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British Troops, India (Welfare And Administration)

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 2 November 1943

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48.

asked the Prime Minister whether in view of the establishment of a Far Eastern Command, the Secretary of State for War is to be given any direct responsibilty for the welfare and administration of British Forces serving in India?

The Commander-in-Chief, India, is directly responsible for the welfare and administration of British troops serving in India and the Supreme Commander, South East Asia Command, for that of the British troops serving under him. The Secretary of State for War is responsible to Parliament in the second case. In the first case it is the Secretary of State for India who is so responsible but clearly the Secretary of State for War has a general interest in seeing that British troops are adequately cared for.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether Questions affecting the welfare and administration of British troops in India can be addressed to the Secretary of State for War and receive an answer, because under the present arrangement it is not satisfactory to put these Questions to the Secretary of State for India, who then has to cable out to the Viceroy or something like that?

Clearly, my hon. Friend should put down his Questions to the Minister who is responsible to this House.