HL Deb 05 November 1940 vol 117 cc584-99

LORD ADDISON had the following Notice on the Paper: To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have any statement to make on foreign affairs; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to ask the noble Viscount the question which stands in my name.


My Lords, I am, as usual, grateful to the noble Lord for the opportunity which he has given me to make a short statement on some of the recent developments in the international situation. In a war of this nature there is scarcely any limit to the topics that Parliament might usefully on such an occasion as this review; but were I to attempt to cover that ground completely I should obviously make too great a draft upon the patience of your Lordships. I therefore propose to restrict myself to what I conceive to be the two principal matters that at this time are predominant in your Lordship's minds, and those two matters are the particular features at the present moment of the war in the air and on the sea, and in the second place the situation in the Balkans that has arisen out of the Italian attack on Greece.

With regard to the first, your Lordships have had the opportunity in the course of the last day or two of observing in the Press certain figures of the enemy's air losses in the last twelve weeks, and I think that even a layman can say without undue presumption that a loss of 2,433 bombers and fighters in aircraft and something over 6,000 in personnel in those weeks must certainly have given to those directing the air effort of Germany rather bitter food for thought. And, of course, added to those losses that are proved must also be the unknown figures of aircraft which never reach their bases on return, though they are not actually seen to fail by our defending forces. And no doubt, further, there must be large numbers of aircraft which crash on return, either because of damage received or by reason of adverse weather conditions. The picture thus presented does, I think, give ground for solid encouragement, and daily, certainly, we pile up a greater debt of gratitude to all those, from the Air Staff through all ranks of the Air Force to aircraftmen, who are giving their energies and often their lives to defend this country.

Foiled in the air, the enemy has recently redoubled his efforts to starve us into surrender by cutting off our seaborne supplies, and there, too, he has failed. With the heavier burdens thrown on us after the collapse of France, the Royal Navy and the Mercantile Marine have none the less been able to keep going the steady stream of supplies from overseas which means so much to us, and I doubt whether all our history shows any finer example of dogged courage and persistence. Our losses have of late been heavy, but not more than we can bear, and with the advent and the bringing into active operation of the United States destroyers, and with our own new construction now being completed, our Services may look forward to some easement of that strain.


Is the noble Viscount referring to new construction of warships or merchant ships, or both?


I was referring mainly to the new construction of warships—anti-submarine construction—but, of course, the other is also relevant.

I now turn to say something in the more specific region of foreign affairs. Your Lordships may remember that when I last spoke in this House on the subject of Greece I described the Greek Government and the Greek people as being firmly determined to defend their hard-won independence and integrity should Italy pass from threats to a violation of their territory, and I went on to state that His Majesty's Government stood by the guarantee given to Greece in April, 1939, at the time of Italy's rape of Albania. The Italian Government have now added to their record of cowardly aggression on small States, and, as we all know, on October 28, at three o'clock in the morning, the Italian Minister at Athens delivered to the Greek Prime Minister an ultimatum demanding the consent of the Greek Government to the occupation of unspecified strategic points by six o'clock that morning. The ultimatum, of course, as might be expected, contained a number of quite demonstrably baseless charges against the Greek Government. Your Lordships may have noticed that, after reading these charges, General Metaxas inquired what were the strategic points which the Italians wished to occupy, and when the Italian Minister answered that he did not know, General Metaxas did not hesitate to reply that he considered the demand, and the manner in which it was made, constituted a declaration of war. I really doubt whether cynicism could any further go—the Italian Minister ignorant of the strategic points that he was supposedly instructed to demand‡

Half an hour before the expiry of the time-limit, the Italians opened hostilities on the Albanian border, and shortly afterwards proceeded to bomb the airport of Athens and the port of Patras. There can only be one feeling of the warmest admiration both for the manner in which General Metaxas contemptuously rejected the Italian ultimatum and for the spirited defence of the Greek armed forces. The task of this country in the discharge of obligations assumed in partnership with France, when France is no longer there to play her part, is obviously made more difficult, but I need hardly say that it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to do all in their power to assist Greece in defending herself against this unwarranted aggression by her rapacious neighbour. Measures to this end have already been taken and other measures are in hand. Your Lordships will not, I think, expect me to be more precise. It will, perhaps, suffice to say that we make the cause of Greece our own.

These events, of course, have not been without direct influence on, as they have been a direct cause of increased difficulty for, other nations, Greece's neighbours. The position in Yugoslavia, sufficiently difficult since the defection of France, has been rendered yet more delicate as the result of this latest Italian move. Geographically, Yugoslavia lies mid-way between Germany and Italy, and I doubt not that both these countries are attempting to take the fullest advantage of this situation. The Yugoslav people and Government have been resolute in the face of Italian and German pressure, and they are only too well aware, I fancy, of the ambitious ideas that these neighbours of theirs may cherish; but we are confident that they will reject, as they have hitherto rejected, any demands from Germany or Italy which are incompatible with Yugoslav sovereignty. They have before their eyes the example of the fate of Rumania which provides, perhaps, the most characteristic example in this war of the fate that attends a country which fails to show a firm front to German menaces and to detect the hollowness of German promises.

Rumania may well now be regretting that she did not show greater determination and courage in the face of realities. What, I wonder, has it profited her to throw herself, as she has done, into the arms of Germany? She has lost great slices of her national territory, and now she is being nakedly exploited by Germany for Germany's own ends. Already morally occupied by Germany, she is in the highway to becoming physically occupied by Germany as well. Your Lordships will have seen that, in anticipation of such physical occupation, arrangements were made for those members of the British colony in Rumania, who wished to do so, to leave the country. For the present His Majesty's Minister and a reduced staff are remaining at Bucharest with the object of protecting the remaining British subjects and British interests. The attitude of Bulgaria has, of course, an importance of its own. His Majesty's Government fully appreciate the difficulties of her situation, and they welcome the assurances given by His Majesty the King of the Bulgarians at the opening of the Bulgarian Parliament on October 29, in which he asserted the readiness of all Bulgarians to defend their independence.

As your Lordships would have naturally expected, we have been in close consultation with the Turkish Government regarding the situation that has arisen, and the attitude of that Government was stated with great clarity and great resolution by the President of Turkey in his speech at the opening of the Turkish Parliament three or four days ago. Thanks to the wise and far-sighted policy of the Turkish Government, Turkey constitutes a very solid barrier against aggression, and I do not doubt that your Lordships will fully share the confidence of her President in the ability of the Turkish Army to carry out any tasks that may fall to it to perform. For myself, I would take this opportunity of endorsing and repeating, on the part of His Majesty's Government, the words used by the President when he said that the bonds of alliance which unite our two countries are solid and unbreakable. We have, on this side, the same faith in Turkey as we believe Turkey has in us.

The relations of His Majesty's Government with Egypt and with the Egyptian Government are, I am glad to say, close and cordial, as is indeed only natural in view of the Treaty of Alliance, which the Egyptian Government are implementing both in the letter and in the spirit with great good will. I have no doubt that Italy thought that her entry into the war would be a sign to Egypt that she was preparing to carry out the promises to the Arabs made by the Axis Powers. After all, we must never forget that Signor Mussolini is the self-styled Protector of Islam, and the German propaganda service only recently issued a statement of the deep sympathy Germany feels with the cause of Arab independence and said that her partner, Italy, was in full accord with these generous emotions. But I do not think that either the Egyptians or the Arabs in general have such short memories and I do not think that they are likely to forget the Italian behaviour in Libya, in Albania or in Abyssinia.

It was perhaps an unfortunate coincidence of events that the German statement of deep sympathy with the Arab cause was immediately followed, if not accompanied, by the bombing of Bahrein and Saudi-Arabian territory, and I do not think the Arab world will have been blind to the significance of that. Signor Mussolini had indeed promised that Egyptians had nothing to fear during the whole month of Ramadan, but that promise was almost immediately broken by the dropping of bombs near Cairo, and therefore I do not think that it is likely that the promises made by these Powers will hold any great attractions for Egypt or for Arab States. Egypt remains contented, prosperous and independent, and to that prosperity we have ourselves made a powerful contribution by guaranteeing a market for the entire[...] cotton crop of 1940.

As your Lordships will have observed, the Secretary of State for War has been paying a personal visit to Egypt in order to be able to assure both His Majesty's Government and the Egyptian Government that nothing that is humanly possible is left undone, first, to maintain the security of Egypt, the Suez Canal, and the Sudan; and, secondly, as opportunity offers, to engage and strike at the Italian forces on the frontiers of those lands. I am glad to say that my right honourable friend has expressed great satisfaction with all he has seen there. Sir Hubert Huddleston, the new Governor-General of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, has arrived in Khartoum. He is no stranger, as your Lordships know, to that country, which he knows well, and where he spent many years in active command of the Sudan Defence Force. I have no doubt that his return as Governor-General is warmly welcomed by the Sudanese, whose military forces, your Lordships will have been glad but not surprised to see, have been distinguishing themselves in some very useful encounters against greatly superior Italian strength.

I perhaps might mention that we have recently welcomed in London the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, who, after many vicissitudes and much wandering, have succeeded in reaching this country, in joining their colleagues here, and in formally transferring the seat of the Belgian Government to the United Kingdom. The Belgian Minister of Finance, immediately on their arrival, once more in a broadcast address reaffirmed the determination of the Belgian Government to continue with the United Kingdom the struggle against Germany with all the resources at their command. I trust that the arrival of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs will lead to the fullest organisation of free Belgians everywhere in resistance to our common enemy.

Lastly I must say a word or two about the position in France. Herr Hitler has prosecuted and is prosecuting his design of attempting to disintegrate the whole life and future of the French nation, and I think it is in that light that we must look upon his recent meeting and conversation with Marshal Pétain. We are not, indeed, fully informed of what has passed between Marshal Pétain and Herr Hitler, and it would no doubt be well to suspend judgment until we know what return France is asked to make for such concessions as may have been offered by the Germans. The Armistice terms were cruel enough. The Germans have, since that time, gone far beyond them, and Herr Hitler has once again shown that his word is not any very secure foundation on which to build a policy. We realise to the full the difficulties of Marshal Pétain's position. No doubt he hoped by entering the path of collaboration that the load of suffering of France might, in the near future, be eased, that the lot of the French prisoners in Germany might be improved, that the burden of occupation expenses might be lessened, and that the line of demarcation between the two parts of France might be made more flexible.

Whatever he may have hoped, or may hope, to gain for France, we cannot believe that a Government headed by a man of honour like Marshal Pétain would commit France to a course which would be a stab in the back of her former Ally. We, on our side, have repeatedly rejected all suggestions from the enemy for an agreement with us at the expense of France. Is it too much to hope that those who direct French policy may see more and more clearly, as German plans are unfolded, that in the end the cause of French survival is the same as ours, and that any action that would have the effect of aggravating our difficulties, and which, of course, we should have to meet with whatever counter action circumstances might demand, must also directly deny that which must be the prayer of every loyal Frenchman that he may see France restored to her former state and greatness?


My Lords, I am sure everyone of us will welcome this opportunity of hearing the review just made by the Foreign Secretary. It illustrates in a very striking way the ever-changing aspects of this great contest. It is only a short time since we had a brief Recess—two or three weeks or less ago—and then at our reassembly a number of matters came up, some of them of great and critical importance, which, by most of us at any rate, had been more or less unforeseen. Now, after a further short interval, we have, not perhaps unforeseen but entirely new developments brought before us, and who knows what will come next?

It is not in my province to traverse the many matters mentioned by the noble Viscount, but I will make some observations on two or three. He first mentioned, I am sure with the agreement of us all, the remarkable results—results which will have an enduring influence, possibly, on history—of the exploits of our airmen. He paid a high tribute to what we owe to them, and the results of the Blitzkrieg, so far as the air is concerned, since August 8, in this country, speak for themselves. But on that I would like to ask the noble Viscount if he is going to make any use of this significant and remarkable achievement. I believe that it may well be—we all recognise that it may well be—the deciding battle of the war. It may have given Great Britain that opportunity for the assembly and mobilising of all her resources, aided by supplies from across the Atlantic, which will determine the issue of the war. More than once I have exhorted the noble Viscount to good work in spreading abroad such encouraging news as can be spread. I know very well that he is not in a position to state publicly what steps, if any, he takes to give effect to those exhortations, but I will repeat them. I cannot imagine anything which, if it were brought home to the oppressed millions in Czechoslovakia, France, Holland, Belgium and other countries, would give them more hope and more encouragement and stiffen their backs a bit, than the news of the results of these air battles over our own shores. I hope that the most energetic and relentless steps are being taken and will continue to be taken to encourage these oppressed peoples by a full knowledge of what has happened.

I have nothing to say as to the very accurate description which the noble Viscount gave of Mussolini's action in attacking Greece. "Here," Mussolini thought, "is somebody weak and a fit object for my valour"—just as he thought France was when she was beaten down. It is entirely characteristic of the man, and every one of us rejoices that the Greeks are putting up a good fight. They must be facing tremendous odds and one can only hope that British help so far as it can be afforded will rapidly be given. It is not for me to make suggestions affecting matters of strategy, but at the same time there are obvious advantages presented to our Naval and Air Forces by the entry of Greece into the war—advantages very manifest and perhaps exceedingly valuable, perhaps having a determining influence upon the character of the war in the Eastern Mediterranean. Naturally the noble Viscount did not tell us what His Majesty's Government are proposing to do and I would not ask him. All I can say is that we shall all be profoundly disappointed if effective and swift action, so far as it can be, is not taken. We know that whatever is done must be conditioned by what we can do, and it is that deplorable deficiency in supplies to which some of us have referred time after time in this House and elsewhere that I am afraid is the determining factor as to what we can do with regard to the air. Therefore it is of first-rate importance that reinforcement of our supplies shall be pushed forward in every way as rapidly as possible.

Now may I say just a word on a subject which is delicate but upon which some of us have misgivings—that is, the highest direction of our Admiralty effort? It is so very important in view of the situation in the Mediterranean that that should be of the very best. We have not yet had a proper explanation of what happened over the loss of the ship "Glorious" and we have had the loss of the "Empress of Britain" under very disconcerting circumstances quite recently. Then there was the slip through of the ships to Dakar. Somehow or other these things do not make us feel at all comfortable. Added to that, of course, we have had the terrible sinkings of the last two or three weeks. I know that we must take account of the acquisition of French ports on the Bay of Biscay and of other advantages which the enemy have reaped by their successes in France and perhaps the reinforcement of their U-boat resources by Italian boats. We all hope and pray that very soon, as has happened before more than once, this wave of sinkings will diminish, but I confess I feel a little uncomfortable—I will not put it higher than that—and I believe many people in the country feel uncomfortable about these happenings. The Dakar business has not been explained at all and I do hope that the Government will be no respecters of persons in securing that there is the most efficient direction possible for this vital Service.

I would like also to make one or two comments on another subject arising out of the very interesting and illuminating review which the noble Viscount has given to us. It reflects to some extent on his own Department, but what I say is said, as he knows, with complete good will and only with an anxiety that we should keep in our minds things that are vital to success. The noble Viscount did not mention Russia in his statement. I do not think I have any more liking for the mode of government in Russia than has anyone else here, but that has nothing to do with it and it has nothing to do with him. Perhaps he did not mention Russia because he had nothing new to say. That would be a very good reason. I am sure that Sir Stafford Cripps has a very difficult job. In times past we have been guilty of serious neglect of our opportunities for cultivating better relations with this great and vial State. One cannot forget the folly of the Munich episode. All that I would say is that, although I recognise that it was not material in the review which we had been given to discuss the efforts which are being made—I am sure that they are being made—to improve our relations with Russia in every possible way, I would remind the Foreign Secretary that many of us are exceedingly anxious that there should be a more active and alert diplomacy on behalf of Great Britain in respect of this matter than has often been the case in the past.

Somehow or other, in matters of diplomacy the "other fellows" seem always to take the initiative. I do not see why they should. I do not quite know why it has been so difficult for His Majesty's Government to be better informed as to what is happening at Vichy. Ribbentrop and Hitler keep running about and having much advertised interviews. I would not suggest that the British Foreign Secretary should imitate their example in that respect; but, without going so far as that, I should like to see a great deal more enterprise in our diplomacy. I do not want us always to seem to wait upon these "other fellows," which we certainly seem to be doing at Vichy—waiting to find out what they are up to. That is a feature which unfortunately, I am afraid, characterises our diplomatic efforts fairly extensively; it is not limited to our relative helplessness at Vichy and to our blunders in Moscow. I wonder what efforts we made in Rumania. We seem to have taken the position there lying down. I do not know whether we have, but nothing has been said to lead us to suppose anything to the contrary.

What applies to our diplomacy and representation there applies also else-where, and certainly in Japan. I am not quite sure whether our diplomatic representation is quite in keeping with the necessities of the time. I am not going to indulge in any cheap criticism, but I am judging by results. It is often said that the standard of diplomats which Britain maintains is entirely worthy to be compared, so far as sartorial and other elegances are concerned, with, let us say, the period of the Regency; but I am not quite sure whether the standard of efficiency of our diplomatists, particularly in some of the Balkan countries, has been maintained and improved as it ought to have been. I do not myself think that it has. Just as we expect other Departments—the War Office, the Air Ministry and the Admiralty—to see to it that their staffs are the best possible, regardless of all other considerations, so I should like to ask the Foreign Secretary to review his staff and his diplomatic representatives in the different countries. They certainly have not served us with outstanding success in the last year or two, and I cannot help thinking that perhaps a little new blood might be useful.

Take what is, I believe, the distinguished success of Lord Lothian in the United States. We all felt confident when he was appointed that he would be a great success, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to the noble Viscount opposite for appointing him. His success is due to the fact that he was not so much of the stock pattern. I think that in existing circumstances, if we had confined our diplomatic representation in Washington to what may be described as the stock pattern, we should not have been as well served. That affords an excellent illustration of the necessity of bringing new minds and new methods into this important service. I have men- tioned this subject more than once before. I regard these questions of propaganda, of the presentation of our case, and of the continual review of staffs, whether Service staffs or diplomatic staffs, as of first-rate importance. I am sure that the noble Viscount will not misinterpret these reflections. They are made with one purpose and with one thought only: to enable us to prosecute the war with greater efficiency, and therefore more quickly to bring it to a successful end. I beg to move for Papers.


My Lords, there is only one point to which I would venture to draw your attention. While thanking the noble Viscount for the very clear statement which he has made, I hope that perhaps before we leave this debate he will emphasize one aspect of it. All of us—certainly all of us on these Benches, and I am sure that I may say in all quarters of the House—rejoiced to hear the promise made by the Foreign Secretary to[...] give effective aid to Greece in her struggle to maintain her independence against the unprovoked attack of Italy. He mentioned that there would be naval support and we have read in the Press of military support by the landing of our troops in Greek territory. What must be present in the minds of all of us, however, is that in the case of every country which has been overrun since this war began, it is the attack from the air, and especially the failure of the country overrun to be able to respond by counter air attack, which has been the primary cause of the downfall. I am sure that His Majesty's Government fully appreciate this, but I speak, I Know, the minds not only of your Lordships in this House but of the people outside when I express the hope that His Majesty's Government will give all possible support in the air to the Greek people in their struggle, by whatever methods.

I would not for a moment ask the noble Viscount, even if he were able to do so, to give details of any kind, but I know that the people of this country would never forgive any Government which did not rush to the aid of Greece by every means in their power, not out of romantic attachment for this small people but because of the feeling that we have been too late on other occasions, often not through our own fault. I am sure that we shall not be too late this time. I hope, therefore, that the noble Viscount, when he comes to reply, can say that without imprudence, but taking all risks, as we know that the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm are anxious and ready to do, they will give the Greeks all the support that they can in the air. If he can do so we shall indeed be grateful, and I think it will be good for our cause.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Viscount for his most interesting statement, I desire to make a suggestion in regard to the much-discussed question of a somewhat fuller declaration of the aims that we have in view in the war. The Prime Minister, replying lately to a question in another place, said that the time has not yet come. I want to suggest that it should not be far off. We must agree with the Prime Minister that the rebuilding of the world depends on the degree to which it proves to have been destroyed. But the broad outline of the principle for which we are fighting cannot await the final victory. Victory itself would be hastened if the ideals that we have in view are clearly seen. The German people at large are moved by a strange enthusiasm, largely due to the fact that they have been given a very clear vision of some aim which, whether noble or ignoble, is clear; and we ought to cultivate an enthusiasm on our side for which we have far greater and sounder material. No one is more fitted than the Foreign Secretary himself to put our ideals in a noble form.

The German aim was lately defined by the German Minister Funk in a very crude but rather telling way. He sketched the economic domination that Germany would establish. He promised that the peculiar German methods of trade, which have been unfortunately successful in the Balkans, will be a great feature of the German economic régime. The German currency, he said, was to dominate all others, free foreign exchange was to become a thing of the past—he denounced it up hill and down dale—and labour was to be distributed by force so as to suit German convenience. Well, such a plan, however odious it looks to us, has attractions for a very large and influential class of people who, as directors of policy, would no doubt benefit by employment under the German régime—leaders of industry in very large numbers—and it is attractive also to those masses who are impoverished under the present system, as also to all the enemies of Communism. Therefore it surely needs a more clear-cut alternative associated with our side.

It is not enough to praise liberty to very large classes who may think that they should be more prosperous than they are under democratic rule. We should be able to pass, if our outline of policy is clear, to the offensive in propaganda, not only in the Allied countries, but in the hostile countries themselves. Could we not base our programme, not of course in detail but in broader outline, on the general principles of the free association of nations, especially of the nations of Europe? It is not enough to fob off public feeling by statements as to the appropriate moment, expressed by a member of the Government lately in language which did not make a very happy impression when he said that "the appropriate moment is the moment which is appropriate." The Prime Minister very finely said, "The right to guide the course of history is the noblest prize of victory." Therefore surely we should conclude that the world ought to know what general use we shall make of victory when the time comes. Let us give an impression of knowing clearly what we want and so develop to the full the power to obtain victory at the earliest moment.


My Lords, perhaps I may in two or three sentences answer one or two of the observations that have been made, and if I differ from them I do not differ in any controversial spirit. First of all, the noble Lord who followed me, Lord Addison, was, I think, perhaps unwittingly, less than just to those of our diplomatic representatives who represent His Majesty in the Balkan countries, and who have been doing so in circumstances of extreme difficulty. I can assure him, of course, that none of them—and indeed no diplomatic representative—would be at their posts unless His Majesty's Government, and I, I suppose, primarily, thought that they were fit for the responsibilities that rest upon them. And therefore, if any complaint was ever to be made against them, it is to me, and as against me, that the complaint should be addressed, rather than by a general disparagement of a body of men who are doing their duty, as I have said, under circumstances of extreme difficulty.

But I would also add this. The noble Lord has spoken on more than one occasion of what he terms—I am not sure whether these are his words, but what he sees as firm diplomacy. With all respect, I would remind him that when the world is in a state of war, and when people and Governments and countries in difficulty are only immediately concerned to look at what is to be their early fate, as measured by tanks and aeroplanes and instruments of force, your diplomacy in words may be as firm as it likes, but unless you can satisfy them on the points of their immediate anxiety we cannot always achieve the result merely by what the noble Lord would call firm diplomacy.

The noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, expressed the general feeling in the House in what he said about Greece, and I have no hesitation at all in repeating to him and to the House that it is the determination of His Majesty's Government to give to the Greeks all support in their power, and that we are fully alive to the fact that in that support the air probably holds a position of predominant importance.

The noble Lord who spoke last, Lord Noel-Buxton, renewed a plea that he has made on other occasions in this House for a more precise statement of the war aims of His Majesty's Government. With a great deal that he said I am sure every member of His Majesty's Government would be able to find himself in agreement. Especially do I recognise the importance of what he said as to the desirability of being able to set up for the consideration of Europe and the world, to say nothing of our own people, a picture alternative to that picture that Hitler and those who work for him have sketched as to the future. It is not necessary, I hope, to assure him that His Majesty's Government are greatly preoccupied with the consideration of these matters. He would, I think, be not unwilling to leave to His Majesty's Government the responsibility for deciding what is the appropriate time at which to make such a statement as he has in mind. Obviously it must depend on a good many considerations, but on the main issue as to the importance of bringing these matters to effective consideration there is no difference between him and His Majesty's Government.


My Lords, there were two points I mentioned to which I had hoped the noble Viscount would refer. Perhaps it is not too late for him to do so. One is the question regarding propaganda in occupied countries, and the other whether he can tell us anything with respect to our relations with Russia. If he has nothing to say I shall be content.


My Lords, I apologise to the noble Lord. These points were in my mind, but they slipped out of it. With regard to Russia, he correctly interpreted my thought in what he said that the omission of any reference to questions concerning Russia in my speech was merely because I had done my best to deal with them on a recent occasion, and, as I said at the beginning of my speech, one cannot cover the whole field. I do not think there is anything I can usefully add. The Ambassador in Moscow is, as always, using his best efforts—and, I hope, feeling that his efforts are being supported by His Majesty's Government—with the object of removing any misunderstandings that may exist between us and the Soviet Government, and so building foundations for the avoidance of such misunderstandings in future. In that work we shall certainly do our best to proceed.

With regard to the matter of propaganda, there the noble Lord is entirely preaching to the converted. I can assure him that I am as fully alive as he is to the great importance of getting a true knowledge of facts on which ultimate judgment as to the future issues of the war can best be founded to all those people in the occupied territories all over Europe. He is perfectly right in feeling that nothing could be more encouraging to that spirit of resistance, which is one of the principal influences on oar side in this struggle, than such a knowledge truly brought. However, I shall have pleasure in passing on what he has said to the Department primarily concerned with this work, and I can assure him that in that respect at least a full measure of regard will be had to what he has advised.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.