§ 36. Mr. DOUGLAS HALL
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is proposed to arm the vessels of the White Star Line or any other vessels controlled or owned by the International Mercantile Marine Company, or controlled or owned by any other foreign corporation or individual?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara)
My right hon. Friend has no further information to give at present on this subject.
§ 47. Mr. LOUGH
asked the Prime Minister whether, having regard to the questions which have already arisen as to the ownership of vessels in many shipping companies now sailing under the British flag and other difficulties that may arise with regard to the proposal for arming merchant vessels, he can see his way to give the House an early opportunity for considering this matter before further steps are taken, apart from the usual discussions in Committee of Supply?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The position of the Government in this matter was explained by my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty in his speech on 26th March, and the question could have been debated then or on any of the other days which have been given to Naval Estimates. I cannot give any further opportunity at present.
§ Sir W. BYLES
Is it the function of the Government to conduct a policy of this kind without the leave of the House of Commons?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The House had on the Estimates, and will have, ample opportunity of expressing its opinions.
§ 39. Mr. LOUGH
asked how many ships in the merchant service the Admiralty have arranged to fit with armament up to the present; what conditions are laid down before guns will be supplied; what is the estimated cost of the armament of each ship; whether in every case members of the vessel's crew have been instructed in the use of the guns beforehand; who is responsible for the fighting; and what general instructions have been given to him?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
My right hon. Friend does not desire at the present time to add to the full statement he gave to the House on this subject when presenting the Navy Estimates. It is sufficient to say that good progress is being made and the various difficulties which readily occur to any student of this subject and have long engaged the attention of the Admiralty, are being successfully surmounted.