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Lords Chamber

Volume 41: debated on Wednesday 4 August 1920

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House Of Lords

Wednesday, 4th August, 1920.

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

Blind Persons Bill

Brought from the Commons, read 1a , and to be printed.

Erith Improvement Bill

My Lords, I beg to make the Motion standing in my name. There are adequate public explanations for the delay of this Bill.

Moved, That the Order made on the 29th day of April last, "That no Private Bill brought from the House of Commons shall be read a second time after Thursday the 17th day of June next" be dispensed with in respect of this Bill; and that the Bill be now read 2a(The Chairman of Committees.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and Bill read 2a .

Huddersfield Corporation (General Powers) Bill

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

Yeovil Corporation Bill

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

London County Council (Money) Bill

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

Royal Commission

The following Bills received the Royal Assent—

Finance.

County Councils Association Expenses (Amendment).

Veterinary Surgeons Act (1881) Amendment.

  • Harbours, Docks and Piers (Temporary Increase of Charges).
  • Ecclesiastical Tithe Rentcharge (Rates).
  • War Pensions.
  • Bank Notes (Ireland).
  • Public Libraries (Ireland).
  • Sheriffs (Ireland).
  • Nauru Island Agreement.
  • Gas Regulation.
  • Invergordon Harbour (Transfer).
  • Local Government (Ireland) Provisional Orders (No. 2).
  • Marriages Provisional Order.
  • Pilotage Provisional Orders (No. 1).
  • Pilotage Provisional Orders (No. 2).
  • Gas Provisional Orders.
  • Gas and Water Provisional Orders.
  • Airdrie and Coatbridge Tramways Provisional Order Confirmation.
  • Dundee Corporation Order Confirmation.
  • Dunfermline and District Tramways Order Confirmation.
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 3).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 4).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 5).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 6).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 7).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Order (Gas).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Order (Southampton Extension).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Order (Lincoln Extension).
  • Ministry of Health Provisional Order (Hertford Extension).
  • Tramways Provisional Orders.
  • Pier and Harbour Provisional Orders (No. 1).
  • Pier and Harbour Provisional Orders (No. 2).
  • Land Drainage (Ouse) Provisional Order.
  • Swansea Corporation.
  • Wrexham District Tramways.
  • Upper Mersey Navigation.
  • Port of Portsmouth Floating Bridge.
  • Wood Green Urban District Council.
  • Newtownards Urban District Council.
  • Filey Urban District Council.
  • St. Annes-on-the-Sea Urban District Council.
  • Croydon Corporation.
  • Gelligaer Urban District Council.
  • Newport Corporation.
  • Liverpool Corporation Waterworks.
  • Folkestone Corporation.
  • Redcar Urban District Council Gas.
  • Liverpool Copper Wharf Company, Limited (Delivery Warrants).
  • Londonderry Bridge Commissioners.
  • Bootle Corporation.
  • Eastbourne Waterworks.
  • Bridlington Corporation.
  • Nottingham Corporation.
  • Pontypridd Urban District Council.
  • Portsmouth Corporation.
  • Rhondda Urban District Council.
  • Wolverhampton Corporation.
  • South Metropolitan Gas.
  • Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.
  • Huddersfield Corporation (Lands).
  • Dearne Valley Water Board.
  • Londonderry Port and Harbour.
  • Halifax Corporation.
  • Leigh Corporation.
  • Sutton Coldfield Corporation.
  • Tredegar Urban District Council.
  • Weardale and Consett Water.
  • Great Northern Railway.
  • Central London and Metropolitan District Railway Companies (Works).
  • Blackpool Improvement.
  • Hastings Tramways.
  • Dover Harbour.
  • Pontypridd Stipendiary Magistrates.
  • Edinburgh Boundaries Extension and Tramways.
  • Coventry Corporation.
  • London County Council (General) Powers).
  • Lowestoft Corporation.
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne Corporation.
  • Sheffield Corporation.
  • Southampton Corporation.
  • Brighton and Hove Gas.
  • Norwich Corporation.
  • Durham County Water Board.
  • Manchester Corporation.
  • South Suburban Gas.
  • Derwent Valley, Calver and Bakewell Railway.
  • Fife-Young's Divorce.

Pilotage Provisional Orders (No3) Bill

House in Committee (according to Order): Bill reported without amendment.

Local Government (Ireland) Provisional Orders (No3) Bill

House in Committee (according to Order): Bill reported without amendment.

Holyhead And Kingstown Mail Service

rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether they have invited tenders for the carriage of mails between Holyhead and Kingstown after the expiry of the contract with the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, on May 26 the Postmaster-General sent a communication to the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company giving formal notice of his intention to terminate, after six months, the contract for carrying the mails which has existed for so long between the Post Office and the Company. The contract, therefore, comes to an end on November 27 this year. The question raises two points of some importance. One is whether the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company has been fairly treated; the other is whether, under the new arrangement, it is proposed to give Ireland as efficient a mail service as was provided up to May, 1918. The City of Dublin Steam Packet Company is one of the institutions of Ireland. Every Irishman has a good word to say for it—Sinn Feiners, Unionists, and Nationalists are all agreed that it has done excellent work—and on an occasion more than forty years ago when the Government of that day attempted, towards the expiry of the then existing contract, to make secretly a new contract with the London and North Western Railway Company public opinion was so strong against them in Ireland and such pressure was brought to bear on the Government that they rescinded the arrangement they had made with the London and North Western Railway Company. Since that time the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company have carried the mails to the satisfaction of every one.

At the present time there is a dispute between the Company and the Government. The matter is sub judice, and it is therefore rather difficult to deal with it. There are certain facts on which everyone is agreed which show that the Company has been unfairly treated. Before the war four ships did the service between England and Ireland. In the year 1915 the Government requisitioned one of these ships—the "Connaught"—under the Defence of the Realm Act. At the time the representative of the Admiralty wrote to the Company saying—

"I have to inform you, in reply, that I am prepared to give you an assurance that in the event of the loss of the "Connaught" by war risk the amount to be paid will be the cost of replacing her by a vessel in all respects suited to carry out the general Post Office contract."

Well, the "Connaught" was torpedoed early in 1917, and the Company then applied to the Government for permission, according to the arrangement, to construct a new vessel, and the Admiralty very reasonably pointed out that in the circumstances of difficulty then existing it was impossible to allow men to be diverted from national interests to the construction of a ship for a private shipping company; but to a letter from the Secretary of the Company, in which the Company agreed to the reasonableness of this view and asked that the letter which the Company should receive should contain an undertaking that the building of a new vessel would take precedence of the construction of any other fast cross-Channel vessel, the Admiralty replied stating—

"When it can be taken in hand the construction of the vessel to replace the "Connaught" will be given priority over that of any cross-Channel vessel of similar speed being built for private use on the England-Ireland service."

They mentioned that another vessel was nearly finished, the "Anglia," for the London & North Western Railway Company, and said that if it was considered desirable to finish that ship it would only be used for Government purposes, and not for any rival service.

After the war the City of Dublin Company were naturally anxious that a new "Connaught" should be built at once. It appears that the matter had now passed into the hands of the Director of Transports and Shipping, and on December 11, 1919, he wrote—

"The present view of the Department is that the most reasonable settlement would be for the Ministry to pay the cost of the new vessel less the first cost of the old vessel."

The Company could not agree to that, and a petition of right followed, which was tried, and in the decision given by Mr. Justice Coleridge the learned Judge found in favour of the Company, on all points—that the Government were bound to give them sufficient to build a new vessel, and also that in contradiction of their undertaking not to allow any other ships to be built which could compete with the City of Dublin Company, they had in fact allowed two new ships to be built for the London & North Western Company's

service. One was finished and running between England and Ireland, and another will be finished in November.

The Government have appealed against this decision, and it is quite possible that the judgment of Mr. Justice Coleridge may be overruled, and so I am not basing my argument upon what he decided, but I submit that it is hardly fair to the Company that while matters are still sub judice the Post Office should terminate the contract which has existed for the last forty years, when the City of Dublin Company are manifestly not in a position to tender with equal advantage with the London & North Western Railway Company, which has just been provided with two new ships. Therefore I ask the noble Earl, when he replies, to say whether he can give me some assurance that until the appeal has been taken and a decision given upon it some temporary arrangement, at any rate, will be made to continue the contract with the City of Dublin Company, and that then the City of Dublin Company will be enabled, if they choose, to tender for the contract on equal terms with the London & North Western Railway Company. That is the first point which I want to make.

The second point is that I should like him to give me some assurance that the Post Office intend that there shall be the same efficiency in the service between England and Ireland as existed before 1918. Certain changes were made at that time, the hour of sailing from Ireland being advanced by three-quarters of an hour, with the result that the whole of the railway arrangements in Ireland were put out of joint, and it now takes forty-four hours longer for letters from London to places more than two hours from Dublin to receive a reply than it did in 1918. There is a very strong feeling in Ireland that the London and North Western Railway Company, of which I have nothing but good to say—we think it is a very excellent line, but it has been unduly favoured by the Government in this matter—there is a strong feeling that this notice ought not to have been served at a moment when it was well known that the City of Dublin Company was at a disadvantage. Further, it is thought that the ships built for the London & North Western Railway Company are not so suited for sorting the mails as those of the City of Dublin Company, which were specially built for that purpose. I am told that it is almost impossible that they can be sorted on the new ships of the London & North Western Railway Company. It may be said by the Post Office that that is not of much importance, and that the whole traffic in Ireland is a small matter compared with that in Lancashire or Yorkshire, but Irishmen cannot be expected to take that view, and, apart from the abnormal conditions which prevail at the present moment, when things revert to normal conditions we think that we ought to have at least as good facilities for the transport of passengers and mails as existed up to 1918, and, further, that our old friend the City of Dublin Company, which every Irishman and every noble Lord from Ireland would wish to say a good word for, should be given a fair chance and no favour in the new arrangements made for the tenders for the mails.

My Lords, arising out of the Question I would like to ask the noble Earl who is going to reply if he would consider the state of things now prevailing at Holyhead. The Customs are examining all luggage there, and as the boats are bound to sail as soon as the mails are placed on board a great deal of luggage is left behind, and this is to the detriment of the steamship company. I would therefore ask the noble Earl to consider whether the luggage might not be examined at Euston, or some other place, and then be placed in a sealed compartment.

My Lords, with regard to the question by Lord Muskerry, I am afraid I have not had notice which will allow me immediately to answer him, but I will call the attention of the Ministry of Transport to the matter. I think that is probably the Department which is most likely to intervene with success.

As regards the Question on the Paper, Lord Oranmore has told your Lordships that some of these matters are still sub judice, and notwithstanding that he has expressed very decided opinions as to the propriety of the judgment already given and as to what the Court of Appeal is likely to settle, I can only say with great respect that I do not propose to follow him with regard to whether the company was fairly or unfairly treated by the Postmaster General.

I think I said that the decision might be reversed on appeal.

Yes, I will say it may be reversed, and content myself with that. The answer to the Question is in the negative. The Postmaster-General has not yet invited tenders, and as Lord Oranmore and Browne went into the matter with some care I will give a general statement on the subject which has been prepared for me by the Post Office, recalling the history of the contract as a whole.

When the war broke out in 1914 the mails between Holyhead and Kingstown were being conveyed by four packet boats belonging to the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, an Irish Company with its headquarters in Dublin, under the provisions of an indenture dated July 1, 1895. The contract between the Post Office and the Company provided for remuneration at a rate which would enable the Company to build four boats and to bring about the amortization of the necessary capital expenditure within twenty years. At the end of twenty years, therefore, the remuneration was to be decreased by £20,000 a year. The term of twenty years from the commencement of the contract expired on March 31, 1917. The Packet Company protested against the reduction being carried out, alleging the expenditure occasioned by the war The Post Office refused to pay more than £78,000 a year to which the remuneration had dropped under the contract. On June 26, 1917, the Company gave formal notice to determine the contract as from June 30, 1918. Under the conditions then prevailing it was clearly impossible to invite tenders for a permanent service, and it was accordingly agreed, after negotiation with the Company, that they should carry on the service on the terms of the contract of 1895 and at the same remuneration—namely, £78,000 per annum—the arrangement to be subject to six months' notice given at any time by either party.

This arrangement was intended to be only of a temporary character, and it was recently decided that the time had arrived when the mail service between Holyhead and Kingstown should be placed upon a permanent footing. Six months' notice to determine the contract was accordingly given by the Post Office to the Company on May 26 last and expires on November 27. It is proposed to issue invitations to tender for the new contract as soon as possible, and the City of Dublin Company will be given an opportunity of competing if they so desire. As regards the question of efficiency, I have no doubt that I can safely say that the Postmaster-General will do his utmost to ensure that under the new conditions the efficiency of the old service will be maintained.

The Treaty With Turkey

rose to call attention to the Treaty with Turkey; and to move for Papers.

The noble and gallant Lord said: My Lords, I am under no illusion as to the difficulties under which I labour in addressing your Lordships for the first time on a question of such grave moment as the Treaty with Turkey. I am perfectly aware that the ratification in no way rests with Parliament, and that therefore were I even a Solomon and a Demosthenes rolled into one there is nothing which I could do or say which would alter the destiny of this Treaty. But in spite of this—indeed I am not sure it is not because of this—I feel, and feel very strongly, that the ratification should not go by without some protest on the part Of those who (however small their number may be), like me, feel that it contains very little that is good and a great deal that is both harmful and even dangerous to ourselves and our Allies

The first perusal of the contents of the Treaty left me wondering what on earth could have been the line of policy which members of the Supreme Council laid down for themselves when approaching this subject. And a further study of the subject convinced me that there was no line of policy, and that the baneful and illogical conclusions which had been arrived at had been reached by a compromise, if not by a jettisoning of all principles and a yielding to the dictates of mere day-to-day expediency. I trust that I am wrong in my deductions. I hope sincerely that the noble Earl the Leader of the House will be able to show us that there was a policy, and be able to convince us that the reasons which governed the Council in coming to these conclusions were of sufficient weight to outbalance the harm which their fulfilment must inevitably cause.

Everybody must realise, of course, the enormous difficulties which the Allied statesmen encountered at Paris. There were clashing of interests, divergencies of points of view, differences of psychology, and so forth, but surely there must have been one idea, one ideal, which was common to all the statesmen—I mean a determination to eliminate as far as is humanly possible all those factors which make for war and to leave that part of the world with which they were dealing in a state less chaotic than that in which they found it. If, as we hope, and might reasonably expect, this was the case, how lamentably short did they fall of its realisation! Could anybody really believe that the arrangement with regard to Smyrna helped to do away with the chaos? Can anybody really believe that a local Parliament there is capable of successfully grappling with these matters, difficult always as they have been, and now rendered doubly so through the intensification of racial feeling which has resulted from recent events there? Does anybody believe really that a plebiscite, whenever it may take place, is going to allay all the jealousies and settle once for all those questions which always have been, and always must be, present?

I look upon these expedients as a cloak to hide some reasons (which I cannot fathom) for this transaction. But I am sure, if it is a cloak, that it will be blown away at the very first political breeze, from whichever direction it may come. Smyrna is purely Turkish, though of course the city contains a large and influential Greek population. But it is not singular in this respect. There are many other cities where the same state of affairs obtains, notably Alexandria. Will anybody in his wildest flight of imagination suppose that the mere setting up of a local Parliament, with a future plebiscite which is to decide the destiny of the Delta of the Nile, will be a means of getting us out of our difficulties in that country? No.

Again there is Thrace. Does anybody really believe that the handing over of Thrace to Greece and the shutting-off of Bulgaria entirely from all access to the Ægean and the placing of Greek forces at Adrianople will eliminate the war-like factors which are present? On the contrary, it can only add to the many that exist. I hold no brief for the Turk or the Bulgar, but this I do know—that they are strong, virile, and war-like races, and that if they accept these terms now they will do so nursing feelings of revenge which will inevitably grow into a determination to win back some day by the sword what has been lost by the sword. And I ask what are the reasons for this creation of an Eastern Alsace-Lorraine? When these provinces were wrested from France at the instigation of the German military party and under the pretence of strategical necessity, there was opened in Western Europe a festering sore which lasted for nearly fifty years. Now, in spite of the experience we have had, in spite of the lessons taught us by history, it seems to me that we are creating just such another situation in the East, for assuredly the handing over of these Turkish provinces to Greece will raise an irritant in that part of the world which will last just exactly as long as those provinces remain in the hands of Greece.

I ask myself this question, What are the reasons for this transaction? I can find no satisfactory reply. Is it a reward to Greece? That can hardly be. Greece, of all the Allies, appears to be the one which has done least in and suffered least from the war; and have we not proclaimed from all the house-tops, in the loudest manner, that the word "reward" has no place in the Allied vocabulary? I cannot believe that it is a punishment to Turkey and Bulgaria for the course they have pursued. Punishment, to be efficient, must be deterrent. So far from being deterrent, I am afraid that this will only strengthen their desire to resort to arms again should a favourable opportunity occur.

When Turkey, misguided, criminally perhaps, threw in her lot with our enemies, Great Britain as an assurance to the Mahomedan world pledged herself to maintain the spiritual authority of the Sultan, and later the Prime Minister declared that we were not fighting to deprive Turkey of her capital or of her rich and renowned lands of Asia Minor predominantly Turkish in race. How do the terms of this Treaty accord with those declarations? Constantinople, it is true, remains as the capital of Turkey, but it is an open secret that this is the case only because of the inability of the Allied and Associated nations to find some satisfactory means of filling that void which the expulsion of the Turkish Government from the city would create. Thrace, it is true, is not in Asia Minor but, equally with Smyrna, it is a rich and renowned land predominantly Turkish in race, and the handing over of these provinces to a hated rival Power will inevitably be looked upon by the Mahomedans all the world over as a breach of faith on our part.

It is not very long ago that we listened in this House to an extremely interesting debate wherein more than one noble Lord of great knowledge and experience of Indian affairs declared that the security of our Indian Empire rested mainly upon the mutual faith and confidence of the peoples. That is a sentiment with which, I am sure, all thinking men would agree. What, therefore, must be our feelings—they can be feelings of nothing but dismay—when we realise how far towards the shattering of that trust this Treaty goes? And that trust in us on the part of our Indian fellow-subjects once broken, or even bent, the inhabitants of India will inevitably turn in other directions than Great Britain in the hope of finding the means of fulfilling their political and social aspirations, and I fear that in so doing they will believe that in Pan-Islamism they will have found the instrument for which they seek. Is such a time opportune for launching on the world a Treaty which outrages the feelings of millions of our fellow-subjects in India and helps to ferment the antagonism of people who, up to now, have looked upon us as their friends?

When Turkey, prostrate and defeated, signed the Armistice, she looked upon the Allies almost in the light of friends who had come to deliver her from the thraldom of the German yoke. She knew that, as a consequence of her conduct, she would be disarmed and rendered militarily impotent. She suspected—she must have suspected—that she would be deprived of those parts of her Empire which were alien to her in race, but she did hope that under the auspices of the Allies a regenerated Government would arise which, under the direction of those Allies, would be able to set her house in order and commence the reconstruction of her homeland which is so necessary not only for the welfare of herself but for the welfare of the world at large. I believe that had a Treaty framed on some such broad and liberal lines been put into force in the early days of 1919 we should have had now a very different state of affairs. We should have had, I believe, a wiser and a repentant Turkey, in whom we should have had a line of defence against the insidious attacks of Bolshevism, instead of, as now under the terms of this Treaty, a Turkey half of whose population has been driven into the arms of that sinister power.

At that time the Young Turk Party was discredited, finished. There was no National Party then to dispute the will of the Allies. That Party owed its existence simply and solely to that unhappy landing of the Greeks in Smyrna, with its, accompanying massacres and bloodshed. Since the signing of the Treaty twenty months have passed. Instead of peace we have war. There have been twenty months of delay and indecision, during which peoples, who trusted us in our hour of victory, have learned in the hour of negotiation to distrust us; twenty months during which a perfect torrent of literature and oratory has been poured upon a hypnotised world giving vent to every sort and kind of impossible and impracticable idea which has only served to make material for propaganda in the hands of our enemies; twenty months during which the Turkish Empire has been dissolved, not, as one might reasonably expect, into its legitimate, original parts, but into a very jumble of small States whose existence, from the very nature of things, cannot but be ephemeral, and wherever the Allies have tried their hand among those nations I fear the results have hardly been such as to raise their prestige in the world.

In Mesopotamia we are no longer looked upon as liberators; on the contrary, we are looked upon as the successors of a tyrant, and are hated as such. Armenia still drags out a miserable existence, hopelessly wondering what is going to be her fate. In Palestine we are attempting to set up a community which, by all the laws of economics and by all the laws of psychology, from the force of reason and from the lessons of history, cannot either maintain itself or live in amity with its neighbours And in Syria we have succeeded in manœuvring ourselves into such a position that the fulfilment of our promises to one Ally entails the breaking of our moral obligations to another. That is hardly a pleasant picture for Englishmen to look upon, and yet I do not see that one can view the Treaty in any other way. This Treaty, which it had been hoped would eliminate war-creating factors, which would dispel chaos, on the contrary only multiplies the one and intensifies the other. And its makers, its parents, have entirely forgotten that, easy as it may be to alter a map, it is practically impossible to change either geography or human nature.

We sailors and soldiers have been in some quarters—not very important perhaps—but still we have been accused of being callous as to whether a state of war existed or not. It has even been insinuated that we welcome war as an outlet for our activities and our ambitions. I am sure that it is quite unnecessary for me in this House to refute such statements. But I will go further and say that if there is one section of the community which looks upon war with greater abhorrence than another it is probably that section of the community which has the honour of wearing His Majesty's uniform, whether it be blue or khaki. It is because I share those feelings with my comrades of the Navy and the Army that I look with dismay upon a Treaty which contains so many seeds fruitful of war.

I am an admirer, and a passionate admirer, of the British Empire, not from an Imperialistic or jingo point of view, but from the point of view of its being one of the greatest assets which the world contains for the maintenance of law and order and of that physical and moral stability which is so necessary. It is because I have those feelings that I look with dismay, distrust, and suspicion upon a Treaty which contains the germs of a disease which must inevitably attack that Empire at its very roots. It has been said of the war from which we have just emerged that it was a war to end war. I fear that with this Treaty as a guide to the peace upon which we are about to enter it can be much more aptly said that it is a peace to end peace. I beg to move.

Moved, That there be laid before the House Papers relating to the Treaty of Peace with Turkey.— (Lord Wester Wemyss.)

My Lords, I hope the House will allow me, for reasons which I will state, to answer the noble Lord without delay. I need hardly say how glad we all are to welcome the first appearance of the noble Lord in our debates. But I confess for my own part that I hope, for the sake, at any rate, of the Government Bench, that some of his later efforts may be marked by a somewhat greater moderation of tone and language than that which we have heard from him this evening.

Had my noble friend Lord Wester Wemyss, following a not unusual practice here, asked the representative of the Foreign Office in your Lordships' House whether the present moment was the most suitable at which to raise a discussion upon the Turkish Treaty as a whole I should have been bound to answer him in the negative, and for this reason. The noble Lord in his remarks spoke of the Treaty as if it was about to be ratified, and seemed to think that some duty lay upon him to snatch the sole remaining opportunity, before ratification takes place, in order to favour your Lordships' House with an expression of his personal view. He even spoke of the Treaty as having been signed more than a year ago. He is surely quite mistaken in his facts. The Treaty has not been ratified, it has not even yet been signed, and I cannot imagine a more unfavourable moment at which to embark upon a discussion of a matter of this sort or to invite a Ministerial statement upon a Treaty than at the very date when the signatories of that Treaty are, I believe, either at or approaching the place where we shall presently know what they propose to do—a moment when the Treaty has not been signed, when it has not even been published (as, of course, it will be after it has been signed), when the great majority of your Lordships who have listened to this speech can only have a very general idea of the subjects under discussion, and when, for these and other reasons, the spokesman of the Government is necessarily incapacitated from dealing with many aspects of the case. If my noble friend, following another and still commoner feature of our proceedings, had given me some indication in advance (as he did not do) of the particular subjects arising out of this vast question which he desired to bring before your Lordships, I should perhaps have been in a better position to give him satisfaction than I am. However, I will do my best to deal with the speech to which we have just listened.

The noble Lord, as I have already remarked, did not spare his language. He had not a good word to say for the Treaty from beginning to end. He told us that its conclusions were illogical, that a total lack of principle inspired its authors, and, without saying that the shaft went home, I could not help remembering the fact that I personally presided Over a Conference of the representatives of the Allies for over two months in this city, sitting day by day carefully examining the features of the case, endeavouring to work out a reasonable and just Treaty. And yet as the result of those proceedings I gather from the noble Lord's diatribes this afternoon that those of us who were responsible for the Treaty were little better than incompetent idiots, if we were not deliberate knaves. That is the only deduction to be drawn from the class and character of epithets which the noble Lord has thought well to level at us.

He denounced the arrangements that are proposed in the Treaty about the future of Smyrna as an unscrupulous and dishonest transaction. He spoke of Smyrna as a purely Turkish province. It is nothing of the sort. A Commission was set up to examine this particular question of Smyrna. It spent days and, I think, weeks in probing the facts, examining the figures, endeavouring to arrive at some just solution. And the data which, after this examination, were submitted to us proved conclusively that Smyrna is not a Turkish Province, but that the area which is to be handed over to the Greeks is an area in which there is a substantial Greek majority In the same way with regard to Thrace. Again, with similar confidence, the noble Lord spoke about Thrace as a purely Turkish province. It is nothing of the sort. I do not know whether the noble Lord has examined the figures, but it had necessarily been part of my duty to do so, and taking the area from the Chatalja lines up to the Bulgarian frontier which it is proposed to hand to Greece, and of which the Greeks have already entered into occupation, there again the figures show a substantial, though I admit a not very large, Greek majority.

The noble Lord was not even satisfied with the arrangements that we have made with regard to Constantinople. He really, if I may say so, was entirely ignorant of the reasons which led to the decision that was taken. He said that the Powers had decided that the Turks should remain in Constantinople because they could not devise any satisfactory plan by which the void should be filled either by one of themselves or by a combination of themselves. That is not in the least the case. The reason why Constantinople, about the future of which there were grave differences of Opinion, was ultimately left to the Turk was exclusively with the desire of considering, and as far as possible conciliating the sentiments of our own Moslem fellow-subjects in different parts of the world. Yet, my Lords, having made that concession—and I am by no means certain in my own mind that it was a right concession; I think it is quite likely that, as time passes, it will be shown to have been a mistaken concession—exclusively from the point of view of and in those interests, I stand here to-day to be told by the noble Lord that we have inflicted an outrage upon the feelings of our Moslem fellow-subjects, the reaction of which may be expected to effect us unfavourably for years to come.

Again, in the concluding passages of his speech my noble friend expressed in a sentence, but without any explanation, extreme dissatisfaction with our proposals with reference to Mesopotamia, to Palestine, and to Armenia. I wonder what solution the noble Lord himself would have proposed for any of those areas. Would he have left Mesopotamia under the Turk, which had ruined, misgoverned, and devastated those areas for centuries? He blamed us for not having been successful in our treatment of Armenia. What would have been his solution? I gather from the passionate admiration that he displayed for the Turk that he would have left Armenia in statuquo, putting wholly on one side the long and tragic record of cruelty and bloodshed which has stained the history of the Turkish connection with Armenia during the last half-century, and the fact that she lost no fewer than 800,000 of her people massacred by the Turks since the beginning of the war, not to speak of 200,000 who were expatriated and deported from their own native country to other parts of the Turkish Empire.

As regards Palestine, what is the noble Lord's solution? He is very much dissatisfied with the proposals under which Great Britain has accepted a Mandate for Palestine with the idea of setting up, so far as we can, with due justice to the Arab majority, a national home for the Jews in that country. What would he have done? Palestine under the Turks for the last 500 years has been one of the great scandals of history. Yet when now at length we seize the opportunity of rectifying it, when we accept a Mandate in deference to what we have every reason to believe to be the wishes of the inhabitants, before that Mandate has even been made public, before it has been submitted to the sanction of the League of Nations, the noble Lord comes down here, dismisses the whole thing in a sentence, sweeps aside our policy, and condemns it unstated and unheard. With all respect to the noble Lord I have never listened in this House to a speech in which there was more unbroken vehemence or less light and shade, or in which less consideration was extended to those who, dealing with a very difficult problem, have, I can assure the House, had before their minds justice, peace, future order, and prosperity quite as much as the noble Lord himself can have in view in dealing with those countries.

My Lords, you have had one picture of the Turkish Peace Treaty from the noble Lord. May I in a few sentences give you the other side of the picture, which any stranger dropping into this House for the first time would never have guessed from the almost impassioned denunciations with which the noble Lord has favoured us. I say little about the circumstances in which Turkey entered the war, but I cannot help recalling that in 1914, when the war broke out elsewhere, the Allied Powers guaranteed to Turkey the absolute integrity of her territories and the retention of her independence provided only that she would maintain her neutrality in the war. She spurned that offer. She deliberately linked her fortunes with those of the enemy Powers. And with what consequences? By cutting off communications with the Black Sea, which, owing to the accidents of history and geography, were in her hands, she prevented Rumania and Russia from playing that part in the early stages of the war which they would otherwise have done. Her entry into the war greatly prolonged it—prolonged it by a period, I should think, of at least two years. She imposed upon the Allies the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of lives and millions of treasure. Apart from the burdens which they were thus called upon to suffer, there was the ruinous toll to which I alluded just now which she exacted from her own subject-populations in every part of the Empire which she then ruled. Such an experience was, I think, fit to show the civilised world that such a Power could no longer be left in a position where it could repeat these crimes. The interests of humanity demanded that its power for evil in the future should be curtailed if not destroyed, while at the same time, following the pledges given by our Prime Minister—to which the noble Lord referred and as to which I have to say a word—following those pledges an opportunity, of which he did not say a word and which no one could have guessed from his speech, is given to Turkey to take her place as a peaceful and prosperous Power in the future.

I am, perhaps, rather more familiar with the Peace Treaty than is my noble friend, and let me tell him and the House what are the conditions under which Turkey is left under the Peace Treaty. It is true that there are taken from her—and this I did not understand the noble Lord to contest—those subject-populations, whether they be Armenians, Syrians, Arabs, Kurds, or others, whom she has so grievously misgoverned in the past. But there are left to her those homelands in Asia Minor which are fairly homogeneous in race, in language, and in creed; a territory larger than Spain; a territory three times the size of Austria, as she is left by the Peace Treaty; an area over which it is perfectly within her power to build up, with that aid which Europe is willing to give her, a stable and peaceful kingdom in the future.

Again, consider the financial and economic advantages which Turkey will derive from the terms of the Treaty. Is it not a matter of common knowledge that it was the corrupt, the chaotic, condition of Turkish finances during the last half century that constituted the chief weight upon her own people, that was the main source of friction between Turkey and foreign Governments, and that acted as a crushing handicap on the development of the natural resources of the country? Under the terms of the Treaty a Financial Commission is to be set up at Constantinople, consisting of the Allied representatives with a Turkish member in a consultative capacity upon it, which is to take over the entire control of the finances, revenue, and expenditure of Turkey, which will secure, what the Turkish population have never enjoyed yet, a fair incidence of taxation, and which will, above all, prevent that constant barter of concessions with the subjects of foreign Powers which more than anything else was the cause of the corruption of Turkish government.

In dealing with the financial clauses of the Treaty may I remind your Lordships that a lenient measure, an exceptionally lenient measure, has been dealt out to Turkey in this respect—that all those European Powers which in one capacity or another will be responsible in future for the government of the regions that have been taken away from Turkish sovereignty, have taken with them and assumed their share of the Ottoman public debt for those areas. Moreover, in the case of Turkey the Allied Powers, with a view of setting her on her legs again, have foregone all claim to reparation, though they might in relation to the expenditure which has been imposed upon them have asked for thousands, and indeed for millions; they have not even exacted from Turkey any war indemnity.

The noble Lord, in his stream of universal denunciation, had not one word to say about the arrangements that are proposed for the control of the Straits in the future. Yet the Straits, and the Channels adjoining, which constitute a feature in the noble Lord's career which he must always look back upon, as his countrymen do, with honourable pride, are in future to be guaranteed as an international highway, free to the navigation of all countries during times of peace and safe from that arbitrary and unilateral power of closing the Straits which Turkey, by the accident of her position, has been able to exercise to the grave detriment of the peace of Europe in times of war. The noble Lord spoke strongly about the sacrifices to which Turkey is called upon to submit in respect of her harbours, notably Smyrna, under the Treaty. But Turkey is assured a free access to the ports of the Mediterranean and Aegean, she is given freedom of transit to the ports which have been severed from her and a lease in perpetuity of a free zone in the Port of Smyrna.

If the Turkish Government can sever themselves from the evil memories and traditions of the past, as I believe they are not incapable of doing, can realise that in future their people are going to be free from the burden of conscription, that they are going to be free from the excessive military expenditure which has hitherto weighed them down, free from the temptation to play off one Power against another, free from the exactions of corrupt officials—if the Turkish Government and the Turkish population can realise these advantages I believe they have before them a great opportunity, one of the greatest opportunities that has ever occurred in history, to recover their stability, no doubt on a smaller scale, and become a useful factcr in the development of the world.

The Treaty, as I remarked in my opening observations, is now lying on the Table at Paris. The Turkish Plenipotentiaries have, I believe, arrived in that capital. I am told, though I have no authoritative information on the point, that they are going to sign the Treaty. I cannot myself conceive a wiser course of action for them to pursue, and I believe that in signing the Treaty they will be signing it with a deliberate intention on the part of their Government at Constantinople to do their best to carry it out. We all of us know that the obstacles are great. I admit that in many of the areas concerned racial passions, existing for centuries and very likely fomented by recent events, still burn. I agree that in some of these parts trouble may be anticipated, but if Turkey suffers in that way she will not be the only part of the world that finds the consequences of war almost as disagreeable as the experiences of war itself.

Now occurs a great opportunity. The Powers who have imposed this Treaty and who regard it as a fair and just Treaty will not be slow, if they find a spirit of good will on the part of Turkey, to render to her such assistance as lies in their power. Every one of us must realise, whether he be pro-Turk or Turkophobe, that the old Turkey of the Pashas and the past, the Turkey of corruption, intrigue, mis-government and massacre, has gone, has fortunately gone for ever, and now is the occasion for building upon the ruins of that old and vanished Turkey a new Turkey which shall be better than anything that in modern times has been associated with her name.

In view of the circumstances of the case, and the fact that the Treaty has not been signed—its terms have not been made known, not yet been published—I do not think it possible for me to go further than I have done in the remarks I have made. As soon as the Treaty is signed, if it be so, Papers will be laid before Parliament and noble Lords will then be in a better position to realise whether there is justification for the remarks I have made this afternoon, or whether they will prefer to follow my noble friend in the much less sanguine account of the whole of these transactions that we have heard from him.

My Lords, may I say a word or two on this subject? The noble Earl has severely treated the noble Lord who brought forward the Motion, but who, I understand, is only animated by the lack of confidence prevailing amongst Mahomedans throughout the world at the way they have been treated consequent upon this great war. The noble Earl did not refer to it specifically, but there was that famous declaration of the Prime Minister in January, 1918, when he laid down emphatically what were the objects of the Allied Powers with regard to Constantinople and the Near East, and he must remember that Thrace was specially mentioned as being outside the powers with regard to any idea of annexation. I think that is one of the points on which the Moslem population considers strongly—it cannot be said that faith has been broken with them—that the declaration made by Mr. Lloyd George has not been acted up to. I was glad indeed to hear the reassuring terms in which the noble Earl mentioned Anatolia, and also the very favourable account which he gave as to the possible prospects of the successful administration of that part of Asia Minor by the Turks.

Beyond that question of Asia Minor was the matter referred to by Lord Wester Wemyss—the feeling among other Moslems outside Turkey that we have not acted up to our distinct pledges. The matter has been brought before your Lordships' House before, and I do not intend to go into the matter of Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine, but I think we did feel in this instance that everything had not been done to set up a separate Arab State, which was the undertaking given specifically and repeatedly by His Majesty's Government during the time of the war; that we have in some degree—it may have been inevitable—not been able to act up to our promises towards the Moslem population of these different countries. Mr. Lloyd George again in February, 1918, in the House of Commons, repeated most emphatically that not for a moment could there be any doubt or question as to the British Government not carrying out faithfully their word. He spoke with emphasis in saying that it should not be thought for a moment that we should depart from any pledges which had been given; and your Lordships cannot deny that at the present moment, rightly or wrongly, among the Moslem population of India and elsewhere there is a feeling that we have not acted up to our promises.

Everybody who knows the noble Earl will be perfectly well aware that devotion to India has been one of the most prominent points of his political life, together with a desire to see fair treatment meted out to Indians. Therefore I was glad to hear him speak so emphatically of the prospect of the Turks, who are to be left part of their previous territory, being given every assistance. Still the point remains that there is this profound feeling of lack of confidence entertained by the Moslem people in the different parts of the world, and I can only trust that what has taken place this afternoon, and the speech of the noble Earl, will have a reassuring effect.

With regard to one point on which the noble Earl particularly challenged the noble Lord for having introduced the Motion this afternoon, it seems rather difficult to understand why this House should not consider the terms of the Treaty. After all the original terms came out in May of this year, and it is rather perplexing to myself and others to know when we can usefully debate the question in this House. It is rather hard that we may not be allowed to express an opinion on certain points. I agree that the relative positions of these different peoples who inhabit the Near East, and other most complicated problems, must be left to the Government, but it seems desirable that we should not be debarred altogether from uttering any opinion on points on which we consider we know something; and I trust that the noble Lord will consider that he has not done altogether wrong, because I think he has elicited from the noble Earl a feeling of some sympathy with Turkey in her present distressed condition.

My Lords, I have no desire to prolong this debate, but after what has fallen from the noble Lord behind me I desire to confirm his view in one sense—namely, that I think the noble Earl opposite was somewhat hard upon the noble and gallant Lord who initiated this debate. We are accustomed here to express regret that those who join this House, either by succession or creation, do not take as much part as we should wish in our debates, particularly on important subjects of public interest. Therefore when a noble and gallant Lord like my noble friend above the gangway starts a debate of this kind on a matter of great public interest I fear he may think it rather discouraging to receive—ought I to say? so very cold or so very warm a reception as he did from the noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Also, I cannot help feeling that the complaint of the noble Earl that this is not the proper time for such a discussion is not altogether a reasonable one. It is quite true, and of course I fully admit it, that the particular circumstances of the approaching dealing with the Treaty in Paris may make it seem an inappropriate occasion to bring forward this particular Motion, but, as Lord Lamington pointed out, in all its main features the Treaty has been before the country for a considerable time, the House is about, to rise in the course of a very few days, and if the noble and gallant Lord had not taken this opportunity of putting down the Motion there would probably have been no opportunity for your Lordships to consider the matter at all. As it is, it is surely an advantage to us that the Foreign Secretary has been able to state so far as he could, within certain limits, his objections to the arguments set forth by the noble and gallant Lord whose Motion is on the Paper.

I do not want to discuss this Question at length in all its detail, because I feel the force of what the noble Earl has said, but I confess that I do share—it is impossible not to share—the impression mentioned by Lord Lamington that there is a feeling in the Moslem world that Turkey has received somewhat hard measure. I do not want to lay much stress on the Indian agitation in that regard. It has been conducted with much energy and evidently with much expenditure of money, but I have too much experience of Indian affairs to attach undue importance to what is said by the more extreme type of Moslem agitators in India, who, for political purposes, ally themselves, or are prepared to ally themselves, with Hindu revolutionaries, not really from grounds of devotion to Islam, but from a general desire to bring British rule in India into disrepute.

But even after making every allowance for that, there does exist a feeling, which it seems impossible to deny, that whatever the sins of Turkey may have been in coming into the war when she did—and I quite agree that it is hardly possible to exaggerate the magnitude of her offence in that respect—she is receiving somewhat extra hard treatment in the terms of the Treaty. I have never been one of those who con- sidered that the Turkish claim to the retention of Constantinople was at all an absolute claim. Constantinople was gained by the Turks in conquest, and any reasonable Turk might naturally expect to lose it by conquest; therefore, if Constantinople had passed from Turkish hands altogether I cannot believe that Islam could have regarded it as an outrage upon the Faith. On the other hand, the somewhat expansive sentences uttered by the Prime Minister have been mentioned in the course of the debate. The noble Earl, Lord Curzon, in an early stage of his speech, announced that he was going to make some allusion or explanation of what I have just described as the rather expansive phrases of the Prime Minister with regard to the Turkish home lands, and in particular to the case of Thrace, but he forgot to do so. Those expressions have, I am afraid, been misunderstood. They have sunk into the minds of a great many Turkish advocates, and their use has not, so far as I know, ever been completely explained away. The fact that they were used might, I think, have made it possible to put a somewhat easier construction in favour of the Turkish case when the terms of the Treaty had to be considered.

I do not want to attempt to redraw in any sense the boundaries of a new Turkey, but one does get the impression that a very strict line has been drawn in limiting the new Turkish Empire to the parts of Asia Minor where there is a definite Turkish majority. A stricter line has been drawn here than in a great many other cases, both in Europe and in Asia, from the numerical standpoint. The Turks, I think, may feel that, although they may have received justice, it has been closely-cut justice, and that if, as they undoubtedly did—to use the famous expression which was applied to us by the late Lord Salisbury—put their money on the wrong horse at an early stage, they have not received any kind of consideration. They have been treated, as I think the noble Earl has been able to prove, with justice, but it is the barest justice, and with nothing more. I should have liked to see something done which would have left us with fewer responsibilities in Mesopotamia, and have allowed Turkey to retain a suzerainty at any rate over some considerable part of that Province. But that, I know, is past praying or asking for, and it is useless to raise a matter of that kind.

In the meantime those who, like the noble and gallant Lord, are pure critics of the Treaty, may, I think, take some comfort from the more hopeful tone in which the noble Earl opposite concluded his speech. I do not for a moment believe that he is anything but a well-wisher of Turkey, and all that he desires is that within her new boundaries she may prosper and do well. I was glad, too, to see that he guarded himself from a pitfall into which some of the critics of Turkey have, I think, fallen. They have regarded the present Turkey—the Turkey of to-day—as bound to suffer for all the sins in relation to Armenia or Palestine or Arabia which were inflicted by a former régime, which, as we hope, has disappeared for ever. If that measure were meted out to all countries whose Government has been reformed, there would be some strange results. I gathered that the noble Earl desired in that respect that bygones should be bygones, and that he, at any rate, and His Majesty's Government were prepared to assist the new, and as we hope resuscitated and reformed, Turkey to march in the path of progress and future prosperity.

My Lords, I must apologise for once more addressing your Lordships on the subject, but there is a personal matter in regard to which an explanation is due from me to the noble Earl the Leader of the House. He complained that I had not given him notice. As a matter of fact, what happened was that when I took steps to learn the procedure of the House to which I must submit in order to bring forward this Motion, I communicated the nature of the Question to the secretary of the Leader of the House, and if that was not sufficient I beg to apologise to the noble Earl for not carrying out a procedure of which I was unaware.

I will also add, as regards my treatment of the subject of the Treaty, that I did not for one instant say that there was no good in it. On the contrary, I see that parts which the noble Earl pointed out are excellent. I am merely dealing with that part which I felt—and perhaps my feeling has been somewhat modified by the assurance of the noble Earl—attacked so vitally our British interests. I kept myself to that. The noble Earl, in what I suppose—I do not know—is a political castigation, which I must confess has not had a great deterrent effect upon me, said that I was in no position to give a solution to those grave difficulties which have arisen as to all these matters. I have not given my thoughts to those things. Whether, if I did so, I should be able to suggest a solution is another question. But I do not see, because I make no constructive proposition to the Government, that I should not be allowed to criticise what seems to me is a matter which deserves criticism, and if, as I say, my speech is supposed to have been politically castigated I feel no repentance, inasmuch as it has drawn from the noble Earl the Leader of the House certain statements which certainly help one to hope that matters may not be so bad with regard to Turkey as one feared. I apologise to your Lordships for speaking a second time.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Indemnity Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, I invite your Lordships' attention to the consideration of a subject very far removed from that which has just been under debate. It is a subject technical in character and yet one, as may readily be understood, of the greatest possible importance. Many wars have been followed by Acts of Indemnity and the crises which arc produced by wars are almost certain, in the course of them, to lead to the commission of acts the legality of which is at least questionable and which must be put right when peace arrives, if confusion and public misfortune are not to follow. If that is true, as it undoubtedly has been true, of other wars, it must be more true of a struggle like that from which we have recently emerged; and for Many reasons. In the first place, the scale and the intensity of the struggle in which we were engaged involved, as everybody knows, the whole life of the nation and affected, directly or indirectly, almost every individual in the nation. In the second place, the sustained intensity of the submarine crisis made it indispensable, in the anxieties as to the sufficiency of our food supply and raw materials, that the Government should assert from time to time the most direct and drastic control over the available supplies of those commodities.

In these circumstances a vast complexity of transactions grew up. It was, of course, necessary that steps should be taken to determine the principles upon which compensation should be paid, as many of those who claimed it were unable to postpone their claims until the conclusion of the war; and, now that the war has concluded, it becomes necessary that an attempt should be made, in a general measure, to arrive at a solution of those questions which is honourable. It is the hope of the Government that with the Amendments which were made in the Commons, and with any suggestions they may be so fortunate as to receive from your Lordships, they have, on the whole, not completely failed in their attempt to produce a measure which will be acceptable in the main affairs and which will at the same time solve the difficult problems which, imperatively and at an early date, require solution.

The simple method in which I can attempt to explain the Bill will, I think, be to take it and to make such observations as seem desirable upon the more important provisions which it contains. In Clause 1 (1) it is provided that no action or other legal proceeding whatsoever, whether civil or criminal, shall be instituted in any Court of Law in respect of any act done during the war before the passing of this Act, if done in good faith, and done or purported to be done in the execution of his duty—and so forth—by a person holding office under, or employed in, the Service of the Crown in any capacity, whether naval, military, Air Force or civil. I omit the words that are not essential to grasp the main purpose of this provision. The scheme of the Act has been to lay down the principles which underlie the restrictions on the taking of legal proceedings against persons acting in good faith—widely ire the first subsection of Clause 1, then introducing a large number of exceptional cases, which of course must be safeguarded, in the form of provisos to that subsection, and then, more materially and substantially, by the provisions of Clause 2.

The provisos of subsection (1) are to be found on page 2 of the Bill. I need not deal with proviso (a). One or two of the other provisos require a word of explanation. It is provided under proviso (b) that this subsection shall not prevent the institution or prosecution of proceedings in respect of any rights under, or alleged breaches of, contract, if the proceedings are instituted within one year from the termination of the war or the date when the cause of action arose, whichever may be the later. That is meant to except cases where proceedings are founded upon a right alleged under contract. Proviso (c) permits the survival of proceedings founded on negligence in respect of damage to person or property elsewhere than in a foreign country. Such a case might be where the proceedings are pending or contemplated, for instance, against the servants of the Government who have been driving a motor car which has caused injury. Proviso (d) provides that the subsection shall not prevent the institution or prosecution of civil proceedings in respect of damage to persons or property in any foreign country, and it lays down the conditions under which this exception becomes operative. This is not a very important proviso, and it is perhaps sufficient to say that it is inserted as the result of conventional arrangements, to which the French and the Belgians are equally with ourselves parties, and that it is contemplated that a clearing house should be established in respect to those claims in the three countries. Sub-clause (e) deals with relatively small matters—proceedings respecting the validity or infringement of a patent, and I think I need not specifically deal with that.

Subsection (3) provides that a certificate by a Government Department that any act was officially done shall be accepted as sufficient evidence. Both Clause 1 (1) and Clause 1 (3) are, I believe, closely modelled upon the provisions of the South African Indemnity Act. Subsection (4) provides that "Nothing in this section, shall prejudice or prevent the institution or prosecution of proceedings for giving effect to a final judgment given before the passing of this Act by any Court of final resort or by any other Court where the judgment at the passing of this Act is not then the subject of a pending appeal." That subsection is intended to safeguard the position of many litigants who asserted while the war was actually pending, and successfully asserted, their view of various legal controversies that arose in opposition to the Crown. Where such litigants have, before the passing of this Bill, succeeded in the Law Courts, no attempt is made to deprive them of the fruits of their victory.

Clause 2 deals with very important matters. It deals with the position and the proper compensation to be given to parsons whose ships, or accommodation in whose ships, has been requisitioned at any time during the war, such requisition either purporting to be founded upon the Prerogative or on a power under the Defence of the Realm Acts. The second subject of the greatest possible importance is dealt with by subsection 1 (b), and I think that, as the words have been construed and are technical, I had better read those words—
"Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing section restricting the right of taking legal proceedings, any person not being a subject of a state which has been at war with His Majesty during the war and not having been a subject of such a state whilst that state was so at war with His Majesty—
(b) who has otherwise incurred or sustained any direct loss or damage by reason of interference with his property or business in the United Kingdom through the exercise or purported exercise, during the war, of any prerogative right of His Majesty or of any power under any enactment relating to the defence of the realm, or any regulation or order made or purporting to be made thereunder, shall be entitled to compensation in respect of such loss or damage."
What Clause 2 (1) in effect provides, therefore, is that, in spite of the general restriction which is contained in Clause 1 (1) of the Bill—the two principal cases where, in other words, a ship or part of a ship has been requisitioned—or where a subject has incurred or sustained direct loss or damage by reason of interference with his property or business in the United Kingdom, compensation shall be payable to such person.

Then the Bill proceeds to deal with the question as to the principles on which, and by what tribunal, the compensation shall be determined. Before I come to the principles it is proper to make one or two observations as to the tribunal. It is provided, in the first place, that there shall be an appeal to the Court of Appeal in England, or, in the case of a Scottish matter, to either Division of the Court of Session on a point of law, the decision of the Appellate Court in either country to be final unless the Court itself gives leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

Now I come to the principles in relation to which it is provided that the compensation shall be assessed. The following paragraphs require careful consideration and perhaps a word or two of explanation. The first is in these terms—
"Where under the Defence of the Realm Regulations or any order made or purporting to be made thereunder, any special principle for assessment of compensation or the rate thereof, is contained in the Regulation or order, compensation shall be assessed in accordance with that principle or rate: Provided that nothing in this provision shall prevent the tribunal in assessing compensation from taking into consideration any circumstances which, under the regulation in question, it would have been entitled to take into consideration."
That principle is the result, and I am inclined to think the necessary result, of the practice, that was equally necessarily adopted over so long a period of the war, of arriving at some principle on which compensation should be assessed. Your Lordships will remember that when the submarine campaign was in its full vigour and intensity there was the gravest and the most completely founded anxiety as to whether or not it would really be possible, with the existing and available supplies to support the population with food and at the same time to supply in another branch of our anxieties the necessary raw materials for our industries. Under those circumstances, and by universally recognised necessity, Controllers were set up, and practically the national stocks of many of the most vital commodities in the country were placed under control and the prices at which they could be sold were regulated. How necessary this process was I think will be obvious at once to your Lordships.

Nobody ever disputed that the reasonable basis for compensation is the adoption of market value, and, in the early days of the war and before we obtained the experience which the war brought, this was the method that was, in fact, adopted. And for the first few months of the war property requisitioned was paid for at market rates. Nor was the practical difficulty for the purposes of a great war discovered until the war had been in progress for some considerable time. As it progressed and requisitions by the Crown increased, and as the submarine campaign developed, market prices rose to extreme heights, and in course of time market values became both extravagant and artificial. For instance, it is obvious that if there are certain commodities that are essential, those persons who are very rich would procure them at whatever price it may be necessary for them to pay. Therefore the most extraordinary and almost incredible fluctuations in values took place. No one, I think, doubted then, and I think no one has doubted since, that it became necessary to devise a new basis of assessment, and, after due consideration, the principle adopted for the payment of requisitioned property was laid down in the Defence of the Realm Regulation 2B, and the principle adopted was cost price plus the rate of profit usually earned before the war. This Regulation was issued on February 23, 1917, and thenceforth compensation was calculated upon that basis. No one, I think, will condemn this principle, although undoubtedly it may have caused hardship in a few cases; for instance, one trader might have had his goods requisitioned and have received only the cost price plus the pre-war rate of profit, whereas another trader who was fortunate not to have his goods requisitioned was free to obtain any price he could get. Such disparities were, of course, inevitable. But the assessment of compensation on the principle that was laid down in this recommendation has had the general effect of providing a reasonable rate of compensation to owners of property and goods requisitioned, and has also and incidentally had the effect of saving enormous sums to the Exchequer. I apprehend, therefore, it is probable that no one will quarrel with the claim that is made that where the Defence of the Realm Regulations have adopted special principles for the assessment of compensation we should not at this period attempt to re-open the cases.

The second sub-clause provides that "where the payment or compensation is claimed under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, it shall be assessed in accordance with the principles upon which the Board of Arbitration constituted under the proclamation issued on the third day of August nineteen hundred and fourteen has hitherto acted, which principles are set forth in Part I of the Schedule to this Act." Stripped of technical language, what happened in the case of ships may be stated quite shortly. It became necessary to requisition ships upon an enormous scale. A Court of Arbitration was set up, under the presidency of a most accomplished and experienced Judge in maritime, and, indeed, all other matters—a member of this House, Lord Mersey. They gave the most extended and careful attention to this matter, and evolved a practical method of dealing with these problems which I think I am entitled to say has been loyally accepted as reasonable by the overwhelming number of shipowners, which has secured to shipowners compensation for their exertions and activities that is certainly not inadequate, and at the same time has effected immense and incalculable economies in the finances of the country.

Let me summarise, first of all, the methods which they employed and the result of those methods. They adopted a certain rate of freight which, in principle, was reached in the way I mentioned when I was explaining the Defence of the Realm Regulation. They set themselves to discover a rate of freight which appeared to them in all the circumstances of the case to be a reasonable one. This was known as the Blue Book rate, and they followed that during the whole of the war. It is essential at this stage for your Lordships to understand the situation confronting the Government when the policy contained in this Bill was decided upon. The rates allowed, as I have said, have not been seriously challenged, in my judgment and observation, by the majority of the shipowners; in fact, I have the explicit assurance of the Controller of Shipping upon that point. The minority has, nevertheless, expressed dissatisfaction and had manifested an intention of challenging the legality of the basis upon which the decisions of the Court of Arbitration have been founded; and the decision of this House in the de Keyser's Hotel case has undoubtedly affected very considerably the whole legal basis of the action of the Crown during the relevant period of the war. If the claim of the minority of the shipowners (which, as I have said, is founded in my humble judgment entirely upon the fictitious increase in the price of ships, which was itself a fruit of the war and cannot, in my opinion, be admitted) was allowed, the consequences would be obvious. The majority of the shipowners would say, We are perfectly content not to embarrass the Government; at the same time if the minority, who have given all the trouble they can and made claims which we are prepared to admit are not reasonable, are to be paid, we see no reason why they should be treated better than we are.

Those who have helped me in this matter have had some correspondence with Lord Mersey upon this point. He greatly regrets that he is unable to be here to recommend this particular part of the proposals to your Lordships with all the immense experience he has of the matter. But either his Court of Arbitration or else the Shipping Controller has supplied me with some figures in relation to the requisitioning of ships which will not be without interest to the House, and which certainly possess great revelance to the debate. They have either made awards or arrived at settlements in their dealings with shipowners during the war which affect £390,000,000; I am not quite sure of the figure, but that at any rate is near enough to the actual' amount. I have no hesitation in laying down in this connection two propositions—the first is that the overwhelming majority of shipowners are quite content with what they have received; and the second is that they have received quite enough in all the circumstances of the case. If all those cases which were dealt with by the Mersey Commission were attempted to be re-opened and if either this clause or a similar one were not passed into law, you would have to add to the £390,000,000 the stupendous sum of £400,000,000 more, which would go into the pockets of the shipowners as the market value of the ships which were requisitioned in accordance with the necessities of the State.

Then there is the other case where, under the Defence of the Realm Regulations, a citizen has incurred or sustained direct loss of value by reason of interference with his property and business through the exercise of the prerogative or through the exercise of the Defence of the Realm Regulations. The method that was ultimately adopted has been explained by me, but I think I ought to state what the consequences would be if an Indemnity Bill, on lines comparable to this measure, was not attempted. The additional cost to the Exchequer, according to the finding of the Select Committee on the Indemnity Bill, over which I believe Lord Peel presided, in respect of claims in relation to goods requisitioned under the Defence of the Realm Act would be £596,162,000. I see that I slightly over-stated the claims under shipping; the Committee estimate that figure at £378,000,000. They also estimate that the claims arising under the head of land and buildings would be £11,200,000, making a grand total of the additional cost to the Exchequer, if the Bill is not passed, of £985,362,000. I cannot, of course, pretend that I have vouched these figures, but they are generally accurate and may be confidently assumed as the claim it would be necessary to meet if an Indemnity Bill of some kind was not passed by Parliament. We should have to meet these enormous payments while every member of this House and of the House of Commons knows perfectly well that in the overwhelming majority of cases compensation, which under all the circumstances of the case cannot be pronounced inadequate, has been received by those who are making further claims.

Let me give your Lordships one illustration of the kind of claim that is being paid now. This is a case in which the Admiralty—it is a typical case—in November, 1917, acting under the Defence of the Realm Act, requisitioned 239 puncheons of rum belonging to Newcastle brewers, and-paid a sum of £10,000 based on the cost price plus a reasonable profit. The brewers claim the market value of the rum, and claim that the value, failing agreement, should be determined by a Court of Law. They filed a Petition of Right and claimed an additional sum of £18,000, which represents extra profit pure and simple—war profit. It means this, that because our troops were fighting and rum was largely used in the field the firm was not only to receive the cost price plus a reasonable profit but also £8,000 representing a pure war profit. In law it has been held that they are entitled to recover this, but neither in equity nor in justice, so far as I am aware, are they able to establish any such claim. Therefore I am bold enough to think that these two proposals in their main outlines are not unreasonable and will receive the sanction of this House.

There is a general provision in subsection (2), paragraph (iii) (a), to this effect—
"If the claimant would, apart from this Act have had a legal right to compensation the tribunal shall take that right into consideration, and in assessing the compensation shall have regard to the amount of compensation to which, apart from this Act, the claimant would have been legally entitled, and to the existence of a state of war and to all other circumstances relevant to a just assessment of compensation."
That is the result of a discussion and compromise among the legal members in the other House, and its object is to deal more indulgently with the case where, apart from this Act, there was a clear right to compensation. The last words were inserted in consequence of a judicial dicta emanating from this House in the course of these arbitration trials, to the effect that one must in dealing with these matters have regard to the existence of a state of war. Then paragraph (iii) (b) says that if the claimant would not have had any such legal right, the compensation shall be assessed in accordance with the principles upon which the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission acted.

In subsection (4) of the same clause we have these words—
"The tribunal for assessing compensation shall, wherce by any of the Defence of the Realm Regulations any special tribunal is prescribed, be that tribunal, and in eases where the claim is made under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section be the said Board of Arbitration, and in any other case be the said Defence of the Realm Losses Commission."
That is obviously a convenient arrangement. Some of the special tribunals have gained experience. In shipping the cases come before a Board of Arbitration, but in other cases they come before the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, and it is of course of the greatest importance, as the House of Commons realised, that those who constitute the Court should be men of the highest experience and capacity. The Government are satisfied that as the Court is proposed to be constituted they have secured this essential result. Besides the two most experienced and public-spirited gentlemen who at this moment alone survive from the original members it is proposed that Mr. Justice A. T. Lawrence, whose knowledge of these matters is very great, should be the President of the Court, and to add to its members Mr. Justice Dunbar Barton, formerly a Law Officer of Ireland and Judge of the High Court in Ireland, and Judge Taylor, who has been for many years a Judge of the Court of Passage in Liverpool. Powers are given to the Court to compel the attendance of witnesses, and so forth.

Clause 4 validates all customs, proclamations, and orders which have been issued during the war and before April 15, 1920, prohibiting or restricting the importation of goods. Some Parliamentary controversy has taken place as to the validity of certain restrictive orders and proclamations that were made from the beginning to the end of the war, and it was ultimately decided by the Courts that these restrictive proclamations could not be supported in law. They were undoubtedly necessary for many purposes of the war, and it is indispensable that the matter should be put right in this Bill, and that what was done in so many cases with such beneficent public results should be validated.

Clause 5 deals with a different subject altogether. It provides that any sentence passed or judgment given by any Military Court (not being a Court-Martial) shall be deemed to be and always to have been valid, and to be and always to have been within the jurisdiction of the Court. These are provisions which I think you will agree are not unreasonable. Early in the war it happened that our troops had taken possession of enemy territory and had to improvise legal or semi-military tribunals, and they dealt with very large parts of the world by those means.

Clause 6 provides that all laws and proclamations, and so forth, made or issued by the authority administering any territory in the military occupation of the Army for the peace, order or good government of that country, shall be deemed to be and always to have been valid and of full effect both during such occupation and after the determination thereof, until repealed. That is a necessary provision when dealing with the proclamations which have been enforced in districts such as I have spoken of in connection with the war. For instance, Mesopotamia was governed in this method for a very considerable period. This section is required in these cases only.

I do not think it necessary, unless any noble Lord desires any explanation upon a particular point, to say more in the way of general explanation at this stage. I do not pretend that the subject-matter of this Bill has not caused me the greatest difficulty and by way of anticipation for the last four years, for I, in common with others who preceded me as Law Officers, had great and constant responsibility in this and cognate matters. It was frequently necessary for us to sanction actions, under the stimulus of fundamentally urgent necessity, in cases in which sometimes the very existence of the nation was at stake and on which we entertained ourselves at the time the gravest possible doubts as to the strict legality of that which as Law Officers we sanctioned. It was always, of course, known that an Indemnity Bill would some time become necessary.

I do not in the least pretend that the proposals of this Bill are perfect. It would be very difficult to frame a perfect Bill or a Bill which would not effect some injustice on some individual, but it is claimed that on the whole a real attempt has been made in this Bill to deal equitably with the subject as a whole, and at the same time with proper and necessary economy as stewards in this matter of the public purse. I very much hope that if any noble Lords have any suggestions to make we shall have the advantage of them, and I can promise that they will receive very careful consideration from the Government. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.

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

My Lords, as the Lord Chancellor has pointed out in his very lucid explanation, this is a Bill which raises extremely important points of principle as well as technical points of detail. There are one or two of the technical points of detail on which I desire to ask a question or two, but I rather think that they are matters for the Committee stage, and I will only deal with them so far as I require them to illustrate matters of principle.

We have here three Bills in a certain sense. We have an Indemnity Bill, and so far as this is merely an Indemnity Bill I should have no criticism to offer on the terms in which it is drawn. In addition to that it deals, as it appears to me, in a very important matter with two other topics which need not necessarily be put into an Indemnity Bill at all—namely, the question of security of property under certain conditions, and the right of the liberty of the subject under certain conditions. It is rather to these two points that I propose to address myself this afternoon, because as regards these two points I am bound to say that in my view the Bill is reactionary in rather a malignant form, and in that respect I find myself in direct conflict of opinion with what has been stated by the Lord Chancellor.

There is only one thing that I want to say with regard to the indemnity part of the Bill, and that is that an indemnity is to be given where an official has acted honestly—which I think is a right principle—but he is to be taken to have acted honestly unless the contrary is proved, if he be given a certificate by the Depart- ment. Of course the Department is really what is attacked, and therefore I presume a certificate would be forthcoming. I do not want to suggest any impropriety, but if the onus of proof of dishonesty is thrown upon the other side and unless that onus is discharged the official is to be taken to have acted in good faith, it appears to me that there will be very strong difficulty in the way of getting redress, even in the case of dishonesty of action. As the noble and learned Lord has asked us to indicate points, I feel found to point out this difficulty, and will refer him to the top line of page 3.

Now with regard to one or two points in relation to the provisos to Clause 1. Those are provisos to the indemnity clause, which takes away any right of action in any form, by subjects under the conditions stated. First we have proviso (a). Although the right of the subject is taken away, this shall not prevent "the institution or prosecution of proceedings on behalf of His Majesty or any Government Department." Therefore the subject is open to attack by the institution of proceedings on behalf of His Majesty or any Government Department, and what I want to ask is this. Suppose there have been cross dealings, and the defence is that the action although honest was mistaken and illegal, will that defence be allowed to be raised against a claim made by the Government under proviso (a). It appears to me to be loading the dice if you specially reserve the right of the Government—which I think is right—but at the same time do not allow the subject against whom the Government have brought an action to say, In respect of what I did and in respect of which you bring an action against me, that was caused by the illegal although honest action of the official. That is a distinct question on which I think I can ask the Government to state their intention. To leave it on one side in favour of the Government Department only would be extremely unfair.

I do not think it is necessary to call attention to proviso (b) and (c). I agree with the noble Lord that contracts are saved, and that is right; also matters of negligence are saved, and that is right, although I do not think either of those matters deal with the real subject-mattes of the Bill itself. Now as regards (d), what I want to ask is this. Why is proviso (d) in the Bill at all? Of course, if there are treaties dealing with the matter it is unnecessary. In the ordinary course a subject of this country brings an action in a foreign Court subject to any disabilities which the foreign Court or Government may impose, but why should he be subjected to the further disability of obtaining the assent of the Attorney-General, which under certain conditions has to be obtained? Why should not a subject of this country go before a foreign Court and take his opportunity, according to the procedure of the Court and according to the principles administered by the Government of the country in which that Court is situated? I have looked at (d) several times, and I now cannot understand why a subject of this country, who otherwise has a right to obtain a remedy in a foreign Court, must for some reason go to the Attorney-General, who can intervene and say, "You are not to do it." I will go further. Suppose I had an action in a foreign Court and obtained a remedy there. What would it matter about the assent of the Attorney-General? The foreign Court would not care about it. It would be guided and determined by its own procedure. And if I got back home again, not having obtained the asent of the Attorney-General, I do not know whether he could commit me for proceeding in a foreign Court or not. At any rate it would be a wholly novel procedure if he did. I think the procedure is entirely wrong and that there ought to be no interference w4h the rights of a British subject to obtain what remedy he can in a foreign Court under conditions prescribed by the foreign government having jurisdiction over that Court.

The next point I want to deal with generally is the question of compensation. I think it is much more satisfactory to deal with it generally than by a special reference to the particular words of a particular section. The general principle that I suggest is this—that there ought to be as little interference as possible with recourse to the ordinary Courts, and that there ought to be as little interference as possible with the principles for assessing damages or loss which the ordinary Courts apply. Although the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack is rather frightened by the figures—nearly £1,000,000,000 he said—I find the greatest difficulty in crediting those figures without an extraordinary amount of special enquiry into each case. I will say why I think that, and will try to make it clear. For this purpose I will deal with the question of shipowners. So far as the shipowner is concerned it appears to me that he is now being given compensation on what I may teen generous terms, and in accordance with accepted principles. It seems to me incredible that any shipowner under these conditions should be a critic. What I am going to criticise is this—not that the shipowner receives compensation under what appears to be an inadequate principle, but that the same compensation on the same basis is not given to other people in regard to their property or rights. The effect of this Bill is undoubtedly to place the shipowner in a privileged position. I am not like the dog in a manger. I am not objecting to his holding that position. But why should not the same principle be applied to the owners of other goods and of other property, in order that we may have consistency and equality? You have no equality directly you depart from the accepted principles and apply a mere bureaucratic or autocratic test in regard to the compensation to be paid.

Let us appreciate exactly what a shipowner gets. Look at the Schedule, Part I. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack referred to it in the earlier part of his speech, but it is summarised in Part I of the first Schedule. What do the words mean? Compensation is given in respect of the profits derived from the use of the ship. It is quite true, and I think quite right—I will deal with that in a moment—that the amount of the profit is estimated in accordance with the rights and conditions contained in what is called the Blue Book. Every shipowner in this country whose ship has been requisitioned is paid on a basis of fair compensation, estimated on the profits he might have made if he bad kept that ship in his own ownership and under his own control. I think there has been misapprehension in regard to the principles, of compensation. I agree that no one is entitled to extravagant war prices. That ought to be common ground. But it is a very different thing to give a shipowner compensation on the basis of the use of his property irrespective of how he is using it himself. What I complain of is that he is given compensation on a reasonable basis, while that principle is denied altogether in the case of other requisitioned properties taken under the terms of this Bill. I should like to make it absolutely clear that I have no special connection with shipowners. What I say is that they have nothing to complain of, but that they have been properly and adequately compensated in accordance with the general principles of compensation.

Let me turn to other cases where special property is taken, such as puncheons of rum, and more particularly to cases like de Keyser's Hotel, taken in order that it might be used for administrative purposes in connection with the war. What is the position here? The Bill adopts the principles of the Realm Losses Commission Report. It adopts a principle which has been adopted by the Commission that has dealt with these matters. That Commission entirely denied compensation on the basis of the profit which might have been made by the owner if theproperty had been left in his hands. They deal with what is called direct loss, and direct loss is on the insurance basis and not on an indemnity basis. Direct loss necessarily excludes any principle of what equity and certainly any principle of what accepted law would regard as fair compensation in any particular case. I will give an illustration of what I mean by taking the case of property. Compensation has been asked for property in respect of its value in user. That is quite right. I am not putting it on what I may still call war prices. A man says, " Normally my property would have been worth £100 a year. You have taken it for five years, and you ought to pay me on that basis." "No," say the Realm Losses Commission, "we will not give you compensation on that basis. The property when we took it was in the nature of an unoccupied property, and you will have to show on the insurance principle that there is direct loss or damage before we will grant you a penny in the way of compensation." I do not think any one could say that is fair. I am sure no one can do so who has had any experience of compensation. Why should a man whose property has been requisitioned under those conditions be fined, and be put in a worse position than a man who has been allowed to own his property and deal with it in the ordinary way during the war period?

There has been complaint as regards what has been done about compensation under the Realm Losses Commission. It is not a matter of asking for an exaggerated market price. When you are com- pensating on market price you do not take an exaggerated price—that is the very essence of our compensation Iaw—owing to particular conditions or exceptional opportunities of user; you take what is called the average market price, what the ordinary owner, if he held the property, might expect to make out of it, either as rental or annual value. Again, why should a man not have compensation on those terms? What the noble Lord has mentioned is not applicable to the cases of property to which I am referring. That is cost plus profit, which may be applicable to the case lie gave us, or to requisitioned goods, but no one can say it is applicable to property. The whole basis is distinct, and to try to apply that to property, which is what the Realms Commission did, I say without hesitation has created unjust and inequitable results—unjust and inequitable in the sense that people, apparently having the same claim—have been treated on very different bases indeed. When we come to the question of cost plus fair profit the noble Lord on the Woolsack is perfectly well aware that the difficulty has always arisen as to the ascertainment of what is called the rate of profit. There always will be that difficulty as regards what is really profit and what ought to be expended in order to keep up repairs and other various matters about which we hear so much in Income Tax and other cases, and, although it seems easy to talk about cost plus a fair rate of profit, if you seek to apply that in compensation cases—and I speak from some experience in these matters—every complication arises, and there is every difficulty in order to ascertain what a fair compensation would be.

No; the real principle is indemnity and not insurance. Let every man be indemnified against the loss to which he has been put, either as regards the taking of his property or the taking of his goods, and if you set to work to give a fair indemnity then, of course, he has no reason to complain at all. It is clear that on the principle of what is called "eminent domain," particularly in war-time, the State has power to requisition either real property or ordinary goods, but always subject to this in every civilised country—that there shall be a proper indemnity paid for the right thus exercised. I look on this as a matter of extremely important principle at the present time. No one can doubt that questions of the security of property and the value of property are veining very much to the front, and that there is a large school arising which thinks that the State should take property from particular individuals on some terms which, at any rate, are much less than the ordinary terms of indemnity. They do not realise the principle of security, and I seriously hope that on this point some amendment will he made before the Bill passes out of your Lordships' hands. I will not at present, however, indicate what is a matter for Committee, because I want to keep to questions of principle.

There is one point as regards the Court and also another matter upon which I would say a word. Every one knows that you could nut have a better Judge than Mr. Justice A. T. Lawrence, but I do not like Judges being put in an official, as against a judicial, position. Not only in this matter, but again and again Judges have been made officials, instead of being left in an impartial judicial position, and it is extremely important that there should be no doubt as regards the impartiality of a Judge in his judicial position because he has acted in a certain sense as an agent or representative of the State in his administrative capacity. I will not mention any name but, in my opinion, one of the greatest of our Judges has been most unfairly hampered by having been asked to serve on what since has become a rather notorious matter as regards questions of nationalisation.

Now I want to say a word upon another subject. Why is the appeal to this House cut out? There seems to be a tendency nowadays to interfere with what I should call the privileges of this House by taking away its position as an ultimate Court of Appeal. Why should people, having the right of appeal upon matters which, according to the figures given by the noble and learned Lord, may involve hundreds of millions of pounds, not have that right of appeal? If it is worth while to keep an appellatory tribunal at all—and I am prejudiced; my opinion is strongly in— its favour—why should von exclude from its purview matters of this kind, of enormous importance as regards principle and involving very large sums indeed?

There are two other subjects in connection with the Bill, a little distinct from those I have mentioned, but of the greatest importance. They are Clauses 4 and 5. I look upon Clause 5 as touching the most important matter of principle involved in the Bill. As regards Clause 4 I am bound to admit that I regret intensely that the illegal system, as it was found. to be, of prohibiting imports and giving special licenses should be sanctioned and validated. I do not think that Departments ought to have the power, proprio motu, Of introducing protective systems. I do not think that Departments, proprio motu, ought to have the very dangerous power of giving licenses to trade to some people and withholding them from others. There is no more likely source of corruption and there is no more likely source of discouragement to particular trades. If there are matters upon which the Legislature ought to be supreme they are these matters of trade licenses and trade Import Regulations. I think it may be necessary to have some provision in that form, with an indemnity, such as we find in Clause 4, but I regret it very much indeed.

Clause 5, to my mind, is much more important. So far, I have been dealing with the questions of security of property. I think what are much more important than security of property are questions of the freedom and liberty of the individual. In my opinion personal freedom ought to be regarded as the first purpose of all civilised life and civilised laws and civilised Courts. What is the provision of Clause 5? I will ask your Lordships to look at it. Put yourself in the position of a prisoner for the moment, imagine yours If to be in prison, and then apply the clause to yourself. I will use not technical words but words which can easily be understood. Clause 5 says that if you have been put into prison by Military Courts, or by military individuals, even if they had no more right to do it than you or I had—no right of any sort or kind—that judgment is to stand, and it is to be held that what was done was always within the jurisdiction of the Court, although in the case I give the Court had no jurisdiction whatsoever. Where a man puts another in prison, and holds him there, whether he had a right or title to do it or not, if he had no right or title to do it then the man is entitled to his liberty. That is one of the first principles of personal liberty if we really understand it. Do not allow a man to be left in prison, having been put there by a Court which had no jurisdiction either to try him or to interfere with him in any way whatever. The Lord Chancellor, in answer to that, said that there are certain difficulties in certain places. I think he instanced Stoke. If you have those special difficulties let them be defined on the face of the Bill. Let us know what they are and where they are, and do not consign a poor man, perhaps, to imprisonment for years when the person who put him there had no right whatever to do it.

There is this further matter upon Clause 5. It was very much discussed, as the noble and learned Lord will know, whether there might not at any rate be an appeal in these cases. It was discussed very much by the Solicitor-General in another place, and, after considerable discussion, it was left in this way, that he would see whether, when the Bill came to your Lordships' House, some right of appeal might not be granted so that the case of a man who was in prison under the decision of a Judge or a Court which had no jurisdiction to put him there, should be considered. I hope, when the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack comes to consider further the clauses of the Bill, he will be able to suggest some appropriate form of appeal which will mitigate what appears to me to be the harsh injustice of Clause 5— and not only a harsh injustice, but an injustice quite incapable of being supported on any known principle of any legal system. Of course, if a man puts you in prison who has no authority to do it he ought to be punished, and why it should stop there, although he acted without jurisdiction at all, it is impossible for me to understand.

I have abstained from going into any further matters of detail, but on these principles of compensation, and on these questions of individual liberty let us cling to the protection of our Courts; let us have recourse to our Courts, and if we want particular principles laid down, lay them down. But do not sweep away what is the œgis of our liberty and what has been the principle on which we have always relied, which is called the English rule of law, and which means the right of every man, however poor, to have recourse to the Courts, open to all, free to all, and which should be equal to all.

My Lords, I have not gathered from the speech of my noble and learned friend whether what he is proposing to ask your Lordships to do is ignominiously to cast this Bill out—

so that we may never see it again, or whether he is merely laying the foundation for an extensive evisceration of the Bill in Committee by radically altering those clauses which he does not propose to excise. At this hour I do not wish to detain your Lordships by anything that can be called a lawyers' discussion, but only to offer to your Lordships any assistance that is in my power in considering this highly technical Bill.

I wish to say at the outset that, after very carefully considering the Bill, I recognise the necessity for some such measure, and, especially after the very great improvements that were introduced into the Bill before it finally left another place it is, as it appears to me, one which fairly grapples with the very difficult problems which the Government had to face. This Bill does, at any rate, two valuable things. It recants those exaggerated notions of the Royal Prerogative, which, I am afraid, a great many subordinate officials acted upon during the war, and which, I am afraid, some superior officials felt themselves bound to defend when they found what had been going on; and it will save the Courts from being blocked up with cases, numerous in themselves and complicated and long in a great many instances, which are really nothing more than assessments of damages. If all the cases that could he brought were brought before the Courts I am afraid that the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack would have to appear before us again in the same way in which he did a little time ago and establish a very good case for the creation of additional Judges.

The responsibility of introducing such a measure as this is undoubtedly great, because it does two things which, I am quite sure, the Government themselves would recognise as being usually objectionable. The first is that it closes the Law Courts to litigants who have the right of entering them. It says in terms—and that is the object of the Bill—that no action or other legal proceeding shall be brought, although the citizen may have been wronged and may have a legal remedy which he is entitled to bring before the Courts by means of an action. It says furthermore—and it has been very candidly explained to us by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack—that it proposes to lay down in certain classes of wrongs a rule as to compensation which docks the person entitled of a very considerable proportion of that which he might be entitled to if he were allowed to go to law. I think everyone would agree that any tendency—and there has been such a tendency at times—to withdraw various classes of legally contentious issues from the jurisdiction of His Majesty's Courts is a tendency very much to be deprecated. But this is an exceptional case. It arises out of wholly exceptional circumstances, and I cannot doubt that it is necessary to say that certain classes of litigation shall be transferred to the very experienced and, I have no doubt, excellent tribunal which is to be constituted for the purpose, and called the War Compensation Court.

Incidentally I should like to say that I do not appreciate what is the doubt of my noble friend who has just spoken about the position of a Judge of the High Court in presiding over that Commission or tribunal. He is no more official there than he was before. He will be no less judicial there than he always has been. His decisions, or the decisions of the Court, may be taken on questions of law to the Court of Appeal, and, by leave of the Court of Appeal, may be brought to your Lordships' House. That is just like bankruptcy cases. It has been thought wise to require that leave should be obtained in that class of case, to bring it before your Lordships' House, and I, as one of those who have to hear appeals, welcome restrictions of that kind, because I do not cherish as much as my noble friend does the prospect of having all matters brought before your Lordships' House where the funds will run to it. The tribunal is one in which, I am sure, every confidence may be placed. The real pinch of the whole Bill lies in the remedy which that, tribunal will have to administer.

As the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack was good enough to ask for questions and suggestions, I should like to ask him two or three questions upon points that appear to me to be not sufficiently clear and, at any rate, worthy of his attention, with a view to making them more clear in Committee. What I regard as the most. important of these clauses is Clause 2 (2) and paragraph (iii) of that subsection. It is the one in which the compensation to be assessed is dealt with in the case of claimants who would have had a legal right to compensation—that is to say, people who have at this moment a right to come into Court, and who under this Bill, if it becomes an Act, will be relegated to the War Compensation Tribunal. In such a case "the tribunal shall take. that right into consideration." What does that mean? Of course, I am quite aware that if, as I should have guessed from its language, this clause is the result of some compromise, it may be an otiose and indeed an impossible question to ask exactly what it, means. Somebody will have to ascertain what it means when he comes to administer it, but it is better that it should be made clear if words can make it clear. Does it mean that the tribunal shall give effect to that right or does it not? To "take the legal right into consideration" and not give effect to it is taking away from the subject, who at present has something, a part of that to which he is entitled. If on the other hand it means, as I suppose it does, "shall take that right into consideration for the purpose of giving effect to it, subject to any express words that. may follow," would it not be very much better to say that when a claimant has a legal right to compensation apart from the Act the Tribunal to which he is sent in lieu of a Court of Law shall give effect to it, and let that be quite clear? Then the paragraph goes on—
"… and in assessing the compensation shall have regard to the amount of the compensation to which, apart from this Act, the claimant would have been legally entitled—"
That means, I suppose, that he shall have the same measure of compensation or damages before this Tribunal as he would have had in any Court of Law—
"and to the existence of a state of war and to all other circumstances relevant to a just assessment of compensation."
Does that add anything to, or does it subtract something from, his rights? What is the relevancy of the existence of a state of war if he is to have the amount of the compensation to which, apart from this Act, he would have been legally entitled? I cannot help suspecting that, perhaps unintentionally, there lurks under this reference to the existence of a state of war some idea that you can cut down the compensation which, but for this Act, the claimant would be entitled to, and say, "This is due to the existence of a state of war and you must take less."

Then there is this proviso—
"Provided that this subsection shall not give any right to payment or compensation for indirect loss."
I think "indirect loss" is not a very happy expression. I have no doubt what it means is that you are not to give, in Addition to money for the occupation of a man's house, general damages in respect of his business which result, not from his not having his house, but from there being a war in which he has to suffer like other people. The legal expression is that he is not to recover remote damages. But it is quite clear that a man might suffer real indirect loss as to which it would be just that compensation should be assessed. If you take away part of his premises And not the whole and thereby handicap him in the conduct of the rest of the concern he carries on, I should have thought it was not fair and probably was not intended that in such a case it should be said to him, "We have to pay rent for the use and occupation of the part of your premises that we do take, but it will be an indirect loss which you cannot recover if you suffer damage to your manufacturing operations in respect of the premises that we do not take." I have no doubt at all that this makes the point quite clear to the noble and learned Lord, and that, if he does not accept the view of it that I suggest, he will at any rate consider the advisability of making the matter clearer before we come to the Committee stage.

I would like to raise another question. Is it or is it not intended by this Bill to re-open any of the decisions that have been given, either by the Duke Commission or the Mersey Commission or any of the settlements that have followed the lines of those Commissions without actually going before them? What makes me uneasy is that enormous figures have been given to us, and I ask myself why these figures are brought before us and what they represent. There is no principle of law that I am aware of which says outright that if you take a man's property from him in time of war when you have no right to do it he is not to have the value of that property at the time when you take it but the value of it at the time when you did not take it—namely, before the war. I should have thought that any jury would have been told that if you take a man's horse or cart without authority, flagrante bello, the sum he is entitled to recover, if he is entitled to recover anything at all, is the value when it was taken away from him. That is where the tradesmen who complain of Regulation 2B have a real grievance.

I think it is a little unfortunate that rum happened to be the instance that was brought before your Lordships; it is an unsympathetic and adverse case to take. Those tradesmen say, "We had our rum and you took it. We had to replace it for the purposes of our trade. We very likely had sold it already or made forward contracts which we had to fill from this stock. We shall have to replace our stock at the market prices, and we shall have to go and buy it and pay whatever may be demanded for it. Therefore in taking it away from us and giving us what is to be given under Regulation 2B, you are really taking part of the actual value of our commodity and doing it in the name of public economy." Personally I think nothing else could have been done in this war, but it is at any rate desirable that those who have suffered in this way should have all credit for it; and instead of its being suggested, as my noble and learned friend has done, that shipowners have done mighty well on what they have got and never could have been entitled to more, I think it is due to the shipowners, to the rum sellers, and to other people who have had their commodities taken, to point out that in the case of the shipowners at any rate they seem to have been paid about half of what they would have had if they had received the real value of what was taken at the time it was taken, and that they have made the sacrifice like men. That was very noticeable in the House of Commons. Mr. Leslie Scott—who opposed the whole principle of the Bill—speaking in the name and on behalf of the shipowners as a body, disclaimed any desire on their part to insist on being paid more amply than they had been paid, and they deserve every possible credit for their magnanimity.

But when we hear figures like those which have been brought before us, we have to ask ourselves, What is the object with which they are put forward? I ask whether it is intended to re-open any of these settlements? In the case where a man has been before one of these Commissions and taken what he could get, or has settled his case without going before the Commission and has taken what he could get, is it intended that there should be any re-opening of the matter now upon the ground that after the war there should be inure extensive compensation given to some people under this Bill, and, therefore, there must be a more extensive compensation given to all people. When you wrote off the cases which had been settled long ago, where the money has been paid and pocketed, and grumblingly or willingly accepted, I should have thought there was no further necessity to go into the matter and that the number of cases still remaining to be settled in any form whatever must be remarkably small and could not possibly justify the huge figures which have been put before us. If these figures do apply, it must either be because the settled cases are entitled to be re-opened (as to which I must say I think that would lie very much outside the scope of any such Bill as this) or else it must be because there are far more cases pending than I, at any rate, have any idea of. Then we had better face the fact that our reason for passing this Bill will be that, although the country owes a number of private individuals a very large sum for their goods which were taken away from them, it cannot afford to pay it. That will be the only result. of that argument. If that is the intention with which the figures were brought forward, there is all the more reason why the exact measure of compensation which is enacted in this Bill should be very carefully considered. I would like, therefore, to ask the noble and learned Lord what is meant to be the scope of subsection (2) (i) which deals with the Defence of the Realm Regulations, and is in these terms—
"Where under the Defence of the Realm Regulations … any special principle for assessment of compensation … is contained in the Regulation … compensation … shall be assessed in accordance with that principle or rate."
Is that intended to validate all the Defence of the Realm Regulations whether good or bad? At present there is a decision under appeal I am told, in which it is held that Regulation 2B was beyond the powers of the authority which purported to make it. Is it, without any further hearing in the Courts, to be taken tinder this Bill that, in spite of that judgment, Regulation 2B is good and the special principle which is laid down is to be enacted and to have statutory authority given to it, so that it is made better and more valid than ever before. If all it amounts to is that where there is a special principle laid down under the Regulations, and those Regulations are valid, then that special principle shall be applied, that is in my view natural enough.

There is one other point which I hope the Lord Chancellor will allow me to bring to his attention. I see no power under Clause 2 by which the new Tribunal can give costs. They can give compensation, but that is all they can do. It would be very hard indeed, and a great injustice, if they had no power to give costs. I think it must be an oversight; possibly it is covered by some other words which I have not noticed. I do not propose to carry the discussion any further. My only object is to endeavour to facilitate the progress of the Bill by bringing to the Lord Chancellor's attention now matters which may be dealt with perhaps without discussion in the Committee stage. I will not detain your Lordships further than to say that the strictures which the noble and learned Lord passed on the provision which validates sentences pronounced by Military Courts were, I thought, a little out of place. Officers generally sit on Military Courts, and if an officer happens to have no jurisdiction he is no less an officer, and I should have thought a person to be entitled to be protected so far as be himself is concerned. It is true that the clause provides that the sentences shall be validated, but is it really proposed that all the sentences that were passed in connection with the war are now to be revised in order that persons who can argue, perhaps successfully, that there was a lack of jurisdiction may be let out? There surely must be an end to controversies of that kind, and as far as I can see there is not likely to be much real injustice done under the Bill.

My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Sumner, has informed the House that his object is to assist in dealing with the admittedly difficult situation which this Bill attempts to meet, and no one is more competent than he is to afford assistance in such a matter. He has asked me a number of specific questions and I will attempt, as far as I can, to make a brief reply. He has asked me to give my view as the true construction of Clause 2, subsection (2), paragraph (iii), (a), which is as follows—

"If the claimant would, apart from this Act, have bad a legal right to compensation the tribunal shall take that right into consideration, and in assessing the compensation shall have regard to the amount of the compensation to which, apart from this Act, the claimant would have been legally entitled. and to the existence of a state of war and to all other circumstances relevant to a just assessment of compensation."
I may tell him quite candidly. that these words rang for the first time in my ears in a manner that was novel and not altogether agreeable, and it was for that reason that I elicited the circumstances that they had been the subject of discussion amongst legal members in another place and were an attempt to embody a compromise decision in the Bill. He asks me how I construe it? I will tell him at once. I imagine that the original proposal was that persons who fell within this clause were to receive the full amount of compensation to which, apart from this Bill, the claimant would be legally entitled. Then I imagine those who took the, other view putting forth their arguments and saving "No, he must not have full compensation. That is to be the basis of the compensation to be given; the Court may start with this, that prima facie he is to have the full legal amount, but we are going to make deductions, having regard to the fact that a state of war has existed and to other circumstances which we think should be also taken into account." It seems an agreement was reached that in the main it should be on the legal basis, but that these other circumstances should be considered. The wording of the clause may be a little doubtful, and I will give it my attention before the Committee stage.

The next question Lord Sumner put dealt with the scope and proprietary of the term "indirect loss." I am informed, by those who have followed closely the decisions and the practice of the Duke Commission, that it has always been the practice to treat such cases as he instanced as being direct loss and that there are many cases on record in which that view has been taken. Whether the term "indirect" is the happiest that could be used I will consider before the Committee stage.

The third question which my noble and learned friend asked was whether it was the intention of the Government to re-open the many cases which have been dealt with. It is certainly not our intention to re-open those cases. I suppose there are hundreds of thousands of them, and I should contemplate with consternation any proposal to re-open them. The Parliamentary Committee which was appointed to consider this question reached the unanimous decision that it was wholly impracticable to re-open them. Then the noble and learned Lord says that the principle upon which it was ideally desirable that these persons should have been compensated was that they were entitled to the value of the commodity as and when it was taken. I do not in the least dispute that the great majority of the shipowners have behaved with as great magnanimity as any others of the community, and no one can quarrel with what the noble and learned Lord said as a generalisation. In normal times it is, of course, elementary, but I cannot in the least agree with him that any person is entitled to accuse this country of niggardliness if we say that under all the circumstances of the war this is a scale which cannot be founded upon any principle of fairness or justice. In other words the market value which I think he said we ought to apply to these cases throughout is a market value which is the direct and demonstrable and exclusive result of the war. If, because of the war alone, the value of a ship is increased say from £100,000 to £800,000 or £1,000,000, and if the necessities of the State require that the State, which after all is a form of protection for the vessel, says we must take it, I cannot agree that the owner is entitled to say the State is not treating him fairly because the war for which the State took the vessel has increased the value of his property from £100,000 to £1,000,000, and that that is the market value as and when the State took the vessel, and the State should compensate him on that basis. I cannot assent to the reasonableness of that view.

Then the noble Lord asked me to deal with another point—namely, with subsection (2) of Clause 2, paragraph (i). The words are—
"Where under the Defence of the Realm Regulations or any order made or purporting to be made thereunder, any special principle for assessment of compensation or the rate thereof, is contained in the Regulation or order, compensation shall be assessed in accordance with that principle or rate."
The noble Lord asked whether this is intended to validate regulations pronounced invalid by the Courts. I do not so read it, and it is to my mind, I confess, inconceivable, though I will look into the matter more closely, that the clause would have been drafted in the manner in which it is drafted if it had been intended to produce that result.

Those are, I think, except the matter of costs, all the points raised by the noble and learned Lord who has just spoken. The matter of costs has caused me a little trouble, and it shall receive further consideration. I am informed that the Duke Commission always arrived in the first place at a sum of money which they thought the applicant should receive as compensation, and that having done that they added a round figure, not precisely calculated bat which I am told was not very ungenerously conceived, under the heading of costs, and they, added the two stuns together, and that was the amount of the award. I understand that it was contemplated that that practice would be continued. If the noble and learned Lord has a strong view that another system would be better you may be sure that that view will be considered.

I must make a few observations with regard to Lord Parmoor's speech. They shall be very brief indeed, but it would be disrespectful to a learned member of your Lordships' House if I did not make a short answer. The noble and learned Lord said that in Clause 1 (3), with respect to the indemnity, it was provided that the honesty of the Government official must be presumed. He complains very much of that, but it seems to me that it would be very strange if the Court wet e to begin by presuming dishonesty. If the official says, "This is the view which I formed honestly," it would be for those who impeached him to prove the contrary. I do not think that the noble and learned Lord has read the clause very carefully, because he stated that the Government Department concerned enabled itself to give a certificate of honesty. If the noble and learned Lord will real the Clause again he will fina, I think, that it is not so. It runs as follows—
"For the purposes of this section a certificate by a Government department that any act, matter, or thing was done under the authority of a person so holding office or so employed as aforesaid, or was done in the execution of a duty, shall be sufficient evidence of such authority or duty and of such act, matter, or thing having been done thereunder, or in execution thereof, and any such act, matter, or thing done by or tinder the authority of a person so holding office or so employed as aforesaid shall be deemed to have been done in good faith unless the contrary is proved."
The certificate has nothing whatever to do with the good faith of the official, as I think the noble and learned Lord will see.

I had read it very carefully, but if that is the meaning I shall be satisfied.

The noble and learned Lord also questioned the figures I had given as to the price which it would be necessary to pay if matters are reopened. All I know is that the Committee had before them very detailed reports from the Shipping Board and other expert bodies involved, and they put the figures quite positively and precisely as I have put them before your Lordships, and it must be presumed that they have some relation to facts. My object in quoting them was not to say to your Lordships that we owe this money and we cannot pay it and it is such a vast sum that we must not try to pay it. I tried to make it plain that in the exigencies and circumstances of the war we do not owe this money, but that if the question should arise whether we can afford to do a generous thing, I thought it only relevant to mention what the amount of that benevolence was likely to be.

With regard to the appointment of a Judge, a Judge was appointed entirely in deference to the view of those in the House of Commons who said, "Let this thing as far as possible be treated judicially and by one who is accustomed to deal with judicial matter:," and it would be as grossly improper for any member of the Executive to go to the learned Judge who will preside over this Court and attempt to influence his decision as it would be for him to go to any Judge sitting at the Courts in the Strand. I know of no Judge on the Bench who would resent such interference more effectively than the learned Judge who will occupy this position.

As to the proclamations, Lord Parmoor regrets that it should be necessary to adopt such a proposal as that which is contained in the Bill. I regret that it is necessary to adopt any of the proposals of the Bill, but I do not gather that Lord Parmoor disputes that it is necessary to deal with these matters in some such way as is suggested. He questioned me on two other points. The first was what was the justification for Clause 5 Lord Sumner answered most of the points. In the first place in many cases there was no provision possible of any legally instituted tribunal. Does the noble and learned Lord really say that all those persons convicted and sentenced to imprisonment who have long served their sentences should be allowed to bring actions for illegal imprisonment?

I never said anything about the officer being indemnified, but spoke on the question of the man being detained.

The Court does not consist entirely of officers. There are the other Judges and those who sit in a semi-judicial capacity. The noble Lord may be assured that every one of these cases has been most carefully and individually examined by the Judge Advocate-General and his Department. The Judge Advocate-General's Department has never had at its head an abler or more learned lawyer than Sir Felix Cassel, and he assures me that he has given personal attention himself to every one of these cases and that they have been reviewed by his highly-trained Department.

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

Overseas Trade (Credits And In Surance) Bill

House in Committee (according to Order) Bill reported without amendment.

Representation Of The People (No 3 Bill

Amendments reported (according to Order).

Merchant Shipping (Scottish Fishing Boats) Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My noble friend Lord Somerleyton proposes to put this Bill down for Friday.

Public Libraries (Scotland) Bill

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

My Lords, the main purpose of this Bill is to increase the maximum limit of the rate leviable in Scotland for the provision and maintenance of public libraries. Under the Public Libraries Consolidation (Scotland) Act, 1887 (which is an adoptive Act) the maximum rate which can be levied for library purposes is a rate of ld. in the £. Owing to the greatly increased cost of maintaining libraries under present-day conditions, a rate of ld. in the £ is, in most places, insufficient to provide the necessary funds. The Bill raises the maximum rate from 1d. in the £ to a rate of 3d. in the £, with the possibility of a further increase of 3d. in the £. with the sanction of the Secretary for Scotland, or the Scottish Board of Health, according as the rating authority is a town council or a parish council. In view of the increase of the rate, the opportunity has been taken of providing that in future the accounts of the library committees shall be audited along with, and as part of, the accounts of the rating authorities concerned. An Act was passed last Session which removed the rating limit in England, and a Bill relating to Irish libraries similar to this one passed through its final stages in your Lordships' House last night.

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

My Lords, my noble friend has stated that this Bill practically means an increase in the rate for public libraries in Scotland to the extent of six times what it is now. As your Lordships well know, we have great professions of economy, but they are very seldom carried out. The idea now seems to be that every one is to economise except public officials and public Departments. A short time ago there was another Bill before your Lordships which was only for a penny rate, and that Bill was rejected. Your Lordships will recollect that we were informed that the Government had great sympathy with that Bill and had even given it facilities in another place, but when it came to the vote most of your Lordships present were pleaded to see a great thirst for economy on the part of the greater number of the members of the Government present at that time, and they overruled their great sympathy for the measure and voted against the Second Reading. I believe that if there was a free vote on this Bill, the same result would be seen. Not only is our Income Tax one of 12s. in the £ at present, but there are also separate Income Taxes such as Mining Royalties, and in the present Budget there is a tax on company profits and on corporations, and these taxes are, to all practical purposes, income taxes over and above those imposed during the last year or two. Moreover, there has been an enormous increase in the rates, and sums levied for education, health, and so forth, can really only be described as a second Income Tax on the ratepayers of the country. The only hope left to the harassed ratepayers of this country is in your Lordships' House. This Bill was only read a first time last night. And the first that was known of it to your Lordships was when you saw the Notice on the Paper for the Second Reading to-day. Therefore it was quite impossible to give notice of rejection. I propose nevertheless to move its rejection, and I hope your Lordships will support an unfortunate ratepayer in moving that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.

Amendment moved—

Leave out the word ("now") and at end of the Motion insert ("this day six months").—(The Duke of Buccleuch.)

I do not think my noble friend the Duke of Buccleuch desires to close the free libraries in Scotland. He has not said so, and I do not believe he will say so. I think he is aware that if this Bill does not pass the free libraries in Scotland will close.

That is the case. For England your Lordships have passed a Bill identical in its terms with this, and only yesterday your Lordships gave a Third Reading to a Bill for Ireland also identical in its terms with this. There is the same difficulty everywhere. Unless the ld. rate is increased the free libraries will have to close. My noble friend the Duke of Buccleuch does not want that, I know. All he requires is that money devoted to these objects shall be frugally spent. I suggest that the proper course for him—and, if I may say so, the wiser course—is to assent to the Second Reading of this Bill and deal with the amount when we go into Committee. Whether it is to be a rate of 2d. or 3d. or 6d. is clearly a point to be discussed at a later stage. My noble friend may be able to show that in Scotland the increase granted to Ireland or England is not needed, and in that event the amount can be cut down. But I think it will be deplorable if we settle to-day that no increase shall be allowed. The effect of refusing to give a Second Reading to this Bill would be that the public libraries in Scotland would have to close. I should like to remind your Lordships that this Bill has the support of two accredited bodies in Scotland, one the Association of Parish Councils and the other the Convention of Royal Burghs.

My Lords, I am afraid that your Lordships are placed in a very considerable difficulty by the production of this Bill at this very late date with very little explanation. I do not, of course, complain in the least of the speech of the noble Lord who moved the Second Reading, but it must be apparent to your Lordships that the matter has received the very smallest possible consideration and that we are not really in full possession of the facts of the case. One thing we do know—that the taxpayers and ratepayers of this country are suffering under the most tremendous burden. We know that it has come nearly to breaking point. We know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his place in the House of Commons, has said that we have reached almost the limit of taxation, and I think the noble Duke is well advised in calling your Lordships' attention to the extra burden proposed to be imposed by this Bill. A sixpenny rate is possible under this Bill in addition to all the other great burdens which the ratepayers have to bear. The noble Earl the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster says that your Lordships' House has agreed—if I may say so respectfully, rather rashly—to some such proposal in respect of England and Ireland.

I said so, very respectfully. Noble Lords from England and Ireland may not have been so careful of the expenditure of money as noble Lords from Scotland. That is supposed to be a national characteristic and a very admirable characteristic. All that we can do is to deal with the matter when it is brought before us. I confess to a very great sympathy with the noble Duke. The noble Earl suggests that we should go into Committee and then that we should move to reduce the amount of the rate. I doubt whether that would be a very wise course for your Lordships to take, because we should be brought at once against the engine of the privileges of the House of Commons. It is true that the House of Commons might waive its privilege if we reduce the rate, but we have no security for that, and nothing but an assurance from His Majesty's Government that they will use all their powers in the House of Commons to induce that House to waive its privilege would be of the least avail. Therefore, I cannot say that I would adopt that suggestion. I do not wish to put the Government in a greater difficulty than possible and I would make this suggestion. There can be no very great urgency for the Bill, and I suggest that the Government should put off the Second Reading and the

CONTENTS.

Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.)Astor, V.Hylton, L.
Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.)Joicey, L.
Linlithgow, M.Armaghdale, L.Ranksborough, L.
Colebrooke, L.Riddell, L.
Bradford, E.Cottesloe, L.Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
Lucan, E.Denman, L.Southwark, L.
Lytton, E.Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
Onslow, E.Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)

NON-CONTENTS.

Salisbury, M.Blythswood, L.Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)
Dynevor, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) [Teller.]Erskine, L. [Teller.]Strachie, L.
Fairfax of Cameron, L.Sumner, L.
Faringdon, L.Teynham, L.
Midleton, E.Glenarthur, L.Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)
Morton, E.O'Hagan, L.Wester Wemyss, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committed of the Whole House.

Ministry Of Mines Bill

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

other stages of the Bill until the autumn. If they do that, we shall have time to go into the matter carefully instead of at the fag end of these sittings, and, in that case, I think that perhaps the noble Duke would be wise not to press his rejection of the Bill now. If, however, the Government insist upon proceeding with the Bill I for one shall have no course before me except to vote with the noble Duke.

May I be allowed to say two words? I am afraid I cannot give the pledge suggested—namely, that if the Second Reading is granted now no objection will be taken to an amendment of the actual figure later on. I have had no consultation and am not in a position to give a pledge. With regard to postponing the Bill until the autumn, the authorities in Scotland are already overdrawn under the penny rate and I suggest, therefore, that your Lordships should go to a Division.

On Question, Whether the word "now" shall stand part of the Motion?—

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 21; Not-Contents, 17.

May I suggest that your Lordships should adjourn now and re-assemble after dinner.

I desire to enter a protest against taking this Bill in Committee at this late hour. Your Lordships have done a great deal of very excellent work. You have passed several measures of great importance, and you have discussed the Turkish Treaty and other matters. The question is, What does the country want? Does it want its legislation properly considered or not? Does it want the coal mines properly dealt with or not? If it does, surely it is out of the question that we can properly discuss it after dinner.

I beg your Lordships to consider what has happened. This Bill was only read a second time last night. It is by a very grave strain upon the proper practice of the House that the Committee stage was put down for to-day. And that a Bill of the first magnitude should be taken in Committee, beginning after dinner, in a House which I venture to say will be a very small One, is really not a reasonable proceeding. Of course, if we were only playing a game it would not so much matter, but as what we are engaged upon is trying to produce good legislation for the country I suggest that this is an altogether impossible proceeding. No decision that we may come to will command any confidence in the country. No one will respect decisions come to in that way.

A NOBLE LORD: Why not?

Because there will not be the wisdom of your Lordships' House devoted to it, and there will be very few Peers here. The proper course is to debate this Bill, say on Tuesday next. The noble Earl has met us very kindly about the Report stage; he thought there ought to be an interval of a good many days between the Committee and the Report stage. Of course, if the Committee stage were put off until Tuesday it would not be necessary to have a great interval between the two stages. That is for him to consider. I suggest that this procedure is the only one that will really corespond to the true interests of the country.

For the purpose of putting the matter in order I beg to move that the debate be now adjourned.

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

It is hoped that the adjournment of the House may take place about Thursday of next week. I therefore think it would be rather risky to postpone the Committee stage of this Bill until Tuesday. I believe noble Lords have Amendments to which they attach great importance, and which they desire to make in the Bill. It would be unfortunate if we postponed consideration of those Amendments until Tuesday. It might prolong the sittings by several days, which personally I should be inclined to regret.

I explained to the noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, last night that to-day was not fixed for the Committee State of this Bill at my instance. It had not occurred to me that we should take the Committee stage the day after the Second Reading, but when I found that a large number of noble Lords very closely interested in this subject desired to have the Second Reading immediately—noble Lords who are familiar with the Bill from end to end—I consented, and it was put down for to-day with the object in view that the interval between the Report stage and the Committee stage should be as long as possible. I therefore hoped that there would be no occasion to take the Report stage of the Bill until an early day next week when the noble Earl, Lord Curzon, proposes to move that Standing Order No. XXXIX should he abrogated for the remainder of the sittings up to the adjournment.

I would therefore urge your Lordships to go on with the Bill to-night, especially as to-morrow the whole day is devoted to the Motion about Ireland. On Friday it is very necessary that the Second Reading of the Ministry of Food Bill—an important and in some ways a controversial measure—should be taken, and also the Committee stage of the Indemnity Bill, and a variety of other Bills, which may not be controversial in the true sense of the word, but which must provoke a certain amount of discussion. Even if your Lordships accept Lord Salisbury's Motion I hope you will not do it on his assertion that the House of Lords cannot do profitable and useful work after dinner.

I am in the hands of the House. If noble Lords on both sides want to do business after dinner, I shall certainly be here after dinner, and if other noble Lords are willing to come, so much the better. If other noble Lords do not agree with my protest I shall certainly not press the matter. I think the noble Earl will find the result very unsatisfactory.

NO, I do not think so at all. I think it quite as likely that the Government will win.

In that case I do not mind. I do not think it will be unsatisfactory in the sense that very well qualified Peers will not be here.

Motion, by ledge, withdrawn.

The sitting was suspended at ten minutes past eight o'clock and resumed at twenty-five minutes past nine.]

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee on the Ministry of Mines Bill.— (Viscount Peel.)

On Question, Motion agreed to. House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Appointment of Minister of Mines.

1. For the purpose of securing the most effective development and utilisation of the mineral resources of the United Kingdom and the safety and welfare of those engaged in the mining industry, it shall be lawful for His Majesty to appoint a Minister of Mines, who shall, by virtue of his office, be an additional Parliamentary secretary of the Board of Trade and shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure.

moved to delete "a Minister of Mines, who shall, by virtue of his office, be." The noble Marquess said: The first Amendment upon the Paper, which stands in my name, is for the purpose of clearing up the position of the Minister of Mines. Your Lordships will remember that when the Bill was considered upon the Second Reading it was pointed out that the Minister will occupy an ambiguous position. In the phrase of the Bill he is Minister of Mines, and, in virtue of his office, is also an Under-Secretary. I cannot believe that this was the original drafting of the Bill. Whether it was or not, it certainly seems to me to be an extremely unfortunate form of words. The first object which probably the Government has in view is to give this Ministry all the appearance of an independent Department. It appears, I think, in the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Peel, that they are anxious to invest this new office with all the dignity of a special Department, but for some reason they do not appear to have carried their policy to its logical conclusion.

These new Departments are, in the opinion of a great number of your Lordships and, I believe, of a great many good judges outside this House, a great mistake. There has been a great deal too much multiplication and creation of new Departments in recent years. They are not good things in themselves, and they gradually dilute responsibility. Above all things, a Department which is not required makes work for itself. By the law of its being, any unnecessary machinery makes work. There is no such thing as an office which is purely otiose. As soon as it is started on its career, if there is no work which naturally comes to it, it occupies its time in writing minutes, inditing despatches, and making work. And work always involves expense.

The noble Viscount explained, I know, that the expense of the Department was limited under Clause 5, and although I am quite certain that he used that argument in absolute good faith I venture to say that if we all live ten years longer we shall find, if this Bill passes in its present form, that the Minister of Mines will gradually become a more and more expensive article, and that the small sum of £250,000 a year—a little trifle of a quarter of a million!—will slowly increase. We want to avoid this grandiose policy, and we want to go back to normal methods, to our old English conception of what is fitting, and these Ministries in all directions do nothing but harm. They are part of what I may call, if your Lordships will allow me, the "swank" of modern administration. Instead of the old conception of doing all your work with as little parade as possible and with little desire to increase expenses, the whole atmosphere in which the present Government works is one or grandiose conceptions with a consequent increase of expenditure. That is my first objection to the Minister of Mines—that he is not likely to be a source of economy.

But there are always two sides to a question. There is the side or economy, and then there is the side of efficiency. What are we to expect on the side of efficiency? When we come to efficiency the first thing that occurs to us is the ambiguity of the Minister's position. I dwelt on this during the Second Reading, and called your Lordships' attention to the fact that he is only to act subject to any directions that may be given by the President of the Board of Trade. My noble friend the Under-Secretary of State for War thought he had a precedent in the case of the Minister of Blockade. He is a cautions man, and on looking at the report of his admirable speech I find that he did not express himself with any very great confidence on the point. Unless I am much mistaken, the Minister of Blockade is no precedent at all He was not subject to any direction from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether in right at his office or in any other right. It is perfectly true that during the war he was also Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs but the two offices were quite distinct, and unless I am very much mistaken—I have not refreshed my memory—he was absolutely independent, so far as one Minister can be independent of another, of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. There is nothing to correspond with the provision that he shall act subject to the direction of the other Minister. The precedent, therefore, of my noble friend entirely breaks down.

There is no precedent for the proposal, which I cannot help believing is expressly designed in order to throw an element of doubt over the responsibilities which will attach to the Minister of Mines. No one will be able to say whether in any of his acts the Minister acted proprio motu or subject to the directions of the Board of Trade. It is, I am sure, bad legislation. If Parliament wants to have real control over the Executive you must be able always to bring home responsibilitv for any Ministerial act to one particular Minister. You can bring it home no doubt to the Cabinet as a whole, but in so far as it attaches to any particular Minister it must be one Minister and not more than one; otherwise you are quite certain to get bad administration; and this Bill fails to provide for that. I shall be very much surprised if any noble Lord, wherever he may sit, will get up and deny that thesis—that it is an objectionable thing per se to have vagueness of responsibility. There are two issues, of course to the dilemma. Where a man is partly Minister of Mines and partly Under-Secretary at the Board of Trade, and where he there-

fore occupies an ambiguous position, the issue to the dilemma may be either to make him independent of the Board of Trade altogether or to make him nothing more nor less than an Under-Secretary of the Board of Trade.

I have considered to the best of my ability those two alternatives. The first alternative is excluded by the noble Viscount himself. He dealt with the point in his speech yesterday, and said that it was quite impossible that this Minister of Mines should be independent, because he would have the status of a full-blown Cabinet Minister—I do not say that that was his exact phrase—and enjoy an emolument of £5,000 a year, and that it was not in the least likely that Parliament would grant it. He rejected that alternative, and I agree with him. Then there is only one exit, and it is the exit which I have put upon the Paper, namely, that he should be recognised as nothing more nor less than an Under-Secretary of the Board of Trade. That really, so far as one can see through the maze of this ambiguity, corresponds to the form which the Government have impressed upon him. He is under the President of the Board of Trade, and it is better that there should be no mistake about it, and that it should be stated in the Act of Parliament.

I want to add just one word to explain the effect of the Amendment. I am not in this Amendment prejudging any of what remains of the position of the Department of Mines. The noble Viscount said that the Department of Mines was a very important thing. That may or may not be, but its attributes Will no doubt be subject to discussion in this House as we get on further; but whether it is an important thing or not, at any rate this Amendment does not prejudge the issue. A Secretary to the Board of Trade, which is what he would be if you saw fit to approve of this Amendment, would have all the necessary equipment for dealing with the Mines; that is to say, all the powers of the different departments which are under the Bill assigned to the Minister of Mines would become assigned to the President of the Board of Trade, who would act through his Secretary. So, if there is any merit in this special Department of the Mines, that would be preserved, so far as this Amendment is concerned, no doubt subject to ally alterations which your Lordships may see fit to make—but so far as this Amendment is concerned it does not prejudge the issue. All it says is, We will get rid of the grandiose unnecessary expense of the institution of a Minister of Mines. We will get rid of the ambiguity of his position, and recognise that, being subject to the President of the Board of Trade, his position shall be clearly described on the face of the Bill, and in that capacity he should act like other Secretaries to the Board of Trade under the directions of the President of the Board. I cannot help thinking that the Amendment is justified and I hope your Lordships will give it your support. I might explain that this Amendment and the other Amendments upon Clause 1 and also the Amendment on Clause 2 are all upon the same point.

Amendment moved—

Page 1, line 11, leave out from beginning of line to ("an").—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)

The Amendment of the noble Marquess is to alter, in form at any rate, the position of the Minister of Mines, and to reduce the Minister of Mines to the position of an ordinary sort of Under-Secretary, and make the President of the Board of Trade, I suppose, the Minister of Mines.

Make him wholly responsible. A large portion of the noble Marquess's speech was directed not so much to the exact position of the Under-Secretary or Minister of Mines, but really was an attack on the whole Bill. The noble Marquess told us in his speech that he objected to the increase and multiplication of these Departments, and, as I understood his speech, he did not desire to have a Ministry of Mines at all.

I do not complain of the noble Viscount, but he has not quite accurately described what I said. I said that I was quite willing that there should be a Mines Department, but not a Minister.

But that was prefaced by a general statement that the noble Marquess did not like any increase in these Ministries. The noble Marquess attacked what he called the grandiose conception of the Government in multiplying these Departments. Nobody wants to multiply. the Departments, and no one desires merely for amusement to multiply officials. But I do not think I need argue in your Lordships' House the necessity of a Mines Department, or a Ministry of Mines. On the Second Reading I went very fully into the whole question, and showed the extraordinary weight of authority there was, coming from no less than six different Commissions and Committees which examined into the subject, all of them approaching it from different points of view, and all recommending that this Ministry or Department should be set up. Therefore I do not think I need dwell further on that point, nor upon the point of whether there should be a special Department.

In regard to the point dealt with by the noble Marquess as to the exact position and responsibility of the representative of the Department of Mines, I do not wish to press unduly any analogy between this particular official and the Minister of Blockade. I was myself an official in the Ministry of Blockade for about a year, and I was constantly visiting the Minister or the Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, and, being at the Foreign Office, I perhaps was deluded into a belief that the Minister of Blockade was to some extent under the directions of the Foreign Minister. And I believe that he was. But the distinguished noble Lord who was Minister of Blockade is a man who takes orders from nobody with great pleasure or readiness, and it may be that the noble Marquess may have been misled as to the exact position occupied by the Minister of Blockade with reference to the Foreign Minister. But the matter is a larger one than that. To some extent this new position, which the noble Marquess says is anomalous, is ambiguous, and is new, arises out of that very development of Departments and the increase of the area of Government. It arises to some extent from certain proposals that were made in one of the Reconstruction Committees, which suggested that, as it was obviously unwise to have your Cabinet too large and to have too many men of the first position responsible for the general Government of the country, it was as well, if possible, to group various Departments under certain leading men. But, of course, if you are going to group these Departments under certain leading Ministers it is quite im- possible that any leading Minister should be so fully conversant with all the details of the Department as he would be if he had only one Under-Secretary or two Under-Secretaries under him. This is an effort, therefore, to concentrate the main responsibility for the Government of the country in comparatively few hands, by this device, or this attempt, to give the fullest possible responsibility for all the ordinary details of administration and so on to the Under-Secretary and make him responsible as regards details to the Minister, while, at the same time, preserving the general directional control in the hands of the supreme Minister.

What does the noble Marquess want to do? He wants to do away with this device or experiment, to bring the Under-Secretary into the position of an ordinary Under-Secretary and to make the President of the Board of Trade wholly responsible in the fullest sense for all the details of administration. Of course, that would defeat the whole object of this new effort, because it would place an overwhelming responsibility upon the President of the Board of Trade. This device is adopted precisely to free the President from all the mass of detail of administration and so enable him to deal more generally with principles on which the work is conducted; to enable him, in fact, to do the thinking part rather than be responsible for the mass of administrative detail. Then the noble Marquess says, "But you have your responsibility rather split up and scattered. Who is responsible? Is the Minister of Mines or the President of the Board of Trade responsible?" He suggested now and, I think, two days ago in discussing the same question—

it seems a very long time ago—that the ball of responsibility would be tossed from one Minister to another so that no one would know where it could be fixed. We are all agreed that it is a good thing that responsibility should be fixed on somebody. Of course, responsibility is fixed upon the Minister of Mines. After all, he is fully responsible for administration. It is true that he has to follow the general directions of the President of the Board of Trade, but he is fully responsible for these direction and for carrying them out. If the Minister of Mines does not agree with any of the directions given him, if he does not accept full responsibility for them, it is his duty to resign. If he acts upon them he accepts full responsibility. There really can be no question whatever of the Minister of Mines or the Additional Under-Secretary trying to repudiate any responsibility; nor, indeed, can the President of the Board of Trade repudiate responsibility. He is responsible for the general directions that he gives, and though he is not actually responsible for all the details of administration he is, no doubt, technically responsible.

Obviously if they both disagree with what they both did they would both resign. That is quite clear. If the Under-Secretary objects to what is being done by the Minister he is bound to resign, and if the House of Commons, or if your Lordships criticise, and carry effectively your criticism against the Minister, he would also have to resign. There is no mystery, and no ambiguity about it. It merely is an effort to try and relieve these leading Ministers of the tremendous burden of being responsible for the whole of the detail of administration—not in one Department but in ten Departments—and to concentrate more responsibility than has hitherto been laid upon an Under-Secretary and to give hint the greater status of the Ministry of Mines.

And there is another matter of policy connected with it, because it is, in fact, to make clear to the mining industry that they have some special Minister before whom they can lay their quarrels and their difficulties, and whose sole business it is to consider and carefully to go into these difficulties. Whereas they know that, if they are only made responsible to a Minister who has a thousand and one other duties to perform, it is ten to one that he will not be able to give them the same attention that they would get if they went to this single Minister.

Therefore I present this to your Lordships as something in the nature of an administrative experiment, and I hope that you will not reject it merely on the ground that possibly it may be new, or that there may be less analogy than I have claimed with the Ministry of Blockade. I do not dwell upon that, but I entirely deny that any difficulty will arise from the division of responsibility, and that for all that is done the Minister of Mines will be responsible, and above him the President of the Board of Trade will be wholly responsible for the general directions that he may give.

I should like to support the Amendment moved by the noble Marquess. All that has been said yesterday and to-day by my noble friend Lord Peel only goes to strengthen my opinion that the appointment of a Minister of Mines is both unnecessary and inexpedient. My noble friend can only present this Minister as a glorified Under-Secretary, the only difference being that he will draw a salary of £2,000 a year, instead of about £1,200 a year. I think it would be very much better to state quite clearly in the Bill—as it would be stated in the Bill if this Amendment were carried—that his position is one of Under-Secretary, instead of leaving it, as it is now, open and very ambiguous, and leaving it in a position which entails a series of open questions as to whether he or the President of the Board of Trade is to be responsible for questions in connection with the mining industry.

The really grave decisions that will have to be come to, after consideration, by the Government will always have to be dealt with under this Bill by the President of the Board of Trade. It is quite clear that a Minister of Mines will not be able to deal with those big and menacing questions which from time to time crop up and have to be dealt with by Government in regard to great industrial quarrels. None of these questions could be dealt with by an Under-Secretary, nor could they be dealt with, as I read the Bill, by the Minister of Mines.

My noble friend made his case yesterday for a Minister of Mines upon the authorities that had recommended the concentration and co-ordination of the various departments which now control the different elements of this industry. I venture to think that he interpreted the recommendations of some at least of those authorities in a somewhat fallacious direction. In reading through his speech your Lordships will see that some of those authorities merely recommend, quite properly, the co-ordination of the functions in regard to the mining industry which are at present being dealt with by various Departments. But in some of those authorities it is quite specifically proposed that it should be confined to co-ordination, and should not take the form of an independent and new Ministry. I venture to say that all these functions which are at present in the hands of various Departments can quite well be co-ordinated and concentrated in the hands of the Board of Trade. It can be done under this Bill without the intervention of a new Minister. I am sure it is a mistake to institute, at this particular juncture and at this grave financial time in our history, a kind of hybrid Minister who is neither one thing nor the other.

SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear.

My noble friend likened the proposed Minister to the Minister of Blockade, but I do not think that is at all a happy example. The Minister of Blockade was appointed, quite properly, during the war for most emergent purposes. He became as essential for the prosecution of the war as any Minister. At the same time, whatever his individual disposition might have been, it was necessary for the proper prosecution of his office that he should work in complete alliance with, and, indeed, in subordination to, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, because it would have been impossible for him to prosecute his work in connection with the blockade without having a very careful eve upon the effect it would have on non-belligerent countries. Therefore I do not think that the Minister proposed to be created by this Bill can in any way be likened to the Minister of Blockade. I should liken him to a Minister who was appointed last year by His Majesty's Government, known, I think, as the Secretary for Overseas Trade, who was made a kind of Minister and at the same time an Under-Secretary subordinate to the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office. Butt the position was found to be so untenable and impossible by the gentleman who occupied it last year that he had to resign his position, and publicly give his reasons for doing so. I should be much more inclined to give him as a fair example of what is now being proposed, though I do not think it is a very happy precedent.

That I have nothing to say about; I cannot, go into what his successor feels. I can only go into what Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland experienced. I fully remember the reasons he gave for resigning, and they impressed me very much at the time. Apart from the difficulties and inconsistencies which must arise from the very nature of this appointment, I would ask whether it is wise, in the present state of our finances, to set up a new Ministry. We are told that the expense is to be limited to £250,000 a year. I understand that in another place this was moved as an Amendment and carried, the Government resisting it to the last moment. The original Bill never suggested any such limits. The noble Viscount has tried to lead us along the path, in his speech yesterday, by a very eloquent reassurance that the only effect of this new Ministry will be the additional cost to the State of the salary of the Minister—namely, £2,000. I could not quite follow his mathematical argument yesterday, and still less have I been able to follow it after reading the OFFICIAL REPORT this morning. I would suggest that of that £250,000, which the noble Viscount tells us will have to be defrayed in necessary expenses, a very large portion of it ought now to be abolished and extinguished with the termination of the war. That sum of money undoubtedly was necessary during the period of the war with all the additional work and responsibilities imposed upon the coal industry during that period, but I can hardly believe that such an amount is necessary for the establishment of the staff in normal times.

There is an increasing volume of opinion in the country that the Government have already far too many Ministries. The establishment of these Ministries has been proved more and more to stifle and paralyse the recovery of trade. And this adds one more to the long list, and one of a very paradoxical character but certainly sufficiently pronounced to offer an ample opportunity for larger bureaucratic expenditure in the days to come. It is quite obvious, the moment you establish a new Ministry, that it is only a question of time before it will ask for larger sums of money to defray the expenses which it will find inevitable for its existence.

To those who advocate the nationalisation of mines this part of the Bill will be very welcome. I can conceive, under a Labour Government, that it would facilitate progress in this direction to an extraordinary degree. It would afford appropriate Ministerial machinery for its future developments. In Clause 18 the Bill, so far as Part II is concerned, is only provisional. And that is really the main operative Part of the measure. It sets up the various committees. If the miners, as at present they are disposed, continue to refuse to operate this Bill then in a year's time that Part of the Bill is to cease to have effect. Where will the country be then? It would leave a skeleton Ministry, because Part I of the Bill would he preserved and Part II omitted. It would leave a skeleton Ministry in existence with power to spend £250,000 a year of the taxpayers' money and ready to hand for the immediate establishment of a nationalised system of mines whenever it was thought fit to introduce that new scheme. Surely that is a very unwise provision. It is for these reasons, without delaying your Lordships any longer, that I hope my noble friend will press his Amendment, and if he does I shall give it my most cordial support.

To a large extent I agree with the view which has just been expressed but I must honestly say, with all respect to the oratorical aptitude of nix noble friend Lord Peel, I do not think that I ever heard a weaker defence of the proposal to make this official into a Minister. The Bill is a hotchpotch of the worst description. The Minister is to be a hybrid animal, and is to be partially subject to the Board of Trade, of which he might be an official, and partially the head of a very great Department.

Now look at the powers of the new Minister. In the first Part of the Bill he is limited as to his principal actions to about a year. In the second Part of the Bill the Government have already so discounted the probability of the Bill being taken advantage of that they take a clause in order to annul the whole of the second Part if it is not taken advantage of; and the third Part of the Bill is mainly concerned with schemes as to drainage and special regulations as to metalliferous mines and the establishment of a fund for the improvement of social conditions under an official of the Board of Trade who is to carry them out.

I do not think that either in the Bill or in the speech of the noble Viscount, there is any indication of the necessity of forming a new Department at great expense to the country, in order to carry out the projects in the Bill. The whole object of the Bill is contained in the clause to make £250,000 worth of officials, who are to be in violation of all the pledges of economy given by the Government, contrary to the views expressed by this House in 1915, and in violation of the views expressed and carried by a majority of three or four to one in this House the other day. It is to start a variety of new committees which have never been asked for, and to exercise powers which the Government have not the courage to say shall be under a new Department but which are to be done under the camouflage of the Board of Trade. I do not deny that it may be necessary for the mining industry to have a Secretary specially responsible for that industry, but what I suggest is that this system of pit committess, which may be necessary, of area committees, of district committees and of national committees—four different machineries, followed by ail advisory committee which is to be the last stage by which you are to reach the Minister, who is not to be a Minister, but a secretary to somebody else—the whole thing is really an attempt to graft a system of nationalisation, which has been condemned, on to the system of private ownership, which has not been abandoned, and to do so at the expense of the country.

Look at two of the most recently established Ministries. Take the Ministry of Shipping. I have not heard a word of defence of this, and if I trouble you again for a moment I think I have a right to do so because I put this case about a month ago and no answer has been forthcoming either then or at any subsequent period. I object to these appointments of Ministers who are not paid and who are not responsible to Parliament. I have noticed that by far the greatest extravagance usually takes place in the case of some individual who, being eminent in his own profession, is asked to act as a Minister without payment, and, having to give time which he can ill afford to the country's service, he leaves matters to be dealt with by a mass of directors. I put a question regarding the Ministry of Shipping some time ago. The Ministry of Shipping in the year 1920–21, dealing with a turnover of £17,500,000 as against £45,000,000, had expenses of salaries, wages, etc., of £133,000 as against £115,000—in other words, dealing with about 40 per cent. of the work it is costing about £10,000 a year more. Then we have a Ministry of Transport. Your Lordships took a very strong view on this question a year ago, but those with whom I am Associated were out-voted. The Ministry was consequently established, and what is the result? Salaries, wages, law charges, etc., amount already to £340,000 a year.

What are we to get for the £250,000 a year which is to be spent by the Minister of Mines who is to be a Secretary of the Board of Trade? I do not believe that we shall get any advantage for the mining industry. What will be done will be to establish a national system under a camouflage. Your Lordships therefore could not do better than to strike out altogether, not merely the Ministry which is proposed, but Clause 5 which gives that Ministry an enormous staff that is not needed. This Bill is said to be an important one, yet there is not one among the three or four Cabinet Ministers who represent the Government in this House who is present to defend it. It is defended by my noble friend who has no connection whatever with the Board of Trade. I am not in any way impugning his ability to deal with it, but there is no attempt to show either by the attendance of Ministers or by the arguments advanced that this is an important or serious Bill. On the contrary, it is a Bill framed at a time when the idea of nationalisation was defeated by vigorous action on the part of the Duke of Northumberland and other members of this House. Every step you take on the road to nationalisation is, I believe, a faulty step, and is a violation of a vote given on several occasions in this House. With regard to the formation of new Ministries, I think this new Ministry is the one least required, and I sincerely hope that this Amendment will be pressed to a Division.

I will not detain the House more than a few minutes, but I should like to say a word or two in support of the Amendment that has been moved by the noble Marquess opposite. In the speech of the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill delivered yesterday, in which he justified the appointment of this Ministry, some of the quotations that he made in support of the Bill did not really support it. For instance, Sir Lionel Phillips's Report speaks of the absence of a properly organised Mines Department in the United Kingdom having been most detrimental to that industry. It does not follow that you are going to get a better organised Mines Department by appointing an Under-Secretary who is called a Minister rather than by appointing an Under-Secretary of the Board of Trade who is not called a Minister of Mines.

Then again, as to the quotation from Mr. Leslie Scott's Committee, the noble Viscount said that this Committee—
"advised the creation, as a branch of the Home Office or of any Ministry which might be set up, of a Mining Department which should be entrusted 'with all powers and duties which are necessary to enable them to supervise and control development of the mineral resources of the United Kingdom.'"
That is really not recommending a Ministry of Mines.

Another argument which the noble Viscount used in regard to this point was that the industry was of such a great size that it required a Minister. If we are going to have a Minister for every industry whose products are of the value of the mining industry in this country at present we are going to have a great many other Ministries. The total value of the products of the textile industry to-clay is far greater than £440,000,000, but I should be very sorry to see a Ministry set up for the textile industry. I maintain that there should be an irresistible case for the formation of any new Ministry at present. After all, the interests of this country in coal mines, coal mining and coal has been very great of late because of the labour troubles with which we have had to deal and with which we are still threatened. What has happened? Wages have been dealt with, not by the Minister of Mines who is Under-Secretary of the Board of Trade, nor by the President of the Board of Trade. They have, I regret to say, for the most part been dealt with by the Prime Minister of the country. I do not know that the appointment of a Minister of Mines is going to alter that very materially if the circumstances are to remain the same. As to prices, these have been regulated by the Board of Trade, and I venture to say that only a Government Department would have lowered the price for domestic coal by 10s. one week and increased it by 14s 2d. a few weeks later. Are these things going to be bettered by the appointment of a Minister of Mines who is Under-Secretary to the Board of Trade? I fear not.

As to the other duties, I admit that there is a good deal of opinion in favour of their all coming under one Department. I am not quite clear, however, that in regard to health and some other matters that would cause any great improvement. I believe that health matters are better looked after by a Department which has a large staff dealing with them rather than by a Department which cannot have the same command of experts, and the Ministry of Mines could not possibly have the same medical opinion at its disposal that the Home Office or the Ministry of Health has. For all these reasons, if the noble Marquess goes to a division, I shall certainly support him.

I must, with your Lordships' leave, say one or two words in reply, because I think the observation I made in answer to the noble Marquess was fully justified—namely, that the gravamen of this debate was not so much what he called the ambiguous position of the Under-Secretary, whether he was Under-Secretary or Minister of Mines and his precise relation to the Minister of Mines, but it is, in fact, really a Second Reading attack on the whole of the Bill. If your Lordships felt as strongly as your speeches have indicated to-night with regard to the setting up of this sub-Ministry and the gathering together of all these powers into one hand, you ought to have divided frankly against the Second Reading and not have developed these strong arguments merely upon what is a very minor issue in the Bill. I heard all these arguments with much more surprise because it is only two or three months since your Lordships passed without a Division a Bill which was introduced and promoted by the noble Lord opposite who speaks for the mine owners (Lord Gainford) for setting up such a Department. I was astounded, therefore, at the inconsistency of some of your Lordships in passing that Bill, and then in directing the whole artillery of your cloquence against time concentration of these different powers in one Ministry. Really the inconsistency is astounding.

What is Lord Islington's point? He says, "Having had all this control of the coal industry during the war, why are you not reducing expense? How is it you come out with this vast sum of £250,000 a year?" I am sorry that I apparently made the finance of the Bill so obscure in my speech on the Second Reading. But, as I am challenged, I must give a short reply. What were the expenses of the Department up to July last? Not £250,000 but £551,000. When my noble friend attacks the Government for not reducing expenditure I. would reply to him that the expenses are absolutely halved, and that, after all, is a very considerable reduction. Moreover, I did show on the Second Reading that this £250,000 is not for an increase of staff. There is something like £75,000 which was the staff less the staff that has been disbanded owing to the necessity of no longer rationing coal and setting up the big distribution system in the provinces. Then there was £125,000 for the officials taken over from that Department in order to concentrate them under this Minister.

And now, after these duties have been discussed, my noble friend Lord Emmott comes here and says he objects to taking away these health duties from the Ministry of Health and the Home Department, and that they are now much better performed than they will be under the Ministry of Mines—entirely forgetting that he voted for, or made no criticism of that kind against, the Bill that was introduced by Lord Gainford. My noble friend says "The noble Viscount bases one of his arguments for the introduction of this Bill on the fact that the value of the produce is £440,000,000, and therefore other. industries with equally large products ought also to have separate Ministers." I appeal to you, what is the fairness of taking out one figure that I gave about the Ministry and basing the whole of the argument upon it? I brought forward the overwhelming mass of opinion in favour of setting up some sort of Ministry of Mines, and I cited also the fact that the mining industry was of vast importance, which almost justified it in having a Ministry of its own, because it employed something like 1,200,000 men, the value of its output was £440,000,000, and the amount of wages paid was £278,000,000. My noble friend picks out one figure I have given and states it as the reason I urged that there should be a separate Ministry of Mines. I think the whole of my argument ought to be taken together and one figure should not be picked out as the basis upon which it rests.

My noble friend Lord Islington points out that Clause 18 provides that at the end of a year the pit, district, and area committees, the National Board, and all this elaborate hierarchy of committees may come to an end. He asks, What is the use of this big Department which, after that, will be a shrunken Department with no duties; it will be necessary then to have nationalisation and turn it into a really big Department. If, unfortunately, this system of committees is not accepted, what will follow will be a reduction in the staff of the Department, a point which I should have thought would not have been deplored by my noble friend. With all respect to him he is entirely wrong, and even then it will not be a skeleton Department. I have enumerated, and it will be seen in the Bill, that what is taken over is all the powers of the existing Coal Department and all that elaborate list of duties and officials from other Departments. That is where the bulk of the work and the expense of the Bill comes in.

Then my noble friend says, Look at the danger there is if you have a Ministry of Mines instead of an Under-Secretary; you will pave the way for nationalisation in the future. Is that really possible? My noble friend says, further, that if this gentleman is called an Under-Secretary of State and has not the status of a Minister of Mines, nationalisation will be prevented; whereas if he is called a Minister of Mines and is made subordinate to the Board of Trade then you will have nationalisation. One wishes sometimes that very large decisions of policy of that kind might be so easily avoided, but I very much doubt whether, if any other Government—because tins Government is pledged against nationalisation—came in and desired to carry it, they would be deterred because of the particular nomenclature of the Under-Secretary or a Minister of Mines.

I fear I cannot follow the noble Earl into his discussion of other Ministries, but I submit that no case has been made out at all for objecting to this particular provision. I submit also that the criticism that has been brought to bear upon the Bill is just as much against having an Under-Secretary as having a Minister of Mines subordinate to the general direction of the Board of Trade; and seeing that your Lordships have passed the Second Reading, you ought also to vote against this Amendment, because the only thing it does is to relieve the Minister of Mines from some of the overwhelming mass of administrative details with which he must

CONTENTS.

Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.)Peel, V.Joicey, L.
Ranksborough, L.
Bradford, E.Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.)Riddell, L.
Lucan, E.Colebrooke, L.Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
Lytton, E.Cozens-Hardy, L.Southwark, L.
Onslow, E.Gainford, L.Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
Glenarthur, L.Wester Wemyss, L.
Astor, V.Hylton, L.Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)

NOT-CONTENTS.

Northumberland, D.Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)Faringdon, L.
Islington, L.
Linlithgow, M.Lamington, L.
Salisbury, M.Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)O'Hagan, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)
Cottesloe, L.
Midleton, E.Denman, L.Strachie, L. [Teller.]
Morton, E.Dynevor, L.Summer, L.
Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)Sydenham, L.
Cowdray, V.Teynham, L.
Goschen, V.Emmott, L.Treowen, L.
Hood, V.Erskine, L. [Teller.]Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)

Resolved in the negative and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Amendment moved—

Page 1, line 12, leave out from ("Trade") to end of clause 1.—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 2:

General powers and duties.

2.—(1) It shall be the duty of the Minister of Mines, in the exercise and performance of the powers and duties transferred to or conferred or imposed on him by or in pursuance of this Act, subject to any directions which may be given by the Board of Trade, to take steps to carry out the purposes aforesaid, and there shall, as from such date or dates as His Majesty in Council may determine, be transferred to the Minister of Mines—

(a) the powers and duties of the Board of Trade with respect to the Mining industry;

be burdened if the office is placed more directly under him.

On Question, whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the clause?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 23; Not-Contents, 28.

(b) all the powers of a Secretary of State under enactments relating to mines and quarries.

Amendments moved—

Page 1, line 14, leave out ("Minister of Mines") and insert ("Board of Trade")

Page 1, line 16, leave out ("him") and insert ("the Board of Trade")

Page 1, lines 17 and 18, leave out from ("'Act") to the first ("to") in line 18.

Page 1, line 21, leave out ("Minister of Mines") and insert ("Board of Trade")

Page 1, lines 22 and 23, leave out parargaph (a)(The Marquess of Salisbury.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3:

Powers of regulating export and price of coal.

3.—(1) During a period of one year after the thirty-first day of August, nineteen hundred

and twenty, it shall be lawful for the Minister of Mines, subject to the approval of the Board of Trade, from time to time to give directions—

  • (a) regulating the export of coal and the supply of coal for the bunkering of vessels; and
  • (b) regulating the pithead price to be charged for coal sold for consumption in the British Islands and for coal sold for the bunkering of vessels.
  • (2) When any such directions are given it shall be lawful for the Minister of Mines, subject to the like approval, also to give directions as to the wages to be paid to workers in coal mines and by order to regulate the distribution of profits, and any such order shall contain provisions framed on principles similar to the principles on which the provisions of the Coal Mines (Emergency) Act, 1920, are framed, so as to secure, as far as practicable, an equitable distribution as between different collieries:

    (4) The powers of giving such directions and making such orders as aforesaid may be exercised till the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-two, by the Minister of Mines subject to the like approval after the expiration of the said one year if the exercise of such powers is authorised by a resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament.

    (7) The provisions of this section relating to the export of coal shall apply to coke, briquettes, and other solid fuel of which coal or coke is a constituent, in like manner as they to coal.

    Your Lordships are aware that these Amendments were, owing to the arrangement of business, drafted in the greatest hurry, and I am afraid I was not able to go through the Bill and draft all the consequential Amendments. Of course, I rely upon the Government to put their Bill into proper shape on the Report Stage, and no doubt they will do so.

    moved, in subsection (1), after "give" ["from time to time give directions"], to insert "and enforce." The noble Lord said: The first Amendment in my name is with a view of making it quite clear that any order or direction given during a period of a year after the first day of August, 1920, should not extend beyond the period of that year. It was suggested to me that the insertion of these words "and enforce" would make it quite clear. If, however, the Government can assure me that the words as they stand secure that object I shall not press my Amendment, which I move pro forma.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 4, after ("give") insert ("and enforce").—(Lord Gainford.)

    I can assure the noble Lord that both orders and directions and orders resulting from directions will perish together when the guillotine falls. Therefore these words are not necessary.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    In reply to the noble Marquess, I will do my best to remedy his faulty drafting.

    moved, in subsection (1) (b), after "vessels" to insert "trading between ports in the United Kingdom." The noble Lord said: This Amendment is one of considerable substance, and I am going to ask you to agree with me in limiting the powers sought by the Government to vessels trading between ports in the United Kingdom. The shipping interest did not desire in previous Acts of Parliament to have the price of coal limited for bunker purposes. Under D.O.R.A. the Government have assumed that it possessed certain powers to control prices in regard to bunker coal, but as a matter of fact they have not done so and are now seeking new powers—in other words, to extend their bureaucratic control over the coal industry by extending their powers to the price of bunkers, not merely for British ships sailing abroad but for all ships coming into the United Kingdom to obtain bunker coals.

    We as a coal trade are quite prepared to give those vessels which trade in home waters between British ports the same limitation of price as other home industries, but we ate not prepared to agree to these new powers being given to the Government in connection with bunkers for vessels sailing into foreign areas. Under our treaty obligations all vessels, whatever flag they fly, can come and obtain bunker coals on the same terms. We have agreed voluntarily to a reduction of price quite recently in the interest of the shipping community, but we are not prepared to part with a power of obtaining such prices as we think reasonable in connection with foreign going ships.

    I am armed with no less an authority than Sir John Simon for saying that under the provisions of D.O.R.A. the Government have no power whatever to enforce control of prices in connection with bunker coals. Therefore a new power would be conceded in the event of this clause remaining as it is drawn in the Bill. The shipping interests notoriously have made very much larger profits in the past than the coal industry, and in the event of the present price of bunker coals being reduced to the price of domestic coal—which is the demand of certain shipowners—it would mean that the pool might be reduced to the extent of something like £25,000,000.

    The President of the Board of Trade, when interviewing Mr. Smillie and Mr. Hodges the other day, made it quite clear that he was not prepared to take anything from that fund, as it was a right contribution to the Exchequer from the coal industry, and if powers are obtained from the Board of Trade to reduce the prices it is possible that the contribution to the Exchequer which was regraded by Sir Robert Horne when meeting the deputation as sacrosanct would no longer be possible.

    I do not want at this period of the evening to dwell on further arguments, but I can assure the shipping interest that if we secure our object—which is within a very few weeks to become less controlled in regard to prices —the natural competition which will result will, while safeguarding all home industries and home consumers, tend to reduce, by the natural operation of economic laws, the prices of bunker coals in favour of the British shipowner. That is coming, I think, within a reasonable period, and I do not think there is any justification whatever for the coal industry pool to be dipped into in the interests of the shipping class.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 9, after ("vessels") insert ("trading between ports in the United Kingdom").—(Lord Gainford.)

    In introducing his Amendment to your Lordships the noble Lord spoke of the Government desiring to obtain new powers in order to deal, if necessary, with the case of bunker coal, and he quoted an opinion from Sir John Simon on the point. I have not seen that opinion, but I am advised that these powers are not new powers, and therefore all that the Government are doing is not to ask for new powers but merely to carry on existing powers during the short period for which this control is likely to last.

    I would remind your Lordships that Clause 3 only endures for one year, and can be prolonged for only a few months beyond that period by a Resolution of both Houses of Parliament. Therefore we are dealing only with transitory powers. The noble Lord has said that they have not suffered from these powers because they have not been put into operation, and he suggests that it is unnecessary to have them because owing to natural competition there will be an equalisation of prices of bunker coal and coal sold inland. If that happens the whole of the control will go; therefore it is not necessary to lay stress on these particular powers. The only necessity for keeping this control is the great gap in price between export and bunker coal and supplies of home coal. The Government lay much stress on the retention of these powers because, though it is hoped they might not be exercised very often, occasions might arise when it would be of the utmost importance for the great shipping industry that some use should be made of them, though not, of course, to the extent suggested by the noble Lord.

    I should like to point out, as regards the trading community, that it is quite as important that coal should not be supplied at too high a price for bunker coal as that it should not be supplied at too high a price for local industries. Therefore, I hope your Lordships will not shut off this power from the Government but will allow them to use it with the same discretion as before during the short period for which control will last. I trust the noble Lord will not press the Amendment.

    I hope my noble friend will press it. There is a large pool in the shape of profits of which possession is taken by His Majesty's Government, and all that we are seeking for is that bunker coals should pay the same price as our export coals. A large proportion of the bunker coal is used by foreign ships which have been earning enormous rates during the war. They have been subject to no limitation of profits, and the sums received by some of the Norwegian and Scandinavian ships, and those of other countries not engaged in the war, have been fabulous.

    If we permit His Majesty's Government to give an allowance upon bunker coal we are giving these people a special advantage and taking money from our own Government which they propose to use in connection with our various Exchequer battles. We are content to allow them to charge the same price as is charged home consumers for coal used up and down the coast and really interded for home industries. That is a proper charge to make, and when you consider the taxation we have to bear and the sacrifices we have made by taking lower prices from France and Italy, I think the Government ought not to be in the position to give this special advantage to bunker coals. If the whole question were understood, I feel sure your Lordships would favour the Amendment.

    We are not fighting this battle for ourselves. You know that coal owners have not been profiteers. While every other industry has been receiving from 40 per cent. to 60 per cent. of excess profits the coal trade excess profits, with the exception of a small margin of 5 per cent. or 10 per cent., have been taken by His Majesty's Government. We are fighting this question not for ourselves but for the nation, and I hope we are not going to allow foreign shipowners, through this bunker coal, to make such enormous profits.

    I do not know whether the position of other noble Lords is like mine, but I do not quite understand the case. I understand Lord Gainford to say that these powers. have never been put into force, that is to say, that there has been no restriction. Is there any restriction at the present time on the price of bunker coal?

    In practice there has been no restriction whatsoever, but certain indications have been given to the trade by the Coal Department that bunkers should only be supplied from certain ports. In regard to the quantity of bunker coals which could be supplied no restriction has been placed upon the industry. In regard to the price of the coal no effort has been made by the Government to restrict our powers of obtaining the current market price under the Limitation of Prices Act, or under the provisions of the Defence of the Realm Acts. But it has been assumed by the Government that they had behind them certain powers which they could exercise under the Defence of the Realm Acts. We as a coal trade have always felt that they were not on sound ground when they thought that they had those powers behind them. As a matter of fact, those powers have never been exercised. We have made voluntary efforts in regard to alterations and reductions of bunker prices from time to time, but under no compulsion. The Government now seek by this provision to secure definite powers, which they never have assumed hitherto. The coal trade have taken the opinion of Sir John Simon— and, after all, there is no greater authority on this Act than Sir John Simon, who was the main author of it, and who has also taken steps to prove that some of the powers which the Government assumed they possessed under this Act were erroneously assumed— and he advises us that if we went into a Court against any effort on the part of the Government to exercise those powers we should uphold our position against the Government. It is under these circumstances that the trade feel that they ought to resist an extension of the sphere of control which the Government are now trying to secure under this Bill.

    I certainly think it lies with the Government to make out a case for this restriction if it is to be imposed, and I do not gather that they have done so. There is one case that will present itself to everybody, and that is the case of serious dispute in the coal trade, but I am quite sure that in a case of that kind the coal trade could be relied upon to do their best for the interests of the country.

    There is no intention, as Lord Joicey said of diminishing the pool for the coal trade, nor is there any foundation for the suggestion which he made that this is a method of giving a subsidy to foreign shipowners. I deny that altogether, and if that point was made by Lord Gainford I must again repeat—because I thought Lord Emmott was accepting his statement a little more freely and fully than I should like—that that contention is entirely denied by the Government. The noble Lord is only relying upon the opinion of a distinguished barrister, which has not, of course, been tested in the Courts. The Government have also advice.

    If it was not affecting the mind of my noble friend I will not discuss it further. I entirely accept what has been stated by Lord Gainford that it has not been put in force, but there might very easily arise an occasion in the next year when it might be necessary in the interests of trade to put it into force. Therefore very naturally the Government do not wish, for the very short period of control this year, to lose the power which they consider they, and are certainly understood already to, possess.

    CONTENTS.

    Northumberland, D.Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)Joicey, L. [Teller.]
    Lamington, L.
    Linlithgow, M.Cottesloe, L.Southwark, L.
    Salisbury, M.Dynevor, L.Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)
    Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)
    Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)Strachie, L.
    Emmott, L.Sumner, L.
    Eldon, E.Erskine, L.Sydenham, L.
    Midleton, E.Faringdon, L.Treowen, L.
    Morton, E.Gainford, L. [Teller.]Vernon, L.
    Glenarthur, L.Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)
    Cowdray, V.Islington, L.Wester Wemyss, L.
    Armaghdale, L.

    NOT-CONTENTS.

    Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.)Astor, V.Ranksborough, L.
    Peel, V.Riddell, L.
    Bradford, E.Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
    Lucan, E.Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.)Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
    Lytton, E.Cole brooke, L.Teynham, L.
    Malmesbury, E.Cozens-Hardy, L.Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)
    Onslow, E.Hylton, L.

    Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

    the Government do not wish to give any subsidy to the foreign shipowner or to interfere with the pool. But as a matter of fact they are charging him so many shillings less than he ought to pay for his bunker coal. This is taken off the pool and is, undoubtedly, in the nature of a subsidy to the foreign shipowner. I feel quite sure that my statement is accurate.

    I am afraid that does not give a very correct exposition of the condition of things, because Lord Joicey talks about taking some shillings off the price of bunker coal for the foreign shipowner and says it is specially done in his behalf. It is done for the British shipowner and we have to do it also for the foreign shipowner in our ports, because there would be a great many international troubles if it were not done.

    On Question, whether the words proposed to be inserted shall stand part of the clause?—

    Their Lordships divided: Contents, 30; Not-Contents, 18.

    had on the Paper an Amendment, in subsection (2), to leave out "framed on principles similar to the principles on which," and insert "not less favourable than." The noble Lord said: The object of this Amendment, which I desire to move in a slightly different form—that is, "not less favourable to the owners of undertakings than," is to make quite clear that the coal trade, which has accepted for the past fifteen months the provisions of the Emergency Act, shall not in the future be placed in a worse or less favourable position than during the last fifteen months. The trade is naturally apprehensive in regard to the future. Sir Robert Horne in another place said that the rights under the Emergency Act would be preserved, but no words have been inserted in the Bill, which will, in the opinion of the trade, preserve those rights. We desire to be treated not less favourably than under the Emergency Act—we ought to be treated more generously and liberally—and hope to suggest schemes by which this may be possible; and we desire an assurance that the Government will treat us as generously as we have been treated under the Emergency Act and words to ensure this should be placed in the Bill. The present Government may be followed by a different Government, and we want them to be legally as well as morally bound to accept the assurance which the noble Viscount no doubt will be prepared to give.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, lines 14 and 15, leave out ("framed on principles similar to the principles on which ") and insert ("not less favourable to the owners of undertakings than")—(Lord Gainford.)

    My noble friend asks me to accept these words because he thinks that a future Coal Controller or Government may come in that will be less favourable to the coal industry. I would point out that these powers last for only a year, and I suggest that such a possibility seems hardly credible.

    As regards the particular Amendment I do not think it will carry him very much further. It is a little difficult to understand what safeguard he would get from the introduction of these words. They seem to be very indefinite and I do not think they would give the noble Lord very much assistance. I am ready to give the assurance that has been given already by the President of the Board of Trade—namely, that there is no intention of introducing a fresh scheme unless a new scheme is voluntarily agreed to by the coal-owners themselves. Therefore, they will be in a perfectly safe and secure position. Of course, I can give him these actual words, that there is no intention that the Ministry of Mines shall impose upon the industry a fresh pooling scheme against their will. I hope that an assurance as definite as that will be sufficient.

    I had intended to press my Amendment, but after the assurance of the noble Viscount—which, of course, I assume, must be binding on any successor—that no alteration will be made which is prejudicial to the views of the coal-owners in regard to any less favourable terms being secured to them than are already secured to them under the Coal Mines (Emergency) Act, and that no order or direction will be given unless it has the approval of the coalowners, I shall not trouble the House with a division.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved to leave out subsection (7). The noble Lord said: This Amendment is not moved on behalf of the coal trade but on behalf of the Coke and By-Products Association, of which I happen to be Chairman. The coke industry, have hitherto been exempted from both the Agreement Act and the Coal Emergency Act, and we do not see why the coke industry should be for the first time brought under the operations of the Coal Control. It is true that D.O.R.A., so far as I know, may be applicable to the control of the coke industry, but that really has not been exercised in the past, and as D.O.R.A. is going to end within a month it is not likely to be exercised within the next month, and would then naturally expire. It is because it is a new proposal to place manufactured articles such as coke and briquettes under the provisions of this Bill and give what we regard as fresh powers to the Coal Controller to limit the quantity of coke which may be exported, that I move the omission of this subsection.

    I might point out that the amount involved is not very considerable. After all, there is only a limited quantity of machinery capable of making briquettes in the country, and only a limited number of coke ovens in the country. Their first interest, obviously, is to support home industries and help the smelting of iron, which is the greatest consumer of coke, but when home requirements are met we claim that we ought not to be limited with regard to the amount of coke which we can export. In 1903 the total amount of coke sent to foreign countries was 1,177,000 tons in the year; to British possessions, 58,000 tons. The manufactured fuel amounted to—foreign countries, 1,926,000 tons; British possessions, 127,000 tons. That gives an aggregate of 3,288,000 tons. When the amount of coke which can be exported is taken into consideration as compared with the total production of coal (which is now 210,000,000 a year) it is only a small matter.

    At the same time a principle is involved, and the coke industry very much objects to being placed under the provisions of this section. They regard it as a novel effort on the part of the Government to place them under fresh control and they take strong exception to it. On their behalf I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, lines 22 to 25, leave out subsection (7).—(Lord Gainford.)

    The object of the noble Lord's Amendment is to free the export of coke from the restrictions that are applied to the export of coal. The whole object of this control is to retain in the country sufficient coal and coke for home requirements. Though the home demand for coke may not be so great as that for coal, coke is just as important, and it would be quite a mistake to allow coke to be freely exported when coal is not allowed to be freely exported.

    I am advised that if the restriction were not applied to coke as well as to coal, the restriction on coal could be to some extent defeated by increasing the amount of coal coked at the expense of the home market. It would appear from this that it would be necessary to apply the same restriction to the export of coke as is applied in the case of coal. I hope, therefore, the noble Lord will not press the Amendment.

    I quite understand the feeling of the noble Lord who sits behind me in wishing to exempt from the operation of the Bill that which hitherto has not been subject to restrictive conditions, but I am impressed with the argument of the noble Viscount opposite. I find it very difficult to distinguish in argument between coal and briquettes, and if it be right that the export of coal should be regulated I cannot see how you can escape from the logical conclusion that coke and briquettes and other solid fuel should be placed upon a similar footing. I almost hope—though I have no right to say so—that the noble Lord who sits behind me will not press the Amendment. I understand from him that it does not involve a very large quantity of fuel, and the arguments advanced by the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill seemed to me to be very cogent.

    I think the Amendment is a very reasonable one. Hitherto coke has not been controlled by His Majesty's Government, and we have not found any ill-effects resulting. The various furnaces have been well supplied with coke and so far as my experience goes the coke manufacturers have been very reasonable in regard to the prices that they have charged. Coke is a manufactured article and upon it depended many important things during the war. It was not only coke that was required, but the encouragement of the manufacture of coke enabled us to deal with all kinds of high explosives. Various chemicals which were obtained from the patent ovens in which the coke was made became of the greatest value for our high explosives and I think it is a wise thing to encourage, rather than deprecate, coke making. I cannot see why the Government should seek further powers when they are wishing to decontrol the industry. I hope your Lordships will accept the Amendment.

    I am advised that my noble friend behind me is mistaken as to these being new powers. They are old powers already possessed under the Defence of the Realm Act. I am gratified that my argument has at last impressed the noble Marquess.

    On Question, Amendment negatived.

    Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 4 agreed to.

    Clause 5:

    Staff remuneration and expenses.

    5.—(1) The Minister of Mines may appoint such secretaries, assistant secretaries, officers, and servants as the Minister of Mines may, subject to the consent of the Treasury as to number, determine.

    (2) There shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament to the Minister of Mines an annual salary not exceeding two thousand pounds, and to the secretaries, assistant secretaries, officers, and servants of the Ministry of Mines such salaries or remuneration as the Treasury may from time to time determine.

    (3) The expenses of the Ministry of Mines, to such amount as may be sanctioned by the Treasury, shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament:

    Provided that the total amount of such salaries and expenses shall not in any year exceed two hundred and fifty thousand pounds.

    (4) There shall be transferred and attached to the Ministry of Mines Snell of the persons employed under any other Government department in or about the execution of the powers and duties transferred by or under this Act to the Minister of Mines, as the Minister of Mines and the other Government department, with the sanction of the Treasury, may determine

    (5) The Minister of Mines may from time to time distribute the business of the department amongst the several persons transferred and attached thereto in pursuance of this Act, in such manner as he may think right, and those officers shall perform such duties in relation to that business as may be directed by the Minister of Mines:

    Provided that such persons shall be in no worse position as respects the tenure of office, salary, or superannuation allowances than they would have been if this Act had not been passed.

    moved to omit Clause 5. The noble Earl said: After the decision reached by your Lordships a short time ago, that the proposed Minister should be a Secretary of the Board of Trade, it is unnecessary to include this clause in the Bill. The Treasury have power, with regard to the Board of Trade, to appoint any staff necessary, and, of course, the Secretary of the Board of Trade who acts in respect of the mines will have whatever staff the Treasury may assign to him and any transfer of staff that may be required. It may be argued that by the omission of the clause no salary is provided for the Secretary, but, as your Lordships are aware, it is not in our power, as a matter of precedent, to provide a salary of any description. Therefore, I submit that the only course for us to take is to strike out the clause and leave it to the House of Commons, when the Bill returns to them, to insert such salary as they may desire for the Secretary. It would be absurd to propose a salary of £2,000 for the Secretary—that would be out of all keeping with the salaries of other Secretaries—and it certainly is not necessary to provide a staff at a cost of £250,000 a year.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, line 20 to line 12 on page 6, leave out Clause 5.—(The Earl of Midlelon.)

    I have little to say on this point. If your Lordships omit Clause 5 the whole of the staff remuneration and expenses of the Department will be cut out. This would show that your Lordships are not concerned so much with questions of detail as that you are objecting to the whole Bill. I should point out also that if you leave out the clause you also leave out the limitation of £250,000 a year inserted in another place and the Treasury will be able to do what it likes. I cannot prevent your Lordships if you desire to cut it out, but such action not only prevents the setting up of the Ministry of Mines but the provision of a staff also.

    The difficulty which my noble friend has pointed out is that the Secretary would be unprovided with a salary. My noble friend is quite accurate in saying that it would not be in accordance with the practice of your Lordships' House to suggest a salary. That is a matter for the House of Commons. I should have thought the wise plan was to strike out the Clause and then, if there should be certain provisions in it which are necessary, we will, with the consent of your Lordships, put it in on the next stage of the Bill. Evidently the Clause cannot stand as it is, for the reason I have given. I think the simplest plan would be to cut the Clause out, and between now and Report the Government and ourselves will consider what words should be inserted, if any. We are up against all sorts of questions of privilege which are very difficult to manage, and the simplest thing to do would be to cut the Clause out and leave the House of Commons to deal with it, but we should be very glad to hear what the Chancellor of the Duchy has to say about it.

    I hope that if Lord Salisbury strikes this clause out he will not expect the Government to draft an alternative clause. This is a vital clause in the Bill, and it makes it ridiculous if you strike it out.

    Does not the noble Earl see that if there is to be no Minister of Mines it is not very sensible that the Clause should begin with "The Minister of Mines." I realise that there is going to be a Mines Department of the Board of Trade, and I am very glad that there is going to be one, but it is obvious that the words as framed in Clause 5 are no longer congruous with the Amendment already passed. Would it not be better for the Government to consider how best to bring the Clause into consonance with the previous decision, and bring up an Amendment on Report after consideration with the noble Marquess?

    It strikes me that if the Question is put that Clause 5 stand part, and that is affirmed, then it cannot be amended. But it is quite clear that the words "the Minister of Mines" occur no less than nine times in this clause. If the noble Lord in charge of the Bill undertakes to bring it into harmony with the previous Amendment there can be no harm in having the clause in or out. If it is kept in we should have an opportunity of bringing it into conformity with our previous decision.

    I hope again that Lord Salisbury will not assume that the Government can accept the Amendment passed to Clause 1, which in our opinion cuts at the very root of the Bill. I do not think we can be asked under these conditions to make nine consequential amendments in this clause. It cuts out not only this salary, which is only one detail of Clause 5, but it affects also the power of transferring and attaching to the Ministry persons from other Departments, the distribution of work among various Departments, and, finally, the status and position of the Civil Service as transferred.

    This is really a matter of drafting. The House having seen fit to make a certain Amendment to Clause 1, there are certain conse- quential Amendments which follow from that. Those Amendments will affect vitally Clause 5, and subsection (1) will have to be altered, because, in the first place, the mention of the Minister of Mines will have to disappear. Then it will not be necessary to say that the President of the Board of Trade, who will take his place, may appoint servants, because he already can. That would be nonsense. When we come to subsection (2) we find there is a salary of £2,000 appropriated for the Minister of Mines. That would be an inappropriate salary to a Secretary of the Board of Trade, but we cannot alter it without making a breach of privilege. The only way in which we can deal with it is by striking out the subsection altogether.

    Then subsection altogether.
    "The expenses of the Ministry of Mints, to such amount as may be sanctioned by the Treasury, shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament,"
    is unnecessary, because they will be the expenses of the President of the Board of Trade; they are already paid in that way, and there is legislative power for them. If my noble friend will go through the subsections, I think he will probably find that they are all in exactly the same position.

    I say this not by way of argument as to the merits of the case, but merely of appealing to my noble friend as representing His Majesty's Government. We are clearly bound to put in words which are consequential upon the Amendment that has already been passed. I do not; want. to insist upon it at the present stage if he prefers not, but obviously the proper course is to strike out the clause. Certain fragments of it might be re-enacted—I do not see how they can be, but they might be—in which case, if my noble friend would confer with us, we could do that before the next stage of the Bill. I am in your Lordships' hands in the matter.

    I do not wish to detain the Committee any longer, but I shall vote for the clause for the reasons I have stated, and because, quite apart from drafting questions, I think it essential to the Bill. There are at least 25 other drafting Amendments which have not been put in but will have to be inserted later on if the decision on Clause 1 holds good.

    We ought net, I think, to vote upon the question that the clause stands part until we have had an opportunity of amending it. If we vote on the clause itself it cuts out all Amendments; whereas, if we vote on an Amendment to the clause, such as to strike out the words "the Minister of Mines" where-ever it is necessary to give effect to your Lordships' decision upon Clause 1, it always can be put at the end as to whether the clause shall stand part or not.

    That is true, but under your Lordships' direction I have already put the Question that the clause shall stand part.

    We have already passed Clauses 2, 3, and 4, in which the Minister of Mines is constantly mentioned. I am afraid that every single clause must be altered.

    If that is the general view, I should certainly let the clause stand without a Division, until the Report stage; but to allow it to stand in the Bill after your Lordships' decision is impossible.

    On Question, That Clause 5 stand part of the Bill.

    The noble Lord has made no Motion. It is not necessary to make a Motion that the clause stand part.

    I move, in line 20, to strike out "the Minister of Mines" and insert "the Board of Trade."

    The Question before the House is that Clause 5 stand part of the Bill.

    On Question, Clause 5 agreed to.

    Clause 6:

    I think that exactly the same observation applies to Clause 6, and it should come out.

    And a great number of others; we should have to leave out nearly all the clauses in that case.

    No. The noble Viscount is not generally a pessimist, but on this occasion I think he is taking an unduly gloomy view of the situation.

    Clause 6 agreed to.

    Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.

    Clause 9:

    Constitution and functions of pit committees.

    9.—(1) A pit committee shall consist of representatives of the owners and management of the mine appointed by the owners and of workers employed in or about the mine selected by ballot of the workers in accordance with the regulations from amongst their own number, so however that the representatives of the workers shall constitute half of the number of the pit committee.

    (4) The regulations shall provide for the holding of meetings of pit committees at intervals of not more than a month, and for matters which cannot be satisfactorily disposed of by the pit committee being referred to the district committee, or in the case of questions to which the Coal Mines Act, 1911, applies to the inspector of the division.

    had an Amendment on the Paper, in subsection (1), after "A pit committee," to insert "shall not exceed ten in number and." The noble Lord said: I desire to press this Amendment after having consulted the members of the coal trade. We think it desirable in the general interest that words should be inserted in the Bill limiting the number of individuals composing a pit committee. With your Lordships' permission I wish to propose the insertion of the words "not exceed ten in number and shall" after the word "shall" in line one, not after the word "committee."

    Amendment moved—

    Page 8, line I, after ("shall") insert ("not exceed ten in number and shall")—(Lord Gainford.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (4), to leave out "for the holding of meetings of pit committees at intervals of not more than a month and." The noble Lord said: This Amendment is to enable the Regulations to deal with the number of meetings, maximum and minimum, which should be held. It is important that there should not be too many, but we are quite prepared to leave that to the Regulations.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 8, line 26, leave out ("for the holding of meetings of pit committees at intervals of not mom than a mouth and")—(Lord Gainford.)

    If the noble Lord wishes to press the Amendment I have no great objection to it, but as it is left by him there may be more than one meeting per month.

    I prefer to press it. Most of us believe that there should not be more than one meeting per month.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.

    Clauses 10 to 12 agreed to.

    Clause 13:

    Constitution and functions of National Board.

    13.—(1) The National 13oard shall consist of such number of members as may be prescribed by the regalations and shall comprise representatives of the owners and management of coal mines throughout the United Kingdom, and an equal number of representatives of workers employed in or about such mines.

    (2) The National Board shall take into consideration—

  • (a) questions, including wages questions, affecting the coal mining industry as a whole;
  • (b) any questions which may be referred to them by an area board;
  • (c) any questions which may be referred to them by the Minister of Mines;
  • and may make recommendations in respect thereof, and may in any case when their recommendations are not complied with, or in any other case where they think fit, forward their recommendations with a report on the matter to the Minister of Mines.

    I have two small manuscript Amendments to move in order to meet the point which Lord Haldane raised on the Second Reading.

    Amendments moved—

    Page 11, lines 13 and 14, leave out ("and shall comprise") and insert ("of whom one half shall be")

    Page 11, lines 15 and 16, leave out ("an equal number of") and insert ("one half shall be")— (Viscount Peel.)

    On Question, Amendments agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (2) (a), to leave out "including wages questions" The noble Lord said: This is an Amendment of substance, because the clause suggests that the wages question—the remuneration of the workers—shall be determined not by the area boards but by the National Board. I am sure that there are extremists in the country, who desire nationalisation, who would jump to the conclusion that if wages questions were here inserted it was intended to enable the whole question of the remuneration of the workers to be settled by the National Board. Under subsection (3) of Clause 11 it is stated that the area board shall formulate schemes for adjusting the remuneration of the workers within the area, and it is most important that in Clause 13 nothing should be said which is inconsistent with the intention of the Government to allow the remuneration of the workers to be fixed by the area boards. The question of wages is one for localities and as Sir R. Horne said it is inconceivable in an industry like the coal industry that uniform rates of wages should prevail in all districts. in all sorts of seams and under all conditions. It is with the view of making it quite consistent with subsection (3) of Clause 11 that I move the Amendment. Questions such as those relating to the rate of wages paid for overtime might be dealt with on a national basis, but if the words remain as they originally were in the Bill, and if questions affecting the coal-mining industry as a whole are questions which the National Board may take into consideration, it will include all such subjects as I believe it is the intention of the Government should be considered. Therefore I move this Amendment, because I do not wish words to be inserted which would lead anyone to believe that nationalisation is going to be introduced into the coal trade by a national system of wages.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 11, line 18, leave out ("including wages questions")—(Lord Gainford.)

    This point, as the noble Lord has said, is important, but I want to show him one or two reasons why it is not possible for the Government to accept the Amendment. Indeed, I think to some extent it would be almost inconsistent with the words of subsection (3) of Clause 11. First of all it might be argued to some extent that the words are redundant, because it is possible, I think, to say that even if these words were left out, under the general words "questions affecting the coal mining industry as a whole," the wages question might be considered; but if after having put in the words, and after having definitely suggested to the coal trade that the wages question can be considered, you are going to cut them out now, it would have a most deplorable effect, and suggest a limitation in words which otherwise might have had a general application. Indeed, if you look at subsection (3) of Clause 11, "an area board shall formulate, at such intervals and on such principles as may be prescribed by the National Board, schemes for adjusting the remuneration of the workers within the area. …. and any such scheme when formulated shall be submitted to the National Board," it is obvious that the National Board is intended, under that subsection, to consider this question of wages. Therefore the Amendment is wholly inconsistent with subsection (3) and would make that subsection impossible to carry out. It is true the scheme of the Bill is that these matters of wages adjustment should be dealt with by the Districts, and in that way it is a return to the system which existed before the war, and a turning away from the system settled during the war of these matters being settled nationally. But that is a different thing from trying to cut out these words. The mine owners would be doing a most inconsistent thing if they pressed for it, because they have entered into an agreement with the Miners' Federation fixing overtime rates on a national basis, and having done that they cannot turn round and say the National Board shall not consider this wages question. I therefore trust the noble Lord will not press the Amendment.

    I naturally treat with the greatest possible respect any suggestion put forward by Lord Gainford relating to the coal industry, but I am impressed by what the noble Viscount has said and I do not see how you can exclude the wages question from the National Board.

    I think these words give a wrong impression. For centuries we have been accustomed to settled wages in our own districts, because the conditions are altogether different in different districts, and I think it would be giving a wrong impression if these words remained in the Clause. I think they will certainly give the impression that it is the intention of Parliament that wages should be settled by the National Board. I hope that the noble Viscount will accept this Amendment. He says that it will not make very much difference, and I cannot see in what way it is not in accordance with the other clauses to which he referred. I think it is quite in accordance with them.

    On Question, Amendment negatived.

    Clause 13 agreed to.

    Clauses 14 and 15 agreed to.

    Clause 16:

    Fees to members and expenses of committees and boards.

    16.—There shall be paid to the members of pit committees, district committees and area boards and of the National Board such fees for attendance at meetings thereof as may be prescribed by the regulations, and such payments, together with any expenses incurred by such committees and boards in the discharge of their functions, including the remuneration of the secretary and other officers of such committees and boards, shall—

  • (a) in the case of pit committees, be payable by the owner of the mine; and
  • (b) in the case of district committees and area boards and the National Board be apportioned amongst the owners of the various mines in the district or area or throughout the United Kingdom, as the case may be, in accordance with the regulations;
  • and the sums so payable by or apportioned to the owner of any mine shall be defrayed as part of the working expenses of the mine, and shall be recoverable summarily as a civil debt at the instance of the secretary or other officer of the committee or board concerned.

    had on the Paper an Amendment, after "together with any expenses," to insert "prescribed by the regulations and". The noble Lord said: This is a small verbal Amendment, and I think the noble Viscount will accept it.

    I was going to suggest that after "incurred" you should insert "in accordance with the regulations."

    Amendment moved—

    Page 12, line 22, after ("incurred") insert ("in accordance with the regulations')—(Viscount Peel.).

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in paragraph (a), after "committees," to insert "as to the fees of the representatives of the owners and management of the mine, together with one-half of the expenses incurred by the committee." The noble Lord said: I have down three or four consequential Amendments all dealing with the question of expenses and fees. It is suggested by the Government that one party to these meetings should bear the expense not merely of conducting all the pit committees, the district committees, the area boards, and the national boards, but that they should pay the fees also. A more unfair or monstrous suggestion I think has hardly ever been submitted to reasonable men. The policy hitherto adopted as between the trade unions and the coalowners' associations has been that each pays the fees of its own representatives out of its own funds. When the miners send representatives to the Conciliation Boards they have always paid those representatives out of their own trade union funds. Similarly when the miners have agreed that coal prices should be ascertained they have always paid the fees of their own accountants, just as the owners have paid for their accountants. The men have never repudiated the view that they should pay the expenses of their own representatives, and it is an absolute innovation that one party to the proceedings should pay the whole cost of the proceedings. It is not because of the magnitude of the sum involved that I move this Amendment, but it is on principle. It is unfair and unnecessary, and if the whole payments came out of the pockets of one party there might be a tendency on the part of the other unduly to promote an excessive number of meetings. My proposal is that the expenses should be equally divided. I beg to move.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 12, line 26, after ("committees") insert ("as to the fees of the representatives of the owners and management of the mine, together with one-half of the expenses incurred by the the committee")—(Lord Gainford.)

    The suggestion made by the noble Lord is this, that in these particular conferences and meetings each side should pay its own expenses. I am bound to say that, at first sight, that would appear not unreasonable, but it becomes less reasonable when you consider the object of setting up these particular committees. It is in order that the members may feel that they are part of one industry and working together in its interests.

    What you do not want to do is to split the different committees into two hostile camps, consisting of men on the one side and representatives of owners on the other. What better way of doing that could be suggested than by paying their remuneration from different sides? If they are to be paid by different sides they will regard themselves as on different sides, whereas if the cost falls on the industry there will be no reason for them coming to the meetings feeling that they represent different interests. The suggestion that they should divide themselves in this way is utterly foreign to the whole principle of the Bill, whose object is to bring harmony between the representatives of the industry. I would press this upon the noble Lord opposite. Suppose these men are paid by the unions instead of out of the industry, what effect would that have? They would be apt to consider themselves as servants of the unions and they would come as representing the interests of the unions, instead of coming with minds pre-disposed to deal fairly with the subjects under consideration. I suggest to the noble Lord that it is hardly worth while fighting about.

    The cost would be very small and it would be far wiser, from the owners point of view, not to haggle upon the point, but to allow the clause to go through.

    The noble Viscount scarcely appreciates the importance of the Amendment. He thinks the proposal in the Bill will tend to bring the two parties together. I think that in all probability it will tend to create more friction. This is not a question affecting the coal trade only, but all the large industries of the country. In these organisations both masters and men are constantly meeting together and each side always pays its expenses. However you pay them I feel sure that the miners' and workmen's representatives will consider they represent the workmen and the workmen only. It is a new custom which you are introducing into the various industries of the country and I am sorry to say that His Majesty's Government, since they have had control of the coal mines, have introduced a great many customs which have been resisted for years by the employers and they have done infinite mischief by some of these customs. This is one more, and I hope my noble friend will press the Amendment, which is a very vital one. Instead of being a disadvantage to the working of the Bill it will be an advantage if each side pays its own share of the cost.

    I wish the Government would allow us to go to bed. I really think that most of us are past considering anything with any proper appreciation of it. Personally, I admit I do not feel qualified to deal with intricate legislation at this moment, and I do not know whether my noble friend recollects that we have a very important debate tomorrow, in which some of us have to take part.

    On behalf of Lord Joicey I desire to repudiate in the very strongest fashion the idea that he is anything but very fit indeed. He is alive to all the iniquities of this clause, and is quite prepared to fight it to the death. I

    CONTENTS.

    Linlithgow, M.Hutchinson, v. (E. Donoughmore.)Gainford, L. [Teller.]
    Glenarthur, L.
    Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)Joicey, L. [Teller.]
    Armaghdale, L.Southwark, L.
    Eldon, E.Dynevor, L.Strachie, L.
    Malmesbury, E.Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)Treowen, L.
    Midleton, E.Wester Wemyss, L.
    Morton, E.Fairfax of Cameron, L.

    NOT-CONTENTS.

    Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.)Peel, V.Ranksborough, L.
    Bradford, E.Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.)Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
    Lucan, E.Colebrooke, L.Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
    Lytton, E.Cozens-Hardy, L.Vernon, L.
    Onslow, E.Faringdon, L.Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)
    Astor, V.Hylton, L.

    Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

    Amendments moved—

    Page 12, line 27, after ("mine") insert ("and as to the fees of the representatives of the workers employed in or about the mine, together with one-half of the expenses incurred by the committee be payable by the workers employed in or about the mine")

    Page 12, line 29, after ("Board") insert ("as to the fees of the representatives of the owners and management, together with one-half of the expenses incurred by the respective committees and boards and the National Board, be payable by the owners of mines, and as to the fees of the representatives of the workers, together with one-half of the said expenses, be payable by the workers employed in and about the mines and shall")

    Page 12, line 30, after ("of") insert ("and the workers in and about")

    Page 12, line 35, after ("and") insert ("all sums payable under tins section")— (Lord Gainford.)

    suggest that we should go to the end of Part II of the Bill—that is, two clauses further on, neither of which, I believe, raises any serious point. I think Lord Salisbury's point, which will arise on one of those clauses, is not a very debatable one. It is an amendment which can be very clearly stated and counter-stated. My noble friend Lord Curzon will hand in a Motion tonight, to be moved tomorrow, empowering the Government to take the continuation of this Bill after the Motions standing in the names of the Duke of Sutherland and the Duke of Northumberland, so that we shall be able to finish the Committee stage tomorrow evening. Will that suit Lord Salisbury?

    On Question, whether the words proposed to be inserted shall stand part of the clause?—

    Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 18; Not-Contents, 17.

    On Question, Amendments agreed to.

    Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

    I suggest that we move to report progress. It is now midnight; there is a very small House and the progress that has been made is as good as the Government could expect. There is, moreover, an important clause coming on immediately.

    I do not think my noble friend can have been present when the arrangement was arrived at between the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, that the Bill should be taken to the end.

    I hope your Lordships will go on with the Bill. We are all young men, and I shall be very glad if, having got so far, we can complete the Bill. We have made great sacrifices to get so far, and I hope we shall finish the Committee stage tonight.

    I earnestly hope that your Lordships will not insist upon it. It is really a very discreditable thing for your Lordships to deal with Amendments eighteen voting on one side and seventeen on the other, and I do not think the noble Lord realises how very humiliating such a position is. We are not here for the purpose of getting through legislation anyhow, but for the purpose of deliberating upon it. Therefore, as I have said, I trust your Lordships will now adjourn. There is a very important debate tomorrow and some of us desire to take part in it. I suggest that to proceed any further with the Bill tonight is asking much more than is fair.

    I hope the noble Marquess will agree to go to Clause 18, and thus have dealt with Part II.

    I know something about the Amendment on Clause 18, as I am going to move it myself. It is an important Amendment and not a small point.

    Perhaps we could deal with the Amendment on Clause 17 and leave Clause 18 until tomorrow.

    I was anxious to hear the noble Marquess, and do not like postponing that pleasure until a late hour tomorrow night.

    I sympathise with you. It is quite obvious the House should resume. If it is convenient to take Clause 17, on which there is no controversial point, I am sure my noble friend will allow it.

    Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 17:

    Provisions as to regulations under Part II.

    17.—Regulations made under this Part of this Act shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made and shall have effect as if enacted in this Act:

    Provided that, if an Address is presented to His Majesty by either House of Parliament within twenty-one days on which that House has sat next after any such regulation is laid before it praying that the regulation may be annulled, His Majesty in Council may annul the regulation and it shall thenceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

    moved, at the beginning of the clause, to insert ("The provisions of section eighty-six and one hundred and seventeen and Part I of the Second Schedule to the Coal Mines Act, 1911, which relate to general regulations shall apply with the necessary modifications to ") and leave out ("made") and leave out from ("Act") to the end of the clause. The noble Lord said: This has been adopted in the case of metalliferous mines, and this procedure is preferred.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 12, line 38, at the beginning insert the said words and leave out ("made") and leave out from ("Act") to the end of the clause.—(Lord Grainford.).

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 17, as amended, agreed to.

    House to be again in Committee tomorrow.

    [From Minutes of to-day.]

    The Lord Digby—Sat first in Parliament after the death of his father.

    The Lord Romilly—Sat first in Parliament after the death of his father.

    Dunfermline And District Tramways Order Confirmation Bill Hl

    Returned from the Commons, agreed to.

    Derwent Valley Water Board Bill

    The Chairman of Committees informed the House that the opposition to the Bill was withdrawn: The Order made on the 13th of July last, discharged, and Bill committed for to-morrow.

    Coatbridge Burgh Order Con Firmation Bill Hl

    A Bill to confirm a Provisional Order relating to Coatbridge Burgh—Was presented by the Lord Stanmore; read 1a ; to be printed; and (pursuant to the Private

    Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1899, section 7) deemed to have been read 2a , and reported from the Committee.

    Native Labour in the East Africa Protectorate—Despatch to the Governor of the East Africa Protectorate relating to Native Labour, and papers connected therewith:

    Presented (by command) and ordered to lie on the Table.

    House adjourned at twelve o'clock midnight, till to-morrow, a quarter past three o'clock.