HC Deb 31 July 1908 vol 193 cc1949-50
MR. BELLAIRS (Lynn Regis)

To ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that none of the officers accredited to foreign capitals have passed for interpreter in any foreign language; and, in view of the utility of this knowledge, whether he can state how many executive officers there are in the Navy, of midshipman's rank and above, and how many of these have passed for interpreter in German, excluding officers of the Mercantile Marine belonging to the Royal Naval Reserve.

(Answered by Mr. McKenna.) It is true that none of the naval officers accredited to foreign courts have qualified as interpreter, but it must be remembered that until 1904 no executive officer above the rank of lieutenant could be appointed as an interpreter. There are 3,364 officers on the executive list, and of these ten have qualified as interpreters since 1905. There are a good many officers, however, who, without being able to pass the high standard required for an interpreter, are nevertheless possessed of a knowledge of the German language.