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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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(Sir J. Anderson) to undertake this task, and, as the House will
be aware, his appointment as Lord Privy Seal has been
approved by His Majesty the King. He will hold the office
of Lord Privy Seal, but the duties of that office are not very
onerous, and, in fact, this Minister will be the Minister of
Civilian Defence. In that capacity he will have direct charge
of air-raid precautions, and he will also be responsible, in
consultation with the Departments concerned, for determining
arrangements for national voluntary service.
" With reference to air-raid precautions, hon. Members will
appreciate that a large number of Departments are con-
cerned in this work, and that they must be responsible in
an emergency for functions which have to be exercised
through their existing organisation. We have the Home
Office, dealing with, perhaps, the major part of the work,
especially police work, as well as fire brigades, gas-masks
and so forth. Then we have the Ministry of Health, which
is in close touch with local authorities, and is also responsible
for the medical services, including nursing and ambulance
provision. Then there is the Board of Trade, which must be
responsible for the storage and distribution of food, and, of
course, for the distribution of shipping and the decision as to
where shipping is to be embarked and disembarked. There
is the Board of Education, which must marshal the children
in case of evacuation; there is the Ministry of Transport,
which has to provide that railways or other forms of transport
shall be available to carry out evacuation; there is the Post
Office, which is responsible for communications and for the
repair of such things as telephone or telegraph services in case
of damage; and finally, of course, there is the Ministry of
Labour, which has to see that labour is available for all the
services as it is wanted. These services in Scotland are, of
course, under the Secretary of State for Scotland. The
House will see, therefore, that, in addition to the Home Office
and the Scottish Office, all these other Departments have
to play their part, and it is necessary that their activities should
be co-ordinated, so that each of them may know beforehand
exactly what is going to be expected of it in an emergency.
For that purpose we shall set up committees of the Ministers
of these various Departments and also of the senior officials.