53. Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what is the position of the Australian Government in reference to naval affairs under the the new arrangement; and whether any ships, and, if so, what, have been assigned by the Admiralty to the Australian Commonwealth?
§ The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill)
The position of the Commonwealth Government in relation to naval affairs has undergone no change since it was decided to establish an Australian Navy, commencing with the Fleet Unit which will arrive in Australian waters early next year. To facilitate, however, the provision and training of an adequate personnel for the Fleet Unit, the Admiralty is lending the "Encounter," with a nucleus crew, to the Commonwealth during the period of transition, and the Commonwealth has assented to the withdrawal of certain ships of the existing squadron with their crews. I will take this opportunity of reading to the House the text of the concluding telegram transmitted from the Admiralty to the Commonwealth Government by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies: "The Board of Admiralty desire to express their full concurrence in revised proposals of Australian Government which are satisfactory to the Admiralty, and by setting free a considerable number of trained officers and seamen will materially aid the development of the new Fleet organisation. Admiralty will continue to aid development of Australian Fleet Unit, to which they attach great importance, by every means in their power."