§ LORD RIBBLESDALE rose to call attention to the growing number of semi-Ministerial, semi-Departmental, and semi-Official appointments (whether salaried or unsalaried) made by His Majesty's Government; and to move for a Return. The noble Lord said: My Lords, may I begin by indicating the main reasons which have led me to put down this Motion? I think I may take it as a self-evident proposition that we are living under new methods of control, of administration, and of economics, which daily make the self-determination which we are always recommending to remote peoples and countries—of whose ways and feelings we know little—very much more difficult every day for the individual. In the next place, may I take it as a second self-evident proposition that in running with patience—with on the whole, I think, remarkably little inconvenience considering all things—the race that is set before us, we are becoming more and more girt about and impelled in our journey by an ever increasing and almost legionary host of officials? Unless one has taken honours in the Pelman system, or unless one keeps a pocket book for the particular purpose of following the new appointments over one's early tea in the morning, it is almost impossible for an ordinary individual to keep pace with the rapid growth of our officials. In the third place—this is not a self-evident proposition, but it is a fact in which many believe, and still more are under the impression that it exists—the new methods, and some say even the Government, are largely controlled and animated by an able, aggressive—I do not use the word in a disagreeable sense; I mean active and alert—and highly opinionated group of newspapers. For 277 myself, I am a little sceptical about that. I think that the position of the Press is, of necessity, rather an incident of the times and the everyday circumstances through which we are going at the moment. But if too much may be made, as we are told, of the influence of the Press, it is possible that at the same time the Government may be making a little too little. Be that as it may, the impression of a newspaper ascendency is abroad. That impression is not popular, and that impression is to my mind unfortunate, and it certainly does connect this growth of all kinds of official semi-Ministerialists with the general abdication and disappearance of Ministerial responsibility, and the consequent weakening of the proper functions of Parliament. Now, my Lords, I will say a word or two on that part of my Motion which moves for a Return of these appointments. I think the present Prime Minister came into office in January of last year.
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
Anyhow, I will pass from that, as the lawyer says. His style in the matter of appointments has all along been cumulative, but I think lately in this matter of outside appointments he has, in the words of a well-known hymn, been going on "From strength to strength" As regards this particular Return, I recognise that there are certain difficulties in it. If we go too far back it will be a tremendous document, and on the whole I think if we could have a year of the appointments made in the Return that would go a good long way to meet my point. I also recognise this difficulty, that a good many Departments have been created and that very considerable powers of appointment—I think up to a sum of £400 a year—rest with the heads of those Departments. Just as I came here to-day I was handed a letter from a gentleman who had written about this Motion, expressing a hope that I was going to include all officials appointed by local bodies. The writer says that on returning he found that the County War Agricultural Executive Committee had appointed a number of executive officers at salaries ranging from £175 to £100, and he then goes on to say that these officials have power to drive motor cars and to career about the country—no doubt doing a great deal of useful work. 278 That letter shows the difficulty of making the Return for which I am asking. On the other hand, I believe this Return would remove a great deal of misapprehension and satisfy a large number of people who wish to have detailed information on this largely uncovenanted, unsalaried, and irresponsible new bureaucracy.
It is only quite lately, within the last month or so, that we have had two very interesting appointments of members of your Lordships' House to two very important posts. I refer to the appointments of Lord Northcliffe and Lord Beaverbrook. One noble Lord is to be in charge of propaganda abroad and the other in charge of propaganda at home. This is, after all, the fourth year of the war. I heard the other day that one of these noble Lords—I do not recollect which, and it is immaterial—said that propaganda was the thing which was likely to play a very important part in winning, and I am not sure he did not, say it would win, the war. I am of a hopeful disposition, and have always been glad to hear of any new plan for winning the war. So far as I am concerned, I wish the new Propaganda Ministers every success, but I wonder what they are going to do—how they are going to win the war with propaganda. I cannot conceive that there is very much to be done in proclaiming and reverberating the justice of our cause and the singleness of our aims. That we have been doing ever since we began; but I suppose that all this matter is secret, that the particular propaganda which is going to be put in motion by Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Northcliffe is their own secret, and that if we ask to know anything about it we may be conveying information to the enemy, which would never do.
Perhaps I may here say something about my personal experience of propaganda. In the first year of the war accident and design took me to Dunkirk two or three times. Dunkirk at that time was extraordinarily full of all kinds and conditions of people involved in the war—military, civilian, transport, doctors, nurses—you can hardly conceive what Dunkirk was. On arrival I had the greatest difficulty in getting a bedroom. It was uncommonly cold weather, and it looked as if I should have to sleep on the floor of one of the hotels. However, I was able to get a bedroom, not a very nice room, but it was a bedroom in one of the large cabarets on the quay. I was there some days, and as the bedroom 279 was rather desolate I used to spend the long cold evenings reading a novel in the cabaret downstairs, and listening to all sorts of stories of people relating their experiences in the war. They were French and Belgian soldiers. One man interested me a good deal, but the patrons of the cabaret did not like this man. I asked why they did not like him, and the reply was "It s'occupe de propagande." After that I managed to join the group where the propaganda was going on, and I had a very pleasant evening, but beyond standing the drinks I do not know that he did very much beyond telling us what a glorious thing war was and how well everything was going on.
I also know something about the form that propaganda has taken in Spain. I believe that in Spain German propaganda has been very successful, and I will tell you how it has been successful. I am afraid, however, that it is a little late even for Lord Beaverhrook and Lord Northcliffe to set about doing anything of this kind. In Spain, in the lonely roadside ventas and little villages I am told you find in every house a photograph of a Kaiser, and a tariff of all the domestic products and necessaries most popular in the small households of Spain at prices which will regulate those commodities if the Central Powers get the best of the Allies. That kind of propaganda is certainly propaganda which is likely to make an impression on poor people. But I do not for a moment suppose, as I said just now, that we shall be able to do anything of the kind. However, my Lords, if, as we are told, diplomacy is out of court, propaganda is evidently in. Witness these two particular appointments of members of your Lordships' House, upon which I am sure we should all be most anxious to congratulate them and wish them every good wish in the prosecution of their duties and in winning the war.
One thing does occur to me. If the propaganda is to help us to get on with the war, is there any chance of the propaganda taking the form of getting on with the peace? I said just now that diplomacy was said by Mr. Balfour the other day to be out of court. It is true that a week ago—I think on Thursday last—Mr. Balfour patched it up again. And here I should like to say one or two words not germane, I admit, to my Motion, but I am bound to say, in regard to what Mr. Balfour had to tell the House of Commons the other night 280 as an authoritative dictum coming from him in his high position, that I regret the stone wall, fixed attitude which Mr. Balfour then took up as regards even considering suggestions which come from the other side. Nor do I think that that attitude is sensible, or, in our present circumstances, correct. In private life, or in matters of business, business on a large scale, we do not act in that way. Often and often it is only after and through the various stages of conversation and discussion that any basis of potential agreement can be reached. Having said that, I will return for one moment to the main object of my Motion, which was to call attention to the growth of officialdom.
When the Representation of the People Bill was in this House, I listened with great interest to an eloquent passage, which fell from the noble Earl who leads the House. I think it was during the evening when the woman suffrage clause was discussed. I remember very well the noble Earl made an important speech, and in an interesting passage he told us that it was a great mistake to think that this country would not resume every-day life very much as it was directly after the war. He said, for what his opinion was worth, that he believed that everybody's desire was to get rid of the shackles which at present have thrown a great many of our notions of liberty and our notions of freedom into abeyance, and that we shall all get back very much to where we were before. I think—the noble Earl will correct me if I am wrong—it was Aristotle who pointed out, when he was discussing the science of probability, that in all inferences and estimates based on probability the main factor that you have to bear in mind is that it is the improbable that is likely to occur; and I should rather like in this connection to remind the noble Earl, Lord Curzon, and the House, too, of the story of Sinbad the Sailor. If you remember—I looked it up the other day in the London Library—when Sinbad the Sailor meets the Old Man of the Sea he is very courteously greeted by the Old Man of the Sea, and he is rather taken with his general appearance. Well, the Old Man of the Sea gets on to the back of Sinbad the Sailor, and you all probably remember what happened. He finds himself comfortable there and he is very indisposed to get off. Sinbad does all he can, makes every possible suggestion and even every possible movement to remove the Old Man, but he 281 finds the Old Man had twisted his legs round his neck and that he pressed his neck with his feet and squeezed his throat. I do not wish at all to compare with the Old Man of the Sea the splendid body of new officials, who, I am certain, do most devoted and most useful work, and who are in very way deserving of our admiration and thanks; but I think it is just possible that in creating this very large body of officials (who are not to my mind as responsible to Parliament as they ought to be) we may find ourselves in a position of not being able to resume the healthy current of political life, of Parliamentary life, as we have understood it in old days under the old-fashioned Party system, as the noble Earl thought would be possible when he made his speech.
I have now only to move for a Return of these appointments. I am not very pleased with the wording of the Return. "Semi" is a tiresome sort of word, but I could not think of any better, and there is no doubt as regards the actual fact that we are just now being administered and controlled by a very large number of semi-Ministerial, semi-Official and semi-Departmental individuals, and it is a Return of these that I should like to receive.
§ LORD HYLTON
My Lords, I have been instructed on behalf of the Treasury o reply to the noble Lord who has just made this Motion. I hope the noble Lord will excuse me if, in the course of that reply, I do not follow him in all the topics which were mentioned in his speech. I think he himself acknowledged that some of them were hardly germane to the terms of the Motion. The noble Lord, as your Lordships heard with admiration, covered considerable ground. He wandered almost from China to Peru. He spoke of Dunkirk and his experiences there, and of Spain. He referred to Pelmanism and the Press, and to such high matters as the appointment of noble Lords to Cabinet office. Into this I cannot-attempt to follow him.
I hope the noble Lord will not think it is a case of insult being added to injury, as he has put down this Motion about semi-official and semi-Ministerial posts, that a Minister has not risen to answer him. I may remind the noble Lord that it was the great Mr. Gladstone himself who was the first to delegate to persons holding what I dare say the noble Lord would call the semi-menial post of Lord-in- 282 Waiting, certain duties of answering for Departments. The noble Lord and the House too will, I am sure, agree that in these times it is quite impossible for Cabinet Ministers and heads of Departments, with the enormous amount of work they have to do in attending War Cabinets and Committees, themselves to answer all Questions in the House.
The terms of the Motion of the noble Lord are, as I think he himself admitted, somewhat vague, and many noble Lords, I imagine, hardly knew what to expect when they came to the House this afternoon, except to hear a very amusing speech from the noble Lord, in which, of course, they were not disappointed. It is true, it is a commonplace, that in the last few years, the last four years since the outbreak of war, a great number of new offices have been created; new Departments, new Executive Committees, and so forth. Your Lordships are aware that the number has increased from month to month, from year to year, and you are also aware that these new offices are spread over ducal mansions, mammoth hotels, and, finding the surface of the earth not sufficiently extensive, some of them have been obliged to descend into the bed of lakes. They have obliterated parks and squares, and, naturally, considerable staffs have become necessary in the case of each of these new offices.
In former days any of us with a fairly good memory, if we had been asked the names of the Ministers of the day, could without much difficulty have given the answer, but I think that would be a difficult task to perform now. I cannot give your Lordships a complete list of the number of new offices that have been created during the last three or four years. I have made a list, and although I do not profess that it is complete, I think it may be a fairly accurate one. There is the Air Board; the Conciliation and Registration Board for Government Employees; the Development Commission; the Ministry of Labour; the Ministry of Munitions; the National Health Insurance Committee (with its English, Scottish, and Welsh Commissioners); the Ministry of National Service; the Ministry of Pensions; the Ministry of Reconstruction; the Road Board; the Ministry of Shipping; the Emergency Departments of the Board of Trade (fourteen in number); the National War Savings Committee; the National Trade Department; the War 283 Trade Intelligence Department; the War Trade Statistical Department; the Food Control Ministry, and the Ministry of Propaganda, to which the noble Lord has alluded. As I say, the list may not be complete.
Your Lordships are perfectly aware that the creation and institution of these new offices and new Ministries is due to the irresistible pressure of events, and few of your Lordships will dispute the fact that they have been made inevitable, from time to time, by the circumstances of the war. They are part and parcel of the incalculable price the country has paid, is paying, and will have to pay, probably during the lives of the youngest amongst us, to use the words of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, speaking in another connection the other evening; it is part of the price the country will have to go on paying for the fact that, when the war broke out, the country was vulnerable not at one but at a score of different points.
I feel I am uttering a commonplace in this matter, but as the noble Lord who has brought forward the Motion has criticised, as I understand, the Government for allowing these great number of new offices to be created, I hope I am not wasting time in stating what I believe to be the cause. As I say, the country four years ago was vulnerable, not at one, but at a score of points. We were vulnerable in respect to our Army, at all events as regards numbers; vulnerable also as regards munitions, and certainly very vulnerable as regards our food supplies. We were also vulnerable with regard to timber supplies, dye stuffs, chemicals, drugs and so forth. I am not going this afternoon to attempt, in the few words I have to say on this point, to try and argue that any individual or Party was responsible for the state of things when war broke out. I am merely pointing out the fact that these deficiencies existed, and that new offices became necessary to cope with them.
As regards the expenses of these offices, the great expense no doubt connected with their creation and maintenance, that matter has to come before the House of Commons, who can regulate where they like, cut down salaries, or refuse to vote the amount. I think the noble Lord hardly did justice to the great services performed by many unpaid officials. In his Motion he speaks of semi-Ministerial, semi-Departmental, and semi-official appointments, 284 whether salaried or unsalaried, but I am sure he would be the last not to bear witness to the patriotic sacrifices made by many gentlemen of education and skill in banking, commerce, business, and so forth, who have voluntarily given their unpaid services to the country in connection with many of these new Ministries and Departments. And great as the expense has been, and is no doubt, to this country for the maintenance of the new offices in question, still greater would obviously have been the expense if the country had not been fortunate enough to procure in one case after another the services of gentlemen who were willing to take office without salary. The noble Lord in his speech did not allude to the fact—I do not quite know whether he was aware of it—that a White Paper was presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of His Majesty last year on Commissions on questions arising out of the war. To a certain extent, perhaps, that Return might meet what the noble Lord was asking for. Has he seen that Return?
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
I called attention to the fact that it is growing, goes on and on. That is my point.
§ LORD HYLTON
That is a Paper which was presented to both Houses of Parliament last year, and I thought perhaps, if the noble Lord had not seen it, it would have answered the purpose that he was seeking. With regard to the Return that the noble Lord has asked for, the Government is not prepared to meet his request. This list of Commissions and Committees set up to deal with public questions arising out of the war has been laid as a Parliamentary Paper only a few months ago, and the labour involved in producing such a Return as the noble Lord has asked for would be very great. One other result might be even to increase the number of people employed in public offices which he so much deprecates; and it is notorious in regard to one article that would be necessary for his Return that the country is suffering from a considerable shortage of it at the present time, one evidence of which is, as I understand, that the price of The Times is now to be 3d. Paper is short and labour is short. An exhaustive document has been laid before Parliament only a few months ago dealing with this subject, and I am instructed that the Government cannot comply with the noble Lord's request.
§ LORD BURNHAM
My Lords, as I have been Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Propaganda, and as my name was mentioned in the other House as one partly responsible for what has been done, perhaps I may be allowed to say something to the Motion moved by Lord Ribblesdale. In common with your Lordships I always listen with pleasure to the speeches of my noble friend which are embellished by flights of fancy and touches of imagination, but I confess that to-day I could not understand the connection between the two streams of his argument. That there has been a great increase in the number of Departments we know, and we know also that there has been a great increase in the sum spent for propaganda, but I do not see that the newspaper Press itself affords any connecting link between these two facts which will account for them being put together in the Resolution which has been submitted to your Lordships.
I cordially agree with a great, deal of what my noble friend said about the multiplication of Departments of State. At the same time, my Lords, you are not going back to the pre-war days of anarchy plus the police constable. You will have to have in the future a State far more highly organised than in the past, and that necessitates an increase in the machinery of Government. You cannot therefore expect the Departments to be brought back to their former number, but whether you want all the Departments that you have now, certainly in their present form, I very much doubt. It seems to me indeed that before we have a reduction of armaments we are likely to require a reduction of Departments and a co-ordination, to use that blessed word, which nobody can say now exists. I was shocked myself to find on a Committee upon which I sat in the Law Courts that on the same floor there were no less than forty-six reconstruction committees meeting weekly, and I am assured that the total number of such committees is ninety. These figures, of course, imply a great increase not only in the number of committees but in the number of officials which serve them.
As my noble friend said, the Civil Service, though it is not covenanted, is none the less tenacious of its place and of its emoluments. In fact, I am not sure that the new officialdom is not more official than the old, and that the tite barnacle qualities which distinguish the 286 Civil Service with all its many merits have not been taken over en bloc by those who have joined that Service since the war. There is not the least doubt that many Departments stultify one another, and that Committees cross one another in their functions at every turn. Instead of making for efficiency this redundancy has led to cross divisions and double work, and that certainly has not produced the results that were expected or desired.
Although we have to increase the machinery of Imperial Government in order that we may meet the new conditions and the harder life that is before us, we must guard against the obvious dangers of being subjected to a bureaucracy to which I think our natural genius is alien. I cannot help thinking of a story that I heard in India. A Pathan who was asked whether it was not much better to live under the Sirkar than wider the Ameer, replied "I do not know. Under the Ameer you meet a tiger once, but under the Sirkar you have the locusts always with you." We do not want to have locusts always with us in the sense that he meant. I quite agree with my noble friend that we can never get back to the beautiful simplicity of Government that we have abandoned for ever, but the enormous surplusage of agencies and committees that now exist will have to be largely diminished even though we cannot afford to part with them all.
I fail to see, however, what this has to do with propaganda Propaganda is a wide and nebulous term. It means anything or nothing, but mainly I suppose it means organised publicity. I have always wondered whether we have not a congenital inability for propaganda. We have got such a good conceit of ourselves that we think the best way of presenting our merits and virtues to other people and in other places is to paint our own virtues as we see them. I do not think that we make good propagandists. We have a poor talent for intrigue, and intrigue is in a certain sense at the bottom of propaganda. But propaganda covers such a multitude of things. Propaganda for the war is quite different from propaganda for peace, and at this stage I am bound to say that when guns and stomachs are speaking so loud as they are now I very much question the value of war propaganda at all. At the same time I do not question that, it was necessary to have it in the earlier days of 287 the war. We were amateurish in its beginnings, we were confused in its processes, and the results have been correspondingly ineffective. There is no doubt that we suffered, too, from the jealousy of the exclusive spirit of departmental patriotism. We did not get any common action as between the different Departments of State. Each Department carried on its own propaganda in its own way, and by its own machinery. Though the lines were often parallel they seldom met, and the communication between the different Departments was of the most formal and perfunctory kind.
Well, that was not a desirable state of things, and there is no doubt that we allowed the enemy to obtain a tremendous advantage over us in the early stages of the war by the effectiveness of their organisation for this purpose. At the same time, it would not be fair to those who have been carrying on the work of propaganda to say that they could ever have played the game as efficiently as the Germans have done. The Germans have all the machinery to their hand. Their tradition has been a tradition of intrigue. The whole of that process of penetration and permeation, of which we hear so much in commerce and in finance, in politics and in war, had been prepared long before the war. The supervision of the propaganda, as we had to fashion it, was, as I say, perhaps not very successful, and it was not very well established in the first place.
Recently it was found necessary to reorganise it. My noble friend has spoken of two noble Lords who have been appointed to responsible posts in connection with propaganda. I would only say this, that if, for the purpose of war, propaganda is organised publicity, then, on the whole the best men to carry it out are newspaper men. That is their trade. They know the ropes or wires, and therefore it is not a reflection on the Government in any sense that they appoint men with the experience of managing newspapers and organising news to posts of that kind. I do not say that the present division of propaganda is satisfactory, but I do say that it was necessary to establish certain principles for its own organisation, and that the Government could not be blamed—on the contrary they ought to be congratulated—for having taken the necessary steps to divide it into its proper spheres. Whether what is done now will be of much avail in the great 288 struggle in which we are embarked is another matter altogether, but you could not leave it where it was, because it was in such a state of hopeless and chaotic confusion that it had in some way or another to be dealt with. That does not mean that many of the officers connected with it have not shown the greatest ability in the service that they have given to the State, but they were working under impossible conditions.
I hope one day to be allowed to bring before your Lordships' House the whole story of the propaganda that has been undertaken by this country during the war, because it is a matter of infinite importance. After the war we shall hear of it in another connection, because it is not likely that the system which has been once commenced will be allowed altogether to drop. Of course it is true that if you wish for peace you must be prepared for war, and it is equally true that if you wish for a successful and lasting peace you must prepare for that peace. We shall of necessity have to do something, to take such action to keep touch with public opinion in other countries, friendly no doubt but uninformed, as will ensure the permanence of our friendly relations with them. If that is so, I cannot think that my noble friend would have any real reason to complain if that machinery is being more or less set up and put in order now. If it is soundly organised, in its divisions and sub-divisions, you can use it after the war, and there will be no danger, I fancy, that those gentlemen who are now connected with it, whose names he has given, would wish to play any prominent part at that time. If they are particularly fitted for the present and urgent duty then the Government, I think, has done quite right to appoint them, and there can be no question that any Minister, surveying the field and seeing the waste that was going on, and the confusion in the propaganda as it has been carried on for so long, could do nothing else but try his best to reform and reorganise it. Therefore, I think it is hardly necessary for your Lordships to express any opinion that would condemn the Government for doing what was their obvious duty, and what was a real necessity, in our organising of State.
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
My Lords, I cannot help thinking it is a little unfortunate that some words that fell from the noble Lord who made this Motion have led 289 this debate somewhat astray. The real point of the Motion was to call attention to the growing number of Government officials, and the debate has gone off on an elaborate discussion as to the necessity of officials in connection with propaganda. The subject is a very inviting one, but I desire not to follow it, although there is much that. I should like to say upon it, because I think that the real question that is asked here demands a little closer attention. I should just like, however, to say this, that, if the noble Lord who has just sat down is fight in saying this system of organised propaganda is going to he imposed on us permanently, it is a system which I believe to be entirely foreign to our nature, and one which, I believe, the country will bitterly resent.
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
Well, any system. Particularly if, as I understand, part of the system consists of propaganda at home, which can have no meaning whatever, excepting that somebody is to be appointed at the Government's expense, for the purpose of propagating the views of the Government.
Now, I think the noble Lord who replied omitted to look at the Question itself, because he proceeded to read out to us a large number of officers who had recently been appointed, and overlooked the fact that what was asked was, what were the officers that His Majesty's Government had appointed not the officers who had been appointed from time immemorial, but those for whom the present Government have been responsible. To that no answer of any kind was given, and the suggestion that a White Paper which referred to Commissions and Committees has anything whatever to do with them seems to me, with all respect to the noble Lord, to be a profound mistake. The noble Lord said that the whole of these appointments were due to the irresistible pressure of events. Well, of course, it is precisely that about which the public is so concerned. They are themselves quite unable to believe that it is so, and they think that the enormous multiplication of these offices and officials, during the period of office of the present Government, points to a method of governing this country which they regard with a considerable uneasiness and annoyance.
I do think that the noble Lord might 290 have given some more definite answer to this very plain and simple Question. The only real answer that I could gather that he gave was this—that His Majesty's Government has appointed so many people, it has increased such a large number of Departments, that it has lost all count and check of the number it has appointed, and that, therefore, it is unfair, at a moment of stress like this, to put them to the difficult and arduous labour of compiling accounts of the people whose existence they have created. I think that very likely may be true. That being so, it may not be well on the part of the noble Lord to ask that this added burden, which I should think would probably be extremely severe, should be thrown upon the Government. But it seems a little strange that, when the Government are creating all these new offices and making these new appointments, they should not keep some check and record of them themselves, and, when a request is made, be able to furnish some better information than that which has been given this afternoon.
My Lords, I do not propose to follow the noble Lord on this Bench, or my noble relative who asked this Question, into any of the details which are not strictly relevant; but I do propose to follow the noble Lord who replied in the first instance. I think, if he will allow me to say so, that he really almost toyed with the House in his reply; and I will point out to your Lordships how I take that to be so. First of all, he knows perfectly well that the Question was directed to recent appointments of this kind, and to the enormous daily growth of these appointments and semi-Ministerial people whose very names one does not know, let alone their functions and salaries. As typical of the sort of appointment, and by way of giving a list of them, the noble Lord permitted himself to include the Road Board, which was appointed years before the war began, and which has nothing to do with these appointments. This is one instance of what I mean by "toying with the House." The noble Lord then referred to a Return, which my noble relative is not able to identify but with which I am familiar, as to these Committees. That Return, I think I am right in saying, deals with Reconstruction Committees only, and it certainly does not give the number of people employed in the Department.
It deals with a good many Committees, but it does not give the number of people employed in the Department; it does not give the cost of the committees or of that Department to the public, or the salary of the semi-Minister who is in charge of it. Is it not a rather strong order that we should not be told by whom we are being governed and what they are being paid for it? My noble relative's Question is, reduced to its simplest terms, merely asking for a list of the people by whom we are governed and what they are paid for it out of the public funds. It is true that your Lordships' House does not administer public, funds and is not able to interfere with them; but Questions of this sort have been asked in this House, and I suggest that it is a strong order that we should not know even their names, or their salaries, and the Departments which have been created.
When the noble Lord spoke of the amount of paper which would be involved in making the Return, surely it is not comparable to the paper which is wasted now in half an hour in Government offices. Let me recall to your Lordships an instance which occurred in this House when we were discussing the Reform Bill. Day after day the Bill was reprinted with the Schedule. If there had been any desire to save paper the Bill could have been printed in one part and the Schedule in another; and I am sure that the paper wasted in that connection alone would have covered all the paper required for the Return which is now asked for. If there were any independence left in either House of Parliament this Motion would be carried against the Government; and if my noble relative takes it to a Division I shall vote with him. It is absurd that we should not be told this. If the Government cannot make the Return, let them put on some of those energetic people who are working without salaries to do it. I am sure that the Daily Mail could get out the Return in a short time with the assistance of their staff, and as the Government has their assistance let them prepare the Return.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
My Lords, I should like to say that my noble friend had no intention of toying with the House 292 or of acting discourteously towards your Lordships. But if he did so I am sure he regrets it very much indeed. When I read Lord Ribblesdale's Motion it never occurred to me, as Lord Buckmaster said it should have done, that it referred only to the last twelve months. I thought it was referring to the growth of bureaucracy since the beginning of the war.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I read it assuming that it was referring to the growth of bureaucracy under which the country is now suffering; and I say that the bulk of the bureaucracy of to-day is not appointed by the present Government.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
The bulk of public appointments existing to-day were not made by the present Government; and my noble friend declined, on behalf of the Treasury, to sanction a Return which is quite undefined in its terms and in its date, for a reason which I think is adequate. If noble Lords will show the superfluous Department, then it is the business of Parliament to deal with that Department; to dismiss its officials; to reduce its emoluments; to disperse it, if necessary. But to prepare a huge Return—and it would have to be an enormous Return—in order to find out some Department to which objection may be taken, is, in my opinion, putting a burden upon those very Departments which it is almost outside the province of Parliament to impose. The noble Lord, Lord Ribblesdale, quoted only one case to which he took objection, and that was the Propaganda Department, so far as the Government is concerned.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
The noble Lord calls our attention "to the growing number of semi-Ministerial, semi-Departmental, and semi-official appointments." I ask, to which does he object?
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
I believe that I moved; therefore I have an opportunity of replying. I am prepared to meet all these small debating points when my turn comes.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I am sorry that the noble Lord should convey that rebuke to me. They are not small debating points. I ask, To what Departments is objection taken? The noble Earl says he does not know what they are. If that is so they have clearly not, so far as he is aware, interfered with the public service. Let us know what the concrete case is, and then let Parliament go into the particular case. Surely that is the right thing to do. It is no good assuming that the appointments which have been made are improper or wasteful appointments unless examples can be quoted. The only other example quoted by Lord Ribblesdale was an appointment not made directly by the Government at all, but by some county agricultural committee. Does the noble Lord want those appointments to stop? The chief appointments made by the present Government—not, of course, the Munitions Department, which is out and away the biggest group of appointments that have been made; that was made by the last Government—are the Shipping Control Department which is I take it one of the most important; and the Food Ministry also. I do not know whether any noble Lord here desires, or thinks it advisable, at this stage to do away with either of those Departments. It may be argued that they 294 are over-staffed; it may be argued that their energies are directed along wrong channels; but I will engage to say that it is perfectly impossible at this juncture to cut out of our polity of to-day either of those great Departments which have been established by the present Government.
In preparation for this debate, although acting under a false impression, I had prepared certain examples of semi-Ministerial, semi-Departmental and semi-official appointments, which in my opinion seem to be wholly justified. Some, however, of these examples date back to the time of the last Government, and therefore I will not trouble to quote them, but I do really wish to enter a protest against the view which has been expressed in two or three speeches this afternoon, that these new Departments are redundant, inefficient, costly, and, as Lord Burnham said, worse than the old Civil Service.
§ LORD BURNHAM
I said some of the new Civil Servants were more tenacious of their privileges than the old. I did not attack the Departments.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I beg your Lordships to understand that where in the course of a few months, or a year or two, it has been necessary to extemporise an enormous public Department—the Munitions Department if you like, or the Shipping Department—where it has been impossible ex hypothesi to secure the assistance of more than a mere handful of trained Civil Servants, it is not only unjust but it is ungenerous to attack those Departments for inefficiencies which unquestionably occur.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I wish to reply, if Lord Camperdown will allow me, to attacks made on these new public Departments, which I say in my opinion are not only unjust but ungenerous as well.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
I have heard such attacks not only to-night but on various occasions, and I confess, having had to see some of the work done, 295 that I cannot express too high a tribute to the public spirit and devotion which are shown by these people, many of them utterly untrained in public work. The devotion and public spirit which they have shown have filled me with admiration and with pride, and yet we are told that they are uncovenanted, unsalaried—even the fact that they are unsalaried is a subject for a sneer. I know of men who are working in Government Departments today, themselves controlling trades and industries which they have left because the Government has had to take charge of those industries, and who are slaving day and night actually themselves fettering control over the industries in which they were themselves concerned—unsalaried men, and yet the fact that they are unsalaried is made almost a source of complaint.
If the noble Earl is referring to me, I never made any complaint about their being unsalaried. I merely asked for information. I made no complaint about their being salaried or unsalaried. I merely said we should like to know who they are.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
Does the noble Viscount want to know the names of every man and every clerk in, say, the Shipping Department?
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
That does not come within the Return, because it is a Department created by Statute. The noble Lord has put down a perfectly vague Question on the Paper which does not refer to the Shipping Department or to the Food Department. What we want to 296 know is what is in the minds of noble Lords. They are not themselves agreed. If the noble Lord will tell us actually what he does require to know, specifying the Departments concerned, and will tell us what he means by semi-Ministerial, then I have no doubt it might be possible to meet him; but to ask for a Return giving the names of every official employed in every Department would I think be superfluous, and would give no satisfaction to the noble Lord when he received the Return.
I confess, my Lords, that I have rarely listened to a less satisfactory official statement from any Minister of the Crown. Here we are asking in simple language for a Return of the appointments made during a stated period.
Well, I have no doubt that the noble Lord will be quite I willing to put in "by the present Government." Here we are asking for a specific Return of appointments made during a stated period, and we want it for the one simple purpose of public information. We are all of us taxpayers. We may not have anything to do, it is perfectly true, with finance, except in the present unpleasant form of having to contribute largely to it, but I say outside this House in every quarter you will find a growing anger at the enormous accumulation of offices, many of them believed to be useless, purposeless, and unnecessary, which are being created by the Government. What we are asking for is a Return, not of every small minor office, but of all the principal subordinate offices in these different departments, with the names of those appointed, specifying the salary if there is a salary. If there is no salary, which is to the honour of the holder of the office, it should be stated. No attack has been made in this House, or anywhere else so far as I am aware, on the efficiency of these officials, but we do want information, and I hope the House will take this opportunity of asserting the right of Parliament to claim full information upon this subject. Really for a Minister to take up the position which the noble Earl has taken on behalf of the Government, and to tell us that it will mean a great quantity of paper, which is, at this moment, as we all know, scarce, is an excuse which I trust the House will not accept. I hope that the House will 297 support the Motion of my noble friend, and that we shall obtain from the Government a Return to which I think the public are entitled.
§ LORD GAINFORD
My Lords, I have had a good deal of experience in another place in having to accept Returns which involved a good deal of labour and even expense. I have also had considerable experience in connection with having to refuse Returns during my Parliamentary career; but I do not think I ever listened to a speech from a Treasury official which seemed to me more unsatisfactory than that of the noble Earl in reply to Lord Ribblesdale's request. It is usual for the Treasury to intimate to an hon. Member in another place if it is unable to meet his request for a particular Return, and to communicate the reasons why it is impossible to do so. All that we were told by the noble Lord this afternoon was that owing to scarcity of paper and labour it would be impossible to meet the noble Lord's request for this Return. Now it was open to him, I think, to inform us that if the Return was put in some other form it could be acceded to, and suggest to the Government that there is a real feeling outside this House, as well as within it, that information should be granted as to the recent appointments that have been made. We do not want a long list of names a large bulky document. But I think what the country does want, and what this House would like, would be a Return of the various Government Departments, whether Ministerial or semi-Ministerial, which have been created during the last fifteen months while the present Government have been in power, with the numbers of persons who are in those Departments, and as nearly as possible their aggregate salaries. If there is any difficulty in giving the last-mentioned particular I am quite sure we should accept such information as could be given without great expense or trouble on the part of the Government.
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
My Lords, I think I said—I am certain I did say; we shall see it in Hansard—in the few observations I directed to you, that I quite understood the difficulty of the Return, and that if the Government would accept it in good part, understanding that I mean by it a Return showing the growth of appointments, I would be quite willing to recognise that they would do it in the way in which it 298 should be done, and give the public the information it required. From the intervention of the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, just now—for it amounted to that; he intervened on all sorts of points that nobody had raised—I do not think the noble Earl appreciates the position which was raised by my Question, and I do not think he appreciates the position of the Government as regards the public outside with reference to this tremendous outcrop, the daily outcrop, of fresh appointments. He said that I had complained about the Government, that the whole of what I said was complaining, lodging charges against particular posts, particular offices, and particular people.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
On the contrary—perhaps I did not make myself quite clear I said the noble Lord quoted no particular case, except that of propaganda, to give an example.
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
Quite so, because I was not calling attention to your misdeeds but to your proceedings. If I say that there are a great many birds in a field, it is not the same as saying that I dislike birds or disapprove of birds. There was no logic in the noble Earl's comment. He started a number of hares of his own which he coursed with moderate success, and left out altogether what was the real object of my Question, which was I hope at last conveyed to him by Lord Russell.
Really, what I wanted to do—what we must try and do, I think—was to call attention to the large increase of the standing and running charges of our establishment. As the noble Lord said, we are taxpayers here although we have no vote, and it is as a taxpayer that I look at a great many of these things. If you go on piling up these expenses, no doubt you will find your financial position sooner or later considerably worse than it is now. I do not know that there is anything more that I want to say. I think I paid a tribute to the devotion and zeal and good work of these people who have given their services for nothing. When I said they were unsalaried, I stick to that; but a large unsalaried officialdom not reachable by any Parliamentary process is a danger to the country, and that is what you are beginning to accumulate. I do not know how far Lord Burnham represents the Government. He is on an important Committee—the Propaganda Committee.
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
The noble Lord, Lord Burnham, told us that we might be perfectly well satisfied, from what he knew of the working of things, that all this would have to go on after the war. That is exactly what I wanted to bring out. That is my allegory of Sinbad the Sailor. We shall find this outcrop, which the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, thinks so desirable, squeezing our throat and interfering with our shoulders. I am very glad that has been brought out. We know now that the Government will not face this Return for this reason—because they know the country would say this is not the way to manage our business, and that the circumstances of this war do not warrant or justify the enormous increase in officials which the present Government have seen fit to make.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON)
My Lords, I had no desire to take part in this discussion, but I am not certain that there has not been a good deal of misunderstanding on both sides as to what is in the minds of noble Lords on the matter. I certainly plead guilty to the charge of not having altogether succeeded in appreciating the point which my noble friend Lord Ribblesdale desired to raise. I entered the House this afternoon certain that I should listen to an agreeable and facetious speech from him an expectation which was far from being disappointed—but I was a little uncertain as to the information which was sought from us, and I am bound to say that in the course of his speech, as he gave us those agreeable personal experiences of his own in different parts of the world, I found it increasingly difficult as time went on to ascertain exactly what he meant. My noble friend who answered on behalf of the Treasury had sought to obtain the information, which was not at once per ceptible from the terms of the noble Lord's Motion. I believe he wrote a letter to the noble Lord and asked him what he meant, because, like myself, Lord Hylton was in complete doubt as to what was in the background of the noble Lord's mind. The noble Lord, who is not only facetious but secretive, declined to give the information.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
My noble friend had an answer, but the answer, I believe, contained no information. Therefore, we entered the debate this afternoon having only the phraseology of my noble friend's Motion, to which curiously little attention has been paid in the discussion in which we have so far taken part.
Now, my Lords, what is the gist of the whole matter? There have been a great many offices, a great many appointments, a great many persons selected to perform this or that work in connection with the war. We none of us, perhaps, have a very clear idea of how many there are, and only those of us near the centre have a really clear idea of the necessity for their selection. We all of us know that we are engaged in the biggest war that has ever taken place in the history of the world, and one that makes the greatest demands or the energies of every class of people. When you remember, my Lords, that at the present moment you are putting into the field and supplying in the field an Army of many millions of men, when you remember that the Government has taken control of almost every branch of national industry—beginning with railways, and going on to mines, to canals, to timber, to food, and to shipping—you can imagine the enormous organisation that is required to control and administer these affairs; and so far from being surprised at the number of committees or offices that are created, or at the number of men—and I may add women, too—who are called upon to administer them, I am on the whole surprised at the moderation with which the thing has been done.
And, let me point out that the reason I why there has been moderation, if there has been, as I contend there has, is the enormous amount of unpaid and unsalaried labour that has been given. I must endorse what the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, said on that point, that your Lordships would be astonished, when you are apt to criticise this great mass, as you regard it, of official posts, if you realised how much of this service is rendered without any hope of reward or any demand for payment, but simply out of a. patriotic regard for the interests of the country. On that point we are all agreed, I am sure, and I do not imagine for a moment that any noble Lord who has spoken to-night 301 desired to say one word in disparagement of the efficiency, honesty, or sincerity of the work that has been done.
Now we come to the demand that has been made—and here I confess that, even after the last speech of Lord Ribblesdale, I am in very grave doubt. We have had several definitions in the course of the discussion of what noble Lords opposite desired. For instance, the noble Viscount, Lord Harcourt—I think I am correct in saving it was he—in the course of an interruption, said that what he wanted was a list of the number of offices and officers created by the present Government, with the names of those appointed to them and the salaries which they enjoy. That is not what the noble Lord, Lord Ribblesdale, asked for, and it is not in the least consistent with the terms of the Motion on the Paper. Then we have the noble Lord, Lord Weardale, who was only anxious for a list of recent appointments—I took down Ins words—"recent appointments to various Departments, Ministerial or semi-Ministerial." Then the noble Lord, Lord Ribblesdale, in his concluding remarks, was not so much interested in the number of appointments and the scale of the offices as in the burden which, he thought, was being placed upon the public.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
Yes, the reckless burden which he thinks is being placed on the public. On these points I can understand the curiosity, anxiety, and interest, and if you ask me for any definite information on any of these points, I will try to give it. We are here to give the information that noble Lords desire to seek. But how can you accept a Motion which is couched in these terms?—"To call attention to the growing number of semi-Ministerial, semi-Departmental, and semi-Official appointments." What does that mean? I confess I have not the least idea what a. "semi-official" appointment is. I thought that when a man received a post and did work for the State he became an official. I do not understand what a "semi-official" is. If the noble Lord pushes his Motion to a Division, and supposing he carries it, I invite him to contemplate the frame of mind of the person in the Treasury, or elsewhere, who is called upon to satisfy the curiosity of your Lord- 302 ships and draw up a list of "semi-official" appointments.
And what is a semi-Minister? Is a semi-Minister a man who is half a Minister and half something else? The noble Lord was once a Minister, he was once a Whip, and when he talks about propaganda I detect reminiscences of his earlier career. But what is a "semi-Minister," and what is a "semi-Department"? The noble Lord is famous as being a joker, but he has never before carried his joking, so far as I know, into the terms of a Motion submitted to your Lordships' House. His Motion goes on to say, "made by His Majesty's Government." I cannot help thinking, with a certain amount of amusment, that it is is not so much in the public interest as it is in relation to His Majesty's present advisers that all this curiosity is shown. It was not shown when Mr. Asquith was Prime Minister, although to the best of my recollection, when the noble Viscount opposite was a colleague Of mine, he and I witnessed without dismay, or at any rate with well-concealed dismay, the considerable increase in Departments and offices that took place; but the moment Mr. Asquith disappears and Mr. Lloyd George comes in, and the noble Viscount takes his seat on that Bench, public curiosity is aroused—and this interest in the great burden that is being borne by the public only starts into existence in December, 1916, a date about which the noble Lord, Lord Ribblesdale, was extremely uncertain.
Let us take the concluding words of the Motion. The noble Lord calls attention to the "growing number," and then moves for "a Return." What on earth is the meaning of "a Return"? Again I ask the noble Lord to contemplate the position of the Treasury clerk who, confronted with this Motion—carried if it were by your Lordships' House—began to compile "a Return." What would be the Return? He may well give you a Return that the whole thing is superfluous and unnecessary. Really, I cannot imagine for a moment that my noble friend, whatever may be his interest in moving it, can seriously ask your Lordships' House to pass the Motion that he has submitted. There is also the additional point made by the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, that to compile a Return of this description, if we were certain what was wanted, would consume a great deal of time and labour—quite apart from the expense, as to which I 303 will say nothing—and would in itself involve the employment of a large number of officials, the increasing multiplicity of whom the noble Lord deplores. I venture to suggest that if he wants information on any definite point he should put a definite Question on the Paper, to which I or any member of the Government would be pleased to give an answer, but that he should refrain from placing on the Treasury the altogether undeserved burden of attempting to decide what was in the noble Lord's mind when he put this Motion on the Paper.
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
Would the noble Earl like this Amendment to my Motion: "To call attention to the growing number of Ministerial Departments and official appointments, whether salaried or unsalaried, made by His Majesty's present Government during the last fifteen months, and to move for the Return of such appointments."
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
I am very reluctant indeed to accept one of these sudden Amendments, moved at the last moment by a noble Lord who, having put down a Motion which is absolutely impossible, tries to squeeze Ministers into accepting something which they have had no opportunity of examining and to which they might regret having given their adherence. I hope, with all respect, he will not ask me to accept his amended Motion.
§ LORD STUART OF WORTLEY
My Lords, the debate, I submit, cannot be concluded by the ex cathedra declaration such as the noble Lord has given. I have to pay some respect to my own position as an independent member of your Lordships' House, and I hope the House will resist the Motion, which is limited to a fifteen months administration, thus fulfilling well the proverb that "the net is spread in vain in the sight of the bird." We have seen the noble Viscount below me moving about the House arranging for a Division.
§ VISCOUNT HARCOURT
I only asked my noble relative whether he was going to divide, and he informed me that he was.
§ LORD STUART OF WORTLEY
I adhere to my description of the operation. I want to know whether the object of the Motion is to promote public economy or to inflict humiliation on His Majesty's Ministers, because if it is for the latter operation I myself will not be a party to it unless we are to get an advantage out of it at the same time. We all know perfectly well that this extension of the number of appointments, if it was excessive, this multiplication of buildings, and this enormous expenditure of public money, if it was useless, did not begin fifteen months ago. We all know much too well what is the reason for the limitation of this inquiry, and this quite unnecessarily restricted period.
This is a very serious subject and a mistake has been made by some noble Lords, if I may respectfully say so, taking part in this debate who have complained of the answer of Lord Hylton as being the answer of a Treasury official. We all know that the noble Lord is not a Treasury official, and it is because he is not a Treasury official that he is put in a position which is very hard upon him. He has not an administrative post which gives him the smallest right or power to control any of the things that have been done. I am glad that the noble Earl who leads this House saw it to be his duty to intervene. This is a very serious question because of the existence, I do not say the justice, of the very grave public suspicion as to these Departments. People see these enormous buildings being run up, and they suspect that a totally undue standard of cubic space per official is probably being laid down. They see the numbers employed and they think that probably a highly Utopian view of the maximum hours of labour that can be requited has been adopted. Everybody knows that if you multiply Departments you probably are only adding to the evil of circumlocution, and that very likely you will merely be adding to the number of pigeon-holes. What is worse than that, in all these creations of fresh Departments you get more and more centres of departmental amour propre, one Department spending a great deal of its time in quarrelling with other Departments. As Lord Burnham said, You know perfectly well that you are creating cross divisions.
I for one have to complain not merely of the things that have been done which create public suspicion. I have to complain also of Lord Ribblesdale himself who, 305 when he talks about semi-Ministerial, semi-Departmental and semi-official demands, is using semi-accurate and semi-definite language which is unworthy of serious acceptance on a Motion made to this House. The proper Return to his Motion, if it were accepted by this House, would be a blank piece of paper, because during the last fifteen months, and indeed for a longer period during the war, no appointments have been made which are semi-official. All have been official. Anybody who does public work is doing an official duty. Any Department engaged in public work is a public Department. Therefore the proper return to the noble Lord's Motion would be that no such appointments exist. I had myself a good deal to do a long time ago, when I held office, with the framing of Returns, and I know perfectly well how idle it is for anybody who wants a Return to try to escape from the responsibility of making that demand by leaving to somebody else the duty of devising the necessary form of words which must make the heading of a Return, in other words shaping the question to which you want an answer. The noble Lord I submit ought not to put this House in the position it would be an undignified position—of making a demand and getting no reply to that demand merely on the ground of his failure to formulate what it is that he really wants.
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, I think, from having listened to this debate, that there has been a want of appreciation of what the real question involved is, and that to a certain extent the noble Lord is responsible owing to the terms in which he puts his Motion. I should like to suggest, if I am in order, for the purpose of preventing any difficulty upon this point, that the debate might be adjourned now, and that before it is begun again further attention might be given by the noble Lord to the terms of his Motion in communication with the noble Earl who leads this House, or with the noble Earl Lord Crawford, or with Lord Hylton or whoever would be the appropriate Minister. I think that there is a strong objection to giving the Return in its present form. At the same time I am of opinion that the demand for information is fully justified in substance. If we adjourn the debate there might be some communication between the noble Lord and the Treasury Bench, and probably, if an arrangement should be come to, the matter need not be reopened again. 306 I think that would prevent any misunderstanding, and therefore with that object I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.
§ EARL CURZON OF KEDLESTON
My Lords, I venture to think that is not the best wav of dealing with the matter. If the debate is adjourned it will be resumed upon this Motion. We almost all agree that the Motion in its present form is one that no one understands. The noble Lord who moved it is not quite certain himself what it means. The information that he asks for could not conceivably be given under the terms of that Motion. No one, I say, understands it; and therefore I submit that there is not much use in resuming the debate upon an impossible Motion. I said just now that all information that I could properly give I should be very glad to give. The real thing for the noble Lord to do, if I may venture humbly to advise him, would be to withdraw his Motion and put some other Question upon the Paper. I would rather not myself have responsibility for his Question whether it is friendly or not to the Government. The noble Lord can put down the kind of Question he wants on his own account, after consultation with his friends. I would rather, therefore, decline the proffered assistance which was referred to by my noble friend Lord Parmoor. I would suggest that this Motion should now be withdrawn, and that, the noble Lord should put, down whatever Question seems most suitable to him.
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, having regard to what the noble Earl has said, I would not put the House to the trouble of a Division on the question of adjourning the debate, and I therefore withdraw my Motion.
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
My Lords, I think that the noble Earl has given us good advice. I will put down another Question in a form in regard to which I will take advice. There is one thing, however, that I should like to say. The noble Earl just now spoke of me and of my friends. What I have done in this matter I have done entirely on my own responsibility. I have asked nobody's advice, and nobody is responsible except myself if I put down a vague Motion. As to the question of my not having answered Lord Hylton's letter, I did—
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
Then Lord Curzon has misled the House. I will take Lord Curzon's suggestion, and put the same point down in a form upon which your Lordships can either divide or not, if it comes to a Division. In the meantime I withdraw my present Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.