Oral Answers to Questions — Burma Operations.

– in the House of Commons on 19th May 1942.

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Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

asked the Prime Minister whether Ministerial responsibility for the conduct of the war in Burma rests with him as Defence Minister, or with the Defence Minister of the Government of India?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The conduct of operations by Imperial Forces in Burma is directed by the Commander-in-Chief, India, who in this regard is responsible to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

asked the Prime Minister whether, following the precedent of other campaigns in the present war, an official statement will eventually be issued giving the reasons for defending Burma with a small force of ground troops and aeroplanes, together with an account of the salient features of this campaign?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

A despatch will no doubt be written in due course by the General in command, but whether it will be published during the war cannot yet be decided.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

In view of the fact that the Government have issued a despatch describing the much smaller operations in Madagascar, does he not think it very desirable that this House should be in possession at the earliest possible date of the fullest possible information about this campaign in Burma? Will he give this matter serious consideration?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Obviously, due regard must be had to military considerations, as the Noble Lord knows, in deciding when it is most convenient to issue a despatch, having regard to the military operations still being carried on.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

Surely we are going to have some statement or other on the subject? All I ask for is a statement. Are we not to have a statement in the House by the Prime Minister?