(standing in the Clerk's place at the Table): I have to acquaint the House that the House has been to the House of Peers, where a Commission under the Great Seal was read. The LORD CHANCELLOR, being one of the Lords Commissioners, delivered His Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of His Majesty's Commands, as followeth:
During the past year the forces fighting for honour and freedom throughout the world have gained a most notable accession of strength. Japan's treacherous and unprovoked assault has spread the conflict of war throughout the Eastern Hemisphere; and has brought fresh danger to My peoples in Asia and in the Pacific. But this extension of the war has brought to our side, as comrades in arms, the united States of America, who had already long sustained the Allied Cause by their sympathy and material aid, and has also brought Me into a close alliance with the Republic of China, which has so long and so gallantly resisted the aggression of Japan.
I share to the full the admiration of My people for the glorious feats of arms of the Soviet forces. In the defence of Stalingrad, which has been a hard blow struck at our enemies, a new chapter of heroism has been written in the annals of war. My Government and My people are determined to do their utmost to assist our Russian Allies, both by the supply of materials of war and by offensive action against the common foe.
On New Year's Day 1942 My Government signed a Joint Declarationendorsing the principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter and pledged themselves to devote, in common with their Allies, their full resources to the defeat of the Axis Powers. To-day a great company of nations are united in their determination to win victory; and their support gives to Me and to My people fresh encouragement in the struggle in which we have been engaged for more than three years.
The relations between My peoples and those of the United States of America are becoming ever closer. Since this Parliament was opened, My Prime Minister in the united Kingdom has twice crossed the Atlantic to visit Washington and Ottawa, and the generous welcome extended to him, both in Canada and by the President and the people of the United States of America, has afforded Me and My people the greatest pleasure. The work of the Combined Staff and the Combined Boards established in Washington and London has already gone far to perfect the mutual assistance between the two countries and to make more effective the organisation of our common offensive against the enemy.
We have enjoyed with profound satisfaction the privilege of welcoming Mrs. Roosevelt among us. I welcome, too, the presence in this country in such large numbers of the soldiers, sailors and airmen of our American Allies, a happy augury of the great offensive strength which they are building up in their own country.
On the 26th May I concluded with the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics a new Treaty of Alliance in the war against Hitlerite Germany and her associates in Europe. This Treaty also provides for post-war collaboration with the Soviet Union and for mutual assistance against aggression.
The welcome visit of the Soviet People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs to this country and to the United States of America, following on the visit of My Foreign Secretary to Moscow, together with the visit of My Prime Minister of the United Kingdom accompanied by a special envoy of President Roosevelt to Mr. Stalin in August last, provided an opportunity for far-reaching discussions on the general conduct of the war by the three Allies.
My Government in the United Kingdom have offered to the Chinese Government a Treaty for the relinquishment of extra-territorial jurisdiction in China. The close collaboration of the Government of the United States of America in this matter will be a source of special satisfaction to My people. The offer of this Treaty is an earnest of the close and equal collaboration which I am confident will regulate My relations with My valued Chinese Ally in the future. I am glad that in these difficult times for the Chinese people you have been able to send a delegation of your members to Chungking to assure them of the goodwill and determined support which My peoples will always give them.
It has been a great pleasure to me to welcome to this country My Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa. His participation at this time in the discussions and decisions of My Government here will prove of great value. Many other of My Ministers and counsellors have also come to this country during the year from My Dominions and from India for the purpose of conferring with My Government here. The cordial friendship existing between all My Governments has been a great factor in forwarding the war effort of all My people.
My Government in the United Kingdom have declared to the Princes and peoples of India their desire to see India assume full freedom and independence within the British Commonwealth of Nations on the basis of a Constitution framed by Indians themselves immediately after the termination of hostilities. In the meantime, representative Indian political leaders were invited to co-operate fully in the government of their country and in the prosecution of the war. I regret profoundly that hitherto they have not been willing to accept this offer. I sincerely hope that wiser counsels may prevail, and that a speedy and successful solution to these difficulties may be brought about through a wider measure of agreement amongst the Indian peoples themselves.
All My peoples have met with courage and endurance the increasing calls upon their services both for thearmed forces and for the great production industries. Particularly remarkable during the last year has been the response of the great numbers of women who have entered the Services and civil employment and who in both spheres have shown a high degree of skill and devotion in their work.
The extension of the war to the Far East created fresh and grave problems of profound concern to My peoples in Australia and New Zealand, as well as to the whole of my Indian Empire. At the outset heavy reverses were sustained by the Allies. I have watched with increasing confidence the steady growth of the Allied strength and the resumption of the offensive by United States and Australian forces.
I have followed with a sympathy and admiration which I know is shared by my peoples throughout the Common-wealth the magnificent fortitude shown by the Island of Malta in resisting the strongest attacks which the enemy could bring to bear upon it. I was happy to award the George Cross to this gallant Island which, by its long continued bravery and resistance, has played so noble a part in the battles of the Middle East.
My Navy has been compelled by the extension of the war and the growth of the U-boat and air menace to shipping, to extend its protection over an ever-widening area of the oceans. Aided by its auxiliaries and by the fishing fleet, it has succeeded, thanks to the bravery and endurance of My officers and men, in what might well have seemed an impossible task. My gallant merchant seamen and the merchant seamen of the United Nations have shown steadfast courage and determination in maintaining a flow of supplies through all the perils of sea and air to our Soviet Allies, to our forces in the Mediterranean and to other theatres of war, while at the same time maintaining the essential supplies of food and raw materials to this country.
The Eighth Army in the Middle East, with the devoted support of units of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, has dealt a crushing blow at the Axis forces in the Western Desert. This famous victory, in which forces of the Dominions, of India and of theAllies have all played a notable part, is now driving the enemy from Egypt. In conjunction with these operations, powerful united States and British forces, under United States command, supported by units of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, have landed in French North Africa in order to forestall an enemy occupation of these territories and to preserve them for France.
Throughout the year the training and preparation of My Army has gone forward. Those officers and men who are compelled to remain in this country are playing an important rôle both in our defence and in the preparation for attack. Upon them and upon their high morale we shall depend for our victory in the future.
My Indian Army is growing in strength month by month, and has displayed its historic valour upon many fields of battle. We are proud that more than a million men have already voluntarily engaged in our Indian land, sea and air forces; and we place our full confidence in their courage and fortitude in the days of struggle that lie before them.
My Air Force has added fresh achievements to its already famous record. It dominates the air over this Island and over the North of France. In every encounter it has proved its ascendancy over our enemies. In close co-operation with My Navy and My Army it has taken an increasing part in our campaigns, both by sea and by land in all theatres of war. Over Malta and Egypt it has inflicted heavy defeats on the air forces of the enemy; and it has carried the offensive with ever-increasing weight and strength into Germany and Italy, devastating their factories and disrupting their transport.
In those countries now occupied by the enemy Powers and subjected to every form of oppression, starvation and savagery, the ever-growing tide of resistance brings courage and inspiration to all who are determined to see freedom established in the world. It is the firm and unchangeable purpose of My peoples and of our Allies, not only to defend the cause of freedom wherever it may be attacked, but to carry the war into enemy territory so that we may liberate as speedily as lies in our power those countries and peoples now under a hateful domination.
You have carried on your task through times of difficulty and of stress as Members of a free Parliament and, by your unswerving determination to maintain those free institutions which have been built up in this our country, you have given an example to all the world of the value and strength of our Democracy.
I thank you for the provision that you have made towards the cost of the war. The enormous expenditure which is necessary to carry the war to a successful conclusion continues to be met by the efforts of My people both by way of taxation and by their readiness to put their savings at the disposal of the State.
My assent has been given to an Act making possible an increased degree of mobilisation of the man and woman power of the country. Almost the entire man and woman power of our country is now mobilised, and we must, rely upon the constant and continuous drive for efficiency and economy in manpower and material to increase the production of arms and supplies which are essential if My Armed Forces are to be victorious over the enemy.
By virtue of His Majesty's Commission, under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in His Majesty's Name and in obedience to His Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Wednesday, the Eleventh day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-two, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued until Wednesday, the Eleventh day of November, One thousand nine hundred and forty-two."
Seeing that we shall meet again in so short a time, I propose to dispense on this occasion with the ordinary custom of shaking hands with every Member, and I bid you farewell until our next meeting, with every good wish.