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House Coal Shortage.I

RhyddhadCaethion Prydain I

The N.C.F. and Mr. Walter…

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The N.C.F. and Mr. Walter Long. PROTEST AGAINST ADMINISTRATION OF TRIBUNALS. (To the Editor of the PiexEER.) Sir 'The following letter has been sent to- night to Mr. Walter Long regarding the ad- ministration of the Military Service Act:- H. W. PEET. 18 Devonshire Street, E.C. The Rt. Hon. Walter Long, M.P., Loca.1 Go- vernment Board, Whitehall, S. W. Sir,—During the passage of the Military Ser- vice Bill through the House ci Commons, we had occasion to submit to the Prime Minister the views of our members, pointing out that the great majority of conscientious objectors could make no distinction between oombat.an. and non-combatant military service. The Military Service Act in its final f orm empowers the Tribunals to grant absolute cer- tificates to conscientious objectors; statements made by Ministers during the oassage of the Bill, and the Circular of the Local Government Board have removed all doubt as to the Gov- ernmnet's intention in this respect. Up to the present Local Tribunals have, with few exceptions, imposed non-combatant ser- vice on conscientious oofectors, even where applicants have made it abundantly clear that this fails to meet their objection to participa- tion in war. Mr. Tennaat's statement in the House of Cemonoiis on the 29th February: "It will shortly be possiblv., I hope. to employ con- scientious objectors in setting free any men fit for combatant service who may at present be employed on non-combatant duties," bears out the contention that by undertaking non-combat- ant service a conscientious objector would thereby be assisting in the prosecution of the war and directly releasing others to do that which he feels it is not right for him to per- form himself. As to R.A.M.C. duties as an alternative, our members, with few exceptions, can only regard the work of such a corps as part of the military machine, its primary func- tion being to maintain the efficiency of the fighting forces, and re-equm the wounded for further fighting. The general failure to under- stand the nature of a conscientious objection will inevitably lead to a very large number of appeals, We would point out: (1) That the decisions so far seem to dis- regard the provisions of the Act on the one hand, and the point of view of the con- scientious objector OIl the other, the Tribun- als failing apparently to understand the Gov- ernment's desires as to the administration of the Act as expressed by Lord Lansdowne and ira the Local Government Board's circular, (2) That applications on identical grounds are producing conflicting decisions from different tribunals. Continued failure in these respects in the higher Tribunals will have no other result than a large amount of resolute opposition to their decisions. No penalty will make otlir members false to their belief. We are, Sir, Yours faithfully, ¿ On behalf of the JNo-Oonscnption Fellowship, CLIFFORD ALLEN. Chairman. A. FENNER BROCKWAY, Hon. See. On behalf of the Friends' Service Committete, ROBERT 0. MEKTNELL, Hon. Sec. and Treas. RUBERT W. PERT. Organising See.

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