HC Deb 05 March 1918 vol 103 cc1872-3

Another development of the last three months which has, so far, fully justified the hopes with which it was inaugurated, is the Allied Naval Council, to which reference has already been made in connection with the Mediterranean. The formation of this Council was announced in the public Press on 15th December last, as a result of the Naval Conference held in Paris at the end of November. As the result of our experience at those meetings, I feel very hopeful that increasing benefit will be. derived from them. The meetings were of a businesslike character. Matters which could not be dealt with were referred to Committees —one of which, as I have already explained, met at Rome—and in each case they are reporting back to the Allied Naval Council the result of their deliberations, which have been uniformly fruitful. It is believed that this Council will result in decisions being taken readily on vital naval matters affecting two or more of the Allied Navies—matters which would otherwise be adjusted with difficulty and delay. The contact between the Allied Navies and Versailles is maintained by the liaison officers of each of the Allies in Paris who keep in constant touch with the military members and report weekly to the Allied Secretariat here. This is understood fully to meet the needs of the military repre- sentatives at present, but the Naval Council is prepared to meet their wishes in whatever way seems desirable.