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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

221

mind to the removal of faults and the prosecution of the
programme.
" Since this Motion was originally put down, there have
been changes at the Air Ministry and I shall have something to
say about my Noble Friend Lord Swinton and his administra-
tion of the office. My right hon. Friend the present Secretary
of State for Air is a man of whom the House has had know-
ledge now for a great many years, and I think the reputation
which he has established in the various offices he has already
held will be some guarantee that his methods will be
thorough, and that he will omit no pains in order to carry
out the duties which are expected of him. I think it was
made clear in the letters which passed between Lord
Swinton and myself, when he offered his resignation and
I accepted it, that I accepted it, not because I was dissatisfied
with his administration, but because I recognised, as he
recognised, the difficulty of carrying on a great spending
Department at a time of rapid expansion, and at a time when
it was the focus of attention both in this House and the
country, when the head of that Department was not in this
House to answer for himself.
" My Noble Friend has been criticised for faults which
are alleged to have existed in the administration of his office.
I do not think that any charges that have been brought against
him have been brought with any malicious motive, but I do
think they have been brought with insufficient appreciation
of the magnitude and difficulty of the task which was laid
upon him. When he took office, with no powers of compul-
sion but only those of persuasion, he was called upon, at short
notice, to carry out an enormous expansion of the organisation
of the Air Force. He was called upon to equip it with new
types of machines which had not passed the stage of design,
and at the same time to make all the necessary preparations
for the recruitment and training of the increased personnel
which was necessary to man the force.
" Not only that. He had to take account of what might
happen if the last emergency arose and if we should be involved
in war. He had to take account of the fact that the capacity
of the country was quite insufficient to maintain our forces
4n the early period of a war, and he consequently had to devise