HC Deb 22 February 1922 vol 150 cc1882-3

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he has any explanation to offer with regard to the disputed version of a translation which attributed to French naval officers sympathy with German submarine atrocities during the late War?


This matter has formed the subject of considerable controversy in the Press, and the statements of my Noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty with regard to it have no doubt been seen by the right hon. Member. To these I do not think I can usefully add anything, beyond saying that, in the opinion of the Admiralty, the article by Captain Castex, to which my Noble Friend drew attention at the Washington Conference, does clearly express approval of German unlimited submarine warfare, as practised in the late War.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what is the relative position of this country and France respecting the building of submarines; and what steps have been taken by the respective heads of the navies to meet in friendly conference with the object of adjusting the views of the two countries?


As regards the first part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply of the 9th February to the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge). As regards the second part, no such steps have been taken by the Admiralty.

25. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the recently translated book by Captain Castex showing that the said Castex approved of the German submarine tactics; and whether he will draw the attention of the French Government to the frank expression of these views so expensive to this country?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part of the question, I would remind the hon. and gallant Member that my Noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty drew the attention of his French colleagues on the Committee on the Limitation of Naval Armament at Washington to the articles referred to, and elicited the most emphatic and vigorous repudiation of them both by Admiral de Bon and by M. Sarraut, the Head of the French Delegation, speaking on behalf of the French Government. In these circumstances, it is not considered necessary to take any further steps to bring these articles to the formal notice of the French Government.


Is it possible that the Admiralty have not seen the subsequent book by Captain Castex, which was reviewed in the "Manchester Guardian" the day before yesterday, and is the Admiralty still under the impression that there are only these articles which were quoted by the First Lord, and no other evidence?


I have seen the book, and understand that it consists of the articles in a cover.


Is it in order for an hon. Member to mention the name of a newspaper when he is asking a question?


The hon. Member was referring to a statement made in a newspaper.

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