Defence to exercise now. Then again there is Lord Mottistone,
who has a desire to see the old Ministry of Munitions revived,
with the same constitution, the same powers and duties, that
the Ministry of Munitions had in the War; and that I under-
stand to be favoured by the hon. Gentleman opposite. Then
again my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr.
Churchill) has revived a memorandum which he wrote some
rime ago, in which he evolved a scheme of his own, a scheme
for a ministry with, as I understand, at the present time
intermediate but unspecified powers, and a scheme which
would combine supply and design for the Army and the
Air Force with certain odds and ends for the Admiralty.
" The only point that all these schemes have in common
is that they contemplate that a new minister should be
appointed. That is, of course, a proposal which always carries
with it a certain amount of interest. My first comment upon
all or any of these schemes must be that, whatever their
merits, they surely are inopportune at the present moment.
Whichever form of ministry of supply we adopt, it must
inevitably mean a certain dislocation of the present machine,
and that must be followed, therefore, by a check and a setback
in the programme which is being developed by the existing
organisation. It seems to me that that difficulty is only to
be overridden if there are some superior interests to be
served. Either the new ministry of supply will be so superior
to the present system that it will very quickly overtake the
arrears, and thereafter give us greatly increased output, or
else—and this would not apply to the proposal of my hon.
Friend the Member for Oxford University—it follows that
the present system is deficient in co-ordination, and that the
new scheme would put an end to that deficiency and conse-
quently promote efficiency and progress, which are now
being hampered by overlapping.
" The hon. Member suggested that the fact that Canada
had not been able to get delivery of orders placed for guns
in this country years ago conclusively proved the necessity
for a ministry of supply; but if Canada or other Dominions
had not been able to get their orders fulfilled, that was not
because there was no ministry of supply here, but because all
available capacity for production of the things they wanted