§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
I beg to ask the Prime Minister, having regard to the declaration of the Government that the naval strength of this country must be maintained at 10 per cent. above the combined strength of the next two strongest Powers, will he consider the wisdom, while still retaining that relative position, of making overtures to other naval Powers with a view to the reciprocal and proportionate reduction of the competitive expenditure on naval defence which is imposing such burdens on the taxpayers of this and other countries.
THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. As-QUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
The other naval 862 Powers are well aware of the views which His Majesty's Government have more than once expressed as to the unnecessary burdens which are imposed on taxpayers by competitive expenditure in shipbuilding.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I cannot for the moment charge my memory with that historical fact, but His Majesty's Government have not been wanting.
§ * MR. MACKARNESS
Does the declaration of the right hon. gentleman regarding the two next strongest Powers include a Power bound actually to us by a treaty of alliance, such as Japan?