News | Published:


Nature volume 149, pages 531534 (16 May 1942) | Download Citation



THE White Paper on machinery for the joint planning of the War which the Prime Minister has now wisely issued does not add greatly to our knowledge, although it puts into precise terms much information which has hitherto been given either informally or piecemeal. It fills a gap, and the discussion on the adequacy of our machinery can now proceed on a sounder basis. That discussion and criticism have been carried over from Parliament into the Press, notably in the Economist and in The Times. In the latter Sir Edward Grigg's able article, which has drawn comment from Lord Hankey, Lord Chatfield, Lord Swinton, Lord Strabolgi, Prof. A. V. Hill and others, advocates the introduction of a single chief of a Combined General Staff standing outside and above the three Chiefs of Staff and presenting one opinion to the Premier and the War Cabinet. The question of the best system is a practical one and not all the critics agree. Moreover, counsel is sometimes confused, and the Economist and Prof. A. V. Hill seem to have kept closest to the heart of the matter. The Economist insists that the General Staff that is required must be one trained in the technique of co-operation of all three Services but belonging to none, so that the difficulties sometimes advanced as to whether the navy is to direct military or air force operations or vice versa do not arise. The recent appointment of Vice-Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten as chief of Combined Operations is an indication, however, that we are moving further than the White Paper indicates in the direction of the integration on which Prof. Hill lays his stress.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing