HC Deb 28 May 1924 vol 174 cc416-7
48. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the statement by Mr. Butler, Chairman of the Naval Committee to the House of Representatives of the United States of America, to the effect that at least $150,000,000 must be expended on the American Navy if it is to equal in strength His Majesty's Navy, including the building of eight fast cruisers at a cost of $15,000,000 each; and whether, in view of this statement, he will retard the building of the additional five cruisers for His Majesty's Navy until the possibility of a further conference on naval armaments has been explored?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The United States proposal appeared on 2nd February. His Majesty's Government announced their intention to build the five cruisers on 21st February. With regard to the second part of the question, I have nothing to add to my replies to the hon. and gallant Member on 7th and 19th May.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the Prime Minister aware that the right hon. Member for Bewdley (Mr. Baldwin) announced last November that we were going to build eight cruisers?


That may be so, but as far as the question is concerned it refers to our five.


What have we as an island to do with America?


In point of fact, does not the Prime Minister admit that naval competition between these two Powers is proceeding?


I do not think that is a fact. If I had any evidence that it was so, I should take steps at once to try to avoid it.

Captain BENN

Is it not a fact that Mr. Butler alleged the inferiority of the American Navy compared with the British Navy as the reason for this increase?


I have heard such speeches delivered in this House, and so do not misunderstand speeches delivered in the House of Representatives.

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