§ 59. Sir R. THOMAS
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, seeing that the present dependence of the Navy and a large proportion of the mercantile marine upon imported oil fuel is national danger, he will, through the Fuel Research Board, undertake an exhaustive investigation into the whole question of devising or adapting new methods of utilising coal for steam-raising at sea?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Lieut.-Colonel Headlam)
The importance of utilising coal to the greatest extent possible is fully appreciated, but the prospect of its effective use as fuel in naval vessels is so problematical that the Admiralty would not be justified in undertaking the expense involved by an exhaustive investigation as a charge on Navy Votes.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman apply himself to the question, when he is making investigations, in what respect it applies to the mercantile marine?
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
We are closely following all investigations that are being made, but we are not conducting investigations of our own. We think that the development of processes such as this, which offer much hope of commercial gain, are best left to industry.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman not think it sufficiently important to initiate some inquiry into this very important matter?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the Fuel Research Board was instituted at the request of the Admiralty in the later stages of the War, and is it not desirable that the Department should continue to stimulate its activities in every direction and furnish it with the necessary funds?