§ 4.7 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Shackleton.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2:
§ Establishment of force for home service in volunteer reserve
§ 2.—(1) There shall be established, as part of the volunteer reserve, a force for home service (hereinafter in this section referred to as "the home service force") which shall consist of—
(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Act or any other enactment, a member of the home service force shall not—
(a) be required to serve, either on permanent service or otherwise, outside the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man;
moved, in subsection (1), after the first "a" to insert "territorial". The noble Earl said: I hope 711 it will be in order for me to speak on this clause not only to this Amendment but to the other Amendments standing in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Thurlow, with the exception of the second Amendment, which covers a rather different point, and Amendment No. 8. With your Lordships' permission, I shall be speaking now not only to Amendment No. 1 but to all the Amendments to Clause 2, save Amendments Nos. 2 and 8.
The point about inserting "Territorial" is that it is in the descriptive title of this Home Service Force, and is a matter to which I referred on Second Reading. We are here dealing with the T.A.V.R. III. In the second line of Clause 2 of the Bill the Committee will see that this is referred to as "a force for home service" or, in shorthand, as a "home service force". The effect of these Amendments would be to change the longer descriptive title (I am now referring to the total effect of all the Amendments on this clause, with the exception of Amendment No. 8) to "a territorial force for home defence"; and the shorthand title to "the territorial force". Thus, "force for home service" would become "territorial force for home defence", and "home service force" would become "territorial force".
I hope I can persuade noble Lords opposite that this would be an improvement of nomenclature. I know that am only seeking to change the title of these new forces, but surely your Lordships would not seek to argue that titles are entirely unimportant. I remember very well the fuss made by this House about the proposal to call what is now the Admiralty Board "the Navy Board". I was at the receiving end—at the wrong end—of that particular argument. In any event, when one christens a baby, whether it is an old baby like the Admiralty or a new baby like this new force, it is a good thing to get its name right. I think it is right to insert the word "territorial" here. The force, as I understand it, will be exclusively recruited on a local and territorial basis, unlike A.V.R. I and II, and probably IV as well, part of which will be recruited on a wider basis
The Government themselves have said that they would like this force to be called the Territorials. I believe they 712 are quite right in this wish. This is an old and splendid name, and we should not easily let it go; but if it is right to call this force "the Territorial Force" or "the Terriers", could we not spell this out in this Bill? Why not, as the Amendment suggests, call the force the Territorial Force, or, if noble Lords would prefer to keep it closer to the Volunteer Reserve, the Territorial Reserve? That, in short, is the purpose of this series of Amendments. I beg to move.
Page 1, line 15, after ("a") insert ("territorial").—(Earl Jellicoe.)
THE MARQUESS OF ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR
I should like to add a few words to what the noble Earl has said about this name, "Territorial". I am thinking particularly, as I am connected with it, of the Territorial Force as it has existed in the Highlands, in the Highland Regiments. It has come to mean a great deal to Scotsmen in that area. It has always been the most fruitful source of volunteer effort. People still think of it as such, and, as the noble Earl has said, they will always be known as "Terriers", so I think it is reasonable to have it in the Bill. I am sure that if some other noble Lords could have seen on parade today the battalion which I had the honour to command a great many years ago, they would not have been able to distinguish them from the highest class of Regular battalions. Pride and tradition of that sort is worth keeping alive. It is true that it is called a defence force, but if you are attacked your only defence is to go into action and beat those who have called upon you to defend yourselves. Therefore I myself, and many friends of mine in the Highlands, would support, with the greatest possible vigour, the Amendment moved by the noble Earl.
§ LORD OGMORE
I should like to support the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, in his series of Amendments, all of which have exactly the same effect, that is to say to insert the word "Territorial" in the title of this force. It is tremendously important to keep the word "Territorial". The Territorial Army and its forerunner has been in existence and named as a Territorial Force or Army for upwards of sixty years. It is extremely well known throughout the country. Everybody 713 knows what the Territorial Army or Territorial Force is, and everybody knows what a "Territorial" or "Terrier" is. There is also the Territorial Decoration, which is widely known in the world of decorations. The original force, when created by Mr. Haldane in the great Liberal Government of 1906 to 1910, was named by him the Territorial Force. That was the original name of the Territorial Army, and it became the Territorial Army only after the First World War. So if we pass this Amendment we are only going back to the original name of the force as proposed by Mr. Haldane and as accepted by Parliament at that time.
I feel there is every reason to stick to the name. I was one of those who caused the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, some concern, as he has said, and perhaps some embarrassment, over the title of the Board of Admiralty. They were going to call it the "Navy Board". This House did not like that, and we made them stick to the "Admiralty Board". That is how it still stands. I hope the House to-day will be as adamant on this important matter of nomenclature as it was at the time of the Conservative Government, when we forced the Government to stick to the term "Admiralty".
§ LORD LEATHERLAND
If this was not an official Amendment to an official Government Bill, I might find myself in a frame of mind where I could cultivate some sympathy for the Amendment. As has been said, "the Territorials" is an honoured name; everybody knows who the Territorials are. As has also been said, the Government themselves have indicated that in a colloquial sense it will refer to this as the "Territorial Force" or "the Terriers". Therefore I hope that at some time, if not necessarily this afternoon, the Minister may find it possible to make general use of this word "Territorial", with the diminutive of "Terriers". The only reason why I would vote against the Amendment this afternoon if it were to be pressed to a Division, as I hope it will not be, is that I do not want to delay the passage of the Bill. I do not want this Bill to become a shuttlecock between the two Houses. I want it to appear on the Statute Book quickly. I believe that any little rough edges which there may be in the legislation as such can be adjusted or 714 put right by Ministerial order or by some other instrument when the initial stages of the measures of reorganisation have been completed. Therefore, I am in complete moral sympathy with the Amendment, but as a matter of procedure, if it is pressed to a Division, I will vote against it.
§ EARL FORTESCUE
May I make one further suggestion? Whatever this new force is called, whether it be Territorial Force or the Home Force, I would ask that it be spelt as heretofore with a capital for the initial letter, and not as printed in this Bill.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE FOR THE ROYAL AIR FORCE (LORD SHACKLETON)
I feel that there is complete agreement in the Committee that this force, T. & A.V.R.III as it will be technically called, should be known as the Territorials. I say straight away to the noble Marquess, Lord Aberdeen and Temair, that it is well established now that, in practice and in reality, the force we are talking about under Clause 2 will be known as the Territorials.
It could be argued that to concede this particular Amendment would be a minor adjustment which would make everybody happy. But I submit to your Lordships that there are quite valid reasons why we should not accept it. To start with, the Amendment would have no legal effect: it would make no difference whatsoever to the Bill. May I say here that, like the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, I shall have to refer also to Amendment No. 2, because it is related. We try to avoid putting into Statutes expressions suggesting titles, and the titles which appear in the Bill—other than the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve, which is a general title covering the whole of these particular forces—are primarily for legal purposes. They are related to the Bill itself, and not necessarily to the use that will, in fact, be made of them. There is no reference, for instance, in the text of Statutes to the titles Army Emergency Reserve, Territorial Army Emergency Reserve, Long-term Reserve or Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Association, and I think it is just as well that there is not.
Your Lordships will recall that in 1940 there was a force created by Defence 715 Regulation with the title of Local Defence Volunteers—the L.D.V.s—but the title Home Guard came into general use. We have therefore deliberately avoided any suggestion of a title in Clause 2. Certain changes have been made to meet the wishes of the Opposition in another place. The title "Special Force" was used. It was then changed to Home Service Force, and we shall be coming on to debate that more specifically. But I suggest that these particular names or titles are for the purposes of the Bill. The Territorials will be the practical, if informal, title of the force. The formal title (and I share in the confusion which exists among some of your Lordships about these various titles) is the T. and A.V.R. III.
It would be wrong to suggest the informal title, unless we were going to mention the others. We should then have to apply different titles to other sections of the T. and A.V.R. For instance, we should have to bring in the word Volunteers—but I do not wish to put ideas into the minds of the Opposition. Then we should be driven to putting in the Special Army Volunteer Reserve and the "Ever-Readies" which would quite unnecessarily complicate the Bill, and, as I submit, to no advantage whatsoever. I would remind your Lordships that if the Bill were drafted as a source of information to the uninformed public, one could hardly say that it would serve that purpose at all well. Indeed, it calls for a good deal of research, as do many Bills, in order to understand the full purport; and, as I explained on Second Reading, this is part of a general body of legislation.
We have in the general title the name Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve. We agree that they should be called "Territorials". The Government have come a very long way—and, I may say, to great mutual advantage—to meet the representations that have been made, and we should not unnecessarily complicate the Bill for no purpose. The Territorial, whatever else he will do, will not carry a copy of the Act around in his knapsack—and it would not do him much good if he were to do so. Although I fully acknowledge the force of the representations which have been made, I assure your Lordships that this Amendment will make 716 no difference whatsoever. Nothing will be achieved by it and we are, in fact, going to call these men Territorials.
The debate on the Navy Board and the Admiralty Board was one of the more notable occasions in your Lordships' House, and I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Teynham, who moved the Amendment, strongly supported by myself. It is perhaps repeating the obvious to say that when one changes positions one sees that one was not quite so well informed in Opposition, or in attacking the Government, as one thought. But there were good historic reasons for the title which was going to be formally changed, and as it was part of legislation it was a legitimate subject to debate. Indeed, on that occasion I believed that "Admiralty Board" was the more correct title. Subsequent researches have rather indicated that perhaps the title "Navy Board" was more historically correct. But there is no advantage whatsoever in making the change proposed here, and I assure the noble Marquess, Lord Aberdeen and Temair—and I was recently talking to Highland Territorial officers who feel very strongly on the importance of the continuation of the word Territorial—that the name will continue. This Amendment is unnecessary and, indeed, objectionable on Parliamentary grounds, but I should like to give that very firm assurance to your Lordships.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
The noble Lord's reply has still left us very largely in the air. We are told that the Government wish the A.V.R. III to be known as the Territorials. We are told that this is not the right place to give authority for them to be so known. Could the noble Lord tell us exactly how the Government intend to give official authority for the use of the word "Territorials" as the name of the A.V.R. III?
§ LORD SHACKLETON
It is not necessary to give this official authority. One chooses a name. The official name is the T. and A.V.R. III. Does the noble Lord wish us also to insert the other titles in the Bill? Does he wish to put in the "Special Army Emergency Reserve"? Does he want to put in the "Volunteers"? I repeat again: it is not necessary to do that by legislation, and 717 all that is necessary is for the Government and those concerned to agree that these are the Territorials, and that this is what everybody wants them to be called.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
I am sorry that I did not make myself quite clear to the noble Lord. He took us back to the Home Guard days. If my memory is right, the name "Home Guard" was authorised by either Army Council Instruction or Army Order. I put it to the noble Lord that, if I did accept for a moment that the name should not be in the Bill, it must be conveyed in some official way, and I should have thought it ought to be conveyed officially, either by Army Council Instruction or by Army Order, or by whatever is the modern method.
§ VISCOUNT STUART OF FINDHORN
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has stated that the Amendment makes not the slightest difference. That being so, nobody is going to refer to the T. and A.V.R. III: they would not be such fools. Therefore, why not call these men by the name which everybody else wants?
§ LORD SHACKLETON
I do not think I will attempt to explain it again. But the noble Viscount must be aware that legislation serves purposes other than the obvious, if I may use an obscure sentence. I take the point of the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman. I appreciate that he is much more expert on these points than I am, and I should not like to hazard a guess as to whether it will be necessary to do what he suggests. But I will certainly bear it in mind, and if there is an opportunity at a later stage I will see that he and the House are informed. I am satisfied that it is not necessary to insert this Amendment, but should it later appear to be necessary, or, indeed, considered desirable, this will be considered.
I am grateful to the noble Lord for the careful way in which he has dealt with this Amendment. But I must confess that I am far from being convinced by his arguments. He suggested that the changes which we are seeking to make—and I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Leather land, that this 718 is not a very strong Party matter—have no legal effect. But I was not claiming that they did. So he was knocking down a skittle which was not there. The noble Lord also referred—and he was absolutely right to do so—to the way in which the Government had to some extent met the wishes of the Opposition in another place on this point by taking out the word "special". But that, of course, was done quite easily, and it had no legal effect. Precisely the same would happen if we inserted the word "Territorial". I do not think that this argument as to the lack of legal effect is in any way convincing; and I must confess that, on the question of the formal title, how anyone in his senses could prefer this horrible portmanteau term, "T. and A.V.R. III", for "Territorial Force" I fail to understand. It is indeed a very curious preference.
This Amendment has attracted a good deal of support from a number of your Lordships, and I must say that I am very loth to abandon it. However, I recognise that the noble Lord has a point about putting in the title; that if we put in the title of one force, then, in logic, we may have to put in the others. There may be some force in that, and it is a matter which I should like to have another look at between now and Report stage. But I cannot for the life of me see how this affects my first Amendment, which does not affect the title of the force, but merely the description, since if "home service" is not amended, the name will become "a territorial force for home service". I should have thought his argument did not bite on this first Amendment, and I should have hoped he would feel able to consider at least the first Amendment sympathetically. Even if only that were included, it would pave the way for the informal title; and it would give a great deal of pleasure to many people to have the word "territorial" formally written into the Bill in a position in which it clearly relates to this particular force.
§ LORD OGMORE
From a legal point of view I have no doubt that the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, is right. He obviously is, or he would not say so from the Front Bench. From a draftsmanship point of view, too, I can see his argument quite clearly. The only point I want 719 to make is this. If the wording in the Bill is left as:(hereafter … referred to as 'the home service force')",I feel there is a danger that it will be taken by the Army at large, and by the Government Departments concerned, and read as we have read it here; in other words, as if that were the title of the force. I cannot imagine that, without this discussion, at all events, they are any more likely to get their understanding of these particular words any more correct than we have. Therefore, I think that this discussion has been valuable. It has cleared up this point; and now that we have had from the Minister the fact that the Home Service Force will be known as the Territorial Force, and that it will be so described in all official documents and papers, I believe that will go a long way towards meeting our just requirements.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
At the risk of taking up more of the time of the Committee, I would say that I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore. Clearly, I have not yet succeeded in getting the argument across. If I may first take the point raised last by the noble Lord, I agree that there could be a danger of misunderstanding. But I should like to read the words of the subsection to your Lordships:… a force for home service (hereafter in this section referred to as 'the home service force') …".It is a name which is used for the purpose of the Bill—and this is a legal document; it is a piece of law. It is not intended to be a piece of popular literature; and the popular literature already clearly calls them "the Territorials". The noble Marquess, Lord Aberdeen and Temair, may like to see some of the documents. I have one here which is headed The Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve, and in it there are the titles with which we are familiar—the Volunteers, the "Ever-Readies" and the Territorials. This force will unquestionably be called "the Territorials".
We really should be getting into difficulty if at all times we tried to make legislation serve purposes much wider than those for which it is intended. I see that there is a danger, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, indicated; but I can 720 assure him that the Ministry of Defence, at least, understand this Bill and will correctly use the title. In these circumstances, I hope the noble Earl will let these words stand. I see nothing to be gained for the purposes which he wants, and nothing to be gained in the interests of the Territorials. I will look into the particular point which the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, made; but, whether it was necessary or not, I can only tell him that the Army Department are already in their published documents referring to them as "the Territorials".
§ LORD COLYTON
May I just say one word, not having heard the beginning of this debate, unfortunately? I recall the fact that when the Ministry of Defence was reorganised we in this House passed an Amendment to the effect that the Navy Board should be called the Admiralty Board.
§ LORD COLYTON
But not long ago, in an answer, the noble Lord himself specifically used the title "Navy Board" instead of "Admiralty Board" on two occasions.
I do not wish to detain your Lordships' Committee much longer on this particular Amendment, although I think the discussion has been useful. I am grateful to the noble Lord for such assurances as he has given us, but I should be grateful if he could give me at least an off-the-cuff reply to the suggestion which I put to him, that it might be possible, without in any way involving us in the difficulties which he has pointed out, to accept the first Amendment, which is to insert the word "territorial" in line 15, but not the Amendments to insert it elsewhere, where one is talking about the short title or is using the shorthand description of the force.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
Again, this is a purely drafting point. I really do not see what the noble Earl gains by it, and I cannot, I am afraid, give a favourable reply. He is just trying to claw a little bit back. I can understand that he feels strongly and that he wants to save some of this; but if I take my stand, as I do, that the proposed change would do no 721 good, I cannot agree to put into the Bill something which serves no useful purpose.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ 4.38 p.m.
moved, in subsection (1), after "for home" to leave out "service" and insert "defence". The noble Earl said: So much for "territorial". I also propose to substitute—and this is Amendment No. 2—for "home service" the words "home defence". What I am getting at here goes a good deal deeper than the question of pure nomenclature. I do not wish to argue at this stage that this force should be other than exclusively concerned with home defence within these islands, although my noble friend Lord Thurlow has an Amendment down, Amendment No. 8, which bears on this point, but I do wish to argue that that liability for service within these shores should be in roles wider than the Government are at present prepared to admit.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, will forgive me if I say that I think that he was unnecessarily stubborn about this matter on Second Reading. For him and the Government, as I understand it, the role—the one and only role—for the Territorials will be to assist the civil power in the event of a nuclear attack, although he did go so far as to say that it could provide a basis for expansion if circumstances changed. I must confess that I am still entirely unconvinced by this restrictive, deflationary argument; and I use the word "deflationary" in the sense that this argument deflates quite unnecessarily the role or roles of this new force. Granting assistance to the civil power in the post-nuclear phase, if we have ever to be faced with it, should be the primary role of this force—I am not querying that. But why not be prepared to admit from the start that you cannot foresee all the possible eventualities, and to admit, if you are going to take the trouble to create this force, that it might come in useful in other circumstances?
What are the other circumstances? We envisaged at least two at Second Reading. They have both been caught up, as the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, said then, in the role of this force, but the Government have apparently quite 722 deliberately dropped them: that is, supporting the Regular Army in the United Kingdom. We believe the Regular Army will need support in a number of possible eventualities which are not as remote as the noble Lord sought to argue at Second Reading. It might need support in a period of growing tension before the outbreak of hostilities. We all know there are a vast number of V.Ps in these islands. We all know how thinly spread the Regular Army is at the present time. In certain circumstances it might welcome such support from the Territorials. We also believe the Regular force might possibly need support in these islands in the event of hostilities.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
May I interrupt the noble Lord? Perhaps he would elaborate on the sort of support he thinks the Territorials will be giving to the Regular Army. Is he envisaging an overseas role for them? And what does he think they would do? I did not quite follow him.
I was making it clear that I was talking of the role within these shores and I went out of my way to show that. The sort of role I was envisaging was that the Regular forces might be guarding V.P.s, might be thinly spread and would welcome assistance from the Territorials. It seems a possibility. We also believe that the Regular forces might need support in the case of actual hostilities. I am not talking in terms of a mass invasion of these islands, save as the remotest possible contingency. But surely it is quite possible in the event of war—and we are talking about an improbable hypothesis in any case—that we might be faced with destructive attacks by, for example, parachutists aimed at key points. We know perfectly well that this is very much part of modern warfare. Surely in both those contingencies—and they are contingencies strictly limited to situations which could arise within these Islands; though there are other possibilities—the Territorials could usefully support and supplement the Regular force, which might be spread very thinly and would be very overstrained at such a time. Surely this is more than support for the civil power. Surely this is, as my Amendments imply, home defence.
723 Those are the reasons why I seek to amend the descriptive title for this new force. I believe that the change would have—I do not know quite how to put it—a certain cosmetic advantage. "Home defence" sounds much more substantial than "home service". A force for home service, if the noble Baroness, Lady Swan borough, would forgive me, has the ring of "meals-on-wheels" about it. It is not appropriate for this new force—especially if the Government fail to provide them with any wheels. I also believe that this change is more than a play on words, and I do not disguise that home defence, as we see it, embraces the roles which should be those which this new force could discharge and which it should be authorised to discharge. To bring in these words "home defence" as a descriptive title would help ensure that the members of this reserve military formation are treated as real soldiers, and as real soldiers with the possible duty of support of the Regular Army. Those are the main reasons why I seek to substitute in Clause 2 for the words "home service", the words "home defence". I beg to move.
Page 1, line 15, leave out ("service") and insert ("defence").—(Earl Jellicoe.)
§ LORD OGMORE
I should like to support the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, once again. I think the word "defence" sums up the role of the Territorial Force very much better than the word "service". "Service" is a noble word; but it does not necessarily have anything to do with military matters. As the noble Earl said, we have the Women's Voluntary Service; and a fine job they do. But it is not a military one—not normally. There are many other kinds of service—Civil Service and all sorts of others—and they have nothing to do with military service. To me the Territorial Force basically is a defence force; and I do not see why we cannot call it so. I believe that words are very important in these matters.
The Government say that this force is going to have a very minor role, but they do not know what it is going to be. No Government in history ever has been able to forecast what future operations are going to be like—not one. The only 724 thing you could say about military advisers and the War Office and all the best military advice before a war is that they will be wrong. This is through no fault of their own; they are, after all, dealing with the quite unknown. They are dealing with an enemy and, to start with, they do not know who the enemy are or where they will attack or how they will attack. Those of us who were in the Army before the war know that we spent a large amount of our time crawling about the country in gas-masks. It was assumed that there was going to be gas warfare. If anyone can tell me that he enjoyed crawling about the country in a gas-mask I will give him a medal. It was most uncomfortable. We did not do it for fun. The Army Council did not order the troops to crawl about in gasmasks for fun. They assumed that gas warfare would come into operation from the word "Go". But it did not.
Before the last war, the War Office decided that the Territorial Army had no future whatever except in anti-aircraft measures. But we know that when war came the Territorial divisions fought in every theatre of operation. Battalions of my own regiment fought in France and in other parts of the world. The 50th Division, a Territorial division, had a great history, as did the 51st. If this is so, how can we say that all that these people will do will be x? I do not believe it. I agree with the words of Sir Gerald Templer—and I mentioned this during the Second Reading debate. He had great experience of the Territorial Army. He was with the 53rd Division as a G.S.O. II before the war and knows the Territorial Army very well indeed. And, of course, he was C.G.S. He said:The Territorial Army is the country's insurance against the unknown, and no other country in history has been able to take out such a comprehensive policy for such a low premium.Those words should be inscribed on the portals of the Ministry of Defence, because this is what we are talking about to-day.
What do we find in The Times this morning? Mr. Healey, the Minister of Defence, speaking yesterday in Paris, said:The existing NATO Forces are barely adequate to carry out the task with which they are entrusted.725 Mr. Healey is talking about the non-nuclear as well as the nuclear forces, and he says that they are barely adequate. The Defence Secretary of the United States, Mr. McNamara, said that:the threat to Europe from the East was permanent and real.That is what was said yesterday in Paris by the people who should know.
If these are the circumstances, and I believe them to be, it may be that we shall have an attack on this country. Even the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, pooh-poohed the idea of an attack on this country. I do not pooh-pooh it. I think it likely that we may have a serious airborne attack on this country, and in those circumstances this body of Territorials may well prove to be the very arm that the Regular Army needs to help combat the invader. When Holland and Belgium were invaded by the German airborne troops the defenders would have been most happy to have a force like this to round-up the parachutists. In those circumstances I feel very strongly that the Committee should support the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, unless the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has a very conclusive answer to the strong point which has been made by the noble Earl.
§ VISCOUNT STUART OF FINDHORN
May I say a few words in support of what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has been saying? I think it is impossible for even the clever boys at the War Office or the Ministry of Defence to have the slightest idea about what the next war may entail. As the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, truly said, in the Second World War we were crawling about uncomfortably wearing gas masks because that was regarded as being a necessity. To pursue that story a little further back, in the First World War the pundits at the War Office and elsewhere said, "There will be no gas". But there was gas; and many people suffered severely because of their ignorance and error. It is absolutely absurd for the Ministry of Defence, or any Government Department, or anyone else to say that they know what the next war will bring forth. For this reason I strongly support the view that the Territorial Army should be equipped, formed and trained to deal with whatever emergency may occur, and not necessarily only in this country.
As one who was caught both in 1914 and in 1939, I am reminded by what noble Lords have said of the completely unexpected for which we were waiting. None of us had the foggiest idea of what would be required, when it would be required, or where it would be required. Nowadays when the fighting seems to take place in small parties under junior N.C.Os, goodness knows what would happen if infiltration should take place into this country by landings from the sea or from the air. Before anyone could tell what was happening, the whole organisation of the country might have been completely disrupted. You must have sufficient trained people on the ground, and it is no use saying that you can do it with the very small forces which are at present available to meet emergencies in this country.
I wish to add one word to what was said by my noble friend Lord Jellicoe. When we discussed this question on Second Reading the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, mentioned the word "flexibility", and I think it tremendously important that this force, the Territorials, should be as flexible as possible. I am sure the Ministry of Defence will find that a great advantage in the future. If we can enshrine it in the wording of the Bill and make clear the need for flexibility, and that these men may be used for any military purpose, it will not only strengthen and assist the Army Department in future plans, but, I am sure, do a great deal to help the morale of this force, which we are by no means certain is going to be able to get enough recruits.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
If I may say one word in support of my noble friend, I think that the short point about his Amendment is that his wording is operationally correct and that the wording of the Bill is not operationally correct. In other words, the present wording "home service" seems to me entirely to beg the question whether home defence is best carried out or can only be carried out by the A.V.R.III by staying at home. That, to my mind, does not follow at all; that seems to be the wrong way round. The wording in the Bill should facilitate operations rather than that operations should be cramped by any wording in the Bill. Has the noble Lord 727 opposite thought of the possibility that the A.V.R.III might have to defend a rig in the North Sea?
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
That is a very interesting thought from the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, and I congratulate him on it. I am not sure that we do not have to look at the legislation which we passed recently on the subject. As I think was to be anticipated, the Committee has taken the opportunity to have a "mini" Second Reading debate on the purposes of this Bill. A number of points have been made by noble Lords. The noble Lord, Lord Rowallan, suggested to me, and indeed the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, suggested to me, that they either had not fully absorbed the purpose of the Bill as a whole or had absorbed it and were still trying to claw back something else. I think the noble Lord indicated that the Amendment carried greater significance than the Amendment's words would suggest.
First, let me deal with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, about flexibility. We should neither increase nor diminish the flexibility by making this change, though. I should have thought, if anything, that we should have diminished it. I was not talking about flexibility in the use of the force as it is constituted at present. I was talking about flexibility within the organisation of the Reserves over a long period. I was politely saying to the noble Lord that, if his lot ever got back, they would be able to build a different sort of service on it—I must apologise for using the word "lot"; I did not wish in any way to be offensive. However, putting it against the immediate needs, we have made very clear—I say this to noble Lords who are saying that there are not enough troops available—that it is the present organisation, the present Territorial Army, admirable though it is, that is not best suited to meet those needs which are considered to be most important.
The major part of this Bill is concerned with creating Reserves such as the "Ever-Readies"—which were set up by the Bill which the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, brought to this House—and the extension of the volunteers into the 728 Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve II, who will be trained to a higher standard, with better equipment, and more readily available to meet a serious emergency, either in the build-up of a simple NATO alert or in other circumstances. It is in order to put the Territorial Army into a new posture, to enable them to support the Regular Forces, that this Bill is introduced. I must remind your Lordships of this, because it is the underlying purpose of the Bill.
Now we come to this other force which the Government had originally called a Special Force, and which they have now called the Home Service Force. Let me again remind your Lordships that this is purely for use within the Bill, and I do not myself see what is to be gained in altering the expression to "home defence" instead of "home service". For some reason which I do not understand the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, poured scorn on the word "service". He seemed to think it was not a very happy phrase. I can only remind the noble Lord that he went not only on "active defence" but also on "active service".
§ LORD OGMORE
On the contrary. I paid tribute to the W.V.S. I said that the word was too wide to meet the object of the Bill, because it dealt with a military force, and the word "service" is far too wide.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
I understood the noble Lord's reference to "meals on wheels"—I beg your Lordships' pardon: it was the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe.
I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. He has now identified the culprit correctly. May I associate myself entirely with what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said? On the narrow point, I said that this was a sad description for a military force. I am second to none in admiration of the W.V.S. and of many other voluntary organisations.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
The noble Earl is anxious to slip out of this one, but personally I thought that the Royal Naval Air Service did not suffer from that title. I think that there is little merit in this sort of hair-splitting in words. Again I must say that we are here concerned with legislation. From 729 the point of view of drafting, the words "home defence" would add nothing to the legal effect of the Bill. Again I would urge upon your Lordships that words should not be put into the Bill for purely presentational purpose. If the idea of home defence were to be introduced, it would have to be as a formal title or in such a way as to govern the role of the force—for example, a force to be known as the Home Defence Force as part of a provision defining a role. I stress that this would be very unusual and is unnecessary. We do not in legislation elaborate the role of the reserve forces, and this has been done only occasionally when incidental to some call-out liability.
This clause restricts the liability of the force to service in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and subject to this restriction it can legally, when called out, be used in the same way as any other military force. In practice, its use will have to have regard to the level of training and equipment and this, of course, depends upon the policy of the Government and the circumstances which they anticipate.
Much has been made of the inability of the War Office, the Ministry of Defence and others to forecast the particular war in which we might be engaged. Clearly, there is much greater emphasis to-day in our military organisation on deterring war and in meeting a number of contingencies which are all too likely to occur and for which T.A.V.R. I and II are necessary. Some of these have occurred abroad, so that we are confronted with a number of limited war situations.
When we talk about providing a special home force for protection against invasion, I can only say that if we seriously regard this as a contingency then the strategy followed over past years by the previous Government with regard to the defence of this country has been wholly wrong. I know only too well how surprised I was, when I came in as Minister of Defence for the Royal Air Force, to see how badly—perhaps that is not the right word: how enormously run down Fighter Command was. We are not equipping ourselves for these particular circumstances and it has been made clear what the role of the Territorials is to be. We gain nothing by changing the word. 730 The introduction of the term "home defence" in a context primarily related to call-out for an imminent national danger, or in great emergency, would create some confusion with other liabilities of this and the other Reserves. Are we going to define their particular role and the roles of the other services who may also be called out in defence of the United Kingdom against an actual or apprehended attack?
I would urge your Lordships not to press this matter further. We achieve nothing by it. I hope that we have reached a measure, if not of agreement, at least of understanding of the role of our reserve forces—although I would not wish in any way to discourage the Opposition from saying what they have in mind, nor will I repeat the accusations they used occasionally to hurl against us when we were in Opposition that we were unpatriotic if we criticised Government measures in military matters.
I hope that the Territorials, and the others, will get off to a good start. I hope very much that they will never be called upon to discharge the role they will have. It has been decided to create this special home service force. Its role will be to support the civil power, which may also be, in certain circumstances, the role of the Regular Army. They may both be in support of the civil power, and it might then be a question of the Territorials working with the Regular forces in support of the civil power. Clearly this force can be used, at its level of equipment, for whatever purpose it is wanted. I hope that your Lordships will accept this as the most flexible and convenient title and will not press further the substitution of the word "defence" for "service".
We have already discussed this point at length, and I do not wish to carry the discussion any further. It would appear that the Government have a closed mind on the subject. While listening to the noble Lord, I have been trying to think why, and I must confess that I am still not much clearer. I am still entirely unconvinced by the arguments which he has used, and I still feel that "home defence" would be a better and more apt title for this force. Whilst the noble Lord has been able to point out that there may be legal difficulties 731 and some disadvantages in this phraseology, he has not convinced me that it is not a better description for this new force.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ 5.9 p.m.
moved, in subsection (2)(a), after "Man" to insert "without his consent". The noble Lord said: The object of this Amendment is to make it possible, and to show that it is possible, for a man in the Territorials to volunteer for service abroad—that K to join the T. and A.V.R.II, if they are called out, with or without further training. This will apply mainly to men who are unable to join the Volunteers—because of the distance of the nearest unit, because of personal reasons, or possibly because the force is up to strength. There are a large number of men in the "teeth" arms, let alone in the administrative troops, who carry out duties requiring no more military training than firing a rifle, and if shortages occur after the call-up of the "Ever-Readies" and the Volunteers I should like to see it made possible for certain Territorials to come to the assistance of the Regular Army. I am thinking of the roles of drivers, cooks and clerks, store men and orderlies in the "teeth" arms, and various specialised jobs in administrative units which are similar to civil occupations. I believe that if the Territorials felt there was a chance of this they would be more eager to join in the future.
Possibly the noble Lord will say that the Bill takes care of this by the words in the clause thata member of the home service force shall not—(a) be required to serve …".My Amendment rather emphasises, by using the words "without his consent", that there is an opportunity for the Territorials to do so. I do not see its happening very often, but I believe that men in the Territorials would like to feel that under certain conditions it would be possible for them to do this. I beg to move.
Page 2, line 9, after ("Man") insert ("without his consent").—(Lord Thurlow.)
§ LORD SHACKLETON
I was not quite sure why the noble Lord had put 732 this Amendment down. He has already conceded that it is not necessary. He has explained that it is for presentational purposes, I understand, because, as he points out, the wording of the Bill merely states that a member of the force shall not be required to serve outside the United Kingdom; it does not say that he shall not serve outside the United Kingdom. May I say to the noble Lord in this particular context that I have already mentioned that I would be against putting something in for presentational purposes. I admit that there could be circumstances in which it might be desirable. We admit that we are all in hypothetical circumstances. It might be desired to expand T.A.V.R.II, and in such circumstances I am sure it would be necessary to expand that particular reserve and to transfer people to it. It is not of the nature of this force or its organisation that its units would be called on for this purpose.
There is, of course, provision for a transfer of members of this force to another reserve. I do not doubt that, if the circumstances so required, it would be open for the Secretary of State for Defence to agree to such transfers being made. In other words, it might be said that we have to build up forces, and we will expand them accordingly. There are a certain number of people who we know, whatever role they are fulfilling, would be suitable for filling a particular need, and such transfers can take place.
I hope the noble Lord will accept my assurance that not only is his Amendment unnecessary within the drafting of the Bill, but the wider purpose he has in mind, which I must confess I had not contemplated, and do not contemplate, as a likelihood, is provided for if circumstances arose in which it became necessary. Since some of my replies are given without advice, I am willing to make sure about this, but I am fairly certain that what I have said to your Lordships is correct. If, for any reason, I find that it is not, I will tell the noble Lord.
I am grateful to the noble Lord for that. I did not consider that an A.V.R.III Territorial unit ever would be called up, and the assurance he has given has set my mind at rest. I think it will please quite a number of Territorials to have that 733 assurance and to feel that this is catered for in the Bill. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, Whether Clause 2 shall stand part of the Bill?
I am rather nervous at what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, will say on this point, because I do not want what he calls a mini-Second Reading debate. However, I want to return to the charge on two matters which are not mentioned in the clause but which are behind it. I received the noble Lord's letter answering the questions that I put to him on Second Reading only half-an-hour before this Committee stage, and I should still like to ask him whether there is any chance of taking a second look at this 80 per cent. limit on recruiting A.V.R.III. I believe that to get the force off to a good start (and then, by all means, restrict it if in a year or two finances are in the mess they are in now) it would be a great encouragement if, for the time being, restriction was not put on.
The other point I want to refer to, which I have only just heard about is that of padres and doctors and why they are excluded. I would remind the noble Lord that although he says (and I fully understand why) that a home force unit will be able to call upon local doctors and the local padres wherever they may be, it is not quite the same thing as having your own chap. It is important with the padres, because they will not just be allotted to camp but will attend drills and get to know the men. I should like to ask the Minister whether he will have another look at this matter. After all, there is no bounty for doctors, padres or any other Territorial, and the cost of posting doctors and padres to units of the Territorials will be infinitesimal.
§ LORD SOPER
I did not think I should take part in this type of debate, and for a fairly obvious reason. I find myself in an ambivalent position, because I am a professed pacifist and, therefore, would seek to have nothing to do with what I regard as a totally irrelevant and immoral procedure, in any case. But, having said that, I am sure there is another side to this problem which is 734 just as important for me and for my Territorial friends here, and it is that a man, whether he is in khaki or blue or in civilian clothes, is just as precious in the sight of God, and just as much in need of spiritual care, whatever particular nefarious or godly attitude he may take up. Therefore, it seems to me that there should be provision for the spiritual care of these men.
I think there is a further reason for a strengthening of the normal moral attitude we should take, and it is that in all the extraordinary and tumultuous circumstances of nuclear possibilities, nuclear effects and nuclear carnage, there is perhaps a greater responsibility laid on the Territorial to be infused with the right type of spirit and be empowered by the right kind of attitude. Therefore, if he can be so stimulated, there is a reasonable and, I think, imperative case that he should receive such ministrations. For that reason I should like to be assured that such men are being cared for, and, though not in any totalitarian spirit, are being freely offered the kind of ministries which are all the more necessary in the light of the particular adventures in horror and destruction in which they may be involved.
However, it seems to me that in these circumstances it may be the local padre who does not attend drill who may offer a more salutary kind of advice and spiritual help to these men rather than somebody with the rank and commitment of an Army officer as well as the commitment to be a pastor of souls. What I am concerned about is that I, as a pacifist, and my friends who are pacifists, should not be assumed to wash our hands of the responsibility for the care of men who, quite sincerely, though, as we think, mistakenly, may be offering themselves in the service of the country in which they live and for which they care. In that case, I hope that the Minister may be able to tell us of the proper care that is being offered to these men, of the kind of spiritual support and comfort they ought to receive, in what particular fashion that will be offered, and in what particular conditions it will be received.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER
I should like to add my voice in general support of the point that has been made 735 by the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, and the noble Lord, Lord Soper, though I would approach it from a slightly different point of view from my noble friend. I believe that the chaplain has made a great contribution to the general esprit de corps of a Territorial unit, and it is of great importance that he should be the right person for the right job. The noble Lord, Lord Soper, has said that it could well be left to the local clergymen, to whatever communion they belong, to minister to the men who are serving in this Force.
I am not myself persuaded that this is the right way to approach the problem. Those of us who are accustomed to hearing the representations of parishioners before their new clergyman has been appointed, are familiar with the phrase, and the request, that he should be "Good with men". Some clergymen are better with men than others, and I think it is particularly important that a specific chosen parson should be appointed as the chaplain to a unit of this kind, especially if he is someone who has served in the Forces, who understands the particular experiences and tensions of the life of those who are serving in it, and who can make his contribution because he is speaking from his own experience. I hope very much, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government will re-examine this matter and will agree to the appointment of specific chaplains to units. As the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, has told us, the cost would be infinitesimal, and I believe that the advantages would be very great.
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE ROYAL NAVY (LORD WINTERBOTTOM)
I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, will forgive me if I reply to the points he made to my noble friend. First of all, about numbers. We are very sorry, but the numbers are controlled by money, and I am afraid that the figures that are set out in our proposals must stand, because of the limitations put upon this and other expenditure on the Armed Forces. However, the noble Lord will remember that the Territorials (if I may use the word) are to be allowed to be above strength for the first two years of their existence—
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
—and that the run-down will, in fact, take place over a period. So there will be a transitional period, from a figure above the final establishment, down to the proposed establishment.
I now turn to the question of padres and doctors. I hope the Committee will forgive me if I make my contribution to the debate on Clause 2. I think many noble Lords have misunderstood the function of this new arm: they seem to regard T.A.V.R.III as the "poor relation" of the soldiers in the front line. They seem to think that the soldier is diminished by the fact that he is equipped with an old rifle which has done service in the past, and with a limited amount of transport; that he has to depend in the future upon requisitioned transport. I believe that the name of the force reflects its role. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, quite rightly in my opinion, stressed that one should give a child the name that indicates the part he is to play in the world. I do not see this force as a force of diminished soldiers. I see these men performing a new and very important function in circumstances which we all hope will never come about, but for which we are preparing.
The circumstances in which they will serve will be in the peculiar "twilight" world which follows the nuclear exchange, which was depicted in that controversial film, The War Game. They will not be a second-line reserve for front-line soldiers; they will be part Home Guard, part riot police, and part Civil Defence workers. In all probability they will have to requisition transport in the circumstances in which they will work. Therefore, their function is to be part of a community, and to play their essential role in keeping the functions of Government going after the nuclear exchange. For this reason, they will be like all other citizens—like the parson, the doctor, the grocer, and everyone else who has been caught up in this tragedy, and will have to work with those who are there at the time.
For this reason, we think it is wrong that, shall we say, special parsons and special doctors should be allocated now to these units. The function of the unit, 737 as I see it, is to make friends, now, to make contact now, with the local parson, the local doctor and leaders of the local community, so that if ever a catastrophe should come their links will be already there. There is nothing in this Bill which prevents this. I understand that in any case there are now unofficial links between the local parson and the local Territorial Army unit. Obviously, these links will be encouraged and followed up. But there is no need to put this into a Statute. It will better be done by having these links made now by these new units as they are formed.
I hesitated to intrude before on a rather mundane note, but I think this is the right moment. Your Lordships will recall that in our Defence debate last March, in discussing this possible force, the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, said that it was above all important that the Order of Battle of this force must allow it to make military sense. As I see it, it will not make sense unless it is provided with proper communications. That means sufficient trained signallers, and sufficient and adequate sets. It is important, in the "twilight" world—to use the noble Lord's phrase—how the force is cast, and I think it is, above all, important in this Civil Defence role.
There was a time, some years ago, when I had responsibility for Civil Defence matters, and I attended a number of CivilDefence exercises at regional and sub-regional level. If there was one thing above all which was borne in upon me it was the entire dependence of the whole Civil Defence edifice upon the communications—wireless links, teleprinter links, and so on—provided by the Territorial Army signals squadrons. I assume that they, or some of them, will be joining T.A.V.R.II, and I was wondering who and what is going to fill the gap. As I understand it, there is a plan to provide a certain number of signals squadrons or troops to service the communications for the Civil Defence regions, the sub-regions, and the units below that. I gather that they will be part of the Territorial Force, T.A.V.R.III, although trained by T.A.V.R.II. I also gather that it will be possible to raise them without going above the arbitrary 738 ceiling of 23,000, or the arbitrary fixed platform of expenditure of £3 million.
Perhaps I may put three questions to noble Lords opposite about this scheme, which in essence seems admirable to me. First, are they satisfied that this new element of the Territorial Force can be formed? Trained signallers are very rare and valuable birds. If they can be found, I hope that they will not be lost for any artificial reason. I hope, therefore, that the 80 per cent. ceiling will not apply in their case. Secondly, what can the noble Lord tell us about the equipment of these units? Can he tell us, in particular, whether the equipment with which they may be provided will mesh in with the police communications network?—because this seems to me, at least, to be an important point. Thirdly, and perhaps most important, can the noble Lord confirm that the plans for raising this element of the new Territorial Force are in fact firm?
§ LORD SHACKLETON
If I might just apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, because he did not get his answer sooner, perhaps I may say that I thought we had done rather well to give him as much information as we did. I think perhaps he did not mean to complain.
I certainly did not. As the noble Lord knows, it is unfortunate that this stage of the Bill comes so very close to the Second Reading that there was not really time to get it out, but I am grateful for the speed with which he got it to me.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
It does have the advantage that the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, is very well informed of the Government's plans in this matter, and, therefore, since he knows everything I know, I am afraid I have little to add. I would entirely agree with him that communications are absolutely central to this, and to all aspects of military and Civil Defence organisations. I think it is a little early for me to say that I am certain the scheme will work. I can only say that we are extremely confident, and it is approved and as the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, said, it is proposed that T.A.V.R.III unit signallers will in fact train with the T.A.V.R.II, but I cannot say precisely how they will be organised. I should add that, although 80 per cent. 739 is the overall ceiling, if certain units are under strength there is nothing to prevent recruiting above the 80 per cent. limit in others. In other words, it is a general level and not a unit establishment—but I should like to go further into this question later on. Therefore, we are hopeful that we shall get the requisite trained people.
On the question of equipment, since I became Minister of Defence for the Royal Air Force I have been depressed to find that even in the Regular Forces not all the signals equipment has been as good or as compatible with other services as I should like it to be. It seems extraordinary, remembering the vital nature of the introduction of V.H.F. during the war in maritime operation communication between aircraft and ships, and of course initially the Territorials will get army radio sets which may or may not be compatible with all the Civil Defence sets. But, after all, this is a matter of organisation and we hope to proceed as quickly as possible. In this matter I doubt whether they will be any worse off than are the Territorials of to-day, but certainly the intention should be that in the long run they will have compatible signals. I think the principles are well accepted, and indeed are vital to the successful development of the Territorials.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ Clause 3 [Abolition of naval volunteer reserve, certain reserve divisions and class 2 of army reserve, etc.]:
§ On Question, whether Clause 3 shall stand part of the Bill?
§ LORD AMPTHILL
I should like to raise quite a small point. The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has explained to us that this Bill is not for presentational purposes; it is for legal purposes; nevertheless, I cannot see why in this clause "Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve" should appear with initial small letters. As the noble Lord knows, I always speak up for the Royal Air Force as well, and "Royal Auxiliary Air Force" also is put in small letters. In Clause 4 we have the Army Reserve Act twice referred to with capital letters. I know that Clause 3 deals merely with the formal end of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and the 740 Royal Auxiliary Air Force, but it does seem a bit rough that they should be written in small letters.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
The noble Lord has had quite a long time to protest about this practice since he came into the House, because in this matter we are following precedents. This is not necessarily an overwhelming argument, but I am sure he will also agree that there is nothing of a depreciatory kind intended by this style.
§ Clause 3 agreed to.
§ Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.
§ Clause 6:
§ Call out of reservists for war-like operations
§ (2) A member of the volunteer reserve shall not be liable to be called out under subsection (1) of this section unless there is in force an order of Her Majesty, signified under the hand of the Secretary of State, authorising the calling out under this section of members of that reserve.
§ 5.36 p.m.
EARL JELLICOE moved, in subsection (2), after "unless" to insert:
major military operations are in progress or appear to be imminent and when a serious situation affecting vital national interests has arisen and".
§ The noble Earl said: In a way this Amendment is linked with the following Amendment standing in my name. They both bear on the liability of the ordinary member of the T.A.V.R.II, a liability which a number of speakers in our Second Reading debate thought might be rather too onerous. This is a not unimportant point, because it may well affect, especially in the lone term, the recruitment of this very important force. And I would point out that we have not dealt so much (and I am in entire agreement with the noble Lord here) with T.A.V.R.I and T.A.V.R.II, as with T.A.V.R.III. That is not because we underestimate their importance, but because, with one or two qualifications, we are in broad agreement with the Government's proposals.
We all recognise the need for a clearly defined commitment, and one which covers the corresponding reserves of the other two Services. I think that many of
us would agree that there is also the need to define liability for service overseas of a lesser degree of acuteness than that found in Clause 5;that is to say, imminent national danger. I must confess that I am not very happy about the precise wording of the corresponding provision of subsection (1) of Clause 6:
when warlike operations are in preparation or progress.
That could mean a great deal or very little, and for my part I cannot recall any time since 1945 when it would not have been applicable; and therefore the whole of T.A.V.R.II would be liable for call-out if the Government so decided.
In my view, it would be a great deal better if, so far as T.A.V.R.II were concerned, the Clause 6 commitment could be as defined in the White Paper itself. Paragraph 21 of the White Paper reads:
But army volunteer reservists and their employers may be assured that there is no intention to call them out under this liability unless"—
and these are the words of the Amendment:
major military operations are in progress or appear to be imminent and when a serious situation affecting vital national interests has arisen.
I cannot see the objection to using that phraseology, or something akin to it. It would greatly reassure both the potential employer and the potential volunteer, whether or not he is self-employed; and it would be all the more important, in my view that some such Amendment should be incorporated in the Bill if the Government were to refuse, as they did in another place, the immediately following Amendment standing in my name. I beg to move.
Page 4, line 2, after ("unless") insert the said words.—(Earl Jellicoe.)
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
I understand that the wording which the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, wishes to insert into the Bill, and which is taken from paragraph 21 of the White Paper, was agreed between the Government and the Territorial Association Council in the discussions which took place after publication of the Government's proposals. It was in fact a political pledge. But what the noble Earl is trying to do is to turn a political pledge into a statutory one, 742 and this brings very severe difficulties with it. The main problem that arises is that if the Amendment were accepted, or even if it were replaced by one in more precise legal language, it would mean that the legal liabilities of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserves would be different from, and less than, those of the Army Reserve.
We could conceive of a situation where within the "Ever-Readies", in the form we foresee it in the future, there would be men serving side by side with different legal liabilities, and I am certain that your Lordships would find this is an intolerable situation. The "Ever-Readies" exist and I believe that some of them are serving now with distinction in, for instance, the Radfan. When this Bill becomes law they will have added to them certain individuals chosen from T. and A.V.R. II, and if this Amendment were carried it would mean that those individuals who have come into T. and A.V.R. I would have a different liability from the Special Army Volunteer Reserve. It is for this reason that we are resisting this Amendment.
It can, of course, be argued that one may not trust the Government of the day to keep the pledge given to the Territorial Army Association during the early negotiations. But I doubt that this will be so. This Government, certainly—and I am sure the same would apply to future Governments—will stand by paragraph 21 of the White Paper. The words chosen then were never intended to be words suitable for an Act of Parliament. But we have ample precedent, it seems to me, for cases like this. Sir Winston Churchill gave a pledge that the Army General Reserve would be called out only in the "gravest war emergency". This political pledge was never reflected in legislation, but obviously it will be honoured by any Government. Similar circumstances exist in relation to the call-out of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve for warlike operations. The Government has given a pledge and will stand by it, but we do not believe that it should be embodied in legislation.
I am grateful to the noble Lord for his careful reply. I think—I am not certain—there may be something in what he says and I should like to have the chance of looking at it 743 in print. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 6 agreed to.
§ Clauses 7 to 9 agreed to.
§ Clause 10:
§ Duration of service of certain reservists called out on permanent service.
§ 10.—(1) Subject to subsection (3) of this section and section 15 of this Act, a man of the volunteer reserve or the royal auxiliary air force who is called out on permanent service shall be liable to serve until Her Majesty no longer requires his services or until the expiration of his term of service in that reserve or force, whichever first occurs.
§ 5.45 p.m.
moved, in subsection (1), after "serve" to insert "for a period of six months or". The noble Earl said: As I said earlier, this Amendment is linked with the Amendment we have just discussed, and the noble Lord encouraged me at Second Reading by saying this was a point into which we could go at greater length on Committee stage. I am not certain I am so encouraged at the thought of that at this moment. As at present drafted, it is my understanding that the T. and A.V.R. I and II reservists called out under the Clause 6 liability will not be required to serve more than twelve months in respect of any one engagement. We believe that that period may be too long and may very well, by raising doubts in the minds of both employers and Volunteers, seriously inhibit recruitment to the Volunteers.
I should like to take one example; that is the case of a T. and A.V.R.II reservist re-engaging. I understand—but I may be wrong—that re-engagement periods are usually for one year. That reservist might already have been committed under the Clause 6 liability to service overseas; he may well have served more than one period overseas, and by re-engaging he would be making himself liable for such service for the whole of his re-engagement period. I should not have thought that, save in rather exceptional cases, you would get that man back. I believe this all the more strongly, and I am inclined to press this Amendment all the more strongly, because the Government, it may well be for good reasons, are not able to define more 744 narrowly the Clause 6 liability. I think that in the public's mind, unless we make this distinction, unless we limit the liability for the T. and A.V.R. reservist to six months, an invidious distinction will be drawn between his liability for service overseas and that of the T. and A.V.R. I and the S.A.V.R. reservist. I know their roles are different, their conditions are different, the bounty is different, and the liability of the T. and A.V.R. I reservist is greater. Nevertheless, I think that in the public's mind there might very well be confusion, and this might very well have a restricting effect on recruitment to the T. and A.V.R. II.
I am not here thinking principally in terms of the short-term position. I hope very much, and I think there is reason to believe, that the Government will meet with very considerable success in attracting recruits initially to most of these forces, and I am very gratified at the special drive now being made in this respect under the ægis of the Minister of Defence, for the Army. What I am much more worried about is the long haul, and whether as time goes on and the rather onerous liabilities become borne in on the T. and A.V.R.II reservist, recruitment will tend to fall off.
I recognise that there may be quite important military objections to this shorter period, although I should have thought, bearing in mind the speed of the noble Lords' transport forces and their increasing size, some of these difficulties may very well be overcome. I should like to make it clear that, although this Amendment contains the words "six months", I myself would not wish to be committed to a specific period. I am inclined to think twelve months may be too long, and I should be very glad for any explanation which the noble Lord can give me in justification of this longer period; and I should be particularly grateful if he could tell us that the Government have not yet entirely closed their mind to the possibility of a somewhat shorter period—not necessarily the six months I am pressing for in this Amendment. I beg to move.
Page 7, line 44, after ("serve") insert ("for a period of six months or").—(Earl Jellicoe.)
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
I think the points raised by the noble Earl are most 745 helpful in regard to this question at this time. The period of service is, to my limited intelligence, one of the most difficult matters to grasp, to find out who serves for how long and in what circumstances. I think the point made by the noble Earl is fairly clear-cut. He fears that the appearance of the time period of twelve months in the Bill might have an inhibiting effect on recruitment. This, of course, is twelve months' service in an emergency; and the situation which is foreseen in the Bill is one in regard to which I think the country as a whole would naturally be feeling considerable concern: that a threat of war was imminent, that warlike operations were taking place that were making an increasingly heavy drain on our manpower. It is for this reason that I do not believe, in a situation such as this, with public opinion as it would be at that time, that either the individual or the employer will feel that the twelve months' period was intolerable. I think most people at that time would be prepared to make sacrifices for the national good.
Putting it fairly bluntly, it is the view of the Government that a six months' period is operationally unacceptable, for the reasons that the noble Earl has indicated. It is not only a question of flying men backwards and forwards between two points; it is a problem of kitting them out, getting them properly documented and, when they are there, integrating them into their units, presumably with some brushing-up in their training and briefing if they are to be functional. To bring them back at the end of six months would mean that the time of effective service would be limited. In the judgment of Her Majesty's Government six months is too short, and twelve months is about right.
I should, however, like to deal with the additional point, which I think was made earlier by one noble Lord, on the question of the confusion between the six months' liability for the "Ever-Readies", and the twelve months' liability for the Volunteers. I should like to clarify that point. The "Ever-Ready" has his own liability. He has also, and at the same time, an ordinary Volunteer liability. If an "Ever-Ready" has been called out on his "Ever-Ready" liability, as he might be, and his unit is subsequently called out under Clause 6, which is the warlike 746 operations clause, then, on completing his six months' service, the "Ever-Ready" would continue to be held for the same length of period as a Volunteer under Clause 6; so basically the liability of the two services is the same.
I am most grateful to the noble Lord. I should like to make it clear that the purpose of my Amendment was not to educate your Lordships but rather to persuade noble Lords opposite to accept this Amendment as reasonable. I shall not detain your Lordships long on this point. The noble Lord said that twelve months would seem to him about right, and six months is too short a time. I am quite willing to accept the military judgment of the experts on what is rather a technical point, but I hope that the Government have not closed their minds to some intermediate period, say one of nine months. I should have thought that that would give ample room for manœuvring, more especially if these reservists are to be called out as individuals rather than in units.
I know it has been argued by the Government in another place that it is more likely that they would be called out as units. I have found that argument difficult to follow, because categories of reservists would be called out before them, and it seems to me at least that if the situation had become so grave that it was necessary to call out any large number of T.A.V.R.II reservists, then we should be in a Clause 5 position and not in a Clause 6 situation, which my Amendment really bites on. Nevertheless, I should like to consider the arguments advanced by the noble Lord. In withdrawing my Amendment I would again express the hope that the Government would agree to look at whether some intermediate period might not meet the case.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 10 agreed to.
§ Clauses 11 to 15 agreed to.
§ Clause 16 [Training of army, air force and volunteer reservists]:
§ On Question, Whether Clause 16 shall stand part of the Bill?
I want to raise one or two points in regard to this clause which deals with training. I 747 should like to raise the question of the large number of redundant warrant officers and non-commissioned officers, Regular soldiers who are seconded to the Territorial Army for training purposes, who will be affected by this new organisation. Will not this new organisation cause a tremendous block in promotion in the Regular Army when these N.C.O.s are sent back to their units, all roughly at the same time? What does the Army Department intend to do about it? We do not want the new organisation to have a detrimental effect on the morale of the Regular Army. Has the Government considered the effect on Regular recruiting? These warrant officers and N.C.O.s now with the Territorial Army are spread the length and breadth of the British Isles, and they have a most important role in Regular recruiting. If you cut down the units you are cutting down the recruiters. I belong to a regiment which has the largest area in Britain for one regiment, with an average of one man per square mile throughout its length and breadth. I am nervous as to the resultant effect of the disappearance of this Regular staff from the present drill halls, many of which are going to be closed. I am sure it will have a serious effect in some of the country districts.
May I also, on this clause dealing with training, say a word about transport? The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has written to me, but I feel it is most inadequate for the Territorials to have one jeep per company. There are a large number of Army vehicles perhaps not in the first flush of youth spread about in car parks throughout the country. I am sure it would be to the advantage of Volunteers and of the Territorials to train with these, to try to keep them going as long as possible and to learn something about the inside of the vehicle which would stand them in good stead if they were called out for their role in the event of an emergency.
I should also like to return to the charge in relation to rifles. In the debate on Second Reading I asked for more modern self-loading rifles. I think I was told that a few would be available in camp. I should like to see available in camp rather more than just a few. I understand that the .303 ammunition used with the old-type rifle is now running out. 748 You cannot just use up old stocks indefinitely; they have to be thrown away, or they become dangerous and unfit for use. I should like to know whether a new production line for out-of-date ammunition will be set up. Surely that would be an appalling waste. Presumably our production lines of self-loading rifles is roaring full-steam ahead now and the ammunition, which is .300, is being produced in large quantities. I should have thought that in the end it would be an economy to issue the new rifles—may be not just yet, but in time as stocks arrive. I should be grateful if the noble Lord could give me any information on that point.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
May I, in support of the noble Lord, Lord Thurlow, express the strong hope that these units will be equipped, so far as possible, with modern signalling equipment, and in particular with wireless sets? If they are to fulfil a useful role in a post-nuclear phase, indeed if they are to fulfil any useful role at all, communications are of the utmost importance. I do not expect the noble Lord to reply immediately on this point, but I very much hope that the best equipment available will be afforded to those units for training purposes.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
I am brought to my feet only by what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Winterbottom, a few moments ago about the possible operational role of A.V.R.III. I think he was giving us his personal opinion, but whether that is so or not it was to my mind the clearest statement of the operational role of A.V.R.III that I have ever heard from any quarter. Without perhaps agreeing with every single thing he said, I welcome his remarks very much. It paves the way to knowing what training they should do, what equipment they should have and gives an idea of the sort of programme to be worked out which will be understood by everybody, provided that the security fans do not come in to prevent the truth being told. It makes me think that a proper declaration of the operational role and everything that follows from it is very much nearer than I was led to suppose during the Second Reading debate. I hope that I am right; and, if I am, then I think we can see our way to dealing with the problem of equipment.
749 I thought that I was accused rather falsely by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, on the Second Reading debate for having said something which I did not say and pressing for a lot of equipment now. I am doing no such thing. I never intended to press for any equipment until I knew what the operational role was and what A.V.R.III were to be trained for. Then my idea was, as has happened many times in the past, that they should make up their mind what they want and get it bit by bit.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
I will try to answer the various points one by one. The question of redundancy of the Regular soldiers in Territorial units is in fact covered by the White Paper. The White Paper says:The reorganisation of the reserves will create redundancy in certain ranks in the Regular Army, though not necessarily in the present Regular permanent staff of the Territorial Army. Those who cannot be absorbed in the Regular Army will be given fair compensation and a further statement will be made about this.The state of play in regard to this is that special arrangements are being made to cover any gaps in recruiting organisations left by Territorial Army permanent staff being reduced in numbers. Not all permanent staff will be redundant; most will be absorbed. Arrangements for redundancy are, however, under consideration. Whether or not at a later stage of the Bill a more exact indication can be given, and whether we can advance on the further statement mentioned in the White Paper, I cannot promise, but if we can do so I will see that it is done, because this is an important point.
In regard to equipment, the point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Iddesleigh, was in fact mentioned by my noble friend. We are all agreed that this is of the first importance. On the question of transport and rifles, I think we should like to do better than we are doing, but we are doing the best we can within a £3 million limit. However, let us hope that this is not going to be something that disappears tomorrow—this is a continuing operation. Let us hope that our financial stringencies become rather less and that we can afford to be more generous. The point about the production of 303 ammunition is important, and I am certain that we shall not start new manufacturing opera- 750 tions which are uneconomic if in fact the issue of 300 ammunition with modern rifles is the cheaper way of doing the job.
My own interpretation of the White Paper is, I think, not far from the truth. It talks specifically about the post-nuclear period. Frankly, perhaps I have spoken a little more bluntly than is usual on this subject, but I was answering a point made by someone who is an honest pacifist, and I thought that it would be wrong even to deceive myself in trying to picture these people in their old traditional role.
§ Clause 16 agreed to.
§ Clause 17 [Establishment, alteration and winding-up, etc., of associations]:
§ On Question, Whether Clause 17 shall stand part of the Bill?
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
This is the last time I shall trouble your Lordships on the Bill. I want merely to make two points concerned with the territorial associations and the implementation of this clause. The first point is that certainly in the rural counties it is very much better to have separate associations even if they have to be served by a joint secretariat. If you have joint associations, it means that at once you weaken the link between the Territorial Army and local government, which was particularly devised by Lord Haldane as one of the main props of the Territorial Army in the various localities.
The clause as it stands provides for this, but I am making the point because I know quite well that the Ministry of Defence have been in consultation with the Territorial Associations Council. They have sent up a package proposal. I believe that it deals with the point I have mentioned, though I am not absolutely certain. What I do know is that some of the proposals as they affect Western Command are not acceptable as they stand to those on the spot. I will not go into details, but all I ask is that the right honourable gentleman the Minister of Defence shall not feel obliged to accept the Territorial Associations Council proposals as a package deal, but should have regard to any different proposal, whatever it may be, which may come up from Western Command. I will put it no higher than that.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
This is a very special point which I am afraid I cannot answer, but I will undertake to 751 ensure that the noble Viscount's views are transferred to my honourable and right honourable friends and see that justice is done in this matter.
§ Clause 17 agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ Schedule 1 [Minor and consequential amendments]:
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
moved, at the beginning of paragraph 3, to insert "Section 30(2) and". The noble Lord said: This Amendment has come in at a late stage, I believe as a result of a close scrutiny of this Bill by the Welsh Office. This shows how interest is spreading on this subject. It is an interesting historical point. As your Lordships know, the Lord Lieutenants of Counties, going back to the reign of Elizabeth I, are primary responsible for military organisations within their counties. This was their original function. To their original function was added certain duties by the Militia Act 1882, when they were instructed to appoint twenty Deputy Lieutenants, all of whom had to be gentlemen with a long military service. I believe that in 1882 they all had to serve in Her Majesty's Forces for at least ten years. They were primarily military men. The continued existence of Deputy Lieutenants is still necessary, but various problems arise, due to the strange circumstances.
First of all, the qualifications required are often other than those which are military. We want individuals with experience, perhaps, of civil administration and Civil Defence; and people whose experience in life is wider than, or different from, purely military experience. For this reason, Clause 20(1)(b) (ii) says, in connection with the service they have rendered:such other service as, in the opinion of a Secretary of State, makes him suitable for appointment as a deputy lieutenant.In fact, the majority of Deputy Lieutenants will be people with military service, but we want to strengthen their body by including among them administrators and people with different skills and experience.
The second problem we are facing is that the figure of 20 was applied to every county in the United Kingdom— 752 however large, however small; however sparsely populated—and in certain parts of the country it might be extremely difficult to find as many as 20 really suitable Deputy Lieutenants, while in other parts of the country—for instance, Greater London—20 would be quite insufficient. For your Lordships' information, there has been arranged administratively a formula for the establishment of a maximum number of Deputy Lieutenants permitted in each county. This is on a population basis. For up to 150,000 the establishment is 20. Above this, the number rises with the population. In fact, there are about 18 counties where the number of Deputy Lieutenants is under 10. In those counties—indeed, in all those where the number is under 20—it must be assumed, in view of the provision of the 1882 Act, that the Lieutenant is unable to find more qualified persons than he has appointed. Our purpose, therefore, is to enable particularly suitable individuals to be appointed in spite of lack of military qualifications, and to do this we have to repeal Section 30(2) of the 1882 Act. That is the purpose of these Amendments. I beg to move.
Page 21, line 21, at beginning insert ("Section 30(2) and").—(Lord Winterbottom.)
We entirely agree with the principle behind this Amendment. I believe that on the Second Reading we welcomed this change, and I have nothing further to say.
§ LORD OGMORE
May I say, as the Welsh Office has been mentioned, how pleased I am to know that they are "on the ball". I have wondered what three Ministers managed to do with themselves in the Welsh Office: now I know. I must say that I am rather surprised to hear the description from the noble Lord—in rather vague terms, of course—of the duties of a Deputy Lieutenant. I always imagined that a Deputy Lieutenant was there merely to open a flower show, or whatever it may be, when the Lord Lieutenant could not be present. But I should have thought that very few counties needed the service of more than 20 Deputy Lieutenants. I know of one county where, before the war, the Lord Lieutenant was a solicitor, and his firm used to charge all the Deputy Lieutenants 25 guineas a time for making out the certificate of office. One 753 can quite see what the position of a Deputy Lieutenant was there. He was a very useful man to a firm of solicitors. But I must admit that I have always been rather vague as to the normal functions and duties of a Deputy Lieutenant, and I shall now have a much greater regard for the position of the Deputy Lieutenant, after the compliments which have been paid to him by the noble Lord to-day.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
The noble Lord will realise that we are not thinking of 1882; we are thinking of 1984. So the role is rather different. I think that in that particular county the Deputy Lieutenants could have been called "the Devil's Own."
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.
§ Schedule 2 [Repeals]:
Page 24, line 41, leave lines 41 and 42 and insert ("Section 30(2)").—(Lord Winterbottom.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Remaining Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
§ House resumed: Bill reported, with Amendments.