BRITISH INFORMATIONN SER_
AN AGENCY O \'THE BRITISH GOVERN M
OF THE DAY
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister,
November 10, 1944. V-2.
November 17, 1944. Home Leave; Assassination of Lord Moyne.
November 30, 1944. Future of Lend-Lease.
ANTHONY EDEN, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,
November 8, 1944. Visit to Greece and Italy.
November 14, 1944. Visit to France.
G. M. GARRO-JONES, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Produc
October 27, 1944.
World Employment and Production Problems.
R. S. HUDSON, Minister of Agriculture, November 1, 1944.
Changing Conditions in Agriculture.
LORD WOOLTON, Minister of Reconstruction, October 31, 1944.
The Town and Country Planning Bill.
P. J. NOEL-BAKER, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Trans
port, November 1, 1944.
Ships and Shipping.
LORD SWINTON, Minister for Civil Aviation, November 2, 1944.
The Chicago Aviation Conference.
R. A. BUTLER, Minister of Education, November 3, 1944.
The Social Insurance Proposals.
SIR STAFFORD CRIPPS, Minister of Aircraft Production, No- _-er 4, 1944
The Engineering Industry After the War.
BEN SMITH, Minister Resident in Washington f.
British Reconversion Problems.
BRENDAN BRACKEN, Minister of Information, Nl
The Statistics of Britain's War Effort.
THE EARL OF HALIFAX, British Ambassador to the rates s
ber 28, 1944.
Co-operation in World Economics.
A. V. ALEXANDER, First Lord of the Admiralty, November 15,
The Landings on W and.
SIR JAMES GRI for War, Nove
RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
House of Commons, November 10, 1944
Last February I told Parliament that the Germans were preparing to attack
this country by means of long-range rockets; and I referred again to the possibility
of this form of attack in my statement in this House on July 6th.
For the last few weeks the enemy has been using his new weapon, the long-
range rocket, and a number have landed at widely scattered points in this country.
'In all, the casualties and damage have so far not been heavy, though I am sure the
House would wish me to express our sympathy with the victims of this as of other
attacks. No official statement about the attack has hitherto been issued. The reason
for this silence was that any announcement might have given information useful
to the enemy, and we were confirmed in this course by the fact that, until two
days ago, the enemy had made no mention of this weapon in his communiques.
Last Wednesday an official announcement, followed by a number of highly
colored accounts of the attacks on this country, was issued by the German High
Command. I do not propose to comment upon it except to say that the statements
in this announcement are a good reflection of what the German Government
would wish their people to believe, and of their desperate need to afford them
some encouragement. I may, however, mention a few facts. The rocket contains
approximately the same quantity of high explosive as the flying bomb. However,
it is designed to penetrate rather deeper before exploding. This results in some-
what heavier damage in the immediate vicinity of the crater, but rather less ex-
tensive blast effect around. The rocket flies through the stratosphere, going up to
60 or 70 miles, and outstrips sound. Because of its high speed, no reliable or
sufficient public warning can, in present circumstances, be given.
There is, however, no need to exaggerate the danger. The scale and effects of
the attack have not hitherto been significant. Some rockets have been fired at us
from the island of Walcheren. This is now in our hands, and other areas from
which rockets have, or can at present be fired against this country will, doubtless,
be overrun by our Forces in due course. We cannot, however, be certain that the
enemy will not be able to increase the range, either by reducing the weight of the
war-head or by other methods. Nor, on the other hand, can we be certain that
any new launching areas which he may establish further back will not, also, in turn,
be over-run by the advancing Allied Armies.
The use of this weapon is another attempt by the enemy to attack the morale
of our civil population in the vain hope that he may somehow by this means stave
off the defeat which faces him in the field. Doubtless the enemy has hoped by his
announcement to induce us to give him information which he has failed to get
otherwise. I am sure that this House, the Press and the public will refuse to oblige
him in this respect. [House of Commons Debates]
British Speeches of the Day
RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
House of Commons, November 17, 1944
I have two statements, which, with permission, I should like to make to the
House. The first concerns a scheme which we have been working out for a
system of short leave for troops overseas.
On many occasions recently, and from all quarters of the House, there has been
pressure to effect some reduction in the present period of overseas service in the
Army. The Secretary of State for War has explained the many difficulties of
operations, of shipping and of manpower which stand in the way of reducing, at
this juncture, the overseas tour in the Army. I have myself also pointed out quite
recently, in relation to this very question, the overriding need for doing nothing
which will weaken our effort in the fighting theaters at this climax of the war.
Home for Four Weeks
The problem is an intractable one, but it has been approached from every angle
and with all sympathy for the men who have been separated from their families
at home for all too long by the exigencies of the war. The limited reductions in
the length of the overseas tour in the Army which restrictions of shipping and
manpower admit, have recently been stated in the House by the Secretary of State
for War. The same manpower difficulty does not arise where men leave the theater
of war for a relatively short period, and return to their units thereafter; and the
recent general improvement in the shipping situation has enabled the time taken
on the journey in sending men on leave to be reduced considerably. The War
Office have, therefore, proposed to me that the system of repatriation of men with
long continuous service overseas, should be supplemented by a leave scheme for
the benefit of those who, while not yet qualified for repatriation, have for a con-
siderable length of time overseas borne the burdens of campaigns fought often in
the most adverse climatic conditions. A plan has been worked out to afford a
period of leave at home of about four weeks' duration to a number of men who
have borne the main burden of battle in the fighting line, after considerable over-
seas service. Operational and shipping considerations necessarily restrict the benefits
of this scheme to a proportion only of those whom we should like to bring within
its scope if these considerations permitted.
A total quota of about 6,000 men per month-if you take 13 four-weekly
periods in the year, about 80,000 a year-to come home under this scheme, has been
allotted to the following overseas theaters: Italy and North Africa, Middle East,
Persia-Iraq, India-South East Asia and East Africa. Within that quota at intervals
of every three weeks or so Commanders-in-Chief will select the men to come home.
This leave plan must be subject to war needs in each theater, and the Commander-
in-Chief has complete discretion in suspending it on that account if need be. Again,
it will clearly need review when hostilities with Germany come to an end, at which
time the claims upon shipping and manpower of the Government release plans,
which, of course, are on a vast scale, would have to claim priority. The application
of this scheme to British officers and men in the Indian Army will be the subject
of a later announcement. The numbers concerned here are not very grea..
Of course the existing arrangements for posting home of men on urgent com-
passionate grhnds will continue unaffected by this leave scheme, as will also the
S entitlement to Mpatriation of men who have served continuously overseas for those
periods which my right hon. Friend indicated in this House on September 26th as
Home Leave; Assassination of Lord Moyne
the present objective in the reduction of the overseas tour of service in the Arn
This is in addition to, and not a substitution for anything going on now.
Reduced Overseas Tour Impossible
No doubt the shortening of the overseas tour in the Army is much better than
a system of short leave at home. No doubt also the working of this leave plan
will give rise to inequalities as between man and man. Nevertheless, I commend
this plan to the House because I feel that the impossibility of achieving some
general over-all reduction in the Army overseas tour should not preclude all hope
of seeing their families for those who cannot be posted home. The Secretary of
State for War informs me that a scheme of this nature, although it must for obvious
reasons be limited in scope, will be welcomed by the Army overseas as a genuine
effort to meet, to some extent, the natural desire for leave of those who have been
serving abroad for long periods, and his opinion is confirmed by the strongly
expressed views of Commanders-in-Chief. This I can, myself, corroborate, as
the result of recent talks with General Wilson and General Alexander.
I hope it may prove possible that a contingent of men from the Mediterranean
theater may benefit from this leave scheme in time to be with the families for
Christmas. From the more distant theaters, men will arrive home in the early weeks
of the New Year. The problem of the British Armies in North-West Europe is
different. It may be that within a reasonable time it will be possible to institute
some system of short leave to the United Kingdom on the lines enjoyed by our
Armies in France and Belgium in the last war. But such plans must turn on events
we can, none of us, foresee. They depend on how the great battles go ..
The Assassination of Lord Moyne
I have now to make a short statement about Palestine. On Thursday last, my
right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave the House a full report of the
assassination of Lord Moyne. This shameful crime has shocked the world. It has
affected none more strongly than those, like myself, who, in the past have been
consistent friends of the Jews and constant architects of their future. If our
dreams for Zionism are to end in the smoke of assassins' pistols and our labors
for its future to produce only a new set of gangsters worthy of Nazi Germany,
many like myself will have to reconsider the position we have maintained so con-
sistently, and so long in the past. If there is to be any hope of a peaceful and
successful future for Zionism, these wicked activities must cease, and those
responsible for them must be destroyed root and branch. The primary responsi-
bility must, of course, rest with the Palestine authorities under his Majesty's
Government. These authorities are already engaged in an active and thorough
campaign against the Stern Gang and the larger, but hardly less dangerous, Irgun
Zvai Leumi. In particular, the Palestine police have been loyally and effectively
carrying out their duties in the midst of constant danger. A number of persons
suspected of active complicity in terrorist activities have been arrested, and on
October 19th, 251 were deported from the country, where their presence, with the
possibility of a large-scale attempt at rescue, only led to increased insecurity.
Since then, numerous further arrests have been made, including those of some
I am satisfied that the Palestine authorities have all the powers necessary to
enable them to deal with the situation. They will, with the help of the military
and the close co-operation of the general officer commanding in chief intensify
their activities, but it will be realized that although the primary responsibility is
that of the -Government, full success depends on the wholehearted co-operation of
the entire Jewish community. This, His Majesty's Government is entitled to demand
British Speeches of the Day
and to receive. I have received a letter from Dr. Weizmann, President of the
World Zionist Organization-a very old friend of mine-who has arrived in
Palestine, in which he assures me that Palestine Jewry will go to the utmost limit
of its power to cut out this evil from its midst. In Palestine the executive of the
Jewish Agency has called upon the Jewish community-and I quote their actual
"to cast out the members of this destructive band, deprive them of all refuge
and shelter, to resist their threats, and to render all necessary assistance to the
authorities in the prevention of terrorist acts, and in the eradication of the
These are strong words, but we must wait for these words to be translated into
deeds. We must wait to see that, not only the leaders, but every man, woman and
child of the Jewish community does his or her best to bring this terrorism to a
speedy end. [House of Commonr Debates]
RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL
House of Commons, November 30, 1944
I thought it proper to take the first opportunity of telling the House of Com-
mons of the discussions which have been taking place during the last few weeks
in Washington between a British Mission headed by Lord Keynes and the Amer-
ican Administration. The Mission has been occupied in examining the manner in
which the continuation of war after the defeat of Germany is likely to affect the
best use of our joint resources and, in particular, changes in the program of supplies
which the American Administration feel that it is proper and right for us to have
in accordance with the terms of the Lend-Lease Act-an Act which, we must
remember, was for the defense of the United States and was strictly limited to
what was necessary for the most effective prosecution of the war by the United
States and its Allies.
Lend-Lease Program Reduced
The end of the war with Germany will make possible large reductions of some
of our requirements. We expect our needs will be met by the program at a rate
not much more than half of what we have been receiving during 1944.
All these supplies and services will be exclusively for the joint war effort
against the common enemy. The prolongation of the war into what will be for
us the sixth and seventh years means that certain improvements are essential, if
our national economy is to be as fully effective as possible for the war's prosecu-
tion. Fatigue and abstinence carried too far, endured too long, can impede the
effectiveness of a people at war at least as much as more sensational forms of
privation. After the defeat of Germany some release of manpower to in-
crease supplies available for essential civilian consumption must follow in due
course; some improvement in standards and variety of the national diet, some
devotion of current resources to the provision of emergency housing, and a serious
effort to rebuild the export trade which we deliberately gave up in the extremity
of our emergency but without which we cannot live in the future-for these are
forms of sacrifice which it is both possible and right to make for a limited period,
but which becopie self-defeating if continued too long.
Future of Lend-Lease
All these matters, both military and economic, have been jointly examined-
supported by a wealth of detail-by our representatives in Washington with the
heads of the American departments concerned. We have put at their disposal
every particular and every relevant fact in our possession. One part of the relevant
material which can safely be published has, moreover, been made available to the
public here and in the United States in a White Paper* published a few days
ago. During the recent brief [Parliamentary] recess, our representatives in Wash-
ington have been in a position to make a full report to us. I take this opportunity
to express our very great appreciation of the practical sympathy with which the
realities of the position have been examined and of the results achieved.
To Increase Production for Civilian Consumption
Let me remind the House that it is no part of the purpose of the Lend-Lease
Act to provide general relief, or to prepare for post-war reconstruction, or to aid
our export trade. That great Act has stood us and our Allies in good stead and
in recent conversations we have neither asked nor expected any assistance which
is not strictly within its terms and provisions. Nevertheless, as the war proceeds
the nature of the aid which forwards its prosecution most effectively, though un-
changed in major matters, gradually changes in detail. Accordingly, so that we
can play our full part in continuing the struggle, a program of Lend-Lease against
Japan after the defeat of Germany has now been planned with the American
Administration to maintain our fighting power against Japan.
Without any reduction in our proportionate effort we shall be able, along with
the United States, to release some of our own manpower to produce somewhat
more for civilian consumption. Some improvement in the variety of civilian diet
will be made possible. We shall be able to do more to build temporary and
emergency houses. We must necessarily for the most part depend upon our own
efforts in this field. But in addition to these efforts resulting from at planned and
proportional program, we anticipate aid from American sources, not only in
materials but also in complete houses, to meet some of our needs for temporary and
emergency houses for war workers in war areas. These items are being closely
examined with the help of experts sent out by the Ministry of Works during the
tenure of Lord Portal.
It is too soon to say on what scale the possibilities of physical production and
of shipping will allow this most generous assistance to be realized in practice.
It is not too soon to say that the principle is recognized that provision for emergency
shelter for bombed-out war workers is an essential condition of a fully effective
contribution to final victory and therefore a war need eligible for Lend-Lease
To Rebuild Export Trade
Finally, we have been able to reduce the Lend-Lease program so that there
will be no obstacle to effort which we ourselves must begin at once, and intensify
after the defeat of Germany, to increase export trade which will be absolutely
vital to us when, at the termination of the war, the present system of Lend-Lease
assistance necessarily and properly comes to an end. This is a matter of which,
I am well aware, members are anxious to hear in some detail what the position
will be now.
As I said, defeat of Germany will make possible reductions in the Lend-Lease
program. In certain fields we have been able to anticipate these changes, and to
Cmd. 6564, Statistics Relating to the War Effort of the United Kingdom, available
gratis from the British Information Services, New York.
British Speeches of the Day
work on the basis of the new program from the beginning of 1945. Thus, from
that date we shall no longer receive shipments to this country, under Lend-Lease,
of any manufactured articles for civilian use which enter into export trade, nor of
many raw and semi-fabricated materials such as iron, steel and some non-ferrous
metals. Consequently, in accordance with the White Paper of September, 1941,
we shall then be free to export a wide range of goods made from these materials.
Naturally we have not used in export, and do not propose to use, any critically
scarce materials except where export is essential for the effective prosecution of
Until the German war is at an end, however, there can be no significant release
of resources. Defeat of Japan must continue to have the first call on our resources.
But after the defeat-of Germany, it will be both possible and necessary to turn
over an increasing part of our resources to civilian production, including export
trade. As a result of the recent discussions with the United States Administration
about our Lend-Lease program following the defeat of Germany, exporters will
then be subject only to those inevitable limitations dictated by the needs of war
No Re-Export of Lend-Lease
There is not, of course, and never has been, any question of our re-exporting
in commerce any articles which we have received under Lend-Lease. Nor in gen-
eral shall we receive in this country under Lend-Lease finished articles identical
with those which we shall export. Such articles will be paid for by us Where
we continue to receive any raw materials, the quantities supplied under Lend-
Lease are limited to our domestic consumption for manufacture of munitions and
the maintenance of our essential wartime economy. We shall pay cash for any
additional supplies which we might wish to take from the United States for export
Thus one uncertainty about future conditions has now been removed. It should
be possible for exporters henceforward to make plans with the assurance -hat they
will be able to give effect to those plans with the least possible time-lag when the
defeat of Germany releases manpower, capacity and materials.
I should like to add one word. The White Paper on reciprocal aid lately pub-
lished, and the President's last Lend-Lease report, provide vivid evidence of the
extent to which community and interdependence of effort between the two great
Atlantic communities has now proceeded. Never, I think, has there been a more
thorough understanding of the facts of the economic position and the problems of
Great Britain and of the United States of America, on both sides, than we have
now been able to reach. If men of goodwill start out from the same prelnises of
agreed fact, they do not necessarily find it impossible to reach the same conclusion.
[New York Times]
RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, November 8, 1944
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave the House a fortnight igo an
account of our conversation with Marshal Stalin and M. Molotov in Mos(ow. I
have nothing to add to that account but if the House would give me leave I would
Visit io Greece and Italy
like to make a very brief statement of the work that it fell to me to do after the
departure of my right hon. Friend. In Egypt I met the newly appointed Egyptian
Prime Minister, who assured me of his Government's loyalty to the alliance with
this country, which alliance, as the House will remember, is enshrined in the
Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, an instrument which has well stood the test of
time, emergency and war. In the three or four days that I spent in Cairo I also
had the opportunity to discuss with Lord Moyne-whose brutal and tragic assassina-
tion is such a blow to us all-all the manifold political and administrative prob-
lems which were in the area of his responsibility.
German Devastation of Greece
On October 25th I left, with Lord Moyne, by air, for Athens. I should have
explained that, at an earlier stage, our ambassador to Greece had telegraphed to
the Prime Minister and'myself urging that one or both of us should visit Athens
on our way home, to meet the Minister of the Greek Government and to see for
ourselves the situation and the problems which today confront liberated Greece.
The Prime Minister agreed, that this should be my task. I do not believe that
informed opinion in this country yet fully understands how complete, how merci-
less, how dastardly has been the devastation inflicted by the German armies in
Allied lands as they are compelled to withdraw. The purpose underlying this
systematic barbarity is clear enough. It is to bring to a standstill the whole life
of the nation. That is what the Germans told the Greeks they would do as they
left. All communications, all bridges, all telegraphs are destroyed; all means of
transport, lorries and even, in many instances, pack animals are removed; all
harbors are mined, blocked, blown up; every crane in Piraeus destroyed. The essen-
tial parts of factories are removed and stocks of raw 'materials are either taken
away or destroyed. For instance, there is, in Greece, a small but important textile
industry. There is no means of getting that to work because there is no machinery
left nor cotton.
In Greece, thanks to the heroism of the local defenders, the great power
station near Athens was saved, but for the rest, one-,has to admit that the German
plan was so thoroughly carried out that problems of immense complexity con-
fronted the Greek Government, and of these vexed problems, the currency situa-
tion was by no means the least. Though much remains to be done, I am able to
report to the House substantial progress in dealing with these problems. First
and foremost, in respect to supply, as a result of most strenuous efforts on the
part of the Royal Navy and the Royal Engineers, who sometimes do not get all
the public credit they deserve, and of the civilian population in the Piraeus, too,
that port has been got to work again, in part, at least. By the end of October we
had reached a figure of supplies unloaded at the Piraeus alone almost of 3,000 tons
a day-a truly remarkable figure in the circumstances. A substantial proportion of
what is unloaded is foodstuffs for the civilian population, and we are confident
that that figure can be improved substantially as the port capacity is increased.
Supply of Foodstuffs
When the remaining obstacles are overcome, we expect to unload in Greece a
monthly tonnage of over 130,000 tons, and of that about 60,000 tons will be food-
stuffs and 70,000 tons will be clothing, medicine and relief goods. I must make
it plain that the delivery of these very large supplies and the organization entailed
were only made possible by the careful work done in advance largely by all staffs
of our military authorities and by those of the United States in the Middle East, so
that when the emergency came we should be ready. It is- also clear that an effective
8 British Speeches of the Day
means of combating the inflation-though I do not pretend to be an authority on
this matter-is to ensure the import of supplies, and in connection w th that the
Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean, General Wilson, Admiral Cunning-
ham, the C.-in-C., Mediterranean, Lord Moyne and my right hon. Friend the
Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. H. Macmillan) and I have had many con-
sultations, as a result of which, certain arrangements were made to bring urgently
from the Middle East certain goods in addition to the previously arranged military
British Forces Welcomed
I would like to give the House just two examples which may interest all. By
air we arranged to bring some 200 tons of special supplies urgently needed, and
the Royal Navy and warships brought over in addition some 600 or 700 tons in
emergency passages. The arrival of these goods helped to restore confidence; and
we tried to deal with the problem of transport in the same way. Admirable arrange-
ments have been made by the military authorities, but owing to the complete
removal of every means of transport inside the country, something further was
needed, and we did arrange for several hundred further lorries to be brought from
the Middle East to help to restore some economic life inside the country, for that
was wholly at a standstill. For example, olive oil, which is the diet of the Greek
people, is produced in large quantities, but owing to this complete removal of
transport and destruction of bridges it could not be removed from the country
places and in the towns it was not available.
In the last few days the first convoy has arrived in Athens bringing olive oil
from the Peloponnesos, and so progress is being made, and there is good hope for
the future provided stable internal conditions can be maintained; but on this all
successful organization of relief must inevitably depend. I could not close this
brief account of what we saw in Greece without saying how much moved were
all ranks of the British Forces by the truly warmhearted welcome given them by
all sections of the Greek people. As we all know, our Greek friends are very
politically minded, they have many parties, and I could find only one subject upon
which they all agreed, a general and wholehearted welcome to the British Forces.
Visit to Italy
I should like also to say a very few words about my visit to Italy. The main
purpose of this was to accept an invitation which General Alexander had kindly
extended to me, to visit our Front in Northern Italy. I was unfortunate in that the
days of my stay there coincided with those phenomenal storms, which the people of.
a country invariably tell you have never been known to happen since 1880 or some
other date. As a result, all I could know was that the rivers were soon torrents,
all low-lying land was a quagmire much more like Flanders than the Italy of the
Florentine pictures, and all movement was a matter of the utmost difficulty. Even
a day's hard work, in which we transferred ourselves from a jeep to a ti-ree-ton
lorry in accordance with the depths of the flood at particular points-all the time
slithering about and cursing and struggling a good deal-enabled us to cox er only
a very small percentage of the mileage we had planned to cover. Although t is was
naturally disappointing to anyone who wished to see much, it did enable me to
understand, as I suppose nothing else could have done, the conditions under which
our Allied Armies are living and fighting in Italy. No praise that we can ulter can
be too high for those men. They have had a prolonged struggle with a stubborn
foe. They have had to contend not only with the fighting capacity of their enemies
but with conditions of climate and terrain peculiar to Italy. Under the brilliant
leadership of General Alexander and of his Army commanders, the United States
Visit to France
General Mark Clark and General .McCreery, who has succeeded General Oliver
Leese, they have persevered undaunted.
I hope that in a comparatively short space of time it will be possible to arrange
for some Members of this House to visit that Front. I know that such a visit would
be welcomed there-I was so informed-and when hon. Members do go I am sure
they will feel, as I do, that to meet those men, to see the conditions in which they
live and fight, is to feel a deep sense of pride in our own people, a conviction of
final victory and a confidence in the work we can all do together in the years that
lie ahead. [House of Commons Debates]
RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN,
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, November 14, 1944
Since my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has not himself returned to this
country, he has asked me to give, with the leave of the House, a brief account of
our visit to the: French capital this last weekend. The overwhelming impression left
upon our minds by those crowded hours was of the sincerity and spontaneity of
the welcome accorded to us by every section of the French people. The House will
recall, perhaps, that for reasons of security'no announcement was made of the
Prime Minister's presence, even on the morning of the Armistice ceremony, in the
French papers themselves; yet the news of his coming had spread over night,
widely enough at least for immense multitudes to assemble on the main thorough-
fares through which he was to pass. It would be a great mistake to interpret this
welcome as a momentary effervescence of spirit in a great capital city at last
delivered from four years of foreign rule. It was something much deeper than that.
It was rather the expression of a deep thankfulness for suffering at last ended.
One felt behind the tumultuous greetings of these vast but orderly crowds the
heart-beat of a nation once again united with its Allies and confident of its own
It is difficult for us here to picture the life that is endured by a great nation
under enemy occupation, completely severed from all contact with the outside
world, dominated by enemy propaganda and able only to get encouragement
from time to time from some clandestine listening to broadcasts from overseas.
Here it is right that I should say that from countless Frenchmen we heard expres-
sions of the inspiration and the will to live which they have drawn from the
broadcasts of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and, let it be added, from
the daily regular work of the B.B.C. and its contributors.
Most of the German propaganda was directed against this country, but the
fact remains-a fact of which we should take note-that the effect of this propa-
ganda, taken together with the sufferings of the French people in this period of
tyrannous enemy rule, has been to place our friendship with France on a surer
foundation than has ever existed before in the history of our two countries. It
seems indeed that the knowledge that our friendship has survived this, the most
severe strain that could be put upon it, gives a deeper and a more vibrant sig-
nificance. That, I am convinced, is the message which Paris was giving to this
country during that weekend.
British Speeches of the Day
In the course of his speech of welcome to us; General de Gaulle recalled Hitler's
claim that his system would last for a thousand years. "I do not know," said Gen-
eral de Gaulle, "what will remain of his system in a thousand years, but 1 do
know that in a thousand years' time France, which has had some experience of
blood, sweat and tears, will not have forgotten what has been accomplish ed in this
war through blood, sweat and tears by the noble British people under the leader-
ship of their Prime Minister." These are generous words. They were uttered by a
man who himself today unquestionably inspires and personifies the unity of the
French people. He has around him a band of young and vigorous colleagues who
have proved their worth in the ordeal through which France has passed. Among
them in particular I would like to mention M. Bidault, now Foreign Minister of
France. It was a great pleasure for the Prime Minister and myself to meet this
gallant man, who was himself the outstanding leader of the French resistance
movement. We could see the same vigor, the some confidence in France's future,
expressed in the thousands of troops who marched past us in the Champs Elysees,
the great majority of whom are very recently enlisted members of the F F.I., and
every man of whom is a volunteer. No one can doubt that when time ard oppor-
tunity offer, these men will give as splendid an account of themselves against the.
hated Nazi foe in the field as they have already shown in the bitter and bloody
warfare in the interior of France itself.
"France Will Recover"
I should like to make one reference to conditions in France, because I think
we should bear in mind that, despite some outward appearances, life in Paris is
a constant struggle with material difficulties. The almost total lock of fuel and of
transport are, in themselves, a severe hardship in these winter months, b'lt worse
than this is the mental suffering which these people have undergone and continuee
to undergo. There are still over 2,500,000 French prisoners of war, political
deportees and forced laborers in Germany. There is scarcely a family or France
which has not a husband or a son still in Germany. All parcels and letters have
ceased. In fact, deportees have never been allowed any communication of any kind
with their families since they were taken away to Germany. When we consider
these facts, we can perhaps estimate, too, what the absence of these mer means
to France, not only in the loss of a great part of what was best in the -ation's
manhood, with all the social, economic and military consequences entailed, but
also in mental distress for those who are left behind.
It is not surprising that in these conditions, France, which after all the e years
has suddenly regained her freedom, should be like a man emerging from a d -rkened
room into a blaze of light, dazed for a moment and grateful still to his friends for
a measure of understanding and encouragement. Let us interpret this in the terms
of France's position as a great Power. It was indeed appropriate that the three
Allied Powers, the United States of America, the Soviet Union and ourselves, were
able to invite France, on this very Saturday, to take her place with us as a
permanent member of the European Advisory Commission. The new situation
which was thus created and the work that must flow therefrom was naturally the
subject of discussion between us in Paris. Of these discussions, I will only say
now that both the French Ministers and ourselves regarded them as eminently
I would conclude with this confident message to the House. France's determ-
ination to work together with her Allies expresses, I am sure, the heartfelt wish
of the French people, and it is the will of the people which is the onl, sure
foundation of a foreign policy in a free land. France will recover. Before now
in her history she has shown powers of recuperation which have astoun4dd the
World Employment and Production Problems
world. It is my belief that she will do this again, and she can be assured that in
her endeavor she will have the constant friendship, understanding and help of
the British peoples everywhere. [House of Commons Debates]
G. M. GARRO-JONES
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Production
Aberdeen, October 27, 1944
Although our fighting men are engaged in hard battle with the enemy on
every front, it has become the duty of some people at home to study the return
to peace; and, in planning this transition stage, to apply the lessons of war.
Those persons whose duty it is to prepare for peace do not overlook the fact
that the war is not yet won. They do not forget what is perhaps the greatest
lesson of war, a lesson that this war in its second and third year demonstrated for
history, namely that victory is nobody's until it is in hand. We must realize that
no risks can be taken with our war production, that every new weapon and all
the supplies that our fighting men demand must be given them with absolute
priority and in ample measure. With those supplies and new weapons we must
continue to give our soldiers, sailors and airmen our encouragement, our gratitude
and our constant thought. Indeed, those last sentiments are for many of us a potent
inspiration in the part of our work which looks to the future, for, make no mistake
about this, Victory, which throws forward so strongly its bright rays of hope across
our future path, leaves here and there dark shadows which may conceal disappoint-
ment and pitfalls for our people.
Peace Without Illusions
We entered upon this war without waving flags because we had no illusions.
In my judgment we ought to move forward into peace in the same spirit; for the
first five years of peace will be charged with the possibilities of triumph or disaster
for Britain. True it is that we shall have saved ourselves from military defeat
and political oppression. But most of the economic problems which we had in
1938 remain before us. Indeed, the war has multiplied those problems in size and
in number. Most people now know that a great, part of our overseas wealth-a
large part of our foreign securities-are gone. Of our pre-war export trade 75 per
cent by volume has been suspended to enable us to make munitions. Whereas
before the war we were a great creditor nation, we are now the greatest debtor
nation in the world. Our eross external debt will shortly be 3,000 millions.
Our greatest trade collaborator, I do not use the word rival, the United States, even
while playing her great part in this war, has enriched herself beyond measure by,
among other factors, an immense increase in her productive capacity.
Britain too has increased her capacity for over-all production, though by
nothing like as much as America and therefore both countries will require to find
outlets for the greatly increased output of goods which they will be able to produce
when peace comes. Although a first study of some facts and figures which I shall
give you will appear to show that the finding of markets, which means the finding
of employment, will be a gigantic problem for both countries, I confidently be-
lieve that, provided wise and co-operative policies are adopted, we can both, by
applying the lessons of this war and of the period which followed the last war,
launch our peoples upon an era of great prosperity.
British Speeches of the Day
Let me first outline some of the salient facts. The most vivid and commanding
feature of the economic landscape is the abundant increase in the power of the
U. S. A., Britain and some other countries to manufacture goods and food. The
problem is really a joint problem. Neither Britain nor the U.S.A. will be able
for long to export its unemployment to the other. In Britain, and starting with a
much smaller proportion of unemployed than America, and despite all the handi-
caps of war, it is estimated that over-all production has risen by about 30 per cent.
In the United States, for reasons which I will state, it has risen much more, and,
owing to the more detailed figures available in that country, I can give you a clear
picture of what this development means.
America's Increased Economic Productivity
I give you now a comparison between the gross national product of the United
States in 1943, and in 1939, corrected to correspond with 1943 prices:
In 1943 it was.. ............. $187,000 millions
In 1939 it was............... $106,000 millions
That great country of 132 million people is now therefore achieving, a gross
national product greater by 80 per cent than it was before the war. The four
largest categories into which that product falls are as follows:
1. For her own civilian consumption she is producing as much as sh:e did in
1939, namely $91,000 millions.
2. Her cash exports are in value as large as in 1939, namely $2,800 millions.
3. For her own Armed Forces she is producing additional goods worth
$46,000 millions per annum.
4. For her Allies, by way of Lend-Lease, she is producing goods worth
$11,000 millions per annum.
To complete this picture of the American point of view, which we must all try
to understand in the approach to our own post-war problems, I must ask you
to concentrate for a moment on a little sum showing America's labor situation:
No. of workers employed in 1939. ....................... 45 millions
S" at the end of 1943.............. 51 millions
Wartime increase of workers............................ 6
Increase in strength of U. S. Armed Forces ................ 10
Total increase in numbers employed ................... ... 16
This tremendous war increase of harnessed manpower in the U.S.A. is one
of the major surprises for Germany and indeed for the world. The components of
that increase of 16 millions are:-
Absorption of 1939 unemployed. ...................... 8 millions
Normal growth in U.S.A. working population for the period... 3
Women and other persons not normally gainfully employed .... 5
That total of 16 million persons must not, as I shall later show, "be taken as the
net surplus of America's labor force after demobilization. That figure will be
very much smaller.
America's Post-War Economic Problems
You will note that in the four categories of goods now being produced in the
U.S.A., production for war purposes accounts for no less a figure than $'7,000
millions a year. It is the prospect of finding markets in peacetime for the enormous
World Employment and Production Problems 13
amount or production capacity represented by that figure which is giving the
American Government and American businessmen much food for thought. And
although there are many factors, which I shall shortly point out, which reduce the
dimensions of that problem, it is, without doubt, formidable. That the American
Government is acutely conscious of its task may be inferred from the statements
of some of its public men. For example,' Mr. Currie, a high official in the Foreign
Economic Administration of the United States, recently told a House of Represen-
tatives Committee that Lend-Lease exports alone represent nearly four times the
average total exports of the U.S. in pre-war years. From that Mr. Currie concluded
that to fill the gap left by Lend-Lease alone when it ceases, the present ordinary
exports of the U.S.A., already equal to her pre-war exports, will have to be multi-
plied by four.
In estimating the true proportions of America's employment problem after the
war we can fortunately make a number of large subtractions from the apparent
surplus of 16 million persons which I mentioned a few moments ago. First, a
number of probably about 4 millions will leave gainful employment altogether
after the war; secondly, America contemplates reverting to her normal working
week of 40 hours, and thus absorbing many millions more of her workers; thirdly,
she will employ many more in the accumulated requirements for re-equipment of
her industries; fourthly, although her over-all civil consumption has risen since
1939, in many classes of goods which give large employment, such as refrigerators,
motor-cars, radio sets, vacuum cleaners, there has been reduced output which will
have to be overtaken. Finally, she is certain to retain Armed Forces greater than
those of 1939. At least as important as any of these will be the increased standard
of living in the U.S.A., due to the increased national income. Yet, when all sub-
tractions from the problem have been made, there will remain for consideration
a large surplus of productive capacity for which Americans are bound to look in
part to increased export trade to fill.
We must not therefore allow ourselves to be antagonized by the zeal, to use a
mild word, with which the United States is setting out to aggrandize her post-
war export trade. She knows that when peace comes an avalanche of goods will
begin to move from her factories and, war or no war, she is preparing to deal
with that Himalayan problem. .
Britain's Post-War Economic Problems
We can now look at the task which we must undertake at home.
Figures corresponding to those I have given for America may not, just yet,
be published for Britain owing to security reasons. We are much nearer the enemy.
But I can tell you in general terms that, after deducting excessive wartime hours
and releasing married women, and others not normally employed, to their homes,
the task of Britain after demobilization will be not only to find employment for
those employed before the war, plus the one and three-quarter millions unemployed
in 1938, plus the small normal increase in population of working age, but also
for a large additional number of persons released for other forms of production
by the wartime improvements in planning, in machines, in better management and
so on, improvements which are jumbled together in the jargon of today and termed
technological efficiency. In addition to maintaining a high level of consumption
at home, it is essential for us not only to restore the volume of our export trade
to the pre-war figure, but to increase it by 50 per cent. And this we must do in
our case not only to provide employment but to earn the foreign exchange to pay
for the food and raw materials which are necessary for our very existence, and I
can assure you that we intend to do more than exist.
14 British Speeches of the Day
Britain's Economic Sacrifice
Unlike America, we have not been able to produce munitions by taking up
the pre-war slack. To produce the armaments for our fighting men we have had
to make sacrifices immeasurably greater than those made in the U.S.A. We have
sacrificed our exports. We have sacrificed our housing and building program. We
have reduced our education program and public works. In the words of Lord
Keynes, "With a fanatical single-mindedness for which few parallels could be
found in history, we have sacrificed every precaution for the future in the interests
of immediate strength." That does not overstate the case. Britain has more men
in the Armed Forces in relation to her population than any other Allied nation,
not excluding the U.S.A. and Russia, and their casualties have been considerable.
Many of our cities have been devastated. Our men and women have been con-
scripted and billeted and shifted from place to place-there have been 221/2
million removals since 1939. Our Merchant Navy has contributed a large propor-
tion of its fine manhood towards our survival-29,000 of them have found an
ocean grave. Nearly 150,000 of our civil population have been killed or maimed
by the enemy, and we alone know what the remainder have suffered under air
bombardment. It is, however, impossible to state here the full tale of tle tribula-
tion through which our people have passed, and we would not dwell on it; but
this I am bound to say, that while we recognize gratefully the contribution and the
sacrifice of our Allies, we feel that we too have played our part and more than our
part in economic sacrifice. On this subject, as on others, the British Government
has rightly declined controversy with its Allies throughout the War. Indeed, the
British Lion has been so afraid of being thought to growl at his good Allies that
he has sometimes purred even when his tail was being pulled hard. It is to be
hoped that this delicacy will not add to international misunderstanding. We want
to rebuild our economic and social life as soon as our safety from our desperate
enemy is assured. This will be a hard task, calling up all the energy and resource
of every section of the community. It is vital for the world, as well as for our-
selves, that we should set up our economy anew, and all of us must think and work
hard to accomplish it.
Three factors will ease the transition:
1. The Japanese War requirements. It is not generally realized what a large
shift to new types of production is under way to seal the doom of our
Eastern enemy, including new amphibian and landing craft, lighter
weapons; a wider range of new radio equipment (all specially made to
stand the heat and humidity of the tropics); vast quantities of special
clothing and medical stores.
2. Home and General shortages for a number of years.
3. Housing for ten years at least. .
The Choice Before Us
We ask the world to recognize no more than this, that the return to prosperity
can be accomplished only by co-operation and mutual trade.
Although the accumulated scarcity of civilian goods will give us a period of
Grace for a few years, inexorably the situation will develop until the world will be
confronted squarely with the Great Alternatives, namely:-
1. Efficient production supported by a higher standard of living at home and
2. Unemployment on a greater scale than men have known in their history.
The present British Government has made its choice. I am glad to be a mem-
ber, however unimportant, of a Government which has pledged itself to choose
World Employment and Production Problems
the first, with all that it implies. The policy of full employment has been accepted
as the first objective of peace. An essential accompaniment of that policy is already
being laid in the Social Security scheme. But do not misunderstand the object of
the Social Security scheme. It is one of two necessary pillars to support our
economic structure. The pillar of Social Security will be useless without the other.
It would not bear the load. The Social Security commitments are an assurance to
the British people, given to them at the start of a long journey. The Government
invites the people to join in an effort of production for peace comparable to the
crusade of war, an effort which will invoke acceptance of changes in industrial
policy, and by those security proposals they assure the people that provision will
be made for any upon whom misfortune calls, whether in the form of temporary
unemployment, old age, or sickness.
Five Great Partners
But at the same time they take drastic measures to ensure that a high level of
employment and wages will be maintained. That is the other pillar of policy.
Without it no insurance scheme could remain solvent for five years. If we allowed
unemployment to grow, it would mean that less national wealth was being pro-
duced, with fewer people producing it, and an ever greater number of people
falling out of production and having to be maintained by the labor of the rest.
Opinions differ as to the best policies to be adopted to ensure full employment,
but this is not the place to settle party arguments. But there are some fundamental
principles which must be recognized by thoughtful persons whatever their Party.
There are five great partners in industry-labor, finance, management, science and
the State, the last the senior partner representing the people.
I want to make an appeal to thoughtful men and women in Aberdeen and
everywhere to recognize that each one of those partners has an essential part to
play. There is room for some difference of opinion in the exact role of each, but
whatever Party is in power will have to recognize and bring to bear the full power
of each of those partners in the new era which will open with Victory.
I say a new era not in any spirit of false optimism, but because I believe that
out of the bitter experience between the two wars, and out of the tremendous con-
flict which is now moving towards its close, the great majority of the people of
this country have learned something. Let me conclude by giving you some of
the evidence for that belief.
One Great Gain
In 1928 the Liberal Party put forward some proposals in what was known as
the Yellow Book. I had the honor to serve on some of the enquiries, and on
my shelves I have one of the copies of that book, which was presented to each of
its authors under the signatures of Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Walter Layton.
The book was followed by a pamphlet, We Can Conquer Unemployment. Although
the proposals then made do not in my judgment go far enough to meet the present
situation, they were strongly opposed by the Treasury of that day, which repudiated
the suggestion that the State had the responsibility and the power to increase the
capacity of the country to produce and to consume the product, and in the result
the policy of deflation was firmly held on its painful course.
Compare that with the opening words of the recent Government White Paper
on full employment, subscribed to by members of all Parties in the present Gov-
"The Government accept as one of their primary aims and responsibilities
the maintenance of a high and stable level of employment after the war."
British Speeches of the Day
That statement I regard as the one great gain in the economic sphere which
has resulted from this war. It will be for the people to ensure that the pledge
there given is fulfilled by the post-war Government-fulfilled with all its implica-
tions for the State, for Finance, for Labor, for Management, for Scientific
Research and for International Co-operation.
Twice in my lifetime I have seen the specter of unemployment with all its
train of misery and suffering, from that cause at any rate, temporarily banished
from the homes of this land. Twice this has been accomplished in order to pro-
duce munitions of war. I say we can harness to production for peace the same zeal
and the same energy, using first, the wide range of knowledge that has come to us
from contemplation of our past errors, and, secondly, the strong will that was
tempered in the fires of our suffering. If we can do that the people of this country
will indeed enter upon a new era and lead mankind to come with them towards a
nobler destiny. (Official Release]
RT. HON. R. S. HUDSON
Minister of Agriculture
London Rotary Club, November 1, 1944
One of the difficulties facing agriculture today is the existence of many people,
unfortunately many influential people, to whom it seems that there is an antithesis
between our export industries and home food production. Such people argue that
our export trade is vital to our livelihood as a nation, and that if we wish to export
we must be prepared in exchange to import all the food and raw materials that
other countries wish to send us in payment. In the past there may have been some
truth in such an argument. But today I would like to try and show you why I
personally believe that, far from there being any conflict between the export
industries and home agriculture, it is vital to the future prosperity of our country
that the two should march forward hand in hand.
How Britain Became a Food Importer
We are, today, primarily an industrial and manufacturing nation. As a result
we sometimes tend to forget that about 150 years ago we were primarily an agri-
cultural country, growing most of the food which our people needed. Of course,
in those days our population was nothing like its present size. In 1801 it
was only 101/2 millions. As soon as it began to expand rapidly during the nine-
teenth century, rising as it did to 37 millions in 1901, we could not hope to go
on supporting ourselves entirely by our own home food production efforts.
At the same time as this rapid industrialization and increase in population
was happening over here, the great virgin lands of the American continent, of
New Zealand and Australia, were being brought rapidly into production and the
means of transport were being rapidly expanded and quickened. And with their
wide open spaces and their untapped reserves of soil fertility, they could produce
many food items cheaper than was possible in the older agricultural systems
It was not, therefore, surprising that we began to import more and more
of our food requirements. In the 1850's the aggregate value of our food imports
was about 68 millions. In 1901 it had risen to about 216 millions. We were also,
of cotirse, importing large quantities of raw materials which we urgently needed
for our manufacturing industries.
Changing Conditions in Agriculture 17
This method of relying on imports for a large part of the everyday necessities
of life was possible and profitable in those days because we held an unchallenged
place in the international industrial market. We had a long start which could not
easily be overhauled by other nations. The idea that Great Britain was and would
remain the leading manufacturing and commercial country of the world, and at
the same time the largest world market for food and raw materials, took firm
root. Exports and "cheap food" from abroad was the policy of the day. And
certainly in those conditions it paid us well. We prospered and grew wealthy.
The standard of living rose in spite of the rapidly increasing population.
How Food Imports Were Paid For
Such a policy was not unwelcome to the Dominions and to the foreign countries
with whom we traded. For our trade was so large that we were able to invest
considerable sums in capital developments overseas, from which they reaped large
benefits. At the outbreak of the last war our overseas investments were of the
order of 3-4 thousand millions. The interest on these investments provided us
with additional supplies of food and raw materials without the necessity of making
direct payment in exports, and also enabled us to increase still further our invest-
During the present century the position has gradually been changed. Other
countries had been building up their industrial economies and challenging our
former supremacy in the field of international trade. Even countries still pre-
dominantly agricultural began to build up their own secondary industries. For
instance, the share of world industrial production contributed by non-European
agricultural countries rose from 11 per cent in 1928 to 24 per cent in 1934, and
has increased still further since then. We began to lose, and to lose fairly rapidly,
the long lead which we had established in the nineteenth century. We began to
find that, in spite of all our efforts, the quantity of our exports was shrinking.
Counterbalances to Shrinking Exports
But the effects of this were not for a number of reasons readily apparent.
Firstly, we still had very large and profitable investments in overseas countries.
These continued to provide us with a large proportion of our import needs in the
way of food and raw materials, without making any call on our export capacity.
Secondly, the terms of trade were turning more and more in our favor. World
prices of food and raw materials were falling rapidly. For instance, the price
of wheat fell from 11s. 6d. per cwt. in 1923-6 to 5s. 8d. per cwt. in 1933-6, while
the price of rubber fell from 22d. per Ib. in 1923-6 to 2d. per lb. in 1932. . .
On the short view, this seemed to be to our advantage. In fact, however,
primary producers throughout the world were left without the means to buy the
tools of their trade and the clothes, fuel, and other necessities of life, which the
industrial workers were only too anxious to sell them. At the same time, farmers
and other primary producers, unable to help themselves, were trying to produce
and sell more, so as .to make up for the low prices they were getting for what
they did produce.
The Vicious Circle
So the vicious circle span round and round, with the result that we all
know and can remember. In nearly every industrial country there was a high
rate of unemployment. Millions were eking out a miserable existence, many of
them badly undernourished and many indeed hardly above the starvation line. Not
because there was not enough food in the world to feed them-wheat was being
British Speeches of the Day
burnt, coffee was being dumped in the sea, crops weie being left to rot in the
ground, and fruit was being left unpicked. And in those days there was no
machinery to stop the rot from spreading. The laissez-faire system of free competi-
tion in international trade had broken down.
We in this country felt the effects pretty badly. But to some extent they were
cloaked, mainly by two factors that I have already mentioned-namely, the interests
we were receiving on our overseas investments and the favorable terms of trade.
The real truth was that, though many of us did not realize it, we were living to a
large extent on our past rather than on our current achievements, on the wealth
created by our fathers and grandfathers, rather than by ourselves.
I have ventured to recall this past history to your minds, as I think that it
provides the key to the conflict of ideas which exists today about agriculture and
its relation to our commercial policy. I believe that those who argue that a
prosperous, healthy and reasonably large home agriculture is inconsistent with
our position as one of the most important industrial and commercial nations
of the world do so because they are still living in the world of the nineteenth
century. The conditions of the nineteenth century have changed, but the ideas
and policies of the nineteenth century still linger in the minds of manv. "Free
Trade" and "Cheap Food" are cries which have become so engrainel in the
thoughts of a large body of people that any doctrine which is, or ever appears
to be, opposed to them is regarded as heresy. They have forgotten the conditions
under which, and the means by which, those policies brought us our wealth.
Or, if they have not forgotten, they argue that our policy should aim at returning
as far as possible to thjse conditions and reviving those means. To them I would
say, "No man and no nation can put back the clock; we are living in the twentieth
century and under twentieth century conditions, and the means which we adopt
must be twentieth century means."
Let us look realistically at the situation in which we shall be placed after the
war. No one, I think, would deny that it will be very different from that which
obtained before the war and still more from that which obtained in the nineteenth
A Debtor Nation
The first and most important change will be that from a creditor nation we
shall have become a debtor nation. No longer shall we be able to rely on the
accumulated wealth which our ancestors had built up overseas. That will almost
all have gone. For nearly every ton of food and raw materials which we want
to import we shall have to export goods in payment. As the Chancellor of the
Exchequer told us a few weeks ago we shall not only have to maintain the value
of our exports, but increase it by at least 50 per cent if we are going to maintain
the standard of living of our people. It was no easy task trying to increase, or
even maintain, our exports even before the war, as I can tell you from my own
personal experience at the Department of Overseas Trade. After the war we are
likely to have to face and overcome difficulties quite as great, if not a good deal
greater. I need not remind you that the industrial and manufacturing capacity
of most of the free countries in the world has been vastly increased during the
war. This capacity is at present largely devoted to weapons of war and to munitions.
But when peace returns, that capacity will have to be shifted to the production
of peaceful goods. No, conditions will be very different from the days of the
nineteenth century when we were one of the few sellers and the world w.as full
of buyers clamoring for our wares.
Changing Conditions in Agriculture
Changing Terms of Trade
That is one change. But another, almost equally important, is what is going
to happen to the terms of trade. Are they likely to be as favorable.to us after
the war as they used to be? Are we still likely to be able to get food and raw
materials at the same cheap, cut-throat prices? Personally, I think that in the long
run this is unlikely. No doubt a good many of you have read the report and
resolutions of the Conference on Food and Agriculture at Hot Springs. Two
of the resolutions passed there unanimously by 44 of the free nations of the
world seem to me to be of fundamental importance in connection with our trade
position after the war. First, it was agreed that while inherent natural and eco-
nomic advantages in any area should determine farming systems adopted and
commodities produced, the agriculture of the different countries should aim at
three things: First, at maintaining soil fertility at levels which will sustain yields
and ensure adequate returns for labor; second, at protecting crops and livestock
from major pests and diseases; third, at favoring steady employment throughout
the year. The aim in fact must be, not only to produce food and raw materials
as cheaply and efficiently as possible for the consumers of the world, but also to
give economic and biological security to all primary producers. And it was
agreed by all the technical experts from 44 different countries that the best way
of doing this was by balanced mixed rotational farming and the avoidance of
single-crop production or monoculture. This indeed is a revolution.
Most people, whether they are interested in agriculture or not, have. heard of
the Dustbowl conditions in America. Those are one result of monoculture, and
they have certainly cost our American allies dear. But it is not generally realized
that this is but one instance of the ravages of man on the fertility of the land.
In many other countries, all over the world, similar spoliation was taking place.
Everywhere the same results have inevitably followed from a policy of mining
the capital fertility of the soil. There is no need for me to point out to you as
businessmen that to deplete the soil, which is the capital of agriculture, must in
the long run be unsound. One of the elementary principles of any business enter-
prise is the provision of adequate allowances for depreciation. This is important
enough when you are dealing with buildings or machinery, which can be replaced
when they are worn out. How much more important when you are dealing with
land, which once lost cannot be replaced. Obviously it is not only sound business
practice, but plain common sense, to take steps to maintain the health and fer-
tility of the soil. Even before the war the newer agricultural countries were be-
ginning to realize this, and to think more in terms of mixed rotational farming
instead of specialization. They were beginning, in fact, to appreciate that the
farming methods of the older agricultural systems of the world, methods which
had been practised for hundreds of years and in some cases for thousands, were
not just the outcome of tradition and antiquated knowledge but were founded
on sound fundamental principles.
Probable Rise in World Food Prices
This movement away from specialization and towards mixed farming is, in
my view, likely to go and spread after the war. It is true that farming systems
which exploit the soil are laying up great trouble and expense for the future,
but in the short run their costs are cheaper than those of farming systems which
aim at putting back into the land what is taken from it, of farming to preserve
the soil, not to cash in on its fertility. Thus, the adoption of mixed farming
systems is bound to mean some rise in the costs of production, as well as a change
in emphasis as regards the commodities produced and as regards those available
British Speeches of the Day
,This movement is likely to be reinforced by the second resolution at Hot
Springs to which I referred. This was a unanimous decision that, after the war,
each country must do its best to raise as rapidly as possible the nutritional stand-
ard of its people. That means that more livestock and livestock products will be
required, and that there will be a concentration on the production of things re-
quired at home rather than on products for export.
Both these factors will take time to have effect. But I think that in the long
run they are likely to lead to a rise in costs, and so in prices, of food sold on
the world market. I think, therefore, that in the twentieth century the terms of
trade, far from being more favorable to us than in pre-war days, are likely if
anything to turn against us. As against this, we must remember that," if primary
producers get more for their products, they will have more money available with
which to buy industrial goods. Thus the market for industrial goods may in
this way be increased.
You will not be surprised, after what I have said, if I tell you that in my
view we are likely to be faced after the war with great difficulties and that it will
need all our energies, the energies of each one of us, to overcome the e difficul-
ties, and to make sure that our standard of living is not only maintained at its
pre-war level but goe on rising. That we can do so I have no doubt. But only,
as I believe, on certain conditions. The first is that we make use to the greatest
possible extent of our own natural resources here at home. These natural re-
sources are the land, what we can get from under the land which is mainly coal,
together with the skill and industry of our workers. Secondly, that we concen-
trate especially on trading with those countries that are particularly ready to trade
with us. We should certainly make a start with our Dominions. and Colonies.
A Means to an End
I hope that, from what I have said, it is by now clear to you why I told you
earlier that I believed there was no antagonism between agriculture and the export
industries. Export we must and will, after the war. But exports are not as some
people tend to think, an aim in themselves. They are a means to an end--that is
to enable us to import the things which we need. To say, as some people do,
that we must import certain things whether we need them or not, in order that we
may export, is nonsense. To say that we must export to get the essentials we
require is sound common sense. For a time, at any rate, the resources put at our
command by our exports are unlikely to cover everything we require. For a time,
therefore, we shall be compelled to cut down on things other than necessities.
We want both food and raw materials. But many of the raw materials we most
require we cannot produce here at home, whereas the farmers and farm workers
in this country have shown that much of the food we need can be grown here.
If, therefore, we must economize, it seems only sensible to do so on im orts of
food rather than on imports of raw' materials.
I should perhaps make it clear that by this I do not mean that we s.iall not
still require substantial quantities of food from abroad. The area of our land
is limited and we can never hope, nor do we desire, to be self-sufficient as regards
food. 'Our soil is not suited to the production of all we need of certain com-
modities. For example, we do not wish to maintain any longer than we reed the
terrific acreages\of wheat and potatoes that we are at present growing. We are,
after all, primarily suited to the production of livestock and livestock products,
and the emphasis must be gradually changed over to these from crops fo- direct
human consumption. The point that I am making is that for some time ot r over-
seas income will be limited, and will not enable us to import all that we should
The Town and Country Planning Bill
like to. So long as it is limited, vwe must concentrate on importing those essen-
tials which we cannot produce here at home. Agriculture can make an important
contribution, by enabling us to economize for the time being on food imports
and bring in more raw materials for our industries. In due course, as our over-
seas financial resources are increased and as our standard of living rises, I believe
that we shall be able to absorb not only the food which countries overseas wish
to send us, but also the food which a healthy and well-balanced agriculture in
this country should produce-and produce, too, at prices that will compare not
unfavorably with average world prices.
You can well understand, therefore, how glad I am to see a growing realiza-
tion among businessmen of the close inter-relationship there should be between
agriculture and industry and of the extent to which each must rely on the other.
Only the other day, for instance, the London Chamber of Commerce in their re-
port on the Government's White Paper on Employment Policy reaffirmed their
belief that the prosperity of home agriculture was essential to the future welfare
of the country.
I believe that in the post-war era industry and agriculture will each have their
part to play, and that in playing it each will be of the greatest help to the other.
Together they can, I think, ensure that our nation will continue to prosper and
rank as one of the great economic powers of the world. In opposition, they will
in my view spell out a dismal and precarious future for our country.
Minister of Reconstruction
House of Lords, October 31, 1944
My Lords, I present to your Lordships, for Second Reading, a Bill of some
length and complexity, and described as The Town and Country Planning Bill:
and I present it to you with a plea for urgency. The noble Viscount, Lord Samuel,
when we were discussing the White Paper on the Control of Land Use,* made
some stringent observations about the language of this Bill, and expressed the wish
that it had been in simpler and more understandable form. That is a wish which
I, who have spent many months in Cabinet Committee on the Bill, wholeheartedly
share. But the Statutes dealing with the land of this country are so deeply rooted
in our history-and in ancient as well as modern history-that no short or simple
Bill would meet the needs of the present situation. Therefore, in spite of the
language of the Bill, I bespeak the support of the noble Viscount for its inten-
tions. The spaciousness of the title of the Bill tends to overlay the urgency of its
need: I want to put that need in simple language. The Bill is chiefly designed to
make the provisions that are necessary in order that houses and shops and schools
may be built, and particularly that houses may be built in those areas that have
been badly "blitzed" during the war, or in those nearby areas where the long
passage of time has blighted houses built to a standard that we should not today
consider adequate or reasonable.
Cmd. 6537, available from Sales Dept., British Information Services, New York,
British Speeches of the Day
The Purpose of the Bill
There are people who have told us that we ought to be content at this stage
to deal with "blitzed" areas, and that the provisions of this Bill could have been
accepted more easily if they had been confined to those areas. My Lords, that was
a sentimental approach to the subject, though indeed it does credit to thle willing-
ness of people to make sacrifice in the interests of people who have suffered unduly
from the war, and I have no doubt that, if we had been able, and if we had been
content, to produce a Bill framed from that restricted angle, the interests involved
would have been prepared to make considerable sacrifices. But it is a bad thing
to patch old garments with new cloth. Unhappily "blitz" and blight are inextricably
mixed in many places, and the Government therefore decided that it was necessary
to deal with the two together, in the hope that out of the calamity of destruction
there might arise new housing estates, laid out in such a manner as to make them
healthy to live in, good to look at, with proper access to places of work, and em-
bracing the public and social amenities of schools and open spaces, churches and
shopping centers, places of entertainment and public buildings: in sho-t, condi-
tions which are in accordance with our present-day thought on town planning,
and indeed the conditions which are in accordance with the practice of both public
authorities and the best private developers of land in the years before the war
interfered with the progress of this development.
It is not necessary for me, in order to secure your Lordships' support for this Bill,
to spend any undue amount of time in stressing the urgency of the need for re-
housing in this country. The Government recognize that need. They aie taking
every step that is available to meet it. This Bill 'is one of the steps. We have made
our plans for the future so that at the end of hostilities, when labor is available for
making building materials and for using them, there shall be no delay. But it is
essential that the sites shall be available and that building operations as well as
rebuilding operations shall be neither retarded in time nor restricted in efficiency
by lack of sites. That is the first and the chief reason why commend this Bill to
you. This Bill will make the necessary sites available. Clapse 2 will give powers
to purchase land for redevelopment of "blitzed" areas and Clause 9 for the ;e-
development of blighted areas. In this connection I should like to draw your
Lordships' attention to Clause 10, which will give power to purchase land for
certain definite planning purposes. The .Bill enables local authorities to develop
their "blitzed" and blighted areas as a whole. Quite obviously, in the process of
doing this, it is necessary for them to obtain the sites to cover the whole of the
area that is to be rebuilt. As your Lordships know, there are often in such areas
very many owners, and the present process of public acquisition was doubtless
deliberately planned to be slow in order that it might protect the owner of property
from having his rights of possession carelessly or ruthlessly taken away from him.
Provides for Speedy Acquisition
When we deal with property, inevitably there arise old controversial issues on
which many of your Lordships have in the past fought many strenuous battles.
I hope we may avoid battle over this Bill, for it promotes machinery for meeting
urgent human needs, and needs that brook no delay. Property owners have their
rights and their obligations, and in the past it has been on them that the country
has largely relied for the provision of houses for the people. Not a few of them,
out of a deep sense of public obligation, have been in the forefront of housing
reform and estate management. Such people have held land with a sense of
trusteeship. But the problem of laying out and planning the very large areas that
have been "blitzed" is so big that it is likely to be beyond the capacity of indi-
vidual ownership, and therefore it is necessary for public authorities to be able
The Town and Country Planning Bill
to acquire the whole of the sites which are involved. Here, I should like to address
myself to what I regard as an important issue. If the land has to be acquired, if the
public interest requires it, and" if indeed the ultimate result is inevitable, it is not
sensible to make the process one of a long complicated and expensive battle over
rights. The provisions of this Bill are designed to secure that when the Minister,
who after all is responsible to Parliament, is satisfied that it is necessary in the
public interest that land shall be acquired, then it shall be acquired speedily.
I refer your Lordships to the Second and Sixth Schedules at the end of the Bill
which describe this machinery. Here, as elsewhere, the Bill is carefully framed to
do justice to the private citizen. It quite consistently follows the principle that
every 6wner has the right to make his case before any decision is taken requiring
him to sell his land to the local authority. But the Bill is also fair to the com-
munity. It makes it possible for land that is required,in the public interest to be got
with the least possible delay. Much time, labor, and expense will be saved as the
result of the adoption of the principles that are in this Bill. A less formal and
more constructive procedure than that of a pre-war public inquiry will be available
where appropriate, and a more expeditious method is provided than the present
system of "referencing" (as it is called) for letting owners know that the question
of purchasing their land has been raised. I hope your Lordships will give this
proposal your support-that you will not only see in it practical necessity but that
you will also see in it the opportunity that will be given to public authorities to
build towns that are well planned, with a proper balance of economic activity and
social life, and are therefore likely to improve the health and the well-being of the
people who live in them.
Principles of Replanning
So much, my Lords, for the transference to public authorities of the ownership
of land inside the "blitzed" or blighted area. But there is another question to
which some of your Lordships I know have given great attention. It will not
always be possible, it will not always be advisable, that rebuilding should take
place to the same extent, for the same density of population, as was current under
the old housing conditions. There is much strong argument for developing new
areas of land outside of the existing urban areas in order to rectify this problem of
overcrowding. I avoid the ungracious phrase, as it seems to me, about "decant-
ing" the population into these new areas. It is important that local authorities
should be empowered, under the ultimate jurisdiction, of course, of the central
authority and therefore of Parliament to obtain land for this purpose and to ensure
its proper development.
These new housing estates, removed from the existing centers of population,
must not only be housing estates-dormitories, as the phrase goes. I remember so
well seeing one of them about 25 years ago. The local authority had built it with
some pride and the houses were good, but the population was miserable. There
were no shops there, no cinemas, no industry, and there was no community center
in the place; even the school was sufficiently distant to cause mothers daily periods
of anxiety as to whether their children would successfully brave the dangers of a
vast motor-road which ran across the building estate. We have learnt much since
then. These new estates must not be confined to "housing" people; there must be
new communities with a community life and the public authorities must have
powers to build, or, if they think it wise, to lease to other people to build, such
services as are necessary to make a community life. There must be places to live
in and places to work in and places in which people can get recreation from their
work. The Bill deals with all these points. The most urgent need arises in the
"blitzed" areas; that is why the Bill is primarily concerned with them. But the
British Speeches of the Day
Bill provides similar powers for dealing in due course with blighted areas and not
only with those that are adjacent to "blitzed" areas-and it contains some general
provisions (you find them in Clause 10) which apply to any area. For example,
it provides for the compulsory acquisition of land needed for industrial develop-
ment in towns where a proper balance of industry cannot otherwise be secured;
and it gives a clear power to acquire land required anywhere for public open spaces
and playing fields.
I hope I have said enough to commend the general purposes of this Bill to you,
and to persuade you to pass it into law in this Session of Parliament, as was fore-
shadowed in the King's Speech. I will not, for one moment, minimize, or attempt
to pass over, the contentious clauses of this Bill. I have dealt first with the need
for speed and comprehensiveness in the acquisition by public authorities of the
land they must have. I now come to the question of whether public authorities
will be able to pay for the land that they require. Some of the land will come
into productive use almost at once and rents will provide the income to meet the
capital charges, but, in other cases, this will not be so for some time. The possession
of this land will be a charge on the local authority. We propose, in these cases-
and I would here refer your Lordships to Clauses 5 and 8-that the central funds
of the Exchequer shall render aid. In such cases local authorities will receive a
grant-which they need never repay-equal to the loan charges for the first two
years, and equal to half the loan charges for the third and fourth years in respect
of land acquired for the "over-spill" of population. But this may not be sufficient,
and in cases where it is insufficient the Bill provides that the local authority may
continue to receive grants (which, if circumstances justify it they may have to
repay) up to the tenth, or even the fifteenth, year after the purchase of the land.
These provisions in the Bill apply only in respect of the "blitzed" areas.
On July 11, in another place, my right honorable friend, the Minister of Town
and Country Planning, committed the Government to consider in due course seek-
ing the authority of Parliament to provide financial assistance, if such proved neces-
sary, for local authorities in respect of land required for essential open spaces and
also in respect of the redevelopment of blighted areas. I may say at once that the
Government have given most careful consideration to these financial proposals
and having regard to all the commitments which will fall on the Exchequer in
the period after war, they have concluded that these financial provisions are ade-
quate and that they are as generous as it is possible for us to make them.
The next, but surely the most difficult, question arises when we come to deal
with the price that shall be paid for land compulsorily acquired. I am sure that
many of your Lordships will want to discuss this question in detail. So much
public attention has been drawn to it in another place that perhaps there is little
that I can add to your existing knowledge on the subject. In commending Clauses
52, 53 and 54 in Part II of the Bill, I shall be more brief perhaps than the subject
warrants, but I commend them to you with conviction. The location of the destruc-
tion that comes from war has no basis of justice or of equity. Bombs have fallen
in some areas and not in others. So much destruction has taken place, and has to be
overcome, that the possibility of rapid development for building purposes of any
particular piece of land has been greatly reduced by the calls that will be made on
our building labor for erecting houses on the land already in use as building land.
Some years must elapse before the labor and the material will be available for wide-
spread development on fresh land. Moreover, the cost of building has increased
since the war, and is likely to remain greater than it was before the war for some
years after the war. These factors of retarded building progress and high costs
The Town and Country Planning Bill
both tend to depreciate the value of virgin land. On the other hand, not only
have populations moved, but the special necessity for rehousing in some areas has
undoubtedly caused adjacent land to have a development value that it did not
possess in 1939.
I have elaborated these two sets of questions that have arisen directly as a
result of the war, and there are obviously great variations from the normal in the
value of,land in different parts of the country. These variations arise from the
war; they do not arise from any action, or any expenditure, or any enterprise or
the lack of enterprise by the owners of the land; and we have, therefore, con-
ceived that equity was best served by saying that we would calculate compensa-
tion by first estimating what the present value of the land would have been if there
had been no war. So, we have taken the date of March 31, 1939, and said that
for public acquisition-in, say, 1945-we would pay the price that the land (in the
state in which it is in 1945) would have fetched in 1939. In 1939 there was a
free market in land. The price in 1939 was fixed by the operatioris of a willing
buyer and a willing seller at a time when at any rate only the shadow of war was
casting its reflection on the property market.
The first principle, therefore, on which these compensation clauses of the Bill
are based is that the price of land compulsorily acquired should be based on the
1939 standard of prices. There are two other principles which I will state very
briefly. The second principle is that when the dispossessed owner is also the oc-
cupier, an additional payment should be made. This is designed to help the owner-
occupier whose land is compulsorily purchased to reinstate himself in another
house, another shop, another factory or farm, as the case may be. And this ad-
dition, which will be paid not automatically but after consideration of all the
relevant circumstances of each case, will in no case exceed 30 per cent above the
1939 value of the building or agricultural land. And the third principle is that ad-
ditional payments should also be made in respect of improvements carried out since
1939 but carried out in the interests of the war effort, carried out under the in-
structions, it may be, of the Ministry of Agriculture, or the Ministry of Supply,
efforts which have been licensed by the Government.
That is the basis that we propose for compensation. It has been called "rough
justice." Some people have used that phrase in order to commend it and some
people have used it a little reluctantly with more emphasis on the word "rough"
than on the word "justice." I commend it to your Lordships not only on these
grounds, but also on the grounds of expediency. If his 'land is required for
public purposes, the investor in land is being bought out: but he is being bought
out in the currency of 1939 values. He is placed- in precisely the same position as
the people who have lent their money to the State, either in the .past, or, more
particularly, during this war. Remember there is a gigantic number of people who
have willingly lent their money to the State during this war. They will be paid
pound for pound, and the investor in land will be placed on precisely the same
footing as the investor in war savings certificates. If I may summarize this section
of the Bill we have sought to give the investor whose land or property is ac-
quired the cash value he would have obtained for his investment at the last date
when there was a free market in land, a market unaffected by war to determine
the value of that investment. Where a man is using his investment either by
way of residence or in the pursuit of employment we have recognized that he is
entitled to a hearing if he can show that the 1939 price will not permit him to get
other accommodation. Further, where in the interests of war production the
owner has expended capital, in making improvements or additions to his prop-
British Speeches of the Day
erty, we think he has a right to consideration on those grounds as to the price
to be paid to him if he is dispossessed. We have thus made considerable en-
deavors to meet the claims of those to whom the payment of 1939 prices would
not have been fair.
A Step Towards National and Positive Planning
Finally I want to suggest that the Bill is not only a Bill for the speedy acquisi-
tion of land but is an important step towards national and positive planning. The
Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) Act, 1943, extended plan-
ning to the whole.of England and Wales and enlarged the powers both of planning
authorities and the Minister. But it was only a safeguarding measure, to prevent
the task of reconstruction from being hindered. Further legislation was promised.
This Bill will make it possible to secure that, in the parts of England where the
need is most urgent, necessary development is in fact carried out at the right
time (that is, as soon as ever the war situation allows) and carried out in the
right place. The Bill is predominantly a land acquisition Bill. But it is more than
that. I have already mentioned that where replanning is most urgently needed
-that is in "blitzed" areas, and in blighted areas too-the local authority will
be able, if this Bill is passed, to acquire not only the area that requires redevelop-
ment but also such land elsewhere as good planning makes necessary. This marks
a most important advance in the direction of "positive" planning, in which I
know many of your Lordships have great interest, and it contrasts with the old
conception of town planning, which was a conception of negative control.
Further, local planning authorities will be empowered themselves to carry out
development of acquired land. But positive planning is a process in which all must
play their parts. The Minister of Town and Country Planning and the local
authority have most important parts to play, but so has private enterprise, and
this Bill will enable private enterprise more effectively to serve the common interest.
This Bill expects private enterprise to act as an important agency for carrying recon-
struction into effect, and it expects that private enterprise and public at thorities
will, each of them, be working together to a common plan and to a common end.
Thus, whilst the local authority may build many houses on the land acquire,] it will,
perhaps normally, certainly in many cases, lease portions of the land it has bought,
in some cases after developing the land itself, to men who will build and operate
shops, factories, public houses, cinemas and other places of general entertainment
for the community.
But the Bill also marks a further stage in the making of national, as well as
'positive, planning more of a reality. Thus, the Minister of Town and Country
Planning will be responsible for collaborating with the local authorities through-
out their planning work. His consent will be needed for the local plans. He
will confirm the purchase orders authorizing the local authority to purchase land
compulsorily, and will thus be able to control the extent and the location of such
development. Furthermore, the Minister will be empowered by subsection (7)
of Clause 17.to direct local authorities to dispose of land, subject to certain safe-
guards where he decides that this is in the interests of local development. And,
though his relationship with the local authorities will no doubt be such as to
render it necessary to use such compulsory power but seldom, it is essential that
he should have this reserve power if he is to discharge his statutory duty of secur-
ing good planning in the positive as well as in the negative sense. I refer your
Lordships on this issue to Clause 28 of the Bill. In future, the Minister of Town
and Country Planning will be able to call upon a local planning authority to pro-
duce a plan for its area. This, again, is an essential power for the Minister to have
in reserve for use when local planning authorities fall behind in their planning
Ships and Shipping
I should have to make an even larger call upon your Lordships' patience if I
were to attempt to cover in any detail the wide ground that falls within the ambit
of this Bill. But I judge it to be more appropriate that this should be done in
the Committee stage rather than on the Second Reading of the Bill. I have
sought, therefore, to outline to you the intentions of this Bill. I hope that I
have said enough to persuade your Lordships to share the conviction of my col-
leagues in the Government, and certainly my own conviction, that this Bill ought
to become law, and ought to become law soon. This is an urgent and necessary
measure. It comes nearer to doing justice to all the interests concerned than any
alternative plan-and indeed there have been many-that we have considered or
that we could devise. It is a workable measure that puts first things first, and
enables them to be done. And it is a further installment of the Government's
proposals for ensuring that the land of this country is used in the national interest,
and that the planning of those areas that have suffered war damage, and of the
areas that have consequently to be rebuilt, shall be of a positive character and
in line with modern thought. [House of Commons Debates]
RT. HON. P. J. NOEL-BAKER
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport
House of Commons, November 1, 1944
My hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) spoke of the part
the Merchant Navy has played during this last year in the invasion of the Con-
tinent. I think it would be desirable if, speaking for my Ministry, I added a little
to what has been said. For the Merchant Navy it was a very different operation
from others in which they have previously, with such glory, taken part. It was a
very different operation for my Ministry. Every detail of the administration was
completely different. In this operation we had to manage 30,000 seamen, out of
70,000 volunteers, from one central office. I have heard nothing but praise from
the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy for the arrangements which were made for
personnel, convoys and supplies. It is true that letters were sometimes not
delivered as quickly as we would have liked but up to the present time we have
delivered something like 2,000,000 letters, of which relatively few have gone astray.
On the whole those who organized that central office did a splendid job, all
the more noteworthy because it was thoroughly international in its scope. Besides
Americans-because there was a large number of American ships-there were
Norwegians, French, Greeks, Dutch, Belgians and Poles, all taking their part.
The whole scheme was only possible because from first to last there was the
most complete and harmonious co-operation between the Government Depart-
ments, the representatives of every nationality, owners, officers and men. There
were many difficult and contentious questions to be settled, but in the settling
of them these diverse elements all came to form one united and enthusiastic team.
I would like to say a special word of gratitude to those who helped to make
this great enterprise such a success, in spite of the rough weather and the stu-
pendous difficulties which it caused.
I would add a word about coasters, to whom my hon. Friend the Member for
Oldham referred. They have had a most exacting war. In the first year they car-
28 British Speeches of the Day
ried 1,000,000 tons of coal a month to France. They mounted and supplied the
Expeditionary Force to Norway. They evacuated Dunkirk, and later bore for
many months the brunt of the enemy's attack on shipping. They went through
E-boat alley, down the Channel among the magnetic mines, yet they kept their
convoys going and carried 30,000,000 tons of cargo every year. They sailed
across the Atlantic to take part in our amphibious operations, in the Mediterranean,
North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, and the rest. This year, in Normandy, they sur-
passed every effort they had made before. The normal allowance for breakdowns
of various sorts is 10 to 15 per cent, but on D-Day less than one per cent of the
British and Allied coasters failed to keep their appointed convoy stations. They
piled their decks high with military equipment, and carried two or three times their
normal complement of personnel. They lay for days in open anchorages in dirty
weather, swept from their moorings in darkness, facing difficulties and discomforts
of every kind.
My hon.-and gallant Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Wing-Com-
mander James) said, as the Government have often said, that the nation owes a
debt of gratitude to the men in our coasters and in our Merchant Nax y which it
will not easily repay. What can be done to meet it? Some hon. Members today,
and officers and men themselves, have supplied one answer. The nation, they say,
can assure to seafarers better conditions of living and working than they had in
times gone by. Mr. Charles Jarman, of the National Union of Seamen, says:
"We want minimum standards of employment and welfare established
for seamen, redeeming the lavish promises made to them by everybody, from
the King downwards, who has paid tribute to seamen's service in ;his war."
In fact, many improvements have been made for officers and men curing the
course of this war and, of course, seafarers want to keep in peacetime what has
been recognized as right and proper for them during the war. But they want
more. They have embodied their demands in what is called an "International
Seamen's Charter," to which reference has been made today. That Charter, adopted
by the officers' and men's societies of a dozen maritime countries, is to be sub-
mitted, I understand, to the Maritime Commission of the I.L.O. Although it
has not yet reached me officially, I think I may say that the Government regard it
as a most important paper. Perhaps it will be right if I make some comments
on some of the matters with which it deals, from the British Government's point
of view. I preface my comments by saying that the question of seamen's condi-
tions is now considered, I believe, in a genuinely sympathetic spirit by everyone
concerned. I remember a statement made by the President of the Chamber of
Shipping this year, in which he said:
"Profit will not be extracted and maintained at the expense of low wages,
poor accommodation, inadequate leave and long hours of duty."
That is a very important declaration, which I warmly welcome. The Govern-
ment approaches the question of improvements in seamen's conditions with a warm
desire that they may be swift and real. They did a good deal of work on the
subject before the Charter was ever produced. Let me take some of the matters
with which that document deals, and say that I fully share the view expressed by
my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for The Hartlepools that the international
regulation of conditions is to be desired. If our conditions are what we want, then
international regulation must be to our advantage. But I am speaking on these
matters primarily from our British point of view. As to safety at sea, for some
time my Ministry have had what we call a working party engaged on making plans
for improved safety regulations in time of peace. As everybody knows, there have
been great advances during the war and we are working out how these can be con-
solidated and put into peacetime regulations.
Ships and Shipping
Technical and Scientific Improvements
A Committee under Sir Henry Tizard is working at the application of Radar
for the improvement of ships' safety and other radio aids to navigation. Another
Committee is working on constructional questions-fire prevention, navigational
equipment, meteorological services and so on. We hope to improve the practice in
all these matters. We believe also that an international agreement will be required
when the war is over, and we shall be ready to help in making it when the time
Secondly, there is the question raised by the hon. and gallant Member for
South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor) of what is called, for short, seamen's
welfare. The I.L.O. adopted a recommendation on the subject in 1936. The
British Government accepted that recommendation, and throughout the war they
have sought to help both British and Allied seamen in accordance with the prin-
ciples it laid down. They have had welfare committees for seamen in every port,
there has been large-scale provision of hostels, and more than 150 Merchant Navy
clubs have been set up around the world. Some time ago my Noble Friend, in
co-operation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, set up a com-
mittee to report on certain difficult issues involved in seamen's welfare. That
committee is about to present its report, and it would be inappropriate for me to
deal in detail with the matter today, but I hope means will be found to get in peace-
time what is needed.
May I say a word about accommodation-the crews' quarters in their ships.
"Your ship is your home" is one of Mr. Jarman's slogans. He has recently de-
manded that the old system of "building a ship and then putting a hole in the
deck for the crew," shall be abandoned for good and all. I do not think there
are any ship owners who will not accept that view. Not long ago a British owner
told me that some time before the war he built some vessels which embodied
most, if not all, of the proposals in the Seaman's Charter. The quarters were amid-
ships, the sleeping rooms were separate from the mess-rooms, the sick rooms, wash-
ing, sanitary and galley arrangements were all that the charter asked for and, he
said, none of the difficulties that had been foreseen had arisen. On the contrary,
the improved accommodation had been an excellent investment for the firm, be-
cause they got and kept crews who were contented and on whom they could rely.
I said in the Debate a year ago that in the ocean tramp or cargo liner of
7,000 or 8,000 tons the crew space represented roughly 5 or 6 per cent of the
total tonnage, and the difference between good and bad accommodation was about
11/2 per cent. No one would now let that obstruct our progress. In fact British
standards were greatly raised by the Board of Trade regulations of 1937, and
in many ways we have gone beyond them in the tonnage built during the war.
Some of the charter's new demands are already met, and I hope that others will be
when the war is over. One of the most important points concerns the galley-
where it is put, its equipment, refrigerators, and all the rest. That is important to
cooks, stewards and all the crew. On all these matters, we have another working
party considering in the greatest detail what can usefully be done. They are con-
sidering again not only what should be put into the revised British Regulations
but into an international agreement on the subject if one were made.
Other Welfare Matters
Last year I told the House something of the plans that were being made for the
training of boys who want to go to sea. That work is done by the Merchant Navy
Training Board, in which spokesmen of the Ministry of Education and of my
Ministry work together with representatives of the shipowners, officers and men.
It has been pushed forward in the last 12 months and they have now made plans
British Speeches of the Day
* for the training of navigating officers and deck hands. When they come into effect,
they will mean an almost revolutionary change. They will mean a regulated entry
into the industry of boys of the right age, of adequate physical fitness and satisfac-
tory character and with a proper standard of education. No others will be ad-
mitted. They will give to every boy a period of pre-sea training in a residential
college. For ratings it will be six months and for cadets nine. The plan will ensure
encouragement for continued study, under supervision, when they have gone to sea.
They will offer an equal opportunity to every boy, whether rich or poor. They
will open the ladder of promotion from the bottom to the top. I cannot read
the Board's report-for which we are much indebted to representatives of the
industry-without feeling that it is not only a practical but also an imaginative
and an inspiring piece of work. ,My right hon. Friend the Minister for Education
shares that view and has authorized me to say that, if the scheme, with or with-
out variation, is agreed upon, it may be assumed that grants will be available on
a scale certainly not less favorable than that for schemes of training for industries
on land. My Ministry and the Ministry of Education will be ready to start practical
conversations on the subject with the Training Board as soon as it seems a use-
ful thing to do. The Training Board are now beginning to work on plans for the
training of boys for the engineering and catering departments of the Merchant
Navy. They are no less important than the rest.
I have spoken of the galley. Who in a ship is more important than the cook?
The food supply is now generally good, but often the cooking leaves much to be
desired, and so does the training of the cooks. I was a little while ago at one
of our training courses for Merchant Navy cooks. One of my'colleagues said he
did not know whether we should be able to hold to this advance when the war
was over, of six weeks' training instead of two. I asked the director if he thought
it would'pay its way. He said it was worth it, but it ought to be at least three
months. I asked the instructor what he thought. He said it was useless, it ought
to be a year. I have a feeling that there is here a big piece of work to do and
one of real importance to the Merchant Navy.
I can only mention one other matter concerned with seamen's welfare. That
is the plan of the National Maritime Board for what is called continuous em-
ployment. My Noble Friend [The Minister of War Transport] asked the Board
to draw up a plan some time ago under which the advantages which seafarers
have. had from the Merchant Navy reserve pools should be continued in time
of peace, and they prepared a scheme under which the majority of the personnel
of the Merchant Navy would be, so to say, established-permanent jobs, fixed
holidays with pay and other privileges as long as they chose to stick to the sea.
That plan had to be dovetailed into the general plan for social security and, of
course, we could make no progress until the Government's decision on the social
security plan was known. Now that the White Papers have been published, it is
clear that some of the purpose of the scheme will be accomplished by the Govern-
ment plan itself. Seamen will share the general advantages which all citizens
have under the social 'security plan. The provision of holidays with pay has, I
hope, been settled by a separate agreement with the National Maritime Board ....
The essential purpose-that of providing the "established" officer and seaman
with a permanent job-has yet to be accomplished. Hon. Members will see that
it must be fitted into the general social security plan and that it would be difficult
to give to one industry, even the Merchant Navy, concessions which others had
asked for and had been refused. We are already in touch with the Board on the
subject. My Noble Friend has seen them, and he hopes that a workable and
satisfactory system may be evolved.
Ships and Shipping
Temporary International Control
I make no apology for having said so much about the work we have done on
matters connected with the Seamen's Charter, but we cannot repay our debt to
the Merchant Navy by ensuring good conditions unless we also ensure that they
have ships to sail. What have the Government done, and what do they propose in
order to fulfil the pledges given that this country shall continue to serve the world
with a large and efficient Mercantile Marine? How do they intend to avert the
disasters which befell the Merchant Navy after the last world war? The House will
recall that a few weeks ago we laid a White Paper which contained an inter-
national agreement on the principles by which a continued control of merchant
shipping can be carried on during the transition period from war to peace. The
making of that agreement is a very considerable and significant achievement. It
provides that the present control of Allied shipping shall be absorbed into a new
international control; that it shall continue through the transition period, that is
to say, until six months after the end of hostilities with Germany or Japan, which-
ever is the later; and that, during this period, the shipping of every signatory
country shall be used as a common pool to fulfil the common tasks of defeating
the aggressors and of carrying out the tasks of reconstruction. The agreement
sets up an international organization, the United Maritime Authority, to operate
the shipping and to supervise the general working of the control. Some of the
nations which have signed will have too little shipping. Others will have more than
they need for themselves. It is plain that there might have been a serious clash of
interests, and if any nation had broken away, it might have hoped in a period of
shortage, to earn fantastic rates. Yet these nations have all agreed to stick together
till the job is done. They have agreed that, if there should be a surplus of shipping
not required for essential jobs, ships should only be released f6r free commercial
trading on a mutually acceptable basis which is fair to all. I think that that fully
meets the preoccupation of my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkdale (Sir R.
Rankin). No one will get a flying start.
In'making this arrangement, the maritime nations have subordinated their
short-term, national, conflicting, sectional interests to the general, broad, inter-
national interests which they all share. I believe it will be a great advantage to the
world, and certainly it will be an advantage to Great Britain and to our Merchant
Fleet. Since the agreement was made two months ago the Planning Committee for
which it provided has been set up. The institutions have been organized, and the
first meeting of the Executive Board will be held in Washington in a few weeks'
time. Eight of our Allies signed it [the agreement) in the first instance, and
others, of course, may join. ....
One of the advantages of this control is that it will give us here a longer time
to recover from the losses and wear and tear of war. We have lost many ships;
many others are obsolescent and some were obsolescent when the war began; and
these must be replaced. My Noble Friend has said that our Merchant Navy must
be at least as large as it was before the war, and so much larger as British enter-
prise and efficiency can make it. How can that be done? Many of my hon. Friends,
with this in mind, have raised the question of surplus tonnage which the United
States will have when the war is over. My hon. Friend the Member for Seaham
will believe me when I say that the point has not escaped my Noble Friend's
He has been giving it and all other relevant questions his personal consideration.
He spoke grave words about it not long ago in another place, and he will con-
sider what my hon. Friend has said today. . .
No hon. Member will expect me to say today how this problem will finally
be solved. No one in the world can say how it will be finally solved, but I will
British Speeches of the Day
say this. We have solved during the war, by consultation with the United States,
very difficult problems of conflicting interests, and I have the fullest confidence
that we shall solve by consultation whatever shipping questions there may be
between us when the war is won. On our side we are resolved to understand the
American point of view. I am certain that they are resolved to understand ours,
and that we shall go into our peacetime co-operation without a sense of grievance
on either side ....
Prospect Not Too Gloomy
Unfortunately, I am prevented by security considerations from giving figures
of tonnage in the Merchant Navy now, or about the tonnage which we shall
have when we settle down to normal peacetime conditions. I can only assure
my hon. Friends in general in very emphatic terms that our position as com-
pared with 1939 will be much less unfavorable than they have feared. We shall
have some ships to trade with when the war is over. Similarly, I cannot accept
what has been said by one or two of my hon. Friends about financing the replace-
ment ships that must be built. Some pessimistic and extravagant things have been
said. I can assure the House that they would not be endorsed by responsible leaders
of the shipping industry. The general policy which the Government have followed
on capital remuneration and insurance values has justified itself a thousandfold.
There are problems which are not yet resolved, which cannot in the nature of the
case be.resolved, at the present time.
Broadly, the situation is not so bad. The prospect for replacement of post-war
shipping is not too gloomy considering the experience we have been through. I am
fortified in that view by the articles of a shipowner whose company's experience,
of course, is not typical of the whole industry, but for whom everyone who
knows him has a high regard. I refer to Mr. J. R. Hobhouse, who said that very
large funds have accrued to the shipping companies as payments for lost ships
under the War Risks Scheme, arid that he thinks a good start can be made if the
cost of shipbuilding does not rocket. I recall another piece of evidence, a special
report by a correspondent of The Times, who made inquiries on the Tyne.
He came back and said that the shipbuilders on the Tyne were quietly con-
fident about the future. It is, in Mr. Hobhouse's opinion, with ships of the passen-
ger-cargo and cargo-liner type that there are the greatest proportional defici-
encies. . .
It is therefore important that the Government have taken other measures, and
some of them were mentioned by the First Lord this afternoon, to help in their
replacement. Shipowners of that class can certainly be helped by the improved
efficiency of our shipyards, of which the First Lord spoke. The Government have
decided, as my Noble Friend announced, to relax the conditions on which licenses
to build new vessels can be granted. Licenses can now be given for smaller ocean
tramps, for intermediate cargo liners, for passenger liners and other vessels which
will serve essential war needs, but which will be particularly useful to us when
The Government have decided to set up a Shipbuilding Committee, which my
right hon. Friend announced and which has had, I think, a very good reception
from the House. They have helped to set up the Shipbuilding Research Council
which, of course, will have a Government grant. The field for this work is literally
immense and its results can hardly fail, even in the early future, to improve the
technical perfection and the working efficiency of our ships. Another Government
decision is the Ghancellor's concession of 30 per cent depreciation. Within its
limits that must materially assist the shipowners concerned. There is one other
piece of Government wartime action of a very different kind. I hope the House
Ships and Shipping 33
will not think I am frivolous in mentioning it. It relates to what the Minister of
Food calls disinfestation. It is not commonly understood that rats destroy food
and other things which have to be imported to the value of 50,000,000 a year.
If we could save it, that would be a major item in our international balance of
payments. Also, insect pests add a very great deal to the total . .
During the war the Ministry of Food have proved that the loss from insect
pests can be virtually cut out, and that prolonged campaign might well exterminate
the rat completely. The Ministry has shown that by a single, inexpensive process
a ship can be freed from rats, from insects in the holds, from the so-called social
insect pests in the crews' accommodation-the cockroach and the homely household
bug. The Government are considering how the work done by the Ministries of
Food and Agriculture can best be carried on in times of peace. My Ministry are
considering how ships can be made rat proof in construction, as we believe they
can. We believe that "Clean Ships for Clean Cargoes" would be a gilt-edged
asset for the Merchant Navy and it might be a magnet to foreign traders and
British importers with goods to move across the seas.
Wants International Agreements on Fair Conditions
There is one other point on which Government policy is very firm and very
clear. The United Maritime Authority of which I spoke has a limited mandate.
Its institutions have been created for a specific time. The Government do not
intend that when that mandate has expired that shall be the end of all international
co-operation in maritime affairs. They are resolved to work for general agree-
ments on fair conditions in international shipping trade. They want to cut out
the practices which sullied and distorted shipping before the war. It is too early
to start negotiations now and I cannot go into detail, but the Government are
confident that, with our Allies, they will, in due course, succeed in making an
agreement. We are confident that there are sanctions by' which such agreements
can be enforced.
The Government have given the strongest pledges about the future of shipping
and shipbuilding. Those pledges have recently been renewed by my Noble Friend
and by the First Lord this afternoon. As I have shown, the Government are work-
ing hard and are taking many measures to ensure that their pledges shall be ful-
filled, whether it be about the conditions of officers and men or the replacement
of ships that have gone down; they have taken, and are taking, practical and vigor-
ous action in many fields. Of course, in every discussion on shipping the funda-
mental question is always: Will there be an adequate volume of international trade?
Efficiency is not enough. There must be cargoes. Many hon. Members have put
this afternoon the point that was put with great force by a leading shipowner.
"It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the size of the British Mercan-
tile Marine must ultimately depend upon the volume of international trade."
I shall not greatly comfort my hon. Friends with a didactical declaration that there
will be trade to carry, but I think, in fact, there will. My Noble Friend is no
mean judge of these affairs. He said recently that more passengers than we had
ever seen before will want, in the future, to travel by sea and he expressed a con-
siderable confidence in the future of trade for cargo vessels.
Every hon. Member will agree that the promotion and extension of interna-
tional trade depends upon the fundamental general policy which the civilized
Governments of the world pursue. It far surpasses the competence of my Ministry
or even of that over which the First Lord so ably presides, but perhaps I may say
that the Chamber of Shipping, at its annual general meeting this year adopted a
British Speeches of the Day
resolution welcoming the action taken by His Majesty's Government to further the
principles of the Atlantic Charter and declaring that those principles were indis-
pensable to the happiness and the prosperity 6f the world. Of course, that is
true. If the principles of the Atlantic Charter are applied we shall get rid of
slumps and wars, which have been an unmitigated disaster to British shipping in
the last 30 years.
In applying those principles we shall always be face to face in a thousand
different fields with the issue which the United Maritime Conference had to face:
Shall we pursue our narrow, short-term, sectional, national interests, which may
Sbe in conflict with the interests of other nations, or shall we pursue instead the long-
term, overriding, common, international interests which all nations share and which
they must promote by common action? The answer of our Government is clearly
that the Government are resolved to do everything in their power to ensure that
in these great matters the long-term common interest shall prevail.. On whether
they succeed, the future not only of British shipping but of western civilization
[House of Commons Debates]
Minister for Civil Aviation
At Civil Aviation Conference, Chicago, November 2, 1944
Once again, we are indebted to the United States for calling the nations of the
world in conference in order that in the important field of civil aviation there may
be international co-operation and ordered progress. The fact that so many countries
are here today in response to your invitation shows the importance they attach to
such co-operation. They know the power of the air. In these years of war, look-
ing at the vast destruction which Air Forces have wrought and the ever-increasing
range and potentiality of aircraft, it is natural that many should be more impressed
by the menace of the air than by its power for good. They feel, and indeed they
feel rightly, that the whole future of security is bound up with the air. And we
all realize that without security there can be no freedom; and security mus: rest
on unity of purpose, and co-operation both in purpose and in action. I think that
is one great reason why the nations have responded to your invitation so readily
and to your call for co-operation with such anxious hope.
I am a profound believer in the future of civil aviation and what, rightly
handled, it can do for the peace of the world and the linking of its peoples.
Suspicion, like ignorance, can only be broken down by understanding and the
Best way to understand one another is to know one another. However far apart
we are-air travel makes that possible.
As Secretary of State for Air, I had some part in building up an' Air Force for
war,*the R.A.F. which won the Battle of Britain and thereby at the most critical
moment saved the freedom of the world.
The. Common Objective
I am happy that I have the opportunity now to help in building the aviation
I am often told that co-operation in civil aviation presents many difficulties.
Someone (I think it was an American) once said, "What is difficult can be done
The Chicago Aviation Conference
today; what is impossible can be done tomorrow." And I believe we have, broad
and large, a common objective. We want the world to have in peace the full
benefit 'f air travel. We want to satisfy legitimate national aspirations and at
the same time to reconcile these aspirations with international co-operation.
We want to encourage enterprise and initiative and the development and appli-
cation of all that science, design and craftsmanship and industry can give us. But
we want to avoid disorderly competition with the waste of effort and money and
loss of goodwill which such competition involves.
We want to discourage and, when possible, to end subsidies, open or concealed.
Pooling of Technical Knowledge
We want to pool all our knowledge oMnmany technical matters like meteorology,
radio facilities, safety regulations, airfield construction and the like. Technical
indeed, but vital to the safety, efficiency, economy and success of civil aviation. We
want to agree the best and most practical and apply the results by international
agreement. And as these things are not static, to make them continuously the study
of the experts of all nations working together, and to have an international body
always in existence under whose aegis they will work and under whose authority the
agreed results of their work will be applied.
Much good work has been done on these lines in the past. The Conventions
of Paris and Havana are its landmarks: Conventions serving the same purpose
and in many respects similar, and which should certainly be brought together in a
single accord. But vast strides have been made, and the achievements of war must
be harnessed to the service of peace.
Excellent work is in progress between scientists and experts of the United
States and the British Commonwealth on these lines. We want all to join.
The White Paper
Here we are all together. It is a great opportunity. I am sure we can estab-
lish a framework within which this work can go forward on an international basis.
We should be able to achieve a Convention which would cover these many essential
matters, and provide for their progressive improvement as time goes on. That
in itself is a formidable task, but a great work tremendously worth while. Indeed
the air services of the future must have it.
Now I turn again to the prerequisites, as I see them, of a satisfactory and har-
monious system of air services. Each country will wish to be responsible for the
air services within its own borders. We are concerned more directly with those
which will span and serve the world.
After much thought and much consultation, His Majesty's Government in the
United Kingdom have outlined, in a short White Paper*, the general principles
and system, which they believe will effectively and fairly combine national aspira-
tions with international co-operation. They submit this to the Conference as their
objective contribution. They would hope it may be the basis of international
A Fair Share for All
Every nation, which aspires to be in the air, will wish to have, and indeed
insist on having, in addition to its own internal traffic, a fair share of its external
air traffic as well.
Cmd. 6561, International Air Transport, available gratis from British Information
Services, New York.
British Speeches of the Day
That is a natural and legitimate desire. And I am sure that no system which
did not recognize and meet that position would be willingly accepted, or could
It is not just a matter of prestige. It is bound up in large measure with
security. It is a deep-rooted national sentiment. Moreover there are airfields,
meteorological services, radio, landing facilities, etc., to be provided. Countries
will naturally insist that they shall share in the air services for which they are
providing these costly facilities.
The United Kingdom Government not only recognizes the strength and reason-
ableness of these sentiments; it shares them to the full. In entering into any
Convention or agreement we shall find that the countries who are or intend to be
interested in international air services -will insist on a fair share in the services
and traffic. There is indeed nothing new in this. Before the war when the
United States and the United Kingdom were planning the transatlan-ic service
we agreed to run the services on a fifty-fifty basis.
We have therefore tried to work out a plan which would provide thle services
needed, serve the interests of the traveling public, and be fair as between one
country and another.
Frequencies, Quotas, Rates
First there is the question of frequencies, i.e., how many services should we
have on a particular route. It is suggested that the number of services should be
fixed in relation to the traffic offering-a broad equilibrium. I think this is a
good formula, provided we do not apply it too rigidly. We must base ourselves
not solely on the traffic we are pretty sure of. We must have a liberal margin.
Services attract traffic. We want to avoid wasteful competition on the one hand,
but to give ample facilities on the other. We must be elastic. If the general
principle is accepted, practical traffic men and sensible Governments (and I am
sure we shall have both) will agree on its application.
Then there is the share each country should have in the services to be operated,
that is.to say its national quota. Countries will insist on this as a necessary counter-
part of frequencies. Any arrangement should be. both fair and practical. We
have suggested a basic distribution in proportion to the traffic (passenger, mail and
freight), embarked in the respective countries. This seems to us both fair and
easy to apply.
Then there is the question of rates. This is not so simple; but it is very impor-
tant if we are to avoid waste and get rid of subsidies. We have suggested that
minimum rates should be settled in relation to standards of speed and accom-
Gradual Elimination of Subsidies
I would add this. These principles, upon which I am sure many countries will
insist, will, I hope, if they are adopted, be applied liberally and progressively.
While recognizing national interests we want to encourage enterprise and efficiency
which are indeed a national as well as an international interest. And we want
therefore to encourage the,efficient and to stimulate the less efficient. I am con-
vinced that only by common action on some such lines as I have indicated can
we reduce and gradually eliminate subsidies, thereby putting civil aviation on an
economic footing and, incidentally, relieving the taxpayer. Unrestricted compe-
tition is their most fruitful soil.
I am sure we all want to face these issues frankly. And I think the Conference
will agree that I serve all our interests best by stating the issues as we can see them
The Chicago Aviation Conference
clearly and fairly and by making the most constructive proposals I can to our
Conference to Decide Principles
We cannot draft round this table a complete Convention covering the wide
range of subjects which have been opened up. Time and expert draughtsmen will
be needed for that. But we can decide the principles and set up a representative
body to follow up our work and give them their directions. I do not think that,
once we have taken decisions on important questions of principle, the drafting
should take too long. So much good work already stands to our credit on the
technical side. So much thought and consultation have been given to other aspects
of civil aviation.
But when a Convention has been drafted it has to be agreed by the Govern-
ments of all the countries, and, more important still, it has to be ratified. The
process of ratification depends upon the constitution of each country. In some
countries the Government can adhere by executive action. In others, legislation
or Parliamentary approval is required.
Interim Action Before Ratification
We must therefore envisage and plan the course of action to be followed before
an agreed Convention comes into force. I think it would be generally accepted
that such interim action should be consistent with the Convention. There will
have to be temporary arrangements pending ratification: bilateral agreements to
which we have been accustomed in the past. But in the future it would follow
logically and reasonably that such interim agreements should be made in accord
with the principles which will be embodied in the Convention. This should
greatly simplify these interim negotiations because, if countries have agreed on the
terms to be embodied in a Convention, those terms would naturally find their
place in the temporary agreements. If we can act in this way in advance of its
formal ratification, the Convention will begin to live in practice and valuable
experience will be gained. It will be useful if the interim international authority
which I hope we shall set up records all these temporary agreements and follows
Military Requirements Still Come First
In connection with interim arrangements there is one other very important
consideration we must have in mind. The war still rages across the continent of
Europe and with increasing intensity in the Far East. Great Britain is still the
base of vast offensive air operations by day and night. Everything in these regions
must subserve the supreme object of victory and conform to military requirements.
And even after the fighting is over, there will be a considerable period during
which the Allied Military Authorities will remain charged with wide and heavy
responsibilities. Over a large part of the world, affecting many important air
routes, any arrangements which are made during the interim period will have to
be made in close consultation with the Allied Military Authorities.
I have tried to cover the wide and varied field of our work as briefly as pos-
sible and in a practical and constructive way. We are deeply grateful to the United
States Government for bringing us together. We shall, I know, work with a real
will to secure international co-operation. I feel. confident that we can do much
and lay sure foundations: foundations of security, co-operatidn and goodwill, upon
which the great edifice of civil aviation will rise tier by tier in the years to come.
British Speeches of the Day
RT. HON. R. A. BUTLER
Minister of Education
House of Commons, November 3, 1944
I feel honored to take part in this important Debate, and my particular task
today will be to cover not only the scheme of family allowances, but various
aspects of the plan as it affects the family. I have a Departmental interest, mainly
in the children's sector of the front. This great scheme, which the House began
to debate yesterday, is not, as sdme imagine, an entirely new plan, Iut a logical
development of what is peculiarly a British social experiment and it carries on, to
use the words of the Royal Commission on National Health Insurance,
"the general provisions of a system of insurance which has been evolved by
the people themselves in their voluntary and unprompted efforts to meet their
Under this National Government we have the opportunity to consider the many
complex issues involved, with the experience that all parties can bring to bear on
this important question, and I would like to say that although I am speaking at
this moment for the Government there are many of my colleagues in the Govern-
ment, members of all parties, who have devoted their life's work to this subject,
and from whose experience I, personally, have derived a great deal of benefit. A
century ago we were involved in a political Reform Bill which emerged eventually
out of the great struggles of that time. Today we are studying, and, indeed, pass-
ing, Measures which involve a great new experiment in social democracy, and
which will be some recompense for the effort and strain of war.
The hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. Graham White) said yesterday
that he feared we were traveling hopefully, but perhaps not arriving. I would
say that we seem to be arriving at so many destinations that we are al vays busy
and are always on the job. I think he should reflect on the immense effort and
strain which this country has put forward and undertaken during these years of
war, and on the immense success which has attended our efforts. I believe that
no other country in the world has been able to introduce such a vast program of
social reform as we have, and, at the same time, defeat one of the greatest tyrants
that has ever faced us in our history. I believe the words used by my hon. and
gallant Friend the Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) yesterday were most
appropriate, when he said that he was not so anxious about whether the Govern-
ment intended to carry out their plans as about the real, practical difficulty in the
way of finding materials and labor, and the necessary resources to carry them all
out. Indeed, I am finding that on my own sector of the front. I intend to push
ahead with all determination and, equally, the Government are determined to
push ahead this great plan, with all its consequences.
The Financial Facts of Life
My right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) said yes.
terday that he attached special importance to the health scheme. We have to
consider all these schemes together: the national health scheme, the social insur-
ance plan, the Debates we shall have ofi workmen's compensation, and many other
aspects of the Government's program of social reform. The success of all these
will depend on the thrifty and hardworking habits of our people. Rather than
encourage indolence, as was suggested yesterday, or the Santa Claus mentality,
they should provide a broader and more solid basis for our national endeavor
in the future. It seems that all these great plans for social reforms have four
The Social Insurance Proposals 39
features in common. First, that the demand comes largely from the people them-
selves; second, that all have expressed a desire for a more closely knit society in
which we should share together the risks and opportunities of life; third, that they
seem to concentrate more upon the younger generation and upon the children
especially, as I shall hope to show; fourth, that not only in the interests of Parlia-
ment and of the Government but also in the interests of the workers themselves
we must push ahead with our policies for full employment, without which none of
these plans can succeed.
These schemes are not decided by Parliament and paid for out of> some sort
of privy purse of our own. I have heard it said by some critics of this plan, "Why
should not the State's contribution be bigger? It can well afford to pay more."
That betrays an elementary ignorance of the financial facts of life, which are sum-
marized in the expression that the contributor and taxpayer are exactly the same
person. We find, under this scheme that the contributor's share alone is increasing,
in respect of workers, by some 168,000,000, and in respect of employers, by
115,000,000, whereas the taxpayer has to pay some 74,000,000 more. The hon.
Member for St. Albans (Mr. J. Grimston), in his attractive maiden speech yes-
terday, referred to the bottomless purse. He did us a service by drawing attention
to the fact that somebody has to pay for these schemes, and that they will be felt
throughout the length and breadth of the land. Although contributions are higher,
there is no doubt that the benefits in the scheme, taken as a whole, will be much
more substantial, and more uniform and fairer, than ever before. But I think
they will weigh heavily in some districts, and particularly the agricultural districts,
which have not been mentioned much so far in the Debate. I would like to make
this one reference to the agricultural and rural districts. I believe that agriculture
will benefit greatly by the assured market that the scheme will provide for many
years to come by way of the production of milk and fresh vegetables, and many
other excellent foodstuffs, which will be required for the children's meals in our
Sick, Blind, Young, Old
My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Summers) referred yes-
terday to the difficulties of the small man working on his own, and the difficulties
of those in Class II. Attention was drawn to the fact that a man gainfully em-
ployed and working on his own, would pay a contribution of 4s. 2d. instead of the
lower contribution paid by the worker who is employed; that he would get lower
benefits and would have to .wait for his sickness benefit. That is true, but may I
remind the House that this man is entering a scheme, and is paying contributions
which will take the place of the combined workers and employers contribution of
6s. lid.? That is the reason why he has to pay a little more, although his com-
pensation may not be quite so much as might have been expected. The reason for
the delay in paying for sickness can be summed up like this: a worker, when sick,
loses his job or is stood off. It 'is often the case that a small man, gainfully occu-
pied on his own, can let his job tick over, so to speak, and not have to give it up
altogether. I refer especially to the small shopkeeper who, although he may be sick,
often finds that his job continues if he can keep his shop open. Similarly, there is
the growing difficulty with the man in Class II in connection with the ascertain-
ment of sickness, and that is one reason why a period of delay has been introduced
in the payment of sickness benefit for that type of man.
The hon. Member for South Tottenham (19r. Messer), whose contributions
are always listened to with such care in this House, and my hon. and gallant Friend
the Member for Lonsdale raised a point about blind people. The provisions for
the blind are set out in paragraphs 143-6 of the White Paper. In short, the posi-
British Speeches of the Day
tion is that the ordinary sickness and invalidity benefit and pensions under the
insurance scheme are provided for those who are wholly incapacitated. For the
partially incapacitated there is provision for sheltered employment at subsidized
wages. For those who find the pensions provisions not enough there is national
assistance. Our difficulty in singling out the blind for hardship pensions is that
we could not do that without making a similar provision for other handicapped
persons, and there is difficulty in defining "other handicapped persons" and dif-
ferentiating between them and the blind. The hon. Member said work for the blind
is therapeutic. I reply that normalcy for the blind is equally therapeutic. When hon.
Members study the provisions made for them they will realize that we are doing
our best for the blind on the ground that normalcy is perhaps the kindest way of
treatment for them that we can evolve.
Now I come to the particular effect of the plan upon the younger generation.
For the young the Government have a positive policy which includes all the other
plans that I have mentioned: the improved services under the Education Act, the
provision for free secondary education, a new range of educational facilities and, in
particular, the extension of the school medical service up to 18. All these will cost
ultimately some 80,000,000. I will not say more about the Education Act or the
House may think they have come here on the wrong night. There are also additional
benefits under "the health plan and, in particular, the benefits to which I shall
turn my attention under this great insurance plan.
Some say it was wrong for the Government to improve the position of the old
age pension rates included in the report. My short answer to that is that, if the
Government had not revised these rates, there are indications that pensioners
would have gone to national assistance to a greater extent than they will in the
special circumstances, in which it will still be open to them to do. If there is
any doubt that that is the case, I would remind hon. Members that at the time
of the Supplementary Pensions Bill in 1940 it was anticipated that some 400,000
pensioners would apply for assistance. Actually the number who finally applied-
not all the applications were granted; one in six failed-was no fewer than
1,500,000. I have said that these new scales do not prevent pensioners from still
applying but, had the Government not improved the scales, there would have
been a greater need for pensioners to, turn to assistance and the Exchequer would
have had to pay just the same.
There is one exception, and that is the scheme for family allowances, which
had to be financed by direct Exchequer provision. I should like to describe how
our minds worked in a mysterious way to reach the plan that we finally decided
upon and set out in the White Paper. In examining this matter we had two main
difficulties. First, there is the uncertainty about the exact amount of the help which
would go to the child-that is a very important point-and secondly, the need
for using public money to thewbest possible advantage. The right hon. Gentleman
the Member for Wakefield yesterday said that he attached far more importance to
services than to money. That is not exactly the position of the Government, because
they are putting their money on what I describe as combined operations, a system
partly of cash allowances and a system partly consisting of the provision of free
meals and milk in schools. When we came to examine the matter we thought
that was the best way of achieving the two objectives that I have outlined. But
naturally it is the anxiety of the Government that this country should guarantee
to every child the best possible basis of physical health, and I must warn the
House that it is very difficult exactly to calculate or to guarantee the nature of
the benefits which the child receives. Therefore the Government plan is based
The Social Insurance Proposals
*on the belief that we are introducing in this system of help in kind a great new
social reform which will have very desirable results in improving the children's
health, and at the same time we are accepting the view that family allowances in
themselves are a very fine measure of social advance. We are spending some
57,000,000 of public money on cash allowances excluding the first child, whether
the father is working or unemployed, and 60,000,000 on free meals and milk
If I may consider cash allowances and meals at school separately, I will define
the details rather more closely. The system of family allowances is intended to
help the general economy of the family and is not intended to be based on any
standard of subsistence. The family is expected to maintain the first child. The
hon. Member for Dartford (Mrs. Adamson) yesterday asked why we did not
include the first child. The answer is that the family should continue to have re-
sponsibilities of its own, especially in respect of the first child, but there is a more
mundane reason, and that is that the addition of the first child at a cost of 5s.
would cost some 73,000,000. That would make a total of 130,000,000 for cash
allowances. The real argument for family allowances, which other countries have
found, is that they help a family to take the strain where the strain is most felt,
and that is where the number of children creates an insufficiency injurious to health
and where all meaning is taken away from the words "equality of opportunity."
I have been asked by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies)
and others whether the introduction of family allowances will result in the raising
of the birth rate. My answer would be that this is not the sole reason why the
Government have introduced family allowances. We naturally hope that they
will result in an increase in the birth rate and it will certainly make things easier
for families. But what makes the birth rate rise is confidence. I believe that greater
confidence will be given to our families by the introduction of this plan as a whole
and not only by the sections dealing with family allowances. I am somewhat en-
couraged in the belief that the introduction of family allowances will raise the
birth rate by the experience of those with whom I have been in daily contact
recently who have a close knowledge of our pensions and insurance practice. They
tell me that on the introduction of the 5s. pension for old age, there was put about
through the country the view of a certain philanthropic society, which warned the
country that there was a real danger in introducing the 5s. pension, because it would
probably result in a rise in the birth rate. If such a modest measure of social reform
leads to that sort of recklessness, we may be certain that this scheme will have the
desired result. The general object of the scheme of family allowances is that we
must maintain a healthy, sane and independent family life, but it is no part of
the function of the State to order or to regulate it.
A Contentious Question
May I now mention some details about the scheme and show how it fits in with
the medical plan and so forth. If a child enters hospital, for example, though there
will be no charge on the parents under the provisions of the school medical service,
the parents will continue to receive the family allowance. Similarly, the family
allowance will normally be paid when a child is in an institution, unless, for
example, the local authority takes over parental responsibility for the child. The
orphan's allowance has been fixed at 12s. for all children, including the first. The
reason for the difference between the orphan's allowance and the family allowance
is obvious. The children with parents will have somebody to look after them and
the children without parents need extra help. I believe that this extra allowance
for.orphans will mean that it is more likely that a potential guardian will feel he
may take charge of an orphan and look after it for the rest of its life.
British Speeches of the Day
The hon. Member for East Islington (Mrs. Cazalet Keir) and the hon. Member
for Aylesbury (Sir S. Reed) raised the highly contentious question whether the
payment should be made to the father or the mother. I have no doubt that other
hon. Members will desire to raise this matter. I approached this question with
great sympathy for the motives of those who believe that the payment should be
made to the mother. In fact, I am sometimes in doubt in conversations in the home
whether my own views are right. The Government scheme is set out in the para-
graph in the White Paper which deals with this matter, and the Government's
decision is that the payment should be made to either the father or the mother.
I would like to explain how it will be carried out in practice. Both names will be
inserted in the allowance order book. The Post Office clerk will be instructed to
pay each weekly order to John or Mary Smith, so that either can cash the order.
I find that when this matter is discussed sides are taken violently and that most
women favor the mother being paid, and most men favor the father being paid.
The Government in this difficult situation have decided to adopt the wisdom of
Solomon and say that the family itself shall decide ....
The way it starts is that the father makes an application for an order book, and,
once it is granted, it is made out so that the allowances can be paid to either the
father or the mother. Therefore, it is started by the father. I would like the
House to realize the difficulty of leaving out the father altogether. It would be
wrong to leave out the father, because, after all, he is the first, breadwinner of
the house and the man upon whom the children ultimately depend for a large
proportion of their maintenance.
Allowances in Kind
Leaving that contentious question on the basis that the family must decide, and
realizing that this is the sort of matter which will be gone into in great detail
when the time for legislation comes, I would like to consider the question of
assistance in kind. That question has been before the country for some time. The
provision of meals and milk has been successfully established hitherto on quite
a large scale, but the Government view is that this policy must now be carried to its
logical conclusion. Despite the difficulties of the war, the number of children taking
their midday meal at school has risen in the last three years from 30(,000 to
1,600,000. This has entailed a great deal of effort in building and equippirg many
kitchens, individual and central. In fact, little short of 14,000 canteens have been
provided to serve some 19,000 out of 28,000 schools. Milk has, despite the dif-
ficulties of the war, been provided in 27,000 out of 28,000 schools. Therefore,
there are only 1,000 schools left out from the milk supply.
I must be frank with the House and say that there is a very long way yet to
go before all children get their meals at school, or before the demands of parents
are satisfied. The Government have, therefore, been reviewing the question, and
in view of the urgency of extending this provision, they have decided, when the
immediate urgency for house repairing in London is finished-and I insert that
on purpose-to give school meals an equal priority in building labor with the
urgent housing needs of the country. That provision of building labor, which
I have been discussing with the Minister of Labour, will enable us to press ahead
very fast with our plans. We have, so far, had to do with many improvisations. i
For example, meals are carried in trays into classrooms and are served in crowded
halls. I should like to express my gratitude to the teachers, who have had a great
strain in fulfilling their duties during wartime in carrying out the meal policy.
Hitherto, dining rooms have only been sanctioned exceptionally. The new priority
will enable me to authorize the provision of dining rooms where required. Authori-
ties will welcome this, and they will be able to plan school meal arrangements on.
The Social Insurance Proposals
much more satisfactory lines. I shall ask authorities to forward me their schemes
without delay, so that there will be no holdup directly the necessary labor is
I cannot give an exact date for achieving our target. I cannot guarantee-and
this is important-that every child will be covered by the scheme, because, to
use the words of the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Sir W. Smithers), there is no
doubt that you can take a horse to the water, but you cannot force it to drink.
This is a provision which we shall place at the disposal of the children and of
which we believe the great majority of children will take advantage. With the
continued help of authorities and teachers, I believe that we shall be able to make
a substantial increase in the provision of meals by the time family allowances are
introduced. I should like to make it clear that, in any case, school milk can be made
free at the same time as cash allowances are introduced.
I would like to make a further observation in answer to the hon. Member for
East Islington, who asked that this should be a great educational and social reform.
The standard of school meals has been raised to a degree unbelievable even in
peacetime. This is the foundation of a real nutritional policy. School meals on
this scale are something new in our social system. Under this reform, children will
be provided with a fair physical start. All will be able to profit better by the freer
and better educational facilities, which are offered in another way. I believe the day
school will be able to develop some of that corporate life, which has hitherto been
the pride of boarding establishments. In future the school day will not be inter-
rupted by those going home for the midday meal. There will be none sitting in
corners, eating their damp and crumpled sandwiches. No longer will some pay
pennies, while others do not. I hope that the canteen arrangements will make
school life more lively and children most robust. Our national food policy in war
has taught us that the Food Ministry is a great leveller. I hope that the school meals
will give our children a bulging start.
This is not the whole of our help to children. Certain hon. Members have
referred to the need for help for the under-fives, and that has been regarded
hitherto as a gap in the Government's policy. I do not believe we should properly
cover the whole of our child population unless the under-fives were included. For
them, we shall continue for the time being the national milk scheme and that
provision of welfare foods-orange juice, cod liver oil, and so forth-which has
been a very important part of our wartime plan. On this, the Exchequer expendi-
ture has been of the order of 16,500,000 for the milk alone. This scheme has
been adjusted to wartime conditions. Since the circumstances about the supply of
milk and so on may change after the war, the Government cannot pledge them-
selves at this date to continue the scheme in exactly the same form as it is now.
We ask, therefore, for further time to consider how best to ensure that the needs
of the under-fives and expectant and nursing mothers should be met, when liquid
milk is freely available. The Government attach the utmost importance to schemes
like this as part of our ultimate provision in kind which will, ultimately, cover the
whole child population. I do not think that the benefit of the national milk scheme
can be overemphasized. This leads me, like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to
the place in the Budget where we make an analysis of costs. ....
We cannot guarantee that every child will get an absolutely exact amount of the
benefits in kind, but we can guarantee that the children will gain enormously from
this great social reform. Consider the figures. We shall pay some 57,000,000 for
the cash allowances, some 60,000,000 for the school meals scheme-20,000,000
for overheads and 40,000,000 for the actual provision of food. We have spent
some 16,000,000 hitherto, on the present administration of the under-fives scheme.
Anyone with a head for arithmetic will see that we are providing by our total sums
British Speeches of the Day
under this great scheme, something very substantial and considerable and not very
dissimilar from that which was proposed by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-
Tweed (Sir W. Beveridge).
Unification of Social Insurance
Now I come to another portion of my remarks, which I shall keep quite short,
and in which I want to deal with the administration of the scheme ,and the question
of the approved societies. The decision that the services of the approved societies
should not be used, was reached after that mature consideration promised by the
Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Debate on 16th February, 1943. He then feared
there was only one answer to the question. "Could the approved society system
be retained in the present form?" And his answer was in the negative. The
question is whether we would have been able to fit them in in any other way. We
have considered this matter from every angle, and the Government are convinced
that it is impossible, within the new unified scheme, to use societies administering
only the National Health Insurance part of the scheme.
This new plan involves many benefits besides the National Health portion of
the scheme. It is, in fact, unified; and what does that mean? It means that there
will be a single stamp on a single document, involving unified administration of
health, unemployment and pensions, and the schemes of death grant. They are
all to be the responsibility of a single Minister. It means the setting up of a register
of insured persons and the maintenance of records of contributions. Therefore, it
seems clear to us that the central machinery should operate in regard to all benefits,
and that one class, that is health, should not be handed over to another agency.
In fact, economy and efficiency point to the wisdom of administering all benefits
directly through agencies run from a central point. I hope that this fact will enable
us to collect that data which will enable a more up-to-date research into the inci-
dence and causes of illness to be made. I think that this country is badly behind
in that respect.
The first consideration is that independent agents are not appropriate for one
aspect of a unified scheme. I must remind hon. Members of the complexity of this
question. There are five main types of approved society, covering some 18,000,000
insured persons: big friendly societies with branches, friendly societies without
branches, industrial assurance and collecting societies, some few trade unions and
some employers' provident funds. All, excepting industrial assurance and collecting
societies, which specialize mostly on endowment and death benefits, do private work
as well as the State work. In fact, for luxuriousness and complexity, I would com-
pare the approved societies with one of our old English hedgerows, which has
grown up as a windbreak to temper the wind to the poor man. It holds out its
berries and leaves to attract the passer-by. It offers different degrees of shelter, ac-
cording to the place chosen and to the way of the wind; but the hedger who ap-
proaches it, be he never so wary, may be pricked by an unruly briar, or enmeshed
by some coiling creeper. Let us, therefore, all take great care in considering our
policy toward these institutions.
Hitherto, the argument has been that no agency dealing with one aspect of a
unified scheme, can fit into a scheme centralizing all aspects. This may well be
the strongest ground on which hon. Members can stand, since it is not necessarily
the case that one society is better than another. Perhaps we never should leave this
ground-if you are not going to use one society you should not use any. But the
argument has been raised that we should fit in the friendly societies which pay
private benefits from their own funds, not dissimilar from, but in general Itss than
the benefits under the State scheme. The difficulty here-I will point out these
difficulties quite shortly for hon. Members-is that the membership of such societies
comes to about one quarter or one-third of the insured population. We cannot
The Social Insurance Proposals 45
compel people to join those societies and, therefore, the Social Insurance Ministry
must cater for the great majority of the insured population. Moreover, member-
ship of such societies is very scattered. In Glasgow, in 1942, out of 396 societies,
97 had only one member. In Reading there are not less than 361 such societies.
In Dundee, out of 219 societies, 61 had one member only, and 54 had only from
two to nine members, and the position is probably the same in other towns.
Difficulties to be Overcome
The scattered nature of these societies and the interlocking nature of social
insurance make the use of a society catering for health alone very difficult. I will
give the House two or three small examples of administrative difficulty when sick-
ness benefit is claimed. It is necessary for the Ministry in the future to find the
contribution record of the claimant, and to get that from a central agency. If an-
other agency were operating it would lead to a great deal of delay and, I think, a
great deal of confusion. To certify the period of incapacity close co-ordination will
be necessary between the different agencies, which are better centralized in dealing
with these very difficult problems of deciding the existence of dependency, or
whether a wife is maintained by the husband, and so forth. Close co-ordination
would be impossible if a number of societies were administering sickness benefits
.alone. Similarly, in the case of a man entering hospital, when it is important to
know the date of his entering the hospital, if we do not centralize the administra-
tion we fear that there may be real difficulty in deciding upon the merits of cases
of that sort.
We have, naturally, considered carefully whether there will not be overlapping
if a sick visitor from the friendly society visits the same house as the sick visitor
from the Ministry of Social Insurance. In these cases there will be bound to be a
measure of overlapping. Therefore, the Government would rather deal with such
problems as the dual certificate-which is a real problem-for the sickness benefit
granted by the friendly society and the sickness benefit granted by the Ministry,
in a way which they will be ready to propose when the time comes, than have in the
main scheme the overlapping I have described. The real difficulty of the use of
the friendly societies is that we cannot use agents for one aspect of a unified scheme,
but what we can do is to give the utmost consideration in continuity of policy and
continuing the personal touch by the use of as many agents of the friendly societies
as we can manage. The matter will be considered by the Chancellor of the Ex-
chequer, who will also be dealing with the question of consideration for certain
officers whose livelihood is imperilled by the Government's scheme.
That leads me to the conclusion of my remarks, which have been centered
largely upon the question of family allowances and the use of the approved so-
cieties. I conclude in this sense. Our scheme must be simple and easily understood.
Otherwise we shall fall into the difficulty described by the Scottish Miners' Federa-
tion in their evidence referred to in the Majority Report of the Royal Commission,
when they said that they regarded the then position of insurance as
"the product of an evil genius entertainingly piling up an insoluable insurance puzzle."
The aim of this great plan is to co-ordinate and simply insurance rather than to
make its problems insoluble or complex. It is the work of many hands-of my
colleagues in the Government; of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir
W. Beveridge); of hon. Members opposite; and of the insured people themselves,
who have groped their way toward this plan. It is indeed fortunate that we have
so broad a measure of agreement from which to start that detailed scrutiny which
the range and character of the plan demand.
[House of Commons Debates]
British Speeches of the Day
RT. HON. SIR STAFFORD CRIPPS
Minister of Aircraft Production
Manchester, November 4, 1944
I fully appreciate that a great many people here would like me to tell them
in detail of the plans which the Government has worked out or is working out
for the reconversion of industry to a peacetime basis. But the time for this has
not yet arrived, though there are some general considerations which I should like
to put before you which may be of some assistance in the organizing of your
own plans for your own industries.
There are certain very general propositions which it is not necessary for me
to elaborate to you. For instance we should all agree that from the national point
of view it is essential that we should maintain and expand our engineering in-
dustry in this country. Not only our future basis for the so-called defense industry
demands such an expansion over pre-war standards, but our national economy
and the need for greater exports adds emphasis and point to that demand.
Uneven Expansion of Engineering Industry
Another general proposition that we can all agree is that the engineering in-
dustry has many divisions to which different considerations will apply. Let me
give you a simple illustration to show what I mean.
Although in the period between the wars the engineering and allied indus-
tries expanded considerably, yet this expansion was made up of a recession in
some sections arid of expansion in others. These are the figures:
1924 1930 1935
Whole Industry .................... 985,000 1,073,000 1,104,000
Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering . 142,000 133,000 82,000
Railway Carriage and Wagons ........ 32,000 26,000 23,000
Motor and Aircraft ................. 203,000 262,000 315,000
Electrical Engineering ................ 151,000 192,000 248,000
From these figures you will observe the fact that the. increase in the latter
two categories from 1924 to 1935 (209,000) was greater than the total increase
in the whole (119,000), which means that the rest of the industry in fact de-
clined by 90,000 employees.
The two groups where the expansion was greatest, motor cars and aircraft
and electrical engineering, were the newer sections of the industry and there were
obvious economic factors which accounted for their expansion.
It is therefore very difficult to speak of the industry as a whole; or to consider
its future without a particular enquiry into each branch of it.
Engineering Exports Must Increase
Another general proposition-indeed a vital need for the Nation-is that we
must do our utmost to increase the volume of our exports in the engineering field.
This is an absolute necessity if we are to maintain our post-war standard of living
in this country.
But in the engineering industry in particular exports have a particular con-
nection with the volunie of internal trade. Let me take an instance again to illus-
trate this fact. If we cannot obtain internally a live market for the most modern
The Engineering Industry After the War
and up-to-date cotton machinery, we shall have a much smaller chance of selling
it in the export market in competition with other countries like, for instance,
America, where there is a large home market.
This means that the policy of our domestic users is an essential factor in our
This is very noticeable in the machine-tool trade, where as against the general
purpose machine tool, the specialized machine tools have almost always come from
the countries with a large domestic user. Woodworking machinery from Sweden,
high precision machine tools from Switzerland, the home of the watch industry,
and so on.
So, when we are considering this problem of the expansion of our export
markets, we must look, too, to the conditions of our home market which are going
to make possible the exports in large volume.
On this subject of exports, it is worth bearing in mind that, broadly speaking,
the exports of the engineering and allied industries are more profitable to us as a
country than any others.
It is calculated that not more than about 10 per cent of their price on the
average represents imported raw materials, so that much the greater part of their
value is represented by the work and skill of our operatives and managements.
There is one further general proposition which has a great bearing upon this
question of exports.
During this war, as during the last war, the industrialization of what were
before the war agrarian or very lightly industrialized countries has gone forward
by leaps and bounds. In many of these countries, the simple forms of machinery
will be manufactured internally after the war and the general tendency will be
for the export markets to become more and more markets for the more highly
specialized and elaborate forms of machinery and machine tools.
It is in the light of such general propositions as these that we must consider
the future of our engineering and allied industries. I would-venture to draw from
these general considerations certain deductions as to the general direction in which
we must move if we are to attain the expanding industry we all desire.
Customers Must be Studied
First we must make up our minds that the era during which we were the
workshopp of the world" has completely passed away. We are now only one
of the workshops of the world and there is no longer any need for any customer
to buy their goods in Great Britain, there are many alternative markets. We cannot
therefore pursue the "take it or leave it" policy which used to mark a number
of our industries. We have to compete for our markets and we must be fully
conscious of the fact that we can only win those markets by meeting or even
anticipating the precise and particular needs of our customers both as regards
quality, design and price. It will not be good enough to rely upon our reputation
or our past traditional manufactures. We must be flexible and prepared always
to go ahead in the experimental field. In other words we must put a premium
But the second point is that the possibility of our cashing in upon such enter-
prise in the export market depends to no inconsiderable degree upon the response
of our home manufacturers. Unless they are prepared equally to use new devices
and new machinery, we shall not have the essential home market upon which to
British Speeches of the Day
base our export trade. Our domestic users of machinery in all our industries can
make the greatest contribution to our export trades by their willingness to scrap
out-of-date plant and substitute it with new and up-to-date machines.
Third comes the need for a much greater volume of technical and scientific
staff in our industries. I have in the last years had a great experience of the acute
shortage of such highly qualified staff. For instance, today the total design and
draughtsman staff in the whole of our aircraft industry iS little more than in two
of the large aircraft factories of America. And here I would like to emphasize
the fact that there is a great and permanent opening in the aircraft industry for
young men who have or who are prepared to acquire the necessary qualifications.
More Skilled Personnel
Whatever may be the true assessment of the future size of the aircraft industry
it is absolutely certain that it must be many times larger than before the war, and
not only much larger but it must have a much higher content of the skilled and
technical personnel. Any young man of vision who now comes into it cap be
fully assured of a secure and I believe an adventurous future.
But aircraft is only one example. If we are to keep ahead, to meet the demands
of competition and to cater more and more for the highly specialized and high
quality machinery that is likely to be demanded, then we must through the en-
gineering and allied industries do more to encourage and educate our young people.
The machine tool industry is one of the most important branches of the en-
gineering industry and it is all wrong that our own manufacturers should go, and
have to go to America, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden to get their specialized
machine tools, as they do today. We must build up a machine-tool industry which
can supply all that we need in this country-and so incidentally save foreign ex-
change-if and when we have achieved this we shall find a ready export market
as our competitors do today.
Education and Research
Side by side with this need for more and more highly qualified personnel
goes the need for more research both fundamental and applied. The complexity
of modern problems in the engineering industry does not allow of their solution
by the hand-to-mouth methods of the last century. All advance must be based
upon the application of fundamental research, which is the task of our universities
and research institutions, to the problems of manufacture. It is this applied research
and development which is the task of industry itself and which so far we have
failed to tackle in the complete and wholehearted way that is necessary.
In the past, far too many of our industrialists have been content to adopt
foreign inventions and foreign technical improvements on an agency or royalty
basis rather than take the trouble and bear the expense of their own research and
This may enable them to supply the home market, but it largely cuts them out
of the export trade.
In this regard perhaps I may make a short reference to the question of edu-
I believe it is essential wherever possible to combine practical experience with
theoretical education. The ideal I think is a really good apprenticeship scheme
which allows the apprentice-if he is fit for it-to acquire the highest technical
qualifications in the theoretical field up to university and even post-graduate
standard. It can thus be assured that the theoretician has a practical background
without which his value to industry is much less.
the Engineering Industry After the War
As some of you may have seen, the Government has just launched a scheme
for a post-graduate college in aeronautical engineering to which we hope we shall
draw a large proportion of people who have started life as apprentices in the aircraft
or other engineering firms.
Similarly such a course as that run by the -aeronautical department of Hull
University College, where practical work in the factory is combined with theoretical
instruction, is I believe of the greatest value to our aircraft industry.
The Legacy of the Past
Lastly, I come to the need for efficiency in our factories. We have suffered
undoubtedly from being the first in the field of industrialization. This has left
us a legacy of old-fashioned buildings, machinery and methods which it is difficult
to do away with. Yet we must do away with them if we are to succeed in our
progress and in a policy of full employment. We have the skill amongst our people
and that is our greatest asset today. But we need in addition cheap power, es-
pecially electrical, good factory buildings, up-to-date machinery, and perhaps above
all a good team spirit in our factories.
We are no longer dealing with an uneducated and uninstructed mass of labor
which can be treated like so many bodies or units of machinery.
If we are to have that co-operation which is essential for team work and which
is the basis for efficient production, we must remember that methods of management
have to change with changing conditions, just as machinery has to be replaced
by more modern and up-to-date machines.
The workers demand and must be given a place in industry which takes account
both of their humanity, their experience and their intelligence.
This has been done to some extent through Joint Production Committees and
no doubt these will develop so as to give the workers more and more influence upon
the methods of production and organization of industry.
No one can be expected to be a good and intelligent worker unless he under-
stands what he is at, the purpose of it and the prospects which his working harder
or less hard have upon the industry with which he is concerned.
The Immediate Problems
But these are all general considerations and though of great importance in your
planning of the future, they do not- perhaps deal so directly with the immediate
problems of what has been called the transition stage from war to peace.
Your problem-and mine-is how are these things to be done-granted that
they are desirable.
It seems pretty clear from the present trend of policies that private enterprise
will be in charge of industry during this transition, subject to such controls as
may be necessary to even out the difficulties of world or national shortages or
confusion of markets.
It will certainly be a great opportunity for private enterprise to show what
it can or cannot do, and equally certainly it will fail unless there is a great deal
of enterprise and unless the major consideration is the interest of the country
and not of the individual. Some industries such as the aircraft industry will-have
to suffer a very heavy cut indeed, whether to a quarter or less of its wartime
strength only the future can show. My own view is that there will be an immense
mass of new work to be done and that we shall want even larger design and experi-
mental staff than today though much. smaller production strength.
British Speeches of the Day
Those who go out of this industry as many must who have been drawn into
it during the war will no doubt want to use the skill of their managements and
workers on other manufactures.
Their enterprise will no doubt direct them into the course which they consider
There should be ample finance available in the form of the accumulated savings
of the war and it is probable, I should imagine, that the financiers and banks will
devise some scheme by which this finance can be made available on reasonable
terms to the smaller firms who could not obtain it on the market.
As regards the cancellation of contracts, this is always a difficult problem at
the end of a war. We cannot afford to continue the manufacture of unwanted
war material in large quantities when it is no longer required, nor do we want
our people to be out of work over long periods of readjustment. We shall have
to try therefore to have a flexible and reasonable scheme by which we can minimize
the difficulties from both directions. It is impossible in such a complicated case
to lay down any code; we can only say that we shall be as sensible and reasonable
as the circumstances of each case permit.
"It is Up to Private Enterprise"
A great deal is now being done by the Board of Trade, which is responsible
for all this post-war work, to inform particular industries of their futu e prospects
and to make available the small quantities of labor and material that may be
necessary to prepare for the change-over when it comes.
But let us remember that the war is not yet over and that however important
these questions of the future may be and indeed they are of first-rate importance
to our future as a country, yet the vital thing for us to concentrate upon today
is the defeat of the Nazis, and when they are done with we must finish off Japan.
Industry has no doubt during the last five years got itself accustomed to an
all-wise and beneficient Government telling it what to do, financing it and purchas-
ing all its products, and as a result our engineering and allied industries have made
a first-class job of war production. Now they are asked to use their own initiative
and their own enterprise. All that has been claimed for private enterprise is to be
put to the test and it is up to private enterprise to show that it can succeed in giving
full employment and prosperity to the country in the future.
RT. HON. BEN SMITH
Minister Resident in Washington for Supply
To Association of National Advertisers, New York,
November 16, 1944
Let me begin, by reminding you briefly of what we have done during the war.
Everyone in this country knows a good deal about what the British Forces have
done-the story of the R.A.F. in 1940, known as the "Battle of Britain"; the
story of the 8th Army; the story of our share in the great achievements of this
summer. Few people, I think, know much about what we have done in the way
of making munitions and keeping our civil economy on a minimum wart ime level.
For that I think we have ourselves partly to blame.
British Reconversion Problems
In the black days of Dunkirk, the cupboard was bare to a degree that gives me
the shivers even to remember. To record our monthly output of tanks or guns
or planes would have been an act of unforgivable bravado which would have in-
vited an attack by the enemy. We had to have a statistical blackout. In the future,
however, there will be no excuse for anyone not knowing what Britain has done.
For we intend to set it out in the near future for all to read.
Two Surprising Figures
What I think will surprise you is the amount we have managed to do for our-
selves. I believe it will be news to you that of the total supply of munitions avail-
able to the British Commonwealth and Empire since the beginning of the war,
more than seven-tenths have been produced in the United Kingdom and about a
further one-tenth by other Empire countries. So that four-fifths of all the munitions
of the British Empire have come from British Empire sources. You will better
appreciate the size of the four-fifths that we have provided for ourselves because
you know the immense volume that is represented by the remaining fifth that you
have supplied. Three-quarters of that remaining fifth came under Lend-Lease; for
the remainder, we paid you in cash.
The second figure that I think will surprise you is that of the Armed Forces
of the British Empire. The present strength is close to 834 millions-excluding
all killed, missing or prisoners, and excluding the women's services. When you
remember that four-fifths of these Forces are recruited from the 75 millions of
white population of the British Empire, you will better appreciate the level of
mobilization that we have reached. Out of this 84 millions, 41/2 millions come
from the United Kingdom-just about one in every ten of our population. Casu-
alties suffered by the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom now number over
500,000 and in addition there have been 33,573 casualties to merchant seamen in
These 41/2 million men in the Armed Forces are, of course, only a fraction of
the total manpower that is engaged in our war effort. Out of a total of 22 mil-
lions in employment, just about 15 millions are engaged directly or indirectly on
government work, in the Forces, in munitions, or providing materials or services
that go into war production-only about 30 per cent of our manpower is now
serving the civilian home market, and less than two per cent is producing the re-
maining exports which we still permit in order to meet the essential needs of our
Sources of Manpower
SWhere have these 15 millions come from? They have come partly from those
who were unemployed before the war-we have now only about 100,000 unem-
ployed out of 22 million workers as compared with between 11/4 and 11/2 millions
before the war. They have come partly from those employed in the export trade.
We had 13/4 millions employed in the export trades before the war, and only be-
tween 300,000 and 400,000 now. They have come partly from the extra women
who have come into industry. There are 21/2 million more workers now employed
than before the war. Ninety per cent of all unmarried women between 18 and 40
are serving in industry or the Forces, and as many as 80 per cent of all married
women of those ages who have not small children to look after. But the biggest
source of manpower has naturally been the reduction in those serving the civilian
home market. Nearly 6 million of these have been moved on to government work.
In the group of industries which mainly produced consumers' goods there were
barely two-thirds as many workers in 1944 as in 1939, and nearly half of those
that remained were engaged in government manufactures. But even more note-
British Speeches of the Day
worthy is the length of time during which we have maintained that effort. The
proportions have not greatly altered during the last three years in spite of civilian
air raid casualties which have amounted in five years to:
K illed ............................. 56,195
Injured and Detained in Hospital ........ 75,897
Total ............................. 132,092
All this change has not happened just by a wave of the wand. We have had,
first of all, to plan, and then-what is much more difficult-we have had to fintl
ways of making these plans effective by moving people into jobs and keeping them
A Twofold Bargain
In the very early days of the war we possessed few powers of that .ort. Then
came those momentous weeks in the summer of 1940, when empires toppled over-
night, ending in the collapse of France and the glorious defeat of Dunkirk. Dun-
kirk, for us, was, I think, what Pearl Harbor was for the Americans. It shook us
into a national unity of purpose which submerged all private interests in :he greater
national interest. And, as one consequence of that, we made a twofold bargain.
Capital was to have its profits limited by an Excess Profits Tax. Labor was to
agree to an Essential Works Order which limited both the right of the worker to
leave his work and the right of the employer to sack the worker.
This Essential Works Order was hedged about with certain condit ons. The
firm, before it could get the Order applied to it, had to show that working condi-
tions, for example, were reasonable, and there was a court of appeal in the back-
ground where the worker or the employer could plead his case to be released from
the operation of the Order in a particular instance.
Besides the Essential Works Order, we limited in various other ways the free-
dom of the worker to work and find work wherever he might choose. We forebade
employers in industries to take on workers except through the Ministry of Labour
And under the various National Service Acts and Registration for Employment
Orders we can, in the last instance, direct to a whole or part-time job alny woman
between 18 and 50. I need not say that these powers are used with discretion,
more particularly in the case of married women, and where there are young children
living at home.
Civilians Go Without
Now, what has all this 'meant as it touches the actual English family, living in
the actual English home? I will try to tell you in general terms--but I would like
first to say that in wartime, averages seem to have even less meaning than they
usually do. If I say that there are 13 million homes in the United Kingdom and
that there have been 41/2 million reported cases of bomb damage, and abou, 450,000
houses either destroyed or made uninhabitable, that may or may not sound formid-
able. If you happen to have been in one of those houses, you are less interested
in the statistical average and more interested in the consequences-how to replace
your clothes, furniture, your pots and pans and start afresh. And when I tell you
how much (or rather how little) clothing and furniture and pots and pans we
are producing, just remember that a lot of it has had to go, not to maintain civil
standards in the ordinary sense, but to replace the losses from the bombs and the
British Reconversion Problems
With that warning, let me give you a few figures. The United Kingdom
civilian is getting only about half as much clothing and less than a quarter of
the furnishings and household goods than he did before the war. With us, as in
many other countries, a large range of goods has been completely suspended-
automobiles, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, aluminum hollow-ware and the like.
There is one square yard of carpet made per annum for every ten houses, and
about one square yard of linoleum for every house. But a large proportion of this
goes to institutions of one sort or another-canteens, hospitals, hotels, rest camps
and so on. Of the furniture that is made, all that is not absorbed in that way is
reserved for the blitzed or for the newly married and allocated on a points basis.
As regards clothing, it may perhaps give you a better standard of comparison
if I tell you just how much clothing any ten men were able to buy for themselves
in the United Kingdom last year. Two of them could buy overcoats-the other
eight could not. There were four suits or odd coats'and trousers among the ten
of them. They could buy thirteen shirts-a little better than one apiece. They
could buy about thirteen suits of underwear-again a little more than one apiece.
They could (or at any rate did) buy only two and a half pairs of pyjamas among
the ten of them. They could buy 24 pairs of socks-a little better than two pairs
apiece, and I can tell you that the British housewife after five years of darning is
now pretty sock-conscious. Finally, they could buy just under one pair of shoes
On food we have not done badly, in the sense that we have never, even at
the crisis of the U-boat war, gone seriously short of calories. As compared with
the unhappy Greeks, or some of the other victims of Nazi occupation, we have
been fortunate. But no Englishman can come to this country (I am sure the Eng-
lishmen here will bear me out) without being immediately conscious of the dif-
ference between your standard and ours-for that matter, between our pre-war
standard and our present standard. We are eating only about half the fruit, two-
thirds of the sugar and about three-quarters of the fats that we did before the war.
We are eating a third more vegetables than we did. The Englishman's greatest
wartime achievement has been eating 50 per cent more potatoes. Our diet is per-
fectly adequate but it is, nevertheless, extraordinarily monotonous. The element of
choice has largely disappeared from it and for those (and they are a large propor-
tion of the whole) who eat mainly at home, the problem of a main dish daily
throughout the week is really difficult. A week's ration bf meat is ls. 2d. in our
money-only about 25 cents, and buys little more than what an American would
regard as the meat sufficient for one good meal.
Now, I do not want you to think that I am complaining about this-wars are
won by the men and the women who can make the biggest sacrifices. But I do
want to bring home that after five years of war the British people needs to ease up
a little and that when we say that one of our immediate objectives is some im-
provement of civilian standards, we are not asking for luxuries, but merely saying
what is hard common sense-that any nation can in a supreme emergency achieve
for a short time a level of self-denial that it cannot sustain indefinitely. Until
Germany is defeated, every Englishman will be content to live on short commons
and to subordinate every other consideration to quick and conclusive victory.
Disregard of Economic Consequences
When the German war is won, we still have Japan to defeat. The Prime
Minister has, I think, made it quite clear that in that war we shall not be content
with ring-side seats. We have our own differences to settle with the Japs, and we
British Speeches of the Day
intend to fight that war just as strenuously as we have fought the German war.
The war-make no mistake-will still come first with us. But it is a different sort
of war. We cannot hope to deploy all the resources against Japan alone that we
have deployed against Germany and Japan. Together, both the United States and
the United Kingdom will be able to take the first steps of reconverting to a normal
What are Britain's immediate objectives in that reconversion? We have three
main objectives, and I would like to give a word to each.
First, we have conducted our finances in this war with a truly magnificent dis-
regard of economic consequences. That applies, of course, entirely to our external
finances. I think we can claim that internally we have managed our finances with
quite remarkable success, and have been more successful than almost any other
belligerent in preventing inflation. Up to September 2nd, the war has cost us
approximately 96 billion dollars and our annual expenditure has now reached 20
billion dollars. We have met our external needs partly by borrowing, partly by
selling our accumulated savings, and only to a small extent by the sale of exports.
Our recently published trade accounts covering the war years show you just how
far we have reduced our exports. In 1943 our total exports were under 30 per
cent of those of 1938. The fall has been heaviest in many of our staple exports.
In 1943 we exported only 10 per cent of the coal that we exported in 1938-and
most of that was for military purposes. We exported only 10 per cent of our iron
and steel manufactures and only 31 per cent of the cotton yarns and manufactures,
to meet demands approved by the combined boards in Washington-only 9 per
cent of the vehicles.
We have been able to make these immense reductions in our exports-and no
Englishman ever forgets it-in large part because United States Lend-Lease and
Canadian Mutual Aid have enabled us to get our necessary imports. When the
war is over we cannot go on, and we have no desire to go on, living under these
conditions. Our first desire is again to pay our way. What does this involve? I
need not trouble you with exact calculations-just how much income we have lost
from foreign investments and so on. It is enough that our best estimates show
that we need 50 per cent more exports if we are to buy just as freely in the world's
markets as we did before the war-that means, for us, going back to a figure
somewhere between that of 1929 and 1913.
I cannot tell you just how that is going to be done. But I will say that it is
an inescapable necessity that it should be done, if England is again going to be
the great market for the goods of every nation that it was before the war. I do
not believe that it is easy to rebuild the world on any other basis, and I sincerely
trust and believe that we can find a way of rebuilding the world's trade so that
every nation can export and every nation get its share of the good things which
other countries have to sell. You may all think that I am threatening you with an
intolerable surfeit of British goods. Let me give you a last figure that gives one
food for thought. Before the war, just about one per cent of the consumption of
the world was represented by British exports. What we are hoping to achieve is
to increase this figure to one and a half per cent.
Our second objective is to rebuild our blitzed towns and overtake some of the
arrears of normal house building and normal house repairs, both of which have
fallen greatly into arrears during the war. We have completely lost over 200,000
houses by bombs and other enemy action and a further 250,000 houses have re-
ceived major damage. An army of no less than 100,000 men are at present engaged
British Reconversion Problems 55
i cleaning up the latest bomb damage in London and making temporary repairs
to some of the million houses which have been destroyed or damaged since June.
Practically no houses have been built during the war, apart from a few made
necessary to house the work people who have been transferred to newly developed
munition factories. Before the war we were building 300,000 a year, and with
five years of war there is now a back-log of a million and a half houses. We have
done less than half the necessary repairs during the war years, and there have ac-
cumulated great arrears of necessary decorating and maintenance. Labor in the
building industry has been reduced from 1,300,000 to around 600,000, and these
have been largely engaged on military construction, the repair of bomb damage,
and the minimum of necessary industrial and domestic maintenance. We have
announced our plans to raise that figure as quickly as possible and expand our
programs of temporary and permanent housing accordingly. This is an urgent
necessity, for when men are demobilized and families are reunited in the cities
that have suffered most during the war, the shortage of house accommodation is
going to be a very serious matter.
Those, then are the, first two objectives: (1) that we must pay our way, and
(2) that we must have houses in which to live, and these are necessities for our
Increasing Civilian Standards
And now I come to our third objective which I think you will agree is that we
must have as much increase of civilian standards as an equitable distribution of the
world's limited supplies may permit.
We are not asking to live in luxury. We believe that these objectives lie
within the realms of hard-headed practical politics. The war has destroyed a great
deal, but it has also created a great deal. We in the United Kingdom have, like
most countries, been shaken out of some of the old ruts and, when we get back to
civil production, it will be with new ideas, and new techniques and new ways of
handling these difficult problems. Many of these new ideas we owe to our friends
in America. Many great ideas which have been developed for the benefit of all
the Allies during the war had their beginnings in my own country-such as the
contributions of radar, jet-propulsion of aircraft. These are but two instances
familiar to us all. Our powers of production, like yours, have been immensely
increased. The problem of the future is how we can make certain that those
powers are effectively used.
The British Cabinet not many months ago gave its approval to a document
that I believe to be of great significance. It said, in effect, that it is a principal
objective of the policy of the United Kingdom to maintain a high and consistent
level of employment, and set out to discuss how that could be achieved. I cannot
on this occasion go into all those various suggestions. I do want to say just two
The World is an Economic Unit
First, I believe that the present form of society, as we know it, will only survive
if it finds a way to use its powers of production more fully and more consistently
than it did between the wars. Second, that I do not believe that any country,
least of all any country that depends upon world trade to the extent that we in the
United Kingdom do, can solve these problems in isolation. More and more the
world is becoming the economic unit. We all sink or swim together. And we
in the United Kingdom know that we have only limited powers of swimming.
British Speeches of the Day
If the -world is the economic unit, we must surely tackle our problems more
and more in collaboration. During the war we have developed international eco-
nomic collaboration to a fine art.
After all we have come through, it is obvious that our two great countries can
achieve far more by combined effort than we could possibly achieve by working
independently, behind the natural barriers of ocean and tradition. But more than
lip-service to a theoretical unity of English-speaking peoples is required. Here
in New York particularly-the largest port of commerce on this continent-the
essential interrelationship of American and British trade must be clearly under-
stood. If your exporters are going to regard every British effort to regain export
trade as a conspiracy, an attack upon American tkade, we are not going to get
much further in our joint efforts to promote the world expansion of commerce
without which America certainly could not attain that threefold increase of foreign
trade which the President recently mentioned.
Before the war, we were your best customer. In 1937 we took 24 per cent
of your exports. As a matter of fact, we were the world's best customer, spending
no less than one-fifth of our national income on buying abroad. In contrast, the
United States imported the equivalent of about three per cent of her national
Community of Interest
We shall not get the unity we all desire if British efforts to regain the level
necessitated by even our pre-war standard of life are regarded as competitive with
American trade interests. It is not only in your interest that we should trade on
a scale sufficient to finance our essential imports but that we should do as much
trade as will enable us to reduce the balances we have deliberately incu-red against
ourselves during the war.. The growth of this huge adverse balance- correspond-
ing as you might say to a trade deficit of around 12 billion dollars, reflects our
war slogan that supply and not finance constitutes the sinews of war. In no way
have we allowed financial conditions to impede the conversion and concentration
of our industry for war purposes. In the same way, when drawing on overseas
resources for raw materials, etc., we have completely disregarded the size of the
bill we were incurring.
For our part, we are determined to continue our efforts to re-establish our
economy and we are hopeful that an understanding of our post-war aims will
evolve out of the close association of our two countries. An increasing number
of our people have taken part in combined planning operations and have seen for
themselves the benefits to all of looking at common problems together and finding
equitable solutions. By exchanging information freely and studying our mutual
problems in advance many potential sources of friction and misunderstandings
have been avoided. These people include not only the immediate staffs of our
combined boards and the staffs of our Government Departments but also-and to
an increasing degree-the leaders of industry in our two countries. Our work
together has been an education in good international economic relations. And I
trust that by goodwill and a spirit of give-and-take we will find in the future even
greater scope, and that we can set before the world as an example our continued
belief in the community of interest developed in these terrible years of war.
The Statistics of Britain's War Effort
RT. HON. BRENDAN BRACKEN
Minister of Information
At a Press Conference, November 28, 1944
Not so long ago the blackout that added so much to the troubles of the British
people was partially lifted.
If the physical blackout was harmful to Britain-as it surely was-the black-
out of facts about our war effort was also harmful. For it weakened understanding
of the full measure of Britain's achievements and sacrifices in the defense of
Statistical Blackout Lifted
It is often said that this is the best reported of all wars. The most casual of
newspaper readers cannot fail to notice that correspondents and photographers
are always in the midst of battles. Very often governments get the first news
of important operations from newspapers. The public have few reasons to com-
plain about the services of newspapers and broadcasters in reporting the happen-
ings on the many battle fronts on which Britons serve. Home front achievements
have been reported with no less faithfulness and liveliness. But over all there has
been a statistical blackout. It is now at last being lifted.
Though the Government have done their best to interfere as little as they
could with the freedom of the Press to report all the news, they have had on
security grounds to withhold some remarkable facts about Britain's war effort.
It may be objected against the Government that it has been over-strict in security
precautions. Before this criticism is stressed, it should be remembered that in
preparing for this war, Germany created a vast spying system, only too successful
in -piercing the military and industrial secrets of many countries. Since 1939 our
enemies have got little information from this country. The fact that they were
surprised by our forces of North Africa and Normandy is no small tribute to the
British Security Services, fortified by the co-operation of the public and the press.
A Source. Book for Historians
Whether the Government has shown an excess of zeal in security matters will
probably be argued in footnotes by historians who will certainly have to give a
great deal of time to the White Paper* published today.
Though this White Paper will certainly be a source book for historians, it
has not been prepared for these worthies. It has been compiled by a grateful
Government so the British people may now have the proper measure of their
achievements during the heroic years through which they have passed. It will,
I am sure, be welcomed by our brethren of the British Commonwealth who shared
with us the honor of standing alone against the monstrous tyranny during a year
which decided the fate of civilization.
To our Allies, this record of Britain's fortitude and resourcefulness will
strengthen our partnership in war and peace.
You have only to glance at this somber White Paper with its many forbidding
columns of statistics to realize that no propagandist hand has touched it. The
House of Commons, which is rightfully entitled to be the first to receive this
comprehensive report on Britain's war effort, is no encourager of rhetoric in sta-
Cmd. 6564, Statistics relating to the War Effort of the United Kingdom; available
gratis from the British Information Services, New York.
British Speeches of the Day
tistics. When facts and figures have been presented to Parliament in a White
Paper, no mercy has ever been given to inaccuracy. And so you can be sure that
this White Paper contains all the publishable facts, and nothing but the facts, of
Britain's war effort.
The hallmark of Parliament is on this austere document, and is worth more
than the glossy imprint of all the well-garnished books this Ministry produces.
This White Paper will be the source of many such books, but none can have so
high a credit as the White Paper itself.
"They Sold the Pasture . ."
We hope this source book will be read in every newspaper office and by
broadcasters and commentators on the war. It contains not just the bare bones
of Britain's war history. It is a quarry from which can be hewn-giant images of
the British people's achievements. One tremendous fact stands out clearly: that
is that the total war effort of the population of Great Britain is greater than that
of any other belligerent.
The first impression you get on reading through these hard columns of facts
is best described in Shakespeare's words: "They sold the pasture to buy the horse."
To begin with the mundane question of finance: the White Paper is full of ex-
amples of the single-minded devotion of a people who have put all their energies
and resources into the war effort.
We have not attempted to mulct the British Empire. Canada is the only
Empire country from which we have received Reverse Lend-Lease. With all the
other Dominions, we have made financial arrangements much less favorable to
ourselves than has the United States. For instance, the United States received a
lot of goods and services scot free from Australia. We get similar goods and
services, but we pay for them. Nor have we called on the Crown Colonies for
contributions. We are trustees, and no trustee should squeeze his wards. Every-
thing we have got from the Colonies we are paying for. Consequently we owe
them enormous sums. Many of them sent goods to the United States as part of
Reverse Lend-Lease, and even for this we pay. When the war started, we had
large gold reserves in the United States. These have all been paid over, and the
money spent in building up the American munitions industries.
This expenditure of ours helped America to come into the war with her in-
dustries already on something like a wartime footing. We are glad to have rendered
this service to the United States, as a small return for her tremendous generosity
to us. Finally, and this is a point you must never lose count of because Britain's
power and wealth are greatly due to overseas trade, we gave up our export busi-
ness. We gave over the whole of our manpower to making and using the goods
The Manpower Figures
All these things show through charts and columns of figures in this White
Paper. And what stands solidly behind these cramped statistics is the courage
and unexampled sacrifices of millions of British people. In the White Paper,
every side of our five-year struggle has been reduced to cold fact and colder figures.
If you read a few of these pages, lay them down and think about them, you will
find there is nothing cold and dry about them; they represent the heroism and
unlimited hard work of the 47,000,000 people of these islands. Look at the
manpower figures for example. Hardly a home in Britain has not been churned
by the war. There have been something more than 22,500,000 civilian removals
since the war began. Families have been broken up and scattered all over the
The Statistics of Britain's War Effort
earth, fighting and toiling in factories. Within Britain itself homes have been
rooted up by mass movements of population; there has been an exodus from the
southern and eastern coasts, tle evacuation of London, and the direction of workers
to factories far away. This has happened to a people who, of all the world's
peoples, are great lovers of their homes.
When you look at these figures, you must remember one big fact: all this
great achievement and this vast reshaping of life in Britain have been carried
out under hard living and working conditions. For five years men and women
have lived and worked in the shadows of the blackout. ,The production of muni-
tions has been made even more difficult by the need to disperse factories in order
to baffle the enemy's air attacks. In the winter blitzes of 1940 and 1941 and
recently in the summer months of the doodlebug, the work has gone on under the
peril and strain of air attack. To the end of August this year, over 5,500 fac-
tories have been damaged by enemy action. The White Paper says: "Of the total
supply of munition produced by or made available to the British Commonwealth
and Empire since the beginning of the war, it is estimated that about seven-tenths
have been produced in the United Kingdom." This feat of arms making has been
brought about in a grim, severe setting. You will see in the White Paper the
figures for cuts in civilian consumption and for the sacrifices that every single
person in this country has had to make. And they have made them and put up
with them as a matter of course. The people who performed these prodigies of
labor were fed on a monotonous ration and dull diet, and have had a constant
worry about coupons for this and that.
The Loss of Human Lives
Something like two inches of space in the White Paper are given over to
casualty figures for all ranks of the armed services in the United Kingdom. These
laconic lines sum up the greatness and sorrows of over a score of campaigns which
British forces have fought. They will remind the world that Britain has been
fighting Germans for over five long, grim years. They will remind you of our
victories of El Alamein, Tunis, Italy, and finally that peak of the war effort-
D-Day last June. You can take this book of statistics in your hand and say:
"This is what made the British share in D-Day and in the huge campaign that has
followed it possible."
Over 250,000 lives have been lost. That is the price of our victories so far.
On the same page as the casualty figures for the armed forces and the Merchant
Navy there are the figures for the civilian victims. The number killed, injured
and detained in hospital in the five years ending August 31, 1944, was 136,000,
of whom nearly 60,000 were killed. Every foreign observer has remarked on
three notable characteristics of the British people: affection for their homes and
family ties; pride in their sea-faring traditions; and a profound sense that only
by trade can-this small island live. If you look through this paper thinking about
homes, you will see that one in thirty has been made uninhabitable by enemy bombs,
and one in three has been damaged in some way. That is what has happened
to the Englishman's castle.
As for the sea, we have faced one of our greatest perils from it. The Royal
Navy and the Merchant Navy have had to fight a long, hard fight against the
menace of the submarine. To last August, nearly 30,000 merchant seamen were
killed by enemy action at sea. To the end of 1943, nearly 12,000,000 gross tons
of British shipping were lost. These figures sum up the desperate days of the
battle of the Atlantic. For three years we have lived under the threat of starva-
tion. It might at any time have become a reality. But the convoys came through.
The Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy and the Royal Air Force, in co-operation with
British Speeches of the Day
our' gallant Canadian and American allies, have beaten Germany's hope that the
war might be won by U-boats. The strength of our long sea-faring tradition has
never stood a harder testing.
The Loss of Treasure
Now about trade. The Victorians were proud to be called a nation of shop-
keepers, but there never have been such shopkeepers as the British. No shopkeepers
ever before have sold out their entire stocks in order to fight. We have sacrificed
most of our Victorian inheritance. What was the treasure of our grandfathers
f has gone. And I would add this: it has been well and gladly sacrificed. When
you have listened to what I have to say about the Treasury you will think it is
worse than Mr. Micawbei. 'When we stood alone against the might of Germany,
we could not consider Treasury controls. What we wanted was output and more
output. I do not say the Service Departments were allowed to raid and rifle the
Treasury, but I will say that no financial impediments were put in the way of
equipping our fighting men.
If one of our Victorian forefathers could come to life now he would behold
income tax, which Gladstone regarded as a burdensome imposition when it stood
at sixpence in the pound, risen now to the astonishing standard rate of ten shill-
ings in the pound. This Victorian would see the mercantile glories on which his
age was founded dwindled now and shrunken. They will be laboriously recre-
ated. Seeing the fanatical improvidence of his heirs, he would have been startled;
but knowing the reason why, he would have applauded. Something like revo-
lution has happened in Britain in the past five years. And in it the Treasury has
played the part of an urbane, painless Robespierre. Taxation has reduced the
number of people with incomes above 5;000 a year to a handful. There are hardly
any Forsytes now for a novelist to put in a saga.
Achievements Behind the Sacrifices
I have been dwelling on sacrifices because it i the sum total of British sacri-
fices that is given in this White Paper. But these sacrifices go hand in hand with
achievement. We know the achievements. We remember them when we read
of our armies fighting on the Rhine and in the Appennines, when only a little
over four years ago they were streaming back beaten but undaunted from Dunkirk.
This White Paper represents the bill we have had to pay to get where we are.
Everybody in Britain has had to pay some share of it. So the White Paper is not
just the Government's reports to Parliament. It is a record of every British sub-
ject's striving, and only a very strong and great people could carry these burdens.
What they have been able to do in these heroic years is a measure of the part
they will play in rebuilding the world.
THE EARL OF HALIFAX
British Ambassador to the United States
To the Investment Bankers' Association, November 28, 1944
It is with grateful pleasure that I find myself your guest; but with pleasure
goes some element of misgiving. For a certain amount of courage is required
from anyone unversed in the mysteries of your craft to appear before a gathering
of this kind. It is as though Daniel, instead of entering the lions' den as a
Co-operation in World Economics
reluctant intruder, impelled by superior authority, had light-heartedly accepted an
invitation from the lions themselves, with no positive assurance on who was to
do the dining and what was to be the dinner!
Seriously, however, I am very glad to be here tonight and to meet so many
distinguished members of your Association; even though I cannot believe that in
the matters that specially concern you-matters with which you are far more famil-
iar than I-there is anything I can tell you which you do not already know.
Partnership for War and Peace
Yet there are two things that have burned deep into my thought, as we have
lived through these scorching times. The first is that peace is not merely a matter
of a few people sitting round a table and signing peace terms. Nor is it enough
to erect international machinery to deal with disputes and to stop physical aggres-
sion. No machinery, however perfectly designed, will run without power; and
no international machinery can be expected to work without due regard for the
motive force of finance and economics. Your problems, therefore, are everybody's
problems. Your business is everybody's business. And that must be one justi-
fication for my presuming to address you this evening.
The other thought constantly in my mind is this. If we are really determined
to rally the forces of peace in self-defense against a recurrence of this tragedy,
there is no one thing more essential than that your country and mine should con-
tinue to work together. I know that to be a British interest; I believe it is also
an American interest; I have no doubt it is also, in the largest sense, a world
During these war years, your country and mine, with others, have been in close
partnership. Its results are plain for all to see-on every battle front of sea and
land and air. It has been a partnership born of common danger and of the plain
necessities of the struggle for survival. And the question for the next 20, 30 or
50 years is whether we can find a motive force as strong as immediate danger to
hold that partnership together. I believe we shall, for though it is true that
mankind learns more from experience than from imagination, the lesson of both
experience and imagination is here the same. Both teach how destructive it must
be to all our future hopes if we allow the dissolution of this great partnership
between all nations who want a peaceful order.
You Have to Trust'Your Partner
I spoke just row of the part that our two countries might play in this structure
but if that is to be a real thing, it must and can only come from larger under-
standing and mutual respect. Each one of us as individuals and as a nation must
contribute to it. And that means that we must do our best to understand the
mainsprings of each other's policy, and to think the best and not the worst of one
That is easy enough to say, and most people would agree with it as a general
proposition. And yet there are always plenty of people on each side of the
Atlantic who don't always think and speak that way in practice, and who can
do a lot of mischief.
Some Americans would almost appear to think that the British were a crowd
of smart crooks, compared with whom they themselves were a bunch of Simple
Simons, lucky to get out of any British party without leaving more than they liked
behind. And J have no doubt there are plenty of British who think that Americans
are out to grab the world and run it on lines that will bring fat profits to big busi-
ness, with the Devil taking the hindmost who cannot keep up.
British Speeches of the Day
Now that sort of thing is no more use in public than in private partnership.
We would not think much of the chances of a business partnership, if we heard
one partner say of another: "Smith is a useful fellow; I couldn't get along very
well without him. Of course, I don't like him. I don't respect him. I don't
really trust him. I have to watch him all the time, in case he, should outsmart
me. I fancy he has done me down once or twice lately. But r have got my eyes
open and one of these days he will have a surprise." Well, if that was the point
of view we would hardly expect those two men to get along very well or for very
But there is too much of that kind of talk going on all the time; not, thank
God, in the places that matter most, among those who are directing or fighting
the war, but in places that matter quite a bit-in newspapers, on the radio, and
just in ordinary conversation. Let me give you a sample or two of what I have
I hear Americans speak of the British Empire as if it were some huge racket,
based on naked force, living by exploitation, and existing only to bring money into
Britain that Britain has no moral right to touch. And that picture lives, regard-
less of the fact that from no part of the British Commonwealth or Empire does the
British Treasury draw a fraction of a cent, and that for at least the last 50 years the
whole direction of British policy as regards the Commonwealth and Empire has
been that which most of our critics, if they were better informed about it, would
Or catch up with some of the stories that circulate about the working of Lend-
There is a favorite tale about lipstick. The wicked British have been getting
lipstick under Lend-Lease. That sounds very shocking. It also happens to be
absolutely true. We have been getting lipstick under Lend-Lease. What the
story does not go on to say is that lipstick has been found to be the best method
of marking on the foreheads of battle casualties the nature of their wo nds. And
I have yet to meet the American woman who would grudge it for that purpose.
It was recently whispered that British automobile manufacturers were expecting
an early authorization from their Government to resume the manufacture of auto-
mobiles for export and that a new model was to go into production very shortly.
This time the story is quite untrue. Our automobile manufacturers are fully
engaged in war production and no labor is available for other purposes It is the
fact that some light cars are still being produced on government contract for essen-
tial civilian uses, such as for doctors, farmers, and so on. Some of these have
been exported to the Dominions; but otherwise no new cars have been a- ailable for
anybody since January, 1940.
Ibn Saud's Bathrodm
Let me give you one more. It was recently alleged that every American soldier
in the near East knew how King Ibn Saud of Arabia asked your Government for
new pipes and bathroom fixtures for his palace, and was refused them because they
were luxuries and a war scarcity. Whereupon the British Government, in order,
I suppose, to win favor with King Ibn Saud, is alleged to have supplied the fixtures
through Lend-Lease. This again is entirely false. Section IV of the Lend-Lease
Act specifically lays down that no foreign government may transfer any lend-Lease
goods without the President's consent. We have honored that condition both in
spirit and in letter.
Co-operation in World Economics
I could give you plenty more examples, but perhaps these are enough. I do
not for a moment suggest that it is only Americans who go in for this romantic
mischief-making. No doubt there are some of my people who are not unready to
take a hand in the game.
Silly Stories About Americans
Shortly after the liberation of France, a rumor went around the United King-
dom that American businessmen, who had got commissions in the Army of the
United States, were flocking over to Paris in military uniforms, to reopen their
offices, and start booking orders before anyone else could get there. The story
was quite unfounded. It was denied by Mr. Eden in the House of Commons,
and finally scotched by General Eisenhower's statement that there was nothing in
the report and that any American officer who tried to use his official duties as a
cover for his private business would be severely disciplined.
Then it has been whispered in Britain that your traders have not been slow
to take full advantage of the Export White Paper in order to get a flying start of
British competitors. Latin America, for example, so the suggestion goes, is advised
to look to the United States for goods formerly supplied from the United Kingdom.
They are recommended to do this because the British are prohibited by the terms
of the White Paper from exporting anything containing Lend-Lease materials, or
materials similar to them, and because, even if the White Paper should lapse after
the conclusion of hostilities, it will be a long time before Britain is able to satisfy
Latin American demands.
Now the way in which we deal with these charges and counter-charges will
depend upon how we judge of that'partnership to which I referred a moment or
two ago. If we feel that it is something of over-all importance, the answer in all
these cases is very simple, and that is to ascertain the facts. Often we shall find
they are wrong; where they are right, we can talk them over frankly as friends.
And that is much better than nursing grievances or letting suspicions get set hard,
and queer the general approach on both sides.
The Most Vexed Question
I do not mean by all this that we shall not have our rough places and our
differences in the years ahead. Of course we shall; though I see no reason why
with goodwill on both sides we should not be able to iron them out smoothly.
I have never thought it ought to be too difficult for us to keep together in the
political field. Trade and industry are likely to be much harder, partly because
they touch people's pockets directly, and partly because they are both, governed
by many complex factors on which not everybody is well informed.
Take what is, I suppose, the most vexed question of all: foreign trade. I
know your point of view on this, and it is a perfectly reasonable one.
But let me say something about what foreign trade has meant to the British
economy in the past and what it wilt mean to us in the future, in the light of the
way we have had to play the hand during the war.
The economic and financial effect upon our post-war economy of what has been
happening to us for the last five years must be profound. We have spared nothing
in order to produce the weapons and supplies of war. Without stint we have
thrown all we had into the fray. Fully two-thirds of our available manpower,
male and female, is now in the Armed Services or is working for the government.
As a result, civilian life is austere and hard; our standard of living has been cut
to the bone by the strict rationing of food, clothing, and consumption goods. The
British Speeches of the Day
ordinary civilian has neither automobile nor gas, the burden of taxation is very
heavy. But the sacrifices are general; and everyone is getting his fair share of them.
Where the Foreign Assets Went
In the same spirit and with the same concentration of effort, we dealt with
the large questions of finance and trade. To finance the war, in the first 18 months
we liquidated a large part of our foreign assets and our gold reserves. By this
means we were able to spend some six billion dollars in the United States, much
of which was invested in new war plants, which came in very handy for you after
Pearl Harbor. Though we cut our imports to the lowest possible level in order
to save shipping we had still to keep on exporting to secure the cash with which
to buy our supplies.
Nevertheless by the beginning of 1941 we were almost down to our last dollar.
Lend-Lease then came to our help, and enabled us to end the export drive, and
shift over 80 per cent of those engaged in it either into war production or into
the Armed Forces. Today, as a result, our exports are only about 29 per cent in
volume of what they were in 1938.
And thanks to the fundamental changes which Lend-Lease enabled us to make
in our war economy, we'are now furnishing about 60 per cent of the total muni-
tions requirements of the whole Empire, as against 25 per cent, which we got
on Lend-Lease from the United States, and 15 per cent which is supplied by the
Dominions; and in addition to what we are providing for ourselves there is the
reciprocal aid we are giving to you and to our other Allies, and the assistance
we have sent to Soviet Russia.
Lend-Lease enabled us to fight the war without bothering about our exports.
Lend-Lease made it possible for us to disrupt our normal commercial arrangements
and disorganize our internal economy, to our great advantage during the war,
and to our great disadvantage when the war is over. Just as Lend-Lease enabled
us to do without exports, so its termination will leave us vitally and immediately
dependent on their recovery.
Our stake in post-war international trade is so high because our prodigious
efforts have imposed a strain on our financial position which in normal times
would have been judged quite intolerable. Our external obligations have been
mounting all the time. We entered the war with overseas assets of about 14
billion dollars. Today our short-term external indebtedness is about 12 billion,
and is likely to be considerably more before the war ends. To the debit side we
have to add: the loss of income from foreign investments sold to meet the war
strain; shipping sunk, and its earnings gone.
In five years we have been able to build very few houses, to fulfil a demand
which before the war was reckoned at about 350,000 houses annually; and at the
same time we have had over a million houses either completely or partially de-
stroyed, and about 3 million more damaged and needing repair. As a result we'
shall be faced with the gigantic task of re-housing a great portion of our population.
Finally, our people naturally wish, and have every right to wish, to get back
to their pre-war standard of living, and to obtain once more the articles of food,
clothing, and everyday comfort which they have cheerfully foregone for the sake
of victory. As Lord Keynes said recently: "With a fanatical single-mindedness
for which few parallels could be found in history, we have sacrificed every pre-
caution for the future in the interests of immediate strength."
From all these different angles our external obligations and our internal needs
have grown to such a point that, if we are to handle the situation, we can only
Co-operation in World Economics
do it by a great increase in our export trade. It will not be enough merely to get
our foreign trade back to the level of 1938, when we had overseas investments
and shipping profits, which have mostly disappeared. Merely to maintain our
imports at their pre-war amount, we shall have to increase their volume by at least
50 per cent over that of 1938, which means, at present prices, nearly trebling
their value. Even this allows nothing for the repayment of war debts we have
Difference in U. S. and British Approach
It is worth noting, as we pass, the difference, which is the obvious result of
circumstance, between the American and British approach to the problems of
international trade. You want to export in order to take up the slack which
,cannot be absorbed in meeting the needs of the American consumer.
That is a perfectly proper and natural desire, which no one has any right to
question. We, on the other hand, must export if we are to get the imports which
are the food of our people and the raw material of our factories. If we don't
export, we don't eat. And we can't work.
The problem is as simple as that for a country like mine, smaller than many
of your states, thickly populated, highly industrialized, lacking in most natural
resources, and therefore largely living on what it has to import from overseas.
No other country in the world, and certainly none that ranks as a great Power,
is nearly so dependent upon foreign trade as Britain.
While therefore you think primarily in terms of exports, we think essentially in
terms of imports. To you, imports are a secondary interest, in the sense that
their main significance to you is the degree to which they are necessary to your
export trade. To us, exports are really a means to an essential end; the end, of
course, being imports, without which we should have to close the shop.
It follows that an increase in the volume of our exports must be beneficial to
the trade of the rest of the world. For you can rely on us to use every dollar we
earn in exports to purchase the imports we cannot do without. And so the crux
of the matter between you and us is how to adjust your need to find overseas mar-
kets for your surplus goods with our need to obtain the wherewithal to by .what
is indispensable to our national existence. That is putting the problem in very
simple form; but I do not think the general picture is untrue. And certain points
are pretty plain.
The prosperity of the world depends upon the prosperity of all. It is just as
important to the rest of the world that America should be prosperous as it is to
America that the rest of the world should be economically in good health. It is as
essential for you as it is for us that our peace partners should be strong. It is not
going to help us to see again ten million men unemployed in the United States.
Nor is it going to help you to see Britain economically crippled through lack of
purchasing power abroad.
This would mean that you would lose a market which before the war was
worth to you about 500 million dollars a year. It would mean a good deal more
than that to us, for without a proper level of exports the British economy would be
pinched and starved, and our standard of living would inevitably decline.
The moral of all this, as I see it, stands out clearly enough. We have two
alternative policies from which to choose. We can turn the economic life of the
world into a wild scramble, leaving the less fortunate or less well-equipped to go
to the wall-or national bankruptcy-in whatever way they choose. You can
British Speeches of the Day
build a tariff as high as the Rocky Mountains, and we can surround our Common-
wealth with a moat as deep as the Atlantic Ocean; and every other nation, in its
own way and by its own methods, can do likewise to the limit of its power. And
we can then spend some feverish years of jungle life in a cut-throat war for inter-
national trade, of scrambling and of outsmarting each other, of stealing each other's
customers and blackening each other's faces-until another Hitler arises to exploit
the miseries of the peoples and to multiply them tenfold by another war.
That is one policy; and no one who gives the time to work it out will wish to
put his name to such a program. The other policy is one of co-operation. That
is the motive force of the United Nations Organization for Relief. The talks at
Dumbarton Oaks were an example of the same thing in another sphere.
Co-operation for World Economics
But Dumbarton Oaks, and all that came from it, admirable as it n as, neither
had nor claimed to have more than a limited purpose. The same is true of talks
at Bretton Woods. The importance of these several projects, for the theme I have
tried to take tonight, is that they are practical attempts to get going on international
co-operation; and what they have initiated for relief, or for world security, or for
world currency, is an example of what may be attempted for world economics.
Long-term finance, for example, provided it is wisely administered, can do
much to help the rehabilitation of the world. After the last war, American and
British bankers competed in granting international loans, with the result that they
and the public lost a great deal of money. Should it not be possible this time
to marry your money and experience with ours, and by so doing, limii our joint
risk, save our joint capital, and ensure that the money we both lend is spent
Such a policy of co-operation would proceed on a totally different plan from
that of economic isolation. For whereas the "scramblers" would be mainly inter-
ested in securing fom themselves as large a share as possible of existing markets, the
"co-operators" would be much more interested in ways and means by w which those
markets might be expanded and enlarged. They would see the chief economic hope
of the world in trade development. In the benefits of that all would reasonably
share. From those benefits none would be unreasonably excluded. And they
would argue that, if we can handle these large matters with sufficient foresight,
there will be enough on the plate for everybody.
The Right Perspective
Is that an idle. dream? You can answer that question with more authority
than'I. But it is, surely, not fanciful to believe that the world's trade is no more
a fixed quantity than are the world's needs; that by developing those needs, we
can and shall-develop the volume of world trade; and that in so doing we can do
much to reinforce whatever peace settlement we make.
All these things, and indeed nearly everything in the world, depend upon our
getting them into right perspective. We shall go on having differences, your
nation and mine; there will be divergence of view between members of the United
Nations; for that is human nature, and it would be a dull world if everybody was
always of one mind.
But with'all my heart I pray we may realize that such differences are as dust
in the balance compared with the great causes on which, I believe, we are for all
time at one. Peace; respect for human personality; to choose right rather than
wrong; those are the things by which nations live and that test a nation's character.
The Landings on Walcheren Island
It is because I believe that the life of each of our peoples is deep-rooted in that
soil, and that we shall always give much the same answer to those final questions,
if and when we are forced to proclaim our faith, that I have hope for the future of
the world. [Official Release)
RT. HON. A. V. ALEXANDER
First Lord of the Admiralty
House of Commons, November 15, 1944
The operations to clear the Scheldt undertaken by the Canadian Army were
planned to culminate in an attack on Walcheren Island, the most heavily defended
area of the approaches to Antwerp. The attacks were to be made simultaneously
across the South Beveland causeway across the Scheldt from Breskens to Flushing
and a landing at Westkapelle mounted from Ostend. By breaching the dyke in
three places heavy bombers of the R.A.F. previously flooded a large area of the
island thus preventing the mutual support of sections of the garrison and enabling
our assault troops to make full use of amphibious vehicles. The assault at Flushing
was to be made by one Commando landing from Landing Craft (Assault) and
that at Westkapelle by three Commandos with supporting engineer troops, largely
mounted in amphibious vehicles carried in Landing Craft (Tank). -
In view of the vital need to clear the Scheldt as early as possible, General
Simmonds commanding 1st Canadian Army decided to put in the Breskens-Flush-
ing attack on November 1st, by which time our troops would be on South Beve-
land causeway, whether or not the Westkapelle attack, which would be very
dependent on weather, could go in. Weather prospects for the latter were un-
favorable for air support on October 31st, but sea conditions were not too bad.
In view of the unreliability of meteorological forecasts at this time of year and of
the great advantages to be gained from assaulting from three directions simul-
taneously, Admiral Ramsay and General Simmonds decided to sail the Westkapelle
Force from Ostend and to leave the final decision whether to assault or not to the
two Force Commanders, Captain A. F. Pugsley, Royal Navy, and Brigadier B. W.
Leicester, Royal Marines. Conditions next morning were generally more favorable
than expected, but all aircraft were reported grounded owing to fog. With full
knowledge that the assault troops would, initially, lack close air support, and that
the bombardment squadron composed of His Majesty's Ships Warspite, Erebus
and Roberts would have no air spotting, they decided to go on with the attack in
view of the paramount advantages to be gained by simultaneous assaults.
The Commando was landed as planned as Flushing before daylight without
casualties and was soon established on the water front. Some three and a half
hours later in daylight, the time of assault being dependent on tidal conditions,
the Westkapelle Force approached the coast and when close inshore was heavily
engaged by the coast defenses, all known batteries going into action against them.
The gun support squadron composed of converted landing craft of various types
manned by bluejackets and marines, under command of Commander K. A. Sellar,
Royal Navy, stood close inshore and engaged these batteries at point blank range
whilst tank landing craft carrying the Royal Marine Commandos beached in suc-
cession and discharged their vehicles. This process was slow as they could only
beach two at a time in the gap in the dyke previously breached by the R.A.F. By
their determination and gallantry the landing craft support squadron drew most
of the enemy's fire and the Marine Commandos were landed successfully without
heavy casualties. Once ashore, however, Commandos came up against tough oppo-
British Speeches of the Day
sition at nearly all the enemy batteries and strong posts, which the) cleared in
succession with utmost resolution. As the weather improved during the forenoon
close air support was afforded by the R. A. F. in increasing degree and air spotting
became available to the bombarding squadron during the afternoon.
The gallantry and determination of landing craft crews, and of the Royal
Marine Commandos, was equalled by that of the Naval'beach party which had to
work under gun and mortar fire throughout D-Day and for a large proportion of
D-plus one, during which enemy fire could still be brought to bear on the gap in
the dyke. Difficulties were experienced in landing stores for the force, because
of this, and later the weather worsened and prevented supply by sea. Stores were
dropped by air on D-plus four, and these and rations captured from the enemy
enabled the Commandos to complete the clearance of the western half of the
island. A British infantry brigade was landed to reinforce the Commando put
ashore at Flushing and had heavy fighting before the town was finally cleared.
Craft engaged in ferrying this brigade from Breskens to Flushing frequently came
under heavy fire and crews showed a determination no less praiseworthy than that
of the Westkapelle Force.
The great success of these operations, which had, perforce, to be undertaken
under difficult and somewhat unfavorable conditions, against a desperate enemy,
was not achieved without relatively heavy casualties to craft and personnel. Of the
total of 25 support craft engaged, nine were sunk and eight damaged, and of their
crews 172 officers and men were killed and 200 wounded. Of 47 other major
landing craft engaged, four were sunk and others damaged. The casualties in these
craft and in the attack on Flushing were 21 officers and men killed and missing,
81 wounded. The Royal Marine Commandos suffered 37 officers and men killed,
77 missing, 201 wounded.
[House of Commons Debates]
SIR JAMES GRIGG
Secretary of State for War
House of Commons, November 17, 1944
I think the House would wish to hear a brief statement about ex-prisoners of
war who have just returned from Siam. As the House was told on October 31st,
some 150 survivors from a sunk Japanese transport carrying United Kingdom and
Australian prisoners of war from Singapore to Japan were rescued by United
States Naval Forces in September. The survivors from the United Kingdoin have
now reached this country. The result of preliminary examinations of the men
gives at last a first-hand account of the way our men were treated in the southern
areas of the Far East; and there is now no longer any doubt about the policy which
was pursued by the Japanese military authorities towards prisoners of war in these
areas, which include Burma, Siam, Malaya and theEast Indies. I should make
it clear at once that this information does not relate to Hong Kong, Formosa, Occu-
pied China, Korea or Japan, where we believe present conditions to be relatively
tolerable. Nor does it refer to civilian internees.
One in Five Died
The great majority of prisoners in Singapore and Java appear to have been
moved, early in 1942, to Burma or Siam. The Australians were sent by sea to
Burma, crowded into ships' holds which had been horizontally sub-divided so that
Japanese Treatment of British Prisoners of War 69
ceilings were no more than 4 feet high. The prisoners from the United Kingdom
were sent by rail to Siam so crowded into trucks that they could not even lie down
during the journey. They were then marched some 80 miles. This and subsequent
movement in Burma or Siam appears to have been on foot, regardless of distance,
weather, or the prisoners' state of health. The United Kingdom prisoners were
then set to work on the construction of a railway through primitive, disease-
infested jungle pAsing over the mountain range between Siam and Burma to meet
the Burmese end of the railway, on the construction of which Australians were
engaged in similar country. The conditions under which all these men lived and
'worked were terrible, evdn for natives of the country who were also forcibly em-
ployed on the same work.
Such accommodation as was provided gave little or no protection against
tropical rains or blazing sun; worn-out clothing was not replaced; soon many
lacked clothing, boots and head covering; the only food provided was a pannikin
of rice and about half a pint or less of watery stew three times a day. But the
work had to go on without respite, whatever the cost in human suffering or life.
The inevitable result was an appalling death-rate, the lowest estimate of death
being one in five. When the railway was finished about October, 1943, those not
needed for maintenance work were removed to camps in Siam out of the jungle,
and here conditions are less intolerable. From these camps, the fittest were later
sent to Singapore en route to Japan. The rescued men were on a ship, which left
Singapore early in September, 1944. There were probably 1,300 United Kingdom
and Australian prisoners of war on board. After she was sunk, the Japanese
deliberately picked up all Japanese survivors, but'left the prisoners to their fate,
and I fear the great majority of them were drowned. We have asked the Protect-
ing Power to make the strongest possible protest.
Prisoners' High Morale
I am sure that I speak for the whole House and for all the British people in
expressing admiration for the way in which the United States submarine crews
risked their own safety to rescue men from the sea, and our very deep gratitude
to those crews and to the United States authorities for the care and attention given
to them at every stage. Thanks to them nearly all the rescued men are recovering
from their terrible experiences. There is one redeeming feature in the whole story.
All the rescued men tell of the amazing way in which the morale of the prisoners
has remained high, despite the worst the Japanese could do. In particular, tribute
is paid to the medical officers who were captured with them and who have achieved
little short of miracles in looking after the sick and injured despite lack of essential
medicines, instruments, and hospital equipment. All that we have learnt from
these men reveals that our prisoners have been true to the highest traditions of our
race. To the relatives and friends of all the prisoners concerned, our deepest sym-
pathy goes out. It is a matter of profound regret to me that these disclosures
have to be made; but we are convinced that it is necessary that the Japanese should
know that we know how they have been behaving, and that we intend to hold
them responsible. Here I would add that we are collecting from the survivors
every scrap of information they can give about other 'men, and this information
will be passed on to the next-of-kin concerned as quickly as possible.
We are proceeding with the task of collating all the detailed information which
has been obtained. This may take some little time but a further statement will
be issued as soon as possible. Meantime, I understand that the Commonwealth
Government are issuing a statement today, and I will arrange for this to be pub-
lished in this country as soon as the full text has been received.
[House of Commons Debates)
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