§ SIR HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is with his sanction, as intimated in the Times of 23rd March, that the designs of the new battle ships, upon which it is proposed to spend many millions sterling of public money, are to be referred to the Institution of Naval Architects at its next ordinary meeting for consideration and discussion, and for the settlement of certain doubts entertained respecting them; whether he is aware of the published statement that the meeting in question, which will probably comprise, as usual, many non-professional visitors, is "a competent and technical body" for such a purpose; and whether he will consent to substitute for the proposed semi-public meeting a carefully constituted Commission or Committee, composed of scientific, naval, and other persons, possessing suitable means for carrying out the necessary investigations?
§ *THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
I have no intention of referring the designs of the new battleships to the Institution of Naval Architects for approval or rejection, as the question Suggests, but with my permission Mr. W. H. White, the Director of Naval Construction, proposes at the next meeting of the Institution to read a paper explanatory of these designs, and in reply to certain allegations made concerning them in the public Press. A Commission on the design of war ships has more than once been appointed. In every case it has led to great delay, expense, and unsatisfactory compromises, for which no one is individually responsible. I am not disposed to repeat the experiment, especially as the Naval Lords and the Service generally have thorough confidence in the capacity and experience of the Director of Naval Construction, Mr. W. H. White, as a designer of warships.
§ SIR E. J. REED (Cardiff)
May I ask the noble Lord if he has any objection to my seeing the designs of the ship before they are discussed before the Institution of Naval Architects?