§ MR. WATT (Glasgow, Camlachie)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any communication has been received from the Government of South Australia with reference to the statement made in this House on 9th April last, to the effect that the South Australian Government considered it unnecessary to fortify Port Darwin; whether the Australian Federal Defence Commission, recently appointed, has obtained the sanction of the Secretary 282 of State; and whether, provided the Commission Reports as to the necessity, for the complete defence of Australasia, that Port Darwin should be made a coaling and Naval station, Her Majesty's Government will favourably consider such Report?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTAIENT (Mr. STUART WORTLEY,) (for Baron H. de WORMS) Sheffield, Hallam
The hon. Member has not correctly stated the effect of the answer given to him on the 9th of April, which was that it was not considered necessary to erect fortifications at Port Darwin at the present time. A Committee appointed by the several Colonies has visited certain Australian Ports to report on the measures of defence necessary. At the request of the Secretary of State, a naval officer of great experience, Captain Moore, was sent out by the Admiralty to assist the Committee with his advice. The Report as regards Port Darwin has not yet been received; but it is believed that the recommendations of the Committee will be found to be in accordance with the views of Her Majesty's Government which have already been conveyed to all the Australasian Governments—namely, that all that is needed at Port Darwin for some time to come is the defence of the landing place of the telegraph cables.