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Inter-Service Cohesion

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1943

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49.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the successful inter-Service cohesion that has been achieved in the Middle East since the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief, he will now consider appointing a Commander-in-Chief in Britain and in other theatres of the war in which British troops are engaged?

My hon. and gallant Friend is evidently under a misapprehension when he refers to the appointment of a Supreme Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East, since no such appointment has been made. I entirely agree that successful inter-Service cohesion has been achieved in that theatre, but I would point out that this is the result of intimate co-operation between all three Com- manders-in-Chief (Navy, Army and Air). So far as the co-operation between the Army and the Air is concerned, the Commanders-in-Chief have worked in accordance with my ruling of 7th October, 1941, which I quoted to the House on 7th July, 1942. From this ruling has sprung a most successful co-operation between the Army and the Air in the Middle East. This relationship will be taken as a model for operations under British command elsewhere, and it is not proposed to make any changes at present in the system of command prevailing in the United Kingdom, India or the Persia-Iraq area.