§ MR. PIRIE
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the establishment of a naval arsenal by Russia on the Kola river, and of the railway which is in construction by that country to the ice-free harbour of Port Victoria, with the opening next year of a harbour at Ekaterina, whereby the present conditions in the northern seas will be seriously affected, the Government, having regard to the strategic, naval, and commercial advantages to be derived, will consider the advisability of adding as an instruction to the Commssion about to be appointed to inquire into the Clyde defences, to report at the same time on the question of enlarging the existing canal between the Clyde and the Firth of Forth into a sea canal similar to the one recently opened at Kiel?
§ MR. MACARTNEY
I must refer the honourable Member to the answer given to him on the 27th June by my honourable Friend the Under Secretary of State for War, stating that it had been decided to send experts to report on certain details connected with the defences of the Clyde. The inquiry is of a purely local character, and the consideration of the larger question referred to would not be entrusted to such a Committee.