August 12, 1944

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

It is related to the campaign.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

With regard to the overall pool in the United Kingdom, is not the size of that pool based upon a definite number of months of intense activity? I am not dividing it into battle areas.

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

The reserves in the United Kingdom have to be figured on a different basis from that which would .be the case if the troops c-ame from the United Kingdom. We have to allow for the time of transporting troops across the Atlantic, and we must provide cushions against that. It is not the distance, it is the time taken to get our troops from this country into the forward area that counts. All those factors have to be taken into account.

The staff have prepared a most comprehensive table which is nfade up .much in the form the bon. member for Prince has indicated. This shows what we have planned and laid out. There have been changes in some oases from the plains that were previously in effect and with which the horn, member is thoroughly familiar. I think t-hiis table would provide a clear understanding of the matter if we were free ,to take it from beginning to; end. It has been so put together by the staff that the monthly requirements are shown, but it is hardly possible to work back to these specific rates. You could not give the different weeks of activity .that were contemplated and then work back from that.

This table gives figures .that the house would want in terms of men and it shows clearly the supply position that existed. I do not .believe it is possible to give a clear understanding of this position at this time, and it is most important that we should all have a clear understanding of this very complicated position because it is basic to everything we do. We want to put that in front of hon. members in some way that will not carry comfort to the enemy.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

They would not be able to use it.

Reinforcements

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

But from the table they could draw general conclusions which could be used outside without using the specific figures. I would like to- say also that these figures are unstable, if I can use that word, in that they are susceptible to .many minor factors that enter into the matter from day to day.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

They are really only an estimate?

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

They are simply an estimate based1 on experience, with a factor of safety provided to be on the safe side.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Of necessity they must be an estimate.

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

They must be,

because the effects of battle are uncertain.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

There are so many unknown factors?

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

Yes.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The loss of a troopship, for instance?

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

Yes.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Then on the ground of security you prefer not to give us what the pool was, say a couple of months back, and what number of months of intense activity was estimated in. planning i>t. Could we have that information as of September 30?

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

I a.m mot familiar with parliamentary procedure.

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It is new to me.

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

I think the information the hon. member wants is a comparison of the reserves that are now in the plan with toe reserves of some months ago ?

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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

What I really wanted to get was the number of toe reserves or toe number which should have been im the pool 'according to whatever formula was laid down, say on September 30, both in Italy .and im northwest Europe, and also toe number which were actually there ait that tame.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

To show the deficiency.

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Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Mr. McNAUGHTON:

I must say frankly to the house that a person skilled in the art of debate might be able to give information of the sort that Colonel Ralston is asking for in open session and safeguard his tongue, but I have no! such skill in that matter that I would care to take the responsibility. I have the figures under my hand; I see the way they are calculated, and I would rather not be pressed to give them.

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August 12, 1944