Navy, Army and Air Force (Common Services).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ex-Service Men. – in the House of Commons on 17th May 1922.

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Mr. MALONE:

45.

asked the Prime Minister what are the terms of reference of the Committee, presided over by the Minister of Health, which is considering the question of amalgamating certain common services, such as the medical, accountant, audit, and chaplain branches of the three fighting Services; what is the constitution of the Committee; and is the Committee in a position to recommend the creation of a Ministry of Defence should it appear to them to be desirable?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

The terms of reference of the Committee are as follows: That a technical Committee should be set up at once to make definite proposals for the amalgamation, or, if this appeared impossible or undesirable, for the co-ordination, so far as possible, of the common services of the Navy, Army and Air Force, such as intelligence, supply, transport, education, medical, chaplains, and any other overlapping Departments, in order to reduce the cost of the present triplication. The Committee should consider each branch separately, and submit interim reports to the Cabinet as soon as possible.

The Committee consists of:

  • The Minister of Health (Chairman).
  • The Right Hon. the Lord Weir.
  • The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn.
  • The hon. and gallant Member for Howdenshire.
  • Sir G. L. Barstow.
  • Sir Arthur I. Durrant.
  • Major-General Sir P. A. M. Nash.
As I stated in reply to questions on Monday last, a separate Committee will investigate the practicability of a Ministry of Defence.

Mr. MALONE:

In view of the fact that the question of the establishment of a Ministry of Defence, and the amalgamation of the services mentioned are so closely connected, would it not be best to have the same Committee to make the same investigation?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

If the Government thought so they would have appointed one Committee to inquire into both questions. The Government take a different view. Of course it is not a matter that can be settled by question and answer.

Photo of Major-General John Seely Major-General John Seely , Ilkeston

When will the Committee to inquire into the desirability of a Ministry of Defence be set up?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I must have notice. I am not quite certain what the exact state of affairs is at the moment.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

Oh yes.