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Lords Chamber

Volume 40: debated on Tuesday 18 May 1920

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House Of Lords

Tuesday, 18th May, 1920.

The House met at a quarter past four of the clock. The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Wolverhampton Corporation Bill

Read 2a .

Durham County Water Board Bill Hl





Read 3a and passed, and sent to the Commons.

Fife-Young's Divorce Bill Hl

Amendment reported (according to Order).

Coopers Divorce Bill Hl

Amendment reported (according Order).

British Nationality And Status Of Aliens Bill Hl

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, the Bill to which I ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading is a long one of fifty-one clauses and four schedules. Fortunately for me it is largely a codifying measure, as it embodies the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act of 1914, the amending Act of 1918, and also several of the Aliens Orders of 1920. This House has often expressed a preference for dealing with matters by legislation rather than by Orders in Council, and I hope that you will approve of my embodying in this Bill such of the Aliens Orders of 1920 as appear to deal more particularly with the status of aliens, as against restrictions on aliens, which are concerned more with the Bill passed into law last session—the Aliens Restriction Act of 1919.

When the noble Viscount, Lord Harcourt, introduced the Bill in the House of Commons in May of 1914 he stated that it was a Bill which was the result of discussions and Imperial Conferences extending over a period of thirteen years, and I may well be told that it is impossible to replace the Act of 1914 by a Bill such as this, which makes many drastic alterations in that Act. I would point out, that that argument is very largely nullified by the fact that already in 1918 it was found necessary to pass another Bill, altering the Act of 1914, and that the Act of 1914 was drawn up and passed through almost all its stages before the great majority in the Houses of Parliament had any idea that within a few months we should be plunged into a great Continental war. I ask your Lordships whether the war has not compelled us largely to change or modify our views, and whether the experiences of the last six years do not impel us to review the legislation passed in 1914 with regard to aliens. Is anybody prepared to say that five years' residence is sufficient to qualify a German to acquire the full rights of British citizenship?

At the General Election of 1918 the fourth point of the Prime Minister's programme was "Britain for the British, socially and industrially." Many of your Lordships, and amongst them some of the most prominent members of the House, made eloquent and forceful speeches on the subject. This Bill attempts to carry into effect the policy of the Prime Minister in that respect. May I remind the House of one or two facts of importance? Approximately 270,000 foreigners are resident in this country.' Taking a family at an average of five, that means that 54,000 houses are required for the accommodation of those foreigners. The housing shortage is well known, and it is a question for your Lordships to decide whether you prefer that 50,000 British families shall be homeless or whether these foreigners should be encouraged to return to the countries from which they came. It is for you to decide whether in the present financial position of the country you are prepared to find £13,500,000 to provide the subsidy required, at £250 per house, for the erection of houses for foreigners to live in.

The situation, my Lords, is even worse than that. The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, speaking in March, told this House that in January and February alone 38,089 aliens landed in this country, and that 35,662 embarked again for elsewhere; so that in those two months alone there came into this country to stay foreigners at the rate of 1,200 a month. Are your Lordships prepared to build the additional houses required to accommodate these foreigners? I have no hostility to foreigners as such—I have many friends amongst foreigners—but I prefer the interests of my fellow-countrymen to those of foreigners, and I have been forced to realise that I must choose, in regard to housing and other matters, between my fellow-countrymen and foreigne4. There are not enough houses for both, and at the moment not employment enough for both, and we have to decide which we prefer. So I venture to subscribe to the programme of the Prime Minister, "Britain for the British, socially and industrially," and that is what this Bill endeavours to effect.

I will now turn to the clauses of the Bill. In Clause 1 there is a definition of what is a natural-born British subject. The law at present is that any one horn within the King's Dominions, whatever his parentage, is a British subject, and also that any one whose father was a British subject at the time of that person's birth shall be a British subject wherever he be born. I suggest that the law in that respect is illogical, because it is founded on two separate data, that of place of birth and that of nationality. Consequently it must lead to many cases of dual nationality. For instance, if an Englishman has a child in China, under British law that child is a British subject. Similarly, if a Chinaman has a son born in London, that son is a British subject. But supposing China—and for all I know she has—has the same law in regard to nationality that we have, then if an Englishman has a son born in China that son is a Chinaman, yet under British law he is regarded as a British subject.

The absurdity of the situation cannot be brought home perhaps better than by reminding your Lordships of a story, which I dare say many of you have heard, of an incident that occurred at the last General Election. A certain candidate was standing for a Parliamentary constituency, and was accused by some of his audience of being an alien. He replied in broken English that he had been born in England, and therefore was a British subject. A voice from the back of the hall was then heard to say, "I suppose if a cat had kittens in a fish-basket you would call those kittens bloaters." It is somewhat absurd that we should apply the same sort of thing to human beings. Therefore this first clause makes what is certainly a drastic alteration, to the effect, that the son of a British father—that is any one whose father at the time of his birth is a British subject—shall be considered a British subject wherever that child be born. The question of the place of birth will not enter into the matter. It seems to me absurd that the son of a Chinaman or of a Mexican, if that son be born in London, should ipso facto be considered a British subject. Therefore under this Bill I propose that that absurdity shall come to an end.

Clause 2 is largely taken from the Act of 1914. Under that Act the only requirement for a foreigner to obtain a certificate of naturalisation—which I must remind your Lordships gave him the full privileges of British citizenship—was that he should have had five years' residence within the King's Dominions—one within the United Kingdom and four within the King's Dominions—and be a person of good character, and have an adequate knowledge of the English language, and, further, that he should be prepared to reside within His Majesty's Dominions. This clause proposes that the qualification of residence shall be increased to twenty years—five in this country and fifteen elsewhere within the King's Dominions—and, further, that a substantial part of the education of that person shall have been obtained within His Majesty's Dominions. It also enacts that the certificate of naturalisation shall only be taken out when a male is twenty-two, or, in the case of a woman; between nineteen and twenty-two years of age. The object of this clause is practically this—that no alien shall be allowed to be granted the full privileges of British citizenship unless by upbringing, by education, and by surroundings he is British in outlook and temperament. The whole object of the Bill is that British citizenship shall be reserved for those who really are British, and not for those who merely take on a cloak of nationality without having either the outlook, or the principles, or any of the qualifications that we consider necessary and advisable in our fellow-countrymen.

Clause 8 is taken from the British Nationality (Status of Aliens) Act, 1918, and it strengthens it in one or two minor particulars, with which I think your Lordships will agree. This clause empowers the Secretary of State to cancel certificates of naturalisation which have been obtained by false representation or fraud, and also to cancel certificates which have boon granted to people who at that time were at war with His Majesty or have traded with His Majesty's enemies. I propose that any one who is or was engaged in trading with the enemy, or is or was at war with His Majesty, should be liable to have his certificate of naturalisation cancelled. In subsection (4), where the Secretary of State thinks it necessary to hold an inquiry, that inquiry shall be held by a Divisional Court of the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, and not by a Committee. A new subsection—(7)—is added. The object of this is that when a certificate of naturalisation is revoked the Secretary of State may make an order requiring the person whose certificate has been revoked to leave the United Kingdom.

Coming now to an important clause, Clause 19, I may inform your Lordships that the commencement of that clause is taken from the Act of 1914; but subsection (2) is new. It requires that an alien shall not be allowed to reside in the United Kingdom more than six months in any year unless he obtains a certificate of denization, or a licence to reside within the meaning of this Act. The status of denization is a new one which is proposed under this Bill, and it is one about which I shall have something more to say presently. The terms under which a licence to reside are granted are laid down in Clause 32, which states that a licence to reside may be given for a period of 12 months, and cannot be extended for more than a total of 24 months, and the cost of obtaining this licence is £10. There is an important proviso in subsection (2) on line 15, page 10. Under the Act of 1914 an alien is not qualified to be the owner of any share or shares in a British ship, and I propose that he should also not be permitted to be a shareholder or debenture holder in any aircraft company, dock or harbour company, coal, copper or tin mine, or oil-producing company. Your Lordships will agree that it is essential that aliens should not be able to obtain the majority of the shares in any of these undertakings so essential to this country in time of war.

But since this clause was originally drafted the situation financially has cleared in several respects, and it is a matter for consideration whether if this clause were passed it might not lead to retaliation, and whether retaliation would not he more harmful than the possible danger of aliens acquiring shares in companies of this description. I have put this clause in this Bill for your Lordships' consideration, and I am bound to say I am inclined to think that practically no nation is now in a position to obtain a strangle hold on British companies, with the possible exception of the United States. But citizens of the United States are known to be very disinclined to take shares in other than American companies, and therefore the danger hardly operates in their case. It is possible, as I have already said, that retaliation may be more serious to this country than facing the danger of foreigners holding shares in key industries in the United Kingdom.

I pass now to Clauses 21 to 27, which have been taken entirely from the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act which passed last year, and in which no alteration has been made. They have been taken from that. Act because they appear to deal very largely with the status of aliens, and the other clauses have not been incorporated in this Bill because they deal chiefly with enemy aliens and are of a transitory character. One alteration of some importance has been made in Clause 27, by which the Powers conferred under the Aliens Restriction Acts, 1914 and 1919, are not limited to a year that limitation being omitted.

Clause 28 is a new one setting up the status of denization to which I have already referred. It lays down that a certificate of denization shall be given to any alien who makes application for the purpose, providing he is of good character, that he is in good health and not suffering from infectious disease, and that, if the application is granted, he is prepared to reside in His Majesty's Dominions. A fee of £10 is payable by the alien before that certificate is issued, and after that certificate is issued every alien other than the wife or child of an alien will be required to pay a poll tax of £10 a year and an additional duty of Income tax at the rate of 10 per cent. more than he would pay if he were a free-born British subject. Your Lordships may consider that that poll tax and extra Income tax are an undue burden to levy on a foreigner, but I submit that When this country is faced with the loss of £50 per year per house on every workman's house that is erected, it seems to be a very small sum to require of an alien that he should pay only £10 a Year towards the £50 required for the additional houses that have to be built.

Clause 30 enacts that certificates of naturalisation granted after January 1, 1911, shall, subject to certain provisos, be cancelled. The object of that Clause is to meet the case of certificates of naturalisation granted just before and at the commencement of the war, which in many cases, some of us think, were granted unwisely and had better be cancelled. If your Lordships would be prepared to give this Bill a Second Reading I should propose at any rate a further proviso which is that those who took part in the war should not have their certificate of naturalisation cancelled. Clause 37 strengthens the Aliens Order of 1920. I do not think I need go into these alterations except in one particular. In subsection (5) it is enacted that if an alien has been in the United Kingdom for less than 12 months since his last arrival and he is required by the Secretary of State to be deported the company which brought him to this country, whether a steamship or an aircraft company, shall be compelled to provide him with accommodation and maintenance until such time as he has left the United Kingdom. Clause 38 (2) enacts that the owner of a ship or aircraft shall be liable to repay the Secretary of State any debt due to the Crown incurred by an alien prior to his deportation, if that alien is required to be deported within twelve months of coming to this country. Those two subsections are founded on Canadian law, which is considerably more severe than that proposed in this Bill, because there it is laid down that any railway or other company shall be compelled to carry back any immigrant without payment to the port from which he came if, within two years of landing, he has become an inmate of a gaol, hospital, or other charitable institution. The cost of transporting an alien back from Canada to some port in Europe is very much larger than anything incurred by a steamship or aircraft company in this country.

Clause 41 amends the Oath of Allegiance. In the Second Schedule your Lordships will see that in addition to the oath, as now taken, swearing allegiance to His Majesty, the alien is required also to renounce for ever all allegiance or fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, or sovereignty, and particularly the prince, potentate, or sovereignty of which that alien had been a citizen or subject. That is copied from the Oath of Allegiance which is required by aliens in the United States before they are allowed to become citizens of that country. I suggest that it would be well that in that respect we should copy the example of the United States.

Clause 45 imposes a tax of 5s. per week for every alien employee who is given work in this country, I suggest that, with many ex-Service men still unemployed, any employer who requires to give work to an alien should be compelled to pay for the privilege. It will not prevent aliens from being employed whose services are valuable to this country—those, for instance, who are teaching us how to make optical glasses, and so on. But, where other things are equal, obviously the tax of 5s. will give a preference to the British subject as against the alien. Clause 46 requires the Secretary of State to pay the cost of passage incurred by aliens who, as the result of the passing of this Bill, desire within four months of its becoming law to leave this country.

Clause 49 (2) makes a rather important addition to the Act of 1914. As it stands, the privileges of naturalisation granted by a British Dominion shall only be enjoyed within the limits of that Dominion. It is proposed under the Bill that certificates of naturalisation or denization shall not only have full effect within the Dominion in which they are granted, but also in any foreign country, but that they shall not have effect in other parts of the King's Dominion. The object of that alteration is that if a naturalised Australian, for instance, finds himself in a foreign country he shall have the right of appealing to the British Ambassador or the British Consul for all the privileges and protection granted to British subjects, but that if that Australian went to Canada or elsewhere that naturalisation given to him in Australia shall not take effect in the other Dominions. When the Act of 1914 was under discussion at the Imperial Conference of 1911 it became perfectly clear that no powers of naturalisation granted in one Dominion should be made applicable to the other. For instance, in New Zealand no qualification of residence is required; in South Africa and in Australia two years qualification of re- sidence is required; in Canada three years, and in this country, at that time, five years. So apparently the only way in which naturalisation can be made effective is that it should be confined to the Dominion in which it is given and should also be applicable in foreign countries.

Some of your Lordships may think that this Bill is too drastic. I submit that that there is nothing unfair in it. The alien is left free to choose whether he prefers to live in this country under the conditions imposed by the Bill, or whether he prefers to return to his own country. There is nothing compelling an alien to go back unless he so desires, unless he breaks the law of this country or becomes undesirable for other reasons. Some noble Lords may say that this measure is un-Christian, and that we ought to treat foreigners no less well than we treat British subjects. I am inclined to think that some of those noble Lords who took a strong view in regard to the alteration of the law of divorce might possibly hold that view; but, whatever interpretation they gave to Holy Writ with regard to divorce, I suggest that Holy Writ in regard to the question of aliens is infinitely stronger than, and infinitely more in accord with, the views of the majority of your Lordships' House. May I draw their attention to this saying from Holy Writ?—
"Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, 01 strangers."
And then, as you will remember, St. Peter is told to go and catch a fish, to take the money found in its mouth, and to pay the custom or tribute both for the Messiah and for himself. There is the example of paying tribute because they are strangers and not children. Again, when the Chief Captain asks St. Paul whether he is indeed a Roman, he goes on to say, "With a great sum obtained I this freedom "; and St. Paul with considerable pride replies, "But I was free born." Those are very much the standpoints on which this Bill is founded, and I think that they are neither against Holy Writ nor unjust.

I am aware that many of your Lordships will be chary of following me into the Division Lobby after your experiences of last autumn; but at any rate in this case the facts are all known to your Lordships and the Bill is in your hands. It is for you to decide whether you support the policy of "Britain for the British" socially and industrially; whether you are prepared to allow foreigners to come here occupying houses which otherwise would be occupied by your fellow countrymen; whether you are prepared to allow foreigners to come here and to compete for employment while ex-Service men are still walking the streets; or whether you are prepared, so far as this Bill does so, to discourage foreigners in the manner proposed in the various clauses of this measure. I apologise to your Lordships for having occupied the time of the House so long, and I trust that you will be prepared to give this Bill its second Reading.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .—( Earl Stanhope.)

My Lords, many of the objects of the noble Earl in proposing this Bill are evidently meritorious. It might be discussed as to whether or not in the balance those objects would be advantageous; but my criticism is not addressed to many of his principal objects—with sonic of which at least I find myself in sympathy—but to the form in which those proposals are brought forward. The noble Earl has certainly shown great industry, but I am bound to say quite plainly that these proposals are put forward in a form, in circumstances, and with legal consequences which are so astounding and so wholly unworkable that I think no one who has the most elementary knowledge of the working of our aliens law could make excuses for the Bill, either in its present form or in any form in which it could be put by amendment.

So far as the Government are concerned I shall not ask your Lordships, if the noble Earl wishes to divide on the Bill, to go into the Lobby one way or the other; but I think it is my duty to warn the noble Earl and your Lordships quite plainly—for the reasons which I will presently illustrate—that if your Lordships should be swilling to undergo, in these circumstances, the labour of a Committee debate, it would be with the full knowledge that there is no prospect at all of any Parliamentary facilities, so far as the Government are concerned, being afforded in the House of Commons to a Bill which is framed as this Bill is framed, and which would produce the consequences which I will presently show your Lordships this Bill would produce.

The noble Earl has entitled his Bill, "An Act to repeal the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914, and to consolidate the law relating to British Nationality and the Status of Aliens." This title has no very evident relation to the contents of the Bill which is under consideration. It is quite true that in Clause 51 it repeals the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914, and also the similar Act of 1918; but it most assuredly does not consolidate the law relating to British nationality and the status of aliens. On the contrary, it undermines it by removing from the Statute Book the main foundation of British law relating to nationality—that is to say, the ancient Common Law principle that a person born in His Majesty's allegiance is a British subject. The noble Earl has criticised the ancient rule which exists in this country, in so many parts of the Empire, and in so many foreign countries. It is easy to attack it even by formidable arguments; but this is certainly not a change which I think any one in a position of responsibility would for a moment suppose could be made in such a Bill as this. It would involve immense revolution in the whole complicated network of arrangements which have been made as a result of repeated Imperial Conferences between ourselves and the self-governing Dominions of the Empire.

Another general criticism which must be made is that the Bill includes, as the noble Earl has told the House, selections and provisions from the Aliens Restriction Acts and Orders in Council, apparently dragging them in in the phrase "status of aliens"—a phrase which in our law has a perfectly clear technical meaning. It is sufficient, perhaps, that I should say that it is not this one. The provisions are of a wholly different character from the true provisions as to nationality and status which have hitherto been properly separated. Included in this Bill, and in this part of the Bill, they would lead to a degree of confusion which could hardly be exaggerated.

If this Bill became law there would be in operation as its result the following partly independent, partly overlapping, and partly contradictory codes of law dealing with this subject. In the first place, the Aliens Act of 1905; in the second place, the Aliens Restriction Act of 1914; thirdly, parts of the Aliens Restric- tion (Amendment) Act of 1919; fourthly, this Bill itself; fifthly, such of the provisions of the Aliens Orders in Council of 1920 as have not been selected for incorporation in this Bill, but which are in some cases essential for practical purposes. As one who for four years had the responsibility of advising upon this highly complicated question at a time when the problems Which presented themselves were of wholly unexampled difficulty, I assure the noble Earl that such a consequence would be quite intolerable from the administrative point of view and would produce a degree of chaos of the gravest character. I much fear that no amendment of the Bill could bring it into a shape which would be an improvement upon the present state of affairs. It gives us, on the one hand, the Imperial and world-wide law of British nationality and the status of aliens contained in the Act of 1914, as amended in 1917, and, on the other hand, the domestic law as to restrictions on aliens in the United Kingdom contained in the Aliens Restriction Acts, 1914 and 1919, and the Orders in Council which have been made under those Acts. I will give a few illustrations in a moment. Not only would the Bill be extremely inconvenient in the United Kingdom, but an even more serious observation calls to be made. It would involve, in the first place, a breach of understanding with the self-governing Dominions, and, in the second place, the attempt to legislate for those Dominions within their own territories would most undoubtedly be very deeply resented by them and we should be wholly unable to give effect to them.

Let me illustrate both those propositions. In the first place, the law contained in the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914—which the noble Earl must forgive me for saying is reproduced in a mangled form in Parts I and II of this Bill and in the scattered clauses of Part III of the Bill—is the result of deliberations which have been carried on over a long period of time at succeeding Imperial Conferences. It embodies the result of agreements which have been made. It gives the broad principles arrived at between the Mother Country and the self-governing Dominions, and most certainly implies a complete understanding that no fundamental alterations of such a code shall be made until after further consultation and agreement with the self-governing Dominions. For us, without any such con- sultation and certainly without any agreement, to give a Second Reading to, and pass through its stages in this House, a Bill which would produce these consequences would be a very grave deviation from the practice which has so Fong been followed in this country.

As to the second proposition that I made in this matter, Part II of the Bill reproduces Part II of the Act of 1914 relating to naturalisation, with certain alterations including references to a power, conferred later in the Bill, in Clause 28, on the Home Secretary to grant certificates of denization. The effect of the reference is to hold out this new system of denization to the self-governing Dominions. Whatever be the value or the propriety—which I will examine later—of the proposed system as regards the United Kingdom, it is essentially a matter of domestic regulation on which the Mother Country, while entitled to make such regulations as she thinks proper on her own behalf, has not the slightest claim or warrant to attempt to introduce in the self-governing Dominions.

Such are the general observations that I make, and I may give a few further illustrations by which I think the matter would become even more plain. I ought, perhaps, to have pointed out that this controversy, which is so summarily solved by the proposals of this Bill, as to whether or not birth within the Empire or within these Islands should confer British nationality, is one which, as I think the noble Earl said, has long been the subject of discussion and in relation to which I certainly should have said that the balance of opinion was absolutely in favour of maintaining the present system. I need hardly point out to the noble Earl and others who are interested in this matter the enormous advantages, on balance, which in the Colonies have been derived from the application of the existing rule. The noble Earl may or may not know, but it is a fact, that the principle that a man born in this country is a British subject was worth to the British forces in the late war, according to a War Office computation, some sixty thousand or seventy thousand good fighting men and soldiers. It is therefore clear that Part I of the Bill could not properly be accepted by the British Parliament without further and very protracted Conferences with the self-governing Dominions, and in these circumstances I should certainly not have thought, until such discussion has taken place, that it could be very usefully debated by your Lordships.

If Clause 1 were to be discussed in detail a number of very curious features would be disclosed, some of which I think must have escaped the attention of the noble Earl. I see, for instance, in Clause 1 (1) (b) that every person shall be deemed to be a natural-born British subject "whose father at the time of the birth of such person was a British subject, or was in the Military Service of the Crown." I imagine it can only be through inadvertence, but, unless I am mistaken, the effect would be to draw a distinction in favour of one who was in the Military Service which would not be extended to one in the Naval Service or the Air Service. So much for Part I.

Part II of the Bill introduces, with some important alterations, Part II of the Act of 1914. The greater part of it deals with the grant and revocation of certificates of naturalisation and makes alterations in the existing law as to naturalisation, relating in the first place to the residential qualification for the certificate, and secondly, to the power to revoke certificates granted. As the noble Earl quite truly said, at present residence for at least five years is necessary before an alien is qualified for naturalisation. Under the Bill a twenty years' residence is required, and in addition the applicant, if a male, has to certify that he is in his twenty-second year. If I understand the provision aright, it means that no male alien who comes here after the age of two years can ever be eligible for naturalisation. A concession is made as regards the female. She may be eligible if she is not less than nineteen and not more than twenty-two years of age. But the noble Earl has provided that she must have resided for twenty years in His Majesty's Dominions, and I must say that this concession, although it is a concession, is not perhaps very intoxicating.

If it is desired to make naturalisation impossible altogether—and I have held, and do hold, and have expressed strong opinions in this House on the subject—I say quite plainly that it would be much better and much more worthy of the dignity of Parliament to abolish it in a few lines rather than enact a number of clauses which are hedged about with almost completely destructive conditions. I certainly am not prepared to agree with the noble Earl that it is a reasonable precaution to say that no male alien who came here after the age I of two years should ever be eligible for naturalisation. There are countries against whom most properly we nourish bitter resentment. How long it will last no one can tell. Other resentments in our history, which seemed as if they were equally deeply founded and likely to be as tenacious, have been removed by the mitigating influences of time; and while there have been aliens of this class there have been aliens to whom we have been deeply attached and in respect of whom we have lain under profound obligations; by their example and valour they contributed much to the decision in the last war. I should not, and I expect there are many of your Lordships who would not, be willing to say in the case of the French that no male alien who came here after the age of two years should ever be eligible for naturalisation.

Another most objectionable provision—I use the phrase in a technical sense—in my view is the provision in Clause 7 under which every grant or refusal by the Secretary of State of a certificate of naturalisation is to be subject to review by the High Court. It is a provision which overlaps and clashes with the provisions of Clause 8 in regard to the revocation of certificates, provisions which are taken from the Act of 1914, and it is further inconsistent in principle with the provisions of Clause 2 of the Bill which empowers the Secretary of State to grant or refuse a certificate in his discretion. That the exercise of this discretion should be reviewed by a Court of Law is a proposal as unprecedented in my experience as it would be inconvenient in practice. I cannot understand what is the object of giving such discretionary power to a Minister if it is a matter which has to be done all over again by a Court of Law. But the objection goes deeper than that. In the preoccupations of war it was necessary to divert the Judges of the High Court from their very proper functions of determining disputes in this country to other and wider purposes. I cannot pretend, greatly as I have attempted to limit the occasions on which such demands are put forward, to promise that it will altogether cease even now, but I certainly regard it as a most unfortunate extension of this practice to ask that the Judges of the High Court should undertake functions so novel and vague as those which the noble Earl proposes. Part III of the Bill mingles in a manner which I find a little bewildering the greater part of Part III of the Act of 1914 regarding the naturalisation of aliens with various provisions as to the restriction on aliens taken from the Aliens Restrictions Amendment Act, 1919. This Part would have to be most carefully sorted out into separate provisions and entirely recast and redrafted if there was any real prospect of its becoming law.

For the present purpose it is sufficient to make this observation on the one operative section of this part of the Bill—that which deals with the restrictions on aliens. I have shown that it is extremely difficult for any alien ever to become naturalised. But supposing an unusually enterprising male or female got through the drag net, then for the rest of his or her life in this country the alien is to be under the, following complicated network of limitations—the noble Earl, I am sure, would be the first to say that the merit of his Bill must stand or fall by these proposals. In the first place, he cannot reside in the United Kingdom for more than six months in any year unless he obtains a certificate of denization or a licence from the Secretary of State to reside here. That is in Clause 19. In the second place, the licence to reside may be granted only for twelve months at a time. There is power to renew, but not for longer consecutive periods than twenty-four months. That is in Clause 32. If a licence is granted the alien must pay a poll tax of £10 per annum in the case of persons of full age and £5 per annum in the case of minors. In the third place the certificate of denization—which I must point out is a new thing altogether and likely to be very inconvenient and confused with "letters of denization," which are already known to the law and as to which the Royal Prerogative is preserved by Clause 31—can only be granted after similar notice and after consideration of objections. It can only be granted under the terms of Clause 28 if it is shown that the residence asked for is such residence as shall benefit His Majesty's subjects. That does seem to me to be a most difficult thing to show. The alien has not only to show and do all these other things but also to establish that his residence here shall benefit His Majesty's subjects. I feel that if I were making a tour abroad, and my travels took me into a foreign country and among strange surroundings, it might benefit myself but it would be an almost impossible burden upon me to demonstrate that my going there would benefit them. I think the noble Earl on reflection will take the view that this is carrying the matter rather far.

I would also point out, what has probably escaped the noble Earl, that these provisions or many of them are in violation of British Treaties, commercial and otherwise, with foreign countries. I think he will find that the number of cases in which the provisions of this Bill could not be reconciled with our commercial undertakings is very considerable, and there cannot be the slightest doubt that such a change would be the cause of endless irritation to, and protest from, many reputable and desirable foreign visitors to this country. The noble Earl knows well enough that you cannot have extraordinary clauses and a very irritating code of restrictions against aliens without making it necessary to examine with very great care and rigour all kinds of foreigners who come to this country; and I hardly need point out to the House that the machinery necessary to administer these regulations would be very great and expensive. After all, in the past twenty years we have had some experience of Aliens Acts, and it is well known that the construction of the machinery for a Bill which goes so far as the Bill of the noble Earl would add another, and not one of the smallest, to those bureaucratic stalls of whose swollen dimensions we have heard so many complaints.

I need not, I think, say more. But I will add a further word about Part III of the Bill. This is the provision contained in Clause 30. It provides that—
"From and after the passing of this Act all persons to whom certificates of naturalisation were granted after the first day of January one thousand nine hundred and eleven shall cease to be British subjects, and shall be deemed to be persons to whom certificates of denisation have been granted under this Act."
This, however, is subject to one generous remission of the provisions—namely, that those who have been blameless and valuable British subjects for ten years shall cease to be British subjects but shall not be obliged to pay the poll tax, but only obliged to pay the extra Income Tax imposed upon such aliens. I think that is a case which the side note of the noble Earl, not without humour, describes as "Rights of persons naturalised since 1910."

Now this denaturalisation provision, I must say plainly, is almost incredible upon its technical side. It ignores entirely the special provisions enacted by your Lordships so short a time ago as 1918, as regards the review of all certificates granted during the war to persons of enemy nationality, and the general provision as to the revocation of certificates for certain specified causes, and would have the utterly unjustifiable consequence of denaturalising, through no fault of their own, large numbers of innocent and perfectly good citizens, and also those who have earned British citizenship by eminent services rendered during the war. As the noble Earl knows, there are many such cases. They would have to remain aliens for the rest of their lives. I have given very great trouble to this Bill, because I thought it was my duty to examine it as carefully as I could in the time which was available to me, having regard to the evident care which the noble Earl had bestowed upon the matter, and, as I think he knows, I am by no means out of broad sympathy with many of the larger proposals contained in the Bill. I think, however, that on reflection, and on consideration of some of the objections which I have attempted to put forward, he will be convinced that there is very little prospect of legislation upon these lines and upon the framework of this Bill.

My Lords, I want to say only a few words in reply to the noble and learned Lord. I desire to point out to him that this Bill at any rate does not increase the difficulties with regard to legislation affecting aliens, because it actually reduces the number of Acts and Orders remaining in force. It abolishes the Acts of 1914 and 1918, and puts only one Act in their place. There remain the Restrictions Acts of 1914 and 1919 and a large number of Orders issued this year. Therefore this Bill, whatever may be its defects, does simplify the law in regard to aliens. As regards this legislation affecting the Dominions, I think the noble and learned Lord must have forgotten Clause 11, by which it is distinctly laid down that this Act does not affect the Dominions, but that a Dominion can adopt it if it so desires.

I noticed that the noble Earl said that the Bill did not affect the Dominions, but my trouble was that it did.

I understand the noble and learned Lord's point. It was this—that the Dominions, when they came to consult in the Imperial Conference of 1911, were asked to have some form of citizenship applicable to the whole Empire, that this was found to be impossible, and that then Clause 2 of the Act of 1914 was drawn up, which all the Dominions were prepared to accept. Clause 2 of this Bill points out the requirements of an alien for naturalisation. I do not think that any Dominion is less likely to be ready to accept Clause 2 of this Bill than it was to accept Clause 2 of the Act of 1914. The requirements in this Bill are much stricter than those in the Act of 1914. I quite see that there are many points in this Bill which require discussion with the Dominions, but at any rate I hope I may achieve this, that His Majesty's Government will give further consideration to the subject in view of the experiences of the last six years, and will reopen the question; and I venture to hope they will not take, as they did before 1914, 13 years before they manage to pass an Act into law.

Certainly the suggestions and proposals of the noble Earl shall be very carefully considered.

Motion for Second Reading, by leave, withdrawn.

Profiteering (Amendment) Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.

My Lords, I regret that owing to the indisposition of my noble friend Lord Milner, who generally takes charge of these measures with regard to profiteering, it falls to me to move the Second Reading of this Bill. This Bill is, of course, a continuation of the previous Act. The first Profiteering Act became law on August 19 of last year. It was to last for 6 months; it was prolonged for another three months; and it will, I understand, elapse on the 19th of May, a date very near us. It has been dealt with as rapidly as possible in another place. It was discussed in Committee on the 11th and 12th of this month as a matter of urgency, and it passed the Report and Third Reading on the 13th. I only state this to show that the other House dealt with it rather expeditiously, as one is asking your Lordships to deal with it. It is quite true that in Clause 10 the Act that is about to expire is to be continued and still have force until this present Bill becomes an Act, but your Lordships will see the urgency of passing this Bill, because considerable administrative difficulties might occur if that were not done.

This Bill is first of all an extension for one year of the principal Profiteering Act, and it contains also Amendments to that Act. I do not think that I need say much about the necessity for the Bill and the question of high prices, because your Lordships are very familiar with the conditions which apply to every other country as well as to our own. Indeed, we are more favourably situated as regards prices than I believe any other country. Moreover, the difficulties of production are still enormous, and two great countries in the world—Germany and Russia—are still almost entirely out of action so far as any production is concerned that will be of use to other countries, and until some equilibrium is established between the great demand for commodities and their supply it is impossible to hope for any substantial reduction in prices. Nor indeed, with such a condition of things, can legislation produce any very great result.

I do not desire, on behalf of the Government, to put too high the advantages of a Bill of this kind. Taking one particular fact or element like profiteering in one particular country obviously cannot have a very wide-reaching effect upon prices. At the same time I think we may claim that in a time when prices are high the opportunities for making excessive profits are particularly great and that therefore a Bill of this kind is necessary. Furthermore, owing to the fact of prices being high, the attention of the public is particularly directed to those prices and to any excessive profits that may be made. I should like to claim further that the success of the Profiteering Act during the last year must not be measured by the number of successful prosecutions that have taken place under it, because it has acted as a deterrent and has no doubt had some considerable effect as a deterrent in reducing excessive profits.

As to the scope of the Bill, it does not deal with control over certain special important articles of food. It is outside them altogether. The difficulty, of course, of a Bill of this kind is that in a time when trade is struggling to re-establish itself we have to be very careful to do nothing which may check the revival of trade—a revival which would do away with the necessity of Bills of this kind. This therefore is a modest measure; it is temporary, and it deals with a temporary emergency—that is to say, the excessive prices which arise naturally and easily in time of scarcity.

I should like to deal quite shortly with the principal provisions of the Bill. The first clause is an attempt to do away with a great deal of Government machinery by allowing or urging either single traders or associations of traders to assess themselves—that is to say, they may make schemes, and those schemes may indicate what, under the particular circumstances of their trade or their portion of the country, is a reasonable profit. Those schemes are submitted to the Board of Trade, and if they are accepted it will be sufficient when any of these persons are attacked to say that the amount of profit they have been making is not in excess of the amount laid down in the scheme, and they will thereby be entirely exonerated. There may be another special advantage connected with the making of schemes. If the Board of Trade are satisfied that under these schemes an adequate, supply of material is afforded to the home market, then these associations of traders may be entirely free from the very elaborate, tiresome, and expensive investigations to which they are liable under Section 1 (1) (a) of the principal Act. It is quite possible, and the Board of Trade is competent, to undertake all these investigations, but your Lordships generally disapprove of any very large extension of Government Departments or multiplication of officials, and therefore you will probably accept readily suggestions and proposals of this kind which will do something to mitigate that increase.

There are certain Amendments in Clause 2 which extend the provisions of Part I of the Act beyond cases of sale. They extend them to hire purchase transactions and other arrangements of that kind, as to which there has been a great deal of complaint and which hitherto have escaped the provisions of the Bill. Moreover, so far under the principal Act it has been what has been done after the last process in manufacture has been completed that has been principally attacked, but under this Bill the Board may if it chooses, and only if it chooses, bring under the provisions of the principal Act various processes of manufacture—repairing, altering, dyeing, cleaning, washing or other methods of that kind—and may, if the Minister of Transport agrees, also deal with cases of excessive charges for road transport.

The next point to which I desire to call your Lordships' attention is to the definition of "profit." This was found to be rather too widely defined in the principal Act, and under subsection (3) of Section 2 a fresh definition of profit is adopted. The definition varies according to whether the particular trader was engaged in the business before the war, or whether it is a new business that he has adopted since the war. In the one case in considering what is a reasonable profit you have to consider the profit he was making before the war, and in the other case you have to consider the average rate of profit prevailing in that particular locality among the same class of traders before the war.

There is another provision—a small but important provision—in subsection (4) referring to cases of prosecution in wholesale cases. Prosecutions may be undertaken within one year after the commission of the offence. Previously the time was six months, but it has been found, in the case of wholesalers, that this was almost inoperative, because of course they have sold to the retail dealer and then he has sold at a price which is considered to be excessive, and then when the case came to be examined before the tribunal the defence set up was that the retailer was not making an excessive profit but that the wholesaler was doing so. And, as that would only come out generally rather more than six months after the goods had been sold by the wholesaler, the extension of this period from six months to a year is necessary in order that such goods may be dealt with.

Clause 3 is a question of trade competitors, and whether trade competitors can sit on tribunals. An exception is made in the case of members of co-operative societies, because I understand that in some of the towns in the North almost everybody is a member of a co-operative society, and therefore, unless they could sit on these tribunals, there would be no tribunals at all. But a careful exception from this rule is made in the case of those who are officers or managers of those societies, who might be considered to have a real interest, and therefore to be unfair judges of those who were their competitors in trade.

Then there are powers of inspection by the Board of Trade. These give the Board of Trade powers for the production of books and so on, and strengthen their position in order to get information in cases where these offences have taken place. Then the publication of reports is made legal, but there is this careful proviso, that before any such reports affecting different businesses or trades are made public the persons concerned may come and state their case before the tribunal, and show their reasons why they think it disadvantageous to that particular trade or unfair that these reports should be published. Clause 7 deals with particular protection for secret processes or preparations. In those cases, it is decided, it is not necessary that an investigation should be held into what may be a secret and private process. That is waived, but an arrangement by which an accountant can assess the costs of production is substituted. I think the only remaining Clause to which I need call attention is the provision against victimisation, that is to say, if anybody in a village, we will say, has in a public-spirited manner objected to an excessive charge he is not to be penalised by possibly the only man in the village who deals in the particular article in question refusing to deal with him. That is made an offence, and is punished. Those are the principal provisions in this Bill, and I hope your Lordships will give it a Second Reading.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .—( Viscount Peel.)

My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Viscount whether he can give some explanation of one of the clauses to which he has not alluded. It refers to the finance of this Bill. I do so because of the speed with which it has been hurried through, both initially in August last, when the main Act was passed, and also last week. The main Act was passed just before the Recess and the Bill was rushed through both Houses. After nine months' incubation, with plenty of time to consider it, it is now brought forward immediately before the Whitsun Recess, and we are told we are to pass it.

The Bill, I think, left another place at 3 o'clock on Friday morning, and arrived here late on Saturday afternoon, and many noble Lords yesterday said that they had not seen it. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, called attention to the manner in which it had come through, and I have heard murmurs from other Peers who were present in the House at that time. My attention was called to it because I happened to see one clause to which I took exception. I then read the Bill through and, to use the noble Viscount's own words, it appeared to do away with a good deal of Government machinery, so that the Bill enabled one of these Ministries at least to reduce the number of officials. Actually here was a Bill with some saving of expenditure. The rest of the clauses seem to follow in the same way as Clause 1, that clause being to contract out of Government supervision and examination, and therefore not demanding so much Government machinery. Clause 2 simply dealt with the manner of payment, no new addition, but hire purchase payment; and Clause 3, if the two Ministers agree, enables you possibly to put before a tribunal an extortionate taxicab driver; or the Board of Trade might do very much without, or possibly stop in the midst of dealing with the examination in the inquiry into a whole industry, if they found that the profits came in the midst of this examination.

Those seem to me to be clauses which allow some cutting down of expenses, and, to see how much they have been cut down, I got hold of the Act of 1919, and I must say that I was amazed to find that, instead of £75,000 a year being provided for the Act, this Act provides for £120,000 a year. At the present day £45,000 a year is nothing, but it is the accumulation of expenses going on in this way which is so serious, and the Bill has been pushed through both Houses at this speed, and nobody seems to have noticed the extra expense that is put on—and that in the case of a Bill where the work of the officials ought to be less. The sum of £45,000 is comparatively little, but I do not know that more officials are required for this Act—I cannot conceive it—it is sweeping away Government machinery, and either the estimates for the old Act were very much below the mark, or else this is a great deal too high.

My Lords, I should like to address a question to the noble Viscount with regard to the purview of the Bill. I concur with my noble friend who has just sat down as to the proposal to increase the expenditure under the Bill. I have observed that in all these measures there is the same tendency to suppose that you can make the Bill more efficient by adding largely to the staff. I know that the whole subject is one of the greatest complexity, and I suppose that the noble Viscount himself would not claim that the Act of 1919 has hitherto had any marked success. In fact, I believe there is a general feeling throughout the country that only a few small prosecutions have taken place, and I do not think we have heard from the noble Viscount anything which leads us to believe that there has been any general reduction of charge in any of the staple trades.

Let me take one instance, the case of wool and cloth. I have heard it stated that the difference in the price of wool paid when it arrives in this country, despite all the great increase of charges for freight—the difference between that and the price for the made-up article is one of the greatest differences which has occurred as a result of the war. I believe the same may be said of cotton. I want to ask the noble Viscount whether the Government has considered that the real difficulty of these prices is that the price which the manufacturer is inclined to charge is an equivalent price to that which he can get by sending the article abroad. I put this as a hypothesis to the noble Viscount, and I ask him whether I am not correct in this assertion—that if the Government were to say to all the manufacturers of cloth, "You will in future have to sell in this country anything you do sell at x figure," the reply of the manufacturers might be "We are full up with orders for the foreign market, and we are forced to take these orders on, for which we can make any charge that the foreign market is willing to pay," and the result of that action would simply be to cause a shortage in this country.

I suggest to the noble Viscount that, whether it be economically sound or not, if you want to make a profiteering Bill effective in bringing down the price of some of the staple articles of consumption and use without reducing the price, the only course open to the Government is to consider whether they should not say to the manufacturers, "Show us what your profit should be; you shall take a reasonable profit, but you are bound to sell at that profit such-and-such a percentage of your production in this country, and for the remainder you can get what price you like by sending it abroad." I ask this question because I very much fear that, on this point of the general rise of prices, owing to the great market abroad the only effect of interference by the Government may be to shorten supplies here. I would ask my noble friend whether that question has been considered; and I am afraid I must join in what the noble Lord behind me (Lord Askwith) said—namely, that it is really almost a scandal that subjects of this kind should be brought forward in such great hurry just before the recess. It is obvious that there is not the slightest opportunity to introduce Amendments in Committee and to have them considered. We cannot even confer with our friends outside on a measure which we saw in print for the first time only yesterday. The natural result of such an action can and must be to limit the usefulness of this House; and I have ventured to make these few observations only because I desire to know from the noble Viscount whether the Government have considered the difficulty.

My Lords, I think one question raised was why the cost under the previous Bill was suggested to be £75,000, and why it should be £120,000 under this Bill. I do not know that I can give a very satisfactory answer, because I believe it is not a question of increasing officials, as he seems to suppose, but that it is rather to meet a contingency in the way of heavy legal expenses. As a matter of fact, not nearly one half of that £75,000 has been spent in the first six months of the working of the Act; therefore it must not be assumed that the whole of that extra amount represented merely the multiplication of officials.

As to the question asked by the noble Earl, I suppose it is fairly obvious that if you prevent people from selling an article above a certain price in a particular country the tendency will be for the goods to be sold at the best price in an outside market. That is why the Bill has been so drawn. If the noble Earl will look at Clauses 1 and 2 he will see that their whole object is not to cut down profit but to prevent unreasonable and excessive profits; and, indeed, so far as you can, to get the different traders and associations of traders to agree amongst themselves what is a fair and reasonable profit, so that, as the noble Earl suggested, they may sell in the home market. I called attention to that in Clause 1, subsection (2). It is an advantage to them as regards their trade to be able to make these arrangements and to be free from these tiresome and rather harrassing investigations; and, as an inducement to them, they are asked to make these arrangements if the Board of Trade is satisfied on the particular point to which the noble Earl has alluded—that is, that an adequate supply of these articles is taken for the home market. You are, of course, to some extent sailing between two dangers. You have to prevent the prices being too excessive and being profiteering prices in this country, but at the same time you have to make the profits so fair and reasonable that there is not the temptation—as there was under the Coal Bill when prices were limited as regards the home market—to send everything out of the country.

One further thing about expenditure. A very small amount of the £75,000 was actually spent in legal expenses. The two sums which I think my noble friend Lord Askwith took were not comparable. I think he rather suggested that £75,000 was for a year as was also the £120,000; but I understand that the former amount was for a half-year. The £120,000, is, of course, not double £75,000, and is therefore a reduced sum. Instead of taking £150,000 only £120,000 is taken. Consequently on those figures it would appear that there would be some reduction. This money is taken to some extent in fear of certain legal charges.

My Lords, this discussion of a Bill is, of course, a very inconvenient process at this period of our proceedings and in this desperate hurry. May I say that it makes it a little more difficult if Ministers, who are very hard worked in other Departments, do not really know the answers to the questions which are put to them. I do not complain in the least of my noble friend Lord Peel, who has all his work cut out for him in helping the Secretary of State for War, that he does not know the full answers to questions that are put by noble Lords on the actual terms of this Bill which has nothing whatever to do with his Department; but it makes it extremely difficult for your Lordships, who are asked to get through everything in a couple of days, if the Minister in charge of the Bill is not in a position to answer questions.

My noble friend Lord Askwith has put a question to the Government as to the expense set down in the Bill, and, as I understand, he shows that the sum of money allocated in the Bill is larger on the face of it than the sum allocated in the principal Act. The noble Viscount says he thinks it is for half a year and not for the whole year—

At any rate we shall be very glad to know the purpose for which this £125,000 is required; why this large sum of money should be proposed to be voted in the Bill under discussion. I then come to the question of my noble friend Lord Midleton. He wants to know whether the Government have thought of the dilemma which he carefully explained to your Lordships. I do not desire to repeat what he said, but merely to recite it in one sentence. If you control the price in the home market there are certain commodities which will be driven abroad where the price is not controlled, and, where you are dealing with a commodity of first necessity like wool, that may have a very formidable result on the whole market. My noble friend asked whether the Government had faced that question—whether they had considered it. Certainly in listening to my noble friend Lord Peel it did not seem that he was aware whether they had thoroughly threshed out that particular point.

What will the Government do supposing they find, with regard to a commodity of first necessity, that the effect of limiting the price is to restrict the home supplies? Is there any clause or provision in this Bill or in the principal Act under which they will be able to relieve the necessity of the home markets; or will the noble Viscount have to come to Parliament again, probably the day before some recess, in order to persuade us to pass another Act to get the Government out of the particular dilemma in which they are placed? One would have thought that there would have been a provision in the Bill itself that where the Secretary of State—is it a Secretary of State or a Minister?—where the Minister certifies or ascertains that the effect of the restriction is to drive a commodity abroad and to limit the home supply, there would be some means of relief granted without coming to Parliament again. I do not gather that that matter has been really contemplated by the noble Viscount, though, no doubt, it has been contemplated by the Department to which this Bill actually belongs. I am sorry to have to press the points, but I should have been glad if the Government could have added some further word to relieve our anxiety in that important respect.

My Lords, I beg to move that the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill be adjourned until some day after the recess. It is clear that the House is not prepared to deal with it adequately or in any manner consonant with our reputation. I think advantage would be gained both by the Government and by other members of the House if the debate were adjourned until we have had an opportunity to consider the Bill more carefully.

Moved, That the debate be adjourned.—( Lord Ampthill.)

My Lords, I hope that my noble friend will not press this Motion. I do not know whether he was in the House yesterday when I explained the rather unfortunate position in which we find ourselves in regard to this matter. The Act to which Lord Salisbury has just referred, and which, I must admit, was passed under very inconvenient circumstances on the last day of our sitting, comes to an end in the course of a few hours. It is quite true that there is in this measure a clause which says that the Act shall be deemed to have come into force in the event of its not having come into force, or something of the kind, in order to bridge over any interval between the passage of this Act and the date of expiry of the old Act. None the less I submit to your Lordships that it is early and there is ample time—considerable time at any rate—to examine the Bill, and it would be very unfortunate if the Bill were deferred until after the recess. I admit that there are obvious difficulties in the measure, to which Lord Salisbury has just referred, but I submit most respectfully and, indeed, most decidedly, to your Lordships that the fact of there being difficulties is not a justification for putting off the measure and involving us in any possible Departmental or legal difficulties which might result from there being an interregnum between the two stages.

My Lords, I quite perceive from what the noble Earl has told us that it would be an inconvenience to His Majesty's Government if the matter were postponed, as the noble Lord below the gangway suggests. But I think, before expressing the agreement of the House with the noble Earl, that we should be glad to be informed what is the precise danger of which His Majesty's Government are afraid if the coming into operation of the Bill were postponed for a fortnight, which the adoption of Lord Ampthill's suggestion would mean. I understand that there is a clause in the Bill providing that its effect will be produced retrospectively whenever it passes. Do the noble Viscount and the noble Earl really think that in the event of the postponement there will be a sort of orgy of improper action on the part of those affected by the Bill which would have any serious national results? It cannot be disputed that the House has not had a chance of examining the provisions of the Bill properly. That I do not think the noble Earl attempted to contradict. That being so, one would be glad to know what is the really imperative need of its immediate passage, and what dire consequences may follow if it is postponed for the short time contemplated by the noble Lord.

My Lords, the noble Marquess, I think, rather suggested that there would be some inconvenience to the Government if there was a sort of interregnum, if the present Act comes to an end, as it does, on the 19th, and we have to wait until after the recess in order to pass this measure. He says that there is a provision in the Bill (as I stated when I moved the Second Reading) whereby the existing Act is prolonged until the time when the present Bill becomes an Act. That is so. But I think the noble Marquess and your Lordships will see how extraordinarily undesirable it is, not from the Government's point of view—

I must admit that the Bill is running rather close to the date. If there was an unfortunate lapse of six or seven hours, or perhaps half a day or twenty-four hours, it was necessary to provide against it. The fact that there was a possibility of there being some little lacuna of that sort between the lapsing of the first Act and the commencement of the operation of the second Act shows how extraordinarily inconvenient and troublesome it would be for business in this country for an Act like this suddenly to lapse and then for there to be a gap when anybody could charge what prices he liked and the whole of the machinery would be temporarily suspended.

If, therefore, the idea that there should be a lacuna, or gap, or interregnum of only a few hours or one day is inconvenient, how immensely more inconvenient it must be for the whole trade of the country if, perhaps for two or three weeks, this gap should be left and that only after the lapse of that time and all these operations have gone on we should pass an Act retrospectively (as it were) lengthening the period of the previous Act. I cannot conceive a more troublesome state of things than that for the country. The noble Marquess asks whether we think there might be a general outburst of profiteering. I do not know. Possibly there might not be, but, anyhow, there would be a terrible breakup of the machinery of administration and a great disturbance of the minds of traders who would not in the least know where they stood during that time. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will not press the postponement of the Bill till after the recess. May I point out though, no doubt, your Lordships have not had a very long time to consider it, on the Committee stage of the Bill (which comes on tomorrow) your Lordships will have plenty of opportunity to consider particular provisions.

In further answer to the question about the money, I have pointed out already that the reason for the discrepancy between the two sums is that one is for the half-year and one for the whole year, but I would be very glad indeed to-morrow, when we come to the Committee stage, if your Lordships allow the Bill to pass Second Reading, to give any full account I could of the particular items which cause the size of the Estimate. That I should be extremely glad to do if it would help your Lordships in coming to a decision.

My Lords, I do not think we can allow the procedure of our House to be interfered with on every occasion, and at the same time not get adequate answers to the questions we put as to the tenor of the Bill itself.

Surely it is an adequate reason—£75,000 for six months and £125,000 for a year.

The question before your Lordships is whether the debate should be adjourned. The only effect of an adjournment would be that the Second Reading would stand for to-morrow. It does not follow that the Bill will be put off until after the Recess, but your Lordships would have further time to consider it between now and to-morrow. It may be that by to-morrow we shall be satisfied and allow the Bill to go through. That depends, of course, on your Lordships' House. But no definite harm will be done if we adjourn the debate, and we shall have recorded an emphatic protest against the way the Government manage business. I say this with all the greater assurance because I know it is not the fault of Ministers in this House. I know my noble friends opposite are absolutely blameless in the matter. It is due to the extraordinary way in which business is done in another place. It is not as if the House of Commons was hard worked in these days. Everybody knows that is not the case. They often go to bed, and I congratulate them upon it, a great deal earlier than I was allowed to go to bed when I had the honour of a seat in the other House. I think Lord Ampthill was fully justified in moving the adjournment of the debate.

May I say one further word? Lord Ampthill proposed the adjournment of the debate until after Whitsuntide, but the noble Marquess has thrown out a suggestion which puts rather a different complexion upon it. He says, "Postpone the Second Reading to-day, and, having given further consideration to the Bill, we will see if we can pass the measure within the statutory limit of the existing Act." If your Lordships are prepared to pass this Bill to-morrow, or by Thursday, I would agree at once.

In that case I am afraid I must resist the Motion for the adjournment of the debate.

We are entirely in the hands of your Lordships. I repeat that a very grave departmental situation may occur in the fact that the old Statute will have come to an end and will only be prolonged, ex post facto, by this Bill, which may, or may not, pass after Whitsuntide. I wish to add one further personal word. My noble friend Lord Peel only took charge of this Bill yesterday evening owing to the fact that Lord Milner was suddenly taken ill.

I do not know what action your Lordships will take, but I suggest that it is an intolerable position in which to place this House. We have asked whether it is not possible to pass an amendment which will largely extend the scope and usefulness of the Bill, and the only answer we get is that we must pass the Bill to-morrow at all hazards. I shall do my very best to bring before the Government the nature of the Amendment which I mentioned to the noble Viscount just now. If the Government would undertake to deal with such cases as I alluded to it would probably have a very large effect in reducing the cost of articles. They have not the power under the Bill at the moment, and we really ought not to be denied an opportunity of having sufficient time for debating the measure.

I did not know that the noble Earl indicated he was putting down an Amendment. If he desires to do so, I suggest he could put it down to-night and we could discuss it to-morrow if we had to sit up all night. There is no objection to that course.

My Lords, I think it would be a good lesson for the Government if we adjourned the Second Reading until to-morrow in order to give them an opportunity of affording information on the points which have been raised. It seems a reasonable request. I do not understand the noble Marquess to say that he will not vote for the Second Reading of the Bill, but his suggestion that we ought to have some more information before giving assent to the Second Reading is a good one. On previous occasions I have objected to passing measures through this House so hurriedly—measures of great importance that ought to be criticised. Somebody ought to be taught a lesson; whether it is the House of Commons or the Govern-


Crewe, M.Haldane, V.Greville, L.
Lincolnshire, M. (Lord Great Chamberlain.)Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)Lambourne, L.
Lawrence, L.
Salisbury, M.Methuen, L.
O'Hagan, L.
Bathurst, E.Ampthill, L. [Teller.]Parmoor, L.
Grey, E.Askwith, L.Southwark, L.
Midleton, E.Avebury, L.Strachie, L.
Stanhope, E.Cawley, L.Stuart of Wortley, L.
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Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.)Sandhurst, V. (L. Chamberlain.)Islington, L.
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Peel, V.Oriel, L. (V. Massereene.)
Bradford, E.Phillimore, L.
Chesterfield, E.Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.)Rathcreedan, L.
Craven, E.Armaghdale, L.Shandon, L.
Eldon, E.Atkinson, L.Sinha, L.
Lytton, E.Colebrooke, L.Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)Heneage, L.Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
Verulam, E.Hylton, L.Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)

Resolved in the affirmative, and debate adjourned accordingly.

Representation Of The People (No 2) Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, I have every confidence that your Lordships will agree to the Second Reading of the Bill. The object of the Bill is to remove an ambiguity.

ment, I do not know. Information has been asked for and is not forthcoming; and we are getting into a very slipshod manner of doing our business. I shall support the Amendment.

The noble Earl must allow noble Lords to make their Motions in their own terms.

On Question, whether the debate shall be now adjourned?—

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 30; Not-Contents, 27.

The first subsection of Clause 1 explains that a boy under twenty-one years of age, who has been entitled to have a vote and be put upon the Parliamentary register, and who is demobilised before attaining the age of twenty-one, shall have that vote before he reaches the age of twenty-one; and the second subsection makes it clear that a boy who joins the Army, and who is not of the age of twenty-one, after the war, shall not be entitled to be put upon the register. These are very briefly the proposals in the Bill. We do not ask your Lordships to pass it through all its stages before Whitsuntide.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .—( Viscount Astor.)

On Question, Bill read 2a , and Committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Savings Banks Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, the most important object of this Bill is to make provision for the continuance, after the expiry of six months from the end of the war, of the present suspension of the limits which in normal pre-war times applied to deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank and in Trustee Savings Banks, and to remove the limits which applied and still apply to investments in Government stock through the medium of a Savings Bank. The pre-war limits on deposits were suspended at the end of 1915 (by Treasury Order under the War Loan (Supplemental Provisions) Act), and it is proposed that this freedom from limit should continue, power being reserved to the Treasury to reimpose a limit if it at any time seems advisable.

General arguments in favour of the removal of limits on deposits and investments are the absurdity of discouraging thrift, and the recent development of the Post Office register, where, since the issue of the 4½ per cent. War Loan, there has been no limit on holdings. The Bank of England and the Bankers Clearing House have been consulted with regard to the provisions of the Bill and offer no objection. The Bill also provides for an increase in the rate of interest that may be paid by the National Debt Commissioners to Trustee Savings Banks, at present, under Statute, 2¾ per cent. per annum. The Banks, backed by the National Debt Commissioners, have represented that an increase is necessary in view of the great increase in expenses of management. The Post Office are overhauling their Savings Bank regulations, and provision is made in this Bill to extend the power of the Postmaster-General to enable him to make regulations on certain minor points hitherto uncovered. No alteration of practice is intended.

Further, the Bill proposes to remove the existing limit on the amount which a Savings Bank depositor may deal with by way of nomination. This is in line with the removal of the limit on deposits, but would be desirable even if that were not contemplated. The present arrangement under which a depositor can only nominate half his possible (pre-war) holdings has often confused an unsophisticated depositor. As a corollary to the abolition of the limit on deposits the limit of £1 imposed on the fees chargeable in respect of the Registrar's awards in disputes about Savings Banks deposits is removed by the Bill. The Bill also contains provisions for the change of the name "War Savings Certificates" to "National Savings Certificates," a change earnestly desired by the Savings Committee, who have already dropped the word "War" from their title.

I ought, perhaps, to point out to your Lordships that the reason why the Government are anxious to get this Bill passed through all its stages before Whitsuntide is that the Savings Bank's half year begins on May 20, and if Parliament thinks proper to enable this Bill to become an Act by that date the changes will be made as from May 20, It is for that reason and for no other that I ask your Lordships to allow this Bill to be read a Second time to-day, and I will put it down for its further stages to-morrow. It is a Bill that I think your Lordships will agree is a minor Departmental measure, and it certainly provoked no debate in another place. I hope, therefore, that it will pass through all its stages by Wednesday.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a .—( Lord Hylton.)

My Lords, I confess that I am never any good at finance, and I certainly have not gathered, as I ought to have done, the great importance of the Bill from the speech of my noble friend. It may be a Bill of urgent importance, but I did not gather it from him. I gathered rather that it was one of those useful Bills which contained desirable amendments in the law, and one that required the scrutiny that all Bills require, but otherwise, though a desirable Bill, it was not a very important one and could not be regarded as very urgent. I did not learn that anything very serious would happen if this Bill were not passed before the Recess. Of course, if the noble Lord were able to say that very serious consequences would result if the Bill were not passed before the Recess, I should perhaps take a different line, but if I am correctly advised that it is one of those useful Bills which nevertheless require scrutiny then surely the Government would be well advised to take the Second Reading now and not press the Bill any further. I suggest to my noble friend as a suitable arrangement that he should not press the matter any further until after the Recesss.

After what my noble friend has said, I suggest that if the House would be good enough to read the Bill a second time this afternoon I will communicate with the Treasury and ascertain from them whether it really is important that the Bill should pass by Wednesday, and inform the House of their view.

My Lords, as a matter of comment upon the greater or less importance of this Bill and its title to be regarded merely as a minor Departmental measure, I perhaps may be allowed to remark that it affects the total maximum amount which may be deposited by an individual depositor. It also affects the future rate of interest to be paid upon deposits in savings banks. As the honorary president of a trustee savings bank I am bound to rejoice in anything which increases the prestige and resources of such an institution, but it is to be observed that the maximum rate of interest, and again the maximum amount that may stand to the credit of the depositor, has hitherto been regarded as a matter to be solely regulated by Parliament itself, and if this Bill passes it will become a matter regulated by the Departmental authorities, subject only to what may be called the negative approval of the Houses of Parliament by the expiration of a certain period from the day during which a new Executive Order is laid upon the Table of the Houses of Parliament. That may be right or it may be wrong. I merely wish to draw the attention of your Lordships to the fact that it is yet one more step in the direction of substituting Departmental and bureaucratic authority for Parliamentary authority. I have still to learn that the rate of interest to be paid upon deposits has to be changed so frequently or with such an amount of levity that we should be compelled to sanction this great facilitation of procedure. It has not been thought desirable in the past, and I do not quite understand why it is necessary now.

There is one rather ominous provision in this Bill which is that whereas the limit upon this maximum amount which a depositor may have to his credit is to be removed there is a power of discriminating between classes as regards the exercise and enjoyment of the privilege, for privilege it is. I wish your Lordships thoroughly to understand that it means that the depositor has the capital value of his investment guaranteed to him by the State. It is not like the holder of Consols, who may see the capital value of his investment rise or fall with the state of the market. The depositor in a savings bank has his capital absolutely guaranteed to him, and so long as he chooses to leave it there he is sure to be able to get his capital out again in full, while on the other hand the State is liable, I believe at four days' notice, to have to find him his money to whatever sum it may amount. I do not think that is exactly a minor Departmental purpose.

On Question, Bill read 2a , and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Tramways (Temporary Increase Of Charges) Bill

Read 3a with the Amendment, and passed, and returned to the Commons.

National Health Insurance Bill

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—( Viscount Astor.)

Since my noble friend addressed your Lordships yesterday I have made myself acquainted, very superficially, with the tenor of tins Bill. It is a Bill of very considerable importance, and it was only in the hands of most of your Lordships for the first time yesterday, because I presume you were not in London on Sunday. It is a Bill of 21 clauses, most of them clauses of legislation by reference. I dwell upon that very specially, because it is of great importance from your Lordships' point of view. This House is above all things a House for revision of legislation. It has to see that all legislation is properly framed and properly enacted, and there is no such difficult legislation as legislation by reference. It requires special scrutiny to see that none of the references conceal legislation which your Lordships would wish to criticise.

Besides the legislation by reference, there are one or two proposals of an obviously very important character. There is, first of all, the question of the tubercular provision to which my noble friend opposite referred in his Second Reading speech yesterday, but he did not explain what the policy of the Government was in reference to the treatment of tubercular disease. The effect of the provisions of the Bill is to strike out the old sanatorium provisions from the principal Act—so at least I understand—and my noble friend said the Government intended to legislate in another manner on this subject. It would have been probably convenient if he had been able to tell us what the policy of the Government was upon this very important subject. If the Government come to Parliament and say, "We propose that you should abolish all your present provision for tubercular treatment, we have a better idea," then it would seem to me to be suitable that they should tell us what that better idea is before we consent to dispense with what we have got. We would rather know exactly where we stand. That appears to be a very important matter which was omitted.

Moreover, there are some important provisions in Clauses 10 and 11 of the Bill. I am not going to dwell upon them at any length. I only want to refer to them with a view of suggesting to your Lordships a course which I think ought to be pursued. The appeal to the County Court on questions of fact as to whether a man is employed or not are profoundly modified; in fact, the County Court jurisdiction is entirely cut out of the principal Act. My noble friend opposite did not mention that yesterday, but said there were other proposals in the Bill which he would not go into. Surely these are rather important provisions. To cut out the jurisdiction of the County Court altogether is an important matter, although, as far as I can make out, the protection of the High Court remains. Nevertheless there is a general exaltation which is typical of all the legislation which is now presented to us of the bureaucratic authority of the Minister as against the impartial jurisdiction of a Court of Justice. That is the kind of procedure and the kind of policy to which we have become in a melancholy way familiar in recent years. This appears to me of great importance.

Now the Bill comes before your Lordships at this period of the session. What protection have the people of this country that legislation is going to be properly done? It is not only that your Lordships' House is treated with this disrespect. Just see how this Bill was treated in the House of Commons. I specially desire your Lordships' attention to this. The Second Reading was taken the same night as the Army Estimates, beginning at about midnight and getting through at about 3 a.m. Then the Bill was sent upstairs and was passed through the Standing Committee in one day. You would have thought that upon a Health Insurance Bill you would have had all the great medical authorities of the House put upon the Standing Committee. Not at all. There was only one medical member on the Standing Committee. It was all hurried through in one day—all this legislation by reference. Any of your Lordships can see the tremendous modifications it makes in the principal Act—all sorts of additions to the pecuniary burden thrown upon the country, and thrown upon the employer. All these things are hurried through in one day upstairs. Then there was the Report stage and the Third Reading. That came on in the all-night sitting, between midnight and 6 a.m. in a very small House. That is the legislation which has come up to your Lordships' House.

An appeal is then made to us to get the Bill through, without consideration at all, before the Whitsuntide holidays. Is it possible to treat Parliament with greater contempt? The real truth is that the departmental Ministers do not really care a bit how Parliament is treated—neither the House of Commons nor the House of Lords. Get the Bill, get a little more power to the Minister—that is what they want, and let Parliament go and look after itself. I do really think that this is a scandalous state of things and I earnestly hope that your Lordships will not submit to it. I do not mean to say that I shall persist in the course which I am going to suggest to your Lordships, because the Government may be able to persuade us that that would not be wise. But, in order to bring the point to a head, I beg to move that the debate be now adjourned.

Moved, That the debate be adjourned.—( The Marquess of Salisbury.)

My Lords, I sincerely trust that the noble Marquess will not persist in his Motion. As I explained yesterday, it is very urgent that this Bill should get through during this week. We have to send out by the end of this week something like 20,000,000 cards to be filled in, registered, given numbers to, and distributed among approved societies. Unless those cards are sent out before the Whitsuntide Recess it is quite impossible for the approved societies to be ready by July 5, when the contribution for the next half year begins. In addition to that, if we do not get this Bill through all its stages before Whitsuntide a serious additional burden will be put upon the Treasury.

Those are two practical reasons why I trust your Lordships will enable this Bill to get through. As I explained yesterday, I have been expecting its arrival for some weeks. My right hon. friend the Minister of Health has been trying, as far as he was able, to get it passed through the House of Commons. The noble Marquess said it was passed through some of its stages at a late hour of the night or the early hours of the morning. That is a good illustration of the sort of pressure under which, I understand, the House of Commons has been working during the last few days. We were not able to get time during the afternoon or the early hours of the evening. We expected on two occasions that we should be able to take the Bill, but unfortunately urgent and important discussions in connection with finance, the Budget, and Home Rule made it impossible for the Leader of the House to give the Minister of Health the time which he wanted. He had nothing to conceal, nor did he in any way want to burke discussion on the Bill. I entirely agree with the noble Marquess that this is an exceedingly unpleasant Bill to have to study. It is legislation by reference in every Clause. Having had to try and study it and master it, I entirely agree with him that it is a very unsatisfactory Bill as far as the draughtsmanship goes in that respect.

There were two points raised by the noble Marquess, one about Clause 10, dealing with the determination of questions as to unemployment, and the other about the clause Which takes out the appeal to the County Court and merely gives an appeal to the High Court. The latter clause was put in in order to simplify the procedure. It was felt that, so long as the right of appeal existed to the High Court, it would simplify matters not to have the intervening stage. No exception was taken to that, and I understand that that would be a matter of considerable simplification in getting uniform decisions, and also in expediting such appeals as may have to be made. As regards the other clause, Clause 10 is framed, as one or two other clauses in the Bill have been framed, to bring it into conformity with the other Bill dealing with unemployment insurance which is coming up, and deals with the determination as to whether a particular individual is an employed person (and so an insured person) or not.

I am very glad that the noble Marquess raised the larger question of the policy of the Government as regards tubercle. I have been interested in the administration of this disease for many years now, and I tried yesterday very briefly to explain why it is that we are taking sanatorium benefit out of the Insurance Act. At the present moment the position is quite anomalous. Insured persons have to pay for treatment, non-insured persons who are very often better off financially get free treatment. Treatment is provided through the local authorities, either by agreement with insurance committees who hand over their funds in order to make an agreement for the treatment of the insured persons for whom they are responsible, or else local authorities may themselves provide treatment for noninsured persons, getting a Treasury Grant to the extent of 50 per cent. of maintenance for the provision of treatment. If this is passed all that happens is that the local authorities will provide for the population at large.

We propose in another Bill that there shall be provisions enabling the local authorities to provide what are popularly known as village centres, where men may have training where they may be continuously employed. We find unfortunately that a certain number of men are treated for tubercle and are apparently cured; then, because they return to the conditions under which they lived before they contracted the disease, they relapse. All those who have been interested in the treatment of tuberculosis will probably have followed the very satisfactory results obtained at Papworth. We want to make it possible for the larger local authorities to provide village centres as part of the organisation for the treatment of consumption; so that all that will happen until the other Bill is passed is that the population at large will be provided for by the public health authorities. There will be a Treasury grant to relieve the rate-payers of a part of the cost of providing treatment—that is to say, that the insured persons will be on exactly the same footing as the non-insured persons; so that you will remove the anomaly which you now have of people who are less well off having to pay for treatment, whereas very frequently people who are better off get free treatment. That is the position in which the insured person will be. The provision of institutional treatment is proceeding. I gave the figures yesterday, though I have not them by me now; but as far as I recollect there are 17,000 beds in institutions at the moment and we are considering the approval of 7,000 or 8,000 additional beds. There has been the same difficulty in providing beds, as, there has been in providing every form of institution, since the Armistice; but the number of beds available is being increased with considerable rapidity by and through the larger local authorities. We want to simplify administration and to put the whole responsibility upon the public health authorities. Our policy is based upon simplification and unification.

I hope that I have answered the questions put by the noble Marquess. I earnestly hope that your Lordships will enable us to get this Bill through this week, or the Treasury will be put to large expenditure which otherwise would not be incurred; and also it would be quite impossible for the approved societies to get the 20,000,000 cards properly filled in if this Bill is not passed until after Whitsuntide.

My Lords, the appeal which the noble Viscount has made to us is certainly of a persuasive kind. I think your Lordships will be anxious, if possible, not to put the Treasury to any greater expense than otherwise would be the case, and, as we plead every day for greater economy, it would, perhaps, be more consistent with our general attitude not to involve the country in greater expense. There is no doubt also that my noble friend who has just sat down has very fully responded to my request to know what the policy of the Government was with respect to the treatment of tuberculosis; though for my own part, and I think this applies also to the other House, I would rather have seen the new proposals before we get rid of the old so that we should know exactly where we stood. However, I do not want to press the point any further, having regard to what the noble Viscount has said, and we shall perhaps be content to allow this Bill to go through before Whitsuntide. I hope, however, that the proceedings of this evening will have convinced His Majesty's Government that they can no longer count upon the House of Lords passing Bills at the last moment without proper consideration, and that on a future occasion we shall find that His Majesty's Government have made arrangements by which the proper revising obligation of Your Lordships' House can be efficiently performed.

Motion for the adjournment of the debate, by leave, withdrawn.

House in Committee (according to Order).

Bill reported without amendment. Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a and passed.

Ejection (Suspensory Provisions) (Scotland) Bill

House in Committee (according to Order): Bill reported without amendment. Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX having been suspended) Bill read 3a , and passed.

Karachi Troop Train Incident

rose to ask His Majesty's Government, in regard to the so-called "Karachi troop train incident" of the 5th June, 1916, whether it is now possible to exonerate Major-General D. Shaw from the blame which was imputed to him in view of the facts—

  • 1. That the first telegram from the Government of India declared that all measures for the comfort and protection of the troops which were within the competence of the military authorities at Karachi were actually taken;
  • 2. That that statement has not been controverted by any official inquiry;
  • 3. That no charge has been brought against Major-General D. Shaw;
  • 4. That the present Secretary of State for India has stated in the presence of witnesses that in his opinion Major-General D. Shaw had "been most unjustly treated"; and that
  • 5. The late Secretary of State for India actually invited Major-General D. Shaw to memorialise him.
  • The noble Lord said: My Lords, my object in putting to His Majesty's Government the Question which stands upon the Notice Paper is to afford an opportunity for a necessary act of reparation, to give His Majesty's Government an opportunity of repairing a cruel injustice which has been done to an honourable gentleman and a gallant soldier. I need say only a few words in explanation. I shall endeavour to state the facts of the case in an entirely dispassionate manner, as my only object is the one I have stated. In earnest of my good faith, I have refrained from putting down a Motion for Papers which, in accordance with the custom of this House, would give me the right, of reply.

    Some of your Lordships may remember the facts of the case. On June 5, 1916, the transport "Ballarat" arrived at Karachi with reinforcements. Those reinforcements were ordered up country, and in crossing the Sind Desert at that terribly hot time of the year it unhappily came about that there were nineteen fatal cases of heat-stroke. That was by no means an unprecedented incident. There had been previous cases of heat-stroke since the beginning of the war, not only on the railways of India but also on ships at sea, but they had not come to the knowledge of the public. To give a specific instance, there was one case of the Connaught Rangers, in the previous year I think, who had a few fatal cases of heat-stroke.

    But this particular case got into the newspapers and, not unnaturally, excited a great deal of indignation in this country. Explanations were demanded, and the Secretary of State for India—at that time Mr. Austen Chamberlain—read out a telegram in the House of Commons on July 20, 1916, from the Government of India. The effect of the telegram was that everything possible that could be done for the comfort and welfare of the troops had been done, that the train was not overcrowded, that there were a plentiful supply of ice, a coffee-shop and large supplies of mineral waters, and so on.

    But the public and the House of Commons were not satisfied. They demanded that the responsibility for having sent the troops up-country at that time of year and for the consequences of the decision should be brought home to somebody, that the blame should be fixed and the responsible person punished. It is obvious that the responsibility rested with the Government of India, and the Government of India alone. The diversion of the "Ballarat" from Bombay to Karachi could only have been an order from Army Headquarters in India. Anybody who knows anything at all about the Army will know that this is an order which must come from Army Headquarters. Similarly, the order for troops to proceed up-country must have come from Army Headquarters. It is also sufficiently well known that the orders for the railway transport of troops are invariably, must inevitably be, centralised, and, as a matter of fact, in India there are very definite Regulations as to the railway transport of troops, which are laid down in the Indian Army Regulations, volume X; and from which no officer, whatever his rank may be, can possibly depart without a grave breach of discipline.

    It follows, therefore, that Army Headquarters—that is to say, the Government of India—were responsible for this order, and I can tell your Lordships exactly how it came about that the transport was diverted from Bombay, which was the proper port at which it should have landed the troops, to Karachi. It happened that the Secretary of State, when asked for reinforcements for India, was very anxious about the possible consequences of landing unseasoned and very youthful reinforcements of British troops in India at that time of year. He asked the Government of India to be particularly careful about their treatment and also to see that they were landed at Bombay, at which place there are better facilities for landing and taking care of troops than there are at the port of Karachi. It so happened that the Commander-in-Chief in India at that time resented this advice, this entirely proper advice. What happened was that when the next reinforcements came this ship was diverted from Bombay. The actual reason why it was diverted—the Departmental reason—was that the ship contained motorcars which could not be sent on the railway from Bombay and could be more conveniently landed at Karachi. That is the fact, and the person responsible for the detailed orders of the train did not think of the troops but only thought of the motorcars. These orders ought to have been examined by other authorities in Army Headquarters who ought to have given very special instructions for the care of the troops. Indeed, they ought never to have allowed the troops to be disembarked at Karachi. They should have landed them at Bombay, and sent the motor-cars to Karachi. That was the obvious thing to do, but it was not done.

    The point is that the responsibility rested with the Government of India. However, people in this country were not satisfied. They wanted some one to blame, and the Government of India were asked to fix the responsibility. On August 1, 1916, the Secretary of State for India read another telegram in the House of Commons which absolutely contradicted the first telegram. I can give it to your Lordships, but I do not want to take up your time. The telegram, after contradicting all that had been said in the previous telegram, wound up by saying that the Government of India proposed to remove General Shaw from his appointment. The Secretary of State for India acquiesced in this decision of the Government of India without any further inquiry and without even waiting for the Report of the ordinary Court of Inquiry on which the decision of the Government of India was supposed to be based. General Shaw—I am merely stating the facts—General Shaw was removed from his appointment at a moment's notice, without being informed why he was removed, and in circumstances which involved humiliation and disgrace in the eves of his troops and the people of Karachi. It was not till October, 1916, when General Shaw returned home, that he heard at all or that he had the slightest idea that he had been made a scapegoat by the Government of India, that he had been held up to odium in both Houses of Parliament and that his character as a man and a soldier had been blasted in the eyes of the whole English-speaking world. He immediately went to the Secretary of State and asked for redress. I understand that Mr. Chamberlain received him in a sympathetic manner and declared that he was not satisfied; in fact, showed that he thought General Shaw had not had fair treatment and invited him to submit a memorial. General Shaw did this. He submitted a memorial to the Secretary of State, who had promised that this memorial should go out to the Government of India for their remarks. Nothing has been heard of that memorial, or of the reply of the Government of India, although it was drawn up three years ago. Meanwhile, Mr. Chamberlain left the India Office in connection with the situation which had arisen in Mesopotamia and was succeeded by Mr. Montagu.

    These are just the bare facts. What I want to impress upon your Lordships at this stage is that no charge of any kind has ever been brought against General Shaw in regard to this matter, and that he has not been cersured by the Government of India in an official and formal manner on account of his management of affairs at Karachi. I also want to tell your Lordships that never at any time during his thirty-six years of military service has he had an adverse Report concerning himself, unless—and I make this exception—such Report, contrary to the Army Act and contrary to the King's Regulations, has been kept from his knowledge. General Shaw has never seen or heard of any adverse report affecting himself. I hope you will not be told what the other House was told on the several occasions when this question was raised, that the present Secretary of State had offered General Shaw an inquiry and that General Shaw had refused it. That sounds a fair offer, but it is not so if you know the actual details. What was offered to General Shaw was an inquiry in India. That is to say, that the Government of India were to be made the judges in their own case, that they were to be asked to inquire into, and pronounce upon, their own conduct. General Shaw's appeal is, of course, against the Government of India which unjustly condemned him. But General Shaw has not refused this inquiry.

    What General Shaw has said is this—"Before you hold any further inquiry—and you can hold any inquiry you like—as to my responsibility, remove the stigma on my name. Otherwise, I have to appear before any Court which yon may institute as a condemned man." That is all I am asking for on behalf of General Shaw. I am asking that the stigma which has been unjustly placed upon his name may be removed. No inquiry is necessary for that purpose. The facts are there on the official record. You have them from the Government of India, and there is ample corroboration. Nor do I want to drag any one else into the matter or get any one else condemned or blamed or punished. All that is needed is a statement on the high authority of the Secretary of State that according to the information which has been received General Shaw was blameless in regard to the Karachi troop train incident. As a matter of fact General Shaw not only did everything he ought to have done, and prescribed by Regulations, but he actually took the responsibility of exceeding those Regulations in order to do everything he humanly could for the comfort and safety of the troops. That is the fact. I want a statement to that effect; a statement which would show that General Shaw was blameless in the matter. If that is made the natural sequence would be that General Shaw would be reinstated and would then be free to retire immediately from the Army without a stain upon his honour.

    I should like to tell your Lordships, and it is a very significant and incomprehensible fact, that for three years General Shaw was kept on unemployed pay for the admitted purpose of keeping his lips sealed. Whenever he made a move in this matter he was told to remember that he was amenable to military discipline. That was the answer he got from the India Office. It was hardly fair. Of the two other people who were dismissed at the same time, and made to share his responsibility, one of them was immediately promoted and subsequently rewarded and the other was allowed to retire on a pension. There only remains General Shaw, and I hope that the noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State has received instructions which will enable him to make this tardy and highly necessary act of reparation.

    My Lords, I hardly think the noble Lord expects me to make what he calls "reparation" to General Shaw in the matter about which complaint has been made, because on more than one occasion, as the noble Lord indicated in his speech, the Secretary of State in another place has indicated all that it was possible for him to do in regard to General Shaw's grievance. The facts as stated by the noble Lord are, perhaps, sufficient for present purposes, but I should like to emphasise a little more than he did that it is not a usual occurrence for there to be 150 cases of sunstroke resulting in fifteen deaths of gallant soldiers in India during the drought season or at any other time. It was a most unprecedented thing, I believe a particularly unusual thing, which occurred in June, 1916—when these new troops freshly arrived were sent from Karachi a distance of nearly 1,000 miles through the desert of Sind with what certainly appeared afterwards to be insufficient accommodation in practically every respect.

    One of the reasons which Lord Ampthill suggests should induce the Secretary of State to exonerate General Shaw is that the first telegram from the Government of India, dated June 15, read by Mr. Chamberlain in the House of Commons on July 20, declared that all measures for the comfort and protection of troops which were within the competence of the military authorities at Karachi were actually taken. No doubt the telegram said that; but I do not know whether the noble Lord is aware that that telegram was practically a reproduction—it was sent after the occurrence, on June 15, the incident happening between June 5 and 9—of the telegram which General Shaw had himself sent to the Government of India in answer to inquiries. Afterwards the Government of India, of their own motion as well as by virtue of a request from the Secretary of State, appointed a Committee to inquire into the whole occurrence, and as a result of the Report of that Committee sent a telegram, which was read by Mr. Chamberlain in the House of Commons, in which they said that their considered opinion on the Report of the Committee which had gone thoroughly into the matter was that adequate steps had not been taken for the protection of these troops. Apparently the noble Lord desires that the Secretary of State should now say that the second telegram, based on the Report of the Committee, was wrong, and that the first telegram, practically reproducing General Shaw's own statement, should now be accepted as absolutely correct.

    May I interrupt for a moment? The second telegram was not based on the Report of the Committee. In no way is it borne out by it.

    I beg the noble Lord's pardon. I rather think he is wrong with regard to the facts, because in the second telegram, dated July 30, the Government of India said that this was their considered opinion after having studied the Report of the Committee which had investigated the facts. The noble Lord will find that I am correct with regard to that.

    The noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting again. The telegram of July 30 is not in any way supported by the evidence of the Committee of Inquiry.

    That is quite a different matter. The Government of India based their second telegram on the Report of the Committee, and said that after carefully studying that Report they came to the considered conclusion that sufficient steps had not been taken for the protection of these troops. It is now admitted that adequate steps had not been taken. The train was unsuitable, and perhaps ought never to have left in June, proceeding through the desert of Sind such a long distance to Rawal Pindi.

    That was precisely what the Committee of Inqury was directed to investigate. They went into the conduct of each particular officer concerned with the whole of that matter from start to finish, and there is no question but that the Committee decided that some portion of the blame at any rate rested upon Major-General Shaw. That is what the Government of India stated to the Secretary of State in their telegram of July 30, 1916. It is perfectly true that no charge was brought against General Shaw. It is perfectly true that there were certain irregularities. General Shaw was not asked to cross-examine other witnesses—he was a witness himself before the Committee—as he would have been if there was a definite charge against him. It was by virtue of these irregularities and because the Secretary of State, first Mr. Chamberlain and then Mr. Montagu, thought that General Shaw had some cause of grievance that he was offered another inquiry, and all difficulties that were suggested in the way of this inquiry the Secretary of State offered to do his best to obviate. That was done not once but twice. It was done more than two years ago, and was repeated as late as December last year, and the offer was kept open for another week after it was made in December, but General Shaw has not thought fit to accept it. He has insisted that the inquiry must be preceded by a full retraction of the censure which the Govern- ment of India, as a result of the investigation of the Committee of Inquiry, thought fit to pass upon him. The Secretary of State has said more than once in the House of Commons that it is impossible for him to constitute himself a Court of Inquiry; that he is not competent to do so; that all the facts cannot be investigated by him in the same manner as by a Court of Inquiry; but that so far as General Shaw has a grievance, and so far as it is possible for him to redress it, he will give General Shaw every opportunity of vindicating his character as an officer before another Court of Inquiry. In those circumstances I submit that your Lordships will not think that the Secretary of State has in any way dealt harshly or hardly with General Shaw.

    I notice that in the Question put by the noble Lord there is one statement made, "that the Secretary of State for India has stated in the presence of witnesses that in his opinion Major-General D. Shaw had 'been most unjustly treated.'" I do not think I can let that pass without informing your Lordships as to what the Secretary of State authorises me to tell you—namely, that he does not accept the statement that he at any time said that Major-General Shaw had been most unjustly treated. What he did say—I am not trying to reproduce his words—was that General Shaw may have a grievance by reason of the irregularities that I have mentioned, and that so far as he could he would remedy that, and give him redress by constituting another Court of Inquiry; that he would pay all the expenses of the witnesses that General Shaw wanted to be examined in India, if they were in this country; and that he would give every facility for General Shaw being able to call all the evidence he wanted to call. In those circumstances I submit to your Lordships that the Secretary of State could not pursue any course other than he did; that he cannot, I submit with confidence, withdraw the finding of the Court of Inquiry and start General Shaw, as the noble Lord presses he should, so to speak, with a clean slate. There is the finding of the Court of Inquiry, and if General Shaw says it is not binding upon him, he was at any rate told that he was welcome until December to another Court of Inquiry. If he chose not to accept that offer, I venture to submit that it does not lie in his mouth now to complain of injustice or hardship.

    I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but it was the India Office who said that the Court of Inquiry did not inquire, and was not constituted to inquire, into the conduct of General Shaw.

    I cannot agree with the noble Lord as to that being the statement of the India Office. The Court of inquiry was constituted for the purpose of investigating this occurrence, and to consider and report who, if anybody, was responsible for its result. That the result was most deplorable no one will deny. There were 130 cases of sun-stroke, resulting in fifteen deaths. It is quite clear now that, whoever was to blame, adequate steps had not been taken. The Court of Inquiry, with the evidence before it, came to the conclusion that General Roe was one of the persons responsible, and he was punished. General Shaw was another, and the medical adviser was also dealt with.

    He obtained some other employment of a technical character, but was relieved of his administrative charge, and never obtained an administration charge from that time. As regards the medical adviser, he has agreed to have a fresh Court of Inquiry, and the Secretary of State has promised to give all the assistance he can in constituting such a fresh Court.

    My Lords, before this debate comes to a termination I should like to say one or two words, because in an article written by my noble friend some months ago dealing with this question in the National Review he brought the charge against me, along with other Ministers who have been successively in the India Office, that we had been unjust to General Shaw. Had I considered myself guilty of an injustice I should most certainly have responded to my noble friend's invitation to offer a public apology and make whatever reparation lay in my power. It is because I do not feel that I have anything to make in the nature of reparation in regard to that extent to which I was connected with this question that I would like to make one or two very brief observations.

    Lord Sinha has stated the case so clearly and fully that there appears to me to be no reason for going over it again. I do not propose to enter into the merits of the case. I think it would be improper on my part to do so. I did not feel myself qualified, when Under-Secretary of State in 1916, and later on when acting in the capacity of Secretary of State during Mr. Montagu's absence in India, to form and much less to express an opinion as to whether and to what extent, if at all, General Shaw was to blame in this matter. In regard to the Court of Inquiry which investigated this unhappy incident, when the findings of the Court came before our consideration and attention in the India Office, we most carefully examined the whole of the proceedings of that Court, and certainly I formed the opinion, and I think all my colleagues in the India Office formed the opinion, that the sentence passed upon General Shaw was of a character that the evidence before that Court did not fairly justify, in his interest. Therefore, with the full consent of the Secretary of State in Council, the Government of India was urged to institute a further Inquiry. As a result of that an Inquiry was offered to General Shaw.

    My noble friend pours scorn upon the Inquiry which was offered to General Shaw, and that I cannot understand. An inquiry was offered to General Shaw on the only lines and in accordance with the only military procedure that could be offered to him—namely, in the country in which he was serving, and in regard to the military jurisdiction under which he was serving. It could not be held in this country. I understand that it would not have been in accordance with military procedure that it should be. But quite apart from that, I would like to bring this important aspect of it before your Lordships' attention. This inquiry was offered to General Shaw—I think it was in the latter part of 1917; anyhow it was at a period when the war had reached its most grave and critical stage and when India was having to play its most important and critical part in that stage—and if, as General Shaw asked, an inquiry had been instituted at that period in England, it would have necessitated the bringing over to this country of quite a large number of witnesses, including officers of high standing who occupied at that time most responsible positions. It is unnecessary for me to dwell on the point further. It would be quite unthinkable at that stage of the proceedings—with trouble on the Frontiers and with a Mesopotamia campaign which was being very largely borne by India—to dislocate the whole military machinery by bringing home, merely for the convenience of General Shaw, witnesses who were holding responsible positions out there. Therefore I do not think there is any cause for complaint, and there can be no cause for complaint in regard to the inquiry being offered to General Shaw in India.

    But there is one other aspect of this question which has not been alluded to in the debate, and it is one, I venture to say, of not inconsiderable importance. The first rule, which I understand has never been broken in the Army, is that no officer has any right to claim a Court of Inquiry or a Court-Martial. There is a very prevalent idea even among Regular soldiers that they have the right to a Court of Inquiry to clear their character. As a matter of fact I am given to understand, and I believe it to be quite correct, that they have not. There is also a very prevalent misconception on the part of civilians as to the difference between efficiency and discipline, which I will not go into now. The fact remains that no officer has the right of an Inquiry. Many officers have applied for one. I understand that scores of officers have asked for an Inquiry because they have been removed from their command during the last five years of the war, and in the great majority if not all of those cases that application has been refused. That to my mind is a very important aspect of this question, and I would ask my noble friend to take it into full consideration.

    Are you suggesting that General Shaw has claimed a Court of Inquiry? because just now you said he refused one.

    I am suggesting this—that General Shaw came and made repeated complaints, as my noble friend perfectly well knows, to the Secretary of State and to the authorities in the India Office, and as a result of those complaints, coupled with the examination in India, an Inquiry was offered by the Secretary of State to General Shaw. What I am trying to point out now is that in making that offer to General Shaw a very exceptional concession was granted to him, a concession which has been denied to a great many other officers in the Army, and a concession which the authorities both in India and in the India Office would have been perfectly within their rights had they refused in the case of General Shaw. Therefore whilst I have deep sympathy with the feelings of General Shaw, as all of us would have, if he feels he has suffered a humiliation I cannot help thinking that he really has no cause for complaint, for the India Office—and I would say this, against the expressed opinion of the Commander-in-Chief at the time—ordered the assembly of a Court of Inquiry, which I very much doubt would ever have been done had a similar case been brought before the authorities of the War Office in this country. This gave General Shaw every opportunity to have his case fully examined into, and for him to be exonerated if blame did not unduly attach to his action at Karachi. He has had an opportunity—and the only opportunity that could be afforded to him—of stating his case. While I have sympathy with General Shaw, I feel that whatever humiliation he has suffered to-day is really due to the fact that he refused the opportunity that was afforded to him to clear himself in the Inquiry.

    My Lords, I have no first-hand knowledge of this case, because I am pleased to say I left the India Office before this unhappy incident and various other unhappy incidents with which that Office was concerned took place. I do not know General Shaw. I have never, so far as I know, met him. Therefore I am completely without bias of any kind either in his favour or against him. At the same time, having heard the statement of the noble Lord and having read his article in a magazine of last month, I cannot feel that the official statement is from the point of view of abstract fairness entirely satisfactory, although I hasten to say at once that I am quite sure that both Secretaries of State—Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Montagu—and my noble friend the Under-Secretary and his predecessor Lord Islington have done everything that they possibly could within the limits of official practice to secure that no injustice should be inflicted on this officer.

    It may be, as I think Lord Islington has implied, that General Shaw is the victim, if he is a victim at all, of circumstances rather than of official action, and to a certain extent this may be so, as I think I can show in a moment. But there are one or two points upon which one has to be clear. I understand that nobody suggests that General Shaw was in any way responsible for sending these troops from Karachi through the Sind desert. That, I take it, was the act of Army Headquarters. It is quite clear that a General officer who is in charge of embarkation at a port has no voice in the question whether a particular consignment of troops should be sent on a particular route. If such an officer, when receiving an order to send troops to a certain destination at a certain time, were to ask in return the question, "Are you sure that is a wise thing to do?" his position would not in all probability be an enviable one in the future; and one must assume that so far as the actual dispatch of these troops is concerned General Shaw is no more responsible than all the other officers of similar rank in India or elsewhere. Of course, he may have been responsible for the mode of conveyance or the provision of comforts. I understand at any rate that the noble Lord, Lord Ampthill, asserts that so far as the facts are concerned General Shaw is not to lie found to blame; that he is assumed, according to the statement of the noble Lord, to have done everything he could in the way of the provision of comforts and so on, even over and above what the regulations sanction. Those, of course, are questions of fact, and not baying seen the evidence of the Court of Inquiry, I am, of course, in no position to state what those facts are, or how they affected the terms of the second telegram, the condemnatory telegram, of which we have heard.

    It certainly would be more satisfactory, if a case of this kind is to be brought before Parliament at all, that there should be some means of following more closely the chain of events which led to the singular change in the terms of the two telegrams. These personal questions are, after all, of first-rate importance. It has always been, I confess, my practice in the various offices which I have had the honour of filling to regard these questions affecting the fate of persons as very often of more real importance than matters of high policy with which a Minister is assumed solely to concern himself. I trust, therefore, and indeed believe, that the authorities of the India Office will have given their best attention to the whole history of this case, and have reached their conclusion after giving the utmost care to all the circumstances.

    I only wish to make one more point about the Court of Inquiry. I confess that I am not altogether surprised that General Shaw was not attracted by the offer of a second Court of Inquiry. It is very difficult in a case of this kind to conduct a Court of Inquiry on the regular lines of Military Courts of Inquiry in a manner which will bring out all the facts to the satisfaction of the public. Remember that this event is precisely of the same character—it is on a smaller scale, and therefore it could not be treated in the same way—but it is precisely of the same character as those events which produced the Mesopotamian Commission. Nobody thought that the tragedies of the Mesopotamian Expedition could be dealt with by an ordinary Court of Inquiry, and precisely the reasons which made that procedure undesirable also apply in this instance. I confess I do not believe that the procedure of an ordinary Court of Inquiry in India into a case of this kind could be in essence satisfactory. I think the circumstances were such, involving the responsibility of Simla in so many different ways, that it is hardly conceivable that a Court of Inquiry could bring out all the facts and all the deductions in the way, for instance, that the Mesopotamian Commission brought out all the facts connected with a very parallel set of circumstances.

    And for that reason I am not altogether surprised that General Shaw was not attracted by the idea of a second Court of Inquiry in India. I do not claim to know how the first was composed, and who sat upon it, and how far it could be regarded as an independent tribunal. But I am not altogether surprised. It may be that it is General Shaw's misfortune that he did not care to take that particular method of obtaining what he considered to be redress, and that there was no other opening. That may be. I am not prepared to say that there was, unless the representatives of His Majesty's Government are prepared to acquit him off-hand; but, if so, I think he is a person greatly to be pitied, because the little that I know of the circumstances leads me to believe that the ordinary official or military methods of inquiry do not, in fact, meet the case fully in this instance.

    The Special Reserve

    rose to call attention to the invidious distinction which has been made between the Special Reserve and other branches of His Majesty's Forces; and in particular to ask why the General Service Medal which has been awarded to Naval Ratings, Coastguards and Anti-Aircraft personnel who served only at home during the war has not also been awarded to Special Reservists who rendered very similar services under very similar conditions and were only detained at home for the good of the Service; and to move for Papers.

    The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am quite aware that questions similar to that which I have put on the Paper have been asked in another place. But they are not the same questions. I am not making a claim for recognition in the shape of the General Service Medal on behalf of Territorials who remained at home, or Volunteers, or of any other of the many classes of persons who served His Majesty during the war, but on this occasion merely on behalf of a very small number of soldiers of the Regular Army who wore serving in the reserve battalions. Of the Special Reserve itself I suppose that 99 per cent. of all ranks sooner or later went out to the front, and went out twice and three times. But I am speaking of the people who were kept at home very much against their will—it broke their hearts to be kept at home, but it was only for the good of the Service. It was not because they were unfit or inefficient, but because they were indispensable for the work of preparing to win time war in this country that they were kept at home. Such people were the quartermaster, the regimental sergeant-major, the regimental quartermaster-sergeant, the shoemakers, the master tailors, and so on—men on the permanent establishment. It is absurd to say that these men did not do as much to win the war, or that in a true sense they did not just as much go to the war from the beginning to the end as the enormous number of men—more than half the Army abroad—who remained at the back of the front; for instance, people who were at Havre or Marseilles and other places not in the zone of fire. They have got the War Medal and several other medals—the 1914 and 1915 medal—but they really were further off from the fighting than many of these people on whose behalf I am speaking. And indeed in some cases Special Reserve battalions actually suffered casualties and were under fire from aircraft and from ships of war, on the coast of this country. But I make no point of that.

    My point is that the work of these men helped as much as, and even more than, the work of many other men to win the war. These old soldiers have been relying on a promise which was made to them by the late Field-Marshal, Lord Kitchener. Unfortunately I cannot lay my hands on the actual text of it, or tell your Lordships where it is to be found, but there is a distinct and widespread impression that Lord Kitchener said, when these men represented that it was hard on them to be kept at home instead of being allowed to go out to join the other battalions of their regiments, that it made no difference whether they went out or stayed at home, they were doing the work of the country and would be treated in the same way as their comrades.

    I wish to call attention to the invidious distinction which has been made between the Special Reserve and other branches of His Majesty's Forces, and I want to tell your Lordships what I mean by that. The public does not know what the Special Reserve did during the war, and the thing I am going to say, startling though it is, is based on utterances of high officials at the War Office and members of the Army Council, that, even at the War Office, very little is known of the Special Reserve. At the very outbreak of the war the Special Reserve had three-fold duties placed upon them, without the due and faithful performance of which we could not have won the war. In the first place, they had to reinforce the Regular Army. The Regular Army which went out in 1914 could not have kept the field for six weeks without the Special Reserve; and while the Special Reserve was being trained in that way they had to take over the duties for which the Territorials were not trained or ready—the defence of the coasts of this country. Thirdly, they had to train reinforcements not only for the Regular Army but also to form the nucleus of the New Army. Those duties were carried out and, in rough figures, the Special Reserve provided in the form of drafts for the Armies in the field no less than 67,500 officers and 4,763,000 other ranks—that is to say, roughly 2,000,000 out of the 8,000,000, or thereabouts, which were raised throughout the British Empire. In other words, the Special Reserve provided, raised, trained, and equipped, one-fourth of the total number of our fighting Forces.

    You will hardly believe it, but the Special Reserve alone of all branches of His Majesty's Forces were not mentioned particularly in the thanks of Parliament to the Forces of the Crown. They were absolutely ignored. There is the most conspicuous instance of the manner in which invidious distinctions are made, and it bears out what I said just now that not even at the War Office do they know much about the Special Reserve. The men for whom I speak are Regular soldiers. They are more than that; I might call them hereditary soldiers. Most of them, so far as I know—I am not speaking for my own Regiment as I have had no complaints from them, I am speaking for a number of other regiments from whom I have heard these complaints—are men who were born in the Regiment, whose fathers and grandfathers were in the Regiment before them, and they belonged to a class which has always been held, and rightly held, to be the very back-bone of the British Army. Is it worth while for the sake of a few hundred medals to embitter and cruelly disappoint this class? It is an important thing for which they are asking. You may not think that a medal is of much account, but imagine what it must be for the man who has been a soldier all his life, after the greatest war that has ever been to have to retire to private life with nothing to show that he has been through it, with nothing to show that from the first to the last day he was breaking his heart over the most difficult, and arduous, and tedious work that fell to the lot of any one—the training of recruits and of reinforcements. These men feel it bitterly when they are among their wives and daughters and their other women-folk, because these point to them and say, "Look at So-and-so; he was out for three weeks only; he has been a soldier for only three months, but he has three ribbons and you have nothing."

    It is also of practical value. When these men leave the Army and look for employment the kind of post they get is, perhaps, that of Commissionaire. They go to an employer and he asks, "What medals have you got?" and the man replies that he has the Frontier medal, the General Service Medal for South Africa, and so on. He is then asked, "Why have you not the medals of the big war?" and he is told that he will not make a good enough show unless he has those medals. It is not too much to say that a great many of these excellent soldiers are losing chances of employment because this recognition is not being given to them. They want something to show that they took their part in the war, and you must agree that the part they played was in no way inferior to that of any other rank or class of people. They are asking for only one decoration. The men whom they trained, who—perhaps, were only three or four days at the Front during the whole war, men who, perhaps, never even heard the sound of the guns, have three decorations.

    The only thing I have to add is that I know that what is deterring the Army Council from making a recommendation to His Majesty in this respect is that they are afraid it will create a precedent, and that they may find it difficult to refuse applications for war medals from a million or more people who put on khaki but who were not fully trained soldiers, who did not even give full time to the job, and who were not physically fit to play any great part in the war. But the men for whom I speak are regular soldiers; they were soldiers long before the war; they were soldiers who each played a very special and valuable part in the making of that splendid Old Army which saved this country and the world in 1914. They were men trained and fit in every way, and it was a real cruelty and hardship to them to keep them in this country at the work of training. But the work they did was, as was acknnowledged by Lord Kitchener and by every inspecting officer who went round, of the greatest possible value. Therefore I hope that my noble friend, to whom I have written privately more than once on this matter pointing out all these considerations, will have been able to secure such consideration of the matter at the War Office that he will be able to make an announcement which will remove this sense of bitterness and disappointment which prevails among a class who are the most valuable of the citizens of this country. I beg to move.

    My Lords, I am extremely sorry that I cannot make a statement in the sense my noble friend desires. He has raised that very difficult question of who is entitled to the war medals; and he knows very well that these questions of theatres of war, areas within which persons may claim these war medals, and their definition, necessarily must cause a good deal of unfairness and some hardship. He has said with perfect truth that many persons who have gone to theatres of war, and who have come back with two or three decorations, have not really done more and have run no greater risks than many who did hard work in this country. All those things I am bound to say are true.

    But the only answer that I can give him at present is much on the lines of what was said by my right hon. friend the Secretary of State in another place—namely, that a distinction anyhow had to be drawn, as regards the war medal, between those who went to the war and those who did not, and that it might to some extent depreciate the value of the war medal if it were granted to persons who did not go to the war. Obviously there is very great hardship to a number of people who, contrary in fact to their own desires, were not allowed to go to theatres of war, that they therefore did not get the war medal. I suppose one must consider that the fortune of war. Then my right hon. friend also stated, as my noble friend recollects, that anyhow this task of getting war medals ready would take some years and, therefore, he thought that those who did go to the war ought certainly to have priority over any others, although he did not prejudge the question as to whether a medal should be given to those who did not go to the war but served in this country. At the same time, I think he rather suggested it might not be wise to give the same medal to those who did not go and yet served in this country as to those who did.

    I quite understand that my noble friend on this occasion is speaking on behalf of a certain limited class of men, and he believes he can draw a distinction between them and others who did not go to the war. Nobody recognises more than my noble friend that if once—and it is occurring constantly with the granting of medals and decorafions—if once you do grant a medal to a particular class of men it is almost impossible to refuse it to other classes of men. Therefore, you are inclined to draw the line where possibly it may be considered in some quarters rather harsh. My noble friend appeals for these men on the ground that they were old soldiers who were prevented from going to the war. If it is possible to draw any particular distinction in their case nobody would be more pleased than myself, but all I can undertake to say now is that I will represent to the Secretary of State the very forcible way in which my noble friend has put forward this case. Certainly will I undertake that when this matter does come to be considered the case of these men shall have very full consideration. In fact, I will put forward the matter myself and see if it is possible to draw any distinction in their case. But I can make no promise, because I am not sure whether it will be possible to do so.

    I am very much obliged to my noble friend for his sympathetic reply, and I can at once suggest to him a means of drawing a distinction. The suggestion I make is that the General War Medal should be granted to all men who were serving under regular enlistment in the Regular Army prior to 1914. That would make a hard and fast line. There is no question whatever that the war was won by the whole British Army, and that wherever men of the Regular Army were serving they were playing their part. My noble friend said that if you once begin to give medals to one class it is difficult to know where to stop. I would ask him, Is the medal going to be given to all Members of Parliament seeing that it has already been given to Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd George? You will never convince the public that it is fair to bestow war medals on these two eminent statesmen and not to give them to soldiers who, day in and day out, were breaking their hearts over their work in the Army.

    I was not referring to the honorary gifts of medals. The distinction to which I alluded was between men who went into a theatre of war and those who did not. If, for any reason, you grant medals to a class of men who did not go to a theatre of war, obviously all those very large classes of men who did not got to a theatre of war will ask why they are not included in the particular decoration.

    Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

    House adjourned at five minutes past 'eight o'clock.

    From Minutes Of May 18

    Public Utility Companies (Capital Issues) Bill

    Returned from the Commons with the Amendment agreed to.

    Census Bill Hl

    Second Reading (which stands appointed for Wednesday the 9th of June) put off to Thursday the 10th of June.

    acquainted the House, That the Clerk of the Parliaments had laid upon the Table the Certificates from the Examiners that the further Standing Orders applicable to the following Bills have been complied with:

    • Halifax Corporation.
    • Port of Portsmouth Floating Bridge.
    • Portsmouth Corporation.
    • Huddersfield Corporation (General Powers).

    Also the Certificate that the Standing Orders applicable to the following Bill have been complied with:

    Ministry of Health Provisional Order (Hertford Extension) [H.L.].

    The same were ordered to lie on the Table.

    Standing Orders Committee

    Report from, That the Standing Orders not complied within respect of the Petition for Additional Provision in the

    Sheffield Corporation Bill

    and the

    Lowestoft Corporation Bill

    ought to be dispensed with, and leave given to the Committees on the Bills to insert the Additional Provisions:

    That the Standing Orders not complied with in respect of the

    Middlesex County Council (Tramways and Improvements) Bill

    ought to be dispensed with provided that all powers relating to the construction of new tramways be struck out of the Bill:

    That the Standing Orders not complied with in respect of the

    London County Council (Tramways and Improvements) Bill ought to be dispensed with provided that all provisions as to Tramways, to which Standing Order No. 22 relates, be struck out of the Bill:

    And that the Standing Orders not complied with in respect of the Petition for a Bill by the

    Londonderry Bridge Commissioners

    ought to be dispensed with and leave given to introduce the Bill.

    Read, and agreed to.

    Londonderry Bridge Commissioners Bill Hl

    Presented (pursuant to leave given this day), and read 1a .

    Seaham Harbour Dock Bill

    Committee (which stands appointed for this day) put off till To-morrow.

    Dover Harbour Bill Hl

    The King's consent signified, and Bill reported with Amendments.

    Wolverhampton Corporation Bill

    Committed: The Committee to be proposed by the Committee of Selection.

    Manchester Ship Canal Bill Hl






    Report from the Committee of Selection, That the following Lords be proposed to the House to form the Select Committee for the consideration of the said Bills; (viz.),

    • L. Monson,
    • L. Stewart of Garlies (E. Galloway),
    • L. Ribblesdale (chairman),
    • L. Leigh,
    • L. Cochrane of Cults;

    agreed to; and the said Lords appointed accordingly: The Committee to meet on Wednesday the 9th of June next, at Eleven o'clock; and all Petitions referred to the Committee, with leave to the Petitioners praying to be heard by Counsel against the Bills to be heard as desired, as also Counsel for the Bills.