§ 2.46 p.m.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DOMINION AFFAIRS (VISCOUNT ADDISON) rose to move to resolve, That the meetings of the House held during Secret Sessions of the last Parliament, and the Resolutions come to therein, be now recorded in the Journals of the House. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, in moving this Resolution, I should perhaps explain that it is moved in order that there may be a complete record of the 234 sittings of this House for historical purposes. I should explain that the wording of the Resolution is so framed as to recognize that in the Secret Sittings of the House there was no shorthand record of the speeches, and therefore, except for any memoranda which anyone may have himself preserved, there is no record. It would be, I am sure, to the advantage of everyone that nothing should be based upon personal recollection, and therefore I suggest to your Lordships that it is better that this should take the form of recording formal Resolutions which were passed in the House. In that way it will form an adequate record, so far as it can be adequate in the circumstances, of the proceedings of the House.
I am able to give your Lordships an illustration of how this would work. On May 27, 1941, for example, there is an entry that it was moved by Lord Moyne that the sittings of the House to consider the Motions of Lord Davies and Lord Phillimore respecting Home Defence be in secret. That is recorded. In an appendix to the Journal of this Session, if this Resolution is adopted, this would appear:
May 27, 1941. It was moved by the Lord Davies to resolve, That the question of the protection of the major reservoirs of the country be reconsidered. After debate, the said Motion was (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
It was moved by the Lord Phillimore to resolve, That the evacuation by night of the towns principally bombed by all inhabitants not required for night services is of urgent necessity. After debate, the said Motion was (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
I think it would be quite adequate for historical purposes, and certainly so far as it can be accurate a record of that kind should be considered sufficient. I hope your Lordships will agree to the Motion in this form.
§ Moved to resolve, That the meetings of the House held during Secret Sessions of the last Parliament, and the Resolutions come to therein, be now recorded in the Journals of the House.—(Viscount Addison.)
§ 2.47 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
My Lords, we are indebted to the Leader of the House for giving such a clear explanation of exactly what this Motion means. It is of the most limited character, merely to record in the Journals of the House in the shortest possible way what took place. 235 There will be not even a statement of who made speeches, much less an attempt to record or to summarize speeches. It would be out of order to discuss on this Motion whether or not we, or anybody else, should disclose speeches made in Secret Session in this House. This Motion has nothing whatever to do with that and therefore I will say nothing upon that subject. All this does is to record formally, in the most formal way, any decisions taken or Resolutions passed in a Secret Session.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, on behalf of the noble Lords on these Benches I express concurrence with the Motion.
§ On Question, Resolution agreed to.