§ 81. Mr. GILBERT
asked the Secretary of State for Air how many airships are in the possession of his Department at the present time; whether all or any of them are of German make; if it is proposed to retain all of them for air-service work or if any of them are to be disposed of; and, if so, how many?
The answer to the first question is five; to the second, one; to the third, that it is not proposed to retain any of them for Air Force work and that in view of the present need for economy and of the inability of India and those Dominions from whom replies have been received to contribute towards their operation on Imperial air routes, it has with great regret been decided to pass them all for disposal. This process must necessarily take a few weeks, and during that time it is, of course, still possible for offers to be made with the object of running an airship service.
§ Sir J. NORTON-GRIFFITHS
Does my right hon. Friend's undertaking given at the Guildhall that this material would not be disposed of before June hold good?
No. There is some slight misunderstanding about it. We hoped that the further delay would be of value to the other Dominions, as no reply had been received then. Since then I have received a reply, and there is no object in keeping this material any longer.
§ Major-General SEELY
Even if we dispose of the airships, will we retain at least a proportion of the skilled personnel, and the research staff to enable us to resume activities in case of necessity?
In spite of the small monetary grant for this purpose, an effort will be made to retain some of the skilled members of the staff in maintenance and other parties.
The Admiralty views were represented a great many months ago, when their statements were considered very carefully.