HC Deb 30 April 1930 vol 238 cc180-2
16. Commander SOUTHBY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many cruisers belonging to the British Empire, the United States of America, and Japan, respectively, are 10 years old or more?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

The answer is 34, 4, and 10 respectively. The number for the British Commonwealth of Nations includes one belonging to the Royal Australian Navy. The number for Japan is exclusive of five ships used for training purposes which are no longer classed as cruisers.


Are these five Japanese ships armed?


They have some armaments for training purposes, but they are not fully armed.


Is it effective armament?


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what allowable increase there will be in cruiser strength in the navies of Great Britain, Japan, and the United States of America in the terms of the proposed naval agreement?


The effect of the London Naval Treaty in regard to cruiser strengths is as follows:

As regards ourselves we will not construct the two 8-tinch 10,000-ton cruisers of the 1928 programme, or the one 8-inch 10,000-ton cruiser of the 1929 programme and a figure of 15 8-inch gun cruisers will constitute the total number allowed for the British Commonwealth of Nations.

The United States of America which entered the Conference with a projected programme of 23 8-inch 10,000-ton cruisers will actually not complete more than 15 of this type before 1936, retaining only the option to have three more under construction and not to be completed before the years 1936, 1937 and 1938 respectively.

Japan will remain at her present figure of 12 8-inch gun cruisers and will not embark on fresh construction as previously anticipated.

As regards 6-inch gun cruisers, the London Naval Treaty allows, generally speaking, only for replacement, except that in the case of the United States of America special provision is made for the carrying out of long postponed cruiser construction.


Is it the Government's intention to distribute this work between private and Government dockyards?


I am not sure that that arises out of the question, but, as I have already stated, the Government are giving attention to what programme will be necessary, and the question where the work will be allocated will be considered then.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by American replacement? Surely, that is a very large addition to their programme.


I do not think that that is what I said. Perhaps I had better quote my answer again. I said, Except that in the case of the United States of America special provision is made for the carrying out of long postponed cruiser construction.


With regard to the six-inch cruisers, is the final number to be the same for the United States as for this country?


No, certainly not. There is a slight advantage in numbers in eight-inch cruisers for the United States, as between the United States and ourselves, but there will be an advantage to us in total tonnage.


Am I right in understanding that the Americans will build 15 eight-inch cruisers, and that we will build none?


This country already has 15 eight-inch cruisers.

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