HC Deb 18 June 1930 vol 240 cc376-8

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if any negotiations are now proceeding for the settlement of the outstanding differences left by the London Naval Treaty; and if the Government have been informed of any proposals made by France or Italy with reference to the 1930 building programme related thereto?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has taken part in any further negotiations concerning naval armaments between Italy and France; and, if so, can he say with what result?

12. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what Franco-Italian-British negotiations have taken place regarding naval armaments since the end of the London Naval Conference; whether negotiations are still in progress; whether proposals have been made by one or more of the parties to these negotiations for the suspension of naval shipbuilding during them; and, if so, with what result?


While no Franco-Italian-British negotiations on naval armaments have taken place since the adjournment of the London Naval Conference, the subject naturally came up in conversation with the French and Italian Ministers for Foreign Affairs during my recent visit to Geneva. As regards proposals for the suspension of naval shipbuilding, I would refer the hon. Members to the conciliatory offer of the Italian Government to suspend, while the negotiations for which the Naval Conference was adjourned are proceeding, the laying down of any units of their 1930 naval programme provided similar action is taken by the French Government. This offer was announced in Signor Grandi's speech to the Senate on the 2nd June.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the response from the French Government has been?


I am afraid I am not in a position to say anything at the moment.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Does this Italian offer mean that the French Government are invited by the Italian Government to suspend shipbuilding from now onwards during these conversations, and is there any time limit to it? Is my right hon. Friend able to take any action in this matter to prevent any unnecessary shipbuilding?


I cannot say anything more than I have said. I can only refer to the speeches, and I have intimated to the House that these conversations were opened during my visit to Geneva.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the very hopeful prospects that this opens out?

22. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what warships have been laid down by the other four signatories of the London Naval Treaty since the conclusion of the Conference?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Alexander)

One 5,000 ton cruiser, the "Armando Diaz," and two destroyers were laid down in May by Italy.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

In view of the small size of the Italian Navy, why are we the only other Power that has laid down new ships since the Treaty?


We have laid down no ships since, except those which were authorised by Parliament in 1929, and this is strictly in accordance with the limited figures arrived at in the London Naval Treaty. In the case of Italy, no such limitation has been arrived at.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Did the right hon. Gentleman not tell me that a Supplementary Estimate would be required for the ships already announced, the "Leander," and other destroyers?


I must ask my hon. and gallant Friend to study my previous answers. The Supplementary Estimate to be introduced does not deal with the "Leander," but with the new 1930 construction programme.