with full conscription, the other with selective service, have both found it necessary to take steps to increase their Armed Forces. No one has said that this means that their previous policy for their forces 57 has failed. Neither has that of Her Majesty's Government. It is merely that manpower must match tension. There has to be an "escalation" of manpower to equal mounting requirement. Having given this explanation, I hope that the House will feel able to support the Bill.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
I beg to move, to leave out from "that" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:this House recognising the need for adequate armed forces, and declaring its belief that these can and should be raised by voluntary means, declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which fails to deal with the fundamental problems created by the collapse of Her Majesty's Government's defence policy; imposes great uncertainty on all those National Service men liable to be affected; and will inflict serious injustice on those actually selected to serve.Hon. Members opposite have been a little free with their adjectives today. We have proceeded from "dishonest", a little earlier, to "dishonourable" just now. I will do my best to meet the Minister's request that we should not only try to explain why we think the Bill is wrong, as we do, but should try to suggest ways in which we think the Government could have done the job without having to descend to this kind of unfair and unjust imposition upon a few people.
It is fascinating that every time the Government's defence policy crashes in ruins about their ears, which it does about as often as their economic policy crashes in ruins about the ears of other Ministers, we are met with one question from Ministers: what would the Labour Party do about it? It is as though it were not their responsibility that they have got into this mess and not their responsibility to put it right. Of course it is their responsibility.
I have moved the Amendment because we believe that the whole direction of the Government's policy, if that is not a totally inappropriate use of words, has been wrong for a long time, is wrong and has produced chaos and disorder in the defence arrangements; and that the Government are trying to buy themselves temporarily out of this difficulty by imposing very great hardship on a few people who are least able to look after themselves.
58 It seemed to me that the Minister was in two completely different minds about the Bill from beginning to end. Every attempt is being made to put the Bill across as an Army Reserve Bill. In fact, it is not. It is a Bill to extend National Service for the next three-and-a-half years, which is as long as the Government can do it in this rather devious way, to extend it in a selective form and to use the form of selectivity which is the least defensible of any. That is what the Bill is, and all the rest is an attempt to give it a rather better gloss.
The air surrounding the Bill is thick, as a Chinese ambassador once said about something else, with chickens coming home to roost. In approaching the Bill I cannot help but remember all the various right hon. Gentlemen who have had a hand at one time or another, since 1957, in cooking the books and in fixing the figures of the numbers who are required in the forces or in the Army. There is the present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. There was Lord Head, who played, I suppose, a more honourable part than the others. There is the present Minister of Defence and the Minister of Agriculture. It is fascinating to re-read their speeches. Over the years they have all at different times used different figures about what was wanted.
This is not a day for a broad defence debate. The White Paper is the occasion for that. But I do not think that we can have a sensible debate on the Bill if we do what the Minister did—properly, since he was introducing the Bill—if we discuss only the provisions in the Bill. Certainly if I did that I could not meet the request that we should put forward our alternative methods. We must go much wider and look at the circumstances which have brought the Government to the pass in which they have to introduce a Bill which, as I deduced from the Secretary of State's own manner at the Box, he himself detests.
We have to recognise that the Bill ends all pretence of there having been or of there being a Government defence policy in respect of manpower. In 1957, the present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations brought an end to what one might call the Monckton era at the Ministry of Defence. A little later Blue 59 Streak brought an end to the Sandys period. It is now fairly clear that the present Minister of Defence has brought an end to himself and to his own era. We do not deny—nobody will—that there is a manpower problem facing our defence forces, just as there is an arms problem and an equipment problem. But let us not assume that the presence or absence of a marginal number of men, a few thousand men, in B.A.O.R.—and I say this since the Secretary of State chose to link this specifically with the German crisis—is the real problem facing the British Army or facing our Services generally. There are problems in all these fields. We recognise that, and we admit it, and if we did not do so, practically everybody else would comment on it.
I do not know whether right hon. and hon. Members opposite heard the broadcast after the ten o'clock news the other night by Field Marshal Lord Harding. I have since seen the script. It was a devasting exposure of the weaknesses of, the gaps in, the Government's provision for the forces and a devasting exposure of the fact that there was no policy at all—and, incidentally, a heavily destroying attack upon the Bill. If hon. Members have not seen it, I commend them to look at what Lord Harding had to say.
Over the years, a legend has grown up that the party opposite is good at defence. In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite. The party opposite is congenitally bad at it, and has always been bad. All the periods of great weakness in this country's defence have been periods for which the Tory Party has been responsible. If the Secretary of State for War is disposed to dispute that, I would draw his attention to the book which the Leader of the House has brought out, dealing with one of those very periods, in which he will see what happened in the 1930s.
What happened in the 1930s, under the Ministers then in power in the name of the Tory Party, has now happened again in the 1950s under the various Ministers who have held office. Whether it is because they have too many brigadiers and colonels in the party opposite, or because they are too much the prisoners of tradition and of the past, I do not know, but it is a fact that what the party opposite has produced today in the way 60 of defence weaknesses its predecessors have regularly produced throughout the years.
§ Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)
May I remind my right hon. Friend—though I am sure he is aware—that during the war there was a Liberal Secretary of State for Air and a Labour First Lord of the Admiralty, and they had to go to the permanent Civil Service for a Secretary of State for War?
§ Mr. Brown
Before I move to the details of the Bill, let us see where we are at the end of this most expensive decade of Tory maladministration. In the first place, we have commitments that we have undertaken to fulfil and are not fulfilling. Clearly, that is the case in Europe. We have other commitments in apparent fulfilment of which we are tying up a large number of men, and yet many of those commitments make no sense politically or militarily, particularly in the Far East and the Middle East.
We have the most irrational deployment and use of manpower if we think of manpower in the Services as a whole. We are astonishingly top-heavy with "top brass". I have looked at some figures which have been prepared for me of the present situation in the War Office compared with 1938 and 1951, and I have seen the way in which the thing has rocketed up. We are not only top-heavy with "top brass" there; we are top-heavy with command "brass" in some of our theatres.
We go on with segregated Services at a time when combined operations become more and more the inevitable order of the day. We have notable shortages of every kind of armour and equipment. We lack strategic mobility in equipment, if not in men. Sometimes one is apt to forget that whereas under right hon. Gentlemen opposite Suez was a military disaster, Kuwait could easily have been a military disaster in other circumstances for the very lack of the things that I was referring to—particularly of heavy lift capacity.
It is to correct all that that the Government have now come forward with this miserable Bill in direct breach of faith, as I regard it, of their obligations to the men on whom they are going to put this additional service. I exempt the new Territorial Army Reserve, A.F.R.I, 61 from what I am saying. It sounds to me a very "cocked-up" business. As the Minister described it, he made it sound a lot more peculiar than I thought it was before. It sounds as though it may be expensive. On the other hand, none of us will deny that an additional insurance in the way of volunteer reservists, particularly during this period of what the Minister called the trough, is obviously desirable, and I am not in any sense attacking that at this stage, although there will be a lot of questions to ask about it.
The real objection to the Bill is that it continues compulsory service in a monstrously unfair way. The Minister explained to us what happens. After 1st April everybody who, by accident, is still at that stage in the B.A.O.R. is to held back. A little later in the year all men in other theatres of operations at the date of their proper release will be held back and transferred to Germany. If we really wanted to do it in the harshest way, if the Secretary of State really wanted to make it apparent to the men that he cared very little about them or their problems, he could hardly have put it more clearly in order to get that reaction.
It would be very much more troublesome to have selective service in a defensible way, but at least it would have been the proper, honest and decent thing to do. I have some arguments against selective service which I will place before the Secretary of State, but the right hon. Gentleman cannot say that he has. This is selective service and, as I say, selective in a very cruel way. The whole of the Bill is written so that the Minister has the power to decide that the individual shall stay. The individual's own problems hardly seem to come into the picture at all.
The right hon. Gentleman told us that he is setting up an advisory hardship tribunal. I am not clear why it should be advisory. After all, tribunals that consider hardship in the case of men called up for National Service are not advisory. They make the decision. In those cases men have the right to go before them, whereas the right hon. Gentleman told us that under the machinery which he is setting up to advise him he will decide which cases may go before the tribunal. He used words like "if they raise points 62 of exceptional difficulty, if they are borderline cases." This is no protection for the men—or, at least, not very much.
If the right hon. Gentleman is to retain this tremendous power, there should be at the very least a right for any man who thinks that his hardship is so great that he ought not to be held back to go before the tribunal and have his case heard. If this Bill goes through today I promise the Minister that there will be a very great fight over this in Committee. As to whether the tribunal should be made advisory, I am not prepared to argue now, but I think that it might be better if it were able to go the whole way.
I wonder whether the Secretary of State appreciates that we are dealing with the very last 20,000, or thereabouts, of National Service men. These are the men who, to a large extent, will have deferred service so as to finish apprenticeships and studentships and to take degrees. Therefore, they are more mature men. They will have greater personal responsibilities, they will have a much greater requirement in civilian life because they are the more skilled, or professional, or highly trained people.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that he is placing this commitment on the very people for whom it will easily create the most hardship? When calling back, as he is taking the power to do, over the next three-and-a-half years at intervals, 10,000 or 20,000 men he will increasingly be exercising that power over the more mature men, the family men, the older men. It must be so. If he is to do that, it is not enough just to say, "Because I think that it is a borderline case I will refer it to an advisory tribunal, but the decision must be mine."
If the right hon. Gentleman intends to do it, he really must, I suggest, set up machinery which will examine such cases, because there will be tremendous hardship in many of them, and a very great outcry against the system, related also to something else to which I shall refer in a few minutes.
The Secretary of State hung all this on Germany. Frankly, I do not accept that argument. It seems absolutely impossible to argue that the small number of men required to bring the B.A.O.R. up to standard is the requirement for a Bill which enables the 63 Government to have an extra 20,000 men in the Forces all the time between now and 1966, in other words, to have power to call up an extra 20,000 from the 140,000, or whatever it is, under a part-time obligation.
It seems to me that this is all much more related to the dispute which has been going on for four or five years about the total number of soldiers there should be in the Army. I do not think that it can be wholly coincidental that the 20,000 the Government suggest should be held back and the capacity they are taking to call them up means that the 165,000 will now become 182,000. It may be pure coincidence, but it is, I think, one of those absolutely remarkable coincidences which hardly ever happen even in fairy tales.
It seems to me that the Government have buried the 165,000 and have now brought out of retirement and dusted off the 182,000, arranging that they will have that figure for the next three-and-a-half years either by their "Ever-readies" or by National Service men whom they will select to be called up or held back. If that is not what the Secretary of State understands, I am fairly sure that is what is understood by his advisers, and I imagine that that is why they are much happier about the situation with these present proposals. I suggest that that is a far more realistic expression of what this is all about.
Before I come to the reasons why that should be so, I have something to say about conscription as such. Having National Service men, conscripts, in any number inside a wholly Regular force of men serving on long-term engagements, with the sort of esprit de corps which grows up in those circumstances, is very disadvantageous. It is the biggest single destroyer of the morale and esprit de corps of Regular forces. The effect is much worse the smaller is the number called up. The smaller the number of men in a unit, with the calender over their beds marking off the days, the greater is the sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness created. Moreover, if, say, those ten men are there not as willing conscripts but they are there with a very special sense of injustice and unfairness, there will be in the unit a very heavy 64 discouragement to morale and to other people volunteering to serve in it.
I wonder whether the Secretary of State has taken that effect into account. I have no doubt that we have all received letters of the same kind coming to us from people who are affected. I have a whole bunch of them here. The tenor of those letters, not only from National Service men but from some Regular soldiers also, as a result of the general feeling of how inadvisable and unfair these proposals are, is to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman will be giving a very great jolt not only to morale in the Service, but also to the willingness of other people to volunteer for it.
I want to make quite plain at the outset that we on this side of the House accept the need for the provision of adequate forces. For some years past, we have been trying to induce the Government to examine ways and means of getting them. But we do not believe that the House has any right to use this method to get them. We on this side are opposed to conscription in general both on principle and on grounds of practical reality.
I need not develop the point of principle, but there is just this which should be borne in mind by right hon. and hon. Members opposite who do not reject conscription on principle. We do not apply the same theory to other things of which society may stand in need. When society wants land for building purposes we violently reject the idea of conscription. It is called confiscation, and only wicked people would think of it. If there is any other form of property of which society stands in need, we reject any idea of compulsion.
Indeed, the present Government went to enormous lengths to provide for the property owner and land owner most elaborate protections, not through advisory tribunals after Crichel Down, but through absolutely firm executive tribunals standing between the individual holder of property and the Executive. With great respect, one cannot defend the principle of conscription in any form when it is applied to the most personal service of all and deny it when applied to property, to land, or something like that.
We reject conscription as a matter of practical reality. Those who do not see 65 the argument of principle ought to look at the practical realities of the situation. Conscription nearly always has been rejected in this country outside periods of actual hostilities. One of the reasons—history has been on our side in this—is that it did not seem to produce for us a better Army, a more appropriate kind of force, for our purpose as an island nation that we could get through Regular, smaller, but long-term forces. Regular forces met our requirements very much better.
Secondly, as those who have experience of these matters know and will, no doubt, make clear in the debate, the existence of conscripts in large numbers does not, parodoxically enough, make it easier to raise an effective force quickly at any given moment. Thirdly, the Continental pattern of conscription becomes less and less valid in this nuclear age than it even might have been. It is no use talking about planning for forces in the nuclear age unless one takes into account the effect one's system may have on the raising of reserves, mobilising them, getting them away, and so on.
It is also, as the Secretary of State recognises, very much more expensive in both money and manpower. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why Conservative Governments during the past ten years have spent so inadequately on arms and equipment development and production has been that so much money has gone in looking after the manpower, moving it about, feeding it, clothing it and so on.
Furthermore, any form of National Service distorts the pattern and purpose of the Regular forces. It takes them away from their own job of training themselves to the constant business of training birds of passage who are going in and out, and the fewer the number of conscripts, and the shorter the period for which they are there, the worse this becomes because one is concerned more with them than with the Regulars' real Army job. For all those practical reasons, we think that National Service should be out as the way of doing the job at this time.
Hon. and right hon. Members may then say that we must, in that case, face the question, can we get the adequate forces to which we refer in our Amendment by voluntary methods? It is 66 incumbent on me to spend a few minutes on this. Like so many questions of its type, it is not the real question. It is a question which begs other questions. Yesterday, in the Observer, there was a short article by its defence correspondent which, I thought, brought the point out very clearly. I am not quoting exactly, but the sense of the writer's arguments was that the Army cannot get enough men and no ingenious measures about sea-borne forces and the rest can alter that fact.
There is a collection of half-truths and unprepared remarks in that statement. Why concentrate on the Army? The Army is not our only defence force. If the Army cannot do certain things, are we quite sure that other people cannot? Equally, what is meant by "enough men"? That cannot be decided until we know what the overall policy is, until we know what the commitments are that one wants to hang on to, until we know what are the means of fulfilling those commitments, and until we have examined the relationship between the various Services. Without those questions being answered, it is pointless to say that any particular number is enough, too many or too few.
On policy, there are some decisions which have not yet been taken. The Minister of Defence should tell us about them. Is it, in fact, the case that we need two kinds of Army, one trained, equipped and deployed for service in the European theatre, which might be of a nuclear connotation, and one armed, equipped and deployed elsewhere for the so-called other overseas commitments? I do not think that that is true at all. I wonder whether the Government have made up their mind about that, because on it turns whether we can do with a smaller Army than otherwise we could.
What is the position of the Strategic Reserve? Can part of the Army stationed in the European theatre be part of the Strategic Reserve? I think that it can. But, here again, have the Government decided this, because how we decide that again affects whether we want more or less than a given number of men? I do not believe that the Government have decided that question more than the other question. At any rate, we have not heard from them on the subject.
67 Then there are the commitments. Which commitments that we currently hold—this comes back to the point about which the noble Lord interrupted me earlier—make sense politically or militarily? Have the Government examined the large numbers which are in the Far East? This makes the phrase which the Secretary of State used in his charming way about dishonourable scuttle completely irrelevant. What the Government ought to ask themselves is, "For what purpose do we keep 20,000 men in Singapore and Hong Kong?" It is clearly too large a number for mere presence operation. It is probably too many—I should have thought it was—for a purely internal security operation. Anyway, there could be other ways of doing that. But it is fantastically too few for a real military operation. Meanwhile, however, it ties down 20,000 men.
We have bits and pieces all over the Middle East. It is very difficult to see what their purpose is. They add up to battalions. I find it very difficult to see—is it 5,000 men in Libya?—what their purpose could be for the sort of Middle Eastern operation for which we may want to use them. We know what we were permitted to do with the men in Malaysia. We could not use them at the time of Suez without first bringing them back to this country because of our obligations to King Idris.
We have a brigade group there, 5,000 men. Is there a military purpose for it? The Government do not deal with that question. It has nothing whatever to do with dishonourable scuttle but with an honest attempt to face up to requirements. What about the ridiculously enormous command structure in Cyprus? We have a battalion there—very few fighting troops. But we have a vast number of men in an enormous potential command. It has no command at the moment. Is there to be a command should something else happen? Does this make sense?
We hear a lot about administrative specialists, about the tail as against the teeth. My case is that it is precisely in these areas where there is an enormous command, as in Cyprus, the Far East and Lybia, that we have administrative specialists. It is there that we are tying down the specialists of which we are said 68 to be so short in Germany. Which of the commitments makes sense either politically or militarily? Which of them could be undertaken by a seaborne force? The Far Eastern and the Middle Eastern service might be able to be undertaken in this way.
Of course, if we could do it in that way it would be a very considerable aid to answering the question, "How many soldiers do we need?" It is ridiculous to say that one figure is more relevant than another until this answer has been given, which it has not. On the other hand, there is the European commitment, which I regard as essential and to which we are tied by the most solemn undertaking given by a Conservative Prime Minister, and which is not currently being fulfilled. Of what are we short in Germany?
The Minister has tied his case for the Bill to the shortage in Germany? How big is it? May I make a guess and say that if it were 12,000 more than it currently is that would be acceptable to S.H.A.P.E. and would fulfil our obligations to the Council of the Western European Union. If it is a shortage of 12,000 men, then the capacity which the Government are taking under the Bill is not justified by any standards. Again, if the figure is 12,000, then I submit that the opportunities for getting that number out of the overseas commitments, either out of the Far Eastern 20,000 men or out of the large number in the Middle East and elsewhere, are very much easier without any dishonourable scuttle.
It is a question of a more realistic examination of what we have got there. Therefore, I think that the position in Germany, as a soldier put it to me in a letter, is being used as a heaven-sent opportunity to allow the Government to do something which for other reasons they are very happy to do. It is sometimes said when I use this argument that one cannot take an individual from one theatre and put him into another. Did the Secretary of State nod his head? I understood him to do so.
§ Mr. Brown
I understood the right hon. Gentleman to agree with that view, because in his speech he said that that 69 was exactly what he was going to do, that when later in the year he was holding back men from other operations they would be available for Germany. Surely, if that can be done with a lot of men, it can be done with individuals taken out for other reasons without the compulsory stick having to be applied at all. Therefore, I do not think that that horse runs as hard or as fast as some try to persuade us that it does.
I accept that to do this in units and regiments creates some very unpleasant consequences, but that is different from saying that it cannot be done. Why are we so reluctant to face the question of incentives by way of pay for jobs unpopular in the Service? I understand the fighting man's feeling about special pay for those in administrative services, but we find the same problem in civilian industry. It has to be faced. I can never understand why it is regarded as somehow indecent in the case of the Services while it is a regular feature in every other walk of life.
I would have thought that this system would be good especially in the R.A.M.C. I have letters from Service doctors complaining bitterly about how they are treated in the R.A.M.C. We all know how desperately short we are of doctors and orderlies in that service, and will be when National Service comes to an end.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am sorry to interrupt my right hon. Friend, but I do so particularly having in mind what the Labour Government tried to do at the end of the last war, and at the end of the previous war, when it introduced the star system. The great moan of the troops was that the nearer they were to danger the less they got. The extreme case in the First World War was that the man in the trenches received 1s. a day and the lorry driver got 6s. a day. Therefore, one had to be very careful not to fly around with incentives.
§ Mr. Brown
I understand that, and that is why I said I understood the fighting soldier's reaction to it. His reaction to this Bill is going to be pretty hot, too. I am not sure that a straightforward explanation of why things are done in the way which the serving soldier does not like might not be acceptable to him.
We have got to get tough about the wastage question, too. When I was in 70 Germany—without looking for it and without commenting on it when I found it, because I did not want to make people feel that I was hole hunting with a small toothcomb—again and again I saw examples of sheer downright ignorance of how to deal with men. I saw officers, especially young officers, still acting as though the men under them could be pushed about. I will give the Minister examples if necessary, but I would rather do so personally than across the Table. There was too much of it for my liking. I guess that there are many opportunities for talking rather seriously to officers about the way they have to handle men if they want to create the right atmosphere.
Another thing that we must do before we can answer the question about how many soldiers and whether a certain number is too few is to review the organisation and structure of the Army. Not only, in my view, is the Army too unit-conscious and, therefore, keeps too many units and reduces their establishment number to try to make the number of units fit in with the number of men, consequently producing inefficiency, strain and weaknesses, but it also over-eggs with commands.
The situation in Germany ought to be looked at. We now have the lot. We went to the division and then away from the division to the brigade group. We are now back to the division. We now have corps headquarters, divisional headquarters, brigade group headquarters, regimental headquarters and battalion headquarters. In a recent debate, I even heard of a battalion group headquarters. The only thing missing is the Army, and we will have that if the Second Corps ever has to co-operate and work as the First Corps is now doing. This is ridiculous. Instead of getting us a streamlined Army, it has produced an Army heavily over-egged with commands.
I attach a lot of importance to the relationships of the three Services. If we are to provide or try to provide a three-way split in the money and maintain the prestige arrangements so that each Service has to have more or less its traditional place in the scheme of things, the Government will be tempted to think that they need more soldiers 71 than they can get and they will be trying to do something with the Army when it could be done with the men whom we have elsewhere. This ought to change.
Other Services than the Army can recruit more easily. Other Services than the Army could fulfil some of the functions, some of the rôles and some of the services with which the Army is curently struggling. Why do not the Government consider lifting the ceilings on those Services or on any one of them that can obtain more recruits? Why not consider transferring responsibilities to those other Services and move as steadily as possible towards the idea of one Service—with three different uniforms, it may be—operating in all fields?
For that purpose—I can only at the very end indicate what I mean—we require one effective Ministry of Defence. We certainly require one accounting officer. The Government will never do this job on the present basis of the separate accounting officers for the individual Services. We want a combined command and planning staff and we want them responsible to the Minister of Defence.
I was invited to say not merely that we were against the Bill and why, which I have done. I was also challenged in those terms by the Secretary of State to indicate how I thought the job could be tackled. I hope the House will believe that I have fairly carried out that assignment as well as the other. The House may or may not accept all our ideas about it, but there are other ways in Government machinery. They have not been disposed of. They have not been adequately examined. For that reason, one cannot say, as the Observer so glibly did yesterday, that the number is just too few and the Army will never get it.
We believe that Britain can fulfil her proper and essential commitments by voluntary forces. We consider it politically desirable that we should do so. We believe it to be militarily essential that we should do so. I have suggested some of the methods. They make an effective answer to those who simply say that the Bill is an unfortunate necessity.
There are two final requirements. The first is to make it clear that conscription is to be done away with and is not coming back. It is the tendency of the 72 Government, which the Minister of Defence has regrettably repeated, which has animated all his predecessors, always to be willing to be pushed off his decision just before it is about to become effective. This has been done about arms and equipment and now it is being done about National Service. It is no use the Minister shaking his head. National Service is now with us for another three and a half years. Those who wanted it that way will now be hoping that by the time the three and a half years are up, they can push another form of permanent, selective service through the House of Commons. That is what they hope. Those who do not believe it should counter it. To try to fob us off with a story that pretends it is not so does no service to themselves or anybody else.
If the Minister said "I am not being pushed off this perch", the War Office would have to face the realities of the situation. Then, however, it would be entitled to put a second requirement to the Government. The military and the civil servants would be entitled to tell the Government that it is the job of Ministers effectively to plan ahead and that it is their job to adhere to the plans when they have made them and not give them up when told what they will cost or if they become inconvenient in some other way, and to realise that there is no way by which to get effective defence on the cheap. I am sure that this is very much at the bottom of the Government's problems in all this.
If the Government would do that, we could end these panic measures which come upon us so regularly and so unhappily. We could end these continual changes of direction which have happened ever since I became associated with defence in this House in 1956. We could, if not actually save money, end some of the enormous waste of money which is going on in the meantime. We would not need this gross unfairness to a few men which the Bill imposes. For all those reasons, among others, I invite the House to carry the Amendment and reject the Bill.
§ 5.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones (Birmingham, Hall Green)
The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) opened his speech by saying that one could not 73 discuss the Bill intelligently without looking outside its confines. I entirely agree. One cannot form an intelligent judgment on the Bill without, for instance, constructing a manpower budget—and we have had no manpower budget put before us.
What we know is, as the right hon. Gentleman said, that the Army is planned on the basis of 180,000 men. We know that in a year's time we are likely to have from voluntary recruitment about 160,000 men, which means a gap of 20,000. Is it the purpose of the Bill to make good this gap? The right hon. Member for Belper assumed that it was. I may possibly have misunderstood what has been said, but I can only say that for my part I am not quite sure. I am not quite sure because I believe, as does the right hon. Member for Belper, that the Bill is a grossly unjust Bill and likely to give rise in operation to great resentment, which, I suspect, may cause the Government to flinch from the full operation of the Bill.
I hope, therefore, that before the end of the debate we shall have a clear statement whether the purpose of the Bill is to give us over, say, the next five years an Army of 180,000 men. Under Clause 1, I believe, we can have 180,000 men for, say, eighteen months from now, but thereafter, until the spring of 1966, we shall be dependent upon Clauses 2 and 3. Suppose that under Clause 3, which establishes the "Ever-readies", an insufficient number of men come forward. Can we get a clear statement from the Government that in that event, they will unhesitatingly use Clause 2, despite its great unpopularity, so as to get them their 180,000? I shall be very grateful for a clear statement to this effect.
Thereafter, after the spring of 1966, we shall be entirely dependent on voluntary recruitment eked out by Clause 3—the "Ever-readies"—and I should like to suggest that the contribution of Clause 3 in the long term is utterly negligible. The men to be called up under Clause 3 will be Territorials who have done their fortnight's camp and, if they have been conscientious, their 30 nights a year in a drill hall. They will be entirely untrained. So by the spring of 1966 we shall be dependent on an Army, as I see it, derived entirely from voluntary recruitment.
§ Sir Richard Glyn (Dorset, North)
I wonder if I may help my right hon. Friend in his quoting of the liability of the Territorial soldier and of the liability of the National Service soldier? He is quoting the liability of the National Service soldier in days past when there was a liability to continue service in the Territorial Army. First of all, there are no such people left in the Territorial Army. Secondly, the Territorial soldier does not have a minimum commitment of that style at all. He trains as much as he wishes, and I hope very much that it will be the keener ones who will be recommended by their commanding officers for the right to serve in what are called the "Ever-readies". Such people—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—in many cases have done a hundred drills in a year, and I personally—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—have knowledge of some who have done 400 drills in addition to camp.
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones
Even if I happen to be wrong about the details—and the last thing I would wish to do would be to challenge my hon. Friend on the details—I think that my main statement remains unchallenged, that after the spring of 1966 we shall be entirely dependent on voluntary recruitment.
What we have, therefore—and the Secretary of State, I think, admitted this—is essentially a short-term Measure. We have a limited retreat from the fundamental decision of 1957 to abolish National Service. There seem to me, therefore, to be three questions to be asked about this Bill. Are we, in fact, confronted by a purely short-term problem? Secondly, does the famous decision of 1957 seem in retrospect so right that all we need to do is to perform a limited short-term modification? Thirdly, if we were to conclude—and this is my belief—that a more radical revision of the 1957 decision is necessary, we must ask of this Bill, does it facilitate such a more radical revision or does it in fact impede it?
For my own part, I believe that we are confronted on the Continent of Europe with something much more than a mere short-term problem. This is not the moment to go into Soviet motives, except to say that they seem to me to be a compound: a steady resolve, on the one hand, to tilt the balance of 75 power in the Soviet's favour by means short of full war, and, on the other hand, the fear—which I personally believe to be exaggerated, but nevertheless the fear—of a resurgent Germany.
It is the resurgence of Germany which has brought the Berlin problem to the fore, and even if the Berlin problem were settled by the spring of next year the resurgence of Western Germany would go on. What we have, therefore, on the Continent of Europe is the reappearance of the old-pre-war problem of Germany in Europe, and added to it now the post-war problem of a vastly more powerful Soviet Union. This is not a short-term phenomenon, and there is no quick change to this.
Simultaneously with this long-term deterioration in the European situation, we have a fundamental change in Western strategic thinking, a feeling of dismay at the inflexibility of a Western defence which relies primarily on nuclear retaliation, and a search, difficult though it is, for greater flexibility by placing greater emphasis on conventional forces.
The impulse for this change comes from the new United States Administration. The new United States Administration has not yet been in office one year. We are in the first year of what may well be an eight-year tenure of office by the Kennedy Administration. The pressure for this change is, therefore, likely to go on. What does this imply? It implies, it seems to me, the full implementation of the Mc70 plan which calls for 30 N.A.T.O. divisions as against the present nominal 25 and the present effective 15. How does this leave the British position? Under the Mc70 plan this country is due to provide four divisions, 75,000 men. Even if we were released from the obligation to provide the Mc70 divisions, even if the right hon. Gentleman is right in saying that S.H.A.P.E. would countenance our present number of formations, that is seven brigade groups, greater emphasis on conventional forces requires greater battle readiness on the part of some of the formations we have. This implies a number on the Continent, I would judge, of between 65,000 and 70,000 men—I do not greatly differ from the right hon. Gentleman—65,000 to 70,000 men as distinct from the 55,000 we now have, and 76 as distinct from the 45,000 at which the Government have sedulously aimed over the past few years. I wonder if the Government in their long-term thinking are still thinking of 45,000 men.
We are confronted, then, with a greater need for men in Europe. Where are they to come from? From, it will be said, overseas commitments; and, of course, this is true up to a point. We are being forced out of certain overseas commitments by political circumstances, but, speaking for myself, I would be chary of adding to those circumstances by voluntary acts of our own. I have an impression, in looking at this problem of overseas commitments, that we look at it purely in British terms, whereas we ought to be looking at it in terms of the entire Western Alliance.
We were once a great naval country. I believe our naval value today lies not so much in our actual Naval strength, but in our know-how and in the overseas bases which we put at the service of the American Navy. Over-hasty withdrawal from certain overseas commitments would, I think, injure the American Navy; but, over and above any material injury to the United States Navy, I think we ought to have regard to the psychological effect on the United States of an over-hasty abandonment of overseas commitments.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us of any naval bases which we put at the disposal of the United States Navy or any bases at which the United States Navy has got stores?
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones
There is Singapore and there is Hong Kong.
But, quite apart from material damage, I submit we ought to have regard to psychological effect. I myself believe that we are endeavouring to enter Europe on conditions which I believe to be impossible of fulfilment, and we are in an impasse in which we require every ounce of support and friendship from the United States that we can muster. It seems to me that by the abandonment of overseas commitments we risk piling one American resentment against us on another.
77 To summarise, if my proposition about the Mc70 forces is accepted, and, if I am right in believing that we should be cautious about abandoning overseas commitments, then I believe that in the four or five years of the operation of this Bill we shall need more than 180,000 men.
But, even if we get 180,000 men under the Bill, are we likely to have an Army of 180,000 men from the spring of 1966 onwards, when the powers conferred by the Bill will be exhausted? The interesting thing is that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War has not ventured to commit himself on this subject. We have never been told whether or not the Government think it likely that they will have an Army equivalent to the 180,000 of their plan by 1966, and therefore we are driven again to make our own guesses.
My guess is that we shall have in 1966 an Army of just under 180,000, say 175,000 but that Army, although equivalent to the plan in round figures, will be short in certain special skills. The right hon. Member for Belper tried to justify his attitude on National Service by aligning it with his fundamental political philosophy. If I understand it aright, the core of the political philosophy of the party opposite is that market forces, if allowed to operate of their own, will not produce a distribution of resources desirable from the public point of view. I believe that to be abundantly right. If that is true, what reason then is there to believe that in this context market forces will produce a distribution of special skills desirable from the public point of view? I believe that the Army will be short of certain special skills.
R.E.M.E. will appear to be all right in round figures, but I suggest that it will be short of the electronic technicians without whom guided missiles cannot be guided. The Signals Corps will be all right in round figures, but it will be short of special signals operators without whom the targets cannot be fixed. This will mean that the effective strength of the Army will be below 175,000 men. I venture to put it at 150,000 men, short by the Government's present standards, and short even by the optimistic version of the Government's intentions in this Bill, and shorter still by the more exacting standards which I suggest are required in 1961, as against 1957.
78 I therefore come to the fundamental question whether we should return to National Service. Both the Bill and the Opposition Amendment take their stand on the premise that the 1957 decision was right. I should like to deal as objectively as I can with some of the arguments against National Service as stated this afternoon. They seem to me to be roughly three. First, there has been the argument of quality, namely that a homogeneous force is better than a heterogeneous or mixed force. I am not disposed to quarrel with that for a moment.
Then it has been said that a mixed force would be expensive. This was a point which was put by my right hon. Friend. How expensive? I estimate the cost of a National Service man at £1,000 a year. If, therefore, instead of a volunteer Army of 180,000 men we have a mixed force of 220,000 men, the extra cost is £40 million. Even in the most mismanaged economy, it could scarcely be said that £40 million a year is an intolerable burden, and it need not even be a gross addition.
If other economies are needed in the defence budget, let the Government look at the research and development programme and ask themselves how many weapons they are developing which they will require in very few numbers. Let the Government harden their minds against the pressure now upon them to feed into the aircraft industry projects which are out of tune with the requirements of other parts of the world. I cannot regard the expense as a conclusive argument.
The third argument put by my right hon. Friend was wastage of manpower. I take it that what he had in mind was that in order to train rapidly large masses of men we need a certain training force—if we take in 20,000 National Service men we need roughly 20,000 trainers. This admittedly is true up to a point. I would contend that if we pass out National Service men more quickly from the basic training organisations to their battalions we should not need one trainer for one National Service man. We could do with, as it were, half a trainer per man, and if 20,000 National Service men were taken in we could make do with 10,000 trainers. I concede 79 this point, though not as fully as my right hon. Friend would claim for it.
But no course of action in this life is all advantage. Every course of action is a balance of advantages and disadvantages. But in no speech, from the Prime Minister through the Minister of Defence down to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, has any attempt been made in this Session to assess the broad balance of advantages and disadvantages of National Service. Nothing has been said about any countervailing disadvantage. It has been kept quietly hidden. Therefore, it is up to us to try to bring it out.
I will describe what seems to me the basic disadvantage of the 1957 decision to do away with National Service, and I should like to describe it not in terms of abstract theory but in terms of harsh reality as we have seen it since 1957. When the decision was taken in 1957, it was thought that the number of voluntary recruits was likely to be 165,000 a year. Later, in 1958, the Army was planned on the basis of 180,000. Why this discrepancy? No explanation has ever been given of this mystery. The malicious would no doubt say that this is due to muddle on the part of the Government.
I prefer to be more charitable. I think that the real explanation was that the discrepancy was evidence of the strait jacket which the abolition of National Service from the very first put on the Army, and with the first gleam of hope in 1958 that we might be able to recruit 180,000 men the Army grasped at the chance, slender though that was. That was in 1958, but in 1961 there came the Kennedy Administration with a new emphasis on conventional forces.
In this reorientation of Western strategic thinking we as a country, because of the decision of 1957, have played no part. In the earlier strategic doctrine of nuclear retaliation, we were the first. It was we who started it, but in this new reorientation of thinking we in this country are the laggards. Later in 1961, the Berlin crisis arose, with the cry for more conventional forces in Europe. Would I be going too far if I said that we responded to this cry the last and the least? We lagged behind everybody and, pro- 80 jecting ourselves forward into 1962, it seems likely that in order to pay the Peter of Europe we shall rob the Paul of overseas. But I prophesy that both Peter and Paul will be robbed, both will be deficient, and to the resentment left in the United States by our deficiencies in Europe in 1961 we shall add further resentment by our deficiencies overseas in 1962.
I grant my right hon. Friend that there are certain technical advantages in a wholly volunteer force. But the technical advantages are, to my mind, heavily outweighed by the inflexibility which a wholly volunteer force places upon one's whole defence policy. With a volunteer force the one fixed element is the number of recruits that one can raise, and to this everything else—change of doctrine, change of circumstances—has to be sacrificed. It is my belief that in order to restore a much needed flexibility to British defence policy and, therefore, by extension, to British foreign policy we should return to National Service.
By National Service, I mean essentially something on the American model—the elimination on grounds of trade, health and intelligence of large numbers of people and the definition, on grounds of trade, health and intelligence of a final category of people all of whom are then inducted into the Services; that final category can be expanded or contracted as circumstances require.
I now come to my last question. If I am right in thinking that such a radical revision of the 1957 decision is necessary, I do not think that the Bill will facilitate such a revision. I differ in this from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper. I believe that the Bill impedes such a radical revision, and I believe that on two grounds.
The first is the purely technical ground that in five years' time the technique of rapidly training large numbers of men will have disappeared from the Army, and it will not be easy to re-create it; but I also believe this on public relations grounds. This will have been the second time, at a time of emergency in Europe, when the Government will have said "We do not believe in National Service." The more often and the longer this is said, the more difficult it becomes to eat one's words. I believe that the Bill makes more difficult the radical revision which I believe to be necessary.
81 So one asks oneself: Why this clinging to the decision of 1957? I reluctantly conclude that there can be only one explanation. It is that the decision of 1957 was one of the first important decisions taken by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on his assumption of the Prime Ministership, and, therefore, a great deal of personal prestige is attached to it.
But I would ask the Government to reflect that when they say that the decision of 1957 is sacrosanct, what they are saying is that they cannot adjust themselves to changing circumstances, and when a Government say that they cannot adjust themselves to changing circumstances, normally they will be proclaiming to the country that the adjustment to changed circumstances can come about only if others take up the reins of Government. But in this case the alternative Government have nailed their colours to the mast, too. The alternative Government believe that the decision of 1957 was right. So the alternative Government equally cannot adjust themselves to changing circumstances.
But the changing circumstances will have their way and will reflect themselves. There is only one way in which they can reflect themselves—in pushing down the weight which this country exercises in international councils, pushing it down below the level which even in our reduced straits, we deserve.
I suggest that this is for both parties as straight an issue of country versus party as I have seen in the eleven years that I have been in the House of Commons, and I trust that both in this debate and in the Division Lobby tonight there will be some at any rate who will show that they still think of country.
§ 5.44 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) has deployed his case with his usual skill, but he came to a conclusion which appeared obvious as he developed his argument, namely, that we should return to some form of National Service. I beg him to understand that he proceeds on a completely false assumption, which is that we require far more men than it is within the province of the Government to provide.
82 As for his suggestion that we must regard this problem not as an essentially British one but as one which concerns itself with the whole of the Western Alliance, I agree with him. Right from the end of the last war, we have made a more substantial contribution to the Western Alliance, having regard to our resources, than any other country in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. If any hon. or right hon. Member wishes to challenge that statement, I advise him to examine the facts. Ever since the Labour Government decided to embark on the policy of National Service when we were asked to make our contribution to the Brussels Treaty Organisation, which preceded the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, we furnished two divisions.
Let there be no misunderstanding about what is meant by a division. Our divisions in those days were far larger in numbers, as regards both the teeth and the tail, than they are at present. Indeed, they were far larger than in any other country associated with N.A.T.O. In those days, when we furnished two divisions to the Brussels Treaty Organisation, at the time when Field Marshal Montgomery was chairman of that organisation, a division consisted, in both teeth and tail, of about 30,000 men. So we were providing a total of 60,000 men.
But since then there has been a substantial change and a reorientation of what is meant by a division. Now a division may consist, in teeth, of about 10,000 or, at most, 12,000 men. It is difficult to say what the tail consists of, because it contains civilian personnel as well as military. If one examines the Estimates presented by the Secretary of State for War when we last debated the Army, one will discover that the total amount of remuneration payable to the civilian personnel of the Army exceeds that paid to the military.
Therefore, I repeat that the right hon. Gentleman proceeds on a fallacious assumption, which is that we require vast numbers of men and that without vast numbers of men we are incapable of fulfilling our commitments.
I should like to relate an experience of mine. After I had been Secretary of State for War and had had to administer the National Service scheme, full of 83 complications, I went to the Ministry of Defence. We were then embroiled in the Korean affair. At that time we had 400,000 men in the British Army, roughly 220,000 National Service men and 180,000 Regulars. Yet we were at our wit's end—it was not a matter of anybody being blameworthy; we had vast commitments and were spread all over the place, as was well known at the time, and there were other complications which ensued, following upon the war itself—to create an efficient and effective brigade group to dispatch to Korea—and that, despite the vast numbers that we had, was a brigade group consisting of 6,000 or 7,000 men.
It does not follow—I speak from what experience I have had; maybe I do not possess the authority or the knowledge entitling me to state this view, but, nevertheless, I state it—that mere numbers do not enable us to provide an effective contribution to N.A.T.O. or to furnish any of our other commitments.
What is the position? Here is a Bill which is undoubtedly harsh in its operation—if it ever does operate, as the right hon. Member for Hall Green has said—but which will not provide the number of men required by the Secretary of State for War. Let us look at the arithmetic of it. We have at present, I think, about 130,000 Regulars—perhaps 140,000, including boys and so on. The immediate target is 165,000 men, so we require about another 20,000 men.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Let me develop my case. I have thought about this as well. The Secretary of State envisages a maximum target of 180,000. If anyone challenges my figures, I have them with me, straight from the horse's mouth. No exception can be taken to them. We have 143,880 Regulars, which includes those on long-term and short-term engagements. There are 6,796 short-term engagements.
§ Mr, Shinwell
I am sorry, but that intervention does not vitiate my argument, whether it is officers and other 84 ranks or whether other ranks alone that I am speaking of. Roughly speaking, this is the number at the Secretary of State's disposal. He wants a minimum target of 165,000. I am sorry to repeat myself, but if I am to be diverted from my argument by interventions then I must repeat myself in order to make some impact on people who think that they know all about this subject and that those of us who have been in these Departments for a long time know nothing about it.
I repeat that the Secretary of State wants 165,000 men. That is his minimum target. Therefore, he needs roughly about another 20,000 men. His maximum target is about 180,000 men. What does he want them for? That is a very important question, and I hope that we shall have an answer. Is the right hon. Gentleman thinking of filling up gaps? Presumably he has an idea of that kind in his head, because he is not speaking of replacing a number of units but of individual selection. There is a problem here, and I do not deny its existence. Perhaps in B.A.O.R., or in Gibraltar, or Hong Kong, Malaya or Cyprus—wherever we have men—there are gaps. He wants technicians—signallers, drivers and men in R.E.M.E. and so on.
The right hon. Gentleman appears to be aiming to select a number of men, but it never seems to have occurred to him that, instead of adopting this cockeyed idea, this dog's breakfast—excuse the mixed metaphors—this series of confused proposals, he might have adopted something like a scheme which I adopted when we ran into difficulties. This was to continue the engagement of Regulars. Has that occurred to him?
In this way, he would have men who had been in the Service for six or nine years. He could retain them for 12 months, or, indeed, just six months, which is precisely what he intends to do with National Service men. It constitutes a hardship to the National Service men, but if he retains a Regular for six months the man's pay continues, perhaps with an additional bounty—obviously the right hon. Gentleman can afford to do that because he is to throw money around, as I shall show later—and the Army has a trained man to whom the retention causes no real hardship. He is in the Service for another six months 85 and that will not matter a great deal to him, while the Army has a trained man. By retaining National Service men one is imposing hardship upon them.
The right hon. Gentleman is also calling up men who are simply undertaking their reserve liability and who never expect the call-up except in dire emergencies. How many the right hon. Gentleman expects to get in that fashion I do not know, but it is a substantial number.
The right hon. Gentleman should do something which he should have thought about before. He should stop the wastage through the method of purchasing out. After all, three months after joining a Service should be ample for a man in which to consider his position, and a man should be retained after that period unless some exceptional situation arises. In this way it would be possible to obtain the men—mark what I am saying—not for the long term, to which I shall come later, but in order to fill the gaps. If that is what the problem is, then it is possible to find an easy solution.
There is another way out, and this relates to the long-term problem. I agree 100 per cent. with the right hon. Member for Hall Green about the resurgence of Germany and the re-creation of an old-time problem—a European problem. I believe that the cold war will last for a long time, not merely because of the intransigence of the Soviet Union but because of the resurgence of Germany. The Germans are an extremely military people, are highly organised and know where they are going—and they will go places unless we are very careful.
I know that some of my hon. Friends will challenge me, because I was as much responsible for German rearmament as anybody else at the time, but I think that all hon. Members are aware of how it happened. We were under pressure by the United States Government, which had a case because of French defection. The French have let us down all along the line. Let us compare, in parenthesis, our contributions overseas with the French contributions. The French had trouble in Indo China—we had trouble elsewhere. They have trouble in Algeria—we have commitments elsewhere. The French have never, except on paper, made an effective contribution.
86 Naturally, the United States Government—Mr. Dean Acheson was Secretary of State and General Marshall was Secretary of Defence—prevailed upon Ernest Bevin to agree to some form of German rearmament. I well remember the conference in New York and the subsequent conferences in Washington, when we very reluctantly agreed, on behalf of the Labour Government, to accept the principle of German rearmament and to allow the Germans to raise a small number of men for internal security. It was called a "paramilitary force" in order to satisfy Jules Moch, who was French Minister of Defence and who would have nothing to do with the project otherwise. I agree that we were responsible but we never expected, and I doubt if any hon. Member ever expected that Germany would eventually have nearly 300,000 men under arms.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Of course, my hon. Friend knew about it, but people like myself knew nothing about it. We were just ignoramuses. But I must say, since I have been challenged, that the Labour Party accepted the proposal for German rearmament by a very large majority.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I can say a lot of other things, which I shall come to in a moment. However, I think that it is wise to bury the past. There were faults on all sides. When one has been in a Service Department, one has a great deal of sympathy with Ministers, for such Departments are full of complications, particularly manpower problems, and one has to adapt oneself in a Service Department to changing circumstances. They have nothing to do with the military situation, but depend upon a change in the international scene, or in the international atmosphere. That is the cause of all the trouble, but we are not now having a foreign affairs debate.
I agree with the right hon. Member for Hall Green that, much as we deplore the fact and hope that we are wrong, we have to envisage years and years of the cold war. There are those who may not agree with this view and who may call us unwise prophets, but I believe that we have to envisage a continuance 87 of the cold war for many years, and shall have to sustain some kind of alliance in the West to provide an effective deterrent against a conflict—though some people would not agree that it is effective.
Incidentally, let there be no beating about the bush and let it be remembered that, by an overwhelming majority, the Labour Party accepted the principle of N.A.T.O. I need not argue about it. Whether rightly or wrongly, the Labour Party accepts the principle, as does the House and the country at large. There is only a minority.
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire) rose—
§ Mr. Shinwell
I know that my hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) is one of that minority, and he need not bother about it.
§ Mr. Baxter
After his admission of having made many mistakes in the past, does not my right hon. Friend now hesitate about advising us about the future?
§ Mr. Shinwell
My hon. Friend had better await what advice I decide to give. Of course we have made mistakes, but I am now dealing with the inescapable fact, which cannot be challenged, that the Labour Party and the House and the country generally accept the principle of N.A.T.O. Whether it will be effective is beside the point. If N.A.T.O. is accepted, some content must be injected into it. We do not want a mere ornament to put on the mantle-piece, or in a glass case, or to have conferences and conversations and White Papers about it. There must be some content, and I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) who has so often said that if men are sent to any theatre, we must see that they are properly protected in both numbers and equipment.
If we have N.A.T.O., we have to make a job of it, but the question now is what we are to do about that. The right hon. Gentleman has put forward this piffling, pettifogging Measure which is unjust in its imposition whenever it is imposed. It is a sort of miniature selective service arrangement under which the fellows who are waiting to 88 go out and who have wanted to go out from the start, the National Service men who have completed their two years' service, are to have to remain for another six months. That is bad enough with all its complications and hardship. Incidentally, no matter how many hardship tribunals are set up, there will always be difficulties, and many hon. Members will be receiving letters from constituents and from the wives of men doing National Service. We have had plenty of trouble with the National Service grant in the past and we will again in the future if this arrangement is continued.
What of the men who are due to be called up, out of the blue, for six months? How many does the right hon. Gentleman expect to get? It will be 5,000 or 10,000 at the most. He will get only the residue of about 20,000, for that is all he will have left. He has told us that the number of National Service men is 50,000. He says that after April the number will be reduced to perhaps 40,000 and then, towards the end of next year and the beginning of the year after, there will be about 20,000 men undergoing National Service. If he has to pick and choose from among that small number, how does he expect to be able to get this provision?
§ Mr. Profumo
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, because I appreciate that he is trying to be as clear as possible. However, I think that he has misunderstood me. I said that there were 50,000 National Service men who were now serving in the Army and that by April next year that would be reduced by about half and that by the end of the year, or the beginning of 1963, they would all have gone. The people on whom we then have to call, if we ever have to resort to them under Clause 2, would be about another 100,000.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I see the point. The right hon. Gentleman is proposing to call up men undertaking their reserve liability?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Even so, that liability is bound to end in the course of three years and the right hon. Gentleman will be left only with the "Ever-readies". I will now deal with those.
89 I pay great tribute to the Territorial Army for what it has done. However, do not let us be under any illusion about it, for the men are not properly trained. It is true that National Service men, who are undertaking their reserve liability and who join the Territorials and form part of the units of the Territorial Army, have had some training, but the average man who joins and who goes for perfunctory training two nights a week is not properly trained. Some of these men even have anti-aircraft training in a very modest fashion, but most of them regard the Territorial Army as a social club. Indeed, that is what it is, and a very good one, too.
I suggest that if the right hon. Gentleman intends to proceed with his "Ever-ready" proposal, the one thing he must ensure is that the Territorials are properly trained. But that is not what he is proposing to do. What he intends is that somebody should select them and that he will "vet" them and that they will then get £150 a year, or £3 a week, which is not bad for doing nothing. I agree that they may be called up, but that is very unlikely. However, if they are to be called up, is the right hon. Gentleman to call up the men who are untrained? What use will they be for filling the gaps in B.A.O.R. if there is trouble in Berlin or Europe? The suggestion is useless.
The one good thing we have been doing—and it has been going on for some time—is to build up the reservists. I have always said when we have discussed the Army that we should build up a stronger Regular Reserve and a stronger Emergency Reserve, providing the men with decent retainers. We have never given proper retainers, paying only a miserable couple of shillings a day, or whatever it may be. Why do we not build up the numbers in the reserves and retain the Regulars, if we require to do so, if there are gaps to be filled in B.A.O.R. or anywhere else? By retaining Regulars for another six months, or even nine or twelve months, the right hon. Gentleman could fulfill his mission.
However, what he really wants is 182,000 men and he cannot get them from volunteers alone. He can get them only by a combination of volunteers and "Ever-readies", the men who are selected from their reserve liability, and he has that reservoir for a period of three 90 years. He says that he wants them to build up our forces in B.A.O.R.
The right hon. Member for Hall Green spoke of 1957 and blamed the Prime Minister for what then happened. It may be that the Prime Minister was blameworthy, but so were others. The year 1957 was when the West departed from the conventional system and adopted the nuclear theory. Let us examine that. If the right hon. Gentleman had 200,000 men and could take all of them to B.A.O.R.—and he cannot afford to do that—by renouncing all our other commitments—and he cannot afford to do that, because, although there are places where we should reduce the number of men, he could not entirely abandon our commitments—and if trouble occurred, those 200,000 men would not greatly help General Norstad to get his 30 divisions. He will not get his 30 divisions for a long time, and yet he would encounter the full strength of the Russians with more than 100 divisions and certainly with 50 effective divisions, highly trained and capable of speedy mobilisation.
I am sorry to have to say it, but it is my firm conviction that if there were conventional war of the most limited character over Berlin or in Europe, it would be the prelude to a nuclear war. I am not alone in that view. It has been put forward by some of the greatest military experts. I could quote them, but hon. Members are well aware of what they have said. I am certain that however strong our forces—and we can provide forces only within our capabilities—we could not match the might and strength and formidable power of the Russians. Then, rather than surrender—and I can understand that—we would use nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons to begin with, if we had them, but then the full blast of nuclear weapons. Then the balloon would go up and where should we be?
That is why I am with those who say that the Bill will not do a very great deal and that what matters is not the men furnished to B.A.O.R. and our other commitments, but preventing further trouble in Berlin, preventing further trouble throughout the world. It is that to which we ought to be addressing ourselves and not talking in terms of conscription and so on.
91 My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) derided conscription, saying that it was not a sound principle. I beg to differ from him. I do not regard National Service as being unsound and inherently improper. The rendering of service, provided that it is carried out satisfactorily with equality and proper judgment, is not a bad principle. The Labour Party adopted it and that principle was in operation when my right hon. Friend became the Opposition's Front Bench spokesman on the subject in 1956.
It was my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley and my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) and I who, during an Adjournment debate one Friday in 1952, demanded the end of National Service, realising from our experience that large numbers of men did not enable one to meet one's commitments.
§ Mr. Shinwell
The noble Lord should not talk like that. He changes his mind, and it is a good job that he does, from time to time. We are gratified when he does and we look forward to his changing his mind still further. He is coming our way with great speed and remarkable expedition. There may be a full stop one of these days—a pause, as we say.
I say this about conscription. I said it the other day at a meeting. It is politically unacceptable to the country at the present time. I am not saying that, because something is unpopular, the Government should not address themselves to its implementation, but I do not believe that the country wants conscription. As for conscription of the kind which the right hon. Gentleman suggested—selective service—that is much more unfair and unjust than National Service.
§ Mr. Shinwell
If the hon. Member says that the American system is fairer, he had better ask the people called up, who are drafted. I read the American 92 periodicals and the stories related of how men want to dodge the draft, and the methods they indulge in to dodge it. I am not so sure, therefore, that it is popular in the United States. It is a device employed there to get the men. I do not believe that we require to use it. We do not need it because I believe that we shall have the number of men we want if, as I suggest, we adopt a system of retaining the Regulars for another six or nine months and training the Territorials effectively. In that way, and by building up the reserve forces, we can supplement the activities of the Regulars and enable them, if trouble should occur, to give as good an account of themselves as could ever be expected.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Commander S. L. C. Maydon (Wells)
We always enjoy listening to the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell). As usual, he made a courageous and self-critical speech. There is one point that I should like to take him up on. All of us on both sides of the House and throughout the country, I am sure, have had grave misgivings about the rearmament of Germany. But what were the alternatives? Was Germany to remain an occupied country for very much longer? Were her total manpower and all her financial resources to be used in economic competition against the rest of us in Europe? How long was this state of affairs to continue? Were we never to reach a stage where the rest of us would consider that the German race had worked its passage and that we were justified in giving them once more a fair trial?
I subscribe to the view that we had reached that point and, also, that we were forced to that point by the sheer weight of economics. A Germany deploying her full manpower in industry, putting her full financial resources into competition with our industry, particularly with the events that had occurred in the Common Market in Europe, was a very different proposition to the sort of proposition that we were facing after 1919. I think that we have been right in our decision. I agree that we took a chance on it, but I hope, as we all hope, that events will prove us right. I am convinced that the closer we can combine ourselves to Germany through N.A.T.O., and possibly 93 through other alliances, the less likelihood there is of danger in the future.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said that the Government's defence policy had crashed in ruins about the Government's ears. It seems to me that even if a few pinnacles have fallen off, the edifice is still massive and that the bricks that fell must have been rubber bricks, because the crash was soundless. He spoke of the tremendous hardship of a further six months' service—hardship agreed—but to describe six months' service in a man's life as tremendous hardship is, I think, slightly exaggerating the case.
If we go back to that much discussed document the 1957 White Paper, we find that it was clearly stated at that time that some limited form of compulsory service might he required to bridge the gap. Some of us had pious hopes that this would not be necessary, but I was afraid, some time ago, that those hopes were unlikely to be fulfilled, unfortunately, I think, for the Army.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
I do not quite know what comfort the hon. Gentleman who said "Hear, hear" can take from these facts.
§ Lieut.-Commander Maydon
There is no question of eating one's words. It was a question of facing up to the possibility which we knew might occur, but which we hoped would not.
There are three courses open to the Government at this time, so far as I can see. We could revert to the policy of conscription for the future. The first argument against that is that it is not likely permanently to be required. Then there are a series of other arguments. It is against all the best military advice from the point of view of the welfare and efficiency of the Army. We want, and need, a whole-time force of dedicated men, not a mixed-up force with some people doing compulsory service, much against their will, for a short period of time.
It is uneconomical of manpower. If one compares the small number of men who are likely to be needed to bridge this gap—perhaps as few as 20,000, and 94 perhaps as many as 30,000—and then take into account not only the military manpower which is wasted in training, but the civilian administrative manpower, the doctors who have to do the medicals, and all the rigmarole of registration and call-up, it is a tremendous waste of effort. Lastly, of course, it is contrary to our national traditions, for very good reasons which I will not go over again now.
The second possible course the Government could have followed was to institute a form of really selective service, somewhat along the lines the Americans are following. It is administratively clumsy, and even in this scheme there are gross unfairnesses, but the big difficulty, which I do not think was mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), is that the Americans need 170,000 men, whereas we need only between 20,000 and 30,000.
America has roughly three times our population but that population is spread over an area of the earth's surface more than three times the area of the British Isles, so one gets a greater number of men being drawn from a less densely populated area than in Britain, and in consequence, the unfairness between Smith and Jones, who live adjacent to, or opposite each other in the same street, is not nearly so apparent in America as it would be here.
The second disadvantage is that if we institute conscription by selective service the men coming in will still be raw recruits, having to be trained and so taking up the valuable time of highly trained men. Lastly, these men will not be needed once the new Territorial Army Reserve has got into its stride.
There was a third course, and that is the one the Government have taken. There were many permutations and combinations of what might have been done, but I think that the Government have chosen the right one. It will, and we all admit it, be unfair to a number of men, but all conscription is unfair. What the Government have done is to restrict that unfairness to a comparatively small number of men over a limited period of time.
The burden falls heavily on that section, and we are all very sorry for that, but, nevertheless, this is a necessity, and I 95 think that we shall find that the great majority of these men will accept the situation and take it in their stride provided that good warning is given, and that my right hon. Friend has already started doing this afternoon by saying that nobody discharged before 1st April next year will come into this category under Clause 1.
There are one or two questions I should like to ask my right hon. Friend. A point, which has worried many of us, is the question of wastage. I would be grateful if my hon. Friend, when he replies, will give us some idea of the wastage which is occurring at present, with the comparative figures over the last three or four years, due to discharge by purchase, and also the figures for the wastage due to men not coming up to the required medical or physical standards after they have joined up.
The other danger which I foresee when we look to Europe is the question of the Common Market and other countries in it pointing to Britain and saying, "You are the only one out of step. All of us here in Europe endure conscription and grin and bear it. You are the only one who has a voluntary Army." I hope that the Government will not fall for that sort of argument. If we go into the Common Market, there must be no question of how we regulate the numbers of men coming into our forces, whether it is done according to our own choice or by some common European standard. That is a thing which must be firmly resisted.
I support this Measure although I recognise that it will fall heavily on a small number of men, but I am sure that the great majority of them will realise their responsibilities and do this extra service with willing hearts for their country.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
In listening to the hon. and gallant Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon), I felt some regret that he had done his homework so thoroughly, because his defence of the Bill was strictly in line with the Minister's defence and completely disregarded all the speeches which have succeeded the Minister's. We have heard 96 from my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), and in the powerful speech from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), a series of serious questions about whether this was the best Measure available. I felt that the hon. and gallant Member could have attended with advantage to some of the objections and dealt with them in his reply instead of merely repeating, in more wooden form, some of the points raised by the Minister.
I got the impression from the Minister's speech that he tried to make this a small occasion. This was to be unimportant. This was not to matter. A very small Bill can do a great deal of damage, and I regard this as an excellent example of a miserable little Bill which may have the most grave, long-term repercussions for this country. It will have grave repercussions because, once again, the House of Commons, if it passes the Bill, will have preferred a popular, or not unpopular makeshift way of getting on for two or three years, to a serious attempt to tackle this problem.
That reminds me of something which occurred last week. It was, I think, the first television performance of the new Leader of the House, the new Leader of the Conservative Party. I did not see the broadcast, but I got the text of it because I wanted to know what our new Leader of the House would say on his first appearance before a television audience. He seemed to be leading a party which had courage and conviction and which did what was really necessary for the good of the country in defiance of losing votes.
I should like to quote the right hon. Gentleman. He said:Now first—defence. A Government's first duty is to safeguard this country, and a Government must never consider for a moment whether what it does is popular, or unpopular, so long as it discharges that duty.He went on:You know the position very well in the world today. There are troubled areas in many continents. But now, as so often before, the spotlight is on Berlin. And in Berlin, we, with our Allies, have solemn obligations to fulfil. We cannot be sure that we have enough men to fulfil those obligations unless we take powers, as we propose to do, to continue National Service for a short time. …97 He ended:Now, I daresay this will be unpopular. Indeed, of course, it is bound to be so.Frankly, the right hon. Gentleman is a very clever propagandist, but sometimes one can be too clever by half. After all, there are, you say—if you are a Government of this kind—25,000 or 30,000 people who will suffer under this Bill. There will be a very little unpopularity; but many millions of people will be relieved to feel that, once again, they will not be called on to do anything. I cannot think of anything more characteristic of a Government seeking to appease public opinion, instead of warning it, than this Bill.
I can think of no Bill less in accord with the convictions of the party opposite of which we were reminded by the right hon. Member for Hall Green in what I thought a very remarkable speech. I did not agree with it, but the right hon. Gentleman spoke in the tradition of his party. At least, he outlined this in his analysis and the questions which he asked seemed to me questions that the Minister of Defence might be courteous enough to try to answer at the end of this debate, since they certainly were not answered at the beginning.
I regard the Bill as bad for two reasons. In the first place, it does not tackle the long-term problem, but merely permits us to postpone it until May, 1966, when the last man leaves over whom we have any control. In the second place, not only is it bad in the long-term, but the makeshift measures it proposes combine the maximum injustice with the maximum administrative difficulty. These are the two points with which I wish to deal, and here I want to agree with at least one thing which was said by the hon. and gallant Member for Wells. He said that the Sandys defence policy was not in ruins. I agree. He said that one or two pinnacles had fallen off, but that they must have been made of rubber because nobody heard any noise.
But some noise was heard by the right hon. Member for Hall Green, and there have been about twenty hon. Members who, for years past, have been noting the falling off of pinnacles and thinking sometimes that we might reconstruct, because the wrong edifice was built in 98 1957. It is my deep regret that the policy of 1957 is not in ruins. The Government, come what may, in defiance of any fact, are sticking to the policy of 1957, are clinging to it in defiance of the interests of this country and in defiance of reality. That is really what is wrong with the country today.
Let us recall two aspects of the policy of 1957. The first and central aspect was to get rid of conscription before we knew for sure whether we would get the men on voluntary recruitment. The Government were warned about the unwisdom of this by many people. Hon. Members on both sides of the House asked whether it was really wise to take a tremendous gamble on abolishing conscription before being sure of getting the men. What was the reply? We all know now that the Government "cooked the books" and that they have been "cooking the books" ever since. They cheated with the figures, and when they could not cheat with the figures—as I shall show later in my speech—they cheated on selective service, by saying that they had not got it and by introducing it back to front.
The second thing that they did to cover this was to say that it was all right because we should need fewer men and that the fewness of the numbers would be met by having nuclear weapons. That was to be the substitute for conventional fire power. Even today, in N.A.T.O., we are the most nuclear-minded country of all for the very simple reason that we have the worst conventional forces and we are more dependent on these weapons. This country, which is more liable to nuclear attack than any other country in the world, and which should be more concerned to move the balance away from the nuclear side to the conventional side, is tied by its manpower policy to nuclear weapons. And this has even prevented us from assisting the Americans in their efforts to reduce the reliance on nuclear weapons. To me, that seems disastrous.
I wish to ask how, even now, the Government can go on telling us that we should continue this policy. How can they go on saying that now they know in advance that in May, 1966, they will have sufficient men obtained by voluntary recruitment? They are not such good prophets. How can they 99 tell in advance that by May, 1966, they will not need a single National Service man? Had the Government been good prophets in the last ten years; had they shown themselves powerful prophets about future manpower figures, I should have more confidence in them. But their prophecies have been wrong throughout. How can they tell us today that they know for certain, and that, for that reason, they can introduce this makeshift Measure specifically designed to ensure that we have a wholly voluntary Army from May, 1966 onwards? Those are the questions to which I should like answers.
I wish now to come to the short-term aspects of this Measure and to ask whether if we assume—as I do for the moment—that we shall get a voluntary Army from 1966 onwards, this be the best method of filling in the gap? The Minister made some significant remarks. He said that he did not believe in equalisation of misery. He used that phrase. I wish to remind the right hon. Gentleman that if he went to America he would find that the central argument for a selective draft is to avoid equalisation of misery, and that the arguments he used about not getting more men than we require and selecting what we need is, of course, the American argument for a selective draft. My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper is absolutely right. This Bill is a Bill far a selective draft, for selecting certain people and for saying, "It may be unjust, but for the good of the country we need you, and we will take you."
The Bill has the disadvantage that it takes only the people who have done their service already. Any reasonable selective draft takes people who have not yet done their service and gives them a turn. This is a unique British Establishment selective draft. Because they commit themselves not to have a selective draft on any account, they have to have recourse to the dirtiest kind of under-the-counter selective draft in order to go on pretending that it is not a selective draft when, of course, it is. I will—
§ Mr. Profumo
The argument of the hon. Gentleman is slightly off-beam. The selective draft with which he is comparing this is a selective draft of new untrained people who would not be 100 ready trained to do the job now such as we shall want in the ensuing months.
§ Mr. Crossman
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. This will strengthen the point I want to make about reserves.
In fact, this method of running down our trained reserves—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If hon. Gentlemen will tell me what other people we shall have to call up who have had any training at all after May, 1966, I shall be glad to know. By May, 1966, there will not be any person who has been trained and served as a National Service man available any more. Therefore, we shall have to rely after May, 1966, on the famous "Ever-readies," untrained in any normal sense of the word and getting £3 a week to be stuffed in as untrained stop-gaps.
While the rundown goes on we are to select from those who have served, or who are serving, on the ground that after that we shall not require it. Is this the most sensible thing to do in these three years? Would it not be wiser to have what my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper described as an honest-to-goodness system of open selective service? I assure the Minister that he would not find it any more administratively difficult to have an honest, above-the-counter selective draft than to have a dishonest, below-the-counter selective draft.
If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that the discontent will be soothed by a hardship committee while he makes all the decisions himself, he had better think again. He will spend the next three years arbitrarily selecting those people to serve again when they have already done one period of service. Let us have an honest-to-goodness selection of men as a trained reserve. That would be a far better short-term method of doing it. I entirely support my own Front Bench on this important issue. The short-term proposal made by the Government is the worst possible makeshift.
There is another point we have to remember. The Government may be wrong in their figures. If they were to introduce an honest-to-goodness selective draft in the next three years then, if they happened to get their arithmetic wrong, a system would be available by which we could meet our requirements thereafter. The Minister's system is one 101 which, by definition, would leave us in a terrible crisis if his figures turned out to be wrong. My proposal would leave us with the possibility, of carrying on if we did not get what we needed for the Regular Army.
I agree with my right hon. Friend that we should all like to see this country served by Regulars. And, of course, we should do everything possible to try to build up the strength of the Regular Army. But I ask whether we are wise now, after the experience since 1956, to go on acting on the assumption that we can get a volunteer Army without any doubt in the future. Are the Government right in believing that we can look after our long-term obligations in this way?
On that, I make two observations and I hope that my hon. Friends will allow me to make the first of them without interruption. I have always had a belief that we were a very remarkable people, almost as peculiar as the Jews and as unique in our way. But can we claim that we are such a peculiar people that we can be the only member of the Western Alliance who can fulfil our obligations without National Service? What is this peculiar quality which enables the British people alone to raise forces in this manner while the Germans, the Americans, the Russians and the Chinese do not?
§ Mr. Crossman
Yes, all those have a naval tradition and none of them is a part of the Continent of Europe.
Unfortunately, for good or ill, under the leadership of my right hon. Friends we entered the Continent of Europe strategically. When we signed an obligation in Paris to keep four divisions in Europe we signed the obligations of a European Continental Power. I was against that and I warned the House that I did not think the British people would take such obligations at all easily, but I was pushed aside. The House of Commons decided to take the obligation to maintain a large continental standing Army. On this matter, we are more insular than the Americans. They have said, "If we are to take part in an alliance we must take on National Service obligations with the rest." They 102 have a form of selective draft which enables them with considerable flexibility to keep a large standing Army and then to add to it a certain number of other people if required. I have with me an excellent manual, the Report of the Director of Selective Service in America for 1960. I wonder how many hon. Members who are opposed to this idea have bothered to study how it works and whether it is possible in our case.
I am not saying that it would be a permanent solution, but it would be a lesser evil in the next three years to have an experiment of this kind than to have a Bill which does this gross injustice of making men already in the Army stay on—or, even worse, calling back men who have left the Army. Is it right to say to a man that because he is a good soldier he will be called back and the "scrounger" will be left out?
Would it not be wiser if, as a member of N.A.T.O., we were at least to consider the possibility of the selective draft system as a lesser evil and an interim solution? If the calculations were right and if my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper proved to be right in saying that we could raise the men whom we shall need, we would not need to continue the system. But if the calculations were wrong, we could carry on without "welshing" on our commitments.
Another thing I want to say concerns Germany. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington said that he was surprised, after he and Mr. Bevin had agreed with the Americans on the question of German rearmament, that the Germans got a big army. I do not know why he should be surprised. The Germans do not do things by halves. I was surprised to find how slow they were in getting things going at the beginning. When my right hon. Friend was a member of the Government we were the best equipped element in N.A.T.O with two crack armoured divisions which were first rate. We mattered then, but now what is N.A.T.O. today? N.A.T.O. today is a German Army with some additions.
The biggest single contribution by far is now made by the Germans with eight divisions. When they have increased to 103 12 divisions by putting up their National Service to eighteen months, N.A.T.O. will still be a German Army with small additions to it.
There is bound to be a difference between the balance of political power in a Europe in which there was a British-American-French Army with no German soldiers and a Europe in which, twelve years later, there will be 12 German divisions, three undermanned British divisions, two French, and five under manned American divisions. We are handing over control of Western Europe by this fact to the Germans. That is a fact we ought to face.
Maybe it is a thing worth doing. I remember Lord Morrison of Lambeth once saying that we ought not to allow the Germans to stand about with their hands in their pockets, but to let them get on with rearmament. Their hands are no longer in their pockets, for they have eight divisions and soon will have 12.
§ Mr. John Hall
If the hon. Member is looking at the figures issued by the Institute of Strategic Studies, I think that he will agree that it is unreasonable to say that the German forces will outnumber the others in N.A.T.O. If he looks at the figures more closely he will find that that is not so.
§ Mr. Crossman
I said that they make the largest single contribution of any nation in N.A.T.O., and they will make much the largest contribution when they have 12 divisions, we have three, the French two, the Americans five and the Belgians, Danes and Norwegians have their units too. We can add them all together and also the Greeks and the Turks, who are a long way off, but it is not facing reality if the House does not see that a shift in the balance of power is occurring as Germany is given more and more of the conventional power in N.A.T.O.
That brings me to my last point, which is about nuclear weapons. The excuse for all this has been that we could substitute nuclear weapons for British conscripts. None of us likes the call-up. We have all said, "How nice it would be not to have the bother of the call-up or selective service, but to have streamlined, highly paid forces armed with nuclear weapons, strategic and tactical 104 substituted for conventional fire power." As a result, B.A.O.R. is unable to offer any serious conventional resistance in case of war, because of its shortage of conventional equipment, because of its shortage of manpower and because it has been trained to rely from the first day on nuclear weapons.
Therefore, when the Leader of the House talked about Berlin and our contribution to the Berlin crisis he was talking nonsense. The contribution that we should make to the Berlin crisis is a rapid call-up of our conventional forces, which is what the Americans are doing. That is needed to prolong the pause, if an incident arises before nuclear war. The whole future of civilisation depends upon the length of that pause. If we have to fight a nuclear war from the first day, we have not hope of survival. If we have an interval of a fortnight or three weeks, then there is a chance of survival, because negotiations could be started. If we rely exclusively on nuclear weapons, there's none at all.
I ask myself what is the contribution which this House should make and what should be the contribution of this country to that pause. My argument is that we should waste nothing on nuclear weapons, nothing at all. We should not try to have our own deterrent, but we should do all de can in terms of conventional forces alone. We should try to make them as efficient and well-trained as possible. If I am told that the choice for Britain today is a choice between a nuclear policy and a selective draft, I will be blunt with the House, and will say that I would rather have the lesser evil of a selective draft than risk helping to tip the world into disaster by reliance on nuclear weapons.
Is that the choice? I must say that I have been listening very carefully and that my own feeling is that it probably is, and we must face it. Certainly, the Government have to answer these questions, which have been put to them from both sides of the House, before we pass this miserable Bill. I believe that if the country were presented with the facts, the country would do the right thing. The appalling consequences of the nuclear dependence of this country is something about which the country has not been told. I will go into the Lobby tonight against this Bill with passion.
105 I warn the Government that the people will never have any respect for them unless they stop these makeshift measures and decide upon a long-term policy which will give the country Armed Forces which will contribute to peace and which do not increase the risk of war.
§ 6.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Birch (Flint, West)
I think that the House is rather intrigued by the fact that the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) spoke from the crowded Liberal Bench. Whether this means that the Chairman of the Party has adopted revisionism in its most extreme form I do not know. But one thing upon which I can congratulate him whole-heartedly is his absolute predictability.
When he last spoke on this subject, he was against all selective service. The time before, he was in favour of it. When I last spoke, I said that it was a consolation to me, because I was certain that the next time he would be in favour of it again, and my only regret today is that the next time he speaks he will be against it. I am pleased about his attitude today, because I agree with him.
It seems to me that the Amendment which has been put down by the Opposition and the speech made by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) are both entirely ridiculous, because the central point of the Amendment and of the right hon. Gentleman's speech is that the Government's defence policy has collapsed. The whole trouble is that it has not collapsed. It is exactly as it was before. The core and centre of that defence policy was that we could afford to abolish conscription and to have a small number of men, provided that these smaller numbers were equipped with what the right hon. Member for Belper so elegantly describes as tactical nuclears. That is still the policy, as it always has been the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper. In fact the 1957 White Paper might be described as the Brown-Sandys plan, because, that is what it was. As far as I know, the right hon. Member for Belper is still in favour of it. I do not think that his defence policy has collapsed. It is exactly the same as that of the Government.
106 Nobody has any right to criticise this Bill who is not in favour of a rational system of selective service. What could my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State do other than what he has done provided that he was not allowed to bring in selective service? He had to botch up something. The only thing he could do was to take power to retain National Service men and to recall them. It is possible that if he has all the luck in the world—I hope he will—he may just scrape through on this policy until early in 1966, but, after that, it seems to me that difficulties will arise.
That brings me to the new Territorial Army Reserve, to which my right hon. friend has chosen to give the name of a popular brand of safety razor. The first point is on readiness. The lower the level of your Forces, the more ready they need to be, or the more ready we need to pretend they are. How feasible is it to fly a young man straight from the gas works, having done a fortnight's camp and a few drills, to man corps or divisional signals? How feasible is it to fly him straight out to action in the tropics? I think that the answer to both questions is that it is not feasible to do so.
The second point, and the more important and more subtle point, is on recruiting. None of us can tell how the new venture will go, but my own guess is that until early 1965 recruiting may well be good. The men who join can reckon that between them and being called up is the substantial cushion of National Service men, who must come first. They know, of course, that in a big emergency they would be called up and in that case they would be content and proud to serve, but they also know that under a voluntary system the forces are always bound to be unbalanced, because for men to join in the exact proportion in which they are required would be a miracle; and there is no reason to suppose that the laws of nature will be suspended in favour of the War Office. They know that there will always be these great deficiencies.
After the National Service cushion has gone there will be no way of making up these deficiencies without calling up the "Ever-readies", and I do not think that they will be very keen to give up six months of their civilian lives and their 107 family lives just to fill in a gap. It would be well and good if it were a great emergency, but just to fill in a gaping gap in some service or some unit is something which they will not be keen to do; and as they are only on a one-year contract, it will be very easy for them to give up their £3 a week just at a critical moment. What I would say about this reserve is that it is quite a good reserve provided that it is made clear that we shall never use it for the purpose for which we are most likely to want it.
That brings me to the crux of the argument—the immense importance of the conventional forces. I have addressed the House on this subject on many occasions. I thought that from the moment the Russians detonated their first atomic weapon the final result would be to increase and not to decrease the importance of conventional forces. The reason is that once a balance of terror has been built up—indeed, a complete balance is not necessary—or indeed once both sides have nuclear weapons, then they will not be used. We have seen again and again that the Russians are never willing to risk a nuclear war, and as long as the West has a viable deterrent, they will not risk it.
But other things go on, are going on and will go on, such as indirect war, guerrilla war, subversion, Communist gun-running and all the cloak-and-dagger work in corners which makes up the cold war. A process which was once, oddly enough, described by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations as total peace. Whether we call it cold war or total peace, the answer is that it is the conventional arms which matter. If we have no conventional arms we can use only atomic arms, and that means that we cannot use anything and that we lose.
Kuwait was a good example of this. We were bound by honour and interest to go to the aid of the Ruler of Kuwait and fortunately, we had enough conventional arms to do it. Suppose we had not had enough conventional arms, what could we have done? We could easily enough have dropped a hydrogen bomb on Bagdad, but even the right 108 hon. Member for Belper would not have suggested anything as obscenely wicked as that. The answer is that we should have had to capitulate.
This idea is getting through. I thank heaven for the fact that the Americans understand it. President Kennedy and his military and civilian advisers understand that in this world conventional arms are of immense importance. I do not despair of our coming to understand it here. We need all three Services in conventional war. But it is unquestionably the fact, and it has been ever since the war, that the main strain falls on the Army. At the moment our army is overstrained, under strength and unbalanced. It looks to me as though over the years to come we shall be short of 30,000–40,000 men—and therefore the forces will go on being overstrained, under strength and unbalanced. This, with all the consequences that flow from it for recruiting and everything else, is the case for selective service.
May I deal with one or two of the points which are sometimes made against this case? It is argued—and I understand that this is the main leg of the Government's case—that the position at the moment is unusually difficult. I agree that the situation at the moment is unusual. But I think that it is unusually easy. Of course, we always have Berlin with us, although as far as I remember we are not even under an ultimatum at the moment. For the first time, almost, since the war there is not a single hot spot anywhere round the globe with which we are having to deal.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, indicated that he thinks that tension may arise at any time. I think that he slightly misunderstands the point. Surely the real point is that the likelihood of tension is in inverse proportion to the strength of one's forces. The weaker one's conventional arms, the greater the tension is likely to be. That frankly, is the situation today.
The second point, which is not often argued in public—it is thought not to be right to argue it in public—applies to all three parties: it is thought that selective service is politically impossible. If that is the argument, I do not believe it to be true, and I will instance something in recent history to support my 109 point. On 31st March, 1947, the American Selective Service Act expired. On 17th March in the following year President Truman proposed to Congress that the Act should be re-enacted, on the ground that the voluntary system was not producing sufficient forces for the safety of the State. On 24th June selective service was re-enacted. In the following November, against the odds and against the polls, Truman was re-elected President of the United States.
I was in America in March and I took a great deal of trouble to find out how their selective system was working. I found that it was accepted as rational and fair and that there was no real opposition to it. That is witnessed by the fact that during the American Presidential Election selective service was in no way an issue; it was not mentioned during the whole of that campaign. If the Americans can devise a system of selective service which their country holds to be fair and is willing to work and which causes no political difficulty, I cannot for the life of me see why we in this country cannot do the same thing.
Next, it is argued that selective service is wasteful, inefficient and against the genius of the British people. Clearly, if we could recruit exactly the number of men we require and if they join precisely the arms and services for which we need them, that would be far better, far more efficient and far less wasteful than conscription. But we know that will not happen. There has been no army of any account for many years which was not based on compulsion in some form. Was the German Army before the war inefficient? Is the American Army inefficient? Is the Russian Army inefficient? Have the other armies which have either total or partial National Service all resulted in waste, folly and stupidity? Of course not.
What about the genius of the British people? Cromwell's new Model Army was based on impressment. Nelson's sailors were raised by a very special and rather unpleasant form of selective service—the press gang—and, as far as I have been able to discover, they did quite reasonably well at Trafalgar. We had conscription in both world wars, and we still have it.
In any case, was the old system quite as idyllic as all that? In the spring of 110 1939, when it was quite obvious that there was going to be a war that autumn, I did an attachment with the Durham Light Infantry, in 1st Division in the Aldershot Command. That was the first Division to move. At that time there was a form of conscription. There was the Military Training Act which had been passed against the bitter opposition of right hon. and hon. Members opposite at a time when Hitler's soldiers were marching through the streets of Prague. Whether that meant that hon. Members opposite were congenitally good at defence I do not know. None of the conscripts had then reached their units. Out of the whole battalion when we were doing platoon training, only one under-strength platoon could be raised. It was manoeuvred every day by about three majors and fifteen other officers, and I felt very sorry for them. It does not seem to be much of a life to live in a unit which is hopelessly under strength.
There is the old argument about abandoning one's commitments. So far as I can make out, the Minister of Defence would like to cut down in Germany and to hold on elsewhere, while the Opposition would like to increase our forces in Germany and to abandon our commitments elsewhere. I do not think that either is really feasible. It seems to me that the integrity of the Western Alliance is absolutely vital to us. People say, "Surely we are being overstrained because we are not only part of that Western Alliance but we are maintaining commitments overseas which are not only in our interests but in the interests of the Alliance as a whole".
One ought to look at the figures. An hon. Friend of mine mentioned a study which had been made on military balance for 1961–62 by the Institute of Strategic Studies. There is a table of figures giving the contributions by the powers in N.A.T.O. The men in all three Services are shown as a percentage of the total male labour force. We were eleventh out of fourteen. But that was based on a total figure for our forces of 454,330. If we cut down to 400,000, which I gather is the intention, we should be a hot tip for the bottom place. If we compare ourselves with others I do not think one can say that we are doing as well as all that.
Now about commitments elsewhere. Take Hong Kong, which the right hon. 111 Member for Belper picked on. What would happen if we withdrew all our forces from Hong Kong? I do not think the Chinese would advance and take it by storm, but that the morale of the inhabitants would be broken; and then I believe armed men would infiltrate and that it would go into Communist hands. Those who stood by us then would be murdered. I cannot contemplate this with equanimity. Can we afford to run out of all our obligations in S.E.A.T.O. and C.E.N.T.O. with giggling levity? Are we never to be able to intervene in the Persian Gulf? Can we never help a friendly Government or an oppressed minority in Africa? Can we do nothing for the High Commission Territories?
It is true that there may be some places where we can cut down a bit, but this does not amount to much and it can only be done slowly. We are forced to echo the prayer of Charles of Anjou after the Sicilian Vespers: "Lord God, since it has pleased you to ruin my fortune, let me go down only by small steps." Many people would like us to go down by big steps; but we are bound to echo that prayer.
Then people say, "It would cost money if we had selective service. Do you believe in economy? Do you want the Estimates to go up?" I answer that very simply. I do not want the Estimates to go up. It would cost money to have selective service, but I would take the money out of the strategic deterrent.
We have constantly had thrust down our throats the opinions of named serving officers as being in favour of the continuation of the voluntary system. I do not think it is right or tolerable. Under our system Ministers take the praise and the blame, and they argue the case themselves. When the argue the case they get what advice they can from serving officers and from their civil servants, but they do not involve them in the arguments, for the simple reason that they cannot speak for themselves. What would be thought of the Prime Minister if he were to say, "You may not agree with what I am doing, but Sir Norman Brook was in favour of it"? Or suppose the Chancellor of the Exchequer was being challenged and said, "Sir Frank Lee, with all his experience, thinks this is the 112 right thing to do." They would be laughed out of court.
The case of serving officers is on all fours. Sometimes, by the supine inattention of this House, there is gradually brought about some constitutional change which is undesirable, and I do not think we ought to allow this one to go by. If, inside or outside this House, any right hon. or hon. Member uses the name of a serving officer to bolster up his argument, I intend to put down on the Order Paper a substantive Motion calling his conduct in question.
I believe that selective service must come, and I shall continue to advocate it. I am not in the least disturbed if somebody says that it is not patriotic to advocate it. The abolition of conscription was a political job in which all parties competed to scratch up a few votes. If one is caught out in a job, it is no good saying that somebody else is unpatriotic. My withers are unwrung. Selective service must and will come. I only pray that it will come before a humiliation and not afterwards.
§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)
The right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) has certainly not come down in favour of the Bill. He advocated selective service. The Bill refers only to the selective service of those who have already served and does not refer to those who have not served. In that sense it does not conform to his ideas.
The right hon. Gentleman's ambition to maintain the British flag in all parts of the world, I suppose, is an indication that the ideas of Empire have not died in the minds of many right hon. and hon. Members opposite. The fact is that the debates which we have had on manpower and defence indicate that this country has been trying to maintain a position for which it has not the resources. Every manpower debate that we have had since the last war has brought out the fact that the commitments of this country, and the demands that are made upon its manpower, have always been too great for the manpower that is available.
I join my right hon. and hon. Friends in opposing the Bill. The grounds of my opposition are rather wider than the grounds they have chosen. I oppose it 113 because the suggested addition to the Forces is made necessary by the misguided foreign policy of the Government. I oppose it because of our bloated defence commitments, which make our economy more liable to crisis.
Over ten years ago, two of my right hon. Friends called attention in a dramatic way to the fact that this country's defence expenditure was bound to bring us nearer and nearer to bankruptcy. Every two or three years since then, we have had economic crisis after economic crisis as a consequence of our attempting to maintain a burden which the economy could not bear. My interest in this debate on the military side is directed not to the nature of the instrument, but to the purposes which the instrument is intended to serve.
Cuts in our welfare provisions, a high Bank Rate, borrowings from foreign bankers, the pay pause, postponement of building programmes, cuts in housing subsidies—these are all consequences of our trying to maintain a military suit too big for the economic body. So long as we indulge in this bloated defence expenditure so long shall we have recurring crises when pay pauses, cuts and slashes in the Welfare State and the rest become the order of the day. Some of these things are due—I say this to the right hon. Member for Flint, West—to the policy of maintaining all over the world the tawdry trimmings of a dead Empire. The House must try to put an end to the policy of keeping up appearances which more and more cease to conform with reality. We are not the "big boys" of this world, and it is no use pretending that we are.
The Bill is one of the consequences not of a decision made in 1957, but of our foreign policy. The mess that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer made of foreign affairs he is now making in economic matters, and this is one of the expressions of it. Last week, we discussed his futile efforts to save the economy. This week, we are discussing adding burdens to the economy and taking away the very manpower which could be the means of saving the economy. I was astonished to hear the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), who has tremendous industrial experience, say that the men most wanted in the Army 114 were electronics engineers. Are not those just the men who can make the greatest contribution towards solving our economic problems? I was astounded by the right hon. Gentleman's argument.
At whose behest are we committing this folly? We have heard much talk recently about national sovereignty, but in the context of the Bill we are acting on the demand of an Under-Secretary of the United States Government, we allow General de Gaulle to veto our efforts to do away with the need for these forces, and all for the purpose of saving the Germans from the consequences of the defeat which followed their aggression. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, that is the position. The purpose of the Bill is to build up B.A.O.R. What is the function of B.A.O.R. today? It is to save Germany from the consequences of her own aggression. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite may differ with me about that. On some occasion we may have the opportunity to discuss the matter fully.
I remember being in Stalingrad with Marshal Voroshilov, who is now out of favour. As he described what the Germans had done and told of the blood which had flowed in that battle, he slammed the table with his fist, saying, "The Germans will never be allowed to do that again". It is the fear of a united Germany which is the cause of the need for these forces in Europe. Until we face that, we shall go on trying to get more and more men, to build up the deterrent, until, eventually, we bankrupt our economy. That is my view of the background to the Bill.
We oppose the Bill because it contains a complete contradiction of every principle laid down in the National Service Act, 1948. In that Act we were concerned about equality, fair play and the rights of the citizen. We made the needs of the State subsidiary in peace time to those of the citizen. This Bill totally disregards every one of those principles. It lays down no rule. It is completely unfair to the youth of the country. Those who have done nothing are not to be asked to do anything, and those who have done much are to be compelled to do more. Surely that is unfair.
Who decides who is to be retained? What rule governs selection? Are any 115 restrictions to be placed on commanding officers to prevent men being held back because they are good cooks or good batmen? Under the main Act, the citizen had rights in regard to his call-up. Is he to have any rights at all in regard to his retention? Are single men to be retained and married men to be set free? Are men with dependents to be set free and those without retained? What is the rule? What will govern the detention of men under Clause 1?
What is to happen to those who have elected to complete their service first and who have places reserved for them in colleges to which they intend to go? Are they to be detained for another six months so that they waste twelve months of their life? What is to decide between the cupidity of a commanding officer and the rights of a citizen?
The Secretary of State told us that the application against detention would be made to the commanding officer and that, if the commanding officer thought fit, he would send it on to the War Office. The War Office would then send it on to a tribunal. What rules will govern the tribunal? What will be the constitution of the tribunal? Will its decisions be governing and final? What will be the position of the soldier whose application the commanding officer will not send on?
If a commanding officer refuses to send on an application for release, will the citizen then be entitled to write to his Member of Parliament and demand that his case be considered by the advisory tribunal, and will the commanding officer be made to look a fool if the advisory tribunal recommends that the man be released? Is that to be the sort of administrative result which we shall have? The Bill does not provide any protection at all for the citizen and all those things which were clearly put in the main Act are absent here.
Clause 2 is as bad and unfair an instrument, in my view, as the purpose it serves. Will a man who has done his full-time service and gone to college be liable? He may be the square peg for the round hole. Is he to be lifted out of college and transferred to the Army? We are told that that type of person will have the right of appeal, not to the tribunal set up under the main Act, but 116 to the advisory committee. It will be for the War Office and the War Office advisers to decide.
What about apprentices? Is their apprenticeship to be regarded as of lower value than their place in the Army? What about those who have entered into large financial commitments? Under the Tory Government, people can buy their own houses. A man who comes out of the Army perhaps buys his house on mortgage. Is he to be protected? Is that a question of hardship? Who is to decide it?
What is to happen to the men who have done their service and gone into excepted employment in the mines? We are not told anything about this. What of those who have married during or since their full-time service? Are they to be called up? We have had assurances from the Minister, but his assurances do not necessarily govern his successor. If it is seriously intended to protect the Service man and those liable for service, why are there not provisions in the Bill? Or is this an afterthought to placate the criticism that was bound to arise? Neither in the case of those to be retained nor in the case of those to be called up is any safeguard whatever provided in the Bill.
In these days, when we are not at war, the Government at least should have been concerned about ensuring that this instrument, poor as it is, would not cause the maximum of misery, as, undoubtedly, it will, for those who are called up. On Second Reading of the Bill which became the main Act, the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) reminded the House of a quotation from Burke:They never had any kind of system, right or wrong, but only invented occasionally some miserable tale for the day, in order meanly to sneak out of difficulties into which they had proudly strutted.That would be a fitting epitaph for those who sit on the Government Front Bench.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Sir Richard Glyn (Dorset, North)
I will not attempt to follow the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) into the finer detail of his arguments. I should, however, like to comment on his suggestion that in introducing the Bill my right hon. Friend the Minister is "selecting a military suit 117 too big for the country's economic body." I have not noticed any hon. Member, on either side, suggest how the same purpose could be served in a more economic way. I do not believe that the economic cost of this Bill will be in any way alarming or extreme.
The right hon. Member referred to hardship, which, of course, is an important matter and, no doubt, will be thrashed out more fully in Committee. In introducing the Bill, however, my right hon. Friend pointed out that there were special provisions and a right of access to a new committee to be formed to deal with hardship cases. He indicated that hardship cases would be allowed a good deal of latitude and I hope very much that he is right.
I suppose that it could be said of the Bill, as Julius Caesar said of Gaul that it is divided into three parts but that the three parts differ greatly and some are more attractive than others. I regret the circumstances which have made it necessary to introduce Clauses 1 and 2, which have been criticised. The circumstances having arisen, however, I have not heard any clear alternative suggestions from either side of the House except that of selective service, to which I will refer presently.
I consider it absolutely right to try for an all-volunteer Regular Army. I welcome that intention and wish it success. I was very glad to hear that the recruiting figures of volunteers for the Regular Army have come on so well. A great number of the new Regular volunteers have volunteered for six or nine years service. Very few are accepted now for less than six years, whereas formerly, in the ordinary way, they volunteered mostly for three years. Thus, the present volunteers are worth more in terms of length of service than those of a few years ago. If anything like the present recruiting rate is continued, I think that in four or five years' time the Army may be in a much more healthy state than it can be said to be now. I hope that this will be the case. Nevertheless, we have to face the fact that there is a gap. The object of the Bill is, first, to fill that gap for the present and then to deal with any remnants of the gap that may remain in future. Having said that, I should like to say a few words about selective service, which is the alternative which has 118 been put forward from both sides of the House.
I was very impressed, as I think we all were, by the attractive speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch), who speaks with great knowledge in these matters. The first thing to be made clear is that the damaging shortages in the Army are not merely shortages of what might be described as general duty men, but of specialists and technicians. I do not believe that any form of selective service at present in use by any country, or any other form of selective service, would serve to fill this shortage of specialists and technicians. By selective service, we mean a method of picking out individual men by their position, their status and their availability for service and taking into account hardship and all other considerations. We do not in any way mean selecting them for the purposes for which the Army needs them. Some people who speak of selective service sometimes tend to overlook this fact.
If we need technicians and specialists, they should come from the volunteer, long-term Regular recruits. If a man enlists for six, nine or more years, it is well worth while to train him in these complicated technical duties, which have to be thoroughly understood and have to be carried out with the utmost efficiency and speed in modern war. To train a National Service man who will be with the Service for only 18 months is relatively a waste of time, even if he has superficial knowledge of some of the skills before he arrives. It would take a long time to train him, and by the time he was trained he would have only a few months left to serve. Therefore, these technicians and specialists, of whom the shortage is most acute, must come from volunteers, preferably from those with long-term engagements. Therefore, I do not believe that selective service of National Service men will appreciably help to fill the gap.
It has been pointed out that every National Service man who is called up needs a Regular to train and administer him. This dislocates the Regular Army considerably. Even if two National Set vice men can be trained by one Regular, this is a tremendous drain on resources If 10,000 more men are needed, 20,000 must be called up and 10,000 trained men allocated to look after them. This is a 119 wasteful method which is not suitable to the present atmosphere or to the present state of tension in international affairs.
If international affairs were calm and quiet, possibly the Government might have considered that course. At present, it would be quite wrong to inject, I could not say exactly how many, but, let us suppose, 30,000 new National Service men into the Army and to detail 15,000 to train and administer them. This would be bound to have the effect of weakening the Army for the time being. I do not think that this is a time when that course would be appropriate or proper.
Now I come to one other point which has not, I think, been mentioned, which is the new balance being created between the reserves and Regulars under this Bill. This Bill increases the authorised number of Army reserves from 15,000 to 60,000. That is a very big change. It means that if all the Army were mobilised, reserves as well as Regulars, we should have a force of 240,000 men, about 180,000 Regulars, if they can be got, and 60,000 reserves. To match this with the old reserve level of 15,000 men—it is pure mathematics—we should have to have 225,000 Regular soldiers. Therefore, this is not only to change the position but to change the balance within the total number of soldiers available, because, of course, in the case of the Regular force of 225,000 with 15,000 reserves the reserves would be less than 7 per cent. of the total, whereas under the position envisaged by the Bill the reserves would be no less than 25 per cent. of the total. This does, I think, throw sharply into relief the greatly added importance that this Bill places on the reserve Army, particularly the Territorial Army, which will be responsible for training the new so-called "Ever-readies"—a name which I personally feel perhaps could be improved upon.
It has been said—it has been said with force and it has been said from both sides—that the Territorial Army is not sufficiently well trained, that it is in no position to train other reserves. Here I have to plead an interest. I have served with the Territorial Army all my life and I am now in an honorary 120 capacity. Having said that, I would point out—for example, to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easing-ton (Mr. Shinwell) who, I regret is not here at the moment—that when it is said that the National Service men were all right and the Territorials all wrong, he was overlooking the fact that National Service men who went into the Territorial Army in many cases volunteered to stay there and some of them are there now. If we go to a Territorial unit and ask the men, particularly the National Service men who volunteered to stay on, confidentially whether they were very much better trained than ordinary Territorials, the answer will sometimes be "Yes" but very often will be "No".
Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have said that we must have more A.E.R.s and not rely on the so-called "Ever-readies" who will be trained by the Territorials are entirely overlooking the fact that the Territorial Army already has the responsibility of training many of the A.E.R. and if the A.E.R. is all right, so will the "Ever-readies" be all right. I believe that much of what has been said about the weakness—stronger words have been used today—of the Territorial Army, is founded upon a misapprehension. Otherwise, people called up for National Service who went compulsorily into the Territorials would not volunteer to stay on, as many did.
I should like to point out that our Territorial Army is recognised by all our N.A.T.O. allies as being the best reserve army in N.A.T.O., and I should like to think that hon. Members of this House who are not aware of its qualities and capabilities would spend a little time improving their knowledge of it. Let us be absolutely sure that no reserve army should be as equally well trained as a regular army. Let us start from that, but having said that, there really arc many Territorial units and formations of a surprisingly high standard of training. I am thinking primarily of these.
I entirely welcome this new reserve formation under Clause 3 of the Bill. I hope it will be accepted, subject to certain considerations. I was glad to hear my right hon. Friend say that he proposed that commanding officers of Territorial units should be given some say in who becomes what he calls an 121 "Ever-ready" and who should not. I feel that this is an important point. The standard of attendance of Territorials does vary, and it would be inappropriate if people who perhaps were attracted merely by the money and who did not do their drills regularly were given preference over other people who drilled regularly and who were really of a higher standard. I think that a C.O. should be given full power in indicating who is the more suitable if there are several volunteers and a selection has to be made.
I also hope that the number of—we will call them "Ever-readies"—who are in any Territorial unit will be carried as surplus to the establishment of that unit. Some of the Territorial units since amalgamation are coming very close to the ceiling of the number of men they are allowed on their establishment. It would be a great attraction if the "Ever-readies" were allowed to be held as surplus to the establishment so that a unit could recruit up to its establishment without regarding the "Ever-readies", who would still train as part of the unit. That, I am sure, would be appreciated.
Further, the Territorial units will, I apprehend, have the responsibility of kitting up and distributing personal weapons to the "Ever-readies" when they are called up. This may have to be done at very short notice. This will be a new burden on the Territorial Army which at present acts on the supposition that there will be a Proclamation before any of its men are embodied and which is, therefore, not prepared in the present circumstances for immediately kitting up or issuing equipment to anybody. This will be a further responsibility, and a further burden which, if any unit has a substantial number of "Ever-readies", will become weighty, and units may need some additional resources, and there may be extra training stores required, too.
There are many more hon. Members who wish to speak, but I am glad to have had this opportunity, because I believe that I am one of the relatively few hon. Members of this House who have had a long association with the Territorial Army, and in view of some of the things said by hon. and right hon. Members, who, in my view, are not fully informed on this matter, I wanted to put the record right, particularly in regard to the 122 Territorials' ability to train reservists and to discharge their new responsibilities.
I believe that, in the present circumstances, the Government are doing the right thing in bringing in this Bill and are showing courage in putting forward a Measure which they know will not be popular, but which, I believe, is the only effective way of filling this gap which we all agree exists. I hope that these measures will be effective, and, for these reasons, and in the absence of any workable alternative, I strongly support the Bill.
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
I disagree with the hon. Gentleman the hon. Member for Dorset, North (Sir Richard Glyn) when he says that no reserve army is ever as good as a Regular army, for when we think of the British Army at Mons and the Marne with 60 per cent. reserves—
§ Mr. Wigg
I quite agree, but I must make the point that the Regular long-service man was trained to do his job and he did it. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not mind if I tell him so very kindly.
I wanted also to point out to him that I think he made a mistake in doing his sums about the reservists. Under Clause 3 there is a limit overall of 60,000 men. Therefore, it is not strictly comparable with the 15,000 which the hon. Member mentioned.
The hon. Member spoke with enthusiasm and knowledge about the Territorial Army. This brings me to a point which the Minister ought to answer tonight. A Territorial is a Territorial and a Regular is a Regular and the call-up process in each case is quite different. The one is embodied, the other is mobilised. What will be the position of the man who is a Territorial serving in a Regular unit after mobilisation? This is a legal point which I shall not press, but the House should be told what steps the Government intend to take to resolve it.
There is another point of substance which the hon. Member raised which caused him to repeat something which has been said over and over again and 123 yet is profoundly untrue. It has come to be accepted, because it has not been challenged, that a National Service Army is necessarily wasteful because of the size of its training machine. I can tell by the hon. Member's grey hairs that he is not much younger than me and he knows something of the organisation of the Regular Army. He will know that the Cavalry Depot used to be at Canterbury and that in 1926 Canterbury was closed and from then on all cavalry recruits were sent direct to their regiments for training. The regiment at home was linked to a regiment overseas and drafts passed to and fro between them.
The wasteful system of training in the Army to which the hon. Member referred, and which absorbed so many men, did not arise because of National Service but because of the introduction of the short-service engagement. The whole Army was engaged like a sausage machine in turning out trained men. The Brigade of Guards has always dealt with soldiers recruited on a short-service engagement and has done so economically. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the shorter the engagement the more wasteful the training machinery. It does not follow, however, that if we have a system of National Service, whether selective or by ballot, we necessarily must have a wasteful training system unless the War Office chooses to have it.
The hon. Member for Dorset, North also seems to have overlooked the White Paper of July, 1957, when the Government said that if they were faced with the situation of recruiting by compulsion they would rely on the ballot and not a selective service. That statement of policy is completely and conveniently forgotten. For it must be remembered that we are here introducing a form of selective service of the most wasteful short-term, and militarily inefficient type that it is possible to devise. First, those fortunate enough to go into the Navy or the Air Force are exempted completely. We are going to swing our policy over to the using of our Army reserves and we shall be using up extravagantly the very forces on which we have to rely in the case of serious trouble.
124 I was astounded that nobody so far has challenged the fact that essential figures about the size of the existing reserve forces, in Sections A, B, C and D and in Categories I, II and III have not been made known to the House. How anyone can even pretend to talk about the subject without having that essential information is completely beyond me. It is now eight o'clock and this is the first time that a voice has been raised to ask for that information.
§ Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
Nearly all the speakers up to now have been Privy Councillors.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am not responsible for that, but I should be failing in my duty if I did not point out that this essential information is not available to the House.
This is in accordance with what has gone on during the past ten years. If Lord Head were here he would agree with me, for we have got to the point when the foreign and colonial policies of this country are discussed not in terms of our contribution to the security and peace of the world nor of our international obligations, but in terms of the number of men we can recruit. If that is not putting the cart before the horse, I do not know what is. It is a long way from the glories of this country in the early part of the century when this the greatest deliberative assembly in the world discusses the vital subject of defence without the essential information and then says that it will decide future policy when it finds out the number of men we can raise.
I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man) drew attention to the broadcast by the Leader of the House. I have also obtained a copy of the speech. I was struck with the fact that he presented this proposal in these terms:… it is our duty to put this forward and it is theirs to accept it.How often have we heard that sentiment?Theirs not to reason why,Theirs but to do and die:"We, the wise men tell you, never mind how bogus the reasons, you just carry out your duty ". Implicit in what the right hon. Gentleman said what the fact that he was tying all this up with the 125 crisis in Berlin. He certainly could not have read the Prime Minister's speech. The Prime Minister told us on 31st October, in the debate on the Address, all we wanted to know. I repeated it in debate on the Address and I repeat it now without apology. The right hon. Gentleman's words were:In the first place, whatever the size of the Army next year, it will not, and I admit it, be properly balanced."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st October, 1961; Vol. 648, c. 5.]That is a confession, for surely the Prime Minister's prime concern is for the defence of the country.
What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by "properly balanced"? What does the British Army of the Rhine completely lack which causes the unbalance? It has no medium artillery. It has nothing between the 25 pounder, now being replaced by the 105 millimetre gun, and the atomic artillery Honest John and the Corporal atomic weapon. There is a great yawning gap. Every competent military observer knows that we can only fight an atomic war, and that for only a limited period. B.A.O.R. has no third line supporting units and no base depots, and so the Government are forced to put forward policies based on the hypothesis that there will be only a short war, for we are incapable of fighting any other war but a short one, and then it would have to be of a nuclear character. This is another example of putting the cart before the horse.
If we are to understand the problem which now faces us we must see that for the last ten years we have been discussing only the political miasma and not the military realities. It may now be too late to reverse that policy. I am inclined to share the pessimism of some who think that it is too late and that now the House is engaged on the funeral rites of the Army. I say that with no joy, but with infinite sorrow. The Secretary of State may be taking the last steps which will finally put paid to the Army as an effective force.
Let us look at the history. There is nothing new that has happened. Nothing has cropped up as a result of Berlin. It is not as the hon. Member for Dorset, North and his hon. Friends think. The problem has not arisen overnight.
Let hon. Members listen to this. I have read this to the House before. On 126 15th August, 1959, from Headquarters, Southern Command, the Commander-in-Chief sent to every commanding officer in the Command:You will have noticed the unsatisfactory trend in Regular recruiting during the last few months. Unless this is reversed, we shall find ourselves in a very serious situation in 1962 when we are due to reach our ceiling of 180,000 men.I also read this to the House. The Adjutant-General, in June, 1960, in his quarterly liaison letter, said:If the rates of recruiting experienced from April, 1959, to March, 1960, continue, the original target of the 165,000 Army should be achieved during the first quarter of 1963 and the present target of 182,000 during 1965.The present Quartermaster-General, at an officers' conference in Camberley on 12th October this year, said:The target is not 165,000. The Army has always aimed at 180,000 to 185,000.Now we come to the Minister of Defence who was responsible for all this. He is now the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. I have waited and preserved this, because I knew that the time would come when I should want to use it. Here is a Press notice issued from the Ministry of Aviation on 29th June, 1960, when he held that office. It said:It is said that the Government's defence policy is in ruins because we shall not get an Army of 180,000 men. We may not get 180,000 men. But we never said we needed 180,000 men. The target set in the Defence White Paper of 1958 was 165,000. … Our target for our future Regular Army remains unchanged at 165,000.Everybody else knew—Lord Head told the House on 28th July, 1958—that the figure of 165,000 was bogus. It was bogus then, and hon. Gentlemen should realise that it is bogus today. The figure on which the Army has been planning is 182,000.
The Bill is a very simple one. It arises, first of all, from the problem that, for political reasons, the Government announced the cutting down of the Army to 165,000. But the Army has been planning on 182,000. We are now approaching settling day. We have a Prime Minister and a Leader of the House who are, above all, politicians. They have to satisfy the Army and give it the 182,000, but they dare not come here and tell their supporters that the 165,000 is a bogus figure. The Bill is the result.
127 I asked the right hon. Gentleman earlier on in an intervention, and I ask him again now—this is the test: will he tell the House of Commons what the strength of the Army is planned to be on 1st December next year? What it will be, of course, is round about 182,000. That will be achieved, first of all, under Clause 1, by holding for an extra six months, the chaps who are serving or, if there are not enough of these, the Government will fetch a number back under Clause 2; and then in the long run we shall have the "Ever-readies".
The Government are, of course, gambling on a very simple fact. The Secretary of State for War this afternoon told us that recruiting was good in September, October and November. One can always be sure that recruiting is going well when the figures are readily available. If recruiting was not going well, one could put down Question after Question but not get an Answer. The fact is, however, that the Secretary of State for War has had a preview of the fact that things are going well. I have tabled Questions on this subject. I do not know whether anyone will be interested in that fact, but I can give the dates when I tabled those Questions. I did so on 6th February and 8th November. I asked the Secretary of State for War to break the figures down for me for the respective months by recruiting centres. If hon. Members will compare the answers given to those two Questions, they will see what happened.
Exactly what happened in 1958 is happening now. There is a little slack in the economy. I am not one of those people who believe that there is a direct correlation between unemployment and recruiting. The crude statement that hunger was the recruiting sergeant before the war had an element of truth in it, but it was not wholly true. There is no direct correlation. The relationship is much subtler.
I have tried to understand this situation, and this is what I think happens. If there is a slackening in employment in Coventry, a young man of vigour may leave Coventry and go to London to look for a job. He may get a job in London, but perhaps he will find that it is not as good as the one that he had in Coventry. He may then throw up the 128 job in London and go back to, perhaps, Birmingham. He may then go from Birmingham to Southampton, and then find that he is unable to get a job in Southampton, and it may well be that in Southampton he will enlist in the Army. As I have said, there is no direct correlation in this respect. I defy anyone to find one. However, when we have a slackening in the economy, a few months later we begin to find a rise in the recruiting figures. That has happened now as it did in 1958. But, of course, as soon as the economy picks up, then the problem is with us again.
There is another factor on which the Government are gambling. It is that the number of young men available begins to rise sharply in 1961. I understand why that is. The way that one should approach the figures, I understand, is to make an allowance of 15 per cent. for death, going abroad, mental deficiency and the like, and another 30 per cent. for medical rejections. Nevertheless, the point is that in 1963 the figures rise quite sharply and thereafter they go on rising. They are about the same in 1964, but they rise sharply in 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968, and then they begin to go down again. It is, of course, anyone's guess what the actual figure is going to be.
What is also true is that—whether the right hon. Gentleman has done this deliberately or not one does not know; I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he has not—there has been a marked falling off in quality. I do not want to weary the House by giving figures, but there are some which I must give. In a famous corps the number of discharges by purchase in 1958 was 83; the number in 1961 up to September was 190. The rejections on medical grounds in 1958 were 125; the number for the first nine months of this year is 190. There has been a quite staggering increase in the number of discharges for misconduct. In 1958 the number was 225; in 1961 it has risen to 390.
I will now give the House another example, though I do not want to make too much of it. The House may remember what happened to the 17th Training Regiment at Oswestry, where fifty men were concerned in an affray. No fewer than fourteen of those fifty men were 129 found to have had civil convictions, one of them had thirteen. What steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of such an event? It could not conceivably have happened in the Army before the war.
Now for another recent example concerning a man serving in the same regiment. The superintendent of police described a young private soldier as a "high-grade mental deficient with a mental age of eight". What happened then? One would have thought that when the Army found that out, something would happen. It was said that the soldier was "irresponsible and easily led, and that he had domestic troubles. He had been sent to the Royal Military Depot, Woolwich, and was likely next week to be sent to Germany."
The great drive for recruits for the Army has led to a diminishing, of standards. I do not believe that it is a direct result of any change in policy but I believe that it has come about through the pressure on recruiting officers to find recruits at all costs.
The argument about whether the Army's target is 165,000 is now dead. It is clear that the target ought to be 182,000. It is equally clear that, in spite of the pressure, the Rhine Army figures are not go down to 45,000, but are they to go up? My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) this afternoon asked the Secretary of State a pointed question about the figures. I think that most of us know the kind of chit-chat that is going round. It is said that General Stockwell came over last week and told the Government, "N.A.T.O. wants 65,000 men from Great Britain. If you do not face up to having 65,000 men in Germany, the Germans will be authorised to provide six extra divisions?" That, of course, is in line with what has been said—that the German Army will be expanded, and that N.A.T.O. will solve its problems, if we do not make an effective contribution, by authorising six extra German divisions.
It is, however, not the conventional part of the German Army which worries me but that the Germans have already got Mace. I thought that one of the first acts of President Kennedy was to cancel the order placed under the Eisenhower Administration for supplying 130 Mace to the Germans, but I understand that the Germans have already got most of the 100 they ordered. What is equally true is that an order has been placed with the Americans for the Germans to be supplied with Pershings. If, therefore, we have an expanding German Army equipped with ultra modern atomic weapons, then the ingredients are being provided for the third world war.
I have no love for conscription, for I am far too fond of the Regular Army to want it to be anything but regular. My protest in 1957 was that both sides of the House rushed into a conception of all-Regular forces without being prepared to pay the price. That price was not in terms of money, however. I was intrigued when my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper said that we must he prepared to pay the price. We have already paid the price in what we have done to the Army by constant increases in pay without any regard to the effect.
I was proud when a Labour Government introduced the star system in 1945–46, designed to remove the major grievance of the fighting soldier by ensuring that we do not have the fighting man taking the rap in the front line while being regarded as anything but the skilled technician which he is. A whole list of pay increases and rank increases has been poured out, in contravention of a simple truth, which, in a moment of jocularity, I have called "Wigg's law ", because no one believes it. That "law" is that no matter how much the Government talk about pay and £10-a-week privates, there is only a given number of men in the country who like a military life. I am one of them, and I should like to start again—but not in the Army as it is being run nowadays.
Both sides of the House got out of the situation in 1957 because settling the account was a long way off and because they also inserted into their conception the argument about atomic weapons which has torn the Labour Party apart. This party, with its pacifist traditions, has had secret meetings and discussions about weapons. Was there ever anything more futile than that? The party is tearing its guts out about weapons which did not then exist and do not exist now, except in the minds of those who use half truths to further their own ends. The fact that the Labour Party 131 is torn apart is not only weakening to the party—it is weakening to the country. The whole country is suffering because of it, and we shall never get back to power unless we face the truth.
That brings me to the Opposition Amendment. I shall not go into the Lobby in support of that Amendment, because I shall stay true to my principles. There is another simple reason: one can say what one likes about a rat which leaves a sinking ship, but there can be no two views about a rat who joins it. I have been engaged in ten years of protest. Please God, do not let me say "I told you so," but after all that, I am asked to turn around and say that I believe we can get a sufficient number of recruits.
We may do—in the long run. But the Secretary of State faces the situation in which he needs those recruits in 1961 and 1962. He tells us that he must have this Bill in some form unless the House is prepared to face long-term realities. In 1939 I was a determined and vocal opponent of Chamberlain and all he stood for. That made me for conscription. The worse one's foreign policy, the more one has to do about the Army. The worse the military situation, the more reluctant one is to support this unfair, piffling nonsense which the Government call a Bill.
What is the alternative? I am faced with the realities of the situation in my constituency. Ten days ago the first battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment went to British Honduras. The constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) is hard by mine—we are in the same brigade. The Worcestershires went to British Honduras on a task which I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) will approve—succouring those who suffered the hurricane.
That battalion was 384 strong and 50 per cent. consisted of National Service men. B Company had just come back from British Honduras, and so it was right that it should go back there. But suppose that battalion had been asked to go on active operations only 384 strong? Some one would have paid for it with his life. By the end of the year it will not be even at that strength.
132 I shall not support this situation. I shall seek to amend the Bill. Much can be done to make it better, but the real solution is for the Secretary of State to go to the Prime Minister and tell him that it is the united view of the House of Commons that it is about time the Government stopped monkeying about with our defence policy and faced reality. If that were done, the rise in our stock in the council of the nations, with our Commonwealth partners, and in the negotiations with the Common Market would be sensational. The rest of Europe and the world would know that once again the British people were on the march. Let us not forget this: our defence policy, and the Army policy inside it, are no more than a projection of the society they serve. Military disaster is only evidence of national decline brought face to face with reality in the conflict of war. The dynamic in society and its creative capacity are reflected by a nation's defence policy.
If the right steps are not taken, hon. Members on both sides should remember this: they may get the votes they want, wherever their hopes may lie, but sooner or later, as sure as night follows day, this country must face the reality that ten years of pusillanimous cowardice have landed us with this Bill tonight.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and I came into the House in 1945 together and both soon realised that each of us was as keen as the other to see that we had a proper Regular Army. Of all the opinions which motivated hon. Members who entered the House in 1945, none exceeded our desire to make quite certain that never again, if we could possibly help it, would the Regular Army be committed to fulfilling rôles which it had not the strength to fulfil.
We have to ask one question of the Government about this Bill, before all others. Is this Bill a stop-gap operation, designed to fill a gap until such time as we have reconsidered our commitments, or is it not? As the debate goes on, it is becoming clearer that that is the issue which we have to face. If it is not the Government's policy to reconsider our commitments, it is perfectly 133 obvious that Regular recruiting will not provide the necessary troops to meet present commitments.
I know that there are some who believe—I did myself for a number of years—that if the pay is doubled, we get the necessary number of men. There are some who argue that because there has been such an extraordinary increase in the strength of the Army Emergency Reserve, Class 1—because of the increase in the bounty to £60—if the pay of the Army is increased by approximately the same amount, there will be a commensurate increase in Regular recruiting.
But there is a world of difference between taking a bounty to sign on the reserve, from which one may or may not be called up, and being attracted into the Regular Army, possibly for the first time, as a result of the pay being substantially increased. I wish that it were true that increased pay increased the number of recruits. I would be the first to wish to say that even if the increase meant putting up the defence budget to £2,000 million a year, it should be given.
However, as I said when we debated conscription for the first time in the 1945–50 Parliament, as a Regular soldier I loathe everything that conscription stands for. The other day the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) suggested that the Bill was a general plot to try to reintroduce conscription. I should be very surprised if it were. I know that some generals want National Service to go on, but I am sure that they are in a minority and that commanding officers of regiments who want it to continue are in a tiny minority. Sooner or later, conscription always produces some men who are only counting the days until they get out. As long as they are serving, we will never have a unit, how-eves well run it is, as good as it should be.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
I do not know what the hon. Member means. I have forgotten his distinguished military experience. Perhaps it would make more sense if he had the same sort of experience as I have had.
§ Mr. Hughes
The hon. and gallant Member spoke of men who wanted to get 134 out of the Army, and I said that most of them did.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
The hon. Member may take that view. I am inclined to think that those who have the good fortune to serve in fighting regiments, with a terrific esprit de corps and who count the days before they get out, are in a minority. It may be true that some of those who have the more irksome tasks do want to leave. One can sympathise with them.
However, at least the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) and I can agree in that we both dislike conscription. That merely serves to emphasise that part of my argument. I hope that at the end of the debate the Government will make some attempt to answer the question which I have posed: is it intended to review our commitments? Unless we are, the Bill does not make sense. Even Clause 3 would not then make sense, in the long run. I am entirely in favour of doing something to ensure that, in the light of the increased tension over Berlin and the light of the increased tension which may arise in other parts of the world, we should improve our readiness to keep the peace. This is the right way to do it.
I have seen it suggested in one of the weekly journals that I am simply blindly following what the Government have been doing and backing them up on this matter. To that, I would only reply that for at least eighteen months I have been putting pressure on the Government to alter our rights for calling up reservists, which is what the Bill does. I am delighted, but only so long as the Bill is regarded as a stop-gap measure.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the clarity with which he moved the Second Reading. It is not an easy Bill to understand, because there are many cross-references to other legislation. He emphasised that Clauses 1 and 2 were short-term while Clause 3 was longer-term. I am all for encouraging Territorial Army recruitment by Clause 3, or by any other way which can be devised. However, as weapons become more complicated and as the teaching of how to prepare for and, if necessary, to fight a war becomes more and more difficult, I doubt whether the Territorial Army as we know it will, in the long term, be capable of training men to an adequate 135 standard—if we continue with our present military commitments.
I do not believe that it will be possible to train Territorials to supplement Regular troops. It is, therefore, absolutely essential that we revise our commitments. It is in this respect that the hon. Member for Dudley will agree with me. When he has put the challenge of whether we can fulfil these commitments, I have always said that if we could not the choice before the Government was to reduce the commitments, or to take some other steps to get the extra men required.
I know that some of my hon. Friends believe that we have already reduced our commitments to danger level. I wonder whether they are right. There is one overriding factor which we must always bear in mind when we consider our commitments. One thing we can never afford to do—and in the past have never been able to afford to do—if we hope to be in an influential position in the world, is to become alienated from the greatest sea Power of the day. It may seem a little pre-atomic to take that view, but I wonder whether it is.
I have referred to this in debates on the Army Estimates in previous years and I repeat my argument now because it is relevant to this debate. The importance of the geographical position of this country is unique. Of no other country is it true that if one makes that country the Pole and draws a new Equator, virtually the whole of Asia, certainly the whole of Europe and Africa and virtually the whole of the two Americans are in the hemisphere of which that country is the Pole. Comparing capital with capital, Paris comes nearest to London in that respect, but we occupy that unique position. That has automatically made us the maritime centre of the world in the past, and today the same pattern of lines is appearing on the air map.
We make a terrible mistake when we have the usual map at the end of the Air Estimates Memorandum every year. What we ought to have is a globe, which we could inflate. If one studies the map, more especially if one studies the globe, one sees an extraordinary state of affairs which runs counter to all my military teaching of the old days when I was 136 taught that the one thing which should not be done was to get one's forces into penny packets. From the map or the globe one gets the impression that there is now an appalling indecision about the difference between a token force and a penny packet.
As the means of communication improve and as weapons become more destructive and the means of delivering them more far reaching, one thing becomes clearer and clearer—the fewer fixed bases on which we have to rely and the better and more mobile our forces, the better. I know that there is a great danger in Members of Parliament attempting to be armchair strategists, but I have been giving much thought to this subject ever since I became a Member. Even back in 1948 I wrote a book on this subject, although it is now out of print, and nobody read it anyway.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
Defence of the Realm—it is in the Library. It is essential to regard the United Kingdom as the home of the Strategic Reserve.
After that, where do we go? I should have thought that it was becoming increasingly obvious that the one thing that we shall not be able to do is to maintain for very long our bases in countries whose politics we do not control. I am a little disturbed by some of the things said about the enormous success of the Kuwait operation. It is perfectly true that we carried out an extraordinarily rapid movement of all arms into the vital area absolutely essential to us.
I think that it may interest the House if I quote, from the N.A.T.O. Journal of September, 1951, these words:In the Middle and Far East also, there are few possibilities for major cuts. For example, naval forces in the Persian Gulf and at Singapore are being modernised with new or rebuilt ships. The recent operations in Kuwait, prompted as they were solely by potentially disastrous electoral results that would stem from gasoline rationing in Britain, have cost a considerable amount of money. While Press officials in the various Government Departments have been falling over themselves to emphasise how effective the operation has been, they have quietly omitted to mention that the operation scraped the bottom of the defence barrel so far as manpower was concerned.I do not know to what extent General Norstad has any say in what goes into the N.A.T.O. Journal.
137 I think that we would all agree that had we not had the bases in Africa that we had and the bases in Cyprus, it might have been much more difficult than it was. Yet one can see that in Africa things are moving in the direction where, in some years to come, I am not attempting to forecast when, perhaps bases will have to be folded up in Kenya or elsewhere in Africa—who knows? If Cyprus is anything to go by, we have to ask ourselves how long we can really expect, in the event of Makarios getting difficult, to be able to use that base unless we are prepared to lock up a whole lot of troops there, in which case the base tends to defeat its object because we want to be able to use it to send troops elsewhere if we ever want to use them. There are all these considerations.
It seems to me that we are concentrating more and more in certain places—I will not say what they are, or attempt to forecast what they should be, but there must be certain places in the world which we must regard as absolutely vital—and we must hang on to them through thick and thin, come wind come weather, as far ahead into the future as we can see, if we are to play any part in preventing war from breaking out in other parts of the world. If we cannot make some economy of forces and cannot limit the enormous demand which was made on our manpower as it was in days gone by, when we were a Colonial rather than a Commonwealth Power, it seems to me that something has gone very wrong in the logistics department of the War Office.
I cannot believe that the strategy for the application of the principles of war ever stands still. There are certain constants. I have suggested one, and that is our geographical position. There is one other which, I think, is also a constant. We are an offshore island to a continental land mass, and, because we are that, we must base all our planning on exterior lines of communication and on having our forces as mobile as possible. I believe that in the course of that we can considerably lower the demand for our manpower, but, as the hon. Member for Dudley and others in this debate have rightly said, there is this great problem, the commitment in Europe.
138 I know as well as the hon. Gentleman what word has been given on behalf of this country, and I hate seeing this country go back on its word. I think that it was the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) who mentioned national sovereignty. It is often said that every treaty we sign limits our sovereignty. It should not. What it does limit is our authority. Our sovereignty ought to be intact so long as we have the right to seek amendment, or as long as we have the right to terminate. As regards N.A.T.O., I should have thought that after all these years we still had the right to negotiate to get an amendment.
I would be prepared to reduce our commitment in Europe, provided that in doing so we were not accused of breaking our word. I do not think that that would do us any good. It never has, and never will, but we ought to reduce our commitments in Europe. I still believe that we may have to prick up some of the little pinpoints of red on this map, which, I believe, are no more token forces than the man in the moon. I believe that they are penny packets, the most dangerous form of the deployment of forces in which one can indulge.
I believe that if we do that, and if, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) said, we gear our scientific research and development behind all this, if we place the contracts with the people who are to make us as mobile as we should be, and if we co-ordinate the grouping of our forces around the world in such a way that there are balanced forces of all three Services, not only within each other, we shall be able to economise in our forces.
It is on the assumption that that sort of thinking is going on that I accept the Bill and am prepared to support it, but I support it only as a stop-gap Measure. It is not a long-term solution to our real problem. Our real problem is still, and will continue to be, that of ensuring adequate mobility in the conditions which obtain at any one time.
The stupidest people are those who will not budge from a policy no matter how much the circumstances have changed since the policy was first introduced. My right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green, who appears like 139 Mohammed from the mountain and then vanishes from the debate having delivered an oration of some importance, was a little unfair to the Prime Minister when he said that the only reason why we have not been able to alter that White Paper was because it was the first one introduced after my right hon. Friend became Prime Minister. If my right hon. Friend can honestly say that when he was Minister of Supply he took all the decisions which he ought to have taken at the right time, I would think more of him, but I am not sure that he did.
When I know the problems of those upon whom depends our ability to make our forces mobile, and when I hear of the problems of the Government in placing contracts, delivery dates, and all these things, I say that not only is the 1957 White Paper in need of alteration but that I am convinced that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is aware of this, otherwise I do not believe that he would have said what he did the other day—that the forces were unbalanced at the moment.
The fact that he realised that shows that he is prepared to change it, and, on the assumption that it will be changed as soon as possible, and that in the meantime we will ensure that no British forces or formations or units are committed to a commitment which they cannot possibly hope to fulfil with the strength they have, I will support the Bill. But if the Government fail in this they have failed a great many of us who first came to this House in 1945 and whose resolve was that our "Never again", after the Second World War, meant that never again would we see British troops having to train with flags at a time when war was marching relentlessly.
I happened to come across, a few days ago, some rather beautiful words. They were uttered 384 years ago by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the elder half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. Writing to Queen Elizabeth I, in 1577, he said:The wings of man's life are plumed with the feathers of death.The wings of man today may be supersonic and their feathers may sometimes be radioactive. But there are certain constants which go on and apply just as 140 much today as they did over 300 years ago.
Two, I suggest, are the geographical position of the United Kingdom and the everlasting truth that, however important it may be to have an Army and a Royal Air Force, upon the sea and upon Britain never being alienated from the position of a great sea Power will depend the future safety of this great nation.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
The Secretary of State for War must be feeling friendless tonight. Seldom have heard a Bill introduced which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen sitting behind the Minister have attacked so viciously. No one on this side of the House has had a kind word for the Bill and, apparently, no one sitting opposite wishes to foster it.
While some hon. Members may be perfectly entitled to adopt such an attitude one of the things which nauseates most back benchers is hearing an ex-Minister complain about a policy which was put into operation when they were in office. If I felt about any legislation as some ex-Ministers sitting opposite reveal from time to time that they feel, I should have resigned from office. I should have considered that the honourable thing to do. But ex-Ministers become very critical only when they no longer occupy the Government Front Bench.
The Secretary of State for War said that the need for the Bill was not because of the collapse of his recruiting policy, but the requirement for trained men. I should have thought that if it brought in 10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 extra men into the Regular forces it would have solved his problem. He is arguing that it is only to keep about 20,000, but it is the keeping of the 20,000 which is so wrong in view of what was said in the 1951 White Paper on Defence, which stated that National Service was to end in 1962. The present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations said that the run-down would be so quick that there would not be the calling up of large numbers of those who were liable to be called up.
The right hon. Gentleman must face the fact that the Bill will cause a terrible amount of bitterness because some 141 National Service men will have to stay beyond their time while, because the policy of the 1957 White Paper has fallen down, while others will not be called at all. I am not one who wishes to call anybody. I am prepared to say that the men who volunteer for the Services are entitled to the best pay and the finest conditions that can be offered them. If I am not prepared to do a job myself, I must very adequately pay someone who is prepared to do it.
I do not think, however, that we afford to go to the limits mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke), who spoke in terms of a defence expenditure of £2,000 million. I do not know whether he has read the 1957 White Paper around which this debate is largely centred. It stated:Britain's influence in the world depends first and foremost on the health of her internal economy and the success of her export trade".We cannot have a strong internal economy and a flourishing export trade while at the same time spending £2,000 million on defence.
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
Nor can we have a full-blooded Welfare State and be properly defended. Sometimes we have to cut that.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
The hon. and gallant Member would not protect our people from diphtheria, or from smallpox, or when they are injured or sick. If they die from sickness that is nothing to do with him, but let an enemy, 3,000 miles away, threaten us and he is prepared to spend £2,000 million. I believe that it is as essential to protect people from cancer as it is to protect them from Communism, for if one is killed by either one is dead. When the hon. and gallant Member says that he would sacrifice the Welfare State, and talks of attacking the Health Service, I tell him that the Health Service defends the lives of our people just as effectively and surely as any part of the Armed Forces.
The man in the street is bewildered by the Bill, because he remembers 1957 and what happened then. In 1957, the predecessor of the present Secretary of State 142 said in the House that we had too many lieutenant-colonels in the Army, too many majors, too many warrant officers and too many n.c.o.s. We had to sack about 15,000 of them. We have been sacking or declaring them redundant. We have compensated them generously. I wish hon. Members who are prepared to be very generous to those rendered redundant in the Army—although I do not object to compensating them—would be equally sympathetic when dealing with the claims of redundant workers in industry.
If a man in industry has his career interrupted, he is just as entitled to compensation as is the man in the Army. The man in the street cannot understand why the Government were able to dispense with 15,000—who, I understand from reading the speech made at the time, were mostly lieutenant-colonels and majors, the "top brass", highly paid people—but the Minister tells us that he cannot do without National Service men. What kind of Fred Karno show is this? Men we have been paying as much as £1,000 and £2,000 and more have been got rid of and are not wanted, yet we are keeping in those whom we pay 32s. 6d. a week. No wonder the average man in the street cannot understand this logic.
One would have thought that the lieutenant-colonels, the majors, the generals and the field marshals, whoever they are, who have been declared redundant were the people whom the Army required—the people who ought to be able to do every job. But no, we can manage without 15,000 of the top men, but we cannot manage without the National Service man on 32s. 6d. a week.
Broadly, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force do not have a problem in this respect. It is rather remarkable that the Navy can man its forces by the voluntary method, and it is very probable that the R.A.F. can man its forces by voluntary methods, but the Army cannot. Why? There have been many commissions set up and inquiries conducted into various things, but it is time we had an inquiry into that. Why is it that the Royal Navy and the R.A.F. can get their manpower, but the Army cannot? Is it because of the discipline, or because of the treatment they receive? I should have thought that if the right 143 hon. Gentleman was seriously concerned about getting his volunteers, he would have made some inquiries along these lines.
The truth is, and I say this not only to the right hon. Gentleman but even to some of my hon. Friends, that I do not believe that they are making the necessary effort to understand the men in the ranks. In industry, the Minister of Labour is holding meeting after meeting on human relationships in industry, trying to create a better atmosphere. Does anybody try to do these things in the Army? Does anybody know whether the private soldier is any more important today than he was one hundred years ago? Basically, the treatment is not different. The truth is that he is still an inferior being, he is never allowed to answer back, he still cannot argue and he still loses every bit of freedom he has ever possessed when he dons a uniform.
If we treated men on the shop floor in the factories as we treat privates in the Army, industry would be constantly running to a standstill. I am quite sure that the fact that men can be placed on petty charges, causes rancour, that they never have their own convenience considered, that they can never argue but can be put on charges for very flimsy things, detract from men entering the forces. Basically, the best recruiting sergeants should be the men who are already in. They should be the men who are best able to persuade others to go in, and it is rather a remarkable thing that very few of them take that line. I am quite sure that if the National Service men were the recruiting agents, the right hon. Gentleman would not have his problem.
§ Mr. Profumo
If the hon. Gentleman had listened to my speech, he would know that I pointed out that recruiting was extremely good. I agree with him that it is very largely because the best recruiting sergeants are the Regular soldiers themselves that we are now getting an increase in our recruiting.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
The Minister says that recruiting is doing so remarkably well, yet he is having to introduce a Bill to keep men in the forces longer than they would have been kept if what was said in 1957 had been acted upon.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
As my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) says, they are not recruits for the Army, but for the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman gets all he requires.
I have never understood why many right hon. and hon. Members opposite were prepared to take all the powers of the State to compel men to enter the Armed Forces against their will, but held up their hands in horror if anyone ever suggested directing industry to development districts or directing the capital of private people where it would best be used in the service of the nation. Why should we shrink from directing capital while we are directing lads into the Army? What kind of people are they who place private capital before human dignity? I do not understand why there is this great defence of private interest, private property and wealth while no regard is paid to the fellows compelled to go into the forces.
Britain today is faced with exactly the same problem as faces every other nation. With the exception of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, three comparatively small nations, no country in the world can manage its armed forces on the volunteer principle. America, Russia, France, Britain—they have all introduced conscription and have compelled men to serve in the forces to get forces of the size which they feel are adequate.
I regard that as one of the most hopeful things in the world, because it is obvious that if it were not for the politicians and the statesmen in Russia, in Britain, and in every other country, the ordinary people would not be anxious to go to war with one another. I do not believe that the average man in Russia tonight is thinking that a Briton will bomb him, or that the average man in Britain is thinking that about his counterpart in Russia. The common people of Russia, of Britain, of the entire world are hoping and longing for peace. They are concerned more with their own immediate problems of jobs, homes and all the rest than they are with the international politicians and statesmen.
145 I believe that the British people can give a lead. I hope that we shall not increase international tension, as any considerable build-up of our forces is bound to do. I believe that the country has taken many risks in connection with war in the past, and I am one of those who are prepared to let it take a few risks for peace in the future.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
The speeches from both sides of the House today, and the Bill, could hardly amount to more complete proof of the total failure of the Government's defence policy, which has arisen not from anything unexpected or unpredictable. The Secretary of State said, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Fernyhough), that recruiting is going remarkably well. The Bill is not being brought forward because of the situation in Berlin. The Secretary of State lacked the courage to advance that excuse today, although he did so in the debate on the Address. It arises simply from lack of courage in taking necessary decisions and from bad government.
We have heard a number of questions, very pertinent, important and well-informed, asked from both sides of the House. I know that the Under-Secretary will not think it a discourtesy—we are all looking forward to his speech—when I suggest that it would have been better if these weighty questions from both sides of the House on the general subject of defence had been answered by the Minister of Defence at the end of this debate. The Minister of Defence was courteous enough to tell me and my right hon. Friend that he had another non-official engagement this evening. But he has a lot to answer for in this field, and I think that it would have been better if he had been here to answer it himself; not that we always get clear answers from the Minister of Defence on many of these subjects.
I was struck by one remark made by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones). He said that the Government's policy threatened to discredit National Service. One of the things that worry me is that the Government's policy threatens to discredit the whole voluntary system. There is no better way of discrediting this than 146 by abandoning conscription without creating the conditions in which the voluntary system can succeed.
When the Government took the decision in 1957 to abandon conscription they said at that time, in the White Paper, that they needed a considerable reduction in our overseas garrisons, greater mobility of our forces and changes in the organisation of the Service manpower. But, in fact, since then no effective action has been taken to adjust the tasks of the Army to its numbers, to increase mobility, or to integrate the Services. It was only last year that an all-out recruiting drive was started. We still have not got enough married quarters ten years after it was started, and that itself is a great bar to the voluntary system. Only in the last month or two have the Government appointed the Festing Committee to review our overseas commitments.
Having taken this decision in 1957 and failed to carry out all the necessary actions that should have followed from it, they have placed a fearful strain on the voluntary system, and I am afraid that this may have associated the voluntary idea in the public mind with the idea of manpower shortage and under-strength battalion, and thus for some time perhaps discredited the system itself.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen have criticised the Government from the point of view of those who wish to reintroduce selective service or some form of compulsion, and there is this to be said for them—although we on this side do not agree with them—that if the Government were going to drag their feet after 1957 in the way that they have done, the abandonment of conscription was premature. Granted that they were not going to take the necessary action to make the voluntary system succeed, it might have been better to continue for a little while with compulsion.
Then, at least, we should have had in the Army in 1963 and 1964 Service men who were young and who had been fairly selected for the job; instead of, as we look like getting, Service men who are older and who have already spent their two years in the Services, men selected not because of age—on the contrary—not because of their occupation, not because they are unmarried, 147 not even selected impartially by a ballot, but selected simply and solely because it is the easiest way for the Government to get the men.
That is the only principle of selection in the Bill. It is the quickest, cheapest and politically most convenient way for the Government to get themselves out of the mess in which they find themselves. That is the principle behind the Bill, the principle of Ministerial convenience. The Secretary of State said—I think that I understood him aright—that he did not believe in the principle of equality of misery for all. But we on this side of the House do believe in the principle of equality of burdens. If what the Minister meant was to reject the idea that it is wrong to burden those who have already made sacrifices, I do not understand what is this principle of rejecting equality of misery.
A lot has been said already, and I will not repeat it, about the hardships caused by the Bill. No one has yet, at any rate while I have been here, quoted from letters of the sort which hon. and right hon. Members will receive from Service men in the months to come. I have a number here and, no doubt, other hon. Members have some. As no one has yet done so, perhaps I should read into the record some of the things which men are writing and saying. Here is one letter:Having been informed of the prospect of another six months in the Army as a National Service man, I am shocked to hear this. I have spent fourteen months in the R.A.S.C. and was quite resigned to the thought of spending another ten months here. … I am married, and I do not think that this is at all a fair way to treat National Service men, as I have to complete two years in the Army with very little money trying to make ends meet, also being parted from my wife and son. I am quite sure that after this last piece of news my wife will have a breakdown over this news. My son is only two months old but when I am finished with the Army he will not know me very well, but with six months added it will make things difficult for both of us.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
My hon. Friend has raised a very important matter. I am concerned about the National Service man with a wife and family. I know that exemptions have been made on compassionate grounds in certain cases, but will the Government give an undertaking that in no circumstances 148 whatever will any man with a wife and a young child or children be called up for an extra six months? The House is entitled to know about that.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I am very grateful to my hon. Friend. We look for an answer from the Minister.
Here is another characteristic letter of a kind which we shall all be receiving, I am sure, from our constituents. A mother writes:Today, I have received a letter from my son, who is a National Service man serving in Malaya. He just heard about the Government's proposal. He says, 'We are all hoping that it is just another rumour and that someone is playing a nasty joke on us, as the boys just could not take it'.She goes on to say:The boys, who are due for release next year, are counting the days, and this will cause a lot of distress among the Forces and disgruntled feelings among their families at home.Perhaps I should add that I feel a special sympathy with the writer of this letter, because she ends by saying:Trusting, Sir, that you will pardon my liberty in writing to you, but we have no Labour Member for this constituency of Bristol since Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn finished.If I may read just one more, this letter comes from an officer who is a doctor, and it illustrates the kind of administrative problem that the Minister will face and some of the more detailed problems and uncertainties facing those who may be affected. He writes:I am a doctor at present serving in the R.A.M.C. and due to be released on 3rd April. Today we are informed that six weeks' notice will be given to those who are to be retained. This is wholly inadequate notice as far as doctors are concerned. Six weeks ago, I was offered a post which commences on 1st May, an offer which, it so happens, I have turned down. It is common practice to advertise vacancies three or more months in advance. At present, I have applied for another post. If I have the good fortune to be short-listed, what can I tell the interviewing committee when I am asked when I can start?That letter gives expression to just one problem out of many which those who are to be affected by the Bill will face. It will cause enormous uncertainty.
The Minister promised that no one could be called up who was released before April next year. Of course, men are still liable to be called up afterwards. The uncertainty is not removed altogether. Let us not forget that all 149 those National Service men who are serving now, or who served up to some years ago, are all liable under the Government's proposals. That is not removing the uncertainty. What is more, the Minister said, "We shall not give these people any notice"—
§ Mr. Mayhew
May not give any notice. It is not removing the uncertainty. All these thousands of men are now living under the shadow of possible recall at any time, with little or no notice for some of them, and they will continue so for the next three and a half years. These are some of the very important human problems which will be set.
Our view, as stated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), is that we must keep the voluntary system if it is humanly possible to do so. Here, I think, there is a wide measure of agreement in the House, not only on the basic principle that in a free country a free choice is preferable to compulsion but also on the practical ground that for the same job one can get equal or greater effectiveness with fewer men in that way.
Several hon. Members have asked about Britain's position in the world as contrasted with that of our N.A.T.O. allies. They ask why we, and only we, should have this voluntary professional Army. Surely it is a great mistake to judge the strength of an Army and its forces simply by counting heads. To prefer a larger conscript Army, most of the members of which are longing for the day of release and half of whom, in the case of many foreign conscript armies, have less than six months to train, to a smaller Regular Army of fully-trained professionals is to make an altogether wrong estimate of the military value of the two forces.
Germany was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and also by the right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch). That is not a good country to choose from this point of view. According to the very useful publication of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Germany has a smaller percentage of its male labour force in uniform than any of the N.A.T.O. allies—1.98 per cent., which is a much smaller figure than for any other country.
§ Mr. John Hall
The hon. Member will see from the same publication that Germany is increasing her forces.
§ Mr. Mayhew
She is not the only country in the N.A.T.O. Alliance which is increasing its forces. We on this side say that we should, if possible, give the voluntary system what the Government have not given it—a chance of succeeding. Hon. Members, especially hon. Members opposite, have said that it is too late to rely on the voluntary system. No one on this side of the House would disagree with the proposition that the Government have almost destroyed the chance of making the voluntary system work.
As, however, my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper showed in a speech that did not gloss over any of the difficulties, which was coherent and which went into considerable detail, on certain assumptions—assuming that the Government take certain actions about overseas commitments, about the integration of manpower in the three Services and about mobility—it is still possible to meet these difficulties with the voluntary system, especially, I add, with the extra reinsurance of the "Ever-readies", a part of the Bill which deserves a welcome and which, we hope, will succeed. We hope that the Secretary of State will get the volunteers he wants for this new reserve.
On the subject of commitments, most of the criticism from the standpoint of the Opposition has centred on the question of whether we can fairly find manpower resources by pruning our overseas commitments. We have had no answers about this from the Government. I am glad to see that the Minister of Defence is present. Perhaps he would answer some of these questions. For example, Hong Kong was mentioned by the right hon. Member for Flint, West, who defended the Government and said that it was impossible for us to make manpower economies in Hong Kong.
I should like to ask the Minister, apart from the internal security rôle of our 10,000 men in Hong Kong, what is the operational rôle of the troops there? Let the Minister answer this. He refused to answer it at Question Time last week. He told us a little about the operational rôle of the troops in B.A.O.R. and in other parts of the 151 world. What are these men intended to do? Is it to defend Hong Kong against external aggression? Is it really impossible to make economies here? Do we really need tanks in Hong Kong, Hunter aircraft, or 10,000 men? Is this an essential operational commitment?
§ Mr. James Dance (Bromsgrove)
The hon. Member keeps on about Hong Kong. I was there recently and I saw the great confidence our troops gave to all our people out in Hong Kong. Any withdrawal from Hong Kong would be viewed with dismay. The hon. Member has also mentioned tanks. I know that they may not appear to have a very effective operational rôle, but, by heavens, they give confidence.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Here we have the secret of why our troops are wasted in posts overseas. What does this presence mean? The hon. Member for Bromsgrove (Mr. Dance) says that it gives confidence. We ought to distinguish carefully between a presence which constitutes a usable, effective military force, a genuine military power—for example, our troops in Malaya during the emergency—and a presence which appears to give security, and to give an opportunity of defence against external aggression, but which, in fact, is much too weak to carry out that rôle. So I think that that clear distinction ought to be drawn here.
The fact is that not only' in Hong Kong, but in many parts of the world we have troops who are given operational rôles for which they are really too thin on the ground, and where they cannot be used, very often, for diplomatic reasons, or for reasons of internal politics, or reasons of internal security. I would say that a presence like that in Hong Kong is really worse than useless. If it encourages the local people to rely on us for military force and military effort which we are not in practice capable of delivering, it seems to me a thoroughly dangerous situation.
I have in mind several places, not only Hong Kong. It can be valuable, of course, on occasions to have a presence of that kind, but it should not obscure the truth—and I am thinking especially of South-East Asia and the Middle East—that ultimately the success of our friends overseas in defending themselves 152 depends on their ability to stand on their own feet in their own country, and nothing encourages that self-reliance more than having to stand on their own. The current difficulty in Singapore—
§ Mr. Anthony Kershaw (Stroud)
Will the hon. Gentleman explain how Hong Kong can stand up to China by itself?
§ Mr. Mayhew
Is the hon. Gentleman seriously asking that four Hunter aircraft could stand up against the Chinese air force?
§ Mr. Kershaw
Certainly not, but the hon. Gentleman was making the point that it was really very much better for these countries to learn to stand on their own feet. Is he including Hong Kong?
§ Mr. Mayhew
I was not referring to Hong Kong in that context, as HANSARD will show. Of course, we must have some internal security force in Hong Kong. I do not think that anyone, any of my hon. or right hon. Friends, has said anything else. What I am asking the Minister is: what rôle in Hong Kong have 10,000 fighting troops, tanks and aircraft, and against whom? At what stage is it proper to ask 10,000 men to fight 35 Chinese armies? That is what we want to know.
I should like to say a word about the Singapore position. We have a similar position there. The position in Singapore has developed very much as we feared it would, and as, in the debate on the Address, we said it would. We would not go so far as some experts. We would not withdraw our commitments as would experts like Field Marshal Harding or Field Marshal Montgomery.
For instance, I have here the statement of Field Marshal Harding on the radio, to which my right hon. Friend referred. Asked by the interviewer how many of these commitments he would like to see cut down, and which ones, he replied:I would start cutting from the Far East, I think. Hong Kong, I think, could be reduced solely to an internal security basis, with, perhaps, mobile constabulary. Then Malaya, Singapore, now that the Communist terrorists have been defeated, I think could be reduced, probably more than it has been already. Going back to the Mediterranean, Cyprus, Malta and Gibraltar, and Libya in particular.This is not the policy of dishonourable scuttle by the Secretary of State for War. I am bound to say that I do not think 153 it helps to question the motives of people who take this point of view. I do not think that it is cowardly to recommend this policy if one is a field marshal. I think that it would be better if in these defence debates we all assumed that, according to our lights, we were doing our best in the national interest.
If I may refer briefly to the position in Singapore, as forecast in the Queen's Speech the Government have made demands for the military use of the Singapore base which are politically embarrassing to the Malayan Government and to the Singapore Government and are harming the prospects of Malayasia. In the communiqué they dressed up their demands by following formula. It was agreed that Malaysia willafford the British Government the right to continue to maintain bases at Singapore … for the preservation of peace in South-East Asia.This is a good example of what we mean by the need for a clear statement on the operational purpose of this base.
This statement could mean one of three things. Either we can use the base for S.E.A.T.O. without further permission from the Malayan Government, and this interpretation, quite understandably, is put on it by the newspapers, or it could mean the opposite—that we cannot use the base for S.E.A.T.O. purposes without the further permission of the Malayan Government. This is the interpretation put on it by the Malay Federation Government. Finally, it could mean that we have no idea whatever whether or not we can use this base when the time comes, with or without the permission of the Federation of Malaya. To have 10,000 or 15,000 British troops tied up in Singapore for an operational rôle which is not at all clear and to conscript men because the Government will not face the hard need to review some of these commitments is thoroughly incompetent military policy.
I know that the base has other rôles in Singapore. It staves the economy. There is an internal security rôle and a rôle of local defence against aggression, but for none of these purposes is anything like the manpower required that we have at the base at present. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite have gone so far as to say that the Government's defence policy is in a total mess, and I know of 154 no speaker who has really defended the Government wholeheartedly. But they maintain that our suggestion of relying on the voluntary system and making the decisions which are essential to that reliance could not work. They say that we must go back to some kind of selective service. That is the line taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East and the right hon. Member for Flint, West.
But if it were ever possible or desirable, it is plain that it is far too late now if we are to carry through the position next year or the year after. Selective service is too late. The decision to have selective service should have been taken last year or the year before, if at all. Quite apart from the difficulty of selecting one man in ten or one man in twenty of those eligible for service, the Minister would have to spend a long time in the months ahead, if we do not change the constitution of his advisory committee on hardship, deciding the hardship cases arising out of decisions taken on the Bill, let alone those to be taken if we were to select one man out of ten or one out of twenty in a whole age group.
Even if it were practicable, there would not be time. There would have to be a Bill which was much more complicated than the present Bill. There would have to be the machinery to hold a ballot and then there would be call-up papers, all before starting training the men. By the end of next year, under the system suggested by the right hon. Member for Flint, West, by the time Regular troops had been withdrawn to train these men we should finish with fewer men than we had at the beginning. Therefore, this is certainly not the answer to the problem.
This also ignores the detailed case put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper, that it is not necessary and that we can use the voluntary system if the Government would take the strong and clear decisions which should have been taken long ago. When the Bill goes to Committee—and I think that this important Bill must be discussed in Committee on the Floor of the House—we shall have a number of Amendments to put forward. Why should this Bill, so controversial and so generally disliked on both sides of the House, run for five years? It should be renewed 155 annually. We should see how it is going. That is obviously something which needs to be done during the Committee stage.
We shall return to the point that the Minister takes a decision in hardship cases. Why does he need to take this power? It is not the case today. If the National Service man has a genuine, independent decision on his application on hardship grounds now, why should the new man have the decision from the Secretary of State? I believe that that is the situation. These men, who are obviously suffering greater hardship than any of the National Service men so far called up, and are in a very unfortunate position, should certainly have the benefit of an independent decision on their case.
The Government have brought this course on themselves. They abolished conscription without facing the hard decisions which simply had to follow. They failed to take the decisions on overseas commitments, on integration of Service manpower, on mobility and other vital matters of this kind. Rather than take those hard and necessary decisions, they have produced a Bill which takes it out on a small group of men who are not sufficiently politically powerful successfully to resist. This Bill is, in fact, the easy way out for the Government, but it is a contemptible Measure, and I hope that the House will accept the Amendment.
§ 9.27 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. James Ramsden) rose—
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
May I ask you a question, Mr. Speaker? We have had a very wide-ranging debate in which great issues of defence have been raised on both sides of the House, and it cannot possibly be answered by the Under-Secretary. Is it not contempt of the House that the Minister of Defence should sit on the Government Front Bench and not answer the debate?
§ Mr. Speaker
This is the same old difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman was not called and cannot rise to a point of order, so he did not try. Mr. Ramsden.
§ Mr. Ramsden rose—
§ Mr. Silverman
Then may I put a question to you, Mr. Speaker? Is it not a strange departure from the tradition which was recently established by the Minister of Defence—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I indicated to the House the undesirability of rising to points of order which were not such. I am glad that neither the right hon. Gentleman nor the hon. Gentleman did so. But another of our conventions is that the person speaks who is called by the Chair. Mr. Ramsden.
§ Mr. Ramsden
Notwithstanding what has been said by one or two hon. Members, perhaps I may be allowed to reply to the wide-ranging and extremely interesting debate that we have had.
I find myself in agreement with a great deal of what the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) has just been saying. He confirmed our estimate on this side of the House of the value of all-Regular forces in the long run. He said, however, that we had not given this policy a fair chance of succeeding. There I must disagree with him. The one course of action which in the long run will give this policy of reliance upon all-Regular forces a chance of succeeding is for the House to pass the Bill tonight, for that is, indeed, one of the main purposes of the Measure.
As I have said, this has been a wide-ranging debate. We seem to have reached a position where most hon. Members opposite accept our objective of sticking to all-Regular forces, but they say that they would deploy and organise them rather differently from the way which we are proposing. Some of my right hon. Friends, in what may be termed an expected alliance with the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and some in a somewhat less expected alliance with the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), would take a rather different view. They would like to see provision for larger forces, and they would be prepared to have selective compulsory service in order to raise them. What we are proposing to 157 do is to steer a middle course between those two extremes, and I do not find this discouraging in itself.
I am the more convinced that it is right in that none of the speeches we have heard today suggests a line of action which has fewer snags about it than what we are proposing. I shall be quite content if the House will accept the Bill as a kind of lowest common factor of what is possible and reasonable in the circumstances.
What we are trying to do—and this, if the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) will accept it from me, is the justification for my replying—is, through an Army Bill, to cope with the problem of manning the Army during the difficult period when National Service men will be running out and the Regular strength might not be sufficient for the Army's needs. The possibility of this situation arising was foreseen in the 1957 White Paper. Paragraph 48 is quite clear. It says:It must nevertheless be understood that it voluntary recruiting fails to produce the numbers required, the country will have to face the need for some limited form of compulsory service to bridge the gap.When we decided to rely on a policy of all Regular forces, we admittedly gave a hostage to fortune to this extent—that it was beyond anybody's power to predict what the rate of recruitment to the Armed Forces might in the future turn out to be. Faced with this uncertainty—and there was no practical way of escaping it at the time—it was only common prudence for the Government to stipulate that some special measures might turn out to be necessary, and it is such measures which my right hon. Friend is asking the House to approve tonight.
§ Mr. Ramsden
No, Sir. The hon. and learned Gentleman has not listened. I will deal presently with how the progress of the recruiting drive is bearing upon this Measure.
One other factor mentioned by my right hon. Friend today—an obviously important one which has considerably aggra- 158 vated the difficulty of the problem facing us—is the present situation in Germany. I make no apology for basing my reply upon the 1957 White Paper, to which almost every speaker in the debate who attacked the Bill has in one way or another referred.
The House ought to be clear about the decisions which were taken in 1957 and about their implications. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite supported them in so far as they concerned manpower.
§ Mr. Ramsden
I have looked this up. The party opposite moved a rather wide-sweeping Amendment which, in retrospect, I believe was designed to encourage into the Lobby some of their less conventional supporters in defence. It seems to me that the Opposition Amendment tonight is designed—unsuccessfully, I am afraid—to win the allegiance of the hon. Member for Dudley.
§ Mr. Brown
I am obliged to the hon. Member. The point the hon. Member asks me to make is this: we have had a debate dealing with a constitutional Bill of great importance, with wide-ranging defence issues. Yet the Minister of Defence sits there as though it could not concern him less. Now we are being inflicted with a stupid, prefect's Bill. Should not the Minister of Defence deal with this matter if he wants it through?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The right hon. Gentleman has made his speech earlier today. I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will be allowed to continue.
§ Mr. G. Brown
On a point of order. Were you presuming at that moment to rebuke me, Sir? If so, may I make a submission to you?
§ Mr. Speaker
I respectfully thought that shouting from a seated position was not assisting us in the process.
§ Mr. Brown
May I make a submission? May I ask you how you might assist the House? This reply, as it has so far developed, is so removed from the level of the debate, from both sides of the House, as to be a mockery of the House and an insult to the people affected by the Bill. How does one make one's protest?
§ Mr. Speaker
Certainly not in the middle of somebody else's speech. I am sure that these matters can be dealt with at some other time, if necessary.
§ Mr. Ramsden
I was saying that I understood that hon. Members opposite accepted the implications of the 1957 White Paper on Defence Policy, in so far as it concerned manpower. I should have thought that the terms of that Amendment and their speeches bore that out.
At any rate, tonight hon. Members opposite agree with us that our forces could and should be raised by voluntary means. Some of my hon. Friends who have spoken today at that time also supported the Government's policy. My right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) at that time confirmed their support of the 1957 White Paper in the Lobbies.
160 That policy foresaw three main tasks for the Army—first, to play our part with the forces of our allies in deterring and resisting aggression. This, I suppose, was the principal task then, and it is today. It involved the British Army of the Rhine in the West and our forces in S.E.A.T.O. Those were the two main areas in which trouble of this sort was foreseen, and so it has turned out. We have had periods of more or less tension in Laos and today there is the dangerous situation in Germany.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green, my right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West and the hon. Member for Coventry, East all criticised the composition of the forces with which we were planning to meet this task. The right hon. Member for Flint, West said that he wanted larger conventional forces to be produced by a system of selective service, and he said that he was prepared to see them paid for by our spending less money on the policy of the nuclear deterrent. The hon. Member for Coventry, East asked whether the alternative to the Bill was that we should be prepared to rely to a greater extent upon the nuclear weapon in the British Army of the Rhine. My right hon. Friend the Member for Hall Green took the same line and made what I thought was the rather surprising observation, when he estimated the cost of the necessary forces raised by conscription at £40 million, that he considered that that was not a figure of great significance in the country's Budget.
In reply to this argument, which has been one of the main features of the debate and which has been sustained in three very striking speeches, I should like to put forward three propositions. The first is that the logic of the argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West leads us to the conclusion that N.A.T.O. ought to be prepared to confront the Soviet power in Germany with purely conventional forces, a possibility which, so far as I am aware, N.A.T.O. has never contemplated and which does not look particularly sensible, as the Russians themselves are known to be equipped with tactical nuclear weapons on a considerable scale. That is the logic of my right hon. Friend's plea that our conventional 161 forces should be built up to a greater extent than now.
The second thing is that if the deterrent is to mean anything—
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West) rose—
§ Mr. Ramsden
I wish to complete this part of my argument—it must surely mean that an attack by our enemies on anything but a fairly inconsiderable scale in Germany would evoke the full retaliatory powers of the Alliance. That, as I understand it, is what the deterrent means. To the extent that we switch the rôle of our conventional forces to anything but resistance to limited aggression and the enforcement of a pause, we are surely weakening the concept of the deterrent as such.
§ Mr. Strachey rose—
§ Mr. Strachey
This is really very important, because it is a question of N.A.T.O.'s entire doctrine. The Under-Secretary of State is now saying that an assertion of the importance of conventional forces and strength at the conventional level means in logic abandoning all thought of nuclear deterrent. If that is Her Majesty's Government's policy it is far more nonsensical than any of us thought it to be.
§ Mr. Ramsden
I am saying that our conventional forces in Europe are there, according to accepted N.A.T.O. doctrine, to enforce a pause, and they are adequate to do that job. The logic of my right hon. Friend's argument, that we ought to rely to an increasing extent on conventional forces, must lead to the position that we should rely entirely upon them.
§ Mr. John Hall
I must apologise for interrupting, but this question of a pause has always rather interested me. Would my hon. Friend tell me what sort of a pause and how long a pause our forces are likely to be able to gain?
§ Mr. Ramsden
My right hon. Friend dealt with that in reply to a question from the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) the other day.
162 The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper asked about the level of our forces in B.A.O.R. in relation to the requirements of SACEUR. The present strength is around 51,000 men. It can be prevented from dropping below this figure only if the House passes this Bill. If we were to bring home forces from overseas, as the right hon. Gentleman suggested, we could not achieve by April the retention of this figure, which is what we want to achieve.
In addition to the forces which we keep in Germany, we have the reserve division which is being formed and which is earmarked for N.A.T.O. but which we cannot station in Europe because of the difficulties over the support costs, the validity of which is fully recognised by our N.A.T.O. allies.
There is a further point on this. The initiative in these matters as things are rather lies with our enemies. They can turn the heat off or on in Europe, or in the Far East or between the two. I put it to the House that when they do this, they do it for a purpose and that we ought to be a little careful what our reactions to their efforts are. It is more than arguable that the kind of thing suggested by hon. Members opposite is exactly what Mr. Khrushchev may well want and, therefore, for us to act in this way is very probably wrong. I also doubt very much whether it would be acceptable to our allies.
Then there is the question of numbers, the size of the forces we maintain, and the scale of our whole military effort. There may be those who would wish to see this country have a larger capacity than we now maintain or that we have hitherto sustained for intervening in the world scene. But, again, in planning the extent of the responsibilities that we should try to assume, it has always been made clear that we must measure the effect of the demands on our economic resources to the extent of our contribution to defence. A good export trade and sound economy at home are the modern counterparts of the sinews of war. As the White Paper said, without these military power cannot in the long run fully be supported.
The other two tasks envisaged for our forces in 1957 were the defence of British Colonies and protected territories, and the ability to undertake 163 limited operations in overseas emergencies.
This is the job of garrisons and of theatre reserves. If their presence is effective in itself, there will be no need for operations, and in the main this is what has happened. I have been fortunate enough to see two examples. There was some trouble in the Cameroons where a battalion group discharged its responsibilities for over a year with great efficiency, and there was Kuwait, which some hon. Gentlemen opposite did not like because it disproved what they were saying, but where prompt action by our forces prevented the development of a serious emergency.
So much for the last four years. Along the lines of the White Paper we have discharged our responsibilities to the full.
What about the future? Hon. Gentleman opposite are saying in effect that we ought to remedy the shortages in the British Army of the Rhine by thinning out our garrisons from other theatres. In other words, they are saying that we ought to fortify our forces in Europe by sacrificing our ability to meet our commitments in other parts of the world.
There are a number of objections to that proposal which in sum are conclusive. I am trying to answer the main point of the right hon. Member for Belper. Even if, consistently with our friends and Colonies and our obligations to them, we could bring about the kind of redeployment envisaged by the Opposition, it would not help us as regards the shortages in Germany.
The kind of commitments which the Opposition seem to want given up are those concerned mainly with internal security and discharged mainly by a high proportion of teeth arms, infantry units and the like. A reduction in these would not avail to fill the shortages with which we are faced in the B.A.O.R. because these are shortages of specialists, signallers, drivers—
§ Mr. G. Brown rose—
§ Mr. James Dance (Bromsgrove)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) to keep interrupting my hon. Friend?
§ Mr. Ramsden
It was suggested that we should withdraw specialists, signallers, and so on, and that we could afford to thin out headquarters in our theatres in the Far East, but we are seeking to have an Army appropriately balanced for our requirements for every theatre, and it will not help to unbalance our Far East garrisons by bringing from there to the B.A.O.R. the specialists who are in that theatre.
§ Mr. Brown rose—
§ Mr. Ramsden
The second thing is that it would make worse than nonsense in the context of the contribution which we make world wide to the efforts of the West in the cold war if we were to make wholesale sacrifices in the strength of our efforts in the Far East, Africa, or the Mediterranean, in order to bring reinforcements to Europe, which is only one theatre among many where we have important responsibilities.
I am not saying—and here I reply to the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke)—that we may not decide to bring about some redeployment in our overseas garrisons or even at some time to effect some reduction. We have done this already, and, indeed, it was foreshadowed in paragraph 33 of the White Paper that it would be our intention to make some reduction where the situation justified it, but such a redeployment would have to be effected with reference to the needs of the general military situation. To undertake this now on the scale which the Opposition seem to contemplate, even if it were practicable within the time scale, which it is not, would be sheer military nonsense in the context of this country's responsibility in the cold war.
In their speeches my hon. Friends, and the hon. Member for Coventry, East have been offering us rather different sorts of solutions. They are, I think, appreciating a situation in which they do not foresee any time when we shall be able to dispense with any great 165 numbers of our conventional forces. In fact, they would like to see them in greater strength. They do not believe that we shall ever be able, by voluntary methods, to recruit an Army of the size and balance which in their view it would be fair to ask to take on the commitments which they think that we ought to assume. They are now telling us that we must face the failure of our recruiting campaign and that we ought to go firmly for a system of selective service, because only by this means do they think that we shall get the men and get them where we want them.
There is no doubt that this is a minority opinion in the House. But minority opinions on matters of defence have been right before, and I pay my hon. Friends the compliment of taking their suggestions seriously.
I still think that there are too many uncertainties surrounding what they wish to do and about the circumstances they are planning to meet for the course of action, which they are recommending to be acceptable.
There is the uncertainty about the course of recruiting, which was referred to by the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell). They do not believe that we should be able to build up the Regular manpower which we require. As my right hon. Friend explained, this belief is in no way justified by the figures. I am not going to say that we are certain of reaching the target of 165,000 all ranks by the end of December next year, but we certainly have a very good chance of doing so. Much more important than this figure, which has been bandied about as a target, is the steady rate of build-up towards a Regular strength of 180,000 this year up to 31st December and thereafter; and the recruiting results of recent months give very fair grounds for optimism that this rate of build-up will be achieved.
But recruiting is not the only factor where there is a considerable element of uncertainty. My right hon. Friend has already told the House that it is not only the way recruiting is going, and that is satisfactory, but the Berlin crisis, and the subsequent mounting of international tension, coming as it does at a period when we may be in difficulties over manpower, which have made necessary the measures proposed in this Bill. 166 But we do not know what the course of events in Europe may be over the next eighteen months and nor do hon. Members opposite.
Supposing there were a détente, or some development which gave to Europe a lesser military priority than it now enjoys, we should then be saddled with selective service, with all the disadvantages which my right hon. Friend has enumerated, and without the overriding need for the men which it would produce. I would not say that selective service is not a possible solution. I do not even say that it is a solution upon which one day, and in the last resort, we might not be forced back. What I do say is that if there is another solution, one which fills a short-term and certain need without saddling us with a policy for which the need may yet not arise, then we are entitled to ask the House to consider it, and to consider whether it is not more appropriate to the situation which we face today.
I wish now to make one or two more comments on the Bill. I wish to say a little more about our attitude to compassionate cases and to cases of hardship among those who will be retained. To have to deal with such cases is in itself no new problem for the War Office. We have well-tried machinery in the Department. We have the welcome assistance of S.S.A.F.A. and, in many cases, of hon. Members who interest themselves on behalf of their constituents. All this will go on, and I wish to emphasise that the quickest and most efficient, as well as the correct, way for a man to get his case considered is by application to his commanding officer in the first place.
However, the extra six months—because it is extra and will have been to a great extent unforeseen, so that it will upset all sorts of private arrangements—will give rise to some special problems out of the ordinary run of those with which we have been used to dealing. Hence my right hon. Friend's proposal for a special advisory committee to whom he can refer such cases for their guidance. There is no new principle in all this, but an addition to the existing machinery to match the special circumstances of six months' retention. Nor is there any new principle involved in how we shall determine, from among those due to be retained, who will actually be required to serve.
167 Our brand of National Service in this country has always been selective to the extent that from a given block of men liable to have to serve, compassionate grounds, or deferment, or occupation in the case of agricultural workers, coal miners, merchant seamen and so on, have reduced the numbers actually serving. More recently the system of premature releases has operated with reference to group release dates and the manpower needs of the Army.
We can pursue this in more detail in Committee, but I think I have said enough to indicate how we shall arrive at the total number of men we actually want and that there is nothing new in what we propose. It has been asked by the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards), why should the tribunal not be independent and executive in its own right? There is an essential distinction between the retained National Service men now in the Army and the men called up for the first time from civil life. These problems will be problems of release, which we have always handled in the way we propose. The problems of those not actually called up are very different. The time scale itself, in which consideration has to be given to their circumstances, is all-important because it has to be remembered that the majority of the men to be retained will be overseas in B.A.O.R.
The tribunal procedure which normally would be accompanied by a right of audience and a right to present one's case in person would be extremely difficult to work in circumstances like these. My right hon. Friend and his Department have a primary responsibility for seeing that Army manning comes up to requirements. If all cases could be referred to
|Division No. 13.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Boyle, Sir Edward|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Brewis, John|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Berkeley, Humphry||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col.Sir Walter|
|Allason, James||Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Bidgood, John C.||Browne, Percy (Torrington)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Biffen, John||Buck, Antony|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Biggs-Davison, John||Bullard, Denys|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bingham, R. M.||Bullus, Wing commander Eric|
|Balniel, Lord||Biroh, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Burden, F. A.|
|Barber, Anthony||Bishop, F. P.||Butler,Rt.Hon.R.A.(Saffron Walden)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Black, Sir Cyril||Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)|
|Barter, John||Bossom, Clive||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)|
|Batsford, Brian||Bourne-Arton, A.||Carr, Robert (Mitcham)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Box, Donald||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Bell, Ronald||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Channon, H. P. G.|
§ independent tribunals, two things would follow. The Army would have to defer everyone until the outcome became known, and in the circumstances the retention would thus be considerably widened.
§ I grant that this Bill is hard upon those whom it affects, but so would selective service be. The main justification for this Bill is that it gives us trained men in the numbers we need and in the places and categories where we require them.
§ Selective service would be equally hard and would affect a much larger number of people. I repeat that Clause 1 will give the Army trained men and make them available at once. This was the main ground on which the party opposite justified the extension of National Service men's engagements in 1950, and the main reason why those on this side of the House supported them when they did so. I know that there was fighting in Korea at the time. I am not trying to make a party point or to draw analogies which do not exist, but I am anxious that these young men and their families should understand, and that the House should accept, that the need for their continued service is a real need, a national need which is no less great than it was then.
§ I hope the House will reject the Amendment and give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Mr. G. W. Reynolds (Islington, North) rose—
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Martin Redmayne) rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 288, Noes 217.
|Chataway, Christopher||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hopkins, Alan||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Cole, Norman||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Pym, Francis|
|Cooke, Robert||Hughes-Young, Michael||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Ramsden, James|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Iremonger, T. L.||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Cordle, John||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rees, Hugh|
|Corfield, F. V.||James, David||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Costain, A. P.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Coulson, J. M.||Jennings, J. C.||Rippon, Geoffrey|
|Critchley, Julian||Johnson, Dr. Ronald (Carlisle)||Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & S'th'ld)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Roots, William|
|Curran, Charles||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Russell, Ronald|
|Dance, James||Kershaw, Anthony||St. Clair, M.|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kitson, Timothy||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Deedes, W. F.||Leburn, Gilmour||Seymour, Leslie|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Sharples, Richard|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Shaw, M.|
|Doughty, Charles||Lilley, F. J. P.||Shepherd, William|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lindsay, Martin||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn|
|du Cann, Edward||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Duncan, Sir James||Litchfield, Capt. John||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Smithers, Peter|
|Eden, John||Longbottom, Charles||Smyth, Brig, Sir John (Norwood)|
|Elliot, Capt Walter (Carshalton)||Loveys, Walter H.||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Elliott, R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Emery, Peter||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Errington, Sir Eric||McAdden, Stephen||Stodart, J. A.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||MacArthur, Ian||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Farr, John||McLaren, Martin||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Fell, Anthony||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Fisher, Nigel||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Talbot, John E.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain(Enfield, W.)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Forrest, George||McMaster, Stanley R.||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Foster, John||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Taylor, F. (M'ch'ter & Moss Side)|
|Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Maginnis, John E.||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Maitland, Sir John||Teeling, William|
|Freeth, Denzil||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Temple, John M.|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Marlowe, Anthony||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Gilmour, Sir John||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Marshall, Douglas||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Marten, Neil||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Goodhart, Philip||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Gough, Frederick||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Turner, Colin|
|Gower, Raymond||Mills Stratton||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Green, Alan||Montgomery, Fergus||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Gurden, Harold||Morgan, William||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Morrison, John||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Walder, David|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Wall, Patrick|
|Harris, Reader (Hoston)||Noble, Michael||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Harvey, sir Arthur Vere(Macclesf'd)||Nugent, Sir Richard||Webster, David|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Whitelaw, William|
|Hastings, Stephen||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hay, John||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Partridge, E.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Hendry, Forbes||Peel, John||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Percival, Ian||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Hiley, Joseph||Peyton, John||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Woollam, John|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Worsley, Marcus|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Pitman, Sir James|
|Hobson, John||Pitt, Miss Edith||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Pott, Percivall||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Holland, Philip||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Colonel Sir Harwood Harrison|
|Hollingworth, John||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Ainsley, William||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Pentland, Norman|
|Albu, Austen||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hilton, A. V.||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Allen, Soholefield (Crewe)||Holman, Percy||Prentice, R. E.|
|Awbery, Stan||Houghton, Douglas||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Baird, John||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Probert, Arthur|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Hoy, James H.||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Randall, Harry|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Rankin, John|
|Benson, Sir George||Hunter, A. E.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Boardman, H.||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Bowles, Frank||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Boyden, James||Jeger, George||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Ross, William|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Short, Edward|
|Butter, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Callaghan, James||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Kenyon, Clifford||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Chetwynd, George||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Cliffe, Michael||King, Dr. Horace||Small, William|
|Collick, Percy||Lawson, George||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Ledger, Ron||Snow, Julian|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Cronin, John||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Crosland, Anthony||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Steele, Thomas|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lipton, Marcus||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Darting, George||Loughlin, Charles||Stonehouse, John|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stones, William|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||MacColl, James||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McInnes, James||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Deer, George||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Swain, Thomas|
|Dempsey, James||McLeavy, Frank||Swingler, Stephen|
|Diamond, John||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Dodds, Norman||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Manuel, A. C.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness(Caerphilly)||Mapp, Charles||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Marsh, Richard||Wade, Donald|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mason, Roy||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Evans, Albert||Mayhew, Christopher||Warbey, William|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mendelson, J. J.||Watkins, Tudor|
|Finch, Harold||Millan, Bruce||Weitzman, David|
|Fitch, Alan||Milne, Edward J.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mitchison, G. R.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Monslow, Walter||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Moody, A. S.||Whitlock, William|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Morris, John||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mort, D. L.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Ginsburg, David||Moyle, Arthur||Willey, Frederick|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mulley, Frederick||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Neal, Harold||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Phillp(Derby,S.)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Grey, Charles||Oliver, G. H.||Williams W. T. (Warrington)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oram, A. E.||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oswald, Thomas||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Owen, Will||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Gunter, Ray||Padley, W. E.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Paget, R. T.||Woof, Robert|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil(Colne Valley)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Pargiter, G. A.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hannan, William||Parker, John|
|Hayman, F. H.||Paton, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Healey, Denis||Pavitt, Laurence||Mr. Charles A. Howell and|
|Henderson, Rt.Hn.Arthur(Rwly Regis)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Mr. McCann.|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Peart, Frederick|
§ Question put accordingly, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:
|Division No. 14.]||AYES||[10.10 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Atkins, Humphrey|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Arbuthnot, John||Balniel, Lord|
|Allason, James||Ashton, Sir Hubert||Barber, Anthony|
§ The House divided: Ayes 279, Noes 216.
|Barlow, Sir John||Goodhart, Philip||Mills, Stratton|
|Barter, John||Goodhew, Victor||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Batsford, Brian||Gough, Frederick||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gower, Raymond||Morgan, William|
|Bell, Ronald||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.||Morrison, John|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Green, Alan||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Grimston, Sir Robert||Noble, Michael|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Gurden, Harold||Nugent, Sir Richard|
|Bidgood, John C.||Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Biffen, John||Harris, Frederio (Croydon, N.W.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere(Macclesf'd)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Partridge, E.|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hastings, Stephen||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Bossom, Clive||Hay, John||Peel, John|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Percival, Ian|
|Box, Donald||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hendry, Forbes||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Brewis, John||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Pitman, Sir James|
|Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.Sir Walter||Hiley, Joseph||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Pott, Percivall|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Buck, Antony||Hirst, Geoffrey||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Bullard, Denys||Hobson, John||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hocking, Philip N.||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Burden, F. A.||Holland, Philip||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Hollingworth, John||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hopkins, Alan||Pym, Francis|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Ramsden, James|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hughes-Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Rees, Hugh|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Rippon, Geoffrey|
|Cole, Norman||Iremonger, T. L.||Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & S'th'ld)|
|Cooke, Robert||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Cooper, A. E.||James, David||Roots, William|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Jennings, J. C.||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Cordle, John||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Russell, Ronald|
|Corfield, F. V.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||St. Clair, M.|
|Costain, A. P.||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Coulson, J. M.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Seymour, Leslie|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Sharples, Richard|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Shaw, M.|
|Curran, Charles||Kershaw, Anthony||Shepherd, William|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kitson, Timothy||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelvm|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Leburn, Gilmour||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Dance, James||Smith, Dudley(Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|d'Avigdor-Coldsmid, Sir Henry||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Smithers, Peter|
|Deedes, w. F.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Lilley, F. J. P.||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lindsay, Martin||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Doughty, Charles||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Drayson, C. B.||Litchfield, Capt. John||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|du Cann, Edward||Longbottom, Charles||Stodart, J. A.|
|Duncan, Sir James||Loveys, Walter H.||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Eden, John||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Talbot, John E.|
|Elliott,R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne,N.)||McAdden, Stephen||Tapsell, Peter|
|Emery, Peter||MacArthur, Ian||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||McLaren, Martin||Taylor, F. (M'ch'ter & Moss Side)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Teeling, William|
|Farr, John||McMaster, Stanley R.||Temple, John M.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Maginnis, John E.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Forrest, George||Maitland, Sir John||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Foster, John||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Marlowe, Anthony||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Freeth, Denzil||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Marshall, Douglas||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Marten, Nell||Turner, Colin|
|Gilmour, Sir John||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Vickers, Miss Joan||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)||Woollam, John|
|Wall, Patrick||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Webster, David||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Wells, John (Maidstone)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Whitelaw, William||Woodhouse, C. M.||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Colonel Sir Harwood Harrison.|
|Ainsley, William||Hayman, F. H.||Padley, W. E.|
|Albu, Austen||Healey, Denis||Paget, R. T.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Henderson, Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Awbery, Stan||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Parker, John|
|Baird, John||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Paton, John|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Hilton, A. V.||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Holman, Percy||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Houghton, Douglas||Peart, Frederick|
|Benson, Sir George||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Pentland, Norman|
|Blackburn, F.||Hoy, James H.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Boardman, H.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Hunter, A. E.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bowles, Frank||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Probert, Arthur|
|Boyden, James||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Randall, Harry|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rankin, John|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Redhead, E. C.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jeger, George||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Callaghan, James||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, Elwyn (west Ham, S.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Chetwynd, George||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Ross, William|
|Collick, Percy||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Kenyon, Clifford||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Short, Edward|
|Cronin, John||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Crosland, Anthony||King, Dr. Horace||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lawson, George||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Ledger, Ron||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Darling, George||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Small, William|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Snow, Julian|
|Deer, George||Lipton, Marcus||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Loughlin, Charles||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dempsey, James||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Diamond, John||MacColl, James||Steele, Thomas|
|Dodds, Norman||McInnes, James||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stonehouse, John|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Stones, William|
|Edelman, Maurice||McLeavy, Frank||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mallalieu J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Swain, Thomas|
|Evans, Albert||Manuel, A. C.||Swingler, Stephen|
|Fernyhough, E.||Symonds, J. B.|
|Finch, Harold||Mapp, Charles||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Fitch, Alan||Marsh, Richard||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mason, Roy||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mayhew, Christopher||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mendelson, J. J.||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Millan, Bruce||Wade, Donald|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Milne, Edward J.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Ginsburg, David||Mitchison, G. R.||Warbey, William|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Monslow, Walter||Watkins, Tudor|
|Gourlay, Harry||Moody, A. S.||Weitzman, David|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Morris, John||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Grey, Charles||Mort, D. L.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Moyle, Arthur||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mulley, Frederick||Whitlock, William|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Neal, Harold||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Gunter, Ray||Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Oliver, G. H.||Willey, Frederick|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oram, A. E.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Oswald, Thomas||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Hannan, William||Owen, Will||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)||Woof, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)||Wyatt, Woodrow||Mr. Charles A. Howell and|
|Winterbottom, R. E.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)||Mr, McCann.|
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Chichester-Clark.]
§ Committee Tomorrow.