authority which was requisite for the purposes which the House
had in mind when the appointment was called for. Even
after my right hon. Friend's appointment, doubts as to the
capacity, not of my right hon. Friend personally, but of
any Minister in his position, to carry out those duties still
persisted. Some hon. Members appeared to think that, in
fact, he was to act more like a Minister of Munitions than like
a Minister whose duty it was to see that plans were prepared
for contingencies, and to see that the Services were so co-
ordinated as to allow each Service to play its appropriate part.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr, Churchill)
has played merrily on more than one occasion on the meagre-
ness of my right hon. Friend's staff, which he alleges consists
only of a typist and an office boy."
MR. CHURCHILL : " I was quoting the Minister himself,"
THE PRIME MINISTER : " My right hon. Friend does not
deny that he made merry. The Minister for the Co-ordination
of Defence is not, of course, an executive officer, but a co-
ordinating officer, and, in fact, his staff does not consist
merely of his personal assistants, but it is to be found in the
whole machinery of the Committee of Imperial Defence.
I think probably most hon. Members are of opinion that my
right hon. Friend has performed invaluable services in the
work of supply. He is not, of course, the Minister who places
contracts, but he has a great work to do in allotting priority
of orders among the three Services, and of making sure that
their programmes are kept in proper balance and not thrown
out by deficiencies in one section or another. He has? then,
in that direction performed invaluable services. But after
watching his activities closely, I feel that I can with complete
confidence give the House an .assurance that the original
object which we had in mind in appointing him has been
achieved. Co-ordination, which already even before his
appointment did exist, has been greatly strengthened and
improved. The system of control, which has been described
on a previous occasion, is working smoothly and efficiently.
As hon. Members know, it is based upon the Committee
of Imperial Defence, of which the Prime Minister is Chairman,
and the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence is Vice-
Chairman. He is responsible, on behalf of the Prime Minister,