§ 19. Sir H. BRITTAIN
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what units of the Empire, in addition to Great Britain, are assisting in the creation of the Singapore base; and to what extent?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Amery)
My right hon. Friend has asked me to take this question. As regards the assistance offered by Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Duff Cooper) on the 4th instant. As regards the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand, the position is as follows:
Prior to the decision of the late Government to discontinue the development of the, Singapore base, the Commonwealth 1301 Government had expressed their intention of submitting to Parliament proposals for a substantial Australian contribution towards the cost of the base, and the New Zealand Parliament had already voted £100,000 as a first contribution. After the late Government's decision, had been announced, the Commonwealth and New Zealand Governments decided to take increased measures for their naval defence, entailing a considerable increase in defence expenditure over a period of years.
It will be necessary for the Australian and New Zealand Governments to take these new commitments into account in considering the extent to which in present circumstances they can co-operate in the development of the Singapore base; but understand that the Commonwealth and New Zealand Governments will consult their Parliaments on the subject as soon as opportunity offers.
§ Sir H. BRITTAIN
Then am I not right in stating that the Empire is united as to the need for this base?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is rather too apt to make little speeches, when asking supplementary questions.