§ 16. Commander Viscount CURZON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty 372 whether the sale of any ships of the Royal Navy to foreign countries, without any stipulation as to their being broken up, is contemplated; and, if so, which are they?
§ The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Long)
The reply to my Noble and gallant Friend's question is in the affirmative; but pending completion of the negotiations, I am afraid that particulars as to the countries and vessels concerned cannot usefully be given.
§ Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING
Is it not possible to give the House particulars of the sales of these vessels, and is it not a matter for the Members of this House as to the advisability of disposing of these vessels and the eventualities?
§ Mr. BILLING
Is it not a question of change of principle, and is it not a fact that prior to the War the Government of this country did not dispose of vessels in this way, and has the right hon. Gentleman consulted this House as to whether it is a reasonable change of principle?
Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that these vessels shall not be disposed of till the House has had the opportunity of discussing the principle involved?
§ Mr. A. SHORT
When does the right hon. Gentleman think it will be possible to give the House the information it seeks?
§ Mr. HOUSTON
Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that there is no danger of these vessels passing into the hands of potential enemies?
§ Mr. BILLING
Does the contract of sale provide that they shall not be re-disposed of without the consent of the Government itself?