§ Mr. RONALD McNEILL
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the 1529W general officer commanding in Mesopotamia, when providing recently for the removal from that country of the wives of officers and men, exempted from the order the wives of officers and officials holding positions of a permanent character in Baghdad and Basra; whether an order issued by the War Office has refused to sanction this exemption; whether a distinction may reasonably be drawn between the wives of men in fighting units whose period of service in Mesopotamia is short and the wives of staff officers and officials of departments who will probably remain for years in the country; and, in view of the improvement in the condition of the country, whether he will now permit the latter to retain their wives and thus remove what is regarded as a serious hardship by men whose service in Mesopotamia is likely to be prolonged?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Although the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, in submitting his proposals for the evacuation of military families from Mesopotamia, recommended that the families of officers and other ranks employed on staff and departmental duties should be allowed to remain, it was considered preferable, owing to the situation, not to allow any exception to be made. It is not proposed to depart from this decision at present, but it will again be reviewed when the situation in that country becomes more stable. I would add that it is not proposed that there shall be any difference in the tours of service in Mesopotamia as between units, staffs and departments.