Retrenchment.

Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons on 12th March 1923.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I beg to move to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words this House regrets that the sum proposed to be spent on the Naval Services during the coming financial year is not consistent with the pledges of retrenchment given by His Majesty's Government, and makes no approach to a redemption of the war-time promises of a great reduction in expenditure on armaments to follow an Allied victory; and further calls upon the Government to use its influence to summon, as soon as possible, an international conference to which all States, whether members of the League of Nations or not, should be invited, with a view to considering the extension of the principles of the Washington Treaty for the limitation of naval armaments to all non-signatory States. The failure of the capitalist system to provide an accommodating railway service from the North prevented me from being in the House at Question Time, and at the beginning of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. I understand that protest was made against the inadequate time which is being provided for the general discussion of these Estimates. Had I been present I certainly would have joined in that protest. We have got but two and a half hours for the discussion of the Amendment which I now move and the general Debate. In those circumstances, in fairness to other hon. Members who want to take part in the discussion, I shall try to compress my observations into the shortest possible pace. The fortune of the Ballot has placed on me the task of trying to discharge a duty which I am not competent to perform. If I were to undergo an examination into the relative value and use of battleships, battle cruisers and destroyers, I am afraid I should prove to be a lamentable failure. Therefore I do not intend to touch upon any of these details which made up a great part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, but there are questions of general administration and policy connected with naval affairs and administration upon which I think a layman is entitled to express an opinion. I confine myself, therefore, to dealing with these general principles.

I remember the Debates which took place on the Naval Estimates in the March before the outbreak of war. They were unusually important and, shall I say, interesting. At that time Mr. Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, a post in which his brilliant imagination and pugnacious proclivities found ample scope for exercise. He has told us recently that for 15 months before the outbreak of war he was engaged perpetually at the Admiralty in discussing the details of a naval war with Germany. That is a curious comment upon the statement, which was made so often during the War, that it came upon this innocent country quite unexpectedly, and found us inadequately prepared. In two or three years before the outbreak of war there had been a considerable increase in the annual expenditure upon the Navy. The Estimates for 1914 were something like £50,000,000, but in the 10 years before this rapid increase began, that is to say from 1900 to 1910, the average expenditure upon the Navy was about £33,000,000. Why had there been this increase?

Undoubtedly the reason was the menace of the increasing German Navy. The First Lord of the Admiralty has just pointed out that that menace no longer exists. The War was fought to destroy what was said to be the only menace to the peace of the world. The German Navy has gone and the German Army has been reduced to the dimensions of a police force. Therefore, I ask why, in the fifth year after the signing of the Armistice, the First Lord of the Admiralty should be asking this House to Vote a gross sum of over £60,000,000 for the maintenance of the Navy? I see that the Army Estimates are published this afternoon. If we take the Navy Estimates, the Air Estimates and the Army Estimates together, we find that the Government are asking for the fighting Services this year a sum of £125,000,000. The father of Mr. Winston Churchill once resigned the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer because he would not share responsibility for a total Budget expenditure of £90,000,000. Before the outbreak of War, the War which was to end war and to relieve nations for the future from the intolerable burden of military and naval expenditure, the total of the fighting services, in 1913, was a little over £80,000,000. To-day we are being asked to provide a sum which, in the aggregate, is 50 per cent, more than the expenditure on the fighting Services in the year before the outbreak of the War.

We have a right to know why this is being done. Is there still a menace? If so, where? It surely cannot be the United States of America, with whose Navy, I understand, the right hon. Gentleman has made comparison. The United States called the Washington Conference, and the President and Mr. Secretary Hughes made eloquent speeches in which, speaking on behalf of the people of the United States, they expressed the most friendly sentiments towards this country, and expressed a desire for a very considerable reduction in armaments and the end of competition in naval expenditure. It cannot, therefore, be the United States of America. There are in the world only five Powers which can be called naval powers. They are America, this country, France, Japan, and, in a lesser degree, Italy. Where is the menace? It cannot be France, for France is our Ally; an eternal friendship has been cemented between the two countries by common sacrifice in the field of war. We cannot, therefore, be maintaining huge military expenditure for fear of the French Navy. Is it Italy? Italy is our Ally. Is it Japan? I was very much impressed by the references made by the right hon. Gentleman to the proposal to spend enormous sums of money on the establishment of a base in the Pacific, a base which he said was to accommodate a fleet of battleships. Why? The right hon. Gentleman said it was necessary for the purpose of Imperial defence, that the water-way to the Pacific must be kept open. But who is going to menace the free passage of the Pacific? The Pacific can cease to be free only when we are at war with some power. Where is the menace? The right hon. Gentleman referred to Japan. Japan is our Ally; Japan was represented at the Washington Conference, and she signed the Washington Agreement, although I believe that she has not yet ratified it. She apparently had not done so when this Memorandum was presented, for the statement is made that none of the signatory powers to the Treaty had yet ratified it.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Ratification and carrying out by statute.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

The right hon. Gentleman raises a very serious question there, about which I may have something more to say before I sit down. My present criticism is this: We are asked in these Estimates to provide a gross expenditure of £60,000,000, which is considerably higher than the highest Estimate that was asked for before the outbreak of War, even at a time when Mr. Winston Churchill, on his own confession, was engaged every day in preparing plans for a naval war against Germany. In addition to that, we have the expenditure on the Air Force, a new organisation since that time, and £50,000,000 for the Army. The Motion I have moved begins by saying that the expenditure is inconsistent with the promises by the Government to secure national economy. There can be no doubt at all about the very serious burden that this military and naval expenditure places on the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking two or three days ago in the country, held out very little hope of any remission of taxation unless further economies in expenditure could be carried out. Hon. Friends who sit behind me have, in the last week or two, brought forward proposals for increased expenditure upon urgent social reforms, and in every case, on every Motion, some Member of the Government has risen to say that, however desirable the reform might be, it was impossible to support it because of the additional expenditure that would be incurred. We are not prepared to take Dreadnoughts for widows' pensions, for better old age pensions, and for other much-needed social reforms. We are spending this £125,000,000 this year. I do not know why or for what, and I shall wait with the greatest interest to know the answer to the questions I have asked. I repeat, where is the monace? Where is the threat of war? The First Lord of the Admiralty has told us, in effect, that in the reductions which ho has made this year "we have accepted risks which we regard with serious misgiving." Why "with serious misgiving"? At a later stage of his speech the right hon. Gentleman said that he did not anticipate an immediate further outbreak of hostilities; there might be peace for ten years. Is it proposed, in the next ten years, to prepare for that possible contingency?

The Motion which I have submitted suggests an alternative to all this, a definite line of departure and a new policy—not altogether a new policy, but a carrying out of the policy which the country was led to believe was to be the policy of Governments in future, following Allied victory. We cannot afford this enormous expenditure. In support of my statement, let me quote this from a pronouncement made by the Supreme Council in March of last year. They said: In order to diminish the economic difficulties of Europe, Armies should forthwith be reduced to a peace footing, armaments should be limited to the lowest possible figure compatible with national security, and the League of Nations should be invited to examine proposals to that effect. The Financial Committee appointed by the Supreme Council, when meeting at Brussels, recommended most urgently to the Council of the League the desirability of conferring at once and agreeing with the several Governments, with a view to securing a general reduction of the crushing burden which now saddles the resources of the nations and imperils their recovery from the ravages of war. What were the expectations held out by the Versailles Treaty? I want especially to call attention to Article 8 of the Covenant of the League. The first paragraph of that Article says: The Members of the League recognise that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action or international obligations. The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several Governments 6.0 P.M.

This country is a member of the League of Nations. It has its representative upon the Council. He is, I suppose, no mean influence on that Council. I ask the Government, what has been done by the representative of the British Government upon the Council of the League to bring into effect that declaration in the Covenant of the, League of Nations? Part of my Resolution suggests that something practical should be done on those lines. We know that expenditure has not come down, and that is why we are asking that the policy should be changed. There are three main reasons why war-time expectations have not been realised, and why we are spending so much more to-day while others of the Allied Powers are doing the same. References have already been made this afternoon to the enormous expenditure by France on her Air Service. Last week I put a question which was answered by the Civil Lord of the Admiralty requesting the figures of French naval expenditure, and I find that in the year 1913 France spent about 530,000,000 francs while the Estimates before the French Senate at present are providing for double that sum. I am quite ready to concede to the right hon. Gentleman, that in his position of responsibility he cannot ignore such things. I am quite ready to concede that naval policy, military policy, and air policy, so far as one nation is concerned, must be determined to a very great extent by what other nations are doing, but granting that we are driven to this position—that international action is necessary to bring about a different policy and secure a reduction of these crushing burdens. The three main reasons for the present expenditure are, I think, as follows. First, there is fear and the desire for security; second, there is Imperialism and the burden which Imperial responsibilities impose; third, there are private financial and commercial interests in war.

Let me speak about the first of these, namely, fear and the desire for security. The existence of armaments is the cause of that fear. Fear compels a nation to build more armaments; and the nation feared build more armaments. There is no security in a policy like that. As a matter of fact, the policy of trying to get, security through armaments defeats its very purpose. There is only one way in which you can guarantee security, and that is by the nations not having the instruments of war and thus removing the menace. Otherwise you are going round in a vicious circle and you always get back to the same point from which you started. The nations in pursuing this policy, through fear and a desire of security, never get security, and their fears are never abated. It is like the story of the missionary who interviewed the native and told the native he had come to civilise him, and the first step in civilisation was to teach him to work. "But why should I work?" said the native. "Oh," said the missionary, "in order that you should get rich." "And why should I get rich?" asked the native. "So that you may not have to work," said the missionary. "Then," said the native, "why should I take all that trouble to get back where I am now?" That is precisely what the nations arc doing, in piling up armaments as a so-called guarantee against the menace of insecurity.

The second point concerns Imperialism and the safeguarding of Imperial responsibility. Here I may be permitted to return to the subject of Japan. I am all for Empire development, especially the full development of, and the closest possible unity between, those parts of the Empire which are inhabited by the people of our own race. I can imagine nothing more fatal, not only to the maintenance of the British Empire, but to world peace, than the carrying out of an ideal which seems to be held by some advocates of imperial development, namely, the building of a wall around the British Empire preventing any other nation from having commercial intercourse with the Empire or sending its goods within that Imperial Zollverein, and also preventing the products of the Empire going to other countries. If we are to pursue a policy like that, then we are certain to arouse the anger and the opposition in every nation in the world against us, and as sure as to-morrow's sun will rise, that will lead us to a world war of a devastating character so great that the horrors of the late war will be insignificant in comparison. I am opposed to that kind of Imperialism and that kind of Empire unity. That is one of the greatest causes for naval armaments and what is regarded as the need for protection against the possibility of war. The right hon. Gentleman talked about keeping trade routes and about discharging our Imperial responsibility. Well, but honest trade needs no Dreadnoughts. The honest trader needs no policeman.

A great part of the necessary natural resources of the world have been appropriated by the British Empire. We have got to recognise that three-fifths of the surface of the world is now under the political domination of two or three white Powers. It was very often said during the War that the cause of the War was Germany's desire to get a place in the sun. Germany is not the only great country which has no place in the sun. Take Japan—a country which is uncannily similar to our own, in its geographical configuration and its place in the northern latitudes, and a country which is rapidly developing as a great commercial nation. She has an increasing population, part of which is surplus, and she looks across the narrow straits which divide her from the American Continent and there she sees posted the words, "No yellow man may enter." It is the same with many of the islands in the Pacific—with Australia eyen. Australia is closed to the yellow race. [An HON. MEMBER: "By a Labour Government."] It does not matter who is responsible for it; that will not alter the consequences which inevitably follow from a policy like that. You cannot prevent a great and growing nation from seeking to provide opportunities and out lets for its people and development for its trade and commerce, and the only solution of the problem is to throw open the necessary natural resources of the world, raw material and the like, to all peoples who require them. You have in the present state of things one of the greatest provocations to war, and it is a state of things which, if maintained, is certain, in my opinion to lead eventually to a terrible outbreak. I now come to the third point which concerns the private interests involved. In one of the Articles of the Covenant of the League of Nations, from which I have already quoted, reference is made to this matter: The Members of the League agree that the manufacture by private enterprise of munitions and implements of war is open to grave objections. The Council shall advise how the evil effects attendant upon such manufacture can be prevented, due regard being paid to the necessities of those members of the League which are not able to manufacture the munitions and implements of war necessary for their safety. The Assembly of the League of Nations has had this matter under consideration and has made recommendations to the Council and the respective Governments upon the question. I once recollect making a speech of two and a quarter hours' duration in the House of Commons dealing exclusively with this question of private financial interests in the manufacture of war material. I am not going to repeat any of the facts or statements which I gave upon that occasion beyond saying that the armaments ring still exists. It still exercises its baneful influence upon Governments; it is still a great hindrance to peace; its emissaries were much in evidence at the Washington Conference, doing what they could to prevent an agreement which would take away their trade, their industry, and their profit. The armaments ring is all-powerful in the councils of the Admiralty, as well as in the War Office.

As I have said, I will not go into the matter of my former speech, but I will give to the House just one or two figures showing the power which these private financial interests exercise in securing contracts for themselves while Government dockyards and arsenals are idle. In the three years from 1900 to 1903 the work given to the Royal Dockyards amounted to £7,500,000. The amount a work given to private yards was £18,800,000. In those years it was well known the armament manufacturers had been particularly busy, with what result? With this result, that 10 years later, taking the three years from 1910 to 1913, the work done in the Royal Dockyards was less than £5,000.000, and the work in the private yards was nearly £38,000,000. Doubtless I shall get the answer that our yards cannot do the work. As a matter of fact, they can do it, and do it much better, and even if it costs more to do it ourselves, it should be done in that way, because then we should re- move the incentive of private gain as a provocation of war, and an encouragement of additional expenditure upon naval and military work. Let me quote what the ex-Prime Minister said. Speaking in this House on 18th August, 1919, he said that when the Ministry of Munitions was started the 18-pounders cost 22s. 6d. a shell. They reduced that to I2s, and thereby saved, on that one item alone, £35,000,000. Then he referred to the Lewis gun. They reduced the cost from £165 in the private factories to £35 made by the State. Altogether, taking the work out of the hands of private contractors on those articles saved the State £440,000,000. Just one quotation more on this point. The Chairman of a Committee which was appointed in 1908 to inquire into the question of discharges from Woolwich said this: I have before me figures showing the cost to the nation of a number of articles—

  1. (a) Made in ordnance factories.
  2. (b) Bought from contractors.
The first line shows that the cost of carriages for 18-pounder quick-firing guns made in the nation's factories is £343 14s,; supplied by contractors the price is £672 7s. The same story is told right through the table. The contractors' prices are from 50 to nearly 200 per cent. greater than the Arsenal cost. It is not economy that leads the War Office to buy from the contractors and discharge Arsenal men. This is important from one point of view, but I do not urge it as the most important reason why the manufacture of armaments should be taken out of the hands of private individuals who are actuated by a desire to make a profit. I make no charge against these men. As individuals, they are neither better nor worse than all of us, but it is their business, and they can make their business pay only by getting work. The Government have recently given contracts for two battleships to private firms. It is common knowledge—every Member of Parliament knows—what lobbying of Ministers went on from representatives of constituencies where work might have been given.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

From dockyards, too, certainly, but that would not go on if you were to remove the incentive of private gain.

Photo of Mr Bertram Falle Mr Bertram Falle , Portsmouth North

Does the hon. Member know that there is no Government dockyard in which these ships can be built?

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I said at the beginning that I knew nothing at all about the technicalities of the question, but I do not see that that interruption interferes with, or nullifies, or even modifies my argument. If the Government are not at present in a position to do this. My point is that, if it be necessary to build these ships or similar ships, they ought to put themselves in a position to do it.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I think I ought to reply at once to one statement the hon. Member made. He said it was common knowledge—the lobbying that went on with Ministers. No lobbying of any sort or kind went on. I was not approached on behalf of a single firm.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

The right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. I did not mean that they were approached by these firms—by Members of Parliament, I said. I know, of my own knowledge, how interested many Members of Parliament were, and I know that, they do that when these contracts arc to be given, some of them very reluctantly, indeed.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

If any Members made such representations, they said they hoped the order might come to their constituents. No such recommendations had the slightest, influence in determining the contracts, which were given entirely to the lowest tenders, and the lowest tenders only.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

That has no relevance to my point, that representations were made, and influence was exercised by Members of Parliament in order to get work for factories in the constituencies they represented, and that is inevitable under such a system. Those were my three points—fear and the desire for security, which cannot be secured by the policy we are pursuing now; a new Imperial policy removing the great danger of future international conflict because of certain countries being deprived of access to raw material and not having a proper market for the outlet of their goods; thirdly, this question of the private manufacture of armaments. The last part of my Amendment asks the Government to use its influence to summon, as soon as possible, an international conference to which all States, whether members of the League of Nations or not, should be invited, with a view to considering the extension of the principles of the Washington Treaty for the limitation of Naval armaments to all non-signatory States. I do not suppose the Government can accept this Amendment, in view of the expression of regret which it contains in its earlier lines, but I do not see why they should not at least express their sympathy with the latter part of it. They were parties to the Covenant of the League of Nations, and this is simply proposing to carry out and to extend somewhat what is laid down in Article 8 of that Covenant. I hope that if such a Conference as this be -called, it will have wider powers and will discuss the question in a much wider and more general way than was done at the Washington Conference. The fact that the right hon. Gentleman states in his Memorandum, and that he stated in the earlier part of his speech this afternoon, that he has effected all the reductions which are possible by carrying out to the full the terms of the Washington Treaty shows that the substantial gain from the understanding made there has not been much, and he also stated in his speech that we must not expect in future any further reductions in expenditure as a result of the Washington Conference.

As a matter of fact, what the Washington Treaty did was to suspend for a few years competition in the building of those ships which are likely to be least necessary and least useful in future warfare, and it is a fact worthy of very serious consideration that the Washington Conference refused to set any limit upon what experts, I am told, regard as being the most destructive instruments in the next naval and aerial warfare, namely, submarines and aircraft. It is perfectly useless limiting the number of battleships unless you are also going to set a limit to the subsidiary and auxiliary instruments of warfare, and I hope, therefore, that if this Conference be called it will go into that question. It is the duty of our representatives on the Council of the League of Nations to see that such a Conference is called, as the Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva last September passed a resolution calling on the Council of the League to do this, and the resolution was sent to each of the Governments represented there. I would like to know if the British Government have taken any action upon that notification from the Assembly of the League of Nations.

I repeat that, if the Government cannot accept this Amendment, I hope they will give a sympathetic reply in regard to the last part of it, and that they will indicate that they are in sympathy with our desire —and I am quite sure they are—for such an international policy as will make it unnecessary for nations to spend enormous sums against the menace of a possible war. I hope they will do that, but, as I said earlier in the course of my observations, there are limits to what one Government can do. They can solve this problem only by international action, but I should be glad if I could have the assurance that my Government, the Government of my country, are going to take a prominent part. in trying to get the other nations of the world to co-operate together, to realise the great ideals of a world free from the menace of war which sustained the people of this country during the terrible years of the recent War.

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

I beg to second the Amendment.

I should like to begin my remarks by referring to the speech that was made by the First Lord of the Admiralty, and by explaining why I do not think it was any real reply to the criticisms against these Estimates which we have to make. The First Lord based the whole of his comparisons between the Estimates of this year and the Estimates of last year or the year before. In our view, the real comparison is one between the Estimates of this year and the Estimates just before the War, and that comparisons show these results, that in the year before the War the gross Naval Estimates were about £50,000,000, whereas this year they are £61,000,000, so that they are at this moment £11.000,000 higher than the highest level reached before the War. [Interruption.] If hon. Members will wait, I have not finished my speech yet. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty went on to defend the Estimates as they are, but that defence was based upon an improper foundation. The economies to which he referred were economies not due to internal and voluntary economies within the Admiralty, but were economies due to the Washington Conference, the ratification of which led automatically to economies, quite apart from what the Admiralty did of its own volition.

Our point is this, that we have the right to ask the Admiralty what share it has taken, by its own internal acts, in that general scaling down of national expenditure which the Government has insisted is necessary for the economic recovery of the country, and I venture to say that, judged by that question, the Admiralty has a weaker and more unsatisfactory reply than the War Office or than any of the civil Departments. Take the Report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure, which was under the chairmanship of Sir E. Geddes. That Committee recommended reductions amounting, taking all the Departments together, to about £100,000,000. In response to that we secured reductions of about £50,000,000. The War Office was asked for a reduction of £20,000,000 and achieved a reduction of£10,000,000. Take the social Services. The Board of Education was asked for a reduction of £80,000,000, and achieved a reduction of £7,500,000. What has the Admiralty done? That is a legitimate question to ask. What have they done in response to the recommendations of the Geddes Committee?

It was pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman that the reductions which the Admiralty had made were clue to the Washington Conference. Last year I read a speech—I was not in the House at the time—but I recollect that he pointed out that no less than £15.000,000 of the reduction in the Estimates were due to the Washington Conference, and he has told us in this Memorandum of his and his speech to-day that the bulk of the reduction in these Estimates are due to the Washington Conference. But the Geddes Committee recommendation was that, quite apart from the Washington Conference, over and above that Conference, the Admiralty should he required to make a reduction of £21,000,000. Of that sum they have actually made a reduction of only £4,000,000. I say to the right hon. Gentleman that that is not an answer to the real criticism which we have directed against these Estimates.

The position is this: The War Office— which is not usually held up as a model —have made a reduction of £10,000,000. Put the Admiralty on one side and the other Departments of State on the other. The Geddes Committee asked all the other Departments for a reduction of £80,000,000 and secured a reduction of£48,000,000, or nearly 60 per cent. In the case of the Admiralty, out of a reduction of £21,000,000 asked for, only £4,000,000 reduction was secured, or less than 25 per cent. I am sorry that the First Lord is not for the moment in his place, because I should like to refer to the reasons he gave for, in this way, the direct passing by of the recommendations of the Geddes Committee. The Admiralty issued a Memorandum on the subject. In that Memorandum they not only answered the Geddes Committee, but they practically treated it with contempt. In his speech on the subject in this House the First Lord practically said that the recommendations of the Geddes Committee were based upon ignorance of the most elementary facts of naval administration. That was the argument. When I read those remarks, it appeared to me that they proved a great deal too much. After all, Sir Eric Geddes was himself a predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman. The Secretary of the Committee happened to have been Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, and in every other Department of State the report of that Committee was recognised to be a supremely able document.

It has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman himself that in regard to the coastguard he had accepted the recommendations of the Committee. Under these circumstances, to argue that when it comes to the bulk of the Admiralty work the report of the Committee was based upon a careless ignorance of elementary facts is an argument which no other Department has used, and which I say no other Department would have been permitted to use. The fact is that, I suppose, the Admiralty is the least criticised of all the Departments of State. Speaking roughly about the Admiralty is a kind of lèse-majesté As the right hon. Gentleman has said, one of the consequences was that when the War broke out it was found that the staff of the Admiralty was grossly deficient. May I refer to one question which has been discussed this evening, and on which neither I nor many Members of the House can speak with naval or military authority, but upon which we- are justified in speaking. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN:

We have got the technical knowledge on this side if we want to use it.

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

I think it would be a misfortune for Debates in this House if the only Members who spoke on the Services were those who happened to have professional knowledge. I do not think it is really a fair jeer from the other side because a number of speakers who understand the subject—

Photo of Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke Sir Clement Kinloch-Cooke , Plymouth, Devonport

That is not the point; the hon. Member misses it!

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

But we are justified in speaking on these matters from the point of view of economy, and I shall, therefore, say something about this question, and the relationship between the different Services and the Ministry of Defence which has been discussed. When I was in the House some years ago I used, for the sake of information, to listen to the technical discussions on the Army and the Navy. In those days the technical discussions, and the arguments, used to be, as a rule, as to the different arms within one Service, cavalry, mounted infantry, and so on, but within the last few years, as I have read the Debates, I have noticed the discussions have changed in their character. They have been discussions as to the possibility of substituting, not different arms within the Service, but of substituting the arm of one Service for the arm of another Service. I have heard discussions about substituting aeroplanes for cavalry and infantry. The right hon. Gentleman himself to-day entered to some extent into a discussion of how far the Air Force have rendered capital ships obsolete and meaningless. On this point I shall show how difficult it is for us to make up our minds when we see great exponents of warfare on that very Front Bench opposite contradicting each other about the simplest point. The First Lord told us to-day that capital ships, in the opinion of the Naval Staff, still constitute the unchallenged mainstay and pivot of the naval battle. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"] Well, I am glad to hear those approving manifestations, because I find that another great exponent of warfare, who is on that Front Bench, the new Postmaster-General, has practically told us that he and about half a dozen like him could wipe out a capital ship practically single-handed. [An HON. MEMBER: "He knows nothing about it"] Does he not? Then does the First Lord of the Admiralty know anything about it? I do not know how many years of naval service he put in to qualify for the position he now holds. While just on that point, may I read to the House the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman's colleague who wrote a letter to the "Times"? [An HON. MEMBER: "Whose is the letter?"] That of the new Postmaster-General.

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN:

Hon. Members do not know who he is, Tell them!

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Twickenham said: Let the Air Service take a battleship worth £8,000,000, and let me attack it at a distance of 2,000 yards with torpedo-carrying aeroplanes, and I will guarantee that the ship shall be hit four times out of five. I am bound to say that it seems to me a pity that such a right hon. Gentleman should be buried in St. Martins-le-Grand, and he should be occupied there at this time of unemployed Cæsars giving his time to sending away parcels and licking stamps. The point I wish to make out of this disagreement of opinion is this; that if we now have reached a time when the discussion is as to how far an arm of one Service can be substituted for an arm of another Service, then it seems to me clear that the point cannot be settled by each Service separately fighting for its own professional view; it can only be settled by some kind of Ministry of Defence which includes all the Services and is the subject of none. From the point of view of economy, it is evident to me that, unless that is done, we are bound to have duplication and overlapping, and there will be no security, that when we agree, as we shall here, to increase the expenditure on one Service, that it will lead to any corresponding reduction of any other Service.

There is one other point, with regard to the actual question of the finance of these Estimates on which I should like to have some observations from the right hon. Gentleman. I am very sorry to learn from the answer given to me the other day by the right hon. Gentleman that he, in his Department, has apparently postponed to an indefinite future the proposal for new forms of accounts which was made five years ago by the Committee on National Expenditure, and which the War Office has adopted, which the Admiralty promised to adopt a year after, but of which there is no trace to be found in the Estimates presented to-day. The right hon. Gentleman will remember the history of the subject. The Committee on National Expenditure, of 30 members, unanimously proposed that the accounts, the Estimates, should be presented in the form of commercial firms, that they should be presented so as to show the exact expenditure for each branch of the Service, so that one could know the actual cost of a unit of cavalry, infantry, and so on, and the cost of a student in the Naval or Military school. They pointed out that if that were done one would know what each branch cost, and he would be able to compare the cost of one year with the cost of another year. If the Admiralty adopts the same Estimate you can compare the cost of one Service with a similar operation in another Service. Sir Charles Harris, the Chief Financial Adviser to the, War Office, in giving evidence a short time ago before the Public Accounts Committee, stated that by adopting this form of Estimates for the Army they had saved vast sums of money. This is the sort of thing which makes me wonder whether it is good for the Admiralty to be immune from criticism. Why should they be five years behind the Army in this matter?

The Army Estimates are intelligible to the ordinary mind, and they do give us now one of the most instructive and interesting documents sent to us free of charge every morning. Sir Charles Harris pointed out that now for the first time in its history the War Office knew the real cost of the Services, they knew even what a battalion in Iraq was costing, and by knowing these things the War Office was able to detect when the expenditure was excessive, and they could take steps to reduce it. He also pointed out that this system enabled the War Office to give the military officers a freer hand, and they had been able to dispense with that multiplicity of minute regulations which we had to submit to during the War. Now the military officers have a much freer hand, because they can actually judge the economy and expenditure by the results year by year. The right hon. Gentleman, in reply to a question which I put to him on this subject the other day, said that the Public Accounts Committee, reporting in 1921, had stated that they might await further experience in case of the War Office before applying this system to other Departments. I read that Report, and if hon. Members will read it they will find that the Public Accounts Committee were referring in particular to the application of this system to the Civil Department where, as everybody admits, there are many differences, but they deliberately intimated that its application to the Admiralty would be simple, advantageoes, and would involve no great expense. Under these circumstances and since those observations were made two years ago, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will now take this subject into his consideration.

I wish to look at the very much broader issues which this Amendment contains. The remarks I have been making have been directed simply to economies in administration which accept the general structure of the Estimates. This Amendment points out another fact. All these Estimates arc dependent upon policy, and when I read the Estimates amounted to over £60,000,000 for the Admiralty, my mind went back to certain things I witnessed in this House during the War Parliament, At that time, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. MacDonald) and the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) used to sit on the second seat below the Gangway accompanied by two or three other of my hon. Friends on what used to be referred to as the "pacifist bench."

I remember some of the Debates which took place then and some of the promises which were made as to the reduction of expenditure after the War. I remember the then Leader of the Opposition getting up at regular intervals and saying to the Government, "Is it not possible now for all sides in this War to come together and try and settle it on terms honourable to all by means of negotiations." I do not suppose the hon. Gentleman is ashamed of having said that now. I remember the replies that used to be given. Very frequently the reply came from the Prime Minister in this sense. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister will remember the replies he used to make on this point He used to say in effect, "No, there shall be no settlement and no negotiations until there has been a military victory." The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) would rise and say, "Do you understand what that reply means? Do you understand that it will mean hundreds of thousands of men will be slain, thousands of homes will be ruined and thousands of women's hearts will be broken?" An hon. Member opposite would then rise and say, "That is so; that is war." They would then tell us, "When the War is over you will find that you were wrong and we were right, because then we shall be able to make a peace which will remove war and the burden of armaments from the minds of men for generations to come.", You slaughtered the men, ruined the homes, and broke the women's hearts—

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

I tried to prevent it, and, in so doing, I was vindicated by my constituents. So far as I am personally concerned, I underwent infinitely greater danger than the hon. and gallant Member who has interrupted me.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. Member had better address his remarks to the Chair.

Photo of Mr Henry Croft Mr Henry Croft , Bournemouth

The hon. Member should not make offensive remarks.

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

Our Government sent representatives to Paris able to make what peace they liked. They made peace, and in spite of what they promised, we find now that there are more armed men in Europe and a much larger military expenditure than before the War. In this country the Army, Navy and Air Force Estimates amount to £125,000,000, and there can be no substantial reduction in those Estimates until there is a Government in this country which will retrace the steps then taken, and make some effort to undo some of the blindness and folly of 1918.

Vice-Admiral Sir REGINALD HALL:

I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but after some of the statements which have been made I feel that I must say a, few words. The, hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) made a similar speech to-night to the one he made on 18th March, 1914, and I venture to say that had we then adopted what the hon. Member then so strongly recommended, when war broke out we should not have been in so favourable a position as we were. He complains that in the days previous to the War the First Lord of the Admiralty had consultations with Lord Beatty regarding the plans for a war with Germany. Does the hon. Member for Colne Valley object to the taking of necessary precautions in order to secure the safety of the State? Are the Admiralty to make no plans in case there is an outbreak of war in order to protect the people of this country?

The hon. Gentleman who seconded this Amendment stated that until we have Free Trade and have re-written the Treaty of Versailles no reduction in our Estimates is possible. That is just the reason why these Estimates ought to be passed. There is no hon. Member of this House who does not wish to see our national expenditure reduced to the very lowest minimum, but those responsible for our safety have one duty to perform to the people of this country, and that is the feeding of the people. Hon. Members seem to forget that this island is not self-contained; in fact, at one time during the War we had only three weeks' supply of food, and it was solely due to the Navy that we were able to increase that supply. Are we to understand from this Amendment that the necessary protection for securing the safety of our food supply is to be sacrificed in the interests of economy? I would like to hear from some hon. Member opposite what he thinks our naval force should be, and what should be its duty. Are we to rely for our safety upon the goodwill of the non-signatories to the Treaty? Are we to ask them to come and discuss with us further naval reductions? I would like to ask the proposer of this Amendment, does he include Germany?

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

The Amendment means exactly what it says, "non-signatory States."

Sir R. HALL:

That, of course, includes Germany. We have yet to see Germany fulfil any engagement she has entered into. Are we to ask these people to sit round the table and discuss with us our future, when they have never given any evidence whatever of their willingness to carry out anything they have ever signed? I do not wish to criticise the naval knowledge of the hon. Member for Colne Valley when he says battleships are useless, but if they are useless, then a number of nations disagree with him. So long as you have a naval staff who are held responsible under the Government to secure the safety of the seas, you have either to act upon what they recommend or else have a change

7.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) made a speech with his accustomed skill, but I think he was a little ungracious in not recognising what the Admiralty has already done. We know, as the gallant Admiral the Member for West Derby (Sir R. Hall) has pointed out, that the hon. Member for Colne Valley has consistently made that same speech. Indeed, if he were the Judge, and Cromwell came up for judgment because he spent half the revenue of the country on the Navy, Cromwell would probably incur the same fate as did Charles I. Although the hon. Member for Colne Valley has spoken with great skill. I am not prepared to say that his Amendment is drawn up with great skill. I would ask him this question. He drafted this Amendment, and put it on the Order Paper. It was on the Order Paper on 6th March. Had he a copy of the Navy Estimates in his hand when he did that? The Navy Estimates had not then been laid, and I can hardly think the Admiralty gave him the Navy Estimates in advance of us. Therefore, it was intelligent prevision on his part, or perhaps he had consulted a spiritualist meeting. It is notorious from those who go to spiritualist meetings, that the people in the other world have less intelligence than our own. I should say, therefore, that the Amendment was drafted by a medium, and it accounts for the fact that it is so unintelligible.

If you take the latter part of the Amendment, it calls in the non-signatory Powers. That, however, is not the difficulty. The difficulty is that the limitation of armaments has itself been limited to battleships and aircraft carriers, and there are limitations on the tonnage and guns of cruisers. What we want, and what the Admiralty pressed for at the Conference, was to extend the limitation of armaments in other directions and to the aircraft. The Admiralty proposed that the submarine should be abolished altogether. What blocked the extension of the limitation of armaments in other directions? It was the action of France; it was not our action. If the hon. Member for Colne Valley wants the Amendment to read aright, so that others can support that part of it, he would have to strike out the totally unnecessary words—which he was careful not to read, or which by accident he did not read—" to all non-signatory States." If he does that, then we can bring up by this Amendment a reduction of armaments.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

The words of the last three lines of my Amendment are not my own at all. They are taken word for word from the resolution passed at the last assembly meeting of the League of Nations.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

Then the League of Nations made a mistake, because we all want a limitation of armaments by all Powers, and not merely an extension of the agreement to non-signatories. I am sure the hon. Member sees how much his Amendment will he strengthened if he struck out those words. He tried to put the Admiralty in the wrong by going from one nation to another and saying, "How can you arm against that nation?" This mode of argument is like that in previous speeches the hon. Member has delivered, as I will attempt to show. Flow can the Admiralty know what will be the position years hence? They have to prepare for years hence. You have to build ships and train men for years hence. Could Germany have anticipated that Italy would be fighting against her in the late War?

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

Italy was her ally. Could Japan have anticipated that France and Germany would combine to coerce her? It was impossible to anticipate such a thing. It was impossible to anticipate that there would be nearly a combination of France, Germany and Russia against us in the South African War. It is impossible, with any foresight, to see what will be the combinations in the future. There is another possibility in regard to the hon. Member's Amendment. He might say he knows the Tory party of old, their inextinguishable impenetrability to his ideas. He might say: Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? I will not finish the quotation. Thereafter he would feel justified in drafting his Amendment without ever having seen the Navy Estimates. I looked it up to see how that quotation applied to the hon. Member. I remember his speeches while I have been in the House, and I looked up his speech on 14th March, 1910, on the Navy Estimates. There was the same kind of argument then. He referred to the 40,000,000 of expenditure then as a cruel and wasteful expenditure. He quoted the German Imperial Chancellor of the day he quoted his predecessor, the ex-Imperial Chancellor; he quoted Prince Henry. Then he quoted the German Ambassador, and he turned to the Government and said: If you believe those sentiments, how can you possibly arm against Germany? I remember on one occasion, about 1909, I said the German staff doctrine which permeated Germany taught them to adhere to a treaty as long as it suited them and, when it did not suit them, to throw it aside. I added: You cannot believe the word of a German Imperial Chancellor. The result was I was not able to go on with my speech for a minute or two, owing to interruptions. The next argument the hon. Member used was to refer to the growth of Socialism and Internationalism. He said: That growth is such that no great Power would dare go to war, because they could not trust their armies and navies. That was falsified. We, who were true prophets, and who said war was coming, might surely demand, in accordance with precedent, that the false prophet should be handed over to us that we might offer him as a burnt sacrifice on the altar of truth. After 13 years, the offending Adam is still there. Milton said: Consideration, like an angel, came and whipped the offending Adam out of him. My hon. Friend has still the old offending Adam, as the gallant Admiral showed, by comparison with his 1914 speech. He ought to have shown, if he wanted to be fair to the Admiralty, in the first part of his Amendment, that there had been no reductions of personnel, of shipbuilding, no scrapping of old battleships, and no reductions in the commissioned Fleet. I will lead him gently by stepping-stones, if he will allow me to be his instructor on these points, to show what the reductions actually achieved have been. The personnel has been reduced to so low a figure that you have to go back a whole generation, to 1896, to find such a reduced personnel in the Navy. As regards the shipbuilding and the two battleships to which he referred, it was 61 years since we laid down a battleship. That battleship was the "Hood," which was really a pre-Jutland ship in which they were only able to embody some of the experience of the Battle of Jutland. We were losing all the skill and resource accustomed to designing and building those ships, and, after all, those private establishments, which the hon. Member condemned, do stand as a great asset. I could join issue with him on the question of private yards versus Royal dockyards, but that is far better relegated to the Shipbuilding Vote, Vote 8. There was the danger that we were losing those resources and that skill. The United States had conserved those resources and that skill, by building and laying down battleships, and so had Japan.

With regard to personnel, surely it is some reduction, since 1914, to reduce the personnel by 51,000 men—one-third of what it was in 1914? There have also been some reductions in the dockyards, as the dockyard Members could tell us. In regard to scrapping, the First Lord of the Admiralty pointed out that 17 battleships, which we should certainly have kept but for the Washington Conference, have been scrapped. We have been practically the only Power that has implemented the Washington Conference at this moment. Our motto was the monosyllabic one, "Trust and Scrap." The other Powers nailed to the mast the well-known motto, "Wait and See." We all waited for France to pass the Washington Treaty, and we are still waiting, though I believe she has stated she is going to pass it. There were certain risks, hut. I will not deal with them, because the First Lord of the Admiralty pointed out what risks we had run. Even in the Washing- ton Conference, we have shown that we do not regard the United States as a possible Power with which we could go to war. What have we done? We have agreed to have only three post-Jutland battleships, and the "Hood" is included, though she is not really a post-Jutland battleship. She is a hybrid. Any naval officers would say so. The United States has not three but really five post-Jutland battleships under the Washington agreement. The only reason for excluding two of them they gave is, that they have twelve 14-inch guns instead of eight 16-inch guns—there are many naval officers who contend that the twelve 14-inch guns arc superior armaments to the eight 16-inch guns—while Japan will have two, that is no great margin.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Molton (Mr. Lambert), who followed the First Lord of the Admiralty, found fault with us for comparing with the United States. Surely we are entitled to compare with the United States in order to show our moderation. We do not say we are going to war with the United States. Nobody thinks so, for a moment. The people of the United States would never permit their Government to go to war with this country, nor do I think the people of this country would ever permit our Government to go to war with the United States. It would be sheer madness on the part of any Government to think of such a proposition. We are, however, entitled to show that when we have reduced much more than America it is evidence of moderation on the part of the British Admiralty, especially when you think that the United States is self-contained and that our Empire is united entirely by sea routes and that we depend, probably, for four-fifths of our supplies of food and raw material on overseas transport, and in addition we have the greatest shipping trade in the world. The First Lord of the Admiralty pointed out that the personnel we are providing is 99,500, as compared with 115,400 for the 'United States, which shows a considerably smaller personnel. Of all kinds of ships—submarines to battleships—in full commission we have 156; in full commission the United States has 210. Comparing with 1914—the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment said we ought to compare with 1914—we have only 15 battleships in full commis- sion to-day, as compared with 38 in 1914. That is a. large reduction. On all big ships—from light cruisers to battleships—in full or partial commission, we have 64 now as compared with 168, in 1914. That is a large reduction.

When we get to expenditure we find that it is one-third down in two years. There has been a reduction of £8,000,000 in the gross Estimates this year, and the reduction on the material Votes, compared with 1914, as the Seconder of the Amendment desired, has been no less than £7,600,000, in spite of greatly increased cost. If we were to reckon that the price of material costs of the Navy in 1014 at the price of to-day we should find the reduction to be very much greater. When the hon. Member attacked the 1910 Estimates, our expenditure on new construction was £13,064,000. To-day it is only £5,274,000. Surely that is a great reduction. As a matter of fact, we are not going to lay down a single ship of any kind, not even a submarine during this financial year, and I do not believe that in the records of our steam Navy will you ever find a similar state of circumstances, neither will you find it in the records of any other nation at the present moment. I would like to refer to 1896 again. Personnel is about the same; the new construction Vote is £2,000,000 less than in 1896 in spite of the immensely increased cost of material. What is the reason for this great change? The reason is the improved outlook in the Far East. When I spike on the 1919 Estimates I drew attention to the outlook in the Pacific and expressed a wish that the country would get away from the European outlook and take the Pacific outlook. I said that I believed the Anglo-Japanese alliance strengthened the Military party in Japan and that if we were to get rid of it we would strengthen the Liberal element in Japan, using the term Liberal in the best sense of the word, and there would be a Government in power with liberal tendencies. After the Washington Conferences the alliance ended and that fact dethroned the Military party in Japan and led Japan to abandon the race for armaments. The Japanese ships in commission were very much reduced in number. They are cutting down their Naval armament, and there is one thing they are doing which should snake the mouths of Sheffield Members water. They have announced that the -Japanese Government will protect the iron industry and that the money saved by Naval reductions will be granted to machine and engine works as subsidies. There is one thing they have not reduced and to that I will not the First Lord's attention; they have not reduced their War staff. We have reduced our War staff at the Admiralty to only 60 members. The more you reduce the Navy the more clangorous is it to reduce the War staff, for you must compensate for a reduced Navy by superior brains so that we shall not be taken into all sorts of wild cat schemes as in 1914. This is revealed by Mr. Churchill although he does not know it in his Reminiscences. He unconsciously proves that the absence of a proper War staff was the source of all our mistakes. M. Clemenceau, speaking in New York on the 21st November, 1922, said: "America's guarantee was obtained by the suppression of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance." No, it was our guarantee; it suppressed the military party; it led to it being dethroned. Before that Japan had the greatest naval review she had ever had before the Emperor, and it was followed by great naval manoeuvres. She came, out with a bigger programme than we had dreamt of, to be completed at a very rapid rate, quite in the old German style. With the end of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance that programme has been largely abandoned the number of ships has been considerably reduced. From 20 capital ships in full commission she has come down to seven. Just think what these circumstances were three years ago. We had sent Lord Jellicoe round the world in the battleship "New Zealand" to report upon the necessary Fleet for the future. He had reported that by 1924 we would require in the Far East a Fleet of 16 capital ships, 10 light cruisers, and 76 torpedo craft. Thus, in the Far East where we have no docks and no oil resources, that huge armada was to be there by 1924. We have saved all that; we have only 8 light cruisers and 12 submarines in the whole Pacific. Because of the improved outlook as regards Japan we have been able to effect this great naval economy.

We should apply that lesson to France. It is France that is holding us back. France spoilt the Washington Conference. I believe that if we were quite plainly to state our opinions and to ask for a fresh Conference on any question on which we have friction, and if we were to say that if France does not go along with us then the Entente so far as we are concerned is at an end it might lead to another Government being elected in France just as it led to another one in Japan with much more liberal tendencies. That is my view and it is well such a view should be given utterance to from the Conservative benches. If the hon. Member for Colne Valley will omit all the first part of his Resolution and the words at the end: "To all non-signatory States" it would be impossible to resist supporting him, and the only reason which would determine me not to support him would be on grounds of compassion for the Chair, because you, Sir, would be unable to get out of the Chair. We have of course to support the Government in this. As hon. Members know the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States has passed a Resolution asking for a fresh Conference on the limitation of Armaments with the object of applying it to all naval craft and to all air craft. I wish this House would also pass such a Resolution. These things must be met with courage, and not by the use of that pentasyllabic word "opportunism." The Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day stated his objections to prolatariate as a pentasyllabic word. I think opportunism is a much more hateful word than prolatariate. I should like to see prominence given to a word which is among the jewels five words longThat on the stretched forefinger of all timeSparkle for ever. I refer to the word "stabilisation." Not merely stabilisation of finance; not merely stabilisation of frontiers; but also stabilisation of armaments, bringing them as near zero as possible, but it must be mutual and relative. When you had the stabilisation of frontier between Canada and the United States, where for over 100 years the gun has never boomed nor has the trumpet blown, you had a stabilisation in which both agreed to have no armaments.

Photo of Mr John Newbold Mr John Newbold , Motherwell

I feel in some difficulty in criticising the last speaker, because I do not think I ever heard a speech in this House which I liked better. We have been told that armaments express policy. I can only think of that expressed policy in two ways. They express a policy of wobbling and indecision. They also express a policy of expenditure. Even taking into account the very much greater cost of everything subsequent to the War, it seems to me there is very much to be said. When we come to the actual relative figures of battleships, light cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, one cannot but feel, when we place these figures against a background of history of the British Navy, against a background of the British Empire, and against a background of British history, one is forced to the conclusion that they are in some way, from the standpoint of certain people, pathetically and practically inadequate. It seems that in order to defend those interests which hon. Members opposite have so near at heart, and in order to defend that Empire which they believe in so fervently, that they arc not providing anything like enough for their needs. The Navy seems to me to-day to be in a position depicted in Turner's famous picture, "The Fighting Temeraire," being towed to its last berth. The British Navy certainly has the appearance of being towed to the breaker-up as rapidly as possible. I believe the day has gone by when the British Navy will be the most formidable Navy in the world … at least, under the present system.

It seems as if hon. Members on the Benches opposite have agreed with the Government that they must capitulate. Our Navy is no longer comparable in material with the Navy of the United States. It is certainly more comparable with the Navy of France, and personally I do not think there is much danger to fear from the French Navy. The Navy of France never has been within modern times a particularly formidable force. On the other hand, I do not think that .the Americans, although they can spend very much more money on naval armaments than this country can at the present time, can thereby necessarily get a Navy anything like the Equivalent of yours. It has yet to be proved that the American Navy, in respect of material or in respect of personnel, would be in any sense an equivalent of the British Navy, even although an equal amount of money were to be spent on the two. Therefore, from that standpoint I think we need not be so much afraid. The difficulty is you are not going forward, neither will you go backwards. There is no will to power Oil those benches, nor will to anything. It is a very hopeful sign from the standpoint of those of us who are through with the British Empire and the whole policy of Imperialism as a reflection of the capitalist system. For my own part, I do not share the sentiments expressed on these Benches with regard to disarmament at the present time. I cannot conceive that there could be disarmament with any Government that would be acceptable to my hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden). I cannot see how, within the capitalist system or within the kind of Labour Government of which he would approve, disarmament is possible, and, therefore, I cannot quite see how he and his supporters are going whole-heartedly into the Lobby behind an Amendment of this kind, although I will say quite frankly that I myself am going to vote with them to-night. I am going to vote against the Navy Estimates, every one; I am going to vote against the Air Estimates, every one; and I am going to vote against the Army Estimates, every one—that being the policy of the party whom I represent in the House of Commons. It was the policy of one of our founders, Karl Liebknecht. I was associated with Liebknecht before the War, during the War and subsequent to the War. We take the position of those who voted against the Estimates before the War, and voted against the Estimates during the War.

I noticed that one bon. Member opposite alluded to the fact that the Socialists in Germany were missing when the War came. Yes, they were loyal to the principles of the Second International. Those who were against the Estimates, who voted against the Estimates, who fought ruthlessly against the War within their own country, were the founders of the Communist International. We mean from this time forward in this country to set the standard that those who stand for the working-class position out-and-out must be rigidly against the voting of war Estimates and preparations for war before a war and during the war. I do not, however, want anyone to think that I oppose these Estimates having the view that if this country were under a bonâ fide working-class Government we should take the position of disarmament.

I quite echo, from the standpoint of one who hopes to see the working classes rule in this country, the kind of sentiments to which the hon. and gallant Member for the West Derby Division (Sir R. Hall) gave expression, in regard to the necessity for defending the sea routes by which food comes to this country, and in the event of this country going revolutionary, we should not hesitate for a single minute to defend the country with a Red Army and a Red Navy to the uttermost of our power. I want it to be clearly understood that we do not take the view of yielding, once the country becomes our own; but we do object to defending somebody else's country in which we have not got a stake. I vote to-day against the Estimates because I vote against the policy of blockade. In so far as the Navy exists for the defence of the interests of the working class within the country, the Navy is assured of my support; in so far as it is an instrument of British Imperialism, the Navy, in this House and outside the House, is assured of the opposition of the Communist party. That is the position which we take, and to which we shall in course of time hope to rally the people of this country.

There was a certain remark in the very serious and eloquent speech of the First Lord of the Admiralty which I think must be taken very gravely, having in mind the European situation at the present time. He alluded to the incident of Fashoda, and to the way in which the Navy maintained the peace at that time. That is curiously significant. When the relations of this country and France are such as they arc to-day, when the orthodox parties walk round the subject, and the unorthodox, heterodox parties come to the point of the danger of a misunderstanding between the two countries—which, stripped of all the verbiage of diplomacy, means that the countries are drifting to war—the First Lord of the Admiralty goes out of his way to allude to the Fashoda incident, which was the last occasion on which this country was almost at war with. France; and he goes on from that to allude to another incident at the time of the South African War, when practically a continental bloc was being formed against this country by France, Germany and Russia. We know that There is being discussed on the Continent at the present time—not, perhaps, by responsible statesmen yet, but by irresponsible editors who largely control responsible statesmen—a movement for a continental bloc against. Britain, and when we hear the First Lord of the Admiralty, in the House of Commons, alluding to that, we cannot get away from the fact that the situation is grave and is one that we must face at the earliest possible moment. In every debate deal-Stag directly or indirectly with foreign affairs we are coming nearer and nearer to an admission of the fact that the relations between this country and France are becoming as the relations between this country and Germany.[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That is inherent in every debate, and it has got to be realised. It does not matter whether it is realised within the walls of this House or not; it must be realised by the working classes of Britain and France outside the wails of this House, so that we may be able to counter that attempt of British Imperialism to forward its interests, and of French Imperialism to forward its interests. The danger of war is too great at the present time, and everything we can do within the Chamber or without the Chamber must be done to prevent war between the workers of the two countries.

Captain Viscount CURZON: After the very remarkable speech to which we have just listened, I feel in some doubt as to whether we are discussing Navy Estimates or foreign affairs. But, as the question of the Navy is largely wrapped up with foreign affairs, I suppose there is some connection. With regard to the Amendment now before the House, I could not help wondering, like the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone (Commander Bellairs) whether the Mover of the Amendment had studied the Estimates or not. The Estimates before the House show a-reduction of no less than £7,000,000, and 20,000 officers and men have been condemned to a' life of hardship as the result of what, has been done. The First Lord of the Admiralty, in introducing the Estimates, said that the careers of officers and men had been sacrificed to the public interest. That puts is just about rightly, and the spirit in which this sacrifice has been made by the Navy is simply beyond all praise. There is no market for the naval officer when he leaves the Navy. There is practically nothing he can go in for. The labour market is already so congested that it cannot absorb any more, and I know of cases of naval officers who, in spite of the compensation, which is as generous as could really be expected in the circumstances, arc nearly on their beam ends and do not know how they are going to carry on. I should like, if I may, in passing, to give a word of praise to the Admiralty for the fairness with which they have carried out the reductions, for, whatever else the naval officer may feel, though he. may feel sore at having to leave his life's career behind him, I think that at any rate they one and all recognise that the Admiralty's best endeavour has been to be strictly and scrupulously fair in the way in which the reduction has been carried out.

In spite of the reductions, we still have to face a, large expenditure. We have heard a good deal this afternoon from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen as to the cost of the Navy before the War and the cost of the Navy to-day, but really the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Newbold) was almost the first who seemed to recognise the fact that money to-day does not buy what it did before the War. I venture to say that the Admiralty's record is not too bad, for they had to face this year an expenditure in respect of the "Rodney" and the "Nelson," as shown in the explanatory statement, of over 4,000,000. A lot of people are inclined to ask, nowadays, "What is the Navy for?" Hon. Members sometimes forget that in times of peace the Navy is called upon to meet emergencies arising out of storm, fire—as, for instance, the fire at Smyrna—flood, civil disturbance, insurrection, and slave-dealing, and, finally, to defend the Empire against aggression. The Navy, in short, is always ready and is always on war service. Therefore, we must ensure that, whatever we do, we do not impair the war efficiency of the Navy. There is one point to which I should like particularly to allude. The question of reducing naval expenditure is an Imperial question, and nothing else. It is not a question for this country alone what the size of our Navy should be. We have our Empire all round the world, and it is the duty of this country to hold an imperial Conference at the very earliest possible moment, to decide exactly what sort of Navy we shall have, and to what extent its cost shall be borne by each individual member of the British Empire. Only the other day the new Premier of Australia, Mr. Bruce, said: Notwithstanding the Washington Conference and the growing influence of the League of Nations, of which Australia is a. loyal member, we think an Empire Naval Defence Scheme to be imperative, and a common understanding on foreign policy and Naval defence cannot be reached until the representatives of Great Britain and of the Dominions meet. I put a question to the Prime Minister, asking him whether a Conference was going to be held, and I quoted these words, but the right hon. Gentleman was not able, I am afraid, to speak with any great certainty on the matter. Mean-while, the reduction of the Navy is going on, not only at home, but also abroad. I should like to ask the: First Lord whether the Committee of Imperial Defence are really satisfied with the position? In 1919 the Australian Navy had 33 units, and those have now been reduced to 20. That is a very serious reduction, and I should like to know whether it has received the consideration of the Imperial General Staff in conjunction with the reductions which are now being made in our Navy. All these questions seem to me to point to the fact that we absolutely must have a united front to deal with the question of Imperial Defence all together. Another point to which I should like to allude is the reduction in the amount of fuel for the Fleet. I believe this reduction has reached a point—the figures have never been disclosed, and I am afraid they cannot be disclosed—which is very serious. I have reason to believe, on good authority, that the reduction of the feel supply of the Navy has already passed the danger point. I will even go so far as to assert that the British Navy has not at the present time more than four days supply of oil and fuel on active service. I may be wrong, but that is my impression, and if it is so it is a most serious risk, a risk of which the country knows nothing, and a risk which we should not be allowed to run for a single day. I do not ask the Admiralty to confirm or deny my statement, but I do ask the First Lord to give same very specific assurance as to whether the Navy's fuel supplies are sufficient or not.

The hon. and gallant Member for the West Derby Division of Liverpool (Sir R. Hall) alluded to the question of food. It seems to have been forgotten that the present Prime Minister has already stated that we can have agriculture in this country if we pay for it. We could pay for it in one of two ways, either by Protection or subsidies. Neither course commends itself to the country or is ever likely to do so. If we do not have Protection, if we do not make ourselves entirely self-supporting in the matter of food, the food must come from overseas, and I should like to ask hen. Members who have spoken whether they would really be serving the interests of their constituents, and whether they think their constituents would really wish them to run the appalling risk that we should have to run, if the Navy were not able to ensure that the trade routes are kept open. I appeal to hon. Members opposite to look at this question, not from the party point of view, but from the national point of view. I am certain they are just as much concerned in this matter as we are, and I do ask that when they come to the question of considering the reduction of naval expenditure they will sec that the reductions are practicable. I am perfectly certain that the Fleet has been cut down, in the words of the First Lord of the Admiralty, absolutely to the bone. It may be possible to reduce slightly the expenditure on the dockyards and other establishments, but I do not, think that the Navy can be further reduced with safety to the country arid the Empire. Finally, I urge the First Lord of the Admiralty, for all I am worth, to impress upon the Prime Minister that we must have in the interests of the Government an Imperial Conference at the earliest moment, this year without fail.

Photo of Mr Godfrey Collins Mr Godfrey Collins , Greenock

The Noble Lord in the closing portion of his speech referred to the amount of oil fuel in the ships of His Majesty's Fleet. May I direct his attention to page 254 of the present Estimates, in which it is clearly stated that the stock of steam coal and oil fuel on the 31st March this year amounted to nearly £9,000,000. A little further on the same page is the statement that the total issue of steam coat and oil fuel to His Majesty's ships amounts to about half of that figure. There is a very ample supply.

Photo of Major-General Hon. Sir Newton Moore Major-General Hon. Sir Newton Moore , Islington North

What proportion of that is for oil fuel?

Photo of Mr Godfrey Collins Mr Godfrey Collins , Greenock

The Estimates do not reveal that.

Photo of Mr Godfrey Collins Mr Godfrey Collins , Greenock

It is mainly for oil fuel and not for coal. Perhaps the First Lord of the Admiralty will enlighten the Noble Lord. Several hon. Members have compared the Estimates of to-day with the Estimates of pre-War days. Any such comparison is unfair to the thousands of men who fought in the War. The thousands of men throughout the War gave of their best to bring about a better state of society and to meet the German menace. To compare the Estimates today with the Estimates pre-War is antagonistic to the dominating spirit and desire which permeates all classes of the community to-day. The only fair comparison of the present Estimates is to judge them by the needs of the moment and the position of the future, while having regard to the financial state of the nation to-day.

The Estimates consist of two main items, the Effective Vote and the Non-Effective Vote. The First Lord made .great play with the large reductions in the Effective Vote. The figure contained in the Navy Estimates of £50,102,000 for the Effective Vote is very misleading. The Admiralty in the coming year are drawing on reserves of stores to the extent of £1,874,000. In addition, the Admiralty are taking credit for over £1,000,000 for the sale of ships. That sum of £1,000,000 should he placed to the credit of the Disposal Board, and the Admiralty should not take credit for that figure in the Estimates. Adding these two figures, therefore, to the £50,102,000 for the Effective Vote in the present Naval Estimates, the total real figure, is £53,000,000. If I am mistaken in that view, perhaps the First Lord of the Admiralty will correct me. That very small reduction has taken place at a time of falling prices. The total reduction in the Effective Vote is only 9 per cent. That is the record of the Admiralty during the present year, a. reduction of 9 per cent. over last year on the Effective Vote. I think that every business man will agree with me that during the coming year for which these Estimates are making provision prices will be lower. The bonus which is paid throughout the Service to civilians has fallen; the price of material has fallen, wages in the dockyards have fallen, and prices of food in the coming year are bound to be less than the prices were during the previous year. The price of living generally is much less than it was a year ago. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not much!"] Well, at any rate, the total reduction, according to the Admiralty figures, is only 9 per cent., and I submit that during the coming year the sovereign will buy more than it has done during the past year.

I am sorry the Prime Minister is not in his place, because, speaking on the 2nd May last year from his place behind the Government, he took grave exception to the Navy Estimates. May I again remind the House that those Estimates are only 9 per cent. less than last year. He said: Look at the immense sum expended to-day on the Navy ‥.So far as human foresight can tell, there would be no great war for a very long time to come."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd May, 1922, col. 1203, Vol. 153.] The Admiralty have flouted the Prime Minister in making the Government bring in these Estimates. Other hon. Members have pointed out that the Admiralty have flouted the recommendations of a Select Committee of the House of Commons, but I have no doubt the House will support the Admiralty tonight. The Admiralty have flouted the Geddes Committee, they have flouted the Prime Minister, if his words have any force, they have flouted a Select Committee of the House of Commons, and when these Estimates were presented to the public last Thursday their presentation coincided with a very clever Press propaganda on the part of the Admiralty. Recent hooks have revealed the very astute propaganda of that Department. The Admiralty, in these Estimates, have not had regard either to the real needs of the future, the clamant desire of public opinion and the dire financial situation which meets us to-day.

I shall show that these Estimates are £10,000,000 to £15,000,000 more than the necessities of the State demands. The three main points which determine the size of the Navy Estimates are, the number of men, the maintenance of the Fleet, and the efficiency of Admiralty administration. The First Lord reminded us that the total number of men for the coming year is to be 98,000. We laymen must speak at some disadvantage, but we have the authority of the Geddes Committee, presided over by a former First Lord of the Admiralty, and composed, as it was, of the late Minister of Shipping and another well-known man, Lord lnchcape. That Committee stated, on page 17 of their Report, that, in their opinion, 86,000 men were all that was necessary for the Navy during the year 1929–23, and they made no allowance if the Washington Conference was successful. The Admiralty take provision in these Estimates for 98,000 men, and, in addition, the Estimates reveal that they have a further 50,000 men in the Royal Naval Reserve, the Royal Fleet Reserve, and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Hon. Members also know that there is a vast untapped reservoir of able-bodied men in this country to-day, in the prime of life, who have taken their share in naval work during the War. Yet, with all these resources, and with potential reserves, the Admiralty are asking for 98,000 men for the coming year.

8.0 P.M.

The First Lord made great play with the large number of men in the American Navy. Such comparison is quite valueless, because an examination of the men in the American Navy clearly reveals that the major number of men in the American Navy are only serving for one or two years. To compare the efficiency, man for man, of the British Navy with the American Navy is, I suggest with due respect, not just to the high standard of efficiency of the officers and men in the British Navy. The total number of men that the Admiralty are asking for, judged by the Geddes Committee standard, and judged by the numbers of men in reserve, is excessive, and could be largely reduced without weakening the efficiency of the Navy. The second point in the Estimates is the very large sum of money proposed on Votes 9 and 10—a sum of 26½ million pounds this year. I join with my hon. Friend the Member for Collie Valley in asking the Government to point out the foe which our Navy must meet. If I may be permitted to use a nautical simile, we have on our starboard side America with its great Navy, and on our port side, Japan. Which is our Navy directed against? It would be unthinkable that we should fight with America. The Washington Treaty is the second step towards the time when Britain and America will join hands. There is to-day the Anglo-American Treaty, and last year the Washington Conference was successful. To maintain this large Navy while this good relationship exists to-day between this country and America and between Great Britain and Japan is, I say, not just to the overburdened taxpayers in this country.

Let me take an illustration of the Admiralty policy in this matter. Take the dockyards. We have heard for the first time that the Admiralty propose to spend a sum of £10,000,000 on the naval dockyard at Singapore. That is a very retrograde step. it is opposed to the naval policy of the past 50 years to construct dockyards at great expense far from the centre of the Empire, and I hope the Frist Lord of the Admiralty, before we pass this Vote, may give us some information as to what prompted the Admiralty to take that big step in the Far East. Not only are the Admiralty going to construct this place in the Far East, but the dockyards round our own coasts are to be maintained at a high level. Now that the German menace is removed, and there are only small fleets maintained by European Powers, for us to maintain Chatham, Portsmouth, and Devon port at their high standard is open to question. Not only is the Admiralty to spend money at Singapore, but an examination of their Estimates reveals that they intend to spend a million pounds for new works abroad, and they want a further million for the upkeep of these dockyards abroad. That is two million in all. The spirit of economy has not been instilled into the minds of the Admiralty, for they are spending recklessly, flinging millions about in the Far East. While making a great play with economy, their total reduction is only 9 per cent.

I am glad to see the Prime Minister in his place. A little earlier in the Debate I quoted some of his words used on the 2nd May last year, in which he pointed out the immense sums expended on the Navy today. Let Inc remind him that the effective Vote of the Naval Estimates only shows a reduction of 9 per cent., and that the immense sums which he deplored in May last year are being expended this year. These are but the first Estimates of the Conservative Government. They reveal the true policy of the Conservative Government, a policy of spending large Sums of money on unproductive expenditure on armaments while curtailing expenditure on social services at home. In one respect their Estimates differ from the policy of the late Coalition Government. The policy of that Government was to spend large sums of money on armaments and social reforms. If that had been continued, this country would have been ruined. I stand for the policy of curtailing our unproductive expenditure while safeguarding our social services

at home. Look at this Estimate and the other Estimates. It clearly reveals that the spirit of economy has not been instilled into the Admiralty, and other Government Departments, and, is my hon. Friend persists in his Motion, I shall vote against it.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 240 Noes, 153.

Division No. 33.AYES.[8.8 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteDawson, Sir PhilipKelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)
Alexander, E, E. (Leyton, East)Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)King, Captain Henry Douglas
Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)Doyle, N. GrattanKinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Allen, Lieut-Col. Sir William JamesDu Pre, Colonel William BaringLamb, J. Q
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Edmondson, Major A. J.Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel MartinEdnam, ViscountLaw, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Astor, ViscountessEllis, R. G.Lorimer, H. D.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyErskine, James Malcolm MonteithLoyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.Lumley, L. R.
Banks, MitchellEvans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.)Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm
Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir MontagueEvans, Ernest (Cardigan)McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)
Barnett, Major Richard W.Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Barnston, Major HarryFalle, Major Sir Bertram GodfrayMaltland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Becker, HarryFermor-Hesketh, Major T.Manville, Edward
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)Ford, Patrick JohnstonMargesson, H. D. R.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Foreman, Sir HenryMason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.
Betterton, Henry B.Forestler-Walker, L.Milne, J. S. Wardlaw
Birchall, Major J. DearmanFoxcroft, Captain Charles TalbotMitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)
Blades, Sir George RowlandFraser, Major Sir KeithMitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Blundell, F. N.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.Molloy, Major L. G. S.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Furness, G. J,Molson, Major John Elsdale
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.Galbraith, J. F. w.Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.
Brass, Captain W.Ganzonl, Sir JohnMoore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Brassey, Sir LeonardGoff, Sir R. ParkMorden, Col. W. Grant
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGould, James C.Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Brittain, Sir HarryGray, Harold (Cambridge)Morris, Harold
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)Greaves-Lord, WalterMorrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)
Bruford, R.Gretton, Colonel JohnNesbitt, Robert C.
Bruton, Sir JamesGuinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Buckingham, Sir H.Hacking, Captain Douglas H.Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Hall, Lieut-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Liv'p'l,W.D'by)Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Burn, Colonel Sir Charles RosdewHalstead, Major D.Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge)Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)Nield, Sir Herbert
Butcher, Sir John GeorgeHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryNorton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Butt, Sir AlfredHarrison, F. C.Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Cadogan, Major EdwardHarvey, Major S. E.Paget, T. G.
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.Hawke, John AnthonyParker, Owen (Kettering)
Cassels, J. D.Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)Pease, William Edwin
Cautley, Henry StrotherHerbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Herbert, S. (Scarborough)Penny, Frederick George
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Hewett, Sir J. P.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Chapman, Sir S.Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel FrankPerkins, Colonel E K.
Churchman, Sir ArthurHiley, Sir ErnestPeto, Basil E.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Philipson, H. H.
Clayton, G. C.Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)Pielou, D. P.
Cobb, Sir CyrilHohier, Gerald FitzroyPollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray
Cohen, Major J. BrunelHopkins, John W. W.Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Privett, F. J.
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeHoward, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel
Conway, Sir W. MartinHoward-Bury, Lieut-Col. C. K.Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.Hudson, Capt. A.Remer, J. R.
Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South)Hughes, CollingwoodRemnant, Sir James
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryHurd, Percy A.Reynolds, W. G. W.
Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry PageHurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)
Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Crooke, J. S. (Deritend)Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Curzon, Captain ViscountInskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Roborts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Davidson, J. C. C.(Hemel Hempstead)Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Jephcott, A. R.Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)
Davies, J. C. (Denbigh, Denbigh)Jodrell, Sir Neville PaulRobinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Rogerson Capt. J. E.Stanley, LordWarner, Sir T. Courtenay T.
Roundell, Colonel R. F.Steel, Major S. StrangWatts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)
Ruggles-Brise, Major E.Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)Wells, S. R.
Russell, William (Bolton)Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserWhitla, Sir William
Sanders, Rt. Han. Sir Robert A.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)
Sandon, LordSutcliffe, T.Winterton, Earl
Shepperson, E. W.Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.Wise, Frederick
Shipwright, Captain D.Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)Wolmer, Viscount
Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)Wood, Rt. Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Singleton, J. E.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Skelton, A. N.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWoodcock, Colonel H. C.
Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)Tubbs, S. W.Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-In-Furness)Wallace, Captain E.
Sparkes, H. W.Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.Waring, Major WalterColonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel Gibbs.
NOES
Adams, D.Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)Phillipps, Vivian
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hay day, ArthurPotts, John S.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)Richards, R.
Attlee, C. R.Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Barker G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Ritson, J.
Barnes, A.Herriotts, J.Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)
Barrie, [...] Charles Coupar (Banff)Hillary, A. E.Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Batey, JosephHirst, G. H.Royce, William Stapleton
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)Hodge, Rt. Hon. JohnSaklatvala, S.
Bonwick, A.Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)Salter. Dr. A.
Briant, FrankHogge, James MylesSexton, James
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Irving, DanShaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Buchanan, G.Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Shaw, Thomas (Preston)
Buckle, J.John, William (Rhondda, West)Shinwell, Emanuel
Burgess, S.Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Burnie. Major J. (Bootle)Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Buxton, Charles (Accrington)Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Simpson, J. Hope
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Sitch, Charles H.
Cairns. JohnJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Charleton, H. C.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Snell, Harry
Clarke Sir E. C.Jowett, F. W. (Bradford. East)Snowden, Philip
Collie, Sir JohnJowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Kirkwood, D.Stephen, Campbell
Collins. Pat (Walsall)Lambert, Rt. Hon. GeorgeStewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Lansbury, GeorgeStrauss, Edward Anthony
Davies. Rhys John (Westhoughton)Lawson, John JamesSullivan, J.
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)Leach, w.Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Dudgeon, Major C. R.Lee, F.Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Duffy, T. GavanLees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Duncan, C.Linfield, F. C.Thornton, M.
Dunnico, H.Lowth, T.Trevelyan, C. P.
Ede, James ChuterM'Curdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.Turner, Ben
Edge, Captain Sir WilliamMacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Edwards, C (Monmouth, Bedwellty)M'Entee, V. L.Warne, G. H.
Fairbairn, R. R.McLaren, AndrewWatson. W. M. (Dunfermline)
Falconer, J.Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Foot, IsaacMarks, Sir George CroydonWedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Gilbert, James DanielMarshall, Sir Arthur H.Welsh, J. C.
Gosling, HarryMartin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)White, H. G (Birkenhead, E.)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Maxton, JamesWhiteley, W.
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)Millar, J. D.Williams. David (Swansea, E.)
Gray, Frank (Oxford)Morel, E. D.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Greenall, T.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Williams, T (York, Don Valley)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Murnin, H.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)Wintringham, Margaret
Groves, T.Newbold, J. T. W,Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Nichol, RobertWright, W,
Harbord, ArthurO'Grady, Captain JamesYoung, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)
Hardie, George D.Paling, W.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Harney E. A.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Harris, Percy A.Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas HenryTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hastings, PatrickPattinson, S. (Horncastle)Mr. Frederick Hall and Mr. Lunn.

Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put and agreed to.

Considered in Committee.

[Captain FITZROY in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That 99,500 Officers, Seamen, Boys, and Royal Marines he employed for the Sea Service, together with 1,423 for the Coast Guard and Marine Police, borne on the books of His Majesty's Ships and at the Royal Marine Divisions, for the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1924.

being after a quarter-past Eight of the Clock, and leave having been given to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 10, further Proceeding was postponed without Question. put.