Mr William Bridgeman: The evidence of self-righteousness. That is the only evidence which can justify observations such as those. Much has been said about the failure of the Geneva Conference and great efforts have been made to father that failure on His Majesty's Government. What is the object of that? Is it with the object of doing this country good amongst the nations of the world? Is it with the object of...
Mr William Bridgeman: The hon. and gallant Gentleman is not the Leader of the Opposition. What I was asking was, let anyone say with what they disagree with our proposals at Geneva.
Mr William Bridgeman: No, he agreed with everything I proposed at Geneva.
Mr William Bridgeman: Let hon. Members say in what particular the Government is to blame in the proposals they made at Geneva.
Mr William Bridgeman: Is it likely that I should on behalf of His Majesty's Government make proposals at Geneva if I had been lukewarm about them?
Mr William Bridgeman: According to the hon. and gallant Member, Lord Cecil of Chelwood said that there was some kind of agreement which we could have got at Geneva. What was the agreement that was possible to get at Geneva which hon. Members opposite would have accepted?
Mr William Bridgeman: The facts are that no compromise was reached at all on 7-inch guns; and that is exactly the sort of thing for which I want to bring people to book. I ask hon. Members opposite to tell me what the Government could have proposed at Geneva. We put forward one proposal, and when it was not agreed to we then tried to secure agreement on another. We met Japan on every essential point. We made...
Mr William Bridgeman: The answer is that the question of parity was never raised at the Geneva Conference and I had not an opportunity of expressing my opinion at any of the sessions of the Conference on the subject. The reasons why we could not accept the proposal for the 25 cruisers of 10,000 tons, out of a total tonnage of 400,000 tons, were first, that it would not have been a limitation of armaments at all...
Mr William Bridgeman: I certainly never used the word "mathematical." In what I said—not I think in the Conference—I never challenged the right of America to build an equal number of ships with our own. America already has ever so many more destroyers than we have and more submarines. When you talk about parity you must be careful to know what it means. If it means parity of numbers, and one country having...
Mr William Bridgeman: The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Newcastle did.
Mr William Bridgeman: I have seen in the Press a reference to the case to which the hon. Member refers, and from the inquiries which I have made I do not think that there is any evidence which would justify a change in the present system by which salaried officials are paid monthly. The Admiralty system in this respect is the same as obtains generally throughout the service. I would like to add that I can find no...
Mr William Bridgeman: There may be some cases of that sort on first appointment, and I think it is quite a common practice—and we are always prepared to arrange—for advances to be made in such cases to those already in Admiralty service, but this particular case does not seem to me to be really intelligible in reference to what appeared in the Press. The man referred to has been a long time in the Admiralty.
Mr William Bridgeman: That question does not affect only the Admiralty, but all the services, and, if the House was prepared to add a large number of employés to our staff, we might be able to do it, because the hon. Gentleman will understand that a weekly salary means a great deal more clerical work. Any cases of hardship of this kind, I think, can be, and are, met by the ordinary machinery, but I completely...
Mr William Bridgeman: No, Sir; the investigation is not yet nearly complete.
Mr William Bridgeman: I am perfectly aware of the importance of the matter.
Mr William Bridgeman: The Committee agreed on certain recommendations in two sittings which we have been considering for two or three years.
Mr William Bridgeman: I would refer the hon. Member to the replies of 23rd November, and 21st December last (OFFICIAL REPORT, Columns 1772–3 and Column 429) to the hon. Members for North Portsmouth (Sir B. Falle), and Basingstoke (Sir A. Holbrook).
Mr William Bridgeman: If the hon. Member will only read the answer I have given, he will understand that we are bound by the decision announced by the Prime Minister, I think, in August, 1925.
Mr William Bridgeman: This is not purely a Labour Department. The Government have to make decisions for all Departments.
Mr William Bridgeman: It is not practicable at present to arrange for shipwright ratings to undergo a course of aircraft instruction ashore, as is done for certain shipwright officers. Arrangements are, however, in force for some of these ratings to undergo a somewhat similar course of instruction on board aircraft carriers as opportunity offers.