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."