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Procedure

Volume 411: debated on Tuesday 29 May 1945

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40.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the figures which have been issued by the United States Government as to the number of troops which they intend to demobilise now that the European war is over, and the numbers which they intend to reserve for service in the Far East; and whether in these circumstances he can make an equivalent statement about the British Army, indicating how many men are to be brought home within the next few months, what proportion will be reserved for service in the Far East; and what principles will be applied to bringing home those who have already served for considerable periods in the Far or Middle East.

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the then Minister of Labour on 16th May, and to the answers which the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Members for Everton, Liverpool (Mr. Kirby) and South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) and which I gave to the hon. Members for West Lewisham (Mr. Henry Brooke)and Skipton (Mr. H. Lawson) on 15th May.

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that there are considerable complaints in the Army about the long term that has to be served by those overseas and of the length of service of those who are in the ranks?

As this is a matter which concerns the three Services, will not the Prime Minister himself give the House some more precise information as to methods of demobilisation, in view of the considerable apprehension that exists in the minds of Service men and of their families? At the present moment all we have is a global figure and not individual figures.

A statement on this matter might well be made before we separate, but the subject is not as simple as it seemed to be at the outset.