Published on January 4, 2010 By kevinyan1107 In Democrat

380  We are also studying the possible varying of this form of attack, viz.,  acoustic mines and supersonic mines. Thirty ardent experts are pursuing  these possibilities, but I am not yet able to say that they have found a cure.  It is well to ponder this side of the naval war. In the event a significant proportion of our  whole war effort had to be devoted to combating the mine. A vast output of material and  money was diverted from other tasks, and many thousand men risked their lives night and  day in the minesweepers alone. The peak figure was reached in June, 1944, when nearly  sixty thousand were thus employed. Nothing daunted the ardour of the merchant navy;  and their spirits rose with the deadly complications of the mining attack and our effective  measures for countering it. Their toils and tireless courage were our salvation. The sea  traffic on which we depended for our existence proceeded without interruption.  * * * * *  The first impact of the magnetic mine had stirred me deeply, and apart from all the  protective measures which had been enforced upon us, I sought for a means of retaliation.  My visit to the Rhine on the eve of the war had focused my mental vision upon this  supreme and vital German artery. Even in September, I had raised discussion at the  Admiralty about the launching or dropping of fluvial mines in the Rhine. Considering that  this river was used by the traffic of many neutral nations, we could not, of course, take  action unless and until the Germans had taken the initiative in this form of indiscriminate  warfare against us. Now that they had done so, it seemed to me that the proper retort for  indiscriminate sinkings by mines at the mouths of the British harbours was a similar and if  possible more effective mining attack upon the Rhine.  Accordingly, on November 17, I issued several minutes of which the following gives the  most precise account of the plan:  Controller [and otherscruisers; having regard to the vast ocean spaces to be  controlled, the principle was “the more the better.” In the search for enemy  raiders or cruisers, even small cruisers could play their part, and in the case  of the Emden we were forced to gather over twenty ships before she was  rounded up. However, a long view of cruiser policy would seem to suggest  that a new unit of search is required. Whereas a cruiser squadron of four  ships could search on a front of, say eighty miles, a single cruiser  accompanied by an aircraft carrier could cover at least three hundred miles,  or if the movement of the ship is taken into account, four hundred miles. On  the other hand, we must apprehend that the raiders of the future will be  powerful vessels, eager to fight a single-ship action if a chance is presented.  The mere multiplication of small, weak cruisers is no means of ridding the  seas of powerful raiders. Indeed they are only an easy prey. The raider,  cornered at length, will overwhelm one weak vessel and escape from the  cordon.  Every unit of search must be able to find, to catch, and to kill. For this  purpose we require a number of cruisers superior to the 10,000-ton type, or  else pairs of our own 10,000 -ton type. These must be accompanied by small  aircraft carriers carrying perhaps a dozen or two dozen machines, and of the  smallest possible displacement. The ideal unit of search would be one killer  or two three-quarter killers, plus one aircraft carrier, plus four ocean-going  destroyers, plus two or three specially constructed tankers of good speed.  Such a formation cruising would be protected against submarines, and could  search an enormous area and destroy any single raider when detected.  The policy of forming hunting groups as discussed in this minute, comprising balanced  forces capable of scouring wide areas and overwhelming any raider within the field of  search, was developed so far as our limited resources allowed, and I shall refer to this  subject again in a later chapter. The same idea was afterwards more fully expanded by the  United States in their task force system, which made an important contribution to the art of  sea warfare.  * * * * *  Towards the end of the month I thought it would be well for me to give the House some  coherent story of what was happening and why.  First Lord to Prime Minister. 24.IX.39.  327  Would it not be well for me to make a statement to the House on the anti -  submarine warfare and general navalbases [in British  possessions the hundred  and fifty to two hundred aircraft, and the two hundred and fifty  thousand rifles, also anything else that is going? I consider we  were promised all the above, and more too. Not an hour should  be lost in raising these questions. “Beg while the iron is hot.”  I am very pleased with this telegram [about the Cavalry Division  in Palestine  2.XI.40.  529  are reaching you by November 15, which must affect local  situation in Egypt.  During Mr. Eden’s earlier conferences and talks with General Wavell and also  with General Wilson, he posed the question, What action was intended if the  Italian offensive did not develop? He was told in extreme secrecy that a plan  was being made to attack the Italians in the Western Desert instead of waiting  for them to open their offensive against Mersa Matruh. Neither he nor Wavell  imparted these ideas to me or to the Chiefs of Staff. General Wavell begged  the Secretary of State for War not to send any telegram on this subject, but to  tell us verbally about it when he got home. Thus for some weeks we remained  without knowledge of the way their minds were moving. It is clear from my  message of October 26 that any forestalling operation on a large scale in the  Western Desert would command my keen support. We were all, however,  until Mr. Eden’s return left under the impression that Wavell and Wilson were  still wedded to the defensive battle at Mersa Matruh, and would wait there  until they were attacked. The only action they seemed to contemplate in this  extremely serious crisis was to send a battalion or so to Crete, a few air  squadrons to Greece, and make some minor diversions against the  Dodecanese and a small though desirable offensive in the Soudan. This  seemed by no means good enough employment for the very large forces with  which, at great risk, exertion, and cost, we had furnished them.  Our correspondence during this period was thus on both sides based upon  misunderstanding. Wavell and the Secretary of State thought that for the sake  of giving ineffectual aid to Greece we were pressing them to dissipate the  forces they were gathering for an offensive in the Western Desert. We, on the  other hand, not crediting them with offensive intentions, objected to their  standing idle or trifling at such a crucial moment. In fact, as will presently be  seen, we were all agreed. On November 1, indeed, Mr. Eden telegraphed  cryptically:  We cannot from Middle East forces send sufficient air or land  reinforcements to have any decisive influence upon course of  fighting in Greece. To send such forces from here, or to divert  reinforcements now on their way or approved, would imperil our  whole position in the Middle East and jeopardise plans for an  offensive operation now being laid in more than one theatre. 3  530  After much painful effort and astocks are  piling up in this country. Let me know what the total now  amounts to. The necessary containers should be brought level  with supply. Do these stocks keep? Press on.  SEPTEMBER  Of course if the glider scheme is better than --parachutes, we  should pursue it, but is it being seriously taken up? Are we not in  danger of being fobbed off with one doubtful and experimental  policy and losing the other which has already been proved? Let  me have a full report of what has been done about the gliders.  I am deeply concerned at your news that you cannot attack these  batteries of German long-range guns until the 16th. You are  allowing an artillery concentration to be developed day after day,  which presently will forbid the entry of all British ships into the  Straits of Dover, and will prepare the way for an attack on Dover  itself. Pray let me know what you propose to do about this.  Prime Minister to General Ismay.  31.VIII.40.  Prime Minister to General Ismay, for C.O.S. Committee. 1.IX.40.  Prime Minister to First Lord and First Sea Lord.  1.IX.40.  672  Surely while the big guns are actually being hoisted into position  and cannot fire back is the time for action. The general weakness  of the defences of Dover itself in heavy guns is also a matter of  great seriousness. We must not simply look at dangers piling up  without any attempt to forestall them. Erebus will have to face  double the fire on the 16th that she or any other ship would have  to face in the next week.  I remember well that it was customary to bombard the Knocke  and other German batteries on the Belgian coast very frequently  during the late war. It was possible to fire most accurately by  night after a buoy had been fixed and sound-ranging used. I ask  for proposals for action this week. Look at the photographs  attached.  I presume you will be thinking about what is to happen should  “Menace” succeed, with little or no bloodshed. It would seem that  as soon as de Gaulle has established himself there and in the  place a little to the north, he should try to get a footing in  Morocco, and our ships and troops could be used to repeat the  process of “Menace,” if it has been found to work, immediately  and in a more important theatre. This operation may be called  “Threat.”  I should be glad to have a full report of the arrangements being  made to provide educational and recreational facilities for the  troops during the coming winter. Who will be responsible for this  importan All should be on a voluntary basis, the Government contenting itself  with giving advice, and leaving the rest to local effort. In these areas, which  comprise at least seven-eighths of the United Kingdom, gas-masks should be  kept at home and only carried in the target areas as scheduled. There is  really no reason why orders to this effect should not be given during the  coming week.  * * * * *  The disasters which had occurred in Poland and the Baltic States made me all the more  anxious to keep Italy out of the war, and to build up by every possible means some  365  common interest between us. In the meantime the war went on, and I was busy over a  number of administrative matters.  In spite of having a full day's work usually here, I cannot help feeling  anxious about the Home Front. You know my views about the needless, and  in most parts of the country senseless, severities of these black-outs,  entertainment restrictions and the rest. But what about petrol? Have the  Navy failed to bring in the supplies? Are there not more supplies on the  water approaching and probably arriving than would have been ordered had  peace remained unbroken? I am told that very large numbers of people and  a large part of the business of the country is hampered by the stinting.  Surely the proper way to deal with this is to have a ration at the standard  price, and allow free purchasing, subject to a heavy tax, beyond it. People  will pay for locomotion, the revenue will benefit by the tax, more cars will  come out with registration fees, and the business of the country can go  forward.  Then look at these rations, all devised by the Ministry of Food to win the  war. By all means have rations, but I am told that the meat ration, for  instance, is very little better than that of Germany. Is there any need of this  when the seas are open?  If we have a heavy set-back from air attack or surface attack, it might be  necessary to inflict these severities. Up to the present there is no reason to  suppose that the Navy has failed in bringing in the supplies, or that it will  fail.  Then what about all these people of middle age, many of whom served in  the last war, who are full of vigour and experience, and who are being told  by tens of thousands that they are not wanted, and that there is nothing for  them except to register at the local Labour Exchange? Surely this is very  foolish. Why do we not form a Home Guard of half a million men over forty  (if they like to volunt Prime Minister to Admiral Keyes.  Impart following to your friend [the King of the Belgianswas the most humane, when he thought about it, Huo Dou did not resemble any of the four princes.   Qiu Chuji said, “I’m afraid that a man of his stature coming to create havoc here has an ulterior motive. His kung fu originates from Western Tibet; he arrived in the central plains at the beginning of the year. He wounded the three heroes of Henan, and later on he single-handedly killed the seven Lords of Lanzhou. His name was spread widely throughout the land, we didn’t predict that he would have the nerve to come to our sect and cause trouble. The other Tibetan monk is called Da’erba; he has supernatural strength, and his kung fu is from the same school as Huo Dou. It appears that he is the senior apprentice brother. He is a monk, of course he hasn’t come here to get married; he’s here to aid Huo Dou.   When the rest of the evil men heard the two were coming, they remembered the matter of dueling for marriage. Years ago, in front of a crowd of people, Li Mochou had said the tomb contained mountains of treasures, and had countless kung fu manuscripts and manuals; saying there was the formulae to the “Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms”, the “Solitary Yang Finger” and numerous others. Although the crooks and scoundrels were unsure, they thought that if they went up to the mountain and opened up the tomb, they would be able to get a share of the spoils. About one hundred or so of them came up the mountain. Originally our “Big Dipper Formation” could have easily repelled them away from the foot of our mountain, not allowing them to come through and teach them not to take one step into Chongyang Palace. We were resisting them when the misunderstanding occurred; there is no need to say anymore.”   Guo Jing felt very guilty and apologetic, and wanted to say a few words of apology. Qiu Chuji waved his hand and laughed, “Letting a laugh out rids your worries and the moon is still in the sky above the western lake. The halls and buildings are just objects; human possessions mean nothing, so why worry about them? You have honed your martial arts for the last ten years, could it be that you do not understand the meaning of this?”   Guo Jing laughed and said, “Yes!”   Qiu Chuji laughed and said, “Actually when I saw the back courtyard being burned down to the ground, I was very angry and furious, but after a while I calmed down. Compared to how calm apprentice brother Ma was, I am nowhere as enlightened as he is.”   Guo Jing said, “You can’t blame yourself for getting angr should the British Government uphold  its new and negative decision concerning direct action upon  Dakar by sea, I request immediate co -operation of British naval  and air forces here present to support and cover an operation  which I personally shall conduct with my own troops against  Dakar from the interior.1  Our commanders now reported: 2  At meeting today de Gaulle insisted upon necessity for early  action at Dakar… . He is advised that substantial support for him  is likely to be found in Dakar if agents are sent to foster it, action  is not unduly deferred, and a too-British complexion of the  operation avoided. His agents are ready at Bathurst and have  their instructions. De Gaulle now proposes original plan to enter  477  harbour unopposed should go forward, but that if this fails, Free  French troops should attempt landing at Rufisque, supported by  naval and air action if necessary, and thence advance on Dakar.  British troops only to be landed in support if called upon after  bridgehead has been established… .  After careful consideration of all factors, we are of the opinion  that the presence of these three cruisers has not sufficiently  increased the risks, which were always accepted, to justify the  abandonment of the enterprise. We accordingly recommend  acceptance of de Gaulle ’s new proposal, and that, should he fail,  landing of British troops should be undertaken to install him as  previously contemplated. Increased strength in [ourfrom Malta will hamper the  sending of further reinforcements – Italian or German – from  Europe into Africa.  18. All this might be put effectively in train by October 1,  provided we are allowed the time. If not, we must do what we  can. All trained or Regular units, whether fully equipped or not,  must be used in defence of the Delta. All armed white men and  also Indian or foreign units must be used for internal security.  The Egyptian Army must be made to play its part in support of  the Delta front, thus leaving only riotous crowds to be dealt with  in Egypt proper.  Pray let the above be implemented and be ready to discuss it in  detail with me at 4.30 P.M., August 16.  With this General Wavell returned to Cairo in the third week of August.  * * * * *  I now have to record a small but at the time vexatious military episode. The  Italians, using vastly superior forces, drove us out of Somaliland. This story  requires to be told.  Until December, 1939, our policy in a war with Italy was to evacuate  Somaliland; but in that month General Ironside, C.I.G.S., declared for defence  of the territory, and in the last resort to hold Berbera. Defences were to be  prepared to defend the Tug Argen Gap through the hills. One British battalion  (the Black Watch), two Indian, and two East African battalions, with the  Somaliland Camel Corps and one African light battery, with small detachments  of anti-tank and anti-aircraft units, were gathered by the beginning of August.  General Wavell on July 21 telegraphed to the War Office that withdrawal  without fighting would be disastrous for our influence, and that Somaliland  might be a valuable base for further offensive action. Fighting began during  his visit to London, and he told the Middle East Ministerial Committee that,  although the strategic disadvantages of the loss of Somaliland would be slight,  it would be a blow to our prestige.  The Italians entered British Somaliland on August 3 with three battalions of  423  Italian infantry, fourteen of colonial infantry, two groups of pack artillery, and  detachments of medium tanks, light tanks, and armoured cars. These large  forces advanced upon us on August 10, and a new British commander,  General Godwin Austen, arrived on the night of the 11th. In his instructions he  had been told, “Your task is to prevent any Italian advance beyond the main  position… . You will take the necessary steps for withdrawal if necessary.”  Fighting took place on the 12th and 13th, These ships will be used to  defend the possessions and territories of France. Unless we are  attacked by the British, they will never be used against England.  Even if I wanted to, I cannot sell those ships. It is impossible  under the terms of the armistice, and even if it were possible it  would never be permitted by the Germans. France is under  Germany’s heel and impotent. I would gladly sell them, if I were  free, on condition that they be returned to us after the war, and  save them for France in this way. I must repeat I have neither  the right nor the possibility of selling them under present  circumstances.  Marshal Pétain had made this statement with great seriousness, but with no  sign of either surprise or resentment at the suggestion. President Roosevelt  had further instructed the Chargé d’Affaires to inform Marshal Pétain that the  American offer remained open both about these vessels as well as about any  others in the French Navy.  On November 23, the President sent me further reassurances. Marshal Pétain  had stated categorically that he would keep the vessels now at Dakar and  Casablanca where they were, and that if there was any change in this plan he  would give the President previous notice.  * * * * *  The attitude of Spain was of even more consequence to us than that of Vichy,  with which it was so closely linked. Spain had much to give and even more to  take away. We had been neutral in the sanguinary Spanish Civil War. General  Franco owed little or nothing to us, but much – perhaps life itself – to the Axis  Powers. Hitler and Mussolini had come to his aid. He disliked and feared  Hitler. He liked and did not fear Mussolini. At the beginning of the World War,  Spain had declared, and since then strictly observed, neutrality. A fertile and  needful trade flowed between our two countries, and the iron ore from  512  Biscayan ports was important for our munitions. But now in May the “Twilight  War” was over. The might of Nazi Germany was proved. The French front was  broken. The Allied armies of the North were in peril. It was at this moment  that I had gladly offered to a former colleague, displaced by the Ministerial  changes, a new sphere of responsibility, for which his gifts and temperament  were suited. On May 17 Sir Samuel Hoare had been appointed Ambassador to  Spain, and certainly I believe that no one could have carried out better this  wearing, delicate, and cardinal five years’ mission. Thus we were very well  represenwas violent and brave, the second son Cha He Tai [Chagatai and I wonder whether any attempt is being  made to standardise the punishments inflicted for this very odious  crime. Five years’ penal servitude for stealing whisky for  immediate consumption seems out of proportion when compared  with sentences of three or six months for stealing valuables.  Exemplary discipline is no doubt necessary, as people must be  made to feel that looting is stealing. Still, I should be glad to  know that such cases are being reviewed and levelled out.  I sent you today two Foreign Office telegrams from Bucharest  and Sofia respectively, which concur in an estimate of thirty  thousand Germans, or one full division, as the maximum in  Rumania at the present time. In view of this your Intelligence  Branch should carefully, review the advice they gave to the effect  that there were five divisions in Rumania and that these could be  assembled on the Bulgarian-Greek frontier in three or four days. I  thought myself that this estimate was altogether too pessimistic,  and credited the enemy with a rapidity of movement and a  degree of preparedness which were perhaps more serious than  Prime Minister to Home Secretary.  23.XI.40.  Prime Minister to C.I.G.S.  24.XI.40  709  the facts. Will you have the whole problem examined most  carefully again? I had thought myself that it would be a fortnight  before anything serious could happen on the Greek frontier, and  that perhaps it might be a month. The great thing is to get the  true picture, whatever it is.  This paper shows that we have completely tailed to make cruiser  tanks, and that there is no prospect of the present deficiency  being made up in the next year. We must therefore equip our  armoured divisions in the best possible way open to us in these  melancholy circumstances. At this stage in tank production,  numbers count above everything else. It is better to have any  serviceable tank than none at all. The formation and training of  the divisions can proceed, and the quality and character of the  vehicles be improved later on. The “I” tank should not be  disdained because of its slow speed, and in default of cruisers  must be looked upon as our staple for fighting. We must adapt  our tactics for the time being to this weapon as we have no  other. Meanwhile the production of cruiser tanks and of A. 22 [a  new model A.A. Defences of Scapa  Surely it would be better to have a conference as I suggested and talk  matters over round a table than that I should have to prepare a paper and  raise the matter as a Cabinet issue? The squandering of our strength  proceeds in every direction, everyone thinking he is serving the country by  playing for safety locally. Our Army is puny as far as the fighting front is  First Lord to First Sea Lord, Controller, D.C.N.S.,  Secretary and A.C.N.S.  12.I.40.  First Lord to Controller. 13.I.40.  First Lord to Naval Secretary. 14.I.40.  First Lord to First Sea Lord. 16.I.40.  570  concerned; our Air Force is hopelessly inferior to the Germans'; we are not  allowed to do anything to stop them receiving their vital supplies of ore; we  maintain an attitude of complete passivity, dispersing our forces ever more  widely; the Navy demands Scapa and Rosyth both to be kept at the highest  point. Do you realise that perhaps we are heading for defeat? I feel I must  do my duty, even in small things, in trying to secure effective concentration  upon the enemy, and in preventing needless dispersion.  Fleet Air Arm– Estimated Cost During the First Twelve Months of the Year  I have been increasingly disquieted about the demand which the Fleet Air  Arm involves upon British war -making resources. None the less this estimate  is a surprise to me, as I had not conceived how enormous was the charge  involved. I have always been a strong advocate of the Fleet Air Arm, in fact I  drafted for Sir Thomas Inskip the compromise decision to which he  eventually came in 1938. I feel all the more responsible for making sure that  the Fleet Air Arm makes a real contribution to the present war in killing and  defeating Germans.  2. When some years ago the Fleet Air Arm was being discussed, the speed  of carrier-borne and shore-based aircraft was not unequal; but since then  the shore-based development has been such as to make it impossible for  carrier-borne aircraft to compete with shore-based. This left the Fleet Air  Arm the most important duties of reconnaissance in the ocean spaces, of  spotting during an action with surface ships and launching torpedo seaplane  attacks upon them. However, there are very few surface ships of the enemy,  and one can only consider the possible break-out of a German raider or fast  battleship as potential targets. Provision must be made for this; but certainly  it does not justify anything like this immense expenditure.  3. On thare  accurate they constitute a deadly danger, and one of the first  magnitude. I expect the Chiefs of the Staff to use all the  resources at their disposal and to give me a report by tomorrow  night (a) upon the reality of the danger, ( upon the measures  to counter it. In making any recommendation for action the  Chiefs of the Staff may be sure that the highest priorities and all  other resources will be at their disposal.  The composition hat for air raids which Mr. Bevin is promoting  seems to me of the utmost importance, and if it gives a measure  of protection against falling splinters, etc., it should certainly be  Prime Minister to Captain, H.M. Destroyer “Churchill.” 25.IX.40.  Prime Minister to Foreign Secretary.  25.IX.40.  Prime Minister to General Ismay, for C.O.S. Committee. 26.IX.40.  Prime Minister to Home Secretary.  26.IX.40.  684  mass-produced on a great scale, and eventually made a full issue.  Pray let me have a report today on the experimental aspect, and  in conjunction with the Minister of Supply let me have estimates  for production.  I was delighted with your hat, and something on these lines  should certainly be mass-produced as soon as possible for issue  pending steel hats. I think it is a mistake to call it a “rag hat,” as I  see is done in some of the papers today. I hope you will think of  some better name.  I am calling for a full report today from the Home Secretary.  Considering that everything depends upon Lord Beaverbrook’s  success in obtaining the supply of aircraft, and the heavy blows  he is receiving at Bristol, Southampton, and elsewhere, I  earnestly trust you will see that his wishes are met fully and  immediately in the matter of these spares.  I am far from satisfied at the proposal to reduce pigs to one-third  of their present number by the middle of the autumn. This is  certainly not what was understood by the Cabinet. Why do you  not ask for a greater proportion of feeding-stuffs in the imports?  We could then see what, if anything, had to give way to it.  Meanwhile, what arrangements are you making for curing the  surplus bacon that will come upon the market through the  massacre of pigs? What increases have you been able to establish  in the pig population by encouraging people to feed individual  pigs from household refuse?  Prime Minister to Minister of Labour.  26.IX.40.  Prime Minister to Secretary of State for Air and C.A.S. 26.IX.40.  Prime Minister to Minister of Agriculture.  26.IX.40.  685  Rethe visit was kept in a minor key. Effective contact  has not been made. How far apart we are from these people! It is another  world. We were talking about it after dinner to the Duce. “These men,” said  Mussolini, “are not made of the same stuff as Francis Drake and the other  magnificent adventurers who created the Empire. They are after all the tired  sons of a long line of rich men.”  The British [noted Cianobring relative battleship  strength in home waters to a smaller margin than is satisfactory.  Bismarck and Tirpitz will certainly be in service in January. We  have already King George V, and hope to have Prince of Wales in  the line at the same time. These modern ships are, of course, far  better armoured, especially against air attack, than vessels like  Rodney and Nelson, designed twenty years ago. We have  recently had to use Rodney on transatlantic escort, and at any  time, when numbers are so small, a mine or a torpedo may alter  decisively the <a href='' target='_blank'>louis vuitton travel bag</a>  strength of the line of battle. We get relief in June,  when Duke of York will be ready, and shall be still better off at  the end of 1941, when Anson also will have joined. But these two  first-class modern 35,000-ton 3 fifteen-inch-gun German  battleships force us to maintain a concentration never previously  necessary in this war.  8. We hope that the two Italian Littorios will be out of action for a  while, and anyway they are not so dangerous as if they were  manned by Germans. Perhaps they might be! We are indebted to  you for your help about the Richelieu and Jean Bart, and I  daresay that will be all right. But, Mr. President, as no one will  see more clearly than you, we have during these months to  consider for the first time in this war a fleet action in which the  enemy will have two ships at least as good as our two best and  only two modern ones. It will be impossible to reduce our  strength in the Mediterranean, because the attitude of Turkey,  and indeed the whole position in the Eastern Basin, depends  upon our having a strong fleet there. The older, unmodernised  battleships will have to go for convoy. Thus, even in the  battleship class we are in full extension.  9. There is a second field of danger: The Vichy Government may,  either by joining Hitler’s New Order in Europe or through some  manoeuvre, such as forcing us to attack an expedition  despatched by sea against the Free French Colonies, find an  excuse for ranging with the Axis Powers the very considerable  undamaged naval forces still under its control. If the French Navy  were to join the Axis, the control of West Africa would pass  555  immediately into their hands, with the gravest consequences to  our communications between the Northern and Southern Atlantic,  and also affecting Dakar and of course thereafter South America.  10. A third sphere of danger is in the Far East. Here it seems  clear that Japan is thrusting southward tas the middle of April, the Soviet Government entered  into negotiations with the British and French Governments about the  necessary measures to be taken. The negotiations started then are not yet  concluded. It became clear some time ago that if there was any real desire  to create an efficient front of peaceable countries against the advance of  aggression, the following minimum conditions were imperative:  The conclusion between Great Britain, France, and the U.S.S.R. of an  effective pact of mutual assistance against aggression, of an exclusively  defensive character.  A guarantee on the part of Great Britain, France, and the U.S.S.R. of the  states of Central and Eastern Europe, including without exception all the  European countries bordering on the U.S.S.R., against an attack by  aggressors.  The conclusion between Great Britain, France, and the U.S.S.R. of a definite  agreement on the forms and extent of the immediate and effective  assistance to be rendered to one another and to the guaranteed states in  the event of an attack by aggressors.  The negotiations had come to a seemingly unbreakable deadlock. The Polish and Rumanian  Governments, while accepting the British guarantee, were not prepared to accept a similar  undertaking in the same form from the Russian Government. A similar attitude prevailed in  another vital strategic quarter– the Baltic States. The Soviet Government made it clear that  they would only adhere to a pact of mutual assistance if Finland and the Baltic States were  included in a general guarantee. All four countries now refused, and perhaps in their terror  would for a long time have refused, such a condition. Finland and Esthonia even asserted  that they would consider a guarantee extended to them without their assent as an act of  aggression. On the same day, May 31, Esthonia and Latvia signed non-aggression pacts  with Germany. Thus Hitler penetrated with ease into the frail defences of the tardy,  irresolute coalition against him.  288  The Threat to Danzig – General Gamelin Invites Me to Visit the Rhine Front – A Tour with  General Georges – Some Impressions – French Acceptance of the Defensive – The  Position of Atomic Research – My Note on Air Defence – Renewed Efforts to Agree with  Soviet Russia – Polish Obstruction – The Military Conversations in Moscow – Stalin's  Account to Me in 1942 – A Record in Deceit – Ribbentrop Invited to Moscow – The  Russo-German Non-Aggression Treaty – The News Breaks upon the Worlmust work so closely together, I hope you will not find it inconvenient to  occupy once again your old quarters which we both know so well in Number  11.” 1 I added:  I do not think there is any necessity for a Cabinet today, as the  Armies and other Services are fighting in accordance with  prearranged plans. I should be very glad, however, if you and  Edward [Halifax In addition to the above, at  least three batteries of British artillery, although horse -drawn,  must be embarked immediately from India for Suez. Admiralty to  arrange transport.  10. Most of the above movements should be completed between  September 15 and October 1, and on this basis the Army of the  Delta should comprise:  (1) The British Armoured Force in Egypt.  (2) The four British battalions at Mersa Matruh, the two at  Alexandria, and the two in Cairo – total, eight.  (3) The three battalions from the Canal Zone.  (4) The reserve British Brigade from Palestine – total, fourteen  British Regular infantry battalions.  (5) The New Zealand Brigade.  (6) The Australian Brigade from Palestine.  (7) The Polish Brigade.  (8) Part of the Union Brigade from East Africa.  (9) The Fourth Indian Division now in rear of Mersa Matruh.  (10) The new Indian division in transit.  (11) The eleven thousand men in drafts arriving almost at once at  Suez.  (12) All the artillery (one hundred and fifty guns) now in the  Middle East or en route from India.  (13) The Egyptian Army so far as it can be used for field  operations.  420  11. The above should constitute by October 1, at the latest thirtynine  battalions, together with the armoured forces; a total of  56,000 men and 212 guns. This is exclusive of internal security  troops.  (Part II)  12. It is hoped that the armoured brigade from England of three  regiments of tanks will be passed through the Mediterranean by  the Admiralty. If this is impossible, their arrival round the Cape  may be counted upon during the first fortnight in October. The  arrival of this force in September must be deemed so important  as to justify a considerable degree of risk in its transportation.  (Part III) Tactical employment of the above force:  13. The Mersa Matruh position must be fortified completely and  with the utmost speed. The sector held by the three Egyptian  battalions must be taken over by three British battalions, making  the force homogeneous. This must be done even if the Egyptian  Government wish to withdraw the artillery now in the hands of  these three battalions. The possibility of reinforcing by sea the  Mersa Matruh position and cutting enemy communications, once  they have passed by on their march to the Delta, must be studied  with the Naval Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.  Alternatively a descent upon the communications at Sollum or  farther west may be preferred.  14. All water supplies between Mersatroops know they are cutting their way home to  Blighty. Never was there such a spur for fighting. We shall give  you all that the Navy and Air Force can do. Anthony Eden is with  me now and joins his good wishes to mine.  [Enclosure.the six battalions and the artillery of the Fifth Greek  Division.  Prime Minister to C.I.G.S.  6.XI.40.  Prime Minister to C.I.G.S.  7.XI.40.  533  Every effort should be made to rush arms or equipment to enable  a reserve division of Greeks to be formed in Crete. Rifles and  machine guns are quite sufficient in this case. To keep a Greek  division out of the battle on the Epirus front would be very bad,  and to lose Crete because we had not sufficient bulk of forces  there would be a crime.  It was time Mr. Eden should come home to report to us as he earnestly  desired. The following telegrams are self-explanatory:  All strongly of the opinion I should return home as rapidly as  possible in order to put whole position as seen from here before  you. Earnestly hope you will agree to this. Propose to leave  tomorrow morning. Perfectly prepared to fly back here if required  after I have seen you, but am convinced that this meeting  between us is most urgent. It is impossible to explain position  and plans fully by telegram.  Please reply urgently.  Assent was given, and the Secretary of State began his journey. The following  points were made in his simultaneous telegrams to me:  Conference [in Cairo 21.X.40.  (Action this day.)  Prime Minister to Minister of Information and Sir Alexander Cadogan.  24.X.40.  696  T.U.C. are paying all his expenses in connection with the purely  Labour side of the business, but I think that any expenses he  may incur in work useful in the national interest should be  defrayed by the Ministry of Information. Perhaps the Minister  would look into this and see what can be done. In any case, Sir  Walter should be treated with the greatest consideration, as I am  sure we can count on his entire loyalty and discretion.  NOVEMBER  How is it that when we have five hundred and twenty crews  available for bombing operations, and only five hundred and  seven aircraft similarly available, we do not draw on the aircraft  storage units, where a large number are awaiting use?  Let me have, on not more than two sheets of paper, an analysis  of the German aviators taken prisoner of war since July 1,  showing numbers, ages, amount of training, etc., distinguishing  between bomber and fighter prisoners. Any other information  about them would be welcome.  Although 1 feel sceptical about the pocket battleship going to  Lorient, the Air Force should be thinking of attacking him there at  the earliest moment and should be warned now. If he goes to  Lorient, he runs a chance of being caught by you on the way in,  bombed while he is there, and caught again on the way out.  There is only one way in and out of Lorient. Very different is his  position at Kiel, where he can come out via the Heligoland Bight  or through the Skagerrak or sneak up the Norwegian Corridor to  Prime Minister to C.A.S.  1.XI.40.  Prime Minister to Secretary of State for Air.  1.XI.40.  Prime Minister to First Sea Lord.  6.XI.40.  697  Trondhjem. f would much rather see him go to Lorient than break  south or stay out on the Atlantic route or go back one side or the  other of Iceland.  If he continues preying on the trade, you ought to be able to  bring him to action.  On further reflection I agree it is better our two heavy ships  should stay in the north.  These notes are only for your consideration.  You impressed upon me how important it was to have a first-rate  man in charge of the Home Guard, and what a compliment to  them it would be if the former Chief of the Staff in France was  chosen; so General Pownall was appointed. But a few weeks later  I was astonished to learn he was to go to America on the mission  now discharged by General Pakenham-Walsh. With some  di indispensable. This is being done. But surely effort must be made  to aid Greece directly, even if only with token forces. Quite  understand how everyone with you is fixed on idea of set-piece  battle at Mersa Matruh. For that very reason it is unlikely to  occur. Enemy will await completion pipeline and development of  larger forces than are now concentrated. Your difficulties in  attacking across the desert obvious, but if you have no major  offensive of your own in Libya possible during next two months,  Prime Minister to Mr. Eden [at G.H.Q., Middle Eastis over; and it  would be very good if all the returning forces could scrub and search the  South Atlantic on their way home for the Altmark. I feel that we ought to  bring home all that are not absolutely needed. The Northern Patrol will  require constant support in two, or better still three, reliefs from the Clyde  as long as we stay there. I agree with Captain Tennant that the German  Admiralty will be most anxious to do something to get their name back.  Perhaps you will let me know what you think about these ideas.  I was also most anxious about the Exeter, and could not accept the proposals made to me  to leave her unrepaired in the Falkland Islands till the end of the war.  This preliminary report of damage to Exeter shows the tremendous fire to  which she was exposed and the determination with which she was fought. It  also reflects high credit on the Constructors' Department that she should  have been able to stand up to such a prolonged and severe battering. This  story will have to be told as soon as possible, omitting anything undesirable  [i.e., what the enemy should not knowCunningham says that the only  suitable day for “Menace” [Dakar and others will readily occur. In these target areas the streetlighting  should be made so that it can be controlled by the air wardens on  the alarm signal being given; and while shelters should be hurried on with  and strengthened, night and day, the people's spirits should be kept up by  theatres and cinemas until the actual attack begins. Over a great part of the  countryside, modified lighting should be at once allowed, and places of  entertainment opened. No paid A.R.P. personnel should be allowed in these  [areas  Prime Minister to Sir Edward Bridges and others concerned. 3.VIII.40.  Prime Minister to Sir E. Bridges  4.VIII.40.  Prime Minister to Professor Lindemann.  4.VIII.40.  655  plough up 1,500,000 more acres, and instruct the Food  Department to submit a plan both for increasing rations and  building up further food reserves. This should be possible on the  above basis.  The danger of Japanese hostility makes it all the more important  that the German capital ships should be put out of action. I  understand that the Air Force intend to make heavy attacks on  these ships as soon as there is sufficient moon. Scharnhorst and  the Gneisenau, both in floating docks at Kiel, the Bismarck at  Hamburg, and the Tirpitz at Wilhelm-shaven, are all targets of  supreme consequence. Even a few months’ delay in Bismarck will  affect the whole balance of sea-power to a serious degree. 1 shall  be glad to hear from you.  I am not satisfied with the volume or quality of information  received from the unoccupied area of France. We seem to be as  much cut off from these territories as from Germany. I do not  wish such reports as are received to be sifted and digested by the  various Intelligence authorities. For the present Major Morton will  inspect them for me and submit what he considers of major  interest. He is to see everything and submit authentic documents  for me in their original form.  Further, I await proposals for improving and extending our  information about France and for keeping a continued flow of  agents moving to and fro. For this purpose naval facilities can, if  necessary, be invoked. So far as the Vichy Government is  concerned, it is not creditable that we have so little information.  To what extent are Americans, Swiss, and Spanish agents being  used?  Prime Minister to Secretary of State for Air and C.A.S. 4.VIII.40.  Prime Minister to General Ismay.  5.VIII.40.  656  What orders are extant for the future production of U.P. multiple  projectors in groups of twenties, tens, fives, and also single  projectors?  What amount of ammunition (a) of the ordinary rocket, ( of the  aerial mine, (c) of the P.E. fuze, (d) of the radio fuze, is on order?  What are the forecasts of deliveries in the next six months in all  cases?  Presently the P.E. fuze will probably supersede the aerial mine for  use in multiple projectors mounted on H.M. ships. This will entail  an alteration of the projector tubes. The Admiralty should be  asked to study this betimes so that  and two more by the end of May. Let me know  how far the present prospects of men and material allow of this.  Let me know also what are the latest ideas for the structure and  organisation of an armoured division. This should be prepared on  one sheet of paper, showing all the principal elements and  accessories.  It is very important to get on with the uniforms for the Home  Guard. Let me have a forecast of deliveries.  My objection was to anything in the nature of sinking at sight or  sinking without due provision for the safety of the crews.  Provided this is excluded, there can be no reason against sinking  a captured ship if, owing to air attack or other military reasons, it  is impossible to bring her into port as a prize. The disadvantages  of sinking a ship and losing valuable tonnage are obvious, and I  do not see why in nineteen cases out of twenty the Admiralty  cannot put a prize crew on board and send the ship in, in the  ordinary way. I see no objection to the action taken in the  Hermione case,7 which falls entirely within the general principles  set forth above.  The whole question of holidays and reduced hours should be  considered by the Cabinet at an early date. It is far too soon to  assume that the danger has passed. It is a great mistake to tell  the workpeople that they are tired. On the other hand, certain  Prime Minister to General Ismay.  2.VIII.40.  (Action this day.)  Prime Minister to First Lord. 2.VIII.40.  Prime Minister to Sir Edward Bridges.  2.VIII.40.  653  easements are indispensable. Please communicate with Mr.  Bevin, Lord Beaverbrook, and the Minister of Supply so that their  views may be in readiness for Cabinet conversation. I should also  like to know what is being done about holidays for the Civil  Service and for Ministers, and persons in high Service positions.  Something will have to be done about this, but we must be very  careful not to be caught while in an August mood.  The attached memorandum by Lord Mottistone on duties of  police in the event of invasion raises a very difficult question, and  one that must be speedily settled. We cannot surely make  ourselves responsible for a system where the police will prevent  the people from resisting the enemy, and will lay down their arms  and become the enemy’s servant in any invaded area. I confess I  do not see my way quite clearly to the amendments required in  the regulations. In principle, however, it would seem that the  police should withdraw from any inThe one named Yang, are you going to marry my daughter?”   Yang Guo saw that she spoke madly and was impervious to reason; how could she force him to marry her daughter after just speaking a few words? But if he bluntly refuses, it would be extremely embarrassing for Lu E. There’s also the fact that this granny’s martial arts are extremely high and her character extremely weird; if he said any words that were just slightly displeasing, she would kill him immediately. He saw that the most important thing right now was for the three of them to get out of this place so he said, “Please relax Old Senior; Yang Guo is not a man without a conscience; I will never dare to forget the kindness that Lu E has shown me.” These words were extremely agreeable; though he didn’t agree to marry Lu E, the words pleased the ears of Qiu Qianchi; she nodded, “You’d better not.”   Gongsun Lu E of course knew what Yang Guo meant by this; as she looked at Yang Guo, there was a look of disappointment in her eyes and she lowered her head. A while passed before she said to Qiu Qianchi, “Mother, how did you get down here? Why did father say that you were dead and let me stay saddened for all these years? If I’d known you were here, I would have risked my life to come and find you.” She saw that her mother was unclothed; if she let her mother wear Yang Guo’s gown then she would be insufficiently dressed; so she tore the back and front of the gown and draped it over her mother’s shoulders.   Yang Guo was saddened when he saw what a state the gown that Xiao Longnu had made for him had fallen into; it stirred the Passion Flower’s poison and his body broke out with unbearable pain once again.   When Qiu Qianchi saw this, her face moved slightly and her right hand searched for something on her person; but after a thought, her hand came out empty handed.   From her mother’s expression and actions, Lu E had an inkling of her mother’s thoughts; she pleaded, “Mother, can you cure the Passion Flower’s poison that brother Yang has in him?”   Qiu Qianchi said in a subdued manner, “I have my own troubles being trapped down here; if others can’t save me, how can I save others?”   Lu E said anxiously, “Mother, if you save brother Yang, he will definitely help you. Even if you can’t save him, brother Yang will do all he can to help you. Isn’t that right brother Yang?”   Yang Guo did not have a good opinion of Qiu Qianchi but he should help her on behalf of Lu E; so he said, “Of course. Senior has beento the Cabinet.  The country is your debtor, and of your Ministry.  These wonderful results, achieved under circumstances of  increasing difficulty, make it necessary for me to ask you to  convey to your Department the warmest thanks and  congratulations from His Majesty’s Government.  * * * * *  Throughout the summer and autumn I wished to help the Secretary of State  for War in his conflict with War Office and Army prejudices about the  commandos, or storm troops.  Prime Minister to Lord Beaverbrook.  21.IX.40.  Prime Minister to Lord Beaverbrook.  25.IX.40.  458  I have been thinking over our very informal talk the other night,  and am moved to write to you because I hear that the whole  position of the commandos is being questioned. They have been  told “no more recruiting” and that their future is in the meltingpot.  I thought, therefore, I might write to let you know how  strongly I feel that the Germans have been right, both in the last  war and in this, in the use they have made of storm troops. In  1918, the infiltrations which were so deadly to us were by storm  troops, and the final defence of Germany in the last four months  of 1918 rested mainly upon brilliantly posted and valiantly fought  machine-gun nests. In this war all these factors are multiplied.  The defeat of France was accomplished by an incredibly small  number of highly equipped élite, while the dull mass of the  German Army came on behind, made good the conquest and  occupied it. If we are to have any campaign in 1941, it must be  amphibious in its character, and there will certainly be many  opportunities for minor operations, all of which will depend on  surprise landings of lightly equipped, nimble forces accustomed to  work like packs of hounds instead of being moved about in the  ponderous manner which is appropriate to the regular  formations. These have become so elaborate, so complicated in  their equipment, so vast in their transport, that it is very difficult  to use them in any operations in which time is vital.  For every reason, therefore, we must develop the storm troop or  commando idea. I have asked for five thousand parachutists, and  we must also have at least ten thousand of these small “bands of  brothers” who will be capable of lightning action. In this way  alone will those positions be secured which afterwards will give  the opportunity for highly trained Regular troops to operate on a  larger scale.  I hope, therefore, that you will let me have an opportun armies and the support of our Belgian ally we still have stout  hearts and confidence in ourselves, we shall at once strengthen  our hands in negotiations and draw the admiration and perhaps  the material help of the U.S.A. Moreover, we feel that as long as  we stand together our undefeated Navy and our Air Force, which  is daily destroying German fighters and bombers at a formidable  rate, afford us the means of exercising in our common interest a  continuous pressure upon Germany’s internal life.  7. We have reason to believe that the Germans too are working  to a time-table, and that their losses and the hardships imposed  on them together with the fear of our air raids is undermining  their courage. It would indeed be a tragedy if by too hasty an  acceptance of defeat we threw away a chance that was almost  within our grasp of securing an honourable issue from the  struggle.  128  8. In my view if we both stand out we may yet save ourselves  from the fate of Denmark or Poland. Our success must depend  first on our unity, then on our courage and endurance.  This did not prevent the French Government from making a few days later a  direct offer of their own to Italy of territorial concessions, which Mussolini  treated with disdain. “He was not interested,” said Ciano to the French  Ambassador on June 3, “in recovering any French territories by peaceful  negotiation. He had decided to make war on France. ” 2 This was only what we  had expected.  * * * * *  I now gave daily a series of directions to make sure that if we were subjected  to this odious attack by Mussolini we should be able to strike back at once.  Pray bring the following before the C.O.S. Committee:  What measures have been taken, in the event of Italy’s going to  war, to attack Italian forces in Abyssinia, sending rifles and  money to the Abyssinian insurgents, and generally to disturb that  country?  I understand General Smuts has sent a Union brigade to East  Africa. Is it there yet? When will it be? What other arrangements  are made? What is the strength of the Khartoum garrison,  including troops in the Blue Nile Province? This is the opportunity  for the Abyssinians to liberate themselves with Allied help.  2. If France is still our ally after an Italian declaration of war, it  would appear extremely desirable that the combined fleets,  acting from opposite ends of the Mediterranean, should pursue  an active offensive against Italy. It is important that at the outset  collision shoulon having  a large number (now only nine, but should soon be fifteen)  “Leopard” brigade groups which can be directed swiftly, i.e.,  within four hours, to the points of lodgment. Difficulties of  landing on beaches are serious, even when the invader has  reached them; but difficulties of nourishing a lodgment when  exposed to heavy attack by land, air, and sea are far greater. All  therefore depends on rapid, resolute engagement of any landed  forces which may slip through the sea-control. This should not be  Prime Minister to General Ismay.  28.VI.40  283  beyond our means provided the field troops are not consumed in  beach defences, and are kept in a high condition of mobility,  crouched and ready to spring.  4. In the unhappy event of the enemy capturing a port, larger  formations with artillery will be necessary. There should be four  or five good divisions held in general reserve to deal with such an  improbable misfortune. The scale of lodgment to be anticipated  should be not more than ten thousand men landed at three  points simultaneously – say thirty thousand in all; the scale of air  attack not more than fifteen thousand landed simultaneously at  two or three points in all. The enemy will not have strength to  repeat such descents often. It is very doubtful whether air-borne  troops can be landed in force by night; by day they should be an  easy prey [to our Air Force It is of no use giving me these reports five days late. The  Admiralty know every day exactly the state of the flotillas. I do  not know why this matter should go through the War Cabinet or  Defence Ministry. Pray tell the Admiralty to send direct to me,  every week, the state o£ their flotillas.  I am much concerned that the patrols on the western approaches  should only have gone up to thirty effective. Let me see the chart  showing previous weeks tomorrow.  I shall be obliged if you will let me know the present  unemployment figures, divided into as many categories as is  convenient, and compared with (a) how they stood at the  outbreak of war, and ( when the new Government was formed.  It is to me incomprehensible that with the 50 American  destroyers coming into service we should not have been able to  Prime Minister to General Ismay.  28.XI.40.  Prime Minister to Minister of Labour.  28.XI.40.  Prime Minister to First Sea Lord.  30.XI.40.  711  raise the total serviceable to above 77 by November 23, when  they stood at 106 on October 16. What happened between  October 16 and October 26 to beat down serviceable destroyers  by 28 vessels, and why did they go down from 84 to 77 between  November 16 and November 23? – just at the very time when  another dozen Americans were coming into service.  I have authorised the ringing of church bells on Christmas Day,  as the imminence of invasion has greatly receded. Perhaps,  however, you will let me know what alternative methods of giving  the alarm you would propose to use on that day, and, secondly,  what steps would be taken to ensure that the ringing of the bells  for church services and without any invasion does not in fact lead  to an alarm. There must certainly be no relaxation of vigilance.  DECEMBER  All this talk about Atlantic operations and Atlantic islands is most  dangerous, and is contrary to the decision to describe such  operations as “Shrapnel.” I see no need for these long and  pointless telegrams, and it is becoming quite impossible to  conduct military operations when everything has to be spread  about the Departments and around the world like this.  Kindly give me the assurance that there will be no further  discussion of these matters by telegram without my seeing the  messages before they are multiplied.  Let me also know exactly the <a href='' target='_blank'>mulberry style bags</a>  lists of officials and departments to  whom these telegrams have been distributed.  Prime Minister to C.-in-C. Home Forces.  30.XI.40.  Prime Minister tosuccessful offensive in Libya. Pray, after an examination of  whole problem with Wavell and Smuts, do not hesitate to make  proposals for action on large scale at expense of other sectors,  and ask for any further aid you require from here, including  aircraft and anti-aircraft [batteriesmastery of the Atlantic and other oceans; also to  remember that vital materials from the outside world are  necessary to maintain all armies.  I am also greatly heartened by what Prime Minister Churchill said  a few days ago about the continued resistance of the British  Empire, and that determination would seem to apply equally to  the great French Empire all over the world. Naval power in world  affairs still carries the lessons of history, as Admiral Darlan well  knows.  President Roosevelt to M. Reynaud.  13.VI.40.  186  We all thought the President had gone a very long way. He had authorised  Reynaud to publish his message of June 10, with all that that implied, and  now he had sent this formidable answer. If, upon this, France decided to  endure the further torture of the war, the United States would be deeply  committed to enter it. At any rate, it contained two points which were  tantamount to belligerence: first, a promise of all material aid, which implied  active assistance; secondly, a call to go on fighting even if the Government  were driven right out of France. I sent our thanks to the President  immediately, and I also sought to commend the President’s message to  Reynaud in the most favourable terms. Perhaps these points were stressed  unduly; but it was necessary to make the most of everything we had or could  get.  Ambassador Kennedy will have told you about the British meeting  today with the French at Tours, of which I showed him our  record. I cannot exaggerate its critical character. They were very  nearly gone. Weygand had advocated an armistice while he still  has enough troops to prevent France from lapsing into anarchy.  Reynaud asked us whether, in view of the sacrifices and  sufferings of France, we would release her from the obligation  about not making a separate peace. Although the fact that we  have unavoidably been out of this terrible battle weighed with us,  I did not hesitate in the name of the British Government to refuse  consent to an armistice or separate peace. I urged that this issue  should not be discussed until a further appeal had been made by  Reynaud to you and the United States, which I undertook to  second. Agreement was reached on this, and a much better  mood prevailed for the moment in Reynaud and his Ministers.  Reynaud felt strongly that it would be beyond his power to  encourage his people to fight on without hope of ultimate victory,  and that that hope could only be kindled by American  interventican be entered upon. In this  august association for collective security we must build up defence forces of  all kinds and combine our action with that of friendly Powers, so that we  may be allowed to live in quiet ourselves and retrieve the woeful  miscalculations of which we are at present the dupes, and of which, unless  we take warning in time, we may some day be the victims.  There lay in my memory at this time some lines from an unknown writer about a railway  accident. I had learnt them from a volume of Punch cartoons which I used to pore over  when I was eight or nine years old at school at Brighton.  Who is in charge of the clattering train?  The axles creak and the couplings strain;  And the pace is hot, and the points are near,  And Sleep has deadened the driver's ear;  And the signals flash through the night in vain,  For Death is in charge of the clattering train.  However, I did not repeat them.  97  * * * * *  It was not until May 22 that Mr. Baldwin made his celebrated confession. I am forced to  cite it:  First of all, with regard to the figure I gave in November of German  aeroplanes, nothing has come to my knowledge since that makes me think  that figure was wrong. I believed at that time it was right. Where I was  wrong was in my estimate of the future. There I was completely wrong. We  were completely misled on that subject.  I would repeat here that there is no occasion, in my view, in what we are  doing, for panic. But I will say this deliberately, with all the knowledge I  have of the situation, that I would not remain for one moment in any  Government which took less determined steps than we are taking today. I  think it is only due to say that there has been a great deal of criticism, both  in the press and verbally, about the Air Ministry as though they were  responsible for possibly an inadequate programme, for not having gone  ahead faster, and for many other things. I only want to repeat that whatever  responsibility there may be– and we are perfectly ready to meet criticism–  that responsibility is not that of any single Minister; it is the responsibility of  the Government as a whole, and we are all responsible, and we are all to  blame.  I hoped that this shocking confession would be a decisive event, and that at the least a  parliamentary committee of all parties would be set up to report upon the facts and upon  our safety. The House of Commons had a different reaction. The Labour and Liberal  Oppositions, having nine mfield artillery to cut wire.  And further, paragraph 27:  There is always the danger of the enemy getting wind of our  intentions and reinforcing his garrisons with good troops  beforehand, at any rate so far as Borkum, about which he must  243  always be very sensitive, is concerned. On the other hand

on Jan 04, 2010

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