HC Deb 21 February 1911 vol 21 c1731

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his public emendation on 29th March, 1909, of his forecast of German shipbuilding on 16th March, was intended to convey that the British Admiralty accepted the statement of the German Government that Germany would not have more than thirteen "Dreadnoughts" commissioned in 1912, and arranged the British programme on that assumption; and, having regard to the statement of the Prime Minister on 16th March, 1909 (column 961, OFFICIAL REPORT), to the effect that it was only because of the possibility that Germany would have seventeen, and not thirteen, in 1912, that power was taken for the four so-called contingent "Dreadnoughts," making a total of twenty built and building, will he now explain what circumstances led to the final decision taken in July, to lay down the extra British ships in such a manner that twenty, not sixteen, will be completed in 1912?


I fully appreciate the point raised in my hon. Friend's question, and I will discuss it fully in the Debate on the Naval Estimates. It would be impossible to give him such a complete answer as the circumstances call for within the reasonable compass of a reply to a Parliamentary question.