Oral Answers to Questions — Naval Disarmament.

– in the House of Commons on 1st May 1929.

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Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

7.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the proposals for naval limitations and reductions made at Geneva by the American delegate to the Preparatory Commission on Disarmament, it is proposed to retard the present programme of warship construction in this country?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

Work on ships building will proceed. But as the hon. and gallant Member is aware it is not proposed to lay down ships of the 1929 programme until towards the end of the financial year.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Will the right hon. Gentleman go a little further and delay further expenditure upon these ships until we know just where we shall stand in the future?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

It would be rather premature to take any such steps until we know exactly what the proposals are.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the past we have lost a lot of the money of the taxpayers through proceeding with ships which it was afterwards agreed, by International Convention, not to proceed with?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

I am very much opposed to taking action prematurely in a case like this, not only because it would not improve our chances of agreement, but also because it would probably disturb work throughout the dockyards.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

8.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether following on the declarations of the American delegate at the Preparatory Commission on Disarmament at Geneva, it is proposed to recommence the conversations with America and Japan on naval reduction of armaments by mutual agreement which were interrupted by the breakdown of the Geneva Naval Conference in 1927?

Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON:

His Majesty's Government are studying the suggestions outlined by Mr. Gibson. When the full proposals are before us we shall desire to proceed with their discussion in the way which seems to offer the best prospect of success.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman say something a little more hopeful than that? Cannot we agree in principle that the Conference shall again assemble, in view of the very satisfactory change in the situation?

Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON:

I should have thought that from the observations made by my right hon. Friend in the House, and by Lord Cushendun at Geneva, the prospects were immensely hopeful.