HC Deb 03 July 1900 vol 85 c405

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty when he will be in a position to make his promised statement respecting the new arrangements to be made on the termination of the Australian agreement sanctioned by the Imperial Defence Act, 1888.


I do not remember giving the undertaking to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but matters will remain as they are until the central government in Australia is formed under the Commonwealth Bill, when, of course, any negotiation would be easier. I may mention that, there being among our ships on the Australian station several suitable for work in Chinese waters, the Secretary of State telegraphed for the consent of the Australian colonies to their temporary withdrawal, which consent is necessary under the Imperial Defence Act. This consent was given in twenty-four hours, and in the most cordial manner.


May I ask if the cost of these ships sent from Australia to China is defrayed by the United Kingdom?


I think the Australian colonies are far more bent on helping us in China than on any financial question.