MR. GARRO JONES : " It is a very important matter and one
which the Prime Minister ought not to be allowed to pass.
However small a part of the whole programme the right hon.
Gentleman may consider first line strength to be, I think it is
vital, before the House can assess the value of the point he has
made, that he should tell the House what is his information
with regard to the first line strength of the German and
British air forces."
THE PRIME MINISTER : " I do not propose to enter into
details in this opening statement. I have no doubt that in the
course of the Debate a great number of questions will be
asked by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen, and there will be an
opportunity, before the Debate closes, for a reply by my
right hon. Friend the Minister for the Co-ordination of
Defence. That will be the time for the hon. Gentleman to
get answers to such questions as should be answered, and it
is not now desirable that I should interrupt the general state-
ment I was going to make by going into matters of detail.
" The question arises now, what is the policy for which
these programmes are designed ? I will try to put that in the
form of a general statement. The corner-stone of our defence
policy must be the security of the United Kingdom. Our
main strength lies in the resources of man power, productive
capacity and endurance of this country, and unless these can
be maintained not only in peace but in the early stages of war,
when they will be the subject of continuous attack, our
defeat will be certain whatever might be the fate in secondary
spheres elsewhere. Therefore, our first main efforts must have
two main objectives: we must protect this country and we
must preserve the trade routes upon which we depend for our
food and raw materials.
" Our third objective is the defence of British territories
overseas from attack, whether by sea, land or air. I would
remind the House that our position is different from that of
many Continental countries in that we have the necessity at
all times of maintaining garrisons overseas in naval bases and
strategic points in different parts of the world. That makes
it necessary for us to have available forces which can be
despatched on what may be called Imperial police duty. In
* war time there would undoubtedly be substantial demands for