HL Deb 05 April 1962 vol 239 cc282-330

4.34 p.m.

LORD LINDGREN rose to call attention to Civil Defence; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the short debate which we are to have this afternoon is really a continuation of the Defence debate we had a few days ago. Your Lordships will be aware of the rather general statement on Civil Defence which is included on page 16 of the Defence White Paper. May I, at this point, call attention to the excellent work which has been done by the Printed Paper Office in preparing material for your Lordships this afternoon? It lies on the Table as well as in the Printed Paper Office, and I think it is rather a lesson to us. I pride myself that I have taken a fairly reasonable interest in Civil Defence matters; yet much of the material which has been produced by the Printed Paper Office I was not aware existed. If one who takes a reasonable interest in Civil Defence was not aware of the material the Government have available, it is not surprising that the general public is ignorant of it, too.

The tragedy of war to-day is that the Armed Forces are no longer the only ones in the front line. Should the tragedy of war ever come upon this or any other country, the civil population will be as much in the front line as any member of the Armed Forces. The importance of that lies not only in its direct effect upon the civil population, but in the fact that the morale of the civil population is a much bigger factor now in the possibility of the survival of a nation than it was in previous times of war. Equally, the morale of the Armed Forces, I am certain—noble Lords who have experience of command of troops in the field will confirm this—depends largely upon whether or not they are satisfied with the provisions for the protection and safety, so far as possible, of their wives and families who are left behind at home. A man who is worried about what is happening to his wife and family can never make a good soldier. Therefore, on the basis of the possibility of survival and of national morale, both of the civil population and of the Armed Forces, a Civil Defence organisation is really a fourth arm of defence.

I think we must face two facts. The Civil Defence Service of this country is not as effective or as efficient as we should like; very far from it. A further fact is that I doubt whether in peace time we shall ever got a really effective Civil Defence Service. It is unfortunate, perhaps, but it is the British nature. We do not get enthusiastic either for the Armed Forces or for Civil Defence until an emergency is almost upon us. Therefore I feel that the aim must be to secure as large, effective and efficient a Civil Defence force as is possible from the volunteers that we can bring in, and to train those volunteers to the highest possible standard in order that, should the tragedy of an emergency arise, the Civil Defence Corps can rapidly expand and quickly train the influx of people who will immediately come to give aid but who are untrained and, whilst untrained, might be an even bigger worry to those who have responsibility for organisation.

My impression is that the general standard of Civil Defence training among those excellent volunteers who have already joined the Corps is reasonably high, and, for that fact, I think tribute should be paid to the excellent work that has been done by the Civil Defence Staff College at Sunningdale. That Staff College has trained all branches of the Civil Defence service and has made possible the high standard which also exists in the vast majority of local authority training schools up and down the country. That we have a Civil Defence Service of the standard that we have to-day is, I feel, largely due to that Civil Defence Staff College which is perhaps (though I have not wide experience outside our own country of the Civil Defence organisation in other countries) one of the best in the world.

I do not propose to make any reference this afternoon to the police and fire services: they are disciplined services, and their standard of training is, as we all know, extremely high. Whilst they are part of the Civil Defence organisation I make no reference to them, not because they are not important but because I wish that the standards of training in every other branch of Civil Defence were as high as it is in the police force and the fire service. We have, first of all, the headquarters services, the wardens' service, the rescue service, the ambulance, first aid and welfare services. So far as headquarters services are concerned, they are reasonable. They are largely manned by local authority personnel, those already in the employ of local authorities; and local authorities have given facilities for training and for exercises within working time. Those services are of quite a reasonable standard.

Then we have the rescue, the ambulance, first aid and welfare services. I do not say anything about the welfare services, because the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, is here this afternoon and she has, over perhaps more years than she cares to remember, been associated, both from the outside and from the inside, in conjunction with the Home Office, with the welfare services inside Civil Defence.

The rescue, the ambulance and the first aid services are again, though not as extensive as we should like, of a reasonable standard of training. The fact that the standard of training is high, of course, is contributed to by the excellent work of the Order of St. John and the British Red Cross. Equally, the number of recruits within those services, which, if not satisfactory, is much more satisfactory than in the wardens' service, is largely due to the fact that those volunteers see within the rescue, first aid and ambulance services, and the welfare service, a peace-time value for the training they undertake and the work they are making themselves prepared to undertake One has only to think over the past few weeks of the excellent services that were carried out by Civil Defence personnel in such places as Leeds and Sheffield, when the gales hit Yorkshire, and the equally excellent work—but not, perhaps, given quite so much publicity—done in Devon and Cornwall during the floods which accompanied the gales.

I think we must face the fact that the weakest service within the Civil Defence organisation is the wardens' service. Yet the wardens' service is the most vital, because it is the link between the public and the availability of the Civil Defence services to the public. It is the warden who should give leadership and guidance before, during and after an attack. The warden is vital in his locality for the general morale of the public. And he has the responsibility for measuring and reporting radioactivity.

I do not intend to be too critical of the Government in this debate, though one must be critical of some aspects. I feel that the Government carry a very heavy responsibility for the fact that the warden service is not stronger than it is; because the Government, in my view, have failed lamentably to make available to the public general information in regard to Civil Defence. Among the publications which the Printed Paper Office have made available is an excellent booklet, published by the Home Office in 1957, called, The Hydrogen Bomb. Yet on the first page of this booklet it says: This is not intended to serve as a comprehensive manual of instruction to the householder about the steps he could take to help himself and his family should war come: a much fuller booklet is being prepared for this purpose for issue should the need arise; but reference is made to some of the precautions that could be taken. This excellent booklet, showing the horrors and effects of nuclear warfare, and giving the promise of a householders guide, was published in 1957. This is 1962, and still the promised guide is not available for the householder. I think it ought to be. It should be issued free to all householders, and it would do a great deal to counteract the present attitude of quite large sections of the public, "What is the good of anything? Nothing."

That pamphlet should tell how the householder can protect his home; how radio-activity is likely to affect the family; what is fall-out, and all the many other things that are referred to in the booklet on the hydogen bomb. I feel very strongly that the more the public are told, the more knowledgeable they are about the effect of nuclear warfare and what they can do to help themselves, the more likely we are to get recruits in that basic service, the wardens' service, which has such an effect upon the general morale of the public in the locality. The United States has issued a very excellent booklet, Fall-out Protection; What to Do, and all about the nuclear attack. If the United States can issue such a booklet and sees the need for it, I would suggest to Her Majesty's Government that they should issue one to the general public as well.

I think the Government should make clear their shelter policy. At the moment the public are completely ignorant and very apprehensive as to what shelter policy is. Folk generally tend to look at things in a superficial way. They see modern architecture; they go to work now in new offices which are almost glasshouses—not the sort of glasshouses which those noble Lords who were associated with the Services know of, of course, but those palaces of glass which are being erected these days. It appears to the ordinary public, even those who are a little informed as to the possibility of nuclear attack, that those buildings afford very little or no protection; and it is not unreasonable for the ordinary citizen to say, "If such tremendous amounts of capital are being expended in new buildings in our city centres, and no protection is being given, or it does not appear that any arrangement is being made for protection, in those buildings in the event of a nuclear attack, why should we, in our ordinary houses, take precautions?" Therefore I feel that a shelter policy is most important and that the Government should make a statement in regard to it.

Over this past weekend we have had a statement of Government policy in regard to evacuation. It may be that there would be a period of tension before hostilities broke out, and it might be possible to move large numbers of people. Here, again, the Government by their own policy create doubts in the minds of the public. There is talk of moving 10 million people. To do that takes a lot of time and transport. At the same time as the Government are talking about moving 10 million people in a short period of time of pre-hostility tension, they are dismantling the only form of transport that could perform the operation. Perhaps as a railwayman I may be a little biased, but no one can expect to move 10 million people on the roads of this country in a short period of time and that the life of the country will go on. Yet we are dismantling the railway service, which is in fact the only way by which they can be moved in time of emergency.

My next complaint is in regard to industrial Civil Defence. The recovery or a nation immediately after attack will be made possible largely by industry being able to resume its normal activities as quickly as possible. Yet if the warden service is weak, industrial Civil Defence is weaker—it is almost non-existent. I can speak with some authority in regard to only my own County of Hertfordshire. There it is most worrying to those of us who have some small responsibility for the organisation of Civil Defence within the county. From the discussions that I have had with my colleagues who are chairmen of Civil Defence committees in London and the Home Counties, it would appear that those places are in no better position so far as industrial Civil Defence is concerned than is Hertfordshire.

Industrial Civil Defence is not a local authority responsibility; it is a direct responsibility of the Home Office through the regions. Here, again, it has an effect upon the ordinary man and woman. A man working in a large factory, a nationalised industry or a large industrial undertaking, who knows that there is no Civil Defence organisation within the works where he is employed and who remembers that during the last war industrial Civil Defence was as important and vigorous and perhaps even more efficient than the normal local authority Civil Defence, will naturally say, "If the firm is not worried, and we here are working in a large industrial organisation with no Civil Defence arrangements or industrial organisation, why should I trouble to join a local warden service?" Therefore, apart from the effect that industrial Civil Defence has on the maintenance of our industrial activity in time of war, it has its effect upon the ordinary citizen who is an employee as well, and upon his attitude towards Civil Defence.

Then, in the chain of operational command, there is a point in regard to operational control centres. The Government have been giving quite a lot of attention to the provision of regional, sub-regional and area operational controls. But that is the only extent to which they have gone. There is no indication that any attention is being given to operational controls at sub-area level. But sub-area level is the link between the Controller, who has available to him the Civil Defence services, and the public who are in need of them. It is a most vital link in the operational chain of control. I shall be glad if the noble Earl can give some indication. when he comes to reply, as to whether or not the Government are going to extend their activity, creditable though it has been at regional, sub-regional and area level, down to the sub-area level, which is so necessary in the chain of control up to the Controller.

Many Ministries are involved in Civil Defence. One is the Ministry of Health. Of the booklets which are available on the Table there is the Ministry of Health Report for 1960, page 161 of which makes reference to the Ministry of Health arrangements or organisation for Civil Defence. But my information is that that Civil Defence activity of the Ministry of Health is not in any way co-ordinated, at least at the present time, with the Civil Defence plans of the local authorities. It is almost impossible for local authorities to complete their plans unless they have knowledge of the Ministry of Health plan. There is also the problem of the disposal of the dead. In the event of nuclear attack that would be a tragic and heavy problem. Again, local authorities are getting no guidance whatsoever from the Government. They are most anxious that there should be some guidance in regard to that problem.

We come to the use of schools. A problem of Civil Defence is, of course, the availability of buildings from which they can carry out the various activities which fall to local authorities in time of an emergency. For several years there has been doubt as to the extent to which schools could be used during an emergency. Although there has been doubt, several Ministries and local authority and other organisations have made arrangements for various services to be carried on in schools—such services as hostels, emergency feeding and rest centres. For that sort of activity schools have been provisionally earmarked. At the same time, local education authorities are telling local authorities, through the Ministry of Education, that schools are not available for use in an emergency and that they must be kept for educational purposes. One appreciates that in a period of cold war, with no hostile activity, the more normal one can keep the activities of the people the better; but the possibility of nuclear attack is such that. I think we ought to have some guidance from the Government and the Ministry of Education as to the earmarking of schools by Ministries and local authorities for various activities for which they have to make provision.

My last complaint, so far as Government activity is concerned, is in regard to Radiac equipment. Local authorities have been told (there is reference to it in the Defence White Paper) that large stocks of Radiac equipment are held at Government central stores. It is possible that we may have time to carry out evacuation and certain activities in a period of pre-emergency stress. We ought also to face the fact that the emergency may come very quickly indeed. I put forward the suggestion that these stores of Radiac equipment, which are now held centrally, ought to be dispersed, and that the fact of their dispersal ought to be made known by Civil Defence authorities to Civil Defence personnel. It would be a tremendous fillip to the morale of the Civil Defence personnel if they knew that the equipment was available in case of need reasonably close to the area in which they operate, and it would also be of benefit to public morale.

My Lords, those who are responsible for the organisation of Civil Defence out in the field in the local authorities have a difficult task. It is the most difficult task which has been placed upon local authorities by any Ministry. There is not a single person who is engaged in Civil Defence who does not pray that every minute that he gives to training, every penny that is spent on Civil Defence, will be wasted, and that there will never be any use for the purpose on which he has expended his leisure time and on which central or local authority funds have been disbursed. Because of this fact I think the Government should do everything they can to help those who are responsible for the organisation of Civil Defence to secure the recruits necessary to man the Service, to train them, and to make as easy as possible the conditions under which there will be reasonable Civil Defence services should an emergency arise.

It is tragic that at the present time, with all our scientific knowledge, we should be thinking of a nuclear war, and the fact that if such a tragedy ever occurred millions would die and there would be little or nothing that could be done for anyone who was within the target area. But, my Lords, it is possible that an attack might come, and in the fringe areas of that attack millions of lives that might otherwise be lost could be saved, if there were an efficient and effective Civil Defence organisation in which the personnel knew what to do and how to do it. I believe that the contribution we can make is to ensure that Government policy is such that it makes an attack unlikely. Secondly, as part of our deterrent policy we should create an efficient, knowledgeable Civil Defence Service which the public will know is ready to act should the emergency arise. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.

5.5 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to bring to your Lordships' notice certain practical points in regard to Civil Defence. I would especially say that the points which have been brought up by my old friend, Lord Lindgren, show how deeply he was originally enmeshed in Civil Defence, and how well he has followed the situation in that great service. I would myself declare an interest in that I am an active member of the Women's Voluntary Services for Civil Defence, who are the women's auxiliaries to Civil Defence. As such I do not want to concentrate upon my own section of the Service, but should like to bring to your Lordships' attention various aspects of Civil Defence as a whole.

Civil Defence must, in my view, be a local service. It is unthinkable that anyone who knows anything at all about Civil Defence, or who has made any examination of the problem could imagine that Civil Defence could be handled in any way except on a local basis. Because Civil Defence is not a fighting service, but a service for survival and for the survivors of an attack, I believe that the value of Civil Defence is as an insurance against trouble. But, as with all insurances, unless the premiums are paid up to date the insurance itself cannot be valuable. It would seem that unless we can get Civil Defence volunteers, and unless the volunteers are trained and know their job, the Service as a whole will be un-workable and the community in the long run will suffer. Like the noble Lord who has moved the Motion, I believe that if individuals were aware of the true situation, if they made themselves cognisant of what might occur if such an event happened, and of the part they would have to play, they would come forward to volunteer for Civil Defence. I do feel however, that the whole of this turns on that small word "if". Only those people who know the real hazards and what measures can be taken can begin to realise the full value of Civil Defence. The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, is absolutely right when he says that the public do not know enough; that they take their lead from straws in the wind and are therefore in no way taking their share of responsibility, and that, as a consequence, Civil Defence is in a bad state.

We live in an accelerated world, my Lords. This is no longer the motor age but the pre-space age. We should be looking with realism at the situation today and should be creating opportunities for the young to take responsibility for Civil Defence. They should not only be plotting the future, but be taking the responsibilities of the present. Why should the young come forward to assume this basic task unless they are quite sure that it is necessary to do so, and unless they have a modicum of assurance that they can do something that will not be hemmed in by frustration and outmoded methods?

To give them the opportunity of believing in Civil Defence I hope that those points which the noble Lord has just mentioned will be taken note of. I hope that the booklet, The Hydrogen Bomb, which all of us found so excellent when first printed, could be given a much wider circulation; that it might not just be on the stalls to be bought for 9d., but that it should be given to people who show the least interest, so that by whetting their appetites a degree of participation may result on the part of the person concerned. I should also like careful thought to be given to the position of people who, having a little interest, come forward, only to have that interest frozen so that they do no more.

What the noble Lord has said about the poor number of wardens in the country is a very serious thing. All of us who in any way play an active part in Civil Defence must recognise that this is not only a serious thing but something which is our responsibility at every level, one to which we must attend at once. I think that if people could be made fully aware of the situation as it really is they would come forward to shoulder their responsibility. They resent being told to do a thing, but if they could be thoroughly convinced, I am sure that they would come forward and offer to serve. In order to persuade them to do this I am convinced we must supply to people at every level, the information for which the noble Lord asked so that a maximum number of them understand what the true position is, and a minimum number of people misunderstand the position.

The weakness in Civil Defence to-day is that there is never a sufficiency of members coming forward for training, and, inasmuch as Civil Defence must be based on the locality, unless people come forward to be trained there is a lack of confidence in Civil Defence itself. If an emergency were to occur, there would be no one person locally who could give the lead. It would be idle to hope that people from outside could do this job. Civil Defence, essentially, must be based on an individual who is respected locally, known and trusted, and that confidence must be heightened by full knowledge by the individual of what to do and how to do it.

Many people not only read but believe the loud captions crying out from the top of newspapers, and never take the trouble to go any further to make themselves fully aware of the truth of the matter. This is what has bedevilled us in Civil Defence from the very start. We have to make the men and women of great Britain understand that, whatever tragedy the terrible onslaught of a nuclear attack would bring with it, the tragedy of the millions of survivors, unless they were cared for, would be just as great. All of us naturally hope for success in the field of negotiation on disarmament, but none of us has the right, because of that, not to prepare ourselves to meet disaster were it to come. In one's own family, or in one's own neighbourhood, one prepares oneself against possible local, small accidents. One fits oneself to meet them, hoping that they will never come; and, surely, the thing we are talking of in Civil Defence is a national preparation rather than a domestic one, against an accident.

I think that less than fair due has been given by the country as a whole to the back-room boys in Civil Defence. I, personally, would add my meed of tribute to that of the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, in respect to the Staff College. The work carried out there, often in frustrating circumstances, has undoubtedly made a tremendous impact on the country as a whole. In the back-room itself, the back-room boys with their planning have done much in respect to the hierarchy, in respect to communications, methods of working, support and strengthening, and have worked out an extremely good and valuable scheme for the operation of the Service as a whole. But, my Lords, nothing under the sun can work without the motive power which will generate action, and in this case what we are needing in Civil Defence are the right people to join it, and to work in the various places where direction is needed; and a thoroughly competent understanding of how to organise is also demanded.

Through long years, as the noble Lord who moved the Motion said, men and women have been the backbone of Civil Defence and it has been a terrible job. They have been ready to give up their leisure, they have been ridiculed, and they have often been ostracised by men and women who, fearing that they might have to do the same thing, have thought to laugh them out of it. It has been a question of giving up Saturdays and Sundays and evenings, and often doing things that are very unpalatable. But these men and women have done the job because they believed it was right to do it and felt they had a duty there to their own locality. Had they not had the great virtue of British tenacity, Civil Defence would have died a very long time ago. Recently, Civil Defence has had a shot in the arm and is very much stronger than it was. But I hope that the country will never forget the debt it owes to these men and women, who have been the pioneers of a Service to be used in emergency or disaster; a Service which exists only to save life and to help, and which, as the noble Lord who moved the Motion said, prays that it will never need to be used and that its time will have been wasted.

Many people have been working in Civil Defence for a very long time, and it would be foolish of us if we did not face up to the fact that, should the dread emergency come, it would be necessary for us to have much younger men and women to bear the strain of what might be asked of them. In this regard, I feel that we should now appeal to the young of the country, offering them opportunity, giving them responsibility, and having the courage to stand behind them but not to impede them. This means that the protagonists of Civil Defence, who have worked so hard for so long, would have to show once more their generosity in standing back and letting the young take it on, so that they could fit themselves to be of value were the need to come.

If there were an age qualification in Civil Defence, it would be a right thing from the point of view of the nation as a whole. If this were to be done, although many of us would be very sad to see it, those of us who are thoughtful in this direction would feel that it was the correct way to move. If it were possible for those who are supposed to be the leaders of the country to participate a little in Civil Defence by attending an exercise, by backing the appeals, by doing anything that would help, it would be of mighty value to Civil Defence itself. This would apply to every walk of life, to industry, to the Church, to education, and so on. I believe that your Lordships' House has as great a power of persuasion as it has of leadership, and I would beg your Lordships to think on this, in connection with the varying areas of influence and responsibility which axe yours.

If the young are to be given a real chance, and not to be frustrated and hemmed in, I think my second point should be considered: that they would want to see the content of the training given to other people as something which they felt was right. To achieve this, I think we shall have to be ready to recognise that those who are waiting to accept leadership, and are moving towards it already, should also be given the opportunity to plan how they and their sisters and brothers would like to have that training. This thing is of moment. If Civil Defence is to have people worthy of the job which they would be undertaking, I am quite sure that the first thing is that their interest must be held when they are being trained.

In this case, I have no hesitation at all in saying that it is absolutely necessary for the training in Civil Defence to be not only practical and factual, but given in a way which inspires a person. A person who is being taught does not want to be bored or "browned-off", and does not want to feel that the thing is so worthless that he gives it up immediately. And this first impact on the potential volunteer is of immense importance. In the experience of all of us, people come forward to take training and then they lose heart, mainly because of the inability of the instructor to translate the facts; because of the feebleness of the person who is trying to put it across, or because of the dreariness of the person who is giving a lecture, which makes the individual feel that he would rather stay at home and not participate in what he knows to be his duty. Make no mistake, there are many quite superb lecturers both at the central and at the local level, but their magnificent effort is hurt, again and again, by those who are not good enough to do the job and who, for some personal reason, have not been allowed to be removed.

I am more than sure that the local patriarch is a wonderful man, but I am equally sure that the local patriarch is not the man to have responsibility for Civil Defence, and for lecturing to a young and hopeful person on to-day's dangers, modern methods or tomorrow's solutions. For this reason I believe that we should examine training very carefully and very courageously, eliminating that which is not acceptable to the young and strengthening that which would be of help. Civil Defence is too good to be hurt by the fact that people will not take the trouble, or have not the courage, to improve and alter that which is obsolete. I feel that this is a point worthy of your Lordships' attention.

I have had some experience in this matter, because in the W.V.S. we have had to deal with this problem seriously. We have had to eliminate the person who, although we are devoted to her, and although we have the highest respect for her and know her qualities, is not the right person to speak to a class. In this direction, I think it is only the integrity of the person in charge that will eliminate a man or woman lecturer who is not up to the standard required. I personally have found this especially true in a scheme which has been developed and which has been extremely useful throughout the whole of the country. In this scheme we have undertaken to inform one woman in five, in the simplest possible language, of the dangers that might have to be faced if a nuclear war were to take place and the simple, ordinary things that a woman could do in such an event, for her family and for her neighbours. The interesting thing about this scheme is that it has shown quite categorically that roughly 75 per cent. of the women who hear the talks go off, as a direct result, to take some other training or join some form of service which will be valuable.

Civil Defence, as the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, said, is now being given a chance to prove itself. The White Paper is an obvious start in that direction, and all of us who have an interest in the work must surely be encouraged by the issue by Her Majesty's Government of the new dispersal policy. The fact that a circular has now gone out to local authorities from the responsible Department must be a help to them in looking at their own problems and formulating their own plans. The whole question of evacuation is such a complex subject that it would take a whole debate in your Lordships' House even to touch on it, but I believe that this way of treating so complex a matter is a very wise and sensible one, and is a great step forward, and I personally welcome the issue of this statement most warmly.

I end, my Lords, by emphasising to you most sincerely that Civil Defence is not a commodity that we, who are interested in it, are trying to sell. It is a form of education in a special direction for the thoughtful men and women of the country, and it should be presented to them as such. In the final count, Civil Defence, like all other things, must depend on the individual. It is my earnest plea to your Lordships that you will make every endeavour to stimulate every single person possible to consider joining the Civil Defence Service.

5.24 p.m.


My Lords, I was in full agreement with what my noble friend Lord Lindgren said when moving the Motion and also with what was said by the noble Baroness who has just sat down, when they told us that if we have a Civil Defence programme it is good to have as efficient a one as we can. I want to stand a little further back and look at the effect of Civil Defence at all in a world of nuclear deterrents such as we have now. There are, I suppose, two trains of thought which would lead one to wish to increase one's Civil Defence programme. One is that Civil Defence was very useful in the last war and, since the next war, if it happens, will be much worse than the last, then we ought to have more Civil Defence. The second train of thought is that, however horrible a nuclear war might be, there would obviously be some people in some areas whose lives could be saved by a good Civil Defence programme.

This is the argument which, in the writings of Herman Kahn, has had such an effect in the United States and has led them to undertake their very large, new shelter programme which they are planning at the moment. Kahn is fond of saying, "All right; you cannot save the first 90 million people in a nuclear strike—no amount of civil defence will save them—but you can save the next 40 million. Are you going to condemn 40 million people to death by doing nothing about it now?" Then, in our own country, there is the approach indicated by the posters: "Millions will be left alive". These are both strong arguments and will naturally weigh heavily with all people of good heart.

But, on the other side, I think it is clear that a country's Civil Defence policy is part of its deterrent posture. The Russians will judge our intentions partly by what we do about Civil Defence; and we may partly judge their intentions in the same way. We find in the demonological school of American writing about the Soviet Union—the school especially associated with the Rand Corporation—that the whole Soviet Union is riddled with big interconnected underground shelters, that every Soviet citizen is drilled in what to do when the whistle blows, where to run, et cetera.

I know that your Lordships like the personal example, so I want to quote briefly from a letter I recently received from a friend in Moscow. I had asked her what they were doing about all this, and she replied, "No, we are not building shelters. Whatever will the Americans think of next? Let them all go to asylums in their own way." One does not want to put too much on one letter, but are not the recent stories in the New York Times correct when they suggest that, whatever the Russians may have been doing in the Stalin era, they are not now building shelters; that one can see evidence of air-raid shelters under some earlier post-war buildings in the Soviet Union, but none under any buildings put up in the last few years? If this is so, what does it suggest? Surely it suggests that they do not expect nuclear bursts on or near their cities. The only thing that could lead to such strikes on their cities would be Western retaliation for a first counterforce strike by them against our bomber fields and missile sites. The evidence from their programme is that they do not intend to carry out the first strike. If they did, they would be building shelters for all they are worth.

I know that the British defence policy has for five years been based on the idea that we should in certain circumstances carry out a first nuclear strike. It is said in the 1957 White Paper that in the event of a major conventional aggression in Western Europe, we would use our deterrent V-bomber force. But I think no one believes we should do that except in quite unimaginatively adverse circumstances. Certainly the Americans do not, or they would be harrying us even more than they are to change our defence policy, because it puts the life of their cities in our hands. I think it is important to ask the Government not to take any measures in Civil Defence or in anything else which would lead anyone to believe that we would carry out the first nuclear strike only in rather adverse circumstances, because circumstances are often rather adverse, and every such measure increases the temptation to the other side to strike first.

I spoke to the House recently about the plan for the evacuation of cities, which has been mentioned again in to-day's debate, and I explained how that could appear to be only a part of a first strike policy. The same is true, though in rather a lesser degree, about a shelter programme in and near cities. Such a programme would show that we expected nuclear bursts over our cities; in other words, that we expected retaliation over the first strike. In any case, what good are shelters in and around cities? Let us think for a moment. In retaliation—otherwise put, in revenge—the adversary would presumably use the biggest weapon he had in order to hurt most. That, at the moment, is the 100 megaton rocket, though it may get bigger.

In parenthesis, perhaps we should not talk of megatons at all: it makes us complacent. Let us spell out what we mean. Some of your Lordships may have seen in yesterday's Times a photograph of a clinic in Algiers which was demolished by an O.A.S. bomb. That was a 30 lb. bomb—one 30 lb. bomb: one building down. A 100 megaton rocket—in other words, a 100-million ton weapon—equals roughly 10,000 million times that O.A.S. bomb. Many of your Lordships are probably familiar with the fact that the bigger a thermo-nuclear weapon is, the greater relatively is the heat effect, and the less relatively are the blast and radiation effects.

A 100-million ton thermo-nuclear weapon bursting over any of our conurbations — London, Manchester, Tyneside, or wherever it was—would create a fire storm which would entirely burn up that whole conurbation. It would last for very many hours, and whatever the blast and radiation effects, it would utterly consume in fire every stick of every building, and every living thing in that conurbation. It would burn outwards and outwards until it was stopped by open fields having no trees in them. Another thing it would do is that it would also consume the oxygen in the atmosphere. Therefore, anyone who had survived the blast and the radiation by being in a deep shelter would very shortly be asphyxiated. To be any good against the fire-storm, a shelter must have compressed oxygen in cylinders, enough for all the people in the shelter.

I do not know, but maybe the Government are thinking: "All right, we cannot do anything for the people in the cities; let us at least plan for the villages and the small towns." Very well. One can think of ways of saving people from the fall-out clouds; but what happens when, after a week or two, they come up from their shelters? I want to dwell for a moment on this point, because I think there is a good deal in it for discussion, and at the same time it is one aspect which has been very much overlooked. Will these people not very shortly die of typhus and cholera? Remember, there will be tens of millions of unburied corpses—people and animals—corpses which cannot be reached because of the radiation. There will be no water supplies, no transport, no radio-transmitting stations to tell people what to do, no electricity to warm them and to light them. And, above all, there will be no drugs. Drugs are made in cities. Hospitals are situated in cities. What defence will there be against epidemics of what one might call conventional, germ-borne disease on the scale of the Black Death itself? Put this together with the effects of radiation sickness, my Lords. I have laboured this point because, in all the literature I have read about it, I have seen very little discussion of this particular horror among all the other horrors.

There is another danger about Civil Defence, and it is one to which our society, with its crudely permissive money values, is perhaps especially prone. I mean what one might call "lulling for profit". Many people are rather simple. Many other people are very avaricious. If the avaricious can lull the simple into believing that shelters can protect them, then they can make a nice fat profit. We have seen it happen in America, and I believe that the first private shelters are already on sale in this country. We should remember the advertisements in the American Press, the travelling exhibitions in the small towns, the sales pitches on the television, and, most of all, perhaps, that number of Life magazine, which printed a photograph of a man in something called a "fall-out suit", which looked like an ordinary plastic raincoat and sou'wester. There was even a photograph of a teenage girl in her family shelter, happily munching crackers and telephoning to her boy friend in his shelter, as if it were raining outside.

That is only in keeping with the trenchant and boisterous disregard for human life and human decency which overcomes the Luce Press when it gets on to the cold war, and hot war planning. What a terrible thing it would be if the Government were to do or permit anything which could hoodwink our people like that! I am not so sure that the "nice-cup-of-tea-and-whitewash-the-windows" approach of the "one-in-five programme" may not be a little like that already, although, of course, no one is making a profit out of it.

This phenomenon of lulling operates at a more sophisticated level as well. According to one doctrine, Civil Defence is supposed to enable a Government—any Government—to look tougher, to look as though it meant business, to take up more extreme and inflexible positions in international affairs. It is supposed, therefore, to be good for deterrence. Well, my Lords, to the extent that a Government looks willing to accept nuclear strikes, it looks willing to deliver them; and to the extent that it looks willing to deliver nuclear strikes, it invites them. There is no denying that Civil Defence might save some lives in a nuclear strike. But I think there is no denying, either, that it does make nuclear strikes more likely.

5.36 p.m.


My Lords, I do not intend to take up much of your Lordships' time on this matter, but as I regard this very much as a matter of social welfare, I feel that one who is in some sense a representative of the Church should speak. May I, then, say that I feel bound to dissociate myself from the idea that Civil Defence is to be regarded as an invitation to an enemy to strike at us? I do not believe that to be true; and I also feel most strongly that our country can stand up in the face of the world and say from the bottom of our hearts that we do not want war.

Having said that, I would add that I feel that the Civil Defence organisation at the present time is labouring under a very severe handicap; and that is the change of climate. Before the Second World War, I found myself the incumbent of a church in Southampton, which was obviously a town high up on the list of targets for attack if war broke out. I well remember how, in those months of that black year, 1939, the Civil Defence programme got under way. People volunteered with alacrity because it was genuinely feared that war might come. We wanted to prepare ourselves to help the civil population, and we felt that we had a fighting chance of doing something about it. Today the climate is entirely different. In view of the appalling prospect of nuclear war, which has been so graphically described to us just now by the noble Lord who has just sat down, the ordinary man in the street says to himself: "Surely, in the last resort, no Government, no ruler, could be so mad or so wicked as to start war like this. Therefore, surely it cannot happen". Secondly, I believe that there are many people who say: "Well, if it does happen, what is the use of doing anything? It will be so frightful that it will be unmanageable".

My Lords, I feel that we have to rid ourselves of any false ideas in this matter. With regard to the first idea, that surely, in the end, it cannot happen, I would say that here the Churches must give a lead to the nation in doing precisely what the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, said—namely, to ask that people should pray that this may never occur. During this week it has been my privilege to take the Prayers in this House, and the more often I take those Prayers the more I am struck by their wonderful beauty and impressive character. And to-day, in your Lordships' name, I prayed that The Queen might be in safety, honour and happiness, and that this Realm might be preserved in peace and tranquillity. Now, my Lords, I feel that we ought to take this matter of prayer really seriously, and pray most earnestly that God may lead the nations into the ways of peace and understanding. And do not let us feel that, because of repeated disappointments, this is an impossibility.

Secondly, the last speaker, to my mind, was illogical in his view. He said, first, that it was so frightful that nothing could be done—so I gather—and, secondly, that there would be some survivors, who might then be subject to appalling conditions. Agreed, But surely that is exactly the reason why we want to have a Civil Defence organisation. There will be survivors and they will need urgent help. I want to plead to-day that the Churches should be used in this matter. In the ministers of religion, of all denominations, we have thousands and thousands of men who, as the noble Baroness, Lady Swan-borough, said, are known and trusted by the community. I hope that we shall be asked to help, because this is a form of social welfare in which I am sure we should play our part, as we did up to the hilt in the 1939 war.

I understand that recently the Civil Defence College organised a course of instruction for clergymen and ministers of some of the dioceses in the South East part of the country. I am further told that this scheme was regarded as being very helpful. May I ask that the Government authorities will extend this idea on as wide a scale as they can? Will they please come to the Churches and ask us for our help? Would they also please call upon the Churches to give their own opinion on what might be done? I do not mean for a moment that we should set up ourselves as authorities on the situation that might be provoked by a nuclear war. I do not mean that at all. But we do know human nature, because day after day, week in and week out, we are dealing with human beings. I believe that if the Government were to call on the clergy and ministers to help, and were to ask their opinions on these matters, they might be of very great help. And I would urge that that should be done. Surely, when the Government get in touch with us, the various Christian denominations could collaborate in this matter. That I believe they would most happily do.

May I next speak for a moment or two about the so-called evacuation programme, which was published the other day? I am afraid that I cannot forbear to comment on what the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, said about the railway situation, because it is an interesting historical fact that when the old South Eastern Railway Company built the line from Ashford to Hastings, they did so largely because they felt that it was a strategic necessity and would be for the benefit of the country. They built it as much for that reason as for any other. I should also like, in my humble way, to support the noble Lord in saying that the dismantling of our railway system at this moment might not be the wisest thing to do. But that is in passing.

May I now come to this question of the evacuation programme. In the last war, when the evacuation programme had suddenly to be put into effect, I found, as the vicar of a large town parish in an evacuation area, that I was called upon to do a great deal in regard to the matter. I think that the clergy should be consulted now in regard to this programme. I know that the appropriate Minister is in touch with the local authorities. Would he please also ask the help of the clergy and ministers now? I believe that there is much that we could do to assist, because we do know the people—that is the main point I want to make this afternoon.

There is one other matter to which I would refer. I have been asking this afternoon that the Churches might be consulted, because I believe that there is much that we could do to help, but I also ask that all men of good will should now do their utmost to give the people the faith that they need. We have heard this afternoon from two speakers—the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, and the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough—who, in my view, have addressed such notable speeches to us, that the Civil Defence organisation is not getting the volunteers it needs. I am sure that one of the main reasons for this is that the horror of this possibility is so great that people try to shut it out of their minds. I think that we all do this. It is much easier, and much mare pleasant to think about who is going to win the Cup.

If we are going to do what has been pleaded for to-day—namely, to tell the people the facts and let them face them—we have also to give them a faith by which they can live, because otherwise the morale of the country may go down badly. I would again refer to those prayers which I have delivered to-day in your Lordships' House and refer to that phrase in which we speak about Almighty God as "by Whom alone Kings reign." I am sure that the Churches to-day must go out to the country and tell the people now that, though the prospect may be appalling in some ways, in the end it is God and God's Providence which will decide what is to happen. We are in the hands of God and not in the hands of man. I believe that if the people had that kind of faith, they could be asked to face the facts and would face them with courage and equanimity. In that way, by helping ourselves, we should do what we ought to do for our country's welfare at this time.

5.46 p.m.


My Lords, I agree with every word that the right reverend Prelate has just said. I, too, am an optimist. My contribution to this debate, the poor relation of the Defence debate of March 21, is based on the Government's Statement on Defence of February of this year and on my experience as a member of a local authority. I feel sure that all those for whom we are responsible, both here and overseas—and I have heard no mention of overseas in the debate so, far—should be brought to realise that Civil Defence is essential.

In the words I am going to speak, I shall try to pick holes, but only that the Government may fill them or find them foolish, whichever it may be. The Statement on Defence says that: Civil defence is an integral part of our defence preparation. If that is so, let the world know it. The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, who spoke for the Government on March 21 in the Defence debate, made it clear, in answering the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, who, I am sorry to see, has gone, that the Government appreciate the position. I hope that in this debate the Government will make their ideas and their intention crystal clear. I hope they will tell the nation that defence can be really effective and grows more so as the nation learns how to use it.

I cannot agree with the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Sheffield who, in the Defence debate, said that it makes moral nonsense to reduce human losses from 9 million to 5 million. I should have thought that saving 4 million lives would be a very satisfactory thing to do. In future conditions of total war, four people saved out of every nine might make the difference between our extinction and our survival, and such a possibility might be the final straw in the moral efficiency of our nuclear deterrent. Therefore it might indeed prevent the other side from starting a war, and be the means of saving the whole of the population. Reading that debate, and listening to some of it, I got the impression, as a regimental soldier, that the speakers were mostly above my head; that they were considering very important things, but starting from an arbitrary line behind which they had not attempted to look. That line was the daily safety of the population at home and throughout our dependencies. Civil Defence sets out to ensure that safety, so far as is possible. To that end I direct what criticisms I have of the work of this Government.

Civil Defence is a service directed by the Home Office through many Ministries. I hesitate to say in this House that their heads should be figuratively knocked together, but that is the feeling I have. Civil Defence seems to be carried on in semi-secrecy. The Ministry of Housing and Local Government have just come into the open with a circular about dispersal, and the last paragraph but one of the circular says that in the near future the Ministry will consult the local authority associations. I do not know whether the local authority associations have sub-committees working on the question of dispersal; it may well be that they have. The last paragraph cancels a Ministry of Health circular of as long ago as 1950. Surely, when they speak of "the near future" in relation to when they are going to consult, the "near future" of Civil Defence should be long past.

The Ministry of Health, whose circular of 1950 has just been cancelled by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, were forced into the open by the Russian 50 megaton bomb, which caused a fall-out scare and a nine-day wonder. It resulted in an urgent letter from the Ministry of Health to local health authorities—and not, I must point out, through any sort of Civil Defence organisation. They were told to submit within two days a plan for distributing milk. The medical officers of health were given just two days to produce this plan which might, and should, have been ready for years. Probably the plan was in the Ministry, but I do not think it had ever broken through to the local authorities. I am told that the scare came and they were given two days.

Last Saturday, in the evening, I thought I heard on the B.B.C. a sentence saying that the Home Office had prepared a new warning system. I found no sign of it in the papers, and by last Tuesday no sound of it had reached my local authority. But I believe I am incorrect in that, and it is quite possible that I was wishfully dreaming when I heard it. The Ministry of Education, so far as I know, have given no help whatsoever to Civil Defence, in spite of its inactivity. We have been able to extend the knowledge into some schools and school corps and technical colleges; and this work could extend much further were it not that part-time lecturers to qualify for payment for their evening lectures must pass the full Civil Defence wardens' course. Many good teachers are lost because they have not time to do the full course. They are intelligent men and women, who could learn up the subject and put it across properly, but they are prevented from so doing by the fact that they have not taken the whole full-time course and so cannot be paid. Under the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, the educational work in Civil Defence by the W.V.S. among women has been beyond praise. The Russians, I understand, have a compulsory course of ten hours for all women; but officially we do no educational work at all.

In the Statement on Defence there is a lot about integration of services; but in that context Civil Defence is not mentioned. In paragraph 40 an Inter-Services Committee is established; but Civil Defence is not there. In paragraph 43 unified commands are set up abroad; and I wonder who is responsible for Civil Defence in those areas. Are there enough staff officers trained to provide the requirements even of our reduced commitments throughout the world? There are many civilians, as well as Servicemen, in such places who are not in any way exempt from nuclear explosion. Will the Commander-in-Chief in Cyprus, for instance (I do not know him personally and he probably knows all about it) and other Commanders-in-Chief all, one after the other, have the necessary time and imagination—and imagination is perhaps the most essential quality of all—to attend to such things as Civil Defence; or will their staff include one of those officers mentioned in paragraph 41? Will the Civil Defence Staff College play its part in the joint Service training on a par with the other staff colleges, and as a background essential to these joint Service exercises?

In paragraph 44 defence research and development go on, but in the absence of any specific reference to Civil Defence. I have said that Civil Defence is carried on in semi-secrecy, as though we were ashamed of it. Let the Government come into the open and declare that it is their duty to save what can be saved in accident or war; let them publish a plan to do it and make sure that the people know. Paragraph 49 of the Statement on Defence impresses with the increased strength of the corps; but your Lordships should know that the corps has scarcely 10 per cent, of its warden establishment. Wardens are the key men and 10 per cent. of establishment is hopelessly inadequate.

For the Government to give a true picture on Civil Defence in their Statement on Defence they must break down the numbers that they give us. They look splendid. They say, "Ah! Again up so many thousands in the year ". But these figures must be broken down into industrial and local government defence, into wardens and rescue, and services filled mostly by women. It will take a few more figures, but there are plenty of figures in the Statement already and a few more will not do any harm. Surely there should be closer touch between industrial and local authorities. These latter, as has been said, have no responsibility for industry; but, as has also been said, we know from yearly returns to the regions that among the fifteen firms in my rural area who should produce Civil Defence units very little is in fact done. No doubt their difficulties are the same as ours. No doubt other areas are in much the same state. Obviously the peace-time nuclear danger is increasing. One can never say. Leaving out any idea of war, experiments and accidents are a danger. I see four divisions of Civil Defence effort; science, organisation, education and recruiting. Speaking for a local authority, I think I can say that science is beyond us; organisation is done for us; education we force through without any sort of encouragement, and recruiting is entirely lopsided. I ask the Government to treat this seriously and with imagination as being the bedrock of all effective forms of defence against nuclear accident or war.

Before I sit down, I wish to pay a most sincere tribute of gratitude for the unselfish work which so many thousands of Civil Defence volunteers are now doing. A clear conscience and good comradeship are their pride. No one wants to die. See, then, that the public know! We have heard of a three-year plan and even a five-year plan, so why not have a five-year plan for the schools and teach the top classes, the ones who are going to leave? In that way you would have your information spread throughout the country generally in five years' time. Teach them what seems best to help themselves and to help each other: and then, my Lords, trust in God.

6.2 p.m.


My Lords, I hope your Lordships will forgive my unannounced entry into this debate, but I am in the strange position of being a Territorial officer who was sent to be trained in Civil Defence work at the Scottish Civil Defence School at Tay-mouth Castle about two years ago. I have now, for my sins, the task of training Territorial Army personnel in Civil Defence matters as this happens to be our Civil Defence year. In the last four or five months I have been brought very pertinently into the running of Civil Defence and some of its problems. I should like to say that I agree with many of the statements made by the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, and the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, especially with the statements about lack of information given to the general public, what the stakes really are, and the possible remedies.

One of the first difficulties I encountered was in trying to make the men I had to instruct feel that the situation was not hopeless from the beginning. Fortunately, one was able to get that over and to tell them: "For God's sake! go home and tell the family. Tell the person next door, and if any people ask you in the pub, tell them too. If they do not believe you, bring them to me." We have found that the men take a tremendous interest. I find it far easier to train them in Civil Defence than in actual warlike duties. They will come, and they will train. They are interested, and they seem to continue to wish to be interested. We had to obtain instructors and send them to the Army Civil Defence School. There was no difficulty in getting volunteers. They have given up their time to take courses, which they have found well worth while.

That leads me on to another aspect. When I started, I asked the local Civil Defence officer whether it was possible to get a training area. He said, "I do not know. We have been trying to get one for years from the local authority, but they have never given us anything." I said that it seemed rather strange but that I would write a letter to the local council. At their next meeting the council put a building at our disposal, as quickly as that. They were only too delighted to do so. On the first Sunday's training we were throwing somebody out of the window—not literally, but in the prescribed manner—and I saw a gentleman watching us. I went over to see whether he was perturbed and he said, "I am in charge of the local volunteer fire brigade. I did not know there was anybody else in the area who knew this work at all." I said that we had been doing it for five months and that one of the things Territorials were supposed to go into was the basic prin- ciples of rescue and first aid. He replied, "I am glad to know it, because whether I get you out as a body or whether I find your personnel wandering about the streets in the case of an emergency, I know there are people in the area who are trained."

That brings me to the point I should like to press home. We are always being bedevilled by the bomb. It terrifies everybody, as has been said so often to-day by many speakers. People think, "What can we do? It is a waste of time." But the point is this. What happened recently in Sheffield and Leeds was not caused by a bomb; that was an act of God. But there were Civil Defence personnel and there was the need for them. There were no bombs at all, but they were able to respond and come with aid that was needed. Too often we have car crashes, railway smashes, pit accidents, and all sorts of catastrophes, and these people are needed for those mishaps alone. If one could get over to the general public that we want people to volunteer to be part of a Civil Defence force, not just to pick up those who survive the terror of nuclear attack, but for the everyday things that may happen at any moment, we should get a far greater response, because people are willing to come when they see that they will be needed at virtually any moment.

The noble Baroness mentioned the difficulties of training. If one can persuade people to see they will be needed at any moment they will gladly train. If they have to attend lectures and practise night after night for war, which they do not want to happen and which we all hope will never happen, they will quickly become bored. But if they realise that at any moment they will be called out they will keep up to scratch.

I was speaking to a member of the fire service and asked him whether he had any difficulty in getting his volunteers to attend for training. He said he did not: they always did so because they never knew when they would be needed. I cannot help feeling that if, through Government encouragement and possibly local encouragement, it were possible for the Civil Defence to be made a local body we should have far more local volunteer response to it. As it is, we are bedevilled by the bomb. People are shrugging their shoulders and saying, "Why should we?" But there is a need for people prepared to give up their time to help others suffering from acts of God and other peculiar tragedies which may occur. If we can get that across, I feel sure they will respond.

6.10 p.m.


My Lords, we have had a most fascinating and interesting debate in your Lordships' House this evening, and I want to thank the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, on behalf of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary for having instituted the debate in this House. I want to thank, too, all those of your Lordships who have spoken for the kind way in which you have put across your ideas about Civil Defence; and when I thank the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, and those who have taken part in this debate, I also want to include my most sincere thanks and gratitude to all those members of the Civil Defence Services throughout the country whom I shall not be able to mention in the course of my speech in reply to the noble Lord this evening. We owe all those men and women a great debt of gratitude; and we owe the noble Lord himself and other noble Lords who have spoken a debt of gratitude for all that they personally do on behalf of Civil Defence.

I even thank the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, for what he said, because he has given me some ammunition with which I hope to demolish his arguments and which I can put to the public at large. He is not in the House this evening but he courteously wrote me a letter to say that he had to go to somewhere in Germany—unfortunately I cannot pronounce the name—and I know he has had to catch an aeroplane on urgent business. Nevertheless, I trust that he will forgive me if, later on, I have some rather scathing things to say about him.

We have all agreed, except for the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, that there are going to be survivors after a nuclear attack. Your Lordships have also agreed that Civil Defence is going to help those survivors in one way or another. It is a great comfort to me and to my right honourable friends in another place who have charge of Civil Defence that your Lordships should agree on those two counts. We have said that Civil Defence consists of volunteers; that Civil Defence is organised on a local basis through the local authorities; and the noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, has shown why that is necessary. And, indeed, the noble Marquess, Lord Ailsa, who intervened at the end, showed how essential it is that Civil Defence should be on a local basis rather than, as some protagonists will say, a fourth arm, as it were, of some sort of paramilitary service. We agree (that the local authority is the arm of organisation for our Civil Defence.

The right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Lichfield. has made a most remarkable and interesting contribution to Civil Defence this evening. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all that he has said and I will bring it to the attention of my right honourable friend, who will read it with the greatest of interest. I assure the right reverend Prelate that my right honourable friend will see what can be done in any way—this is a completely new idea that the Lord Bishop has put forward—not only with his Church of England colleagues, but also, as I am sure the right reverend Prelate meant, with all other denominations throughout the country. I hope we shall get the sort of co-operation and help which the Lord Bishop has suggested he would like to see.

I will, if I may, answer by letter the very technical problems that the noble Lord, Lord Saye and Sele, put forward. Some of them are specific problems with regard to Civil Defence and the Services which I am not qualified to answer from the Dispatch Box this evening, but I assure him that he will get an answer. I am most grateful to the noble Marquess for his intervention to show the magnificent part the Territorial Army plays in Civil Defence, and I assure your Lordships that we in the Home Office, and the whole of the Civil Defence, are fully conscious that the successful working of Civil Defence in an emergency would depend to a very large extent upon the resources and the particular skills and disciplines that the Territory Army has at its disposal. I ask him, when he goes back to his friends in his regiment, and wherever he can, to assure them how much we think of all they do on behalf of Civil Defence.

I can tell him that I used to have exactly the same sort of problems in my Territorial Army regiment. Unfortunately, Civil Defence had not advanced as far as it has done to-day. It was no use asking one's local authority for training equipment: there simply was not any; one just had to imagine it. Nevertheless, it was amazing what one could do. But I would commend the noble Marquess, if he has not already done so, to study the interesting text-books about nuclear weapons (I hope that his unit knows them by heart), together with two or three other publications which are provided from the Home Office.

The main objective of the Government's policy is to prevent an outbreak of war. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has recently initiated a Foreign Affairs debate; we have just had a Defence debate, and yesterday we discussed the Air Estimates. Time and time again, with intense interest, we have heard my noble friend the Foreign Secretary explaining to us in this House how he intends to avoid war. We know a little from him of the complications and difficulties of preventing an outbreak of war; and we have heard him, and I am sure other noble Lords, explain how we are, as it were, playing a game of poker with the highest stakes that are possible. We have heard time and time again from my noble friend the Foreign Secretary that general disarmament is what we desire to achieve. We all want that, and he is working harder than anybody, together with his team, to achieve it.

Nevertheless, my Lords, we cannot ignore the possibility that nuclear war might break out, perhaps by miscalculation, and that these weapons may be used against us in this country. We heard about it from the noble Lord opposite, Lord Shackleton, from the noble and gallant Air Marshal, Lord Tedder, and from my noble friend the First Lord of the Admiralty in our debate yesterday. We believe that it is the duty of the Government to take measures within the limits of our resources to mitigate the consequences of such an attack, which would, of course, cause casualties and destruction on a tremendous scale. This is recog- nised and is set out clearly in the training manuals and pamphlets that are available both to the Civil Defence services and to the general public. And I do assure your Lordships that the members of the Civil Defence Corps and all who are connected with it have no delusions about the magnitude of a possible attack.

The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, referred to the dangers and casualities that might be caused in such an attack. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, perhaps tried to make our flesh creep. Whether that was his intention I do not know, but this business of the fire-ball and the rest of it is no new phenomenon. Any of your Lordships who had anything to do with Hamburg during the last war and saw the effects of the fire-storm there—that was the first time—will know this. It was the same in Berlin; Hiroshima and Nagasaki; they too had the fire-ball. Of course there is a fireball; of course there is going to be damage. But somewhere on the fringe of the fires there are going to be fires that can be put out. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, did not say that. He said that none of the fires could be put out. But surely some of them can; and where some of them can be put out, some lives can be saved.

In the view of Her Majesty's Government—and I think it must also be the view of anybody who thinks about it seriously—millions would survive an attack on this country. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, does not like that. He has thought about it seriously and he mentioned probably the most serious Civil Defence thinker in the world to-day, Mr. Herman Kahn, who has written a tome on Civil Defence called Thermo-Nuclear War. People like the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, get hold of part of the thinking of such men and take immense trouble to pull that thinking to pieces just to put over the opposite view. I cannot believe that that is correct in this situation. I cannot believe that it is right just to destroy every bit of thinking and scientific knowledge that is being gained, not only in this country but throughout the world, with regard to the science of nuclear physics, let alone atomic war. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, will listen to none of that.

But, what is much more dangerous, the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, and his friends persuade young people in this country to go sitting in the streets, fearing that nothing else can be done. These young people do not take heart or take up ideas such as the noble Baroness put before your Lordships. It is much easier to be swayed by the likes of Lord Kennet and not to do any thinking at all, and to go and sit in the street, than to think about unpleasant realities and, above all, to think what can be done to help these millions who survive should a disaster occur, albeit by miscalculation. The right reverend Prelate brought out that point very clearly in his magnificent speech, and I endorse not only what he said about thinking but also his plea that we should pray every day that such a disaster will not happen. But praying alone is not going to prevent that disaster.

Those survivors of whom I have spoken would be in urgent need of help and assistance, which we believe could be given efficiently only if people had been trained for the purpose and had taken an advance course in the planning that would be needed. Our plans must be flexible enough to deal with a variety of situations, depending on such factors as weight and pattern of attack and the weather conditions, which determine the pattern of the radioactive fall-out. Your Lordships will have been interested to hear in our debate yesterday on the Air Estimates of the new advances in weather forecasting. Our plans must take into account the much greater scale of destruction that is now possible.

There are three objects of Civil Defence. The first requirement is the provision of a reliable warning scheme, and the noble Lord, Lord Saye and Sele, told us What he thought of the importance of a warning system. Initially it would be to provide public warning of an attack, and afterwards it would provide information about the size and location of nuclear weapons which have exploded and the measurement and distribution of the fall-out they cause. Already in existence is art extensive warning for military purposes and a monitoring organisation which could rapidly be brought into operation. We heard yesterday something of these installations: the ABMEWS, which finally finishes at Fylingdales, about which there has been much debate in another place; the DEWLINE in Canada; our radar system—all these systems are interlocked together to give warning, and we believe it is right that the general public should be able to receive that warning as well.

There is the Royal Observer Carps who are responsible for the plotting of bombs and for the plotting of fall-out. I noted that there were just 2½ lines devoted to the Royal Observer Corps in the Air Estimates, but on behalf of my right honourable friend, and all others in Civil Defence, I want to pay a great tribute to those volunteers. They are organised by the Air Ministry and the Royal Air Force, and they take the greatest pride in their work and in the fact that they are still Auxiliary Air Force men and women. They have 1,100 posts completed and 23 headquarters. I do assure them that their work is a key to Civil Defence and that we are most grateful to them for all the devotion to duty which they show, often in most unpleasant conditions, in the course of their training.

In addition, in order to accelerate the distribution of public warnings special equipment has been designed by the G.P.O. and is presently being installed. Arrangements have already been made to use the B.B.C. to broadcast the warnings to the public. The G.P.O. and the B.B.C. have a vital rôle to play in Civil Defence, and again we are grateful for all the effort and work that is being put in by the men and women in those services. I cannot understand why Lord Saye and Sele's local authority has not heard about these warnings and the new systems, but if he so desires I will certainly see that they do know about it, and I will write a letter to the noble Lord explaining the system. I think it is too complicated and technical to go into now, but the gist of the system is that countless thousands of people at the end of a telephone will have the warning, which previously had never been envisaged as possible; and again one can imagine those countless thousands sending the warning elsewhere. That is roughly what will happen.

Secondly, the task of Civil Defence is to mitigate the effects of an attack. The various Civil Defence services, together with the regular police, fire and ambulance services, and the other emergency services, would have the urgent task of life-saving in the event of a nuclear war, and equally a function afterwards in caring for the survivors, helping to give information and advice to the public and in preparing vital information. The noble Baroness has explained most graphically what is needed in this particular field. The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, particularly asked about schools. I am quite certain that if a state of emergency existed and it was necessary in any area to use a school for any defence purpose whatever, the education authorities of that area would willingly allow that school to be used.

The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, also asked why we had not been able to make more progress with building the sub-area wardens' posts and control headquarters. The answer is that one can move only so far and so fast in a given time. All your Lordships have been saying that we have not moved anything like far or fast enough. But we have decided, and I think rightly, that the first centres to be built should be the top centres—the senior centres; and once the controls and the systems have been installed in those centres, we shall go on building the lower centres. But if we had the lower centres first, with nowhere from which they could be controlled in the event of an attack, I do not think that the money would have been well spent—or, indeed, that there would be anything to be controlled. So we are installing the control first, and the places that will be controlled come along in the second phase.

The third function of Civil Defence is to provide the communication of the organisation for what I would call the revival. We have had survival, but now we have revival. Many people tend to think of Civil Defence only in terms of the services which I have mentioned—police, fire services, ambulance and so forth—which would operate at the time of attack or in its immediate aftermath. But important though these services are, they comprise only a small part of our home defence preparations, the breadth and detail of which are not always appreciated.

A nuclear attack on this country would undoubtedly be followed by a battle for survival of the grimmest kind. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, helped us to imagine such a survival. But from all that the noble Lord said, surely if there is an efficiently working Civil Defence organisation, that survival would not be quite so bad as it would be if there had been no organisation at all. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, that up and down the country there are people who are fully aware of all the horrors of typhoid and cholera, and the rest of the diseases which he mentioned, as well as the difficulties of sanitation. I should be the first to admit with him that the burial of bodies poses an enormous problem. But there will be ways and means of getting over it. Whatever else will happen, if there is no efficient organisation—or, for that matter, no organisation at all—on the ground after such an attack, there is much less chance of these bodies being buried.

The entire remaining resources of the country would have to be marshalled and co-ordinated and controlled in order to keep the survivors alive and to maintain some framework of law and order in preparation for a gradual process of recovery. Every Government Department has a service to provide, and all Government Departments will need to be co-ordinated. That is one of the points of building these headquarter buildings.

The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, mentioned the part the railways will play. Of course the Ministry of Transport are in on all the decisions that have to be taken with regard to railways and roads. I do not know whether a Civil Defence debate is the right place for the right reverend Prelate to put forward a suggestion for the reorganisation of the Kent railway system, but I will certainly put his point forward to the right quarters. The noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, has said that Civil Defence services consist of volunteers. That is how we have to think of them. They are raised and maintained by local authorities and by those industrial and commercial undertakings which have formed industrial Civil Defence units. There has been considerable comment about these industrial units. Agreed, one never has enough of them. But I want to pay a tribute to those firms who have gone ahead and trained even key personnel. Some of them have excellent units within their factories. Would that there were more who would follow their example!

On the question of strength, the noble Lord, Lord Saye and Sele, asked about the warden section. I am the first to admit that the warden section is vastly under strength. I hope that all your Lordships will do everything possible to help local authorities not only to raise and train recruits, but also to put over the fact that there is something that we can do to help survivors, and to counter the line of thought which I am afraid is all too prevalent in these days, and which the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, expressed this evening. The total strength of the Civil Defence Service is 650,000. Last year alone, 27.000 volunteers came in. In the Civil Defence Corps itself we have 375,000 volunteers—that is the latest figure—and out of that number the strength of the warden service is 62,560. To that we must add the strength of the Women's Voluntary Services. Unfortunately, I have not the latest figures. I know that the figures are increasing all the time, and it is through the hard work and inspiration of the noble Baroness that the figures are so satisfactory. We must add their figures to the total I gave of 650,000, to make up the Civil Defence service as a whole.

The noble Baroness asked whether we could induce more young people to join. Anything that your Lordships can do to encourage young people to play their part must surely be appreciated. I will take note of the training programmes and lectures, and will see whether we can find some way to make Civil Defence instruction more attractive. I assure your Lordships that the new films and pamphlets are first-rate. They are quickly getting around to Civil Defence headquarter areas and into all the training posts and local authority areas at the present time, and I understand that they have been most popular. We need confidence in the leaders. I thoroughly agree with what the noble Baroness said in that respect. But we must persuade those who are leaders that there is something that can be done, and I should welcome your Lordships' help in that direction.

I also want to pay tribute to the invaluable assistance that the Civil Defence services have given in peacetime disasters and accidents—for example, in the Sheffield disaster, throughout the North Country, and in train disasters. Nevertheless, I must emphasise that the purpose of Civil Defence is to serve the public if war should occur. We cannot get away from that fact. The more volunteers we train, the more effective will be our plan. True, many more are needed. We want to discuss with the local authority associations now. We have sent out a draft plan to discuss certain changes in the organisation of the Civil Defence services, with the object of improving their effectiveness and of providing a trained nucleus around which expansion could quickly be organised in a period of alert. The noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, referred to this point about the trained nucleus, and he mentioned various ideas. I think it would be improper for me to talk further on that particular subject until we have received from the local authorities their ideas. But I assure him that a move is afoot and that will not be long before a result can be announced. Similar moves are afoot for the auxiliary fire service.

I now want to come to the point which has been mentioned throughout the debate—that of shelter. The Government have always made it clear that it is impracticable to provide shelter that would afford protection in the areas of complete devastation by nuclear explosion. On that point I am at one with the noble Lord, Lord Kennet. The construction of public shelters for the protection of the population cannot be contemplated, and provision on a countrywide scale of less elaborate but specially constructed underground shelters against fall-out would also impose an impossible burden on our resources. We know of no country which is doing either of these things at present on a large scale. The United States recently announced a shelter programme to provide funds for the identification and stocking of potential public fall-out shelters in existing buildings; the provision of fall-out shelters in certain non-profit-making, institutions and the provision of fallout shelters in Federal Government buildings. That is what they are doing. Much can be done to provide shelter against fall-out by taking advantage of the protection afforded by existing buildings—in a basement, if there is one; in a ground floor room, with improvised work such as blocked windows and so forth. Thinking in this country has so far been concentrated mainly on the domestic shelter and shelter in industry, although we are keeping under review all the practical possibilities in this matter of protection against fall-out.

Information and advice about domestic fall-out shelter have been made available in official publications and in Government publicity for Civil Defence, and Corps authorities and the Women's Voluntary Service have done a magnificent service in disseminating the information throughout the country through their "One-in-Five" scheme. Managements of industrial premises were invited some time ago to survey their premises with a view to providing fall-out shelter, and were given a technical memorandum on assessing the protective factor of their buildings. In a period of alert, further advice would be issued to everybody on these and other precautions that might be taken.

We now come to the booklet to which the noble Lord referred. I assure the noble Lord that we have this uppermost in our mind and we are considering supplementing the existing sources of information that are available. A good deal of this is on the Table and in the Printed Paper Office in your Lordships' House. In doing so, and in continuing to seek improvements within the limits of what is practicable—and we must remember the factor of what is practicable—in providing fall-out shelters in this aspect of Civil Defence preparations, we are taking full account of recent developments in shelter policy in the U.S.A. and in other countries. Because of the different conditions that obtain, however, the measures adopted by one country are not necessarily appropriate or practicable in another country. I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, that although he may try to make people laugh about a plastic survival suit, if you are in a plastic mackintosh you will be far better off in regard to fall-out than if you are not wearing one. It is just not true to make such comments as he did, because the facts are completely to the contrary.

Most of your Lordships have dealt with the problem of the preparations in regard to dispersal. I welcome what the right reverend Prelate said with regard to seeking the help of clergy in so far as is practicable in making these plans, and I hope that local authorities as well will note that point. We shall be most grateful for any help that members of all Churches may be able to give us.

The Defence White Paper explained that dispersal policy had been reviewed in the light of developments over recent years in the strategic situation, and it announced the Government's conclusion that a dispersal scheme should be prepared. This would be a voluntary scheme under which people in the priority classes—largely women and children—would move from major centres of population to reception areas in parts of the West and South-East England and in Wales. There would, of course, be similar arrangements carried out by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. This does not mean that the Government have decided now that in an emergency such a move would necessarily be ordered. It would be a very large operation, as the noble Lady has pointed out, with as many as 9½ million people in England and Wales to be moved.

Many aspects would have to be considered, and, to mention but a few, there are the effects on families and on industry. The noble Lord asked, "Could industry be kept running, or could it not?". And there is the effect on the life of the country as a whole. There are also the possible effects abroad. I think the noble Lord opposite, Lord Kennet, had this in mind when he suggested during the Defence debate that to order a dispersal might seem to a potential enemy to be a provocative act. My Lord, I just cannot understand that reasoning. I think it is all mixed up with some thinking by Mr. Herman Kahn with regard to what is called a pre-emptive strike.

There are many complicated terms used in reports and writings; and I think that the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, and his friends purposely try to misunderstand these reports and are purposely trying to frighten members of the general public. Nothing could be further from the truth than to say that the dispersal policy as proposed by Her Majesty's Government is going to put us in a better position to make a strike upon an enemy, or that we have any intention of doing so. The right reverend Prelate and myself agree with the policy of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl? I was not here when Lord Kennet spoke, but the noble Earl who is now making such an interesting speech is making a very grave charge against Lord Kennet—a rather unusual charge to make against a Member of this House. I appreciate it is through no fault of the noble Earl that Lord Kennet is not here now, but it can hardly be fair or usual to say of a noble Member of this House that he is purposely trying to misunderstand some document in order to mislead the public. That is clearly a charge of the grossest dishonesty. I hope the noble Earl is not trying to say that.


At the start of my speech I said to your Lordships that I felt I should have to say some rather unusual things with regard to the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, which I do not think one would normally have said when the noble Lord was away. They are said purely in view of the sort of things said by the noble Lord, Lord Kennet. I will retract, however. I do not mean that the noble Lord purposely wishes to deceive the general public, but, unfortunately, I do believe that that is the effect upon the general public. I think that is a little different, and I will certainly retract from saying that the noble Lord means to deceive the general public. I thank the noble Earl for having drawn my attention to it.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for that retraction. I think he still stands by the charge that the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, is trying to deceive himself. Perhaps that is not quite such a serious charge, but I am grateful to him for withdrawing the other one.


I thank the noble Earl very much indeed. Perhaps we will leave the noble Lord in the position of deceiving himself.

The point I want to emphasise here is that, unless there were some scheme which had been worked out in advance, the Government of the day would have no opportunity of exercising their judgment as to whether there should or should not be dispersal. It is to make such a choice available that the Government think it right that such a scheme should be prepared. We have now sent to local authorities information about the outline arrangements of the scheme and have told them whether their area is a dispersal, reception or neutral area. The next step is to work out the details of the scheme. The detailed planning will be carried out largely by local authorities, and the Government propose shortly to consult local authority associations about the detailed arrangements. We have always recognised the importance of making information available in peace-time about the effects of nuclear weapons and the steps that could be taken to mitigate their effects.

I am most interested to hear that all the noble Lords who have taken part in this debate think that the time has come when they want more advice and more information. I can but commend to your Lordships and to the general public the Handbooks we have here on the Table and those that are in the Printed Paper Office. For the small charge of a shilling for one publication, and for 2s. 6d. for the booklet Nuclear Weapons, much information is available. If members of the general public would read but half of the information contained in those publications—although I concede that some of it is "heavy going" and designed for an instruction manual—it would go a long way to dispel the feeling of hopelessness and ignorance which noble Lords have said is abroad.

There is another excellent booklet called Home Defence and the Farmer, which not only specialises for the farmer but is full of information written in a manner which can be readily understood by any member of the public. Information is also available at the time of Civil Defence autumn recruiting campaigns, and new films have been made—again of most excellent content—which will be in the forefront of the Civil Defence recruiting campaign which is to follow.

But I would agree, my Lords, that probably the most effective distribution of information and advice on the Civil Defence organisation is by the W.V.S., under the noble Baroness, through the "One-in-Five" scheme. That organisation has succeeded in getting this information, which is contained in these pamphlets and handbooks, right into the home. The object of the noble Baroness is to make one woman in five fully knowledgeable of Civil Defence matters in which the public should be interested. The Government recognise the desirability of supplementing peace-time sources of information, but it is another matter to decide what form this further advice should take and when it should be given. But, as I told the noble Lord with regard to the handbook which he mentioned these matters are being studied all the time.

At the time of last year's Estimates, when the Civil Defence programme was reviewed, we concluded that additional expenditure was needed in order to secure a better balance and a more realistic programme for Government Departments, local authorities and the essential services, together with the Civil Defence Corps and the Auxiliary Fire Service, and the Industrial Civil Defence Organisation, which play such a vital part. For this purpose, Government expenditure on Civil Defence was increased in 1961–62 to over £18 million compared with the £15 million mentioned in the White Paper of the previous year. Next year—that is, from this year's White Paper—the level of expenditure will be over £19 million. As this programme gets into gear as the year goes by, the fruit of the money which has been spent, and the plans which were made several years ago, will really have a tangible effect.

The increased expenditure has enabled considerable progress to be made, with more equipment being supplied and stockpiled. Here I want to pay a tribute and a compliment to all those unsung and unseen staffs who maintain the Civil Defence stockpile under the most exacting conditions. The noble Lord, Lord Saye and Sele, and the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, both wished to see more equipment taken out of the stockpiles and put into local authorities' hands for the use of the people in Civil Defence on the spot. But, my Lords, we cannot over-emphasise the special conditions which there have to be for storage of this equipment. I agree with the noble Lord—I go all the way with him—but so far we do not believe that it is possible to store such complicated and delicate equipment under conditions of dispersal. Nevertheless, that problem is being looked into and it is appreciated by my right honourable friend. Increased sums are being expended on the provision of control premises, more money is being spent on communications and training equipment, and throughout this year—and, of course, they have already started—there have been most realistic and elaborate exercises, all of which are met by the Home Office Vote.

On behalf of my right honourable friend, and along with the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, and others of your Lordships, I want to pay tribute to all who are engaged in Civil Defence training. The Staff College has been mentioned in your Lordships' debate. I go all the way with the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren. I believe that the Civil Defence Staff College in this country is the finest in the world, and the information and the thinking which comes out of that Staff College is respected and studied throughout the world. It may interest the noble Lord, to know that over 40,000 students—I call them students, but they are Civil Defence men and women—have been through the Staff College. I want to pay tribute, too, to those in the Civil Defence schools and, on behalf of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, particularly to the one in Scotland, as well as to the members of the Civil Service and the general public who also play such a part in training. They have taken the trouble to think and to learn about how to become specialised in this new science of protection against atomic war.

My Lords, I am aware that much remains to be done. I have tried, in speaking to the Motion to-day, to give a comprehensive picture of the basis of our home defence preparations, and to give a little idea of the scope which they must entail, of the progress we have made with them, and of the developments which are afoot. Great strides have been made as a result of last year's Defence White Paper. Steady, but tangible, progress will be made in the light of this year's policy in the new White Paper. Finally, my Lords, I just want to say "Thank you", again, to the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, and to your Lordship's for this debate.

6.57 p.m.


My Lords, may I first of all thank those noble Lords who have taken part in the debate for having done so, and ask them to excuse me for not replying in detail to some of the points they have made, because of the lateness of the hour and the fact that the noble Earl, in his reply on behalf of the Government, has replied so very fully. If not as effectively as we should all have liked, he has done his best so far as effectiveness is concerned.

The noble Earl took my noble friend Lord Kennet to task, as he is perfectly entitled to do, and he referred to the information which is already available to the public. I have taken as much interest as most folk in Civil Defence, both during the last war and since the end of the war, and yet the Printed Paper Office produced for me, as for the rest of your Lordships, booklets which I did not know existed. If an interested person like myself did not know they existed, how can one expect the general public to know? May I say, too, that this collection which I have—I hope nobody will send me a bill for it—costs 48s. The ordinary citizen is not going to buy pamphlets to the extent of 48s.; he is not even going to buy them to the extent of 9d. or 1s. 6d. We have to make this information available easily, in graphic form, and free.

It is perfectly true that people take the writings and scientific treatises of other people to pieces, and quote them to their own ends. They can do that only because the public is in ignorance of what really could be done to deal with the effects of nuclear warfare if such a tragedy were to take place. I hope that, as a result of this debate, the Home Secretary and those in the Home Office, and other Ministers who are associated with Civil Defence, will make available to the general public a publication which will dispel a lot of the fear which exists as to what could be done if only people would do it.

That, my Lords, is our task. Because, remember this: the noble Earl referred to certain youngsters sitting in the streets. Well, I should not like your Lordships to know all the silly things I did and said when I was young. Thank goodness, I was not important enough for anybody to take much notice, and so it is not recorded. But if an emergency did arise, many of those who have recently sat in the streets would flock to the recruiting offices of local authorities and to the Services in order to play their part. What we have to do is to see that there is an organisation available, ready to accept them, one which can expand and can train them as and when they do come; and I think that the best contribution towards that end is to give the fullest information to the public. We have nothing to hide. The more terrible people know that a thing would be—as indeed it would be—the more likely are they to support Governments in their efforts, their strenuous efforts, to see that such a catastrophe never happens. My Lords, I thank everyone who has taken part in the debate, and particularly the noble Earl for his reply. I ask your Lordships' leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.