§ MR. MARKHAM
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the fact that the committee appointed by the Cunard Steamship Company, on which representatives of the Board of Trade sat, to report on the relative merits of reciprocating and turbine engines, recommended the use of turbine engines for the two steamships to be built by public money will, by reason of such Government officials recommending turbine engines, absolve the Cunard Company from liability if the ships when built are unable to maintain the contract average speed of 25 knots; and will he say what steps ho proposes to take to safeguard the repayment to the Exchequer of the £2,000,000 granted for the building of these ships if the contract speed is not obtained; and what guarantee, if any, has been obtained to meet this end.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
No representative of the Board of Trade sat on the committee referred to. The fact of the committee having been appointed by the Cunard Company in no way absolves the company from liability. The repayment of the loan to the Exchequer is safeguarded by Clause 10 of the Agreement which was laid on the Table of the House.