HC Deb 18 March 1898 vol 55 cc237-8

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he can inform the House as to the number and class of the ships of war building in the United Kingdom for Foreign Powers; and whether he could state the number of slips in the Royal Dockyards and in private yards which could be utilised by Her Majesty's Government on an emergency?


I cannot make myself responsible for information about ships building in private shipbuilding yards, nor for their proper classification, but I understand that there are eight battleships and cruisers, and eight torpedo-boat destroyers building for Japan, one coast defence ship for Norway, two cruisers for Chili, two for China, one for Brazil, and one for Portugal, four torpedo boats for Austria, and one destroyer for Germany. With regard to the second question, the Admiralty are not in a position to say what slips the owners of private yards would be prepared to place at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government in an emergency, nor would such information be of value unless it were added what class of ships could be constructed on the slips, or a distinction drawn between class of slip and launching and finishing facilities.