Number of Royal Air Force.

Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons on 22nd July 1935.

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Motion made, and Question proposed, That an additional number of Air Forces, not exceeding 12,000 all ranks, be maintained for the Service of the United. Kingdom at Home and abroad, exclusive of those serving in India (other than Aden), during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, beyond the number already provided in the Air Estimates for the year.

7.26 p.m.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

On a point of Order. We have an Amendment upon the Paper to reduce the number of men. I was wondering whether it might be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss the whole of the Estimate on this Vote.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I understood that the usual course was to be taken. Vote A is, of course, in regard to the number of men, and is separate from the Vote which deals with the machines. Perhaps the convenient course would be to discuss the whole of the subject together, because obviously you cannot discuss men apart from machines or machines apart from men.

Photo of Mr Gordon Macdonald Mr Gordon Macdonald , Ince

If the Committee agree that that will be the best course to take, the Chair agrees also.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I am very much obliged for the decision of the Committee. The Estimate provides for the increase in the number of men to which the hon. Member has referred, and it provides also for an increased Estimate in money of £5,335,000. That sum of money is the estimate made of the actual amounts which will be paid out during the current financial year, and the increase in the number of men is, in the same way, the estimate of the additional number of men who will actually be taken into the Air Force during the current financial year. The Estimate necessarily carries with it, however, authority for the full programme, the orders for which will be placed during the current year—for the aerodromes and the stations required—and for the full number of personnel who are included in that programme, and which are necessary for this greatly expanded force. Though only £5,335,000 is estimated to be spent this year, we shall be incurring commitments for a much greater expenditure than that. This programme is, in fact, like the naval programmes which we have considered in the past. It is like the laying down of ships, in regard to which a limited amount of money is spent in one year but a much larger amount is spent in the years following.

While it is impossible to give precise figures of what is likely to be the amount involved in the whole of this programme in dealing with the next financial year, one may estimate that the total expenditure in the following years is likely to be something in the nature of £35,000,000 or £36,000,000 gross, less whatever may be the appropriations in aid. The House will, of course, have the opportunity year by year, as the Estimates come up, of expressing its assent or otherwise to these Estimates, but it is only fair that I should make it quite plain that we are committing ourselves to-day to, and this is the authority for, the full programme of expansion. The details of that programme were outlined in the speeches made in the House on the 22nd May.

The basis on which the programme rests is the German Government's statement of their intention to have an Air Force equal to that of France. It is stated in terms of first-line strength, but that, of course, carries with it the provision, on the scales which have hitherto been followed, of reserves and of training machines for the new force. I ought also to add that, in computing the figure of 1,500 first-line strength, we are excluding the squadrons serving overseas—at present 24 squadrons, including 264 first-line machines; and we are also excluding the Fleet Air Arm, which at present has 171 first-line machines. For both the overseas squadrons and the Fleet Air Arm a continuing provision is made in the present Estimates, and will, of course, be made in future Estimates, but both the overseas squadrons and the Fleet Air Arm are excluded entirely from this programme of home defence, which, as I have said, we put at the present day at a first-line strength of 1,500. We have taken that on consideration as being the fair figure on which to work, with all the information at our disposal.

I do not propose to give to the Committee to-night any detailed figures of the present position. I think the Committee will readily realise that the important figures with which one has to deal, and the important standards of comparison, are the programmes of other countries over a period of time. That is the basis on which we are working, and, indeed, I think it is the only possible standard of comparison and basis of work. Comparisons made at any particular moment, even if you were able to state, which very often one is not, all the information at your disposal—such comparisons, even if they are accurate, are ephemeral, and, if they are not accurate, they may be very misleading. Many superficial comparisons are inaccurate because you are not comparing like with like. Take, for example, the position of an air force with its first line fully formed and fully trained, with its reserves behind it, and with its training reserves. Such a force is obviously not in the least comparable with a force which may exist in the sense of having a number of machines earmarked to squadrons or formations. For instance, in this country we could largely increase our first-line strength at any time by taking reserves and training squadrons, allocating fully trained pilots to them, and then presenting them as a first-line force. When, therefore, I speak of first-line strength, I mean first-line strength in the sense in which we have always used that term, that is to say, meaning fully established squadrons in the first line, with their training establishments and so on behind them.

The programme on which we are engaged and its method of execution have been discussed very fully with Lord Weir, who has, of course, had access to every person and everything just as if he were a member of the Council, and I want at the outset to express the very deep debt of gratitude which not only the Air Ministry but the whole country is under to Lord Weir for coming to help us at this time. He is working as hard as if he were Secretary of State himself, and he has a fund of knowledge and experience of this industry, as well as of industry in general, which is second to none.

The distribution as between categories of machines—fighters and bombers of various classes—will be that which the Air Staff consider best suited for our purpose, taking an objective view of the situation with which we are faced. As regards types of machines, I know the Committee will not expect me to disclose particulars of machines which are coming into being with new performances, but very promising work is being done. Types are being evolved and put into production with which I do not think we shall have reason to be dissatisfied in comparison with other countries. I am going to mention, however, one particular machine, because there we have been greatly assisted by outside initiative. Some 15 months ago or more, Lord Rothermere placed an order with a British aircraft company for a high-performance passenger machine. When that machine was nearing completion, it appeared to the Air Staff that it had features of remarkable interest and value, and I therefore asked Lord Rothermere if we might make a number of tests with it as soon as the makers could deliver it to our testing station at Martlesham. He very generously said, "The machine is entirely at your disposal; make any tests you like with it." It has been through its tests, and the tests have shown that the experience gained in the production of this aircraft will be of the utmost value to the company in producing for the Air Ministry military aircraft with the same general characteristics.

Although I do not wish, for obvious reasons, to give any particulars of new types, I can give the Committee an assurance which I think they will welcome, namely, that there is a number of old types which in the course of this programme will disappear altogether. For instance, the Virginia will make her positively last appearance. The Atlas, the Fairey general purpose machine, the Hinaidi, the Virginia, and the Wapiti will all disappear from the service squadrons, the Wapiti, however, retaining a position for some time on the Indian frontier. Other machines, like the Bulldog, the Southampton, the Sidestrand and the Horsley will also disappear from service squadrons, although they will be retained for some time as training machines. From what I have heard, while some of these old types will perhaps pass from the stage with honour, we shall be rather glad to see the last of one or two of them.

I want now to say a word or two about the method of procedure as between the Air Ministry and the firms in regard to design and production. We have been going into that question very closely, and here again Lord Weir's assistance has been of inestimable value. Our object must be to get the best both out of the Ministry and out of the firms, and to get that best as quickly as possible—to apply new knowledge as we get it in design as quickly as possible, so that, as soon as possible after some new improvement has been proved, it may be translated into production, and production is quantity. Specifications are being simplified, so as to get the maximum of initiative and latitude in design compatible with essential fighting requirements and with safety. It will be necessary to adopt a different procedure varying with the degree of novelty both in type and in requirements.

Those who know this industry much better than I do as yet will, I think, agree that all aircraft construction is mobile. It never stands still. You will seldom, if ever, repeat exactly what you have done before. It is moving on all the time, and it moves, in a sense, on two planes. You may get a development and improvement of something in design and technique which has already been proved sufficiently to enable the new improvement to be put into production with the certainty that you will get definitely prescribed results within a reasonable margin of error, and obviously, in cases of that kind, you can go forward much more quickly than in cases which are completely experimental. In experimental cases, on the other hand, you have some wholly new element; indeed, you are really in a new plane of construction. Surely what you have to do there is to get this new feature proved as rapidly as you possibly can and indeed you may be justified—and we are feeling justified in certain cases—even while you are going into a new dimension, so to speak, to place orders before the prototype has been fully tested. I do not propose to give a dissertation on the ideal type. What I think we have to do is to get in each case the most effective instrument for our purpose and to get it as quickly as possible. In the fighter speed is absolutely vital. In the bomber speed may be equally important but you may have to weigh the value of adequate defence against slightly decreased speed. No air force can ever be wholly of the most advanced design. I think we have perhaps made mistakes sometimes in the past. Perhaps it was inevitable that there should be delay when you were trying to produce a machine which was going to be equally useful in this country or for different purposes overseas. There also may have been a tendency, when we started on a design, to think "I am now going to make an improvement." All that means delay, and if ever there was an industry in which the maxim ought to apply, "Do not let the better be the enemy of the good," it is this air craft industry. Get your results quickly.

There is one other consideration which I am sure would be generally accepted and that is that strategy must be governed by scientific and technical developments. It would be hopeless if we were to attempt to make the great technical advances which may come fit in to any preconceived idea of strategy. You find the new developments that are coming on. You have to try to use those that are there to foresee what is coming presently adapting your strategy to all those new possibilities. Our problem is not only to get the best types we can and to get them as rapidly as possible; we have to be sure that we have the best structure in the industry itself, and there you face two problems which, though related, are really entirely distinct, the organisation in time of peace and the organisation for war. In our peace organisation we want an industry of sufficient size and efficiency to meet all the Government calls that may be made upon it and to meet all non-Government demands whether home or foreign. The industry as it exists and is developing to-day should prove competent for that. I think the Committee would be interested to know—those who are keen students of the probelm know already—that the structure of the aircraft industry has been the subject of a very exhaustive inquiry by the Federal Aviation Commission in the United States, and it is interesting to refer to their findings. I quote two passages. They say: The general purpose in the relations of the Government to the industry engaged in manufacturing service aircraft should be to maintain units sufficiently stable and sufficiently well organised so that they would be available for expansion in the event of war. The strength and efficiency both in design and in production of the individual manufacturing units, rather than the number of independent units existing, should be regarded as the test of the nation's industrial preparedness. They go on: We have gone into this matter at some length because of a curious argument that has been called to our attention, that the adequacy of the nation's military aircraft industry can be gauged by the number of independent units that it contains. It has been asserted that a country with 40 manufacturers living from hand to mouth is inherently in a better position than one with half-a-dozen well organised plants able to turn to any type of work and to carry on and expand their operations without exclusive dependence upon any one individual's supervision. We do not agree While a monopoly and restriction of competition are of course to be shunned, we believe that a reasonable degree of concentration of manufacturing capacity is desirable for stability and to provide an integrated organisation for emergency expansion. I think that lesson learnt in the States is of importance to us here. There is also this to be considered. There is a limited number of highly skilled men—drawing office staff for example. There would be a risk, if you expanded this industry into a much larger number of units, that you would intensify this shortage and not get the best that you might. There will, I hope, be closer co-operation in the industry in research than there has been perhaps in the past—I think that is coming—and in that research it is of the greatest importance that it should be twofold. This will certainly always be borne in mind in the research for which the Government are responsible. You want research in the practical immediate problems which confront us to-day. You want no less a long range research. Unless your research establishments are looking forward to the problems with which the aircraft industry is going to be faced the day after to-morrow—an industry where the problems literally come out of the sky—you will find that you are caught unawares. That long range research which does not appear to be of immediate value, if undertaken now, is going to give you the answer to the problem that is going to meet you to-morrow, and will in consequence be most useful to the technical people in the industry.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me who is going to be responsible for this long range research?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

A great deal of it is being done at Teddington now, and in the Government research establishments. There is the Aeronautical Council of Research Committee where work of this kind is continuously undertaken. The Government research people are very closely in touch with the firms and it is our object to combine to get the best out of both. That I conceive to be the right peace time organisation for the industry so that it is able to take all that comes upon it from Government orders, coupled with large-scale orders from outside, and it is also an organisation aiming at providing a proper basis for expansion if ever unhappily that is necessary.

The war organisation is something quite distinct. The war organisation means an almost complete turnover of the peace industry of the country, and it means a turning over of the firms doing civilian work to doing military work. It means that you have to have plans ready in advance so that your industry can turn over to meet the demands not only of one service but of all three services and also to meet the necessary demands of things like shipbuilding and domestic demands which must also be met in time of war, and what is necessary is that those plans should be carried forward and should be prepared so that industry should be planned for a turnover, if ever it becomes necessary, and that that should fit into the peace-time organisation. That work is of course going on all the time. It is vitally necessary that it should go on. It is essential that it should be ready if it should ever unhappily be required. But you do not want, above all, to confuse the two, and nothing could be more unfortunate, particularly when you are anxious to keep the maximum of trade and to ensure the maximum of output, than to mix the peace-time organisation and the war-time organisation, creating a dislocation which would be unnecessary and which would inevitably be involved.

I turn from that to the problem of recruiting. The numbers required for the whole programme are estimated at 2,500 pilots and 20,000 other personnel. This year we are proposing a supplementary increase in Vote A of 12,000, of whom 1,300 will be pilots. What we need is to have a steady intake of both throughout the period of expansion. I was very much struck when I first went to the Air Ministry by the efficiency with which the recruiting organisation had been rapidly developed. It was a subject about which I felt that I knew a little because I had been Secretary to the Ministry of National Service at the end of the war. I thought probably here, at any rate, was a Department in which I could make some useful suggestions, but I really could not make any. There was no recruiting organisation in the country and headquarters were inundated with inquiries. I was greatly impressed with the rapidity with which the staff, hastily increased, dealt with these inquiries and applications as they came in. Very soon the machine had been extended and recruiting was being decentralised in the country. Ten new recruiting offices were opened, in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth and Portsmouth. They are all staffed by men who are ex-officers of the Air Force and who therefore know the whole life of the Service and can deal with knowledge, sympathy and understanding which will be invaluable to recruits as they come along. I should like to acknowledge, also, the help and co-operation which we are getting from the Ministry of Labour. The response is distinctly good. I shall not give the Comittee just figures of general inquiries, because it is ineffective to deal with anything until an inquiry has become what we call a definite application—something that you can consider on its merits. There has been an enormous amount of work in sifting the inquiries before getting to the definite applications.

Of pilots there have been definite applications from 4,500. We have accepted 75 in the past month, and we expect to take them at a rate increasing up to 150 a month during the rest of this year. In ground personnel there are definite applications from 11,000, and we were able to accept in the last month 1,330. There is not only the taking-in. There is the training of this greatly increased force, and that would present a very difficult problem if we had to do it entirely through newly-created Service stations. We are increasing the number of Service training schools from five to ten, but here we find that civil aviation can make a very great contribution to our need. There are civil schools established at the great civil aerodromes, manned by officers who have passed through the Air Force, some of whom we had specially recommended for their posts, upon whom we could place as much reliance as trainers as we could on serving officers in the training schools. These 13 civilian schools will be utilised, if I may use the expression, as preparatory schools for the pilots who are being taken, with the confident assurance that we shall get all their preparatory training done as well there, and on just the same lines, as if we were training them in our own Service training stations. Having passed through the preparatory school stage in the civilian schools, the pilots will come to the Service training stations. The Committee will appreciate the great value of the passage of officers through this Service at a high standard of efficiency. They know what they have seen at the Royal Review and year after year at Hendon. They know that there is a high standard of efficiency in the officers and non-commissioned officers of this force. We have all realised and appreciated that in the past, but now we see the value of that training and efficiency as the core and training school of expansion.

I pass from recruiting to the new ground stations. We shall have to establish something like 50 new stations in all. That involves 41 aerodromes and various ranges and certain stores depots. The location of these stations must be governed by strategic considerations. I have received a good deal of correspondence—indeed, I think there is hardly a Member of the House who has not written to me to say that there is some very convenient ground in his constituency for an aerodrome.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I suspect my right hon. Friend knows that somewhere in his area we are almost bound to come into the picture. The siting of these stations must be governed by strategic and meteorological considerations, and broadly they will come in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire, Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Sussex, Wiltshire, Shropshire and Forfarshire. I am afraid those who are outside that list will not get such great direct advantage. We shall also be materially assisted in this by the Act which the House was good enough to pass with such rapidity the other night, and which my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition was good enough to support, enabling us to deal rapidly with the land as soon as we get on to it.

The Committee will not think I am taking any credit for myself, as almost the latest joined recruit, when I say that the whole of the work involved in the great expansion programme, the recruiting, the work in connection with these stations and so on, has thrown the most abnormal amount of work on to both the Service and the civil side of the staff. They have all been overworked, and they have done extraordinarily well. I would like to pay that tribute, in which I am sure the whole Committee will join, whatever their views may be about the programme.

I want to turn to a point about which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon (Dr. Addison) would certainly expect me to speak and about which I owe it to him to say a word or two; that is about the financial terms of the contracts. We all agree that firms are entitled to fair treatment from the Ministry, but the Government are entitled to a fair deal from the firms—fair treatment all round. The House already knows that I have secured the assistance of Sir Hardman Lever, Mr. Ashley Cooper and Mr. Judd. Sir Hardman Lever had experience in the War as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and before that was the particular adviser on finance to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon, and it will be agreed we could not have a man of greater experience for this work. Mr. Judd was one of his right hand men and Mr. Ashley Cooper is a man whose business experience commands universal respect. I have also obtained the assistance on much special work of Mr. Reeve, the Chairman of the Associated Equipment Company, than whom you could not have a more able and experienced man to deal with this contract work, and I think we all owe them a great debt.

When you are dealing with a variety of firms and types of contract of almost infinite variety, it is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules and say that the same conditions are going to apply to every contract. You may have a perfectly straight contract of the most ordinary kind. You may have a contract involving enormous technical chances or risks, and you cannot, obviously, have the same conditions apply. One thing above all others that we want to avoid is getting into the awful time-and-line business which was carried on in the War. If you saw in a man's books that he had honestly spent £700,000 you paid him £700,000 and £70,000 profit. If you had another man who had done the same type of work for £600,000 you paid him £600,000 and £60,000 profit. We do not want to get back into that kind of bog again.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon has said most persistently: "You have a very good team, but they cannot possibly do their work unless you give them special statutory powers." My answer was that I should not hesitate to ask for powers if I needed them, but I much preferred to work by agreement if I could get it. Sir Hardman Lever and his colleagues have been working steadily on the whole of these contract questions for a number of weeks now, and I have their authority to state that they are satisfied that all the information about costs and so on which they or we can require for the whole of this business will be forthcoming voluntarily from the firms. I hope on hearing that assurance that perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon will withdraw some of the aspersions which he has been casting on these firms.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

I have not cast any aspersion on any firm at any time. It is your system on which I have cast aspersions.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The right hon. Gentleman will obviously withdraw about the system, unless he means the whole system of private enterprise. I did not know we were going to argue "Socialism in our time." Most of us have been here at Question Time and the right hon. Gentleman has continually attacked me when I said I believed I would get a square deal out of these people. I have got it, and I hope we shall not hear any more from him of this kind of suggestion.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

You must wait and see. We shall not be so mealy mouthed then.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I never mind being attacked personally, but, if people are not here to answer for themselves, when they are playing the game, one ought to acknowledge it, even if you do oppose the existing system. The right hon. Gentleman also said that we ought to encourage State manufacture, and he asked me to consider carefully what had been the experience of the War. I am not going to say for a moment that there was not a, great deal of State manufacture done in the War in certain directions. I imagine it was done by getting business men who had grown up in private enterprise and putting them in charge.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

Exactly, but I thought you said it was such a hopeless system.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

The system, not the men.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I see. We should have to turn to private enterprise in order to get the men to run the Socialist State. I have made my inquiries into what happened over aeroplanes, which is the subject with which we are now concerned. That certainly was not very successful. Various Government factories were established to make aeroplane frames.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us when these Government factories about which he is now talking were established?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I think that they were established in 1917, but I can verify the date. I will have it looked up so that the information can be given. I was about to tell the right hon. Gentleman that there was a programme of production which they themselves anticipated they would be able to carry out over a period of time. That programme was, I think, 4,000 machines, and the output was 693. On the question of price they were certainly not very successful. I gave him the wrong place by mistake the other day. The place was Aintree. I will give him both places; I have them both now. It was at Aintree where we produced fighters at a cost of £5,000 a machine, when we were getting a similar machine from a private firm, an ordinary manufacturing firm, for £1,250. At Heaton Chapel which I quoted last week—I was speaking from memory—the price in the Government factory was two or three times as much as the comparable price from private firms. I do not think that we were very successful in respect of engines. As a matter of fact, during the War, we never made complete engines, except experimental engines at Farnborough, but there was a Government factory making engine parts at Hayes, and that factory turned out parts at a cost of £534,000, and the comparable price for similar parts obtained in the trade was only in the region of £350,000, so that we were not terribly successful in that respect. There was also a tendency, so I am told, to stereotype design when you come to the Government factory. If there is one industry above all others where you do not want to stereotype design but to encourage firms to go feeling and designing ahead always to get the new thing, it is in this industry. At any rate, there is no need for us to go into State manufacture in order to get our requirements fulfilled, and I certainly think that we should be very ill-advised to do so.

I have only one more word to add. This programme is our bounden duty, and I do not believe that any Government in our position to-day in the present state of the world would advance a programme other than that which we are now proposing to the Committee. It is our plain duty in the interests of this country. We will go on. We are going on, striving to get an air pact, a limitation of air armaments, and what is incomparably more difficult, even if people are agreed in principle, the limitation of air warfare. We will go on, and we are going to try for those objectives, but I am quite sure that neither in a pact where you give and receive mutual security, nor in the limitation of air armaments should we stand the faintest chance of getting either the one or the other if we remained disarmed while other people were armed. I certainly think that the programme I am submitting to the Committee is vital and necessary to our own security, and that it is the best way of getting collective security, limitation and world peace.

8.20 p.m.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I beg to move, "That an additional number of Air Forces, not exceeding 11,000, all ranks, be maintained for the said Service."

We have all listened to the explanation of the Estimates by the Air Minister, and, in justification of the view which we take of these Estimates, I have moved the reduction in the number of men, so that we can express not merely our criticism during the Debate of the increased Estimates, but also show by our going into the Lobby that we are determined to take exception at a time like this to the squandering of so much money upon the enlargement of the Air Service in this manner, quite needlessly, as we think. The Minister in his statement made it perfectly clear that the intentions are not confined merely to the Estimate that is before the Committee at the present time. He has stated definitely that what we vote to-day will commit us to a further programme not yet set out, but which, he says, will be brought in next year, and will amount approximately to a total of £35,000,000.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

If the hon. Gentleman reads the Memorandum with the Estimate—I published that, so as to put everything before the House—he will see that it shows the full programme, and it is on the execution of that programme that there must fall an increased amount on next year's Vote.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I quite understand, but the point in which the country is interested is that in voting this sum in additional payments to the men, in the provision of a certain number of machines, and in the training of a certain number of pilots we are committing ourselves to an expenditure which next year will amount to £35,000,000. We are committing ourselves to the total amount of money stated by the Air Minister, and we contend that there has been no justification for this increased expenditure. There has been a great deal said in Debates on the Air Estimate and in discussions in the House about—

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I made a mistake as I had not the figures in front of me. I gave the figure of my Estimate next year as gross, and it should have been net, and I apologise.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

The Minister was not quite definite upon the point and, therefore, I said approximately. We will not quarrel over the figure as expressed by the right hon. Gentleman, but we do object to this country being committed to the air race that is going on, and to the explanation made by the Air Minister about the uses that can be made of the machines for civil aviation and not for war aviation. That explanation leaves me quite cold, because a civil aeroplane, as has been demonstrated before now, can very rapidly be transformed into a death dealing war machine. Whatever use may be made of these machines during the period when there is no war between different nations, we appreciate the fact that the potential use of these machines is for war purposes, and we have a right to ask the Air Minister which nation he has or the Government have in mind as the potential enemy. The right hon. Gentleman said that Germany was trying to get parity with France and that because Germany wanted parity with France the Government of this country had determined to increase the numbers of our air fleet and the personnel of those who man it.

Is it because Germany has said that she wishes to have the same number of machines as France that this country has said that we are compelled to arm? Compelled to arm against whom? By inference, against the particular nation that says it wants parity with a nation the number of whose machines we know. The only logical conclusion that anyone with reasoning faculty can arrive at is that the enemy in the mind of the Government is Germany. We have done everything we could to placate Germany. We have ignored the methods by which, if our secret service is an adequate secret service, we could have been informed of the re-arming of Germany long ago. That knowledge must have been in the possession of the Government long ago. Now we have this excuse put forward. I say to the Air Minister and to the Government when they talk about increasing the air service of this country, and they say that it is for the purpose of defence, that no nation has ever set out to arm itself with the published object of being an aggressor. They have always made it clear to the world that it is because somebody else may become an aggressor against them that they are arming, and for defensive purposes only. Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the projected air fleet is for defensive purposes? Is it not the case that this country wrecked the projected air pact by its refusal to discontinue the use of bombing planes upon unprotected natives?

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

The hon. Member heard a speech by the Minister for League of Nations Affairs the other night, when that suggestion was completely exposed. There was not one word of truth in it.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I understand that the Air Minister objects to my statement that the projected air pact was ruined because this nation's representatives refused to agree to the discontinuance of the use of bombing planes upon native races. Let me quote a speech of the Noble Lord the Marquis of Londonderry in another place, on the 22nd May, 1935. He said—

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

it is against the rules of the House to quote words used in another place during the current Session.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I accept at once your ruling that I cannot read what has been said in another place during the current Session. The speech of the Noble Lord is here, and the right hon. Gentleman will find that the Noble Lord stated that he was impressing upon his colleagues the necessity of continuing the building of aeroplanes, and that he was also insisting upon the maintenance by this country of the use of those aeroplanes for bombing native races when circumstances in the opinion of the Government made it necessary. If the Air Minister thinks that I am misquoting the gist of the speech, he can quote the exact words or the gist of them. He does not rise.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I do not like to interrupt, but the hon. Member invites me to rise. I have not the least idea what is in that speech. The hon. Member has made the allegation once again, and I am amazed that he has done so after the speech the other night of my right hon. Friend, that the Arms Limitation Convention failed because of our reservation about bombing. I would refer the hon. Member to the long and full answer given by the Minister for League Affairs, which was made only last week, and if he reads that speech he will see that there is not one word of truth in the allegation that he is making.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I am not concerned with what the Minister for League Affairs said in this House last week. What he said last week does not contradict what appeared in black and white in the published Debate that took place in the other House, in the speech of the Marquess of Londonderry, who was then the Minister for Air. He occupied the position now occupied by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. It is a denial of that speech that I want. It is all very well for a Government speaking with half-a-dozen voices to say that so and so, speaking on such and such a night, said such and such a thing, and so and so, speaking on another occasion, said something else. Here are the words in black and white, uttered by the former Air Minister, and I have yet to learn that any Minister of the Crown has repudiated that speech or that the Marquess of Londonderry has on any occasion said that he was misreported or that he did not intend to use the words that are published in the House of Lords Official Report. The speech was delivered on the 22nd May this year—I think I am in order in mentioning the date.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member will probably know that this is one of those cases which sometimes puts the Committee and the Chair in a position of some considerable difficulty, but there are reasons for the Rule and, so far as those reasons apply, it has been the practice of the Chair not to relax them. But where these reasons do not apply the Rule has been relaxed, and, therefore, when it comes to a question of a statement of policy by a Minister in the other House a reference to that has been allowed, but when it comes to a question of the utterances of one particular individual in another place and the correctness or otherwise of the report, that is a matter which we ought not to discuss here, and that limitation of our Debate is based on the reason that the individual in question cannot reply in this House.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

May I draw your attention to the fact that this was a speech delivered by a responsible Minister of the Crown, the Minister for Air, in the other place, not the speech of a private Member, setting out the Government's air policy on the 22nd May of this year.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

And that is why I hesitated when I interrupted the hon. Member earlier but I did so because I thought that he was going on to dangerous ground and that I should remind him of the rule. It is for that reason also that I have allowed him to discuss the effect of the speech as a whole as a Minister's statement of Government policy but when it comes to a question of the correctness of otherwise of the report I think he is going a little too far. So far as it is a statement of policy by a Minister of the Crown it is legitimate to refer to it so long as the hon. Member avoids dealing with questions as to the actual words.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

The Minister for Air has again denied that the British representatives insisted upon certain bombing rights being retained. Is it not a fact that the Disarmament Conference set up an Air Committee in 1933 which met once, and because of the resolution put forward by the British delegates, which included the reservation of a right to use bombing planes on subject races, to which objection was taken by other nations, the Committee has never met since. Is it not a fact that the Italian Commission submitted proposals in January, 1934, that the bombing of civilian populations should be prohibited? Is it not the case that in January, 1934, the French Government in proposals on the British Memorandum, said that she not only accepted the abolition of aerial bombardment on the conditions defined in the Disarmament Conference Resolution of the 23rd July, 1932, but also was prepared If such a general reduction is accepted by the principal air Powers and is accompanied by effective control of civil aviation and aircraft factories"— I want the Committee to mark those words— accompanied by effective control of civil aviation and aircraft factories, to accept a proportional reduction of 50 per cent. of her aircraft now in commission. The final object of these reductions should be the suppression of all national military air forces and their replacement by an international air force. It is rather peculiar that the Government should go back on the statements made and recommendations suggested by their representatives before these various conferences and commissions. On 11th June, 1934, the Disarmament Conference passed a resolution calling upon the Air Committee which was set up in February, 1933, and had not met since March of that year, to resume work. There was much for it to do. Neither the British Draft Convention of March, 1933, nor the British, French and German proposals of January, 1934, nor the German proposals of 16th April, 1934, had ever been discussed by it. That resolution was not acted upon, the committee has not met yet. Can the Minister tell us why? Can he inform us Why the committee has not met for over two years? Probably it was because of a speech made by the then Minister for Air on the 27th June, 1934, in which he said: We can no longer hope that an international convention will solve the problems which agitate the whole of Europe. His Majesty's Government have, therefore, decided that they can no longer delay the steps which are necessary to provide adequately for the air defence of these shores. That is 13 months ago. This has all been thought out. The Air Minister has stated that the plans were all ready by 1933, and he is now putting them in operation. I suggest that when the Government comes before this House with all the statements they have made regarding the necessity that has forced them to begin this air race and build up air armaments, we have a right to ask for the reasons why they have not allowed the Air Committee set up in 1933 to meet again to discuss what they were set up to discuss, the limitation of air armaments. We want to find out the real reason why that committee was never called together again in spite of the subsequent instruction by the Disarmament Conference that it should meet with little or no delay. The Prime Minister was greatly concerned about what was likely to happen to the civilian population in case of air raids should hostilities break out between this and any other country. He pictured what might happen, and wondered why after 2,000 years of Christianity we should be thinking of all manner of schemes to prevent the civil population being choked to death with noxious gases rained upon them from the skies.

What is the nation that the right hon. Gentleman expects to hurl these gases upon the people? Why cannot some convention be held? Why cannot some conference of representatives of the nation discuss these matters? I am convinced that there is no man in the House or outside it who would willingly subscribe to anything that was likely to bring nearer the day when the horrors that some of us witnessed during the last war will be reenacted in this or any other city. I am including Members of the Government in that statement. I am not questioning their good faith. What I am questioning is the blundering methods that seem to have been adopted by them in getting us into this particular pass. The situation in which the country is now could have been avoided if some other method of approach had been adopted by the Government.

We have a Queen Bee plane which is evidently looked upon as something calculated to help us if any trouble arises in this country. Experiment has shown that in shooting at the Queen Bee, the new robot machine which was demonstrated at the Naval Review, gunnery is ineffective, even if the Queen Bee flies at a low speed. Throughout the fighting services, where the Press campaign about the Queen Bee is viewed with a certain amount of cynicism, it is believed that she has done more than anything else to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of antiaircraft gunnery. It must be pointed out that the Queen Bee is in any case a very much better target than can ever be expected in wartime, and this factor only serves to enterprise the ineffectiveness of anti-aircraft defence. Yet we are supposed to be building this addition to our air fleet for purposes of defence.

We are to build shelters to protect the civil population. The civil population are being asked by circular to provide themselves with gas masks. It would be interesting to know whether the Government are prepared to introduce a Supplementary Estimate to enable the Unemployment Assistance Board to give additional payments to the unemployed, to enable them to purchase these gas masks. It is becoming a little far fetched when the civil population are told that they must protect themselves against the blunders of the Government. The whole course of the transactions during the past few years before the various committees that have been dealing with this question of the Air Force, the limitation of the Air Force and the protection of the civil population against bombs, seems farcical. It makes us wonder who is the enemy. Germany is looked upon by some as being a possible enemy, but according to Herr Hitler Germany looks upon Russia as being her particular enemy. In a book written by Herr Hitler, which has been revised, there is still the original statement. He points eastward towards Russia and her dependent republics as being the likeliest line along which Germany can expand, because she has no further desire for colonisation outside Europe. Russia and Germany therefore look upon each other as potential enemies, and they build up additional air fleets.

So it goes on. Each nation looks upon some other nation as a possible enemy, and each nation enters into the race, addings to its army strength or naval strength or air strength. It is madness raging throughout the world. In 1918, at the Armistice, the cry throughout the world was "Never again," and we believed it absolutely. Here we are arming for "Once again" or perhaps "Several times again," for no one can tell. Yet the politicians, the statesmen and the Governments of the nations are supposed to have within their hands the well-being of the people whom they rule. They allow the lives or well-being of their people to be so mismanaged as to bring death and destruction upon them. These rulers merit the fate that has overtaken rulers in the past; they merit being deposed and sent as criminals into some place where they can do no further harm by wilfulness or neglect or ignorance.

That is our justification for moving this reduction. We are sick to death of all this mad talk about re-arming. Every time you come before this House asking for additional sums to help build up armaments, you are betraying every woman whose husband perished in the last War. It is a betrayal of the children who were left orphans during the last War, and it is a gross betrayal of the men who are still walking the streets, maimed, blinded and shattered, as a result of the last War. Before you think of entering into another war, or arming for another war, let a sufficient number of years pass so that the horrors of the last War may be forgotten. As long as the horrors of the past War remain in the memory of those who suffered, drop all this mad race, and, instead, invite other nations to confer with you in one further effort to arrive at some means whereby armaments can be reduced instead of being increased.

8.55 p.m.

Captain GUEST:

I have listened to practically every word that has been spoken since the Supplementary Estimate was presented by the Secretary of State for Air, and I have listened almost with horror during the last half-hour. I will try to disentangle some of the impressions created in my mind by the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean), who has just sat down. I would like, however, to commence by saying how glad the House of Commons is that the Secretary of State for Air is in the House of Commons. That does not mean that we have not appreciated the efforts and work of the late Secretary of State, but we feel that we have been handicapped by his not being here himself to defend his Department. However, he has been extremely well represented, but it is never the same thing, and an Under-Secretary cannot speak with the same authority as a Secretary of State, so those of us who are keen about this subject welcome the new Secretary of State for Air and are glad we still have our friend the Under-Secretary of State with him. The Secretary of State has only been a very few weeks in charge of a very big office, an office which at this moment is being forced to undertake a tremendous labour, the labour of expansion for national defence. I think the hon. Member who has just sat down will not complain if I say that a good deal of his speech should have been directed at a Foreign Secretary, not at an Air Minister. Whether or not the Government have handled their international policy, their League of Nations policy, their Geneva policy, with perfection is not really the responsibility of the Air Minister.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

The failure to continue the work of the Air Commission and the statements made at the Disarmament Conference by the Air Minister were surely apposite to this Vote.

Captain GUEST:

I think the hon. Member will not mind if I do not pursue that point any further. At the end of his speech, he took the line that the Government were responsible for the race in armaments. To an ordinary listener it sounded as though that was the general impression which he wished to create, and that he wished to create it outside the House of Commons, that the Government was a belligerous Government, doing all they could to stimulate the race in armaments. I submit, with great respect to him—he is as old a Parliamentarian as I am—that that is a very unfair charge and only worthy of the hustings.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

It is borne out by their statements.

Captain GUEST:

I say it is quite unworthy. We are here to give approval to a Supplementary Estimate almost as big, I think, as any Supplementary Estimate that has been presented to this House since the War, and I am surprised to find so small an attendance of Members. I think it is pathetic that such a vast sum of public money should be just turned over like this without very close inspection. That does not mean to say that the Secretary of State's statement was not a very able and clear statement. The only excuse I can find for the Committee letting it go through this evening is that I understand it is agreed that in October a better opportunity will be given to the House to consider it in detail. I am glad of that, because it will give the Minister more time to get into his stride and to be in a better position to answer the detailed and technical questions which we would direct to him.

But while the months of August, September, and October are going by—the House, I presume, will rise next week—I wish to draw his attention to what I consider to be the most important side of aviation. On the military side it is simple, it is cut and dried, it is expensive, it is efficient, but there is something much more important than that, and that is—if you are prepared to admit that you live in a world where air control is very nearly the dominating factor, and activity, movement, and transport—to implore him to give some of his time in the next three months to the study of civil aviation. It is a subject on which I feel I may get friends on the other side of the Committee. It cannot be denied that the flying machine has come, any more than it can be denied that the bicycle has come. Therefore, let us become a nation of people who understand it. That does not mean necessarily that we should abuse it, but at any rate let us understand it, and let us be as air minded as any other country in the world. Years and years ago it was said that civil aviation must fly by itself. I have said in this House before, and it has never been contradicted—it is like crying Free Trade in a Protectionist world—that if other countries subsidise, we must do the same or else we shall get left behind. I wonder if the Committee realise how far we are left behind? If they do not mind our being left behind as much as we are to-day, they ought to know exactly how far we are behind, and then perhaps a little more British esprit de corps will stimulate them to say to the Minister, "Study this question of making the nation air minded on the civil side."

I will give a few examples of what I mean, and I know the Committee will be patient if one does not talk nonsense and is careful in what one says. I submit that both the military and the civil side are so closely interlocked that you cannot separate them. First of all, you have the ground organisation, secondly you have the pilots, thirdly you have the research, and fourthly you have the mechanics; and I feel that I shall carry everybody with me when I say that the great thing in an advanced, civilised country like ours is to have the great bulk of the population trained in the highest degree in the most important skill which the country may ever need should war come. If only civil aviation were stimulated, encouraged, and subsidised it would not be necessary to develop quite so seriously the military side, because we have always been a race that could spring to attention, a race that could rapidly improvise, and largely because our knowledge was spread widely and because, to take the Navy alone, we had such a grand merchant service that we were able to supply our fleets when war came with trained and valuable men. If we apply the same simile to civil aviation, I think we shall find that we should need to spend less money on military development.

I must touch for a moment on a military word. The bomber is the backbone of the Air Force. Many of us know the difference between the bomber, the fighter, and the reconnaissance plane, but a great many do not. As I say, the bomber is the backbone of the Air Force. What is the bomber? It is a civil development. If you look at the great civil planes of to-day, a great many of which I have been in myself, you will find that with the greatest ease they can be converted into bombers. That does not suggest that they were built as civil machines for the purpose of conversion, but at the same time I must admit that convertibility is too easy for words; and after all those hon. Members who have taken part in our Debates in the last six months must know that the origin of the air scare came from the preponderance of civil air transport possessed by Germany. Everyone knows that the German "Lufthansa" machines of various types are, and were, capable of conversion, and probably by now are converted and form part of the military air fleet of that country.

But what impresses me is that every country in the world has a better one than ourselves. If you take the American machines, the "Boeing," the "Douglas," and the "Lockheed," you will find that they are superior at present, with very little conversion, to our own best military bombers. Every other country has remarkable long-distance transport machines, and we have not. We are definitely at an inferiority both as regards civil transport and as regards possible convertibility for purposes of war. I suggest that the Minister might give a good deal of attention to the question of at least bringing us up to a level of other countries that surround us. It has been argued that the alteration of these liners would mean loss of efficiency. That can be overcome by additional horsepower. It has been argued that it is extravagant to have a large horse-power with small carrying capacity. Let me give an example of where it has been worth while to do that. Take the great German Heinkel machine that flies from Berlin to Barcelona and that has a small carrying load and immense speed. It has succeeded in taking half the South American mail away from the French. We must not shut our eyes to what is happening round us.

Let me say a word about the South American mail. What I am saying deals with the civil side; I am not saying anything that can affend the pacifist. I want to enlist him, because I believe that he is as proud of this country as I am. At present the mails are carried to South America by three lines—from America by the Pan-American Line and to Europe by German and French lines. We have more money invested in South America than all other countries put together, yet we are paying a subsidy to these German and French air lines to carry our mails, and are thus, in fact, subsidising potential bombers. I do not know why nobody seems to have spotted that fact. I do not know what the reason is. It must be due to a lack of grasp of the fact, firstly, that civil aviation is the foundation of military and national defence, and, secondly, that civil aviation cannot fly by itself. There is a race for development not only for military purposes, but for civil expansion.

Talking about South America almost takes one back to the days when admirals in the British Fleet—privateers they might be called—went round the world, and in some cases founded colonies. Wherever they went they took the British flag and British trade. Why are we not doing it in the air? Is there any answer? Is there any reason why I should fly to the West Indies in American machines and why no English machines are there at all? Last year I went to Trinidad and through the West Indies in American machines. There were no signs of British aerial activity of any sort. That is because there is no stimulus from this end. It is from here, from the Treasury Bench, that the stimulus should come. It has failed to come only because the Government have not so far realised that the backbone of any military and national defence, if it is ever required, is that there should be a great foundation of civil development.

I want to come to a point which is also said in not an unfriendly way, because I do not want to say anything unfriendly to a new Minister. He must have his chance and the critics must be patient. I have listened to speeches in this House in the last nine months by the Under-Secretary of State dealing with the development of Imperial air routes and by the Postmaster-General dealing with air mails. Both speeches were admirable. We were told, as a result of the race to Melbourne, that we were to go to Australia much faster, and that mails would be carried all over Europe to most of the capitals much more rapidly than in the past. These speeches are now nine months old, and the reason the services have not improved is that there is no ground organisation. Without ground organisation we cannot fly by night. It may be said that the development of night flying is elaborate and expensive. Why is there nothing more in this Supplementary Estimate than £500 for civil aviation, in spite of the two speeches to which I have referred, which were delivered less than nine months ago? It is because it is not appreciated that unless we fly by night we cannot accelerate air mails or the great Imperial services. It may be asked, who else does it? From Sweden, a little country with not very much money, in the last six years there has been an air service from Stockholm to Malmo and Copenhagen. That meant expensive ground organisation with beacons, radio beams and all the necessary equipment. They do not take passengers, but only mails. Germany has been night flying for 11 years on the London to Cologne and the Berlin-Hanover and Berlin-Copenhagen route. The House of Commons would gladly vote money for such development. I would sooner support a Vote of that nature that even the Vote that has been put before us. It is only because I have been convinced from what I have heard from the Prime Minister when he was Lord President of the Council and from the Foreign Secretary that it is vital that we should take care that I am supporting this Vote, but I would in many ways sooner support a big expenditure on civil aviation.

The problem of the monopoly granted to Imperial Airways is, I think, ready for reconsideration. I will not say that it has not served its purpose. I was pretty well conversant with the original stage in the granting of that monopoly. We had a period of three companies not very well able to pull sufficient weight by themselves and it was, therefore, obviously better that they should amalgamate and produce a good national service. I think that they have done it very well. The chairmanship has been in admirable hands, and the company owes a considerable debt to Sir Eric Geddes for the way in which he has controlled it. I think, however, that the new Secretary of State might give a little time to considering whether the moment has not come when the octopus must not be allowed to strangle smaller individual efforts. I know a little about individual efforts, and at this moment, on a rising tide of what might be called a boom in aviation, a good many companies of repute are making a great effort to get more business. The more business they get the more mechanics and pilots they produce, and the richer becomes the country in aviation experience. But I see signs of strangulation, signs of really good enterprises struggling against an almost impossible obstacle. I will give an illustration. We have Imperial Airways State-aided by money voted in the House of Commons year by year, and there has now been formed Railway Airways, which was created by the five great railway companies to serve the country by air lines in close conjunction with Imperial Airways.

There is thus almost a double stranglehold—there is the immense backing of the railway companies, and the State-aided support of Imperial Airways. I do not see how a small company has any hope of competing, and yet small companies are struggling to compete. I give them tremendous credit for trying. I know of one case in particular which will fly you return to Paris for £2 cheaper than Imperial Airways, and 35 minutes faster. That company is run at a loss, and quite obviously it cannot go on. The smaller companies are terribly handicapped by this octopus, and I am hoping that the Secretary of State will give a good deal of attention to this point, because if he agrees with me that what we want is the widest possible civil foundation of experienced men as mechanics and experienced men as pilots, in case the time of trouble should ever come, he will not allow—and I hope the House of Commons will not allow—any State-aided organisation such as Imperial Airways to kill small businesses of this type upon which England has all her life depended.

The case I am going to give the Committee is almost unbelievable. If you go to Cook's agency in Berkeley Street and ask them to sell you a ticket to Paris by Hillman's airline, which is a line which is running from just north of the river, they say, "No, we cannot sell you that, though we can sell you an Imperial Airway's ticket, or a French or a German or a Belgian ticket. We cannot sell you Hillman's ticket. We are not allowed to do so by the agreement between the railway companies and Messrs. Cook's Agency." It may be that there is an answer to that state of affairs, but the answer has not been given yet, I hope the Minister will find time to look into that position, because it cannot be right that the ordinary ticket agencies, when selling tickets, are not allowed to sell them for some of our own air lines which are out to help England if also, incidentally, to make something for themselves.

The last thing I have to say is that this problem of making the nation air-minded must not be regarded as a militaristic adventure. I do not think it is fair that the moment the word "air" is mentioned one should think in terms of bombs. It is tree that aeroplanes can be turned into weapons of war capable of destruction, but we in the House of Commons should get into our minds that the value of rapid inter-communication in a far-flung Empire like ours is of the greatest possible importance. We can only establish such communication if we vote a good deal of our money to the subsidising of lines in the initial stages. I remember the time it took during the War for the Ministers from the Dominions to come to England to help to discuss vital problems of Imperial safety and defence. That problem is being overcome, but the conditions are not stable. We have a line which wanders slowly along to Rangoon and other places, and eventually gets to Australia. But we must not wait; we do not know what the future holds, we cannot tell whether we are safe to leave this problem to take care of itself, and I cannot feel that anybody would object to there being in this Vote to-night a much bigger grant to civil aviation. There are many programes that could be submitted to the Secretary of State for him to study during the coming long Recess, and I do hope that he really will give his mind and his ability, which is undoubted, to the study of the problem—that civil aviation is what we have got to master, and that we have got to be equal to any other country in the world.

9.19 p.m.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

I do not think there could be a greater measure of the disastrous failure of the Government's foreign policy than the fact that they are obliged to bring forward to-night a gigantic Supplementary Air Estimate. I do not say that it is a result which they have willed or that they are unappalled at the situation, but I believe, none the less, that it is true to say that by lack of courage and leadership during the last three years, by failure to seize favourable moments at the Disarmament Conference—I am not referring to the particular example which my hon. Friend dealt with just now, for there are others—they bear a very large share of the responsibility for the race in armaments taking place in the world to-day. But we have to deal with the situation as it is, and not as we should like it to be. In approaching consideration of this issue one is bound to be influenced by policy, by the way in which it is proposed by the Government to use these new air forces. If the Air Force is going to be used, all against the aggressor, as part of the collective system, that is one point of view; if it is going to be used under the old system, all against all, that is an entirely different point of view.

If the late Government, before its reconstruction, had been in power at the present time I should not have had the slightest hesitation in coming to the opinion that it was not going to use these increased forces for the collective system. It was made perfectly clear by many speeches by Ministers, by the present Prime Minister and the late Foreign Secretary, and the Government's White Paper on Disarmament, that they had practically abandoned all hope of using our air forces as part of the collective system, and I must say one is left in considerable doubt to-day. The Secretary of State, although at the end of his speech he did make some reference to the Air Convention, did not once envisage the possibility of the use of these new forces as part of the collective system. That is a very remarkable omission, which discloses only too clearly the point of view of certain Members of the Government. All the same, my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Captain Guest) said that a new Minister was entitled to a fair opportunity before he was condemned, and I am not without hope that the Government, in its reconstructed form, with its new Prime Minister and its new Foreign Secretary, may take a different attitude with regard to collective security; but I am not too hopeful. Still, I think one ought to hold one's judgment in suspense on that point for the moment.

After all, the test is coming very quickly. One cannot debate it to-night, but it is coming in the matter of the willingness of the Government to press, if the situation arises, that all our forces should be used, with those of others, for the collective security of the world in the case of the dispute between Italy and Abyssinia. If they make no effort to do so then very large numbers of those who are willing and anxious to support the Government in a collective policy will be turned into bitter antagonism against them both in this House and throughout the country, and, I believe, at the General Election also. I hope that situation will not arise. Then there is the question of the western security pact, which affects very closely the Estimate we are considering to-night. One cannot help feeling considerable disappointment that all these weeks have gone by without the Government having yet succeeded even in initiating, so they told us, negotiations and discussions with the other countries as to the possibility of carrying it through. That, again, is bound to cause the greatest anxiety as to their earnestness and sincerity regarding the using of our air forces solely for the purpose of collective security.

On the assumption—for the sake of argument let me admit it—that the Government intend to use these forces on the collective basis, and that they have arrived at the lowest limit which it is possible to reach as a result of pressure and negotiation at the present time, I fully agree that our Air Force must be of the highest possible efficiency, and I believe it is, so far as it exists to-day, more efficient in personnel, in daring, in skill, than any other air force in the whole world. In so far as we are to make a contribution to general air action it is clear to me that our contribution must be worthy of this great country. In the Draft Convention of the Government in March, 1933, the basis was fixed at a parity of 500 each for the Powers. I do not see how it is possible that this country can be represented in a system of collective security on a basis of less than parity too. But it is up to the Government to see that limitation and parity itself are fixed at the lowest possible level.

If we do not play our part worthily in collective security, it simply means that we are relying for our protection on the forces of other countries, and that from every point of view seems to be undignified, wrong and of no service to this country and the world. If our contribution is to be of the highest efficiency, surely it is necessary that we should have worked out in common with the air forces of other countries some basis of action. Clearly it will have to be done in the case of the Western air pact of five Powers. There will have to be contact between the staffs of the various air forces, every kind of co-operation will have to be envisaged, and areas worked out in case of having to deal with an aggressor. But we do not have to wait for that; there are our obligations under the League Covenant. Just as before the War there was contact between the British and French military staffs as to the action that might be taken, although no agreement existed, so now, when we have obligations which are patent to the whole world to act in certain contingencies, it is the duty of the Government and the Air Ministry to be in contact with the air staffs of other countries, so that if the necessity arises we can play our part without any delay in taking action against an aggressor.

If you are going to work for this system efficiently, you require that there should be not only limitation but international inspection; otherwise, you get the dreadful nightmare that while there is parity of 1,500 machines you get a Press campaign alleging that certain States have got 2,000 machines, and that will be used to urge further expansion of our force. If you are to arrive at any basis of stability, with a view to ultimate reduction, surely it is essential that there should be international inspection, so that we may all know how far it is true that we have got the machines we all say that we have got. I hope that my right hon. Friend will say that we do attach great importance to that, and that he will press it in connection with the negotiations of a Western air pact. The Secretary of State said that the reason for the increase in our force was the development of the German air force, and the fact that we and our old allies are so largely responsible by the folly of our policy since the War for Hitler Germany and the present situation does not make it any the less dangerous. Germany to-day has made it perfectly clear that she is opposed to the collective system, and that she is not willing to work loyally with the rest of the nations of Europe and the world, and one can have no confidence whatever in the German point of view.

While the race in air armaments between the two countries has been going on, there has been a mutual visit of the Legions of ex-service men of the two countries. It is very desirable that good feeling should be promoted in this way, but do not let it be misinterpreted. Do not let anybody in Germany think that it means that we approve of their attitude to other human beings or other races. There are ex-service men who can regard themselves as being honourable antagonists in past wars and possibly in future wars, or ex-service men can meet with the desire to do all that is in their power to see that war does not break out again. There has been very little evidence as to the latter desire on the part of the German ex-service men.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

It hardly seems to me that that arises on the Air Estimates.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

I will abide by your Ruling. The Secretary of State made some criticism of State factories. I am very sorry that the Government have not seen fit to set up some State factories. The argument that it is uneconomic to do so and possibly Socialistic is entirely destroyed by the fact that they exist for the Army and Navy. If it be wrong to have them in the Air Force, it must be wrong to have them in the other two. That a certain number of State factories should be set up is in accord with the feeling of the people of the country. It is not merely a matter of rigid control of the prices, but that enormous contracts are being given out, and even if the profit on each aeroplane is small the profits are large in the aggregate. I hope that the possibility of development on these lines will not be altogether overlooked.

The main part of the new force which we are being asked to vote for to-night consists of bombers. There are some who feel that it is desirable to try and restrict the areas and the people that should be bombed when they are used. I submit again that that matter is governed by the purposes for which you are using your air force. If it is simply going to be run on the old pre-war system of one nation against another, I should have thought that any attempt to restrict bombing was not only impossible but undesirable. Old-fashioned war is not a gentleman's game; it was pure savagery. It is no use trying to dress it up in anything else, and if all are in it the sooner it will be stopped. The mere horror of the war weapon will make it certain that sooner than later human beings will make up their minds that they will not tolerate this thing any longer. On the other hand, if you are using your air force on the collective basis, then, solely for the purpose of maintaining world order, you are acting on police lines and you will want to use, as police always do, the minimum of force and to do the least possible harm consistently with attaining your object. The test one has to apply in considering this estimate to-night is the purpose for which the increased air force is to be used. The fact that the Government have contributed to the present situation, as I maintain, by their failure to act in the last two years, does not make it any the less necessary that we should do our best for our country and for the world in the present situation.

We do not feel confident; we have very considerable doubt not unmixed with hope, that the Government are going to work courageously the collective system. For that reason, we could not vote against them; but there are elements which make us feel very doubtful, and for that reason we could not vote for them. [Interruption.] It is a perfectly clear and logical attitude, and I am trying to put it clearly. In the past we have had very good reason to doubt the sincerity of the Government in regard to the collective system, but since then there has been a reconstruction of the Government, and the new Ministers have not been in their offices very long. We think it is only fair that they should have the fullest opportunity of showing where they stand. If they show that there has been no change in the attitude which the Government have taken up during the last few years, you may be quite sure that we shall take every opportunity of voting against them in this House, as being unfit to control the affairs of this country in any way whatever.

9.37 p.m.


As I do not propose to trouble the Committee for much more than five minutes, I hope that the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) will forgive me if I do not follow him down the various political avenues which he explored so admirably. Earlier to-day we discussed a subject which, as I hope to show in a sentence, is not unconnected politically with that which we are now considering. Had I been able to catch the eye of the Chair during that Debate, a thing which I did not achieve, I might have taken the opportunity to comment upon the unfortunate innuendoes of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), and I would have liked also to mention the odious and dangerous Nazi régime with which we have recently made the first agreement for limitation.

I come now to the question of air limitation. I would like the Government to reassure the Committee that we are aiming as a first step at a Western air pact of mutual guarantee, and that there is no intention in their mind to make any bilateral agreement with any single Western Power on the question of the air. If the Government can give me that assurance later, I shall be extremely obliged. If I had spoken earlier in the day, I might also have said how sinister I regarded the possible raising of the total tonnage of German submarines to 100 per cent. of our own submarine craft, because the submarine is a weapon which, more than any other single cause in the last War, threatened our existence. To-night we are discussing a weapon which has grown into being an incomparably more terrible and destructive force even than the submarine; one which is able, and, indeed, certain, unless the policy of Europe is mended, to bring death and destruction in their swiftest and most inexorable form, right on to the very hearths of every innocent male and female non-combatant.

As I am proposing to consume only three more minutes of the time of this honourable Committee, I wish to spend them in asking the Government two questions, asking them and perhaps amplifying them with one or two sentences. The first question is a rhetorical one to which I therefore expect no answer; indeed, I am sure that no answer can be given. It is this: Is it not difficult for a man who tries to examine the position of the Government objectively and candidly to understand their air policy? Is it not almost impossible for one to make up one's mind about the air policy of the Government? We have been constantly assured—conclusively and decisively assured—by the Prime Minister that the lack of a solution of this pressing problem of the air can only mean, sooner or later, the end of our civilisation; on the other hand, we have had the noble predecessor of the new Minister for Air stating—I am paraphrasing what he said—that he regarded it as a ground for satisfaction that he had successfully resisted the public outcry for the abolition of the use of the bombing aeroplane. It is indeed difficult for a man to make up his mind upon the Government's air policy.

I now come to the second question, which I hope will be answered later to-night by the Under-Secretary of State. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Air used the words: "In our position as it is to-day." It is owing to that appeal to realism that I am putting this second question, and I earnestly beg the Government to answer me. Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for East Wolverhampton, who has now left the Chamber, it is upon the answer to this question that I shall determine the way I shall vote to-night. I do not enjoy voting against the Government. It is not a particularly pleasant thing to feel inside one a tug-of-war among several conflicting loyalties. This is the question that I wish to put to the Government: What is their long-range air policy? Are they or are they not in favour of and aiming at an international air police force? Everybody in this Committee knows, whatever detestable forms party propaganda may take in the constituencies, that the Government want war no more than anyone else, and yet war can only be finally destroyed if the policies which have been pursued in Europe become fundamentally different. I know that a strong case can be made out for showing the terrible Hitler and those few men who now determine the misfortunes of Germany that, in terms of short-range policy, we are not going to allow them to outbuild us in the air, and I should not have objected to the increase, the almost mountainous increase, of £5,000,000 which we are discussing, had it been clear that the Government intend to pursue, as their ultimate objective, the only policy which can destroy war in Europe for ever.

More and more supplementary Estimates will be asked for in one or other of the three Services; more treasure is going to be squandered; more sums of £5,000,000 will be taken from the taxpayer through the medium of the House of Commons, and more sums will be spent on all types of arms until the day when Europe finally makes the League strong. The House of Commons is entitled to ask the Government to support the pooling of security instead of both setting and following the example of aggravating insecurity.

9.44 p.m.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

The hon. Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams) is known to all hon. Members as perpetually sitting on the horns of a dilemma. While we regret that he still has this mental trouble with him to-night, we know that he will not expect me to follow him in his particular purview. The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) however raised some question to which I would like very briefly to refer. He spoke of his hope that the Government would press forward with an Air Pact—a hope which, I am certain, is echoed by all Members on the Government Benches, for it is by no means the sole prerogative of the party below the Gangway to encourage the Government in this respect. But there are ways and there are means, and it would appear that the Liberal party below the Gangway are pressing the Government to go forward in exactly the path that will inevitably lead to disaster. That path was laid down with chapter and verse at the League of Nations Union Conference only a fortnight ago, when His Majesty's Government were bidden to proceed energetically and immediately for two things—first, the abolition of military aircraft, and, secondly, the international control of civil aviation. At the same time the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) urged the Government not to attempt too much, and it is because I believe that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen was advocating the right policy, and that the League of Nations Union was advocating the diametrically opposite and wrong policy, that I want to say a word on that subject.

If we are to achieve anything in the Western Air Pact, we have to fight for that which seems practical. It is obvious that to endeavour to obtain the abolition of military air forces, at a moment when throughout the world they are being increased, would only lead us to that dismal failure which we have witnessed at Geneva during the last few years. Again, the international control of civil aviation seems, unfortunately, to have become the very touchstone of orthodoxy to those who believe in the collective system of security. They speak as though the whole of the problems of international aviation will be solved the moment that civil aviation is internationalised or controlled, but, as those who have read the reports of the Disarmament Conference at Geneva will know, there is no problem that bristles with thornier difficulties than that of the international control of civil aviation. And even if we could achieve that end, would it be worth anything?

A few weeks ago I saw a suggestion that the position of civil aviation vis-à-vis the military air forces was parallel with that as between the Mercantile Marine and the Royal Navy. But the tonnage of the Mercantile Marine is 30 times that of the Royal Navy. Lest my argument should be voted out of court on account of the small size of the British civil air fleet, let me take France. The French air forces are 30 times the size of the French civil air fleet, so that the comparison of the Mercantile Marine and the Royal Navy with the civil air fleet and the air forces is incorrect in the ratio of 900 to 1. Therefore, this problem of the control of civil aviation is entirely beside the point if we are endeavouring to face realities. On the other hand, it is a vast problem full of the greatest difficulties. That ratio of 900 to 1 will change, and many of us hope that the increase in civil aviation will make it change all the more rapidly, but the process can only be a gradual one, and, therefore, it would be fantastic for His Majesty's Government to expend their efforts in that direction when we have an opportunity of achieving, not abolition, which is impossible, not inter- nationalisation of civil aviation, which would be useless at the moment, but the useful procedure of going forward and attaining, as we have attained in the Naval Pact with Germany, an agreed limitation. It is in the hope that an air pact will constitute an agreed limitation of air forces and avoid the difficulties and dangers of stressing the unreal problem of the control of civil aviation that I suggest the Government should proceed on those lines.

Many of us in this House have endeavoured for some years to impress upon the Government and upon those who sit with us on these benches the deplorable state of our Air Force, both numerically and, to a certain extent, qualitatively, in comparison with the air forces of foreign Powers, and thus it is with some sense of approval that we see these Estimates to-night. It is not that we would not have wished that the results of the Disarmament Conference had been such that any increase in our awn Air Force and every other could have been completely avoided, but that, unfortunately, was not to be. The Government have faced the resulting issue squarely, and I believe they have behind them the almost unanimous opinion of people throughout the country who are not tied to a party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Little skirmishes may occur, but, if you take the opinion of the average man in the country, it is no part of his policy that we should be defenceless against air attack.

Having approved of the decision of the Government to increase our air forces, this Committee has another duty, namely, to see that the money which it votes is well spent, and perhaps I may be allowed to call attention to this aspect of the matter. I do so because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon (Dr. Addison) has drawn attention very often to this point during the last two weeks. He has suggested that the cost, or perhaps it would be better to say the value of the money that we shall put into this development, represents a continual struggle between the Air Ministry on the one hand, as representing the taxpayer, and, on the other hand, the aircraft industry and the aircraft manufacturers. Seeing that I have, at one time and another, been a member of both those bodies politic, I may perhaps express one or two recollections to the Com- mittee. At one time I was in the Technical Department of the Air Ministry, and at another I had the honour of manufacturing British aircraft. Needless to say, if I were not able to-night to take an entirely impartial attitude, I should not dream of standing up and addressing myself to this question.

In the first place, it is not the fact that the aircraft industry can fix prices in any way. I believe there is more competition among the various units in the aircraft industry than in almost any other industry in the country. The whole crux of the matter is: "What is the official policy?" One of the first suggestions that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon advanced, which has been re-echoed elsewhere, is that we ought to have a national aircraft factory. I believe that to be wrong. The whole atmosphere during the War was reeking with suspicion as between the industry and the Air Ministry because the Government were at the same time the judge of the products of the industry and its competitor. I believe that to be an impossible position, and I heartily congratulate the Secretary of State that, as long as the industry does its duty, he is standing foursquare against this development.

As I look back over the years, what do I suggest are the particular points that the right hon. Gentleman should watch? First, I think we need a little more radical thought in this development. Is this expansion that we are voting to-day to be a mere multiplication of what we have had in the past or is the extra money that we are about to vote to be utilised to face the whole problem on a new and a wider and a better scale? I can put my thoughts into words, because I saw a very interesting analogy not long ago. It was stated in the Press that the Chief of the London Fire Brigade had made a vital departure from practice in taking his firemen from sitting along the side of the fire engine, out in the cold and the rain, and providing them with a shelter and a hood in the front of the chassis. It is fantastic that, all these years after the invention of the motor car, when everyone else rides about under cover, we should have kept our firemen sitting along the side of the engine. But that is the type of persistent anachronism that goes on unless some great mind comes along and com- pletely changes the whole manner of thinking about a particular problem Secondly, I would suggest that, if he could get some great brain, such as Mr. H. G. Wells, who 20 or 40 years ago told us exactly the type of machine that we should be having on our roads and in the air to-day, to give him a specification of the aeroplane that we ought to have in five or 10 years time and he then gave that specification to the practical engineers in the aircraft industry, we should have much finer aeroplanes and much better value for the money that the Committee is asked to vote than if we take up, as we are unfortunately doing, the specifications that we have used for so many years, merely adding 50 miles per hour in speed or a few hundred feet a minute in climb.

I sincerely trust that the Air Ministry, with the aid of these gentlemen who with such public spirit have come in to help them, will plan a little more ahead than has previously been the case. In spite of the fact that the Secretary of State requires aero engines at a much greater rate than he can obtain them, there is one aero engine factory in the Midlands which is scarcely producing engines at all, and that is because there had not been planning—there were not air frames, the part of the aeroplane other than the engine, coming forward which would take the engines produced by that factory.

The Air Ministry, as a great technical public service, is clearly divided into many watertight compartments. Each technical officer has his own particular aspect of the problem to guard jealously and with care, and, as a result sometimes and, as I believe, all too frequently, the decisions of these technicians rule the ultimate policy to much too great an extent. I will give the Committee an example of what I have in mind. Some of the Air Ministry technicians a few weeks ago were discussing with other engineers, on a body which has been set up in order to standardise certain dimensions and sizes, a particular aspect of the problem and the attitude of the Air Ministry technicians was definitely this: "We want a certain improvement, and we cannot worry about what it will cost." Some amazement was expressed by the engineers from the industrial side, but that was the point that was maintained. If the Air Ministry insist on technical changes without relation to cost, this programme is going to be much more expensive for the country than it need be, and I hope that all these decisions of a technical nature, by people well down in the Air Ministry hierarchy but nevertheless having a big financial effect in the long run, will be most carefully watched.

My right hon. Friend stressed his intention of pressing forward research both in the Government establishments and in the industry. If I may separate the two problems, I believe there is not so much need at the moment for research as for specific experimentation. As the result of Air Ministry apathy, this country was left hopelessly behind in the development of the retractable undercarriage, which is now at last being developed even here. We are still behind in the development of the variable pitch air screw, manufactured with success in America, France and Germany. That is the type of problem—a specific engineering problem rather than a general research problem—which we need to investigate. I was delighted that the Secretary of State referred to the generosity of Lord Rothermere in lending the Air Ministry a civil aeroplane, not so much for his Lordship's generosity, as that it definitely stamps the importance to this country and to the air defensive position of the interest that she takes in civil aviation. For too long I believe we have felt that the responsibilities of the Government and of this House ended when we gave Imperial Airways a monopoly for the Empire services. That was a long time ago and it is impossible for anyone to maintain that in 13 or 14 years that system is still imperative for the salvation of British civil aviation. On the contrary, we know that there are many non-subsidised companies who have started, in spite in some cases of the opposition of this great subsidised company, Imperial Airways.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I am bound to point out to the hon. Member that there is only a very small vote for civil aviation, and I hardly think that is a new service.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

I only proposed to make a very brief reference to this subject, but it does follow very clearly from what the Secretary of State for Air has said that civil aviation is a material part of the whole of this Vote. He is going to spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds on the Service aircraft developed from this civil aircraft of Lord Rothermere. Therefore, while bowing to your Ruling, I do hope that the Secretary of State for Air will bear in mind this fact which has come to his notice so early in his career at the Air Ministry and that it will enable him, as previously no Air Minister has done, to put development of civil aviation in the forefront of Service policy.

I should like to express, on behalf of those of us who have fought somewhat for the increase in the Royal Air Force, our indebtedness to the predecessor of the present Secretary of State for Air. Lord Londonderry had a very difficult task during the period he was at the Air Ministry. There is not the slightest doubt that he was endeavouring to bring public opinion and the Government to a realisation of the need for air defence, and I would like, while he is no more there, to thank him and the Under-Secretary of State for Air for all they have done to make this expansion possible. [Interruption.] Yes, I would not be at all ashamed to say that if we had not had this expansion we should have been in a much worse position to maintain our European and world position and to bring to bear such forcefulness as is necessary to back up our spoken word. I was saying when I was interrupted from below me that we are content to leave the matter in the hands of the present Secretary of State for Air.

10.8 p.m.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

If the Government really needed any justification for the unfortunate steps they are compelled to take at the present time by this very large expenditure, that justification would have been amply found in the two speeches to which we have listened from the Opposition. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton East (Mr. Mander), in seeking every ground to attack the Government, was obliged to turn on the Secretary of State for not having stated on this occasion that we were pledged to support collective security. Surely that point is clear. In view of repeated pronouncements of the Government on this general line of policy, really it was not necessary for the Secretary of State in introducing a Supplementary Estimate with great brevity to underline that particular point yet again.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

I omitted to notice that the right hon. Gentleman did it. The other attack was much more unfortunate because the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean), speaking for the official Labour Opposition, never appeared to come to grips with realities at all, but instead repeated the charge that this Government stymied air limitation by refusing to abandon the reservation in respect of police bombing. It is amazing that after this specific point was dealt with at great length and in great detail by the Minister for League of Nations Affairs last Thursday afternoon the hon. Member for Govan should have had the nerve to base an attack on that idea. He can refresh his memory from column 616 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of last Thursday's Debate.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

May I remind the hon. Gentleman that I was not quoting from the OFFICIAL REPORT, but I was about to quote, when I was restrained by the Chairman, the late Secretary of State for Air in another place when he was stating the air policy on 22nd May.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

That is precisely my complaint. There was the Debate last Thursday in this House which he could quite easily have quoted had he wanted to do so.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I had the precise statement of the late Secretary of State for Air. It was only relevant to the point I was making, backed up by the statement of the Government policy at the first meeting of the Air Commission, from the report of which I read and of which, if he was sufficiently interested, the hon. Member might have made a note.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

A lot of water has passed beneath the bridges since then, and that matter was dealt with last Thursday.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

The water seems to have wrecked the whole of their peace plan.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

It is obvious that the hon. Member does not mean to deal with realities so I leave it at that. Those of us who do not intend to allow this particular fabrication to pass for honest currency will—

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

May I ask for your permission, Captain Bourne, to read the extract from the report in the other place to justify the statement I made here? I cannot have it said that I am making a fabrication in this House.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I think I must adhere to the rule that we cannot quote speeches made in another place during the same session, but I think the hon. and gallant Member had better not use the word "fabrication." Obviously, we cannot debate here what was said in the same session in another place, and it is desirable that Members in all parts of the House should remember that rule, and not transgress it.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

I bow to your Ruling, and if the word "fabrication" was misunderstood, I withdraw it at once. I was referring, not to any statement the hon. Member has quoted, but to the general insinuation—I use that word instead—which is being widely used by the Opposition, and if the hon. Member for Govan refuses to answer that point, all I can hope is that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on that bench will take an early opportunity of stating their view on this matter. It is intolerable that this insinuation should go on.

Photo of Mr John Wilmot Mr John Wilmot , Fulham East

It is a statement of fact.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

We have had the facts stated clearly in the OFFICIAL REPORT last Thursday, and by that we can agree to abide. For the moment, I leave it at that. I want to refer briefly to one particular point—the possibility of air limitation by agreement. On Thursday last, in anticipation of this Vote, a number of hon. Members, including the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) complained that the Government had failed to take advantage of Germany's offer either for limitation or the possibility of the abolition of the air arm. It is true that as long ago as 1933 at the Disarmament Conference, Germany claimed that she was ready, if other people would do the same, to aim at the abolition of air bombing. It is quite true that in his speech of 22nd May Herr Hitler stated in no fewer than six separate paragraphs, some of which were very precise, that he was prepared to aim at the abolition of the air weapon. I never doubted that Herr Hitler would make that pronouncement, and I do not doubt his sincerity in this respect, for the reason that it is clearly wholly in the interests of Germany, if her intention is bad, to secure the maximum limitation of the air arm, or indeed its total abolition. Nothing could suit the German Government better.

There are a number of reasons for that with which I have not the time to trouble the Committee, but one very great and pregnant one is the geographical position of Germany. Whereas before 1914 Germany, with her paramount Army and her interior lines, was in a position to bully Europe as she wished, that position is totally reversed with the advent of the air arm. Her interior lines and proximity to her frontier of her industrial areas makes Germany, more than any other country, open and susceptible to air attack. If the intention of Germany is bad—and I am not prepared to assume that under the present regime it is otherwise than bad—then it is wholly to the selfish advantage of Germany if she can secure the abolition of the air arm. Therefore, I most earnestly hope that the Government, while making their ultimate objective the total abolition of all armaments, will not be so unwise as to agree to any measure of air disarmament unaccompanied by compensating disarmament in other directions. Do not let us throw away the one great lever that we have of securing general disarmament by weakening that weapon and by frittering it away piecemeal. We all want to secure the abolition of air bombing and air armaments, and the right way to set about it is to couple with it general disarmament, and not to proceed separately.

10.18 p.m.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

I am sure that every Member of the House must feel to-night that this is a very shameful business. I do not believe that the Prime Minister or any citizen of this country belonging to any party can fail to contemplate with horror all that is involved in this proposal. I see that in a speech which he made in 1932, discussing this subject with his usual frankness, the Prime Minister said—and I should think that probably from that point of view he said truly—that the only defence is in offence, which means that you have to kill women and children more quickly than the enemy if you wish to save yourself. That may be true. I am quite sure that there is no man or woman in any town, village or city in England, nor, I believe, in any other country, who wishes to smother, destroy and cover with odious and blistering gases the citizens of any other nation. This Vote is the outward and visible sign of the bankruptcy of statesmanship.

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Wellingborough (Wing-Commander James) will attend to me for a moment, I will say, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean), that I do not accept that his statement as to the grave responsibility that attaches to the Government for the position into which we have drifted and which has culminated in this horrible Vote, was an insinuation. It was not. It was a statement of fact, and it can, unfortunately, be proved. Whatever share others may have to bear for this dreadful result, all these years after the War, it is undeniable that the action of the Government, by losing one or two precious opportunities of furthering the abolition of the air arm, has eventuated in the present position. The hon. and gallant Member opposite gave us a glimpse of his mind. I believe that had it not been for Service pressure, the Government would have taken a much more definite line with regard to police bombing than they have taken. The hon. and gallant Member's speech was an indication of the attitude that we are not prepared to abolish police bombing until we get a reduction in many other things.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

The right hon. Gentleman must not misrepresent me. I said nothing with reference to police bombing. I was talking about air operation in general.

Photo of Wing Commander Archibald James Wing Commander Archibald James , Wellingborough

No. I did not refer to police bombing.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

The hon. and gallant Member's speech was a little narrower than I thought. He was referring to the use of aeroplanes, which are the active and offensive part of this business. It was to the abolition of that, that the hon. and gallant Member was objecting, until we get abolition extended into other fields. If you take that line you will not get abolition in anything. I have no doubt that it was the Service pressure that made the Government lose such opportunities as they had, and which gradually has pushed us into this deplorable condition. The Secretary of State was good enough to refer to some criticisms that I have been putting forward, in questions and elsewhere. In dealing with that matter I hope that he will not take my criticism of the methods that are in contemplation and those that have been pursued, as implying any acquiesence in the deplorable policy which has resulted in this Vote. The point of my criticism is that if you are going to spend public money in this way, certain things should apply. The right hon. Gentleman forecast two positions—the peacetime position and the wartime position. With great respect, he was irretrievably wrong in both. He said that his peacetime position—I will try not to misrepresent him—was that we must have an industry strong enough and compact enough to meet Government requirements, and to supply overseas demands.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

All demands. You do not want too large a number of suppliers. That is the method which is being adopted, and in the evidence given before the Public Accounts Committee, on 14th May, by the Secretary to the Ministry it appears that the Minister is now proposing to depend for the most part, if not exclusively, on 14 or 15 firms which are included in what is known as the Society of British Aircraft Constructors. The right hon. Gentleman said that they must be able to meet his needs in peace time, as well as oversea orders. Last year only 15 per cent. of the Air Ministry's requirements were obtained on a basis of competitive tender, and it is anticipated, I see, that the forthcoming orders, to use the words employed before the Public Accounts Committee: Will require the whole maximum possible output of all the firms in the industry. That, I suppose, would be the case, except that there would be a margin for oversea supplies. I challenge that method of doing this business, deplorable as it is. The right hon. Gentleman—I am not going to imitate his adjectives or adverbs—prefers what he calls a friendly business arrangement, and suggested that I have some hostility to some or all of these firms. I have no hostility to them at all. While they are engaged in the business of making aircraft, they naturally and reasonably expect to make aircraft for a profit, and nobody can complain if they do. I have never said a word against any of these firms, and I do not propose to do so. It is not the firms we are discussing; it is the system. The right hon. Gentleman is satisfied that, somehow or other, by an elaboration of friendly arrangements, these firms will be doing the work practically on a non-competitive basis, that by the advice of these distinguished gentlemen, with some of whom I worked years ago, he is going to get the best terms available.

When I suggest that he should have powers to investigate costs, I am not talking in the air, because if the right hon. Gentleman will take the trouble to inform himself, he is now creating the very same position which nearly landed this country in disaster during the War. There was then a small group of firms upon whom the war Services Ministries were accustomed to rely. They took the whole of their output, and they endeavoured to arrive at prices by friendly arrangement—exactly the position which the right hon. Gentleman is now recommending the country to adopt. What happened? Some of the gentlemen whom the right hon. Gentleman has now got with him were not satisfied. In the investigation of costs we were necessarily arriving at a clear statement of fact. For instance, there is a question of overhead charges.

Photo of Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame Mr Philip Lloyd-Greame , Hendon

I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to misunderstand me, or to mislead the Committee. I am quite well aware of the desirability of investigating overhead charges and costs. What I informed him was that Sir Hardman Lever and his colleagues were perfectly satisfied that every one of these firms was going to give to the Ministry the fullest facilities for investigating overhead charges and costs.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

I sincerely hope that in six months' time they will be satisfied that they have got them. But there are one or two other considerations to bear in mind before the Minister gets into that position. These firms, like every other firm of this type—it is their business and I am not blaming them in the lea[...]—maintain considerable overseas organisations to sell aeroplanes and aeroplane engines. We had the other day the statement of the President of the Board of Trade that some hundreds of aeroplanes and 583 aeroplane engines were sold abroad. I can produce advertisements in foreign journals by British firms which are advertising their wares. I am not blaming them for it. But those things enter into the overhead charges. They also enter into the capacity of the firms to produce. I want the Committee to bear in mind that a good many of the types that are now being produced—all honour to the draughtsmen and ingenious people and the experimentations of the firms themselves—are being developed by the assistance of the Air Ministry and its officers at the experimental stations and so on. I do not fancy developing a system whereby our own Air Ministry at public expense helps to develop efficient types, and then we find a firm that manufactures these or other types encouraged by the Secretary of State to go for overseas orders.

Photo of Captain John Dickie Captain John Dickie , Consett

Civil aircraft. Why not?

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

Do not let the hon. Member be too sure. We had some very interesting observations from the right hon. and gallant Member for the Drake division of Plymouth (Captain Guest), who spoke of the adaptability of civil aeroplanes to military purposes. I do not like it, and I am certain the country does not like it—that our money should be used to assist a monopoly group of private firms in developing types, some of which anyhow are advertised and sold abroad. I am not saying by whom they are sold. It is a very undesirable system. I am not criticising on that ground so far as this Vote is concerned. What I am criticising is the Government making use of this system in the way they are doing. I come now to what actually occurs. I shall not bore the Committee with many details but I will refer to an actual return which was made by the successor of Sir Hardman Lever when he went to the Treasury—Sir John Mann—and I will quote what he actually said to the Treasury in a report to the Treasury on this particular point in April, 1917. This report was asked for, I well remember, by Mr. Bonar Law, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I will refer to what was said about national factories in a minute. This is what Sir John Mann said on the question of cost examinations: Cost examination.—Investigations have been made into the cost of certain goods and services carried out by contractors for the Ministry. Between four and five hundred of these investigations have taken place and are of inestimable value both in negotiating with contractors and for the purpose of forcing prices down. He gives an example of a brass stamping investigation which resulted in a saving of £300,000 a year. He goes on: In our estimates for 1917–18 we have taken as the cost of gun ammunition a total of £413,000,000. If we had estimated the cost of the same quantities of this ammunition at the prices ruling in March, 1916, the total would have been £456,000,000"— March, 1916, was after the original application of this system had brought about the great reduction in prices already. He continues: —which shows a reduction of £43,000,000. This saving is notwithstanding the increased cost of labour which on a very, very rough calculation is estimated to represent another £28,000,000. So that in addition to an additional cost of labour of £28,000,000, by this process which the right hon. Gentleman scorns to adopt, they saved £43,000,000. I claim that the conditions there were absolutely identical with what they are going to be now when the right hon. Gentleman fills up these firms with orders to the maximum of their capacity. There is some collateral evidence which supports my contention, and while I wish the right hon. Gentleman well in obtaining a friendly arrangement—I hope he will have better luck than we had—do not let us forget that when we were trying to make a friendly arrangement on the same basis for exactly this kind of thing, although not for aeroplane engines, this country was engaged in a life and death struggle for its existence, and there was every stimulus in those days to make a friendly arrangement with the utmost expedition. The results I have just quoted from Sir John Mann's report were obtained under those circumstances.

What does the Stock Exchange think will be the results of this friendly arrangement? We have had some rather illuminating observations on their mind anyhow lately. I see that this is what the "Daily Express" says—and I do not suspect them of being partial to my views—with regard to certain flotations on the 26th June, by a group of underwriters, I suppose: A firm of stock brokers purchased a large number of shares that were being issued by the Bristol Aeroplane Company and others and they resold them. Thus one firm of brokers expects to make £200,000 out of this little deal. That was only one item, and I see, judging by a calculation made as late as the 19th July by Mr. Francis Williams of the "Daily Herald" that aircraft flotations inspired by the Government programme, has already resulted in seven new aircraft issues, raising from the public a total of round about £6,450,000, of which about half appears to have gone in profits for the promoters, stock exchange firms, etc. I have no doubt that that is a correct statement. We have seen in the papers every day, more or less, for weeks what is happening about these shares and the enterprising flotations that have been going on. I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the capital and sinking fund charges of that £6,000,000 are going into this account. Are Sir Hardman Lever and his friends to be allowed capital and sinking fund charges on £6,000,000 or on £3,000,000? I say that the right hon. Gentleman is not entitled in view of the tragic experience of this country in this business to take the line he is taking. He is setting up a gigantic monopoly and taking the whole of their produce for what is said to be an agreed price. Just as we felt under more dreadful experiences that we had to get more extreme powers, so ought the right hon. Gentleman now—

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

The right hon. Gentleman has now called to my mind powers which will require legislation, and they must not be discussed to-night.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

The Secretary of State referred to my criticisms and justified the reasons for his not taking these powers. I am sorry that he was out of order, but I was replying to his disorderly speech. Among other disorderly things that the right hon. Gentleman did was to animadvert upon my criticism of this form of expenditure without it being spent through the media of national factories. I will return to that point. The right hon. Gentleman is proposing to spend these millions of pounds—£5,000,000 to-night and £36,000,000 next year on the Air Force Vote—and goodness knows how much it will be after that if this Government happens to be successful at the next election, which, pray God, it will not be. I propose to continue both inside this House and out to point out the assistance which he could gain by the national factory system. I never heard of the little place which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned the other day, but it appears to have been very expensive. When he was making his speech I took care to interject a question when these factories about which he talked were built. He said that he thought it was about 1917, and I gathered that some were later. Everybody who knows anything about factory construction knows perfectly well that if you are to make a factory to construct aeroplane engines, you will not get it functioning at an economical rate in a smooth fashion in a year's time. I cannot accept his statement with regard to any one of the three factories which he mentioned without further information. Here are some of the oncosts of one national factory. The actual producers of aeroplanes in this factory were 33 per cent. of the total personnel. There were draftsmen, tracers, wireless testers, wind and water tunnel testers, the publication department, printers, experimental flight officers, experimental engine test stations and all the rest of it. The report goes on to say these were included in the incost of this factory, not forgetting the policemen who search the pockets of the workmen for anything they may have in them and salute every Austin seven that comes along. If all these things are included in the oncosts, of course the costs were very large, and I am not prepared to accept the right hon. Gentleman's glib account of these factory costs. It is no good laughing. I will give the right hon. Gentleman some more facts. The testimony I am now going to give is that of one of the men he has now got. This relates precisely to the national factories. This was what they found out about national factories. This relates not to three factories but 86 national factories. It was by the examination of the costs of production in these factories that we were enabled to bring down the immense prices which had previously been paid to monopolistic firms. It is because of that that I want the right hon. Gentleman to have a few test factories of his own, and it may be well worth his while. This is the official report on these 86 national factories. The capital expenditure of this group was £25,000,000, Goods have been produced at the cost of £33,000,000 which, if they had been bought at contract prices, obtained after the application of the costing system, would have cost £42,000,000, representing a saving of £9,000,000. It goes on to say, with respect to a group of 11 factories which cost £1,500,000, that they produced at a cost of £3,500,000 goods which at contract prices would have entailed an expenditure of £6,000,000. In these cases, and these factories had only been built one year and 10 months, the saving was very much in excess of the total cost of the factories. That is to say, the whole thing, lock, stock and barrel, was paid for, and more than paid for, in one year and 10 months. The right hon. Gentleman happens to have some of these people in an advisory capacity. I want them to have something more than advisory powers. I want them to have the same kind of powers as produced these results, but I am afraid he is so overcome by his prejudices in favour of the system of private enterprise that he really has never given this subject fair consideration. I have not exaggerated. Every statement I have made is an under-statement. They were not Socialists the men who devised this system. So far as I am aware they did so because they found it was the businesslike and sensible way of doing it.

Here let me refer to another question which the right hon. Gentleman dismissed as a somewhat airy aside the other day. I can tell him that I shall not be put off by that sort of thing, either here or outside. I made a suggestion in a question that there should be some pooling arrangement with respect to the purchase of materials and machinery. The right hon. Gentleman would not have it. As a matter of fact, one of the greatest contributing factors to the economy was the centralised system of purchase of supplies, a centralised system for production and distribution, and the order of priority of materials and machinery. If the right hon. Gentleman is taking the whole of the output of these firms, what is wrong with such an arrangement as that? It is a businesslike way of doing it. I also think that if this machinery is to be paid for at this prodigious cost, it should not be used for the manufacture of aeroplanes for people in other countries. We want some assurance on that point. All that the right hon. Gentleman said about that was that there was an adequate system of safeguarding our interests. That is not good enough. If we are to employ the whole of the capacity of these firms, it is the whole of their capacity. Let them be controlled establishments in the same way as they were—

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

Again, the right hon. Gentleman is going on to matters which would require legislative action to deal with.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

I am afraid that I am going rather beyond the licence afforded me by the irregularities of the Minister himself. I should like to say to the right hon. Gentleman one final word. [Interruption.] I am not going to apologise for taking up the time of the Committee on this matter. We are voting £5,000,000 extra now, and there will probably be many millions more to vote in the future; and when the right hon. Gentleman is beginning this type of expenditure he owes it to himself as well as to the country to investigate without prejudice what was learned when other people had this job to do. He cannot pass it off by flippant answers to questions. That will not do. The right hon. Gentleman has got on his own staff the man who under my instructions pooled the whole thing. When manufacture was scattered and disorganised and being done in a lot of separate places during the War this country had a very indifferent and inadequate supply. It was only under the system which I recommend that the right hon. Gentleman should adopt—if he wants to save public money—urder the direction of Lord Weir in 1917, that we obtained efficient and abundant supplies, with all the powers that I have been talking about. We are entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman to give much closer attention to this matter than he has evidently given to it hitherto. If he does not do so, he is going to establish in this country a very powerful monopoly, trading not only at home but abroad, which will mean that in this deplorable business we shall have growing up a group of powerful vested interests which will make it more and more difficult for the State in the time to come to do its duty by the taxpayer, while at the same time being fair to the manufacturer. It is a very serious thing to contemplate the immense monopoly which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to establish and strengthen in this country. It is wrong—apart from the fact that the whole Vote represents a deplorable failure of policy. I should be glad, although I am not so vain as to think it, if the exhortations and experiences of a small Opposition like ours could make any difference to the right hon. Gentleman. I think it right that Parliament at this time, when it is embarking on this prodigious expenditure, should have recalled to it the terrible misfortune that arose when we pursued this system in time of war.

10.56 p.m.

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I feel that this subject has been dealt with so exhaustively, both by my right hon. Friend in his speech and now in the speech to which we have just listened, that the Committee will not wish me at this late hour to deal with it at any very great length. Listening to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon (Dr. Addison), in which he had not a good word to say for this system, I was reminded that we are dealing to-night with a programme of expansion which, we hope, will be concluded within a couple of years. If state factories were to be put up, whether they were good or bad, quite apart from the dislocation that Would be caused to the industry by removing so many of the skilled craftsmen who are so difficult to come by nowadays, the factories would never be set up in time to carry through the programme which we are discussing.

Describing the way in which firms are allowed to sell machines to foreign countries, the right hon. Gentleman criticised the system and said it was not good enough; but it was good enough for his Government. We are following exactly the same plan and the same principles as were followed by his Government when we sell machines to foreign countries in exactly the same way. If foreign countries are going to buy aeroplanes, we feel that they might as well buy aeroplanes here and give employment to our people. The right hon. Gentleman has not yet realised what my right hon. Friend said in his speech, that we now have complete powers for the investigation of costs. We have every facility for the inspection of all books, and that we have got those powers by agreement, and not by compulsion, is a good thing.

I was interested to notice that the right hon. Gentleman was himself advocating this method in one of those numerous and interesting volumes which emanated from his fertile pen during the last few years. In commenting on the powers which he took to investigate costs independently and to prescribe fair prices—under conditions, I would remind the Committee, very different from what they are to-day—he makes in his diary this entryI have instructed Lever to keep this in the background, because if we can get what we know are just prices, with reasonable allowances for a fair profit by friendly efforts, it will be all to the good.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

That was when we had the statutory powers. The fact that you have powers is often one of the best reasons for not requiring to use them.

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

We have the powers now, but not by compulsion. I turn now to the speech which was made by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Captain Guest), in which he regretted that more money was not being taken in this Vote for civil aviation. He said that although we were embarking on a programme of expansion, civil and military aviation were so closely interlocked that if we took money for civil aviation we should not have to spend so much money on military aviation. As I think we have heard before in this House, the Government, while they are desirous of developing as much as they can the future of civil air transport, are also anxious as far as possible to avoid entangling military with civil aviation. We have adopted that policy, not only on grounds of principle, but because we think it would be definitely detrimental to this great new form of transport if it were subordinated to military aviation, and also on the practical ground that the programme upon which we are now embarking may be called a short-range programme, and, that, therefore, looking ahead for the next five years, to expend the funds at our disposal on civil aviation now, with a view to achieving military ends, would be the most extravagant way of laying out those funds.

In saying this, however, I am not seeking in any way to controvert the thesis that, in the more distant future, a flourishing aircraft and engine manufacturing industry and a far-reaching system of commercial air transport would have a very definite defence value. That proposition is unchallengeable, and we may hope to see one day, instead of being, as it is to-day, a relative bagatelle, commercial aircraft plying in ever-increasing numbers over all parts of the globe, and vastly outnumbering military aircraft. But, unfortunately, that day is not yet, and to-day we have to face the problem of our defence with an eye to the immediate future; and, with that in view, I think the best way to allocate the funds at our disposal is as is done in this Estimate. Nevertheless, we are determined in other ways to push on the development of civil aviation by all means in our power and within the limits imposed on us. I hope to see Vote 8 rising steadily in the course of the next few years.

My right hon. and gallant Friend has commented on the fact that we have only taken £500 for civil aviation where we should have taken a larger sum for developing ground organisation and night flying; but I would remind him that in the Estimates presented in March last Sub-head C of Vote 8 showed an increase from £11,000 to £127,000, which I think is a very good and definite sign that this year these very necessary questions of ground organisation and ancillary equipment for which he has so wisely pressed will be dealt with. Then we have the survey, as a result of which we hope, as my right hon. and gallant Friend knows, to get more aerodromes; and I am glad to say that in this matter we have the help of Mr. Frank Pick, than whom no one in this country knows more about questions of transport. We have still another committee sitting to co-ordinate the efforts of the Survey Committee, and its chairman is Sir Henry Maybury, to whom I think we all ought to be grateful for giving the necessary time to this valuable work.

The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) and the hon. Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams) asked me about the Western Air Pact, and whether we were going into bilateral pacts. Our aim is at the earliest possible moment to achieve this Air Pact, and here I may also answer another question of the hon. Member for West Leeds about our long-range policy and what we are doing about an international police force. The hon. Member knows as well as I do that an international police force is a very visionary thing at the moment. If we could only succeed in getting the Western Air Pact established, that would mean for the moment the international Air Force of Europe.

The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) said the projected Air Pact had been brought to naught and our discussions at Geneva rendered futile because of our insisting on police bombing. I am glad to have this opportunity, which should not be necessary, of giving a categorical denial to that statement. There is not a shadow of foundation for it. We have pursued this policy of police bombing for the last few years because in outlying parts of the Empire where we have to maintain peace and protect life and property we have considered that we can do it in this way in a cheaper and a more humane manner, but we have always made it perfectly clear—

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

Is it not the case that the late Secretary of State for Air expressed himself as being glad that he had been able to retain the bombing of native races—I am not quoting his exact words because I dare not—for punitive purposes?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I was just saying that we were anxious to retain this policy of police bombing because we consider that in those parts of the world where we have to maintain peace and order we can do it in a cheaper and more humane manner, but we made it clear that we would give way over the question. May I quote the words of the rapporteur of the Air Committee. In his report he says: The United Kingdom delegation announced that in the event of general agreement on the convention the police bombing reservation would be withdrawn.

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

It was in 1934 I think. [Interruption.] What has that to do with it?

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

If that is in 1934, it does not come from the Air Commission since the Air Commission has not met since 1933.

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

As a matter of fact I am not sure about the date but this is the latest report, It was quoted only a few days ago by the Minister for League of Nations Affairs and in those circumstances I should not have thought the statement would have been made again to-day and I am glad of the opportunity I now have of contradicting it. [Interruption.] It may not be contradiction to the hon. Member. I do not suppose he wishes to use it as such.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

I was about to quote a definite statement made by the late Secretary of State for Air on 22nd May, 1935, but I was not permitted to do so because it meant reading a Debate in another place. This House is being regaled with statements of 1934 and 1932 which have nothing whatever to do with the statement made by the Secretary of State two months ago. I am asking you, Sir, how I can best go about the matter of getting the speech of the late Secretary of State quoted in the House in order to make the statement that I was actually about to make when I was ruled out of order.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I do not know of any method that the hon. Gentleman can use at this moment of quoting

a speech delivered in another House this Session. As regards quotations from documents on previous dates, the hon. Gentleman is entitled to put what importance on them he likes.

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I can only repeat that it has never been our intention and it is not our intention to-day to prevent by any insistence on this Clause any possible limitation of air armaments. We are increasing our air armaments to-day so that we can play our proper part in that system of collective security, and we could not do that while we were so weak. We could not play our part if we were relying on others to protect us, and all we could do was to send them a message wishing them the best of luck. Also it is important to realise that the military forces in the collective system must be sufficiently strong to act as a deterrent against a possible aggressor. The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. N. Maclean) said that by increasing our air armaments we were betraying the mothers of England and those who suffered in the last War. We would be betraying the people of this country much more if we allowed it to remain unarmed.

Question put, "That an additional number of Air Forces, not exceeding 11,000, all ranks, be maintained for the said Service."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 44; Noes, 224.

Division No. 282.]AYES.[11.13 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)Dobb[...]e, WilliamMaclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)Edwards, Sir CharlesMainwaring, William Henry
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherGardner, Benjamin WalterNathan, Major H. L.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. Clement R.Gibbins, J.Parkinson, John Allen
Batey, JosephGrenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)Salter, Dr. Alfred
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Buchanan, GeorgeGrundy, Thomas W.Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)
Cape, ThomasHall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Tinker, John Joseph
Cleary, J. J.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Cocks, Frederick SeymourKirkwood, DavidWilliams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Cove, William G.Lansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeWilliams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Cripps, Sir StaffordLawson, John JamesWilmot, John
Daggar, GeorgeLeonard, William
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)Logan, David GilbertTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Lunn, WilliamMr. Groves and Mr. D. Graham.
Davies, Stephen OwenMcEntee, Valentine L.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBaldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyBrass, Captain Sir William
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.Broadbent, Colonel John
A[...]nsworth, Lieut.-Colonel CharlesBarclay-Harvey, C. M.Brocklebank, C. E. R.
Albery, Irving JamesBateman, A. L.Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.
Apsley, LordBeit, Sir Alfred L.Burghley, Lord
Aske, Sir Robert WilliamBossom, A. C.Cadogan, Hon. Edward
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Boulton, W. W.Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)
Atholl, Duchess ofBower, Commander Robert TattonCampbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)
Bailey, Eric Alfred GeorgeBowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm
Ba[...]e, Sir Adrian W. M.Boyce, H. Lesl[...]eCaporn, Arthur Cecil
Carver, Major William H.Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Castlereagh, ViscountHills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerReid, David D. (County Down)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)Horsbrugh, FlorenceReid, William Allan (Derby)
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)Howard, Tom ForrestRemer, John R.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.Rickards, George William
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Ropner, Colonel L.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)Rosbotham, Sir, Thomas
Colman, N. C. D.Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward
Conant, R. J. E.Jamieson, Rt. Hon. DouglasRunge, Norah Cecil
Cook, Thomas A.Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cooper, T. M. (Edinburgh, W.)Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montross)Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'ts[...]de)
Copeland, IdaKerr, Hamilton W.Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Courtauld, Major John SewellKnox, Sir AlfredRutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.Lamb, Sir Joseph QuintonSalmon, Sir Isidore
Craddock, Sir Reginald HenryLaw, Sir AlfredSalt, Edward W.
Crott, Brigadier-General Sir H.Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney)
Crooke, J. SmedleyLeckie, J. A.Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)Leech, Dr. J. W.Sandys, Duncan
Cross, R. H.Leighton, Major B. E. P.Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Cu[...]verwell, Cyril TomLennox-Boyd, A. T.Selley, Harry R.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnLiddall, Walter S.Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)Lindsay, Noel KerShute, Colonel Sir John
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Dawson, Sir PhilipLittle, Graham-, Sir ErnestSimon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Denman, Hon. R. D.Llewellin, Major John J.Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)
Dickie, John P.Lloyd, GeoffreySmith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. HerbertLocker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. G'n)Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)
Dugdale, Captain Thomas LionelLockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)Somervell, Sir Donald
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterLovat-Fraser, James AlexanderSouthby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Ellis, Sir R. GeoffreyMacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. Sir CharlesSpears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Elliston, Captain George SampsonMacAndrew, Major J. O. (Ayr)Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Emrys-Evans, P. V.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Entwistle, Cyril FullardMcLean, Major Sir AlanStanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)
Everard, W. LindsayMaitland, AdamStewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Fielden, Edward BrocklehurstMakins, Brigadier-General ErnestStorey, Samuel
Fleming, Edward LascellesManningham-Buller, Lt.-Col, Sir M.Strauss, Edward A.
Ford, Sir Patrick J.Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Strickland, Captain W. F.
Fraser, Captain Sir IanMarsden, Commander ArthurStuart Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Fyfe, D. P. M.Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.
Ganzoni, Sir JohnMayhew, Lieut.-Colonel JohnSugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Gluckstein, Louis HalleMeller, Sir Richard James (Mitcham)Sutcliffe, Harold
Goff, Sir ParkMellor, Sir J. S. P.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W.Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Gower, Sir RobertMoreing, Adrian C.Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)Morrison, William ShepherdThompson, Sir Luke
Graves, MarjorieMuirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Greene, William P. C.Munro, PatrickTrain, John
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnNation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.Tree, Ronald
Grigg, Sir EdwardNorth, Edward T.Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Grimston, R. V.O'Donovan, Dr. William JamesTurton, Robert Hugh
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir HughWallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.Orr Ewing, I. L.Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)
Gunston, Captain D. W.Pearson, William G.Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Guy, J. C. MorrisonPenny, Sir GeorgeWells, Sydney Richard
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Petherick, M.Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Hales, Harold K.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Williams, Charles (Devon, Torguay)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPickthorn, K. W. M.Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Harbord, ArthurPike, Cecil F.Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hartington, Marquess ofPowell, Lieut. Col. Evelyn G. H.Wise, Alfred R.
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
He[...]lgers, Captain F. F. A.Ramsbotham, HerwaldLieut.-Colonel., Sir A. Lambert
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Ramsden, Sir EugeneWard and Dr. Morris-Jones.
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)Rankin, Robert

Original Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 191; Noes, 41.

Division No. 283.]AYES.[11.23 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBossom, A. C.Castlereagh, Viscount
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.Boulton, W. W.Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)
Albery, Irving JamesBower, Commander Robert TattonCazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
Apsley, LordBoyce, H. LeslieColman, N. C. D.
Aske, Sir Robert WilliamBrass, Captain Sir WilliamConant, B. J. E.
Atholl, Duchess ofBroadbent, Colonel JohnCook, Thomas A.
Bailey, Eric Alfred, GeorgeBrocklebank, C. E. R.Cooper, T. M. (Edinburgh, W.)
Ba[...]e, Sir Adrian W. M.Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)Copeland, Ida
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyBuchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.Burghley, LordCraddock, Sir Reginald Henry
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)Crooke, J. Smedley
Bateman, A. L.Campbell-Johnston, MalcolmCrookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)Caporn, Arthur CecilCross, R. H.
Beit, Sir Alfred L.Carver, Major William H.Cuiverwell, Cyril Tom
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnKerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)Kerr, Hamilton W.Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Knox, Sir AlfredRuggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward
Dawson, Sir PhilipLamb, Sir Joseph QuintonRunge, Norah Cecil
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. HerbertLaw, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Dugdale, Captain Thomas LionelLeckie, J. A.Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterLeech, Dr. J. W.Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Elliston, Captain George SampsonLeighton, Major B. E. P.Salmon, Sir Isidore
Emrys-Evans, P. V.Lennox-Boyd, A. T.Salt, Edward W.
Entwistle, Cyril FullardLiddall, Walter S.Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).
Everard, W. LindsayLindsay, Noel KerSanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Fielden, Edward BrocklehurstLister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-Sandys, Duncan
Fleming, Edward LascellesLittle, Graham-, Sir ErnestSassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Ford, Sir Patrick J.Llewellin, Major John J.Shute, Colonel Sir John
Fraser, Captain Sir IanLloyd, GeoffreySimon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Fyfe, D. P. M.Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)
Ganzoni, Sir JohnLovat-Fraser, James AlexanderSmith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Gluckstein, Louis HalleMacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. Sir CharlesSmith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)
Goff, Sir ParkMacAndrew, Major J. O. (Ayr)Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Goodman, Colonel Albert W.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Gower, Sir RobertMcLean, Major Sir AlanSpencer, Captain Richard A.
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)Maitland, AdamStanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Graves, MarjorieManningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)
Greene, William P. C.Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnMarsden, Commander ArthurStorey, Samuel
Grimston, R. V.Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel JohnStrauss, Edward A.
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.Meller, Sir Richard James (Mitcham)Strickland, Captain W. F.
Gunston, Captain D. W.Mellor, Sir J. S. P.Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Guy, J. C. MorrisonMills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Moreing, Adrian C.Sutcliffe, Harold
Hales, Harold K.Morrison, William ShepherdTaylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMuirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Harbord, ArthurMunro, PatrickThomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Harlington, Marquess ofO'Donovan, Dr. William JamesThompson, Sir Luke
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)Orr Ewing, I. L.Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)Pearson, William G.Train, John
Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.Penny, Sir GeorgeTree, Ronald
Heneage, Lieut. Colonel Arthur P.Petherick, M.Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Turton, Robert Hugh
Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)Pickthorn, K. W. M.Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerPike, Cecil F.Wells, Sydney Richard
Horsbrugh, FlorencePowell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.White, Henry Graham
Howard, Tom ForrestRamsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.Ramsden, Sir EugeneWilliams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Rankin, RobertWills, Wilfrid D.
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)Reid, Arthur C. (Exeter)Wise, Alfred R.
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)Reid, William Allan (Derby)
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.Remer, John R.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Jamieson, Rt. Hon. DouglasRickards, George WilliamLieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)Ropner, Colonel L.Ward and Dr. Morris-Jones.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)Gardner, Benjamin WalterMainwaring, William Henry
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherGibbins, J.Nathan, Major H. L.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. Clement R.Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)Parkinson, John Allen
Batey, JosephGriffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)Salter, Dr. Alfred
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Grundy, Thomas W.Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Buchanan, GeorgeHall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)
Cape, ThomasJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Tinker, John Joseph
Cleary, J. J.Kirkwood, DavidWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Cripps, Sir StaffordLansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeWilliams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Daggar, GeorgeLawson, John JamesWilliams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)Leonard, WilliamWilmot, John
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Logan, David Gilbert
Davies, Stephen OwenLunn, WilliamTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Dobbie, WilliamMcEntee, Valentine L.Mr. Groves and Mr. D. Graham.
Edwards, Sir CharlesMaclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)

Motion made, and Question put: That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £5,335,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on

the 31st day of March, 1936, for expenditure beyond the sum already provided in the grants for Air Services for the year."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 195; Noes, 42.

Division No. 284.]AYES.[11.32 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBa[...]e, Sir Adrian W. M.Boulton, W. W.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyBower, Commander Robert Tatton
Albery, Irving JamesBaldwin-Webb, Colonel J.Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Boyce, H. Leslie
Apsley, LordBateman, A. L.Brass, Captain Sir William
Aske, Sir Robert WilliamBeaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)Broadbent, Colonel John
Atholl, Duchess ofBeit, Sir Alfred L.Brocklebank, C. E. R.
Bailey, Eric Alfred GeorgeBossom, A. C.Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hartington, Marquess ofRamsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothi[...])
Burghley, LordHaslam, Henry (Horncastle)Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Campbell-Johnston, MalcolmHeilgers, Captain F. F. A.Rankin, Robert
Caporn, Arthur CecilHeneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Carver, Major William H.Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Castlereagh, ViscountHerbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)Remer, John R.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John WallerRickards, George William
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)Horsbrugh, FlorenceRopner, Colonel L.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHoward, Tom ForrestRosbotham, Sir Thomas
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Colman, N. C. D.Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward
Conant, R. J. E.Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)Runge, Norah Cecil
Cook, Thomas A.Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cooper, T. M. (Edinburgh, W.)James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Copeland, IdaJamieson, Rt. Hon. DouglasRutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Courtauld, Major John SewellJones, Lewis (Swansea, West)Salmon, Sir Isidore
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)Salt, Edward W.
Craddock, Sir Reginald HenryKerr, Hamilton W.Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney)
Crooke, J. SmedleyKnox, Sir AlfredSanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)Lamb, Sir Joseph QuintonSandys, Duncan
Cross, R. H.Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Cu[...]verwell, Cyril TomLeckie, J. A.Shute, Colonel Sir John
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnLeech, Dr. J. W.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)Leighton, Major B. E. P.Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Belfast)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Lindsay, Noel KerSmith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Dawson, Sir PhilipLister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)
Dickie, John P.Little, Graham-, Sir ErnestSouthby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. HerbertLlewellin, Major John J.Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Dugdale, Captain Thomas LionelLloyd, GeoffreySpencer, Captain Richard A.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterLockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Elliston, Captain George SampsonLovat-Fraser, James AlexanderStanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)
Emrys-Evans, P. V.MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. Sir CharlesStewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Entwistle, Cyril FullardMacAndrew, Major J. O. (Ayr)Storey, Samuel
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Strauss, Edward A.
Everard, W. LindsayMcLean, Major Sir AlanStrickland, Captain W. F.
Fielden, Edward BrocklehurstMaitland, AdamStuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Fleming, Edward LascellesManningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Ford, Sir Patrick J.Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.Sutcliffe, Harold
Fraser, Captain Sir IanMarsden, Commander ArthurTaylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Fyfe, D. P. M.Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel JohnTaylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)
Ganzoni, Sir JohnMeller, Sir Richard James (Mitcham)Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Gluckstein, Louis HalleMellor, Sir J. S. P.Thompson, Sir Luke
Goff, Sir ParkMills, Major J. D. (New Forest)Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Goodman, Colonel Albert W.Moreing, Adrian C.Train, John
Gower, Sir RobertMorris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)Tree, Ronald
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)Morrison, William ShephardTufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Graves, MarjorieMuirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.Turton, Robert Hugh
Greene, William P. C.Munro, PatrickWard, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. JohnO'Donovan, Dr. William JamesWells, Sidney Richard
Grimston, R. V.Orr Ewing, I. L.Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.Pearson, William G.Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Gunston, Captain D. W.Petherick, M.Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Guy, J. C. MorrisonPeto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Wills, Wilfrid D.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bliston)Wise, Alfred R.
Hales, Harold K.Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPike, Cecil F.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Harbord, ArthurPowell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.Sir George Penny and Lieut.-Colonel
Sir A. Lambert Ward.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)Edwards, Sir CharlesMaclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. ChristopherGardner, Benjamin WalterMainwaring, William Henry
Attlee, Rt. Hon. Clement R.Gibbins, J.Nathan, Major H. L.
Batey, JosephGrenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)Parkinson, John Allen
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)Salter, Dr. Alfred
Buchanan, GeorgeGrundy, Thomas W.Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cape, ThomasHall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, North)
Cleary, J. J.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Tinker, John Joseph
Cocks, Frederick SeymourKirkwood, DavidWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Cripps, Sir StaffordLansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeWilliams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Daggar, GeorgeLawson, John JamesWilliams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)Leonard, WilliamWilmot, John
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Logan, David Gilbert
Davies, Stephen OwenLunn, WilliamTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Dobb[...]e, WilliamMcEntee, Valentine L.Mr. Groves and Mr. D. Graham.

Question put, and agreed to.

Ordered, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—[Captain Margesson.]

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.