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would be that you would have to take the actual individuals
who are now carrying on certain work in the Air Ministry
or the other Service Departments, put them together in some
new building, and label them * Ministry of Supply.9 That
would be all the difference you would get. You would set
back the work that is being done now and, as far as I am
able to see, you would add nothing whatever to it. For
the reasons I have given, the Government are not prepared
to set up a ministry of supply any more than they are prepared
to grant the inquiry which is being asked for by the party
opposite. Nobody must imagine from that that we are not
straining every nerve to complete pur programme at the
earliest possible moment.
" The hon. Member has again brought up the question of
air parity. I do not accept his statement that we have
abandoned the idea of air parity, but I repeat what I have
said before, that in estimating air parity the number of machines
which constitute first-line strength is only one of many
factors which have to be taken into account. I very much
deprecate the picking out of any particular country for
continual comparison in considering our air affairs. I think
it is unnecessary, because we have to work on general
principles, and I very much prefer a general statement,
which cannot then be taken as being in any way a challenge
to anybody else. We are all sinners, no doubt, and I
do not pretend to be more virtuous than other people. I
only say what occurs to me now, that I do not think it is
helpful to make comparison with particular countries, and that
it is better, so far as we can, to keep our discussions upon
this point upon general lines.
" I have said repeatedly in many Debates on this subject
that our programme is flexible; it is a programme which is
capable of expansion, or even of reduction; and it is a
programme, therefore, which must vary from time to time
in accordance with the international situation. I do not mind
saying—and I pick out here something which I think I
heard just tiow—that to me the important thing is not the
programme, but its execution. What the Government have
set themselves to do is to get the maximum execution possible,
at least in the next two years. In these days, when foreign