personal touch with the work of this Department, that I asked
my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy to represent
him in this House, and also to take over the task of assisting
him in his administrative duties.
" The Committee will observe that the Chancellor of the
Duchy is the Chairman of the Principal Supply Officers
Committee. That does not mean that he is Minister of Supply,
It was necessary to make that observation because sometimes
I have felt that there was some confusion as to the duties
of the Minister for Co-ordination of Defence. His duties
in connection with supply are the duties of a co-ordinating
Minister. That is not the same thing as a Minister who would
himself be executively responsible for supply. But I say this
further to the Committee on this occasion, that the immense
advance in the output of munitions, and I would particularly
say the output of aircraft and other supplies for the Air
Ministry, I think shows the wisdom of the course the Govern-
ment adopted in not appointing a Minister of Supply. The
first result of such a change would undoubtedly be to cause
a setback to that production just at the very time when it is
in full swing, and when it is desirable that it should proceed
still further without check.
" I want now to say a few words about the financial aspect
of these proposals. It is a curious thing that, while the hon.
Member for Bishop Auckland said that in his opinion finance
was the easiest part of the work of rearmament, my hon.
Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), a little
later in the Debate, expressed the view that it was the most
difficult part. I would add that for my part I rather agree
with my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen, and I
wonder whether even now the Committee has grasped the
full significance of the scale of the expenditure which is here
being contemplated. A sum of £580,000,000 is to be spent
in a single year upon the various aspects of defence. That is
a figure which does not fall very far short of the whole of the
National Debt at the beginning of the Great War, and, of
course, that is by no means the end of the story.
" The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Edinburgh
(Mr. Pethick-Lawrence), whom I do not see here to-day,
made a very interesting speech last night, in the course of