§ 79. Mr. DOUGLAS HALL
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the liner "Ceramic," which has been armed in accordance with the recent declared policy of arming British ships which carry foodstuffs, belongs to the White Star line; whether shares in that line are owned or controlled by a foreign corporation; and whether he can state what steps have been taken to ensure that the "Ceramic" shall continue under the British flag and shall in the event of any war in which this country is engaged be available as a ship carrying food to this country and be subject to the control of the Admiralty?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The answer to the first question is in the affirmative. It is understood that shares in the line are held by a foreign corporation. Under the agreement the vessels of the line fly the British flag, and can only transfer their vessels to a foreign flag with the consent of the Board of Trade. This agreement applies to the "Ceramic."
§ Mr. COOPER
Is it not the fact that this company is controlled by foreign interests, and that in the event of those guns being wanted there might be some doubt as to whether the Admiralty could properly control them?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
All that has been very carefully considered. The result of the consideration which the subject has received is that we think it very reasonable and prudent to mount a small number of guns in the White Star line when the owners of that line think it convenient.
§ Mr. DOUGLAS HALL
Can the right hon. Gentleman inform us how he can prevent this company from selling those ships if they have control of them?