MR. BONAR LAW inquired what the casualties were in the last action (that of
the 21st and 22nd August).
LORD KITCHENER replied "6,000."
MR. BONAR LAW asked if that was really the number for one operation alone.
LORD KITCHENER referring to telegram M.F. No. 578, said that the number
was approximate, but, as given by Sir Ian Hamilton, referred to the fighting of the
21st and 22nd August. …
SIR E. CARSON asked if there was any information as to the number of Turks
facing our troops.
LORD KITCHENER said that we only had Sir Ian Hamilton's figures, but that
the country was so rough that it was very difficult to estimate numbers.
SIR E. CARSON said that it was a great factor in the coming slaughter. He
understood that the offensive required a superiority of 2 to 1, and we had not got that.
LORD SELBORNE asked if our Secret Service was fairly good.
LORD KITCHENER said that he believed so.
LORD SELBORNE asked if we trusted any neutrals, for he believed that there
were both American and Dutch journalists with the Turks.
MR. CHURCHILL pointed out that scores of agents' reports kept pouring in
and had to be examined and sifted.
LORD KITCHENER said that, for what it was worth, the trend of all the
reports pointed to the fact that we should hang on, for the Turks could not last much
SIR E. CARSON asked if it was to be understood that Sir Ian Hamilton was
going on with operations of the same nature.
MR. CHURCHILL said that he would pursue his objective, which was not
SIR E. CARSON asked if the 40,000 casualties already incurred should not be
announced to the public.
MR. CHURCHILL protested that this would only serve to raise the moral of
SIR E. CARSON said that the public was kept in ignorance, and would be very
much surprised when they learnt of the losses, for they thought things were going well.
THE PRIME MINISTER protested that the public had been given all the
knowledge that was available.
MR. BONAR LAW pointed out that the newspapers were responsible for
drawing the wrong deductions from the facts.
SIR E. CARSON said that it was intended that they should.
MR. CHURCHILL asked if it was suggested that the hoardings should be
placarded with "Great Disaster!"
LORD KITCHENER protested that it was as essential not to depress our own
people as not to elate the enemy.
SIR E. CARSON said that the slaughter which had gone on was no success, and
inquired if it were to be continued.
MR. BONAR LAW asked if Sir Ian Hamilton was supposed to be acting on the
defensive, or if he was going to continue his course of sacrificing men without a chance
LORD KITCHENER protested that he (Sir Ian Hamilton) had not done that;
that he had attacked to maintain his position.
MR. BONAR LAW asked if Sir Ian Hamilton was to continue attacking when
such action was obviously hopeless.
LORD KITCHENER said that he was not, but that it was impossible to dictate
to him on the spot from London.