HC Deb 22 March 1886 vol 303 cc1482-3
MR. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Governments of any of our greater Colonies have expressed willingness to consider some scheme for the amalgamation of the Colonial and Imperial Naval Forces; whether negotiations have been opened with any of those colonies for the purpose of considering any definite scheme: and, whether he can lay upon the Table any Papers explaining what has been done in this matter?


I am afraid it would be difficult to give a complete reply to the hon. Member within the limits of an answer to a Question. But I may state generally that such of the Australian Colonies as possess Navies of their own have, with the loyalty and patriotism which all the Colonies have always exhibited when Imperial interests were at stake, expressed their willingness to co-operate with the Home Government in any measures which might be found necessary for the defence of that part of the Empire. In order to give practical effect to that desire, Lord Derby, when Colonial Secretary, formulated a scheme for the naval defence of the Australasian Colonies, which was adopted with some slight modifications by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the late Secretary for the Colonies (Colonel Stanley). That scheme will be submitted and ex- plained by Admiral Tryon, the Admiral in command of the Australian Station, to a meeting about to be held at Melbourne, at which most of the Australasian Colonies will be represented, and the Colonial Governments which will not then be represented are considering the subject separately. From what I have stated, my hon. Friend will, I think, see that the time has not yet arrived when any Papers explaining what has been done in the matter could be usefully laid before Parliament.