§ MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what is the estimated cost of the naval force, to consist of one first, two second, and four third class cruisers, proposed for the Australian squadron; and how far the £200,000 proposed to be contributed by Australia will meet the annual expenditure, taking into account the annual depreciation.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARNOLD-FORSTER,) Belfast, W.
As several questions respecting the organisation and pay of the colonial naval forces are still under consideration, it is not possible as yet to give a complete estimate of the total cost. The proposed contribution of the Commonwealth of Australia is fixed, under Article VIII. of the draft agreement already laid before Parliament, at five-twelfths, and that of New Zealand at one-twelfth of the total annual cost, including a sum equal to 5 per cent. on the prime cost of the ships, but the total payments are not to exceed £200,000 and £40,000 respectively in any one year. It is estimated, therefore, that the Australian contribution will amount to between one-half and one-third of the total cost.