HC Deb 22 April 1914 vol 61 cc898-900

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the statement on Imperial naval defence made by Mr. Millen, Minister of Defence in the Commonwealth Government; and whether, in view of the fact that the statement in question asserts that the naval policy of His Majesty's Government involves the destruction of the basis upon which the Australian Navy is organised, he will consider the advisability of making a further statement to the House on the subject?

5 and 7. Mr. LYNCH

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) whether the policy of the Admiralty, as announced by him, constitutes a violation of the naval agreement of 1909; whether any modifications of that agreement have been undertaken after the submission of the proposals to the Commonwealth and with the concurrence of the Minister of Defence; and (2) whether, in his interpretation of the Anglo-Japanese alliance as affecting the defence of Australia, he contemplates the possibility of that defence depending at any time on Japanese ships; whether he is aware that the Minister of Defence refuses to accept his interpretation of the Anglo-Japanese alliance in as far as regards Australian defence; and whether the attitude of Australia, in insisting on the naval agreement of 1909 in a sense contrary to his own, will produce any corresponding modification of the naval policy indicated by him?

15. Mr. F. HALL (Dulwich)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, if his attention has been called to the remarks made by the Australian Commonwealth Minister of Defence foreshadowing the adoption by the Commonwealth of an independent naval policy, in view of the departure by the Admiralty from the arrangements already agreed upon as regards the disposition of the Imperial Navy as between Home waters and the Pacific and other foreign stations; and if he will lay upon the Table copies of any communications which have passed between the Imperial and the Commonwealth Governments on this question?


The matter is one which it would be proper and desirable to debate when Navy Estimates are under discussion, but it is not possible for me to deal adequately with issues of such importance at Question Time.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the First Lord of the Admiralty, when he was in his place the other day, gave me an answer to this question entirely different from that which the right hon. Gentleman has given to-day?

6. Mr. LYNCH

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, whether he has received a communication of the statement of Senator Millen, Minister of Defence for the Commonwealth of Australia; and, if so, whether he will place it upon the Table of the House? I should like to say that I was expressly asked to postpone this question until to-day in order that we might have an answer from the First Lord of the Admiralty.


The answer is that these are matters which could not not be adequately discussed by question and answer now, but should be raised on the Navy Estimates As to the hon. Member's question, it is that no such communication has been received.