On 27th February telegrams were sent to Java and to Australia saying that we would appreciate a report from Major-General Gordon-Bennett on the siege and fall of Singapore, with particular reference to certain specific points which were set out in our message. It was suggested that a summary of the report should be sent by cable and full details by air mail. A short cable report sent in answer by Major-General Gordon-Bennett was received on 4th March, but did not materially add to our previous knowledge. A more detailed report was asked for on 12th March. This is now being prepared.
Do I understand that although over a month has elapsed since this terrible episode the Government have less information than can be published in a trade paper, "The Autocar," on 13th March, and ought not His Majesty's Government to take more vigorous steps to find out about these disastrous occurrences?
Have the Government considered the advisability of setting up a Royal Commission to inquire into this matter, in the same way as a special Commission was set up to inquire into the Gallipoli campaign in the last war? Is there any reason why the same procedure should not be followed?
Obviously, it is not much good setting up a Commission of Inquiry until you have found out all the information available, and, as has been pointed out on more than one occasion, up to now we have not got that information. The position was very different in the case of the Gallipoli campaign.
The General Officer Commanding, Malaya, during the three months preceding the termination of hostilities was Acting-Lieutenant-General A. E. Percival, C.B., D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C.
I have given the answer to the hon. and gallant Member, and I am accustomed to giving straight answers in this House. The answer is that the order to capitulate was given on the spot by the general in command of the troops. The Commander-in-Chief in the Far East up to 27th December, 1941, was Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, from then to 15th January, 1942, Sir Henry Pownall, and from 15th January, 1942, Sir Archibald Wavell, until he was appointed to India.
The Commander-in-Chief had command over all three Services. My hon. Friend will remember that finally Sir Archibald Wavell was appointed as Commander of the whole area; Sir Robert Brooke-Popham equally was in command of all the Services.