CAPTAIN COLOMB&c.) (Tower Hamlets, Bow,
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether the business of the Naval Intelligence Department includes the collection and tabulation of information for the use of the Admiralty, respecting the distribution of British Commerce in British Waters at Home and Abroad, and also on the various oceans and seas of the world; whether, by the aid of this Department, or by any other means, the Board of Admiralty receives and records the most recent information available respecting the approximate total average value of British commerce passing, during the different periods of the year, over the sea routes I of the world, and over areas of its greatest accumulation in British waters and on the high seas; and, whether such information is furnished by the Admiralty periodically to the officers of the Royal Navy serving in the Fleet; and. if so, how often, and about what dates?
THE SECRETARY (Mr. FORWOOD)(who replied) said (Lancashire, Ormskirk)
It is an important part of the functions of the Naval Intelligence Department to obtain, and to note in a convenient form, all information as to the distribution of British commerce over the principal trade routes. This information, when collected and collated, will be communicated to the officers of the Fleet at such times, and in such a form, as may, in the opinion of the Admiralty, seem most desirable to meet the requirements of the moment.
§ CAPTAIN COLOMB
asked, whether the hon. Gentleman could give any information as to the value of British commerce passing through the Suez Canal; and, whether he was aware that the figures laid before the Colonial Conference were nine years old?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Sir HENRY HOLLAND) (Hampstead)
said, the figures referred to were prepared by the Royal Com- 1552 mission on Colonial Defence; but it was thought well to keep back certain figures.
§ [No reply.]