§ Mr. STANLEY BALDWIN
(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether he will take an early opportunity of informing the House what are the Naval standards in respect of cruisers by which the Admiralty is being guided at the present time; what are the reasons which have led to any variation in these standards from those enforced by the late Government: and thirdly what are the programmes of annual replacement construction which the Government consider necessary to sustain the approved standards during the next six years.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
With regard to parts one and two of the question, the decision of the Government to take the reduced number of 50 cruisers as the minimum required for our needs, has been arrived at after taking into account the measure of security afforded by the signature of the Pact of Paris for the Renunciation of War by most of the nations of the world, including all the Naval Powers, not only those who are members of the League of Nations but also by the United States of America.
With such powerful support for peace, we feel justified in looking forward to a period in which armed conflicts need not be expected.
The proposed reduction in the number of cruisers to 50 is, of course, dependent on agreement at the Naval Conference on adequate limitation of projected building programmes being made by other Powers and will be for the period covered by such agreement.
609 In regard to the third part of the question, the programme of replacement must to a certain extent depend on the nature of the agreement which may be reached at the Naval Conference and it is not possible to state in advance what it will be.