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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

344---------------------------------------------------------------------—
were appointed merely to take over the designing and con-
tracting staffs of the Defence Departments, without any
additional powers, I cannot resist the conclusion that the first
effect must be a dislocation to some extent of the existing
arrangements, and that must necessarily result, not in an
acceleration, but in a slowing down of the progress of our
armaments. If you are really to produce any substantial
result—and even then it would not come at once—you would
have to arm such a Minister with compulsory powers, with
powers of compulsion upon individual firms, and also upon
individual men and women. I venture to say that, while you
can easily persuade people to accept compulsion of that kind
in time of war, it is quite another thing to ask them to do so in
time of peace ; and it would be all the more difficult to obtain
agreement because those powers, if given now, would not
require to be exercised universally, but would have to be
exercised with discrimination. You would have to dis-
criminate between one firm and another, and between one
individual and another, and you would have to justify your-
selves every time you proposed to put compulsion upon
Firm A instead of Firm B, or upon Ben Smith instead of
Tom Jones.
" It must be remembered that we are not to-day in the same
position as we were in 1914, in this respect: that we are not
now contemplating the equipment of an army on a continental
scale. Our requirements to-day are limited ; our difficulties
are chiefly concerned with the supply of certain classes of
specially skilled labour. I am not satisfied that in order to
obtain that supply of labour where we want it, or, alter-
natively, in order to put the work where that labour is—I am
not satisfied that it is necessary to introduce compulsion. I am
not satisfied that we cannot get what we want by voluntary
co-operation of employers and trade unionists. When we
have done everything that we can on voluntary lines, if we find
that we still cannot fill our requirements, then it will be time
enough to talk about a Ministry of Supply with compulsory
powers. But up to then I am convinced that the most satis-
factory course is to perfect and accelerate the methods we have
been pursuing, and which have given a very large measure
of success."