Commonwealth Governments (Consultation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Armed Forces – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

asked the Minister of Defence if the Commonwealth Governments were consulted before the decision to make the proposed Service cuts in manpower was taken; and what steps are being taken to ensure adequate defence of the Commonwealth and Empire in the light of our present and future economic position.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to what I said on this point in the course of the Debate on 27th October.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Would the right hon. Gentleman then have the House understand that the Dominions were not given any opportunity of putting forward their points of view regarding Commonwealth defence in the light of defence cuts, and does he not think that is highly important from the point of view of Commonwealth defence being treated as a whole?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

We are certainly doing our best to have Commonwealth defence treated as a whole, but it would not have been the right thing to consult the Commonwealth countries directly on proposals for the purpose of dealing with our internal economy.

Photo of Sir John Langford-Holt Sir John Langford-Holt , Shrewsbury

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to tell the House that the matter of Imperial defence is purely a matter of internal economy?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I do not say anything of the sort.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Does not the right hon. Gentleman now agree that it is quite inadequate to have four liaison officers in the Dominions as the only link from a Commonwealth defence point of view?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

No, I think in the present situation what is being done is adequate, but we shall at all times seek to make the liaison between the Commonwealth Governments more close.