HC Deb 26 February 1914 vol 58 c1946

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will say whether several Wilson liners have been equipped with quick-firing guns by co-operation of the owners and the Admiralty; if so, under what authority has the Admiralty proceeded in the matter; do the vessels carry passengers; and, if so, what would be their legal rights if the liners should ever be engaged in a naval action to their injury; do these vessels carry ammunition on every voyage; and, if so, are British and foreign port rules against merchant vessels carrying explosives or war stores suspended in their favour?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, but I would also refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made in introducing the Navy Estimates on the 26th March last. The answer to the third part of the question is in the affirmative. I am advised that the legal rights of passengers would be the same in the case of vessels armed for self-defence as in that of the vessels not so armed. No final decision has been taken in regard to the fifth part of the question, and it is therefore not necessary or desirable to discuss the case contemplated in the last part of the question.