§ Mr. PETO
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the case of the steamer "Brodmore," at Hankow, in November last, whoso master applied to Mr. Goffe, the Consul-General, requesting a wireless message to be sent from one of the British warships to Shanghai to ask for a pilot to enable him to get away, merchant steamers being under notice to leave the port in view of the expected bombardment of Wuchang, and was refused, on the ground that none but service and red-cross messages could be sent; whether application having been made through the agents of the German warship "Leipsig," iris request was at once complied with by the officer commanding the "Leipsig" and a pilot obtained; whether at the time there were three British warships at Hankow; and whether, in accordance with Service Regulations, British warships are unable to afford necessary help and protection to merchant ships of their own country?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am aware that there has been some dissatisfaction on this subject among the British community at Hankow, but the exact circumstances of the case of the steamship "Brodmore" are not known to me. It appears that the British men-of-war at Hankow were, on the occasion complained of, continuously occupied in transmitting service messages. There is no intention of insisting in times of emergency on the letter of the Regulations, and the Commander-in-Chief may at his discretion permit the transmission by wireless of urgent messages for British merchants or private persons in China if the ordinary telegraph lines are not avail able—provided always that naval requirements are not interfered with.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The publicity given to questions and answers in this House will probably suffice for the purpose.