HC Deb 05 March 1918 vol 103 c1873

While dealing with the unity of effort of the Allies represented on the Allied Naval Council, I would like to testify to the whole-hearted spirit of comradeship and mutual help which is increasingly striking in the relations of ourselves and our Allies in naval matters. Nothing could exceed the cordiality which exists between us all, not only between those who are represented upon the Allied Council, but also those who are not, and I feel sure the House will be interested to learn that the Naval Forces of the Allies in European waters will shortly be augmented by a force of Brazilian war vessels. It is perhaps natural that the co-operation between ourselves and our Allies the United States should be extremely close in naval matters, primarily because the exigencies of the naval situation have dictated that their forces should be based upon British ports, taking alternate turns with their British comrades, and secondly, because there is no language difficulty to overcome. Not only have we the advantage of constant consultation with Vice-Admiral Sims, the Flag Officer Commanding the United States Forces in European waters, who attends our daily Staff Conference at the Admiralty, but we have also American officers working in the various sections of the British Admiralty exactly on the same footing as British officers; indeed, the co-operation between the two Navies is as nearly complete as possible, and I wish, on behalf of myself and my colleagues on the Board of Admiralty, publicly to pay tribute to the whole-hearted and generous devotion to duty and the prosecution of the War which governs the actions of every representative of the United States Navy with whom we come in contact. The personnel of all ranks have the respect and esteem of officers and men of the British Navy. I beg that the House will pardon this digression upon the subject of organisation and other matters before I come to the absorbing question of mercantile tonnage.