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was being occupied in production for our own purposes.
If we have to some extent broken in upon that state of things,
if we have, for instance, exported a certain number of
aeroplanes to the Dominions and other countries, we have
had to do it at the expense of our own defences here in so
far as they were military machines which we could use. The
hon. Member is quite right in saying that other considerations
have to be taken into account. Certainly it would be extremely
unfortunate if we were to announce to all the world that
we were not going to supply a single aeroplane or item of
munitions to anybody until we had completed our own
programme, for in that case we might indeed alienate our
friends and destroy a good will for which we shall be very
thankful hereafter.
" Let me say at once that I think hon. Members may
dismiss any idea that you require a ministry of supply to
stop overlapping or to prevent one Department from taking
away supplies which ought really to go to another. There
is ample machinery existing to-day and working daily for
preventing overlapping and for allocating priority in all the
things that matter. I wonder sometimes whether hon.
Members realise how far the system of co-ordination has
been carried to-day in commodities which we require for
war-like purposes. The House has been told on other
occasions of a body which is known as the Principal Supply
Officers* Committee—a sub-committee of the Committee of
Imperial Defence. That is the body which is responsible for
this work. It contains representatives of all the Departments
that are concerned in war supplies—the three Service Depart-
ments, the Treasury, the Board of Trade, the Ministry of
Labour, the Home Office, and also the Dominions and India*
It deals with all the commodities that are required in war—
ships, guns, aeroplanes, tanks, explosives and propellants,
motor vehicles, clothing, raw materials, machine tools and
so forth. I could enlarge the list almost indefinitely."
MR. CHURCHILL : ** Will my right hon. Friend say how
often it meets ? **
THE PRIME MINISTER : " Continuously; it is in con-
tinuous session. Let me explain to the House how this
committee works. In the case of every one of these com-