HL Deb 13 July 1943 vol 128 cc446-78

THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY rose to call attention to the importance of post-war civil air transport to the British Empire with special reference to the need for the organization of research and other educational facilities in universities, technical colleges and schools in this country and to move for Papers. The noble Marquess said: My Lords, this debate has been postponed since last Thursday, and I am sorry to ask your Lordships at this hour to embark on a subject of such importance. It is by reason of the support I have had in your Lordships' House, and also the growing support I have noticed throughout the country, that I feel it my duty to go on with this subject which I raised in February, which was mentioned in another place in November, and on which in your Lordships' House we have had more than one debate.

Your Lordships will remember that on one of the earlier occasions the noble Viscount who leads the House replied to the debate. We all sympathized with him in the difficult case. We admired his loyalty, and his obvious desire to maintain the policy, such as it was, of the Administration which he was representing. He elicited our sympathy because he had a very bad case to defend. The noble Lord, Lord Sherwood, entered the lists on the next occasion. We remember that the noble Lord made a very interesting Departmental speech, but one wholly irrelevant to the question at issue. Now the noble Lord, Lord Cherwell, is proposing to break a lance with me to-day, because I feel we have got to the stage when we have to consider there is an element of contest in these debates. I am glad that the noble Lord is proposing to reply. He has unrivalled experience of the Air Force, and I know that on the special subjects which I propose to put before your Lordships he can give us much information. I only hope he has been given a latitude which has so far been denied to his predecessors.

I would ask your Lordships to understand our difficulties. When I speak of "our difficulties" I mean the difficulties of those of us who are deeply interested in this subject, who have been for a great many years, and are quite convinced of the vital importance to this country of the development of what is called civil aviation, which really comprises the whole of our air transport arrangements and civil flying, later on, in all its aspects. Our difficulty is that we are all busy men. We are all engaged in work in different parts of this country, and some of my friends in other countries too. It is quite impossible for us continually to get together to formulate our plans, make our suggestions, call people together, and make speeches unless we get some measure of encouragement from the Government. We know quite well that the Government of this country to-day—quite rightly, to my mind—occupy practically a totalitarian position. Nothing can be done without the encouragement of the Government and without a lead from them. The complaint I have to make is that in all these debates we have had no encouragement from the Government, and we have had no lead given to us in any form whatsoever. We have asked the Government on many occasions to enunciate a policy—a short policy, one might say a bare policy, but still a policy which would show us the direction in which their minds are moving. We have had nothing whatever.

We have not heard of plans of any sort or description, and we are put off with the phrase, which is becoming a very stock phrase indeed, that everything must be sacrificed to the winning of the war. We entirely agree with the sentiment behind that phrase, but when it is a phrase which is going to be used by the bureaucracy for stifling our efforts and to fob us off, then it ought to be scrapped. We remember another phrase, "No major war for ten years," and the disastrous consequences that followed. I hope the Ministers in charge of these important matters will not tell their supporters when they bring these things forward that everything must be sacrificed to the winning of the war and appeal to their loyalty not to bring these matters forward. We hear a great deal of planning for reconstruction after the war, and a certain amount of industry is being applied to that reconstruction. It is well to remind the Government that, unless we come out of this war a great Power, these war aims will come to nothing whatsoever. Unless we realize the importance of the development of the whole of the air position in this country, in peace-time as we have done in war, all our war aims in regard to reconstruction will, I repeat, come to nothing whatsoever. I am prepared to say, and I believe your Lordships will agree, that this country is neither sufficiently air-minded nor sufficiently Empire-conscious. I shall endeavour later on to suggest the manner in which we can develop these two ideals.

I approach the question of the War Cabinet with great diffidence and great respect, because I know quite well that the War Cabinet is composed of men who have all overwhelming responsibilities and immense duties to carry out. The fault I have always found, and I have mentioned it before in your Lordships' House, is that there is no one in the War Cabinet untrammelled by the burdens of office who is definitely charged with the consideration of the question of civil aviation or air transport. I am strengthened in that by an authority who will impress your Lordships—no less than Sir William Beveridge. In an extract from a review of his book which appeared in The Times Literary Supplement on June 19 I find these words: Specifically he wanted (and still wants) a War Cabinet on the 1916–18 model, consisting of the Prime Minister and four or five Ministers without Portfolio… so that major decisions could be taken by a group of men pooling their minds in constant session—men freed from daily executive tasks so that they have time to think before they decide, men with unquestioned authority over all departmental Ministers, so that what they decide is a decision, not a time-wasting compromise.' These are most important words, and with Sir William Beveridge behind me I feel I am saying something with which your Lordships will agree.

I have definitely come to the conclusion that unless, and until, the Prime Minister is interested in this subject we shall make no progress. Your Lordships know as weal as I do that the Prime Minister is overwhelmed by manifold duties and responsibilities, but I am quite certain that unless, in some moment of his busy time, the impression can be brought home to him of the vital importance of this subject, we shall have debates in your Lordships' House and in another place but we shall get no further forward whatsoever. The noble Lord who is to reply to this debate has particular access to the Prime Minister, and I hope he will bring this matter directly before his attention. I have advised my friends that if we can get no satisfaction whatever, the best course we can pursue is to ask whether we can take a deputation to the Prime Minister himself so that we can place this subject before him in the appropriate form in which it should be put.

The question is, what do we want? We have put forward our points on more than one occasion. I feel that we owe a deep debt of gratitude to Lord Rothermere for what he has done and for what has been done by the valuable newspaper which he controls. We owe the same gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook. These two noble Lords and their great newspapers have done all they can to bring this subject before the public and to make the country more air-minded and more Empire-minded than it is. But because we have this deadweight of lack of Government encouragement it is impossible to make any progress. Committees are formed; they come and go, and I seldom hear anything about their reports. They are probably put in some pigeon-hole and nothing is done. What is holding up the action of the Government? Is it a desire to study the question of internationalism? I think most of us who are not in the first bloom of youth feel somewhat doubtful of these phrases which mean nothing whatever but which are grasped at for the purpose of postponing definite and vital action. I hope internationalism as a policy will be put on one side, because I do not think we shall get to that stage until we are much closer than we are now to the millennium.

From the Government we want a policy and we want a plan. In the first place we want to know what is the Government's attitude towards civil aviation or air transport. Have they made up their minds to have a separate Ministry for civil aviation, or are they proposing to ask the Ministry of Transport to control its activities, or are they going to hand it over to the Board of Trade? It is easy for the Government after all this time to tell us whether they propose to retain civil aviation under the control of the Air Ministry or whether, as I believe is generally desired, they propose to place it under a separate Ministry. The Ministry should be taken away from the jurisdiction of the Royal Air Force. I know perfectly well that civil aviation in the future will have to work very closely with the Royal Air Force, and perhaps I should stand in a white sheet because at one time when circumstances were entirely different I saw the difficulty and probably the danger in separating civil aviation from the Royal Air Force, but I am convinced now that civil aviation should be controlled by an authority independent of the Royal Air Force. I need not tell your Lordships of the advances which have occurred since the old days. Civil aviation, to whatever department it belonged in the Air Ministry, did not get the latitude which it required for its development. That was due to obvious causes which I need not go into now.

The second question to which we want a very definite reply is whether the Government are disposed to continue with the plan that one chosen instrument, a monopoly company, should control the development in air transport which is waiting for the termination of the war. I would like to suggest to the Government that if they arc obsessed with the idea of a monopoly company, it is the equivalent of asking one company to manage the whole of the Mercantile Marine. When it is looked at in that way one must realize that what is wanted is the encouragement of all organizations capable of developing air services and satisfying the immense needs after the war. There are innumerable points with which I do not propose to weary your Lordships to-day, but I would like to hear from the Government whether they have any plans about the routes which will have to be operated after the war. I am wondering whether they have discussed or achieved any progress in arranging what services are to be controlled and operated not by Great Britain but by the British Empire. Have they a map, either on paper or in their mind, of the different services which will be demanded from those countries which come successfully out of the war? We have partners who can work with us. Are we discussing projects with them? Are we co-operating with the Dominions and are we having discussions with the Americans?

I have to speak as one who knows nothing of the inner workings of the Government mind. I should like to ask the noble Lord who will reply whether the great constructors have been approached, and whether they have been asked their opinion as to the development of air transport after the war. Have shipping companies been approached? Have they been asked to realize the great change in transport which is coming all over the world? What literature have the Government been reading? There is not much, I am sorry to say, but there are certain documents in existence which are open not only to the public but to the Government. Have the Government seen the remarkable pamphlet published by the Society of British Aircraft Constructors? Have they seen another most interesting document which covers much of the ground published by the General Council of British shipping? In this debate I can only touch the fringe of the question, but I am sure that my noble friend who is to reply has been charged to give an answer which will give us the satisfaction for which we have been thirsting for so many months.

I do not know whether he can tell us anything about Transport Command, because with that suspicion which is perhaps inherent in our characters we thought that might have been proposed with the idea of putting off tiresome debates which take place here and in another place. I would like to say, however, that we were gratified to know that at the head of the Transport Command was Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Bowhill, for whom I have a great admiration, and whom we all recognize as a great figure. Then there is the position of the British Overseas Airways Corporation. They have done extraordinarily well, but we want to know what is to be the future policy in regard to this Corporation. I feel quite sure that the time has come when the Government can tell us without giving away secrets which no one should know, because after all, people often do know secrets which the Government have guarded so carefully.

Is there any suggestion in the minds of the Government that this Corporation should be a monopoly company controlling the whole of post-war air transport? I should like also to ask whether advisers in other parts of the Empire are in close touch with us. Is there anything in the way of an Empire Council to discuss Empire routes—routes which we must monopolize? Routes throughout the Empire must be controlled by British companies, and I hope there is no suggestion that other countries should come in on any other basis except that they can fill up gaps which it may be necessary to fill. And then about aerodromes. Have the Government made up their minds as to what aerodromes we are likely to use in this country? Have they thought of the great aerodromes that will be required for air transport after the war? Then what are the Government going to be responsible for? Are they going to be responsible for ground staffs, radio regulations and so forth? I hope that the noble Lord who is going to reply on behalf of His Majesty's Government is fully instructed so that he will be able to give us some indication on all these important matters.

I apologize for repeating anything which has been said in previous debates, but I may say that I have read the speeches of leading members of the Government with the greatest possible interest. Space in the newspapers, of course, is very limited in these days, but still some people are reported fairly frequently in paragraphs of varying length. But in not one single speech by a leading member of the Government in all the recent speeches that I have read, is there a single reference to the air. There is nothing in the shape of suggestions for doing anything in this country in regard to the tremendous developments that are afoot in other countries, nothing to suggest that these developments have been noticed here so far as the speeches of our leading men go. It is quite true that accounts of the exploits of the R.A.F. are very properly published, although such accounts are not published to the extent that they should be. But what I would venture to suggest to the Government is that whereas the man in the street reads about the exploits of the R.A.F. with the greatest possible interest, he has no conception in his mind that the whole of these developments of the air, now being used for the defeat of the enemy, touch him and will touch him ever more closely as time goes on. There have been no references in any speech to that point.

Sir Stafford Cripps has made a speech in which he has done everything he can to damp down what might be a developing interest in the air. He has categorically said that the output of aircraft factories would fall 90 per cent. when peace returned. I think that if we had asked for somebody to give us a picture, in 1900, of our national requirement in the matter of motor cars in the future, nobody would have been near the mark with regard to the motor cars we should want in 1940. I feel that when Sir Stafford Cripps tells us that the output of aircraft factories will fall 90 per cent. after the war, that is something almost akin to defeatism. My duty is to look after an Air Training Group in Northern Ireland. I am trying to tell these young fellows that we arc not only asking for war service but that their services will be required after the war for the development of the air, and that a tremendous expansion in all branches of aviation is going to take place. Mr. Morrison seems to abjure the air altogether. I read his speeches—which one might say might seem perhaps to have some political bias, though I am not disposed to discuss that to-day—but he tells us nothing about air in any of them. Speeches are made relating to air, of course, but owing to limitations of space they do not get the publicity which they should have. A most valuable speech, for instance, was made by my late colleague Sir Frederick Sykes. There have been many others also which it would be most desirable to bring before the nation, but I cannot read them to your Lordships now. Mr. Percy Spender, I may say, has given the imperial point of view.

I hope that the noble Lord who is going to reply will give us some indication of the Government's attitude on these questions which I have ventured to raise, and also some encouragement. In the final portion of the Motion which I have ventured to put down I refer especially to research and education. The noble Lord is well versed in all aspects of research. He knows, and I expect your Lordships as well as I know and probably the whole world knows, exactly how many research stations we have in this country. They are not very numerous, and they are thoroughly inadequate for what we want them to do. What plan have the Government got in relation to the development of research in this country? In America no secret is made of what is being done. They tell us everything in their newspapers. Why should we not have a little more publicity over here? Are the Government moving in this direction, and are they realizing what will be the vital necessities for the postwar period?

Now I come to the matter of education. Perhaps the noble Lord can tell us what are the existing facilities for aeronautical education and aeronautical technical education? The situation in this respect, if I may say so, would be laughable if it were not so serious. I have in my hand a list of technical institutes all over the country, 90 per cent. of which are merely establishments in which a certain amount of aeronautical education can be obtained. They are merely concerned with engineering tuition. This means that 10 per cent. only, of this list of institutions, take some interest in the development of aviation. I now have to mention Mr. Butler, one of our leading Ministers. I have not found in one of his speeches—though it may be of course that he has made some which have not been reported—any reference to the air whatsoever. I am sure that your Lordships will agree as to the vital necessity of imparting to the rising generation, so far as we can, full knowledge of the development of aviation. Geography was one of the important subjects taught when we were at school. Has Mr. Butler done anything with a view to ensuring that the teaching of geography in future may be developed on air lines? Is he explaining to the rising generation the entire difference in distances from one point of the world's surface to another which the development of the aeroplane has brought about? Is that aspect of education being brought home to the children of this country or is it not?

Then there is the subject of history. I never thought that history was well taught at any time. It has always had, in my view, a political bias which has seemed to me to be somewhat of a danger. As that bias has usually been from what I may call the Whig side, the realistic side of history has been neglected, but perhaps it is coming into its own now. The whole teaching of history has been related in this country to our reliance on sea-power. Now I am quite sure that the reliance of this country on sea-power should never be lost sight of. It has played a very great part in our history, and sea-power still has a great part to play, but in the future with the development of the air its part will be an ever smaller part. The children should be told of the tremendous changes which have been brought about, and which will be brought about, by this revolutionary science. They should be given an appreciation of the potentialities for the development of the air and of the great developments which have already taken place in a comparatively short space of time. I hope that there will be steps taken with the collaboration of Mr. Butler so as to ensure that the curricula of all schools in relation to the teaching of geography and history will be modified, and modified in the right direction, so that there will be a better chance of bringing about the changes which we are advocating at the present moment.

Then I come to the B.B.C. I do not know how often your Lordships listen to the B.B.C. I should be the last person to criticize or to complain of the programmes of the B.B.C.; I can only say that they do not all attract me very much. I seldom hear from the B.B.C., however, anything of the developments which are possible in relation to aviation. There are numbers of people in this country—though not as many as I should like—who have taken this subject up. Their ideas may sometimes be visionary, but I cannot see why they should not be given half an hour on frequent occasions to bring to mind the developments and changes which have occurred; and I should hope that every day there would be some portion of the Home Service or the Forces programme in which the whole of this vista of the air could be put forward in eloquent language, so as to get the minds of our people turned to these developments, which will come on us very rapidly when the war comes to an end. I apologize for having detained your Lordships on this subject, but I have been encouraged to do so by many noble Lords and by friends outside this House, who have encouraged me to put my views as strongly as I can. I beg to move.


My Lords, I rise to support with great strength the Motion now before your Lordships, which has been moved by my noble friend Lord Londonderry. As your Lordships will remember, he returns to this subject, which he has made very specially his own, for the third time in as many months. On previous occasions, together with my noble friends Lord Bennett and Lord Rothermere, both of whom are present in your Lordships' House to-day, I have had the privilege of supporting the Motions of the noble Marquess in regard to air transport. The fact that the noble Marquess raises this matter again shows at once his dissatisfaction with the replies that were given on previous occasions and the vital need that he feels for a clearer declaration of policy by His Majesty's Government.

I propose to make one or two comments, following the very interesting speech to which we have listened from the noble Marquess, on the educational facilities which are provided, or the lack thereof, in relation to aeronautical science and aeronautical engineering. I feel quite sure that, as the noble Marquess has said, the noble Lord who is to reply to this Motion on behalf of His Majesty's Government will be able, in part at least, to set our fears at rest, and we shall look forward with great eagerness to hearing what he has to say. The present position with regard to educational facilities, both scientific and technical, is, as the noble Marquess has pointed out, a depressing one, and indicates clearly a failure on the part of His Majesty's Government and of previous Governments to grasp this problem in a really far-sighted manner, and to plan to meet in an effective way the immense potential that the development of aeronautics holds out. As an aeronautical engineer myself, and as one concerned with other branches of engineering, I know how very limited and insufficient these facilities are. It is not sufficient in these days to give lip-service, as is so often done, to the importance of science and engineering in our daily lives, without taking the necessary action to bring about the full utilization of those two important branches of knowledge.

The setting up a year or more ago of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the War Cabinet, in which my noble friend Lord Hankey who was the first Chairman, played so important a part, was certainly a step in the right direction. As your Lordships will remember, he was helped in a powerful manner by a distinguished member of another place, Professor A. V. Hill. In the whole of the arrangements which resulted in the setting up of that Committee, I feel quite sure that the noble Lord who will reply to this debate played a very important and a vigorous part. The need to-day, however, for those trained in aeronautical science and in engineering to staff the fundamental research organizations, such as the National Physical Laboratory, and research and development organizations, such as the Royal Aircraft Establishment, to mention but two, is very great.

Let us turn our minds for a few minutes to the picture which presents itself in the United States of America, where they have seen and grasped in a more effective manner than we have the immense possibilities of aeronautics, and where they have provided in universities, colleges and other establishments the essentials for an adequate scientific and technical education. If I may refer for a moment to the Army Air Corps and the Naval Air Service, which set the pace in many of these things, they are staffed with many highly-placed officers who have taken full university engineering courses, and many who have taken post-graduate courses at great universities such as Passadena, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge and Boston. In the United States aircraft industry, the design and engineering staffs of the aircraft and aircraft-engine firms are some five times greater than is the case with us, and that shows the immense foresight and planning ahead which have been evident over there.

Fortunately for us in this country, there have existed in Great Britain a few technical enthusiasts who, of their own volition and with the backing of several pioneer aircraft and aircraft-engine firms, designed and built, as private ventures, the forerunners of that remarkable series of aircraft now being so brilliantly handled by the Royal Air Force, for the foundation of which we always pay tribute to the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Trenchard. Without the pioneering of these few people, civilization must have received a very great blow, for the Battle of Britain, without the private ventures to which I have referred, could not have been won in the astounding and successful way in which it was won.

In the United States of America—to return to this question of scientific and technical education—in the immediate pre-war years some 14,000 students graduated annually from these engineering and technical colleges to which I have referred, and 10 per cent. of those students specialized in aeronautical engineering. In 1942, 1,400 took aeronautical degrees, as against 111 in Great Britain, the figure of 111 including the Higher National Certificate students. The United States of America is spending over five times as much on university education as we are; in fact, to take one of the States, the State of California, with a population less than that of London, is spending more than is being spent in this country. The noble Marquess has referred to some of the universities and colleges that are specializing in aeronautics in this country—all too few, I fear. They are as follows: Cambridge University, Hull University, the University College of Southampton, Loughborough College, Queen Mary's College, Cambridge, Northampton Polytechnic and Engineering College, the De Havilland Aeronautical Training College, and lastly the College of Aeronautical Engineering.

It will seem very strange indeed to your Lordships that Oxford gives no instruction in aeronautics. I know from personal experience something of the brilliant record of the noble Lord who will reply to this debate, achieved as Professor Linde-mann, one of the leading professors of Oxford, and I know that he on several occasions endeavoured to awaken a proper interest in instruction in aeronautical science and aeronautical engineering, but so far without effect. Now, however, that Sir Henry Tizard, whose name will be well known to your Lordships, has taken up a post at Oxford, might it not be appropriate that this idea should be set going under the direction of that brilliantly talented man? I hope in this connexion that the noble Lord when he comes to reply will give some indication as to whether something of that kind is in his mind and is to be achieved in the fairly near future.

Now in regard to grants that are made in Great Britain, the total amount of grants made to universities and university colleges is just over £3,000,000, £2,150,000 coming from the Treasury and a further £1,000,000 from the different county councils. That sum is not nearly sufficient if the programme envisaged by the noble Marquess is to be given effect to. Another point, on the University Grants Committee there is no engineer. A number of years ago there was an exceedingly brilliant engineer from whom most engineers to-day at one time or another received instruction, the late Sir Dugald Clerk, but since his death there has been no engineer on the University Grants Committee and I hope that the noble Lord, who is a very practical man in these things, will see the force of that argument, and perhaps something could be done about it.

Returning to the United States of America, there are some fifteen universities there giving courses in aviation, and six giving post-graduate courses in aeronautics. Men such as Dr. Warner, who was recently over here, Dr. Hunsaker, Dr. Lewis, Professor von Karmann and Professor Clarke-Milligan, have with others been responsible for planning ahead with such vision. They have received practical support on a scale immensely greater than that given in this country and a scale more worthy of the immense plan that they had in view. The Royal Aeronautical Society, which is the premier scientific and technical body of its kind in the world, has had a lot to do with pressing forward the work of education in aeronautics. Not very long ago, together with the Society of British Aircraft Constructors, a Committee was appointed which worked out a scheme for the training of apprentices, so vital to industry, but although that very necessary scheme was approved by the appropriate bodies, nothing was done about it, and it is still lying on the table.

The Royal Aeronautical Society has for long been urging the necessity for upgrading engineer officers in the R.A.F. The position of technical officers in that splendid Service needs strengthening. That Service, so dominated by science and engineering, surely requires a fully qualified engineer with the rank of Air Chief-Marshal and a seat on the Air Council. The engineer must have the same authority and prestige as his opposite number on the operational side. There is, as your Lordships will be aware, an opinion still widely held that an engineering training does not equip a man suitably for an executive and administrative post. This is entirely wrong and it is disproved by experience. In all these matters the Navy, whether in the sea or air branches, has led in its appreciation of this fundamental fact. Some seventeen years ago one or two officers of the Royal Air Force were selected to establish a school for engineer-officers in the R.A.F. For a long time this school suffered from too few instructors and those that there were were generally rather poorly paid.

One of the officers primarily responsible for this work has but recently retired, and on leaving he received a testimonial to his service in the Royal Air Force from that great figure the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, who very shortly will take his seat in your Lordships' House. To show the difficulties that technical people have to war against I will read you the words of that testimonial. This is what Sir Hugh Dowding wrote: This officer is a highly qualified engineer, a fact which has been a positive handicap to him throughout the whole of his service. So your Lordships will see what a senior officer of the R.A.F. thinks of the difficulties which engineering personnel have to face. This but illustrates the need for a change in our whole outlook on scientific and engineering personnel.

In regard to the technical education of the young in aeronautics, to which the noble Marquess referred, the Air Training Corps is performing splendid work, the importance of which cannot be exaggerated. It is unfortunate, but none the less the fact, that the Air Training Corps is not to-day receiving as much support as is given by the Admiralty and the War Office to the Sea Cadets and the Army Cadets. For example, the large bulk of the units of the Air Force Cadets have no building as a headquarters in which technical instruction in signalling and instruction on aircraft and aircraft engine parts can be given. In some cases, it is true, private benefactors have provided headquarters, otherwise such lucky units would be like the majority that cannot provide the vitally necessary premises without which the work of instruction is very gravely impaired. The grants from R.A.F. funds, for the Air Training Corps are utterly inadequate. Greatcoats and boots are not, as in the case of other cadets, provided, and this splendid body of young men, numbering some 200,000, is expected to shiver on parade in the usually inclement weather of these islands. The Air Training Corps is worthy of more notice and support and I would like to see that gallant and distinguished Air Chief Marshal who plays so important a part in controlling the classic decorum of your Lordships' House and in his spare time controls the affairs of the London section of the Air Training Corps, and another colleague retired from the active service of the R.A.F., Air Chief-Marshal Sir Charles Burnett, charged with the task on a national basis of looking after the Air Training Corps in a more realistic manner than is now being done. I would like to suggest that the Air Training Corps should be made not only a unit in Great Britain—that is important—but a unit throughout the Empire, linking together the Dominions and Colonies.

The administration and running of this splendid body is done by a large number of officers most of whom have been privileged to see service in the Royal Air Force. Their duties are very arduous and all their service is given on a voluntary basis. In spite of this and the fact that every moment of their spare time is given up to this work, they are not excused fire-watching duties, and furthermore, should a squadron leader of the R.A.F. in command of a wing of the A.T.C. join the R.A.F. on active service he has to do so as an A.C.2. This surely is not as it should be, and brings about a quite ridiculous series of complications. The projected reorganization which I have suggested could be very materially helped by W.A.A.F. personnel being drafted to these units to help in the clerical work which at the present moment is very difficult to handle. These cadets, some 200,000 strong, are worthy, I suggest, of a far greater measure of support than they have got. The fact that the A.T.C. are supplying some two thousand keen and partially trained young men to the Royal Air Force each month is but an indication of this fact.

The Air Training Corps has blossomed into prominence in this war and, as has been shown, is doing splendid work, but I fully agree with what the noble Mar- quess has said that when peace returns its functions will be at least of equal if not of greater importance. And with this picture in view I have spoken to your Lordships somewhat fully. Give this body an Imperial focus, I suggest, and in the post-war period the Home and Dominion Governments could purchase passenger accommodation on board the Imperial air transports of the future (in the setting up of which scheme the noble Marquess is so vitally interested) which could be absorbed by the Air Training Corps cadets travelling over the Empire, thus giving focus to an excellent idea that was advanced somewhat along those lines not long ago, following on the first of the series of debates raised by my noble friend in this House, by Mr. Fairey Jones. I suggest that the future of this country and of the Empire as a continuing world force for good is assured, but provided we develop and use air transport in a manner fitting to our vast territorial responsibilities.


My Lords, I should like to congratulated my noble friend who moved this Motion on the excellence of his speech. He has touched on so many matters in connexion with post-war civil aviation that there is very little left for me to say. He has touched upon the education of technicians for the future, he has touched upon the education of the youth of the country to make them air-minded, and I should like to touch upon something which I think is far more important than either, the education—and extremely difficult it has proved—of His Majesty's Government. If we can educate His Majesty's Government we shall soon find the youth of the country being educated to be air-minded, we shall soon find the technicians that will be necessary for the complicated machines that will be used in post-war civil aviation, and we shall soon find those technicians being educated and provided. Therefore this evening I should like for a moment, in casting our minds back, to see whether in these last few months we have progressed at all in educating His Majesty's Government.

A few months ago no designer was allowed in his spare time to make a blueprint of a post-war aircraft. I believe that is so no longer. I believe that designers in their spare time are now allowed to make blueprints of post-war aircraft. That I think is a distinct encouragement, a small one but nevertheless an encouragement for us to ask that as soon as circumstances allow those blueprints shall be allowed to be developed into a prototype. I am going to ask the noble Lord, Lord Cherwell, whether he would give an indication of that this evening. Another matter is that a few months ago the chosen instrument of the Government, the B.O.A.C., which was subjected to considerable indignities both in resignations and appointments, has now been reinforced with new appointments which, in my opinion, have greatly strengthened its character and upon which I would like to congratulate the Government.

The third point is one of equal, if not greater importance, and that is the question of the Empire, the question as to whether the Government have clone anything towards ascertaining the feelings of the Dominions. A few months ago it was a question of the Dominions trying to ascertain the feelings of His Majesty's Government, and when they tried to ascertain those feelings they got nothing at all but a perfectly blank answer that the Government were not interested. Since then I believe His Majesty's Government have made certain efforts. I do not know what they are, but I believe certain efforts have been made towards ascertaining what the Dominions feel about post-war aviation. I do not know whether they have been made through the usual channels or whether they have been made by a special envoy of some kind going to talk with the Governments, but whatever has been done I should like to know whether the Government have yet received any reply that shows encouragement. I would ask His Majesty's Government, if the reply has not perhaps been quite as enthusiastic as they would like, not to be discouraged by that. They must remember the dilatoriness they showed in the past when the Dominions, or certainly one Dominion, was asking about the future course of post-war aviation. They cannot expect immediately to get an enthusiastic response.

Whether or not the Governments of the Dominion also require a little educating, I am absolutely convinced that public opinion in those Dominions is whole- heartedly in favour of co-operation with the British Government for a combined scheme of post-war civil aviation. I am so convinced of that, which after all is the kernel of the whole question, that I would urge the Government not in any way to be discouraged, but to carry on and to have an arrangement with them on principle and on policy, so that when we come to enter an international conference, which will have to take place sooner or later, we shall go there not with a British, a Canadian, a New Zealand and an Australian scheme, but with one British Commonwealth scheme.

In this way, when we discuss with the others, we can make our arrangements for give and take—which is always necessary—not as a disunited, but as a united family. I feel convinced that the Dominions will enter into the spirit of that undertaking. Just as to-day you get mixed bomber crews composed of British, New Zealanders, and Canadians going out night after night, so I am sure, after the war, you can have an Empire scheme of aviation with the British Empire entirely mixed up. That is the first necessity, and I would urge His Majesty's Government to do everything in their power to bring that about. I would also like His Majesty's Government to give just a word of encouragement to all those who have been urging this issue. We have been trying to encourage the Government, and to-night I should like the Government to encourage us.


My Lords, sometimes it is said that repetition is rather irksome, but I must say that the noble Marquess gets better every time he raises this debate. To-night he was in particularly good form. He makes his points with vigour, he is hammering them out with more confidence, because he knows more people are behind him, and I hope he will continue this onslaught until we get some satisfactory policy, or anyhow some policy, from His Majesty's Government. I wish to raise a question about research. It has been advocated this afternoon that we should spend money from a State point of view in universities and on that type of research. I am going to plead for another type of research, which is ad hoc research as opposed to the fundamental research which is the function of the pure scientist. What is wanted up and down the country in the industry is power and facilities to put up at the works some form of wind tunnel and research departments where ad hoc research can be indulged in. At present that is going on in the most amazing way in America, but in this country no firm is allowed to indulge in it and all the money is taken for E.P.T.

We had a lecture from the Home Secretary, Mr. Morrison, the other day on the demerits of private enterprise. He gave us a lecture, which on the whole was a very good one, saying that private enterprise was quite ridiculous unless it was enterprising and was worthy of leading the world. It is quite ridiculous to think that private enterprise can hold its own if the Treasury is going to take every bit of money that private enterprise makes, and forbid it to put that money back into the firm so that it can get going on research. It is only by that means it can lead the world. Here you have a complete difference of opinion between two Government Departments, which is rather like one Government Department telling people to breed more children and another Government Department sterilizing the fathers. It is just as contradictory as that. Until we get a clear line as to whether we want private enterprise, whether we are going to encourage it, we shall not know where we are from the point of view of the aircraft industry.

The situation relative to America is one which is always at the back of our minds. It is rather interesting. Of course Americans are not very instructed regarding this country, just as we are little instructed regarding America, but one fundamental idea in the heads of Americans is that the British Empire gets tribute from its Dominions and its Colonies. You will never get that out of America's head. They also think about civil aviation that we have the most double-dyed Macchia-velian scheme for dominating the world in civil aviation. How that has come about I do not know, but they are always afraid of the cunning Englishman. The facts are entirely different. When you come to war machines, I do not think anybody who is not prejudiced would say that, on the whole, the British manufactured product is not superior to any tiling produced in America. On the other hand, when you come to transportation machines, you get superb transportation machines in America and none in England at all. When faced with that situation, it is ridiculous for anyone to think we are going to dominate the world afterwards from the point of view of civil aviation.

The noble Marquess referred to the fact that Sir Stafford Cripps said our aircraft industry after the war would only be one-tenth of what it is now. I do not want to disappoint the noble Marquess on that, but we must remember that before the war the whole of America, which was quite conscious of civil aviation, was run on 370 civil transport machines. It is not for me to say how many are made to-day, but the point is that mass production of aeroplanes for civil aviation is quite ridiculous. That will never happen. There can never be the demand for it. Consequently, although we shall be flooded one day with aircraft which was originally made for war, these machines will slowly, quietly, be absorbed, and we shall get back to what are called "custom-made" machines. When we get to that point, when we are making machines in batches of fifty and that sort of thing, then this country will come into its own, as it always has done on that type of machine. The great genius of the Americans is for mass production, it is on that side that they get ahead, where they diminish their costs and where they win, but when it comes to custom-produced machines we are always able to hold our own. But we shall not be able to hold our own even in that respect if the Government are going to be stingy on the research side of this very difficult complex mechanical product.

The noble Marquess referred to one or two broad points which wanted answering. I should like to summarize some of these. Could the Government—I do not say to-day but at the earliest possible moment, because it would clear the air and generally allow us to approach this problem less through a fog than at present—answer some of these questions. Is it the policy of the Government to let civil aviation, as the Prime Minister once said, fly by itself? Are you going to say that subsidies are no longer to be given by any country in the world, only payments for services rendered, and of course ground organization? If you get as far as that, you are somewhere. You know where you are; but one country cannot compete if another country is going to give subsidies. The second point is, what is hoped for on the question of freedom of the air, and what does it mean? Do the Government maintain, as I hope they will, that we can fly anywhere in the world, land at any port we like? I quite understand that within any particular country there will be a prohibition of trade in transportation, that you will not be able to pick up or put down in any particular country; but if freedom of the air is to mean anything there should be freedom for anyone to arrive at any port he liked and fly on to some other country. We have suffered from disabilities on these lines in the past on our Empire routes, and there would be more advantage to us than to any other country if this particular policy were adopted.

Lastly, although the noble Marquess did not like the idea of internationalism, there is in the hearts of many people a belief that the whole future peace of the world is wrapped up in the possibility of some form of international co-operation. It may not come immediately, but I hope it will come one day, and the sooner the better, that they will be able to tell us there is forming in the minds of the Government, and among the countries of the United Nations, some form of organization which will build up in the world a "big stick" of power, so to speak, which can be put by the side of any organization like the League of Nations, or whatever it will be called, to control the peace of the world.


My Lords, I am sure everyone will agree that these debates are useful and help the Government to understand what the feelings are of the various experts in these matters before their decisions have crystallized. We are all pleased, but not surprised, that Lord Londonderry should have initiated this discussion. Not only has he always displayed deep interest in civil aviation but he has studied it in a practical way. As your Lordships know, when he was Secretary of State he learnt to fly. I think it will be a long time before another Secretary of State for Air exhibits his interest in civil aviation in such a very practical manner.

When I come to his speech I confess I am in some little difficulty. The subject of his Motion is To call attention to the importance of postwar civil air transport to the British Empire with special reference to the need for the organization of research and other educational facilities in universities, technical colleges and schools in this country. In his deeply interesting speech of some thirty minutes he devoted, I think, 85 seconds to the question of research, something like three and a half minutes to education which comprised geography, history and a great many topics which are not immediately, though of course ultimately, concerned with civil aviation. He said he hoped that I was fully instructed to deal with a large number of specific questions which he put. But not one of those questions, so far as I could see, had any immediate bearing on research or education, the topics which I imagined he wished to emphasize this afternoon.

As to the definite points he put, I can only say this much. It is of course elementary that the type of air transport that we can develop must depend upon the sort of routes and the distances which we have to fly. The longer the trip the more the saving in time; the shorter the trip the more pay-load we can carry. Hence for any given aircraft there is an optimum distance between stations and, conversely, the design of transport aircraft is bound to depend to some extent on the type of trip it is intended to make. This question is relevant when we are considering civil aviation from the national point of view. In the United Kingdom we have probably the best developed system of railways and roads in the whole world and it would be extremely difficult for aviation to compete in providing swift transport between the nearer towns. On the other hand, when we consider Imperial air traffic, the distances between the Colonies, the Dominions, India and the Mother Country are very great, with the result that pay-loads are apt to be very small and transport by air correspondingly costly. The United States and for that matter, Russia, where large towns a convenient distance apart present scope for great development of internal air transport, have a much easier problem. They can develop great air services in their own territory and reach out abroad as, when and where it suits them. We have to consider civil aviation from the beginning from a wider point of view.

I do not mention these difficulties in order to say that we lie down under them. Air lines, of course, we must and shall have. Convenient, reliable means of communication are to the Commonwealth and the Empire what the bloodstream is to the individual. The Government have no intention of allowing the Empire to suffer from hardening of the arteries. We must have absolutely first-class up-to-date air services not only between the homeland and the various Dominions and Colonies, but also between all the various regions of the Commonwealth and Empire. But, as I have said, what sort of arrangements are made must depend on the political arrangements concerning the possibility of landing and operating in foreign countries. For this reason it is obviously impossible for the Government at this stage to announce in detail their plans. All depends upon international arrangements. This does not mean that we are neglecting to examine these problems. On the contrary, intense study is proceeding of the various plans which will have to come into play according to the way international arrangements may take shape. We cannot tell to-day even the broad outline on which the nations may ultimately agree. At the one end of the scale we have numerous very interesting arguments for a vast international operating monopoly. On the other hand, we hear plenty of good reasons for unfettered freedom of the air—the right of anyone who pleases to run air services, to set down and pick up passengers to any extent he pleases between any two air ports in the world. There are unnumbered halting places between these two extremes and until international conversations have taken place it is idle to speculate at which of them we shall finish.

There are only two points on which we can say that we are determined. That we shall do all we can to build up aviation at home is clear. That the Dominions, India and the Colonies with their less developed railway and road systems must be intensely interested in their internal air services is clear. That we shall endeavour, in conjunction with the Dominions and Colonies, to establish a first-class network linking the various branches of the family together is clear. But how this will be linked up with the rest of the world must depend on what arrangements can be made in international negotiations. Whilst we all agree that we must look forward, and that we do look forward, to an immense expansion of civil aviation, I was glad my noble friend Lord Brabazon pointed out that we should not deceive ourselves about the number of aircraft which will be required and the amount of employment involved in their manufacture. Even if every single person leaving these shores travelled by air a fleet of something like 1,000 aircraft would be sufficient to carry them. In general, civil aircraft last a good many years, so that it does not take a statistician to work out to what degree the aircraft industry will have to contract if it has to depend for its orders on civil aviation.


May I be allowed to interrupt? The noble Lord said that 1,000 aircraft would be required. Has he considered all the subsidiary lines needed for bringing passengers from the smaller towns to the bigger airfields?


I think if the noble Marquess considers the time it will take to bring people, say, from Oxford to London by air, he will find it very difficult to hope that the air will be able to compete with rail and motor services in this country. As I said, the whole question of the development of civil aviation must depend upon international arrangements and in the first instance, of course, upon the arrangements we can make with the Dominions. Consultations are now going forward about this matter and we are at present awaiting replies to certain communications which have been sent to the Dominions. When we get their answers we hope to be able to go forward with discussions with our friends in the United States and Russia.

Now if I may I will turn to the question of education and research. As your Lordships know the bulk of aeronautical research in this country has been done hitherto at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough and at the National Physical Laboratory. I think we can be proud of what they have achieved. Both these great institutions to which we owe the great body of knowledge which has enabled our engineers to design the best operational aircraft in the world, must be given every facility to expand in whatever directions are necessary, if we are to maintain our lead. I think I may say that the Government are fully alive to this. It may cost money. But we must remember that a research establishment is like a living organism. If it ceases to grow it will tend to atrophy. It must be nourished if it is to flourish. And a good appetite is usually a sign of good health. Although the somewhat unspectacular facet of aeronautical education has not received much public attention, it has not been neglected. The Ministry of Aircraft Production has been studying it for some time. The Government, too, have studied that extremely interesting pamphlet recently circulated by the Society of British Aircraft Constructors. As might be expected they know where the shoe pinches and they make some most valuable suggestions. I do not think we need fear any serious lack of interest in flying or even in the understanding of the rudiments of the art in the coming generation. There is scarcely a small boy in the country who cannot recognize an aeroplane at two or three miles distance, and tell you all about its horse-power and a good deal about its performance and design, its advantages and disadvantages with all the assurance—and sometimes more than the assurance—of many flying officers


He probably belongs to the A.T.C.


I am quite prepared to agree. The A.T.C. is doing very good work, and I am certain that the noble Marquess is responsible for a great deal of it. I hope that the schools in their praiseworthy desire to keep pupils interested will invent and exploit examples having a bearing on aeronautics in their lessons, and that the coming generation will be able to discuss with as much confidence and understanding lift-drag ratios and skin friction, the falling off of power with height, or the various homing devices, as this generation displays when it discusses, say, the pros and cons of alternating and direct current, the relative efficiency of coal and water power, or the merits and demerits of Diesel engines. This sort of general information I feel we can trust the schools to diffuse. Why an aeroplane flies should be much easier to understand than how and why a telephone operates or a wireless set works. Nobody, I feel sure, will grow up ignorant of such rudimentary applications of science in the future. If the schools were to fail, I am sure we could trust the noble Marquess to inculcate the more recondite aspects of these matters through the medium of that organization which we all admire so much, the A.T.C. This remarkable organization provides admirable opportunities for acquiring ground work in aeronautical knowledge.

It is when we come to advanced education, to which the noble Lord, Lord Sempill, has referred, that the matter is more debatable. How should we organize teaching? Many people wish to found Chairs of Aeronautics at the universities. I am not so sure that that is the best way to advance the knowledge of this subject. I do not at all underestimate the splendid work that has been done by the various professors of aeronautics in this country—in Cambridge, London, and Hull—and at the various colleges which have taken up this subject. But I wonder whether they would not agree that in a sense they have been handicapped. It is impossible for one man to teach all the various branches of a vast subject like aeronautical engineering. He can only specialize in certain directions. He can—and, of course, many of them do—create interest and enthusiasm amongst students who would otherwise drift off into other forms of engineering. But is this the best way to form real aeronautical engineers? I must say that I have always felt this task to be too vast to be treated as a mere appendix at a university.

This point of view is carried to its logical extreme abroad, and I am not at all sure that they are not right. The noble Lord, Lord Sempill, has mentioned the Massachussets Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology and the Institute at Zurich. He did not refer to the Institute at Delft, but there is one there and there are others elsewhere. Abroad they do not try to teach these various applications of science at the universities. Agriculture, forestry and above all engineering, are taught at great institutes of university status which confer degrees ranking in reputation with those of the universities proper. All the subjects required are taught in these institutions by professors of exactly the same status as university professors; but they are taught with a bias towards the application with which the institution deals.

In a university, for instance, the professor of physical chemistry will spend a considerable part of his time on the fundamental properties of the atom, the reason why there is a periodic system of the elements, the relationship between the spectrum and the valencies, the quantum theory, potential barriers and so forth. In the engineering institutions the professor of physical chemistry will emphasize more such questions as how to calculate the heat of combustion of various fuels at different temperatures, melting point diagrams, electrolytic conductivity and the questions governing electro-chemical deposition. The same sort of thing applies to all the fundamental branches, mathematics, physics and so on. In an engineering college the theory of numbers obviously would have no place; differential equations are much more likely to be of importance to a man who will be concerned with the design of engines or the construction of bridges.

The aeronautical engineer's business is to design and improve machinery to fulfil certain objects—to make an engine of minimum weight which will develop the maximum horse-power whilst using the smallest amount of fuel, to design an aeroplane which will fly and climb as well as possible on the smallest horse-power and so on. It is true that to make his engine he; must know something about the rate of combustion in the cylinders, the pressures involved and the stresses in the walls of the cylinder and in the piston and so forth. True, these, in their turn, depend upon a knowledge of the fundamental properties of matter; but they are the data of the engineer not the goal; the proper places at which to elucidate the fundamental laws are the universities. Similarly, to make an aeroplane he wants to know something about the lift and drag coefficients of his wing sections, the skin friction and so forth. It is quite true that these factors at present are mainly empirical. When we know something more about the fundamental laws governing these things, it will help us in discovering the best shapes. There is much to be said for the view that these fundamental laws should be explored at the universities, leaving applications—the province of the engineer—to institutions created to train engineers.

The Government have this line of thought very much in mind in considering the future of aeronautical engineering in this country. At present it is studied as a special subject, as we have heard, in a number of engineering courses, but so far as I know, at all universities except Hull, it is wholly subordinate to general engineering. At the Imperial College at South Kensington there exists a postgraduate course. Various large firms have developed instructional courses and schools which have done valuable work. But can such a specialized branch of engineering be satisfied with this? Are we not likely to get better results if the intending engineers can be trained at a great institute with ten or twenty professors, each a specialist in one of the subjects required, and each teaching, lecturing on and researching into the questions to which he has devoted his life?

Mathematics, physics, chemistry, the theory of structures, power plants, the properties of matter, and especially alloys, meteorology, radio—the aeronautical engineer will have to know something about all of these. He cannot study all the ramifications of all these subjects. He must be taught them with a certain bias towards his own profession. In addition, of course, he will have to specialize on aerodynamics in all its branches, and he will have to study vibrations and flutter in aeronautical structures, the aspects of mechanical and hydraulic engineering which enter into aeronautical design; he will have to know something about aeronautical instruments and methods of navigation, about aeronautical production methods, even about airport design and management, quite apart from all the various facets of military aviation.

Some hold that it is essential that he should be a pilot; everyone, I think, will agree that he must have plenty of experience of flying. For this, of course, there must be a convenient airfield, with all the equipment and facilities which this involves. Is it really conceivable that we can attach all this vast apparatus to any existing university—and, if so, to which university? Hundreds of thousands of pounds a year will be required. Moreover, such an appendage would throw the whole of that university out of balance. But, on a small scale, with two or three professors, we can touch only the fringe of the subject. In addition, it does not help the university; it is apt to lead to monstrosities, such as I have seen in other fields in other universities—for example, a course of chemistry for agriculturists or electricity for engineers.

With these arguments in mind, the Government have asked the Aeronautical Research Committee to explore the possibility of founding a school of aeronautical science, somewhat on the lines which I have foreshadowed. In principle, I understand that the Committee, whose Chairman is Professor Sir Melville Jones, who is an unrivalled expert on these matters, has agreed to the desirability of some such institution, and we hope to receive a preliminary report in the course of the next few weeks. The details will have to be worked out—whether students should enter directly from school or whether they should be recruited from the universities after passing some preliminary examination in the fundamental sciences; the conditions of entry for post-graduate students; the relations with existing research institutions, and so on. All these questions will have to be examined when the time comes. Such an institution, however, could not be a substitute for our great existing research centres such as the National Physical Laboratory and the Royal Aircraft Establishment, but it could, and indeed it must, carry on research. I think it is a commonplace amongst people who have had anything to do with higher education that only those can usefully teach the higher ranges in any subject who are themselves working on the borderline of knowledge.

Where this institution should be built will, of course, be a matter for anxious consideration. It must be near an airfield, for, as I have said, the students must come to feel about the air as the sailor does about the sea. Great laboratories will be required for all aeronautic and ancilliary subjects, and it is most desirable that this institution should be close enough to one of the great existing research centres for students to be associated with work requiring the most elaborate equipment in the country. The school should, of course, be as free from bureaucratic control as are the universities, and the teaching staff must have the same freedom as in a university. For all this it is clear that a considerable subvention from the Treasury is required. These schemes are still at the exploratory stage; financial and other considerations have still to be taken into account. But I wished your Lordships to know how the minds of those who are concerned with these matters are working. We also hope that, when we have carried the subject a little further, we shall be able to explore with the Governments of the Commonwealth and the Empire the possibility of making this proposed institution a great Imperial venture. We are all equally interested in aeronautical development, and perhaps we shall all be able to work together in this field.

The mastery of the air is a step in human progress quite without parallel. In some ways it is a greater step forward than was made when man first learnt to sail upon the water. The line of evolution which culminated—or perhaps I should more modestly say ended—in man has always hitherto been confined to two dimensions. We could move as far as we like, north or south or east or west. Up and down we have never been able to jump much more than our own height. Now we have extended our mastery of the third dimension up to 40,000 feet. We have been able to do this because we have learnt to confine the power of a thousand horses into a small engine weighing little more than a single horse. To move about the world we no longer need fixed highways or expensive rails. We can travel at unexampled speeds. A journey across the Atlantic to-day takes little more time than it took to go from London to Edinburgh when we were young, or from London to Oxford in our great-grandfathers' day. It is the task of all those concerned with civil aviation to apply these possibilities to the benefit of mankind. I think that your Lordships may rest assured that the Government fully realize their duties and responsibilities in achieving this end.


My Lords, the noble Lord will not mind my saying, after thanking him very much for the interesting speech which he has delivered, that he has given us the ordinary Government reply in somewhat different language. I do not know whether the noble Lord has been as long in politics as some of us here, but, when a Motion is put down, there are influences whose desire it is to postpone that Motion and to make it abortive if possible by civil and interesting answers. The noble Lord has fulfilled that task. He is a great authority on these matters, and he has told us a great deal about scientific subjects which it is very interesting to hear. Part of his speech, however, was occupied in asking us questions, but we were asking the noble Lord questions, and the noble Lord's advisers know perfectly well that every time I have raised this question I have asked for a definition of policy. I cannot help thinking that the Motion which I put down would convey to anyone who understood it that I wanted a definition of policy.


My Lords, when the noble Marquess put down this Motion I did have some conversation with him, and I fully understood that this debate was to be mainly or almost entirely devoted to this more limited aspect of the subject. The noble Marquess gave no indication to me at any time that he expected a carefully-considered Government statement of policy on this matter. He has asked a number of questions to-day, of the broadest character, raising the widest and most delicate issues. The rules of your Lordships' House are very broad, but noble Lords should let the Government know, on matters of such intense importance and delicacy, something of what they intend to say if they wish to have a full reply. I do not know that it would have been possible to say a great deal to the noble Marquess in any case, but he could not expect in the circumstances to get the answer which he now says he wants.


My Lords, I am sorry that the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, has intervened, because I do not want to differ from him on this matter; but I was told that the noble Lord, Lord Cherwell, was going to reply to the debate, and I did have some conversation with him, and I was under the impression that he understood what I wanted. I spoke in somewhat forceful language, but it is obvious that I did not convey to him my meaning.


My Lords, it is obvious that the noble Marquess did not convey his meaning. I carried away the impression that he wished to emphasize the importance of civil aviation, and that he thought that the question was not being properly gripped and was not being dealt with properly. I never expected to have to answer for the constitution of the War Cabinet, or even, to mention a point raised on the other side of the House, for the education of the Government.


My Lords, at this late hour I do not want to pursue this subject, though I should be very happy in other circumstances to do so. I shall have to bring it forward again, and to make it clear that I desire to hear a statement of policy from the Government. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.