§ 35. Mr. WILLIAM THORNE
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the inquiry into the alleged violation of the Fair-Wages Clause by the British Portland Cement Company and the Associated Portland Cement Company has yet been completed; and, if so, will he state the result?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
The inquiry is not complete. I will communicate with my hon. Friend at the earliest possible moment.
§ Mr. W. THORNE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is three months since this question was put down? Surely the Board ought to be in a position to make a Report in three months. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these long delays are very annoying, and sometimes cause nasty things to be said about people?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
This inquiry raises a very large question, and I want to get complete information before I give an answer. I will give the answer without. any unnecessary delay.
§ 36. Earl WINTERTON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if steps will be taken to strengthen our naval strength in the West Indies in the event of the Admiralty entering into contracts to purchase South American and Mexican oil?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I shall be in a position to make a statement upon the subject of the increased naval force to be maintained in the West Indies when Vote 8 is under discussion.
§ 37. Earl WINTERTON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what steps, if any, are being taken by his Department to prospect for oil within the British Empire; if he is aware of the many millions of acres of land in British North America, British Africa, and Australia entirely unprospected; and if he will decide upon some systematic policy of search for oil in British territory before entering into binding contracts extending over several years with firms obtaining their oil outside the Empire?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Active and comprehensive efforts have for some time past been made by the Admiralty and the Colonial Office in the direction of securing or developing the oil supplies of the British Empire, and this most important object will be steadily pursued. But the Noble Lord will appreciate the fact that the immediate task before the Admiralty is to provide definite quantities of oil certainly available at particular dates during the next few years. If desired by the House, I will enter broadly upon this difficult and important subject when Vote 8 is set down for discussion. It is difficult to do justice to its complexities by question and answer.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Will the right hon. bon. Gentleman, before the expenditure of public money in this direction, bear in mind the large amount of land speculation that is going on in this part of the world by hon. Members opposite—[Interruption]—and so safeguard himself against bribery and corruption?