HC Deb 01 August 1923 vol 167 cc1464-5
57. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that Congress is to be asked by the American Government to sanction for the next financial year 1924–25, a programme, including 10 cruisers of 10,000 tons, and that Congress struck out a programme for this year, including 16 cruisers of 10,000 tons, and substituted in the Navy Appropriation Act a request to the President to summon a fresh conference on disarmament; and whether, seeing that French policy is the real obstacle to an immediate conference, the Government will intimate that they are willing to enter into a conference with other Powers for further naval disarmament, leaving the adherence of France to any agreement to fructify at a later date when French policy may have changed?


I have no information as to the proposals to be laid before Congress, though it has been stated in the Press that an appropriation for eight cruisers is to be asked for. Otherwise the answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The effect of the recommendation in the United States Navy Appropriation Act for the calling of a new conference was explained in the reply I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend on 28th May. The proposal contained in the last part of the question is not one which can properly be dealt with by means of question and answer.