HC Deb 12 February 1930 vol 235 cc394-6
19. Commander SOUTH BY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what are the names of the five cruisers now in special commission; upon what duties they are employed; and how many are employed outside home waters?


As the answer is in tabular form I will, with the hon. and gallant Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The required particulars are as follow:

Ship, Function or Status and Present Position.

"Concord": Signal School Cruiser, Portsmouth.

"Champion": Gunnery and Torpedo School Cruiser, Portsmouth.

"Cumberland": In commission with reduced crew while refitting, Chatham.

"Dragon": In commission with reduced crew for trials, Chatham.

"Dartmouth": In commission with navigating party for passage from Portsmouth to Devonport, where she will be placed in reserve, Devonport.

His Majesty's Ships "Cumberland" and "Dragon" will shortly be completing to full complement for service on the China Station and America and West Indies Station respectively.

23. Commander SOUTH BY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the names of the seven cruisers now paid off for repairs, etc.; and whether any of these ships are now in the sale list?


The seven cruisers referred to in my reply of the 5th February to the bon. and gallant Member [OFFICIAL REPORT, columns 1879–80] are His Majesty's Ships "Danae," "Colombo," "Cardiff," "Coventry," "Ceres," "Diomede" and "Dauntless." Since-then His Majesty's Ship "Dauntless" has been commissioned for trials. The remaining six ships are all paid off for large repairs and none are on the sale list.

24. Colonel GRETTON

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty upon what basis the reduced number of 50 cruisers as needful for the British Empire is calculated?


The number 50 has been arrived at after full investigation and is that which will, it is considered, meet all requirements for the period of an agreement which it is hoped will be reached as a result of the London Naval Conference. The number is subject to the satisfactory outcome of that Conference.


Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give the basis on which the calculation was made?


That has already been stated. The Admiralty in the past advanced the view that a different number of cruisers was required, namely, 70. It has been quite plainly stated that, in view of the developments that have since taken place—the signing of the Pact of Paris and the holding of the Naval Conference—50 cruisers would be sufficient for the period covered by any agreement reached by the Conference.


Is the signing of the Kellogg Pact the only new feature that has entered into the situation, or are there any other matters that have arisen since the minimum requirements were first stated as 70?


The signing of the Pact of Paris was the act of one day, but the result of that act we hope will be a very different thing.


Are these the only new factors that have entered into the situation?

Major ROSS

Is it not the case that the right hon. Gentleman is banking on there being no war during that period, but, if war does break out, then our naval forces are insufficient?


I have nothing to add to the answer that I have given.


Is it not the case that a return to the previous figure would involve a substantial increase in cruiser tonnage at the present moment?


If I understand the hon. Member to mean a return to the figure 70, most certainly it would.